The Library of Fates – An Honest Book Review. With Spoilers.

This is a book about a young princess named Amrita, who lives in a colorful, peaceful kingdom called Shalingar. In the beginning, everything is perfect, and the book opens up on what seems to be a kingdom-wide celebration. Turns out, the kingdom is preparing for a visit from an Emperor named Sikander.

Now, this dude Sikander… he’s a real bastard. At this point, Amrita doesn’t know much about him, other than what she’s heard from her tutor – that Sikander took the throne after killing his own father. So, it’s been established – Sikander ain’t got love for NOBODY.

So, when Sikander finally shows up, everybody is running around, acting happy, singing and throwing rose petals, cuz that’s what you do when the guy who killed his own father comes to town.

Meanwhile, Chandradev, the king of peaceful Shalingar (and Amrita’s father), is worried. He seems to know something that Amrita doesn’t – that Sikander’s visit is a bad sign. Especially for her.

So Sikander doesn’t waste time telling dude what he wants – essentially, he wants control over Shalingar because they have access to a rare drug called chamak, a hallucinogen used for religious purposes (Dune, anyone?) that is only mined by a race of beings called the Sybillines (and when I first read that I thought it said Syphillines and I almost threw the book across the room).

And that’s not all. Sikander has decided that he wants to marry the princess, solidify his control over Shalingar, and take her back to Macedon, which I assume is like, the capital  city. The princess asks her father about the capital city, and he describes it to her as:

“It’s… very advanced in some ways. Buildings so tall they block out the light. Giant arenas that took thousands of years to build. They’re used for fighting: slaves fighting one another to the death. People cheering like madmen over it… They don’t believe in equality between the sexes. To question the leadership is considered a sin. And they like war…” (12)

Ahh, Aditi. I see what you did there.

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So, in the interest of not spoiling the whole book, let’s just say that all hell breaks loose very early in the novel, and Amrita spends the rest of the book on the run. The good thing is: if you’re looking for a tale where redemption follows tragedy, then this will definitely not suck for you.

Okay, so let’s get to the things I like about the book: Number one, this has all of the things I look for in a good story – adventure, tragedy, redemption, revenge, a little bit of violence, and supernatural phenomena. Also, to my surprise, the “bad” characters are not cartoon-ish or drastically psychotic. So, there’s that.

I’m also here for the fact that the main character is a young girl who, at the beginning, seems to be controlled by her circumstances – but then begins to learn about herself and who she really is. Dig it. She even has a divinely inspired revelation about herself that was, while a bit predictable, was still a nice touch and a satisfying resolution for a likable character.

Now, I wouldn’t say that there was anything I didn’t like – but I was particularly disappointed that the author gave Amrita a love interest. I mean, okay – I get it. It’s young adult fiction, and there needs to be dark-haired, mysterious dude with an intense gaze who gives her butterflies and what not. It’s just… YAWN.

Anyway, if I was asked whether I recommended this book or not, I’d say yes. This is a fast read with a lot of action and vivid passages.

And with the way it ends, there may possibly be a sequel.

 

 

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Blackout, Or: How the Fuck Am I Supposed to Write in These Conditions?

I feel like I need to apologize for the profanity in the title.

And then again, I don’t.

In short, I’m in a mood today. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. I’ve been in a mood this entire year.

I have no name for this mood. I often think of that episode of  “The Golden Girls,” where Blanche explains that she has a name for that un-explainable, sadness-slash-anger-slash-melancholy: “magenta.”

“That’s what I call it when I get that way. All kinds of feelings, tumbling all over themselves. Well, you know, you’re not quite blue, because you’re not really sad, and although you’re a little bit jealous, you wouldn’t say you’re green with envy, and… every now and then you realize you’re kinda scared, but  you’d hardly call yourself yellow… I hate that feeling. I just hate it. And I hate the color  magenta.” (Deveraux, 1986, par. 12 or whatever).

Mother Blanche kinda spoke a word, here. But it leaves me wondering: what color is WTEntireF? Cuz, that’s where I’ve been living this year. And the only consolation I have is that I’m not lonely here – I have lots of company. Most of the people I know are here. Some of you are here, too – I can tell. I can see it in your faces. In the way you roll your eyes and slap your foreheads every time you see a press conference. The way you fall silent and leave the room when someone defends the un-defendable.

But I wish my feelings just stopped there. Lately, I feel as if I can’t concentrate. I want to do what I’ve always done whenever I fell into the I Hate Everythings – turn to the blank page.

Vomit all that shit out.

Make y’all read it.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

But this year, it feels like my entire life is off. My socks are down in my shoes. Tracks are showing. There’s something in my nose. Something on the back of my pants. My zipper’s down. Metaphors abound.

First, I can’t seem to find enough work, and the work I have is dwindling. Adding insult to injury, I am caught right smack in the middle of “not qualified enough” for certain positions, and “over-qualified” for others.

And now, I’m paranoid. I swear that a bill collector has been sitting in a U-Haul truck in my neighbor’s driveway for weeks, whistling the theme from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

Whenever my phone rings with one of those 1-800 numbers, I laugh hysterically – cuz at this point, all they can get from me is a Barnes and Noble gift card and a Yankee Candle.

And on top of that, Ol’ Canteloupe McHalf-Wit has been playing The Dozens with one of the most unhinged people on the entire planet. And every day there’s a new attempt to snatch something away from us that we need.

And I’m supposed to be creative in all this shit? HOW?

How am I supposed to be open and vulnerable enough to share my thoughts when all I wanna do is stay silent and avoid everything and everyone until we’re all blown into charred bits?

I know, I know. I’m supposed to write anyway. Sure. Got it.

But that’s not easy – especially when you’re anxious about everything like I am.

What’s crazy, though, is that I have so many cool ideas and characters floating around inside this twisted mind – I mean, colorful, outlandish, funny, heart-breaking, violent and beautiful shit – right? And the longer I sit here, staring at CNN and Googling “deserted islands for sale,” the louder these voices get.

If I don’t do something about it soon, I’m afraid they will revolt – and I will become That Woman in the Public Library. I feel there is no explanation needed here – you get the idea.

So, I guess that explains why you haven’t heard from me, or whatever. I suppose I needed some time to just… sit.

But I’m slowly coming back, y’all. I promise.

I mean, cuz after all – the world needs me.