Monday, October 24, 2011

The Sleeping Beauty

After reading Snow Crash, I had to read something that I knew would be all around more appealing to me. So today I read Mercedes Lackey's The Sleeping Beauty, which I have been hoarding since it was published last year. And now that I have the sixth book, Beauty and the Werewolf, now was a good time to get caught up with my reading!

The Sleeping Beauty is the retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and the story of Sigurd and Brynhild all rolled into one (with even more fun!) It begins with the Princess of Eltaria, Rosamund, fleeing an evil Huntsman and being enslaved by dwarves. Rosamund's mother was killed and her father hastily remarried an "evil" sorceress. Rosamund believes that the Huntsmen was sent to kill her by her new Stepmother.

Unknown to Rosamund (and the Kingdom), the new Stepmother is actually Lily, the Fairy Godmother of Eltaria. Lily married the King in an effort to stop the Tradition, the magic of the land, actually forcing Eltaria's king down a dark path. While maintaing the ruse to fool the Tradition, Lily works to save the Princess. But all is almost foiled by the appearance of two men: a roguish middle son, and a Hero who is trying to escape his Doom (and the woman who keeps appearing, asleep in a ring of fire....) Add to that the unexpected death of the King, which leaves Rosamund and Lily scrambling to save Eltaria from invasion.

As usual, Lackey has a wonderful assortment of characters. Rosamund and Lily are both strong heroines; I loved reading about their adventures. Siegfried and Leopold were a lot of fun to follow. And I can't leave out mentioning Luna, the unicorn with the lisp!

The Sleeping Beauty was another hilarious romp through the Five Hundred Kingdoms. I absolutely loved it (especially the end of Chapter 14! I laughed extremely hard when I read that!); The Sleeping Beauty was exactly what I needed to read after being so disappointed by Snow Crash.

Kindle Book: Snow Crash

A friend of mine has been wanting me to read Snow Crash for awhile now. So when I found out that Neal Stephenson was going to be the keynote speaker at GDC Online (which I attended), I decided it was time to give Snow Crash a read. My friend lent the book to me, but in the interest of travelling as lightly as possible, I bought the book on my Kindle. I started reading it on my flight to Texas and got about 40% through it....and then didn't pick it up again until a few days ago.

Snow Crash is a really interesting book. It's got some unique characters, like Hiro Protagonist, the sword-toting hacker who delivers pizza for the Mafia's franchise, and Y.T., a young Kourier who manages to be in the thick of everything. Hiro and Y.T. get caught up in the search for information on a virtual drug called Snow Crash, which crashes the minds of hackers who are exposed to it.

My problem with Snow Crash was simple: it started out as a really interesting book with the pizza delivery stuff, but then it kind of lost my interest when Hiro started "researching." I say "researching" because it was more along the lines of the Librarian lecturing Hiro. Hiro would ask a question or two, and the Librarian would lecture him for a few chapters. At this point, there would be a chapter of Y.T., the other protagonist, doing something crazy, then back to the lecture. I don't know exactly how long this went on for, but my estimate is 30% of the book. Then, after Hiro was done listening to the lecture, he went off on his own adventure, during which he decided to regurgitate everything the Librarian had told him!

Despite this, there are some really interesting (and awesome) things that happen, particularly with Y.T. The chapters with her really helped me get through the Librarian's lecture.

All in all, the story of Snow Crash was pretty good, but I really didn't like being lectured at. I almost stopped reading Snow Crash a few times because of this. But I soldiered through and did finish the book. But I'm not going to lie, there were more than a few times when I thought I could be reading something else. And now that I'm done, I'm more excited to start something else than to dwell on Snow Crash.