January 29th, 2016


Book Critique 2016 – 01/14/2016: The Guild Of Assassins - The Majat Code Book II

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For the review of Book I, go here.

The second and final book of The Majat Code series (at least I am thinking it is final), titled The Guild Of Assassins was also published in 2014. I liked the conclusion well, although expected it a bit. Another adventure into the fantasy world of The Guild and the lives of Aghat Mai and Aghat Kara indeed.

This book follows more on the fate of Aghat Mai and The Guild rather than about the empire and the King who is defending it against the Kaddim armies. Kara, a Diamond Majat, achieved freedom from the Guild. However in getting her freedom, Aghat Mai had committed a crime that is punishable according to The Guild. So he heads back to The Guild to face the music, so to speak. He comes with a high reputation that he had earned at a very young age with two blows named after his rune, Viper - Viper's Sting to kill the opponent and Viper's Kiss to save the opponent but have the onlookers to think it was deadly. His precision in technique and his strategy adds only to the power he wears as a cloak.

He returns to The Guild, but not alone. He is accompanies by Prince Kyth, Aghat Kara, Keeper Egey Bashi, Truth Seeker Ella and Mother Keeper. Although everyone arrives at The Guild in different paths, they still form a unit in defending Mai and Kara for the valuable services they have provided to the empire as well as their powers that can be used successfully against the Kaddim armies. The journey also reveals a lot of truth in the feelings within Kyth, Kara and Mai. Who truly loves whom and what the battle means in the end. Kara is confused about her pull towards Mai and her love or loyalty towards Kyth. Kyth is stubborn as hell that his infatuation is love and fails in many cases to see how that causes trouble to Kara. Mai restrains his feelings the betterment of The Guild. Yet they all unite to save the Empire and the Guild.

With ruthless politics, hidden agendas, killer strategies, forgotten code, mystery armies and confused hearts - all form the thread that weaves through the characters making it a complete plot.

As I mentioned in my previous review of Part I, the flaws still hold good here too. However one more point I want to add is the childish nature of Prince Kyth. He seems to forget at times that he is the Crown Prince and instead behaves like a 14 year old on hormone high. Although it was a good characterization in book 1, he doesn’t seem to have matured much until towards the end in book 2. Using Kara and her mis-guided feelings like a toy was not something I wanted to continue to see in book 2 as well. Although at the end he realizes and changes, but it would have been much better of the change had been shown early-on. This could have reduced the volume of the book further more.

All in all, another good book to pick up for those lazy days.

Stars: 3.5 / 5
Recommendation: To know the fate of Aghat Mai and The Guild, to travel through their world again, definitely pick it up.

Book Critique 2016 – 01/15/2016: The Lucky One

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.

Published in 2008, this work by Nicholas Sparks was filmed in 2012 as well. As far as I know and those that I have read, this is the only book in which Sparks portrays fate and destiny. However, it's not like other fantasy novels where fate and destiny is inter-twined with magic or mystery, but stays much much closer to reality. However, one wonders if some magic is involved. :)

The story is about Logan Thibault, a U. S. Marine who walks across the United States in search of the girl in a photograph that he found in his tenure in Iraq. A photo that turns into a lucky charm for him, even saves him from death more than once. A conversation with his friend, Victor, puts him into this journey - search for the girl. Beginning at Colorado, accompanied by his dog Zeus, he eventually reaches North Carolina where he meets the girl from the picture.

Elizabeth "Beth" Green, divorced and with a son Ben, lives with her grandmother and running a dog kennel. Her ex-husband, Deputy Keith Clayton, has not been the best husband or father, and even after divorced interfered with their lives. Logan runs into Clayton in the outskirts of Hampton where he catches Clayton being particularly uncivilized with a few girls lounging there. The run-in does not leave a good taste in Clayton's mouth and he continues to confront Logan.

Logan is fighting his daemons, and so is Beth. Yet they fall for each other. However, Logan is holding back the actual reason he was staying in Hampton while Clayton figures it out and begins to use it against him to turn Beth's feelings. In all this mix, is the budding relationship between Logan and Ben. What follows is how Logan fights his daemons, how Beth commits to her heart, how Ben bonds to Logan and how they all stand together against Clayton.

Simple human emotions, complex relationships and emotional feelings twine through the plot making it another of Sparks romantic touch. Oh, I always cry buckets when I read his novels. But in this particular one I not only cried, but also felt one with the characters. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I am sure the movie has been a pleasure to watch as well. The book I have is the re-print of the original when the movie was made.

However, I do wish Sparks goes beyond North Carolina in his books. All his books end in North Carolina and always one of the key character dies in the end. That routine in the plot is perhaps is his success since 11 of his 19 books have been made to movies, successful ones even. Yet, I do wish if he could expand a bit more. That said, like any Sparks novel, this is another charming one to be picked and read. Go for it!!

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: Yes, go for it!!