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Book Review: African Mythology A to Z by Patricia Ann Lynch

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African Mythology A to Z


My Review: The best thing about this reference is its content. The book covers mythology from many different African tribes, rather than just the well-known ones. In addition, the book also covers the beliefs and customs for certain animals, objects, and different types of people.

When it comes to its flaws, the only one is how the information is presented. Since there are many different tribes with their own myths, beliefs, and customs, it can sometimes overwhelm the reader.

Also, the index at the back of the book is more useful to someone with prior knowledge of African mythology. It would have been more helpful to have a few pages listing the various African mythology pantheons and where they can be found in the book.

Overall, the book is a great introduction to African mythology. I recommend it to anyone interested in mythology and folklore and anyone who wants to delve into African myth.

Written by Serena Zola

August 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Book Review: His Black Wings by Astrid Yrigollen

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Plot Summary: When Claren Maidstone’s parents die, she is forced to flee her childhood home after a vile and greedy man named Kurten attempts to marry her. Soon, she becomes an assistant to a man named Frederick Lowood and is asked to live at his home in Westwind and befriend his “disfigured” son Etrigan at his home. Yet, her past is never far behind. As she adjusts to her new life, Kurten finds her again and terrible things that she never knew about her employer, his son, and her family come to light.

My Review: One of the best things about this book is the  storyline. Amazon’s book description states that this is a blend of Beauty and the Beast and Jane Eyre. While some of the story is like this, there is also a dash of steampunk and sci-fi that makes it authentic and interesting.

In addition, the characters are great. Claren Maidstone is just as brave and assertive as Jane Eyre. Etrigan becomes a very caring person as the story develops. Also, Horace and Dekker were funny and loyal friends to Claren. Lastly, Frederick’s character is kind and somewhat tragic, but very well-developed.

Besides the storyline and the characters, the steampunk setting is very interesting. It is a mix of futuristic and traditional technology such as regular books and a device with every book ever written and a regular horse and a steam horse. There are also futuristic and old-fashioned beliefs, some of which directly affect the characters.

One of the flaws in the book was that Etrigan’s dilemma was brushed aside when the story ends. It felt like the author focused so much on wrapping up Claren’s dilemma that she forgot about the other characters. If the author has a sequel to the book, then hopefully she will tie up the loose ends.

The only other flaw is that in the Kindle Edition, there were some spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. It didn’t detract my attention from the story and there weren’t a lot, but they were noticeable.

Overall, the book was very entertaining. I would recommend it to fantasy fiction readers, especially fans of Beauty and The Beast.

Written by Serena Zola

January 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Book Review: Japanese Fairy Tales by Yei Theodora Ozaki

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Book Version: E-book, downloaded from Project Gutenberg

In a nutshell, this book is an English-translated collection of stories, most of them originally written by Sadanami Sanjin. These aren’t meant for people studying folklore, just entertainment. By having Ozaki translate, there are Japanese expressions that have been preserved.

Since Japan is my favorite Asian country and I knew a smidge of their mythology, I thought I would enjoy this book. In all, there are twenty-three tales. I only enjoyed six of them.

With the six fairy tales, three words describe why I like them: sweet, innocent, and magical. All six stories have one or more of these qualities. The stories that best embody sweetness and innocence are “The Adventures of Kintaro, The Golden Boy” and “The Story of Princess Hase”. The former is a good story to tell to little boys, the latter to little girls.

The other stories, “My Lord Bag of Rice” “The Tongue-Cut Sparrow”, and “The South-Pointing Carriage” had interesting elements of fantasy. However, the final story in the book, “The Stones of Empress Jokwa” has the best fantasy and is my favorite story in the book. Considering all I had to struggle through before I read it, it is pretty sad.

The main problem with most of these stories was that they were boring. Sometimes, they were boring for a reason. For instance, stories like “The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child” and “The Happy Hunter” were too drawn out. Other stories such as “The Farmer and the Badger” and “How The Old Man Lost His Wen” were disturbing because of graphic violence or Satanic moments.

It is only because of my affection for Japan and the aforementioned six stories that I am not deleting this book off my Kindle. However, I almost wish that Project Gutenberg had a collection of Japanese mythology to make up for this book.

Written by Serena Zola

October 4, 2012 at 7:43 PM

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