There will be only one Reading Roundup post this week, as usual. I have read two books, both very different. Here is the first one:
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks was a real departure for me. This is a retelling of King David’s story. Here is the blurb:
Peeling away the myth to bring the Old Testament’s King David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.
The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikhal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.
I gave the book three stars and wrote this review on Goodreads:
I remember quite a lot about King David from my childhood chapel’s Sunday School. The teachers there often told us the biblical stories about him. So, I was quite intrigued when I picked up this book at the Library. The tale was certainly interesting and fleshed out a lot of those old stories, but I had some difficulties with the Hebrew names – personal, place and tribal. The book was quite dull in places, but worth reading. When I had finished, I found myself reading more about David and his children – they were certainly flawed human beings!
My second book of the week was a return to the fantasy genre: Dreamwalker by J D Oswald, #01 of the Ballad of Sir Benfro. This is the blurb:
The dragons of Glwad are dying. Persecuted for over two millennia, they’re a shrunken echo of the proud creatures they once were. And yet in new life springs hope: Benfro, son of Morgwm the Green, the first male kitling in a thousand years. Long ago dragons wrought a terrible wrong to the land, and now is the time for redemption.
Every young boy in the Twin Kingdoms dreams of being chosen for one of the great orders, and Errol Ramsbottom is no different. He longs to be a Warrior Priest of the High Ffrydd, riding to glorious victory in battle. But you should be careful what you wish for; it might just come to pass.
For almost a century there has been an uneasy truce between the Twin Kingdoms and the godless Llanwennogs to the north, but as King Diseverin descends ever further into drunken madness, his ruthless daughter Beulah takes up the reins of power. A time of war looks set to descend upon Gwlad, and it will surely draw everyone, man and dragon both, into its cruel game.
Once again, I felt that this book deserved three rather than four stars. Here is my review:
This book didn’t really read like an adult novel. Perhaps because the main characters were young, it felt more like Young Adult fiction? It was enjoyable enough and I will probably read more books in the series, as I have seen some of them in our local Library. The main ideas and the world building were good and I liked the way that the three principal protagonists all shared the same birthday.
I did have a major issue with how the dragons were written. The author did not really show them as any different from humans. Yes, their size was described and their scales and wings, but they appeared to move in a similar way to humans. Also, they had “hands” and “feet”! Their tails didn’t seem to affect them in any way. They had houses, sat in chairs and ate at tables in the same way as humans too.
So, some quite serious flaws, but still an exciting and interesting read.
I am now reading a new book that I reserved at the Library, Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, so will return to that after a walk and a snack!
Happy Reading to you all!