Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Journaling and “The Candlestone”

Not a very exciting title but it pretty much sums this post up.  I have SO MUCH I want to talk about and there’s no way I’ll fit it all in this one post.  Actually, I should have tried to post this at least a week ago, but I’ve been having some troubles with my internet connection.  And as all of you know, if you can’t get on the internet, there’s no way you can blog. ;’(

To start out, many good things have been happening recently, first and foremost that I finally beat that dratted slum in SOTD.  The opening for Chapter 3 has been driving me insane for near on 2 months (way too long) and I finally figured out what was going wrong last Thursday.  Since then, the slum has cleared up for the most part, which opens a world of possibilities that I can’t wait to explore.  It’s about time too; this rewrite has been giving me headaches.  I’m not sure why it’s being so difficult, but I know that all the trouble will be so worth it when I’m through.  Not to sound too bold or anything, but believe me when I say that this is going to be EPIC! :D

I’m also designing and sewing a new medieval dress.  I can’t wait to see it finished!  I’m using a pattern for the most basic structure of the over-gown, but I’m also completely re-designing the dress so that at least half of the pattern won’t even be relevant by the time I’m through with it.  My hope is to have the finished dress made (at least somewhat) “Period” with a slightly new design.  I’m researching the details for the piece.  There are many things to ask myself: like, would it be alright to use a long, decorative chemise as an under-gown, or should I make a supportive kirtle?  (The downside of the kirtle being that I will also need a chemise for the sleeves, and the overlapping layers will make the dress uncomfortably hot by the end of July…)  I also have to wonder how one constructs an over-gown with a supportive bodice and how one might alter a pattern in order to gain such a bodice.  And should I have the back of the over-gown lace up instead of installing the much more efficient zipper?  Then if I do decide to lace up the back, should I make the eyelets myself or use metal rivets?  You know… petty things like that.  To make the dress as close to period as possible, the answers are actually staring me right in the face, but some of you know how it can be – should one choose convenience for speed, or time over contemporary?

One thing is certain, though: I will not be sewing the dress by hand.  There’s no time for that.  I would love to, but when it comes down to it, I want to have this piece finished in 3 to four weeks and a machine is much faster and (in my opinion) sturdier than what I could do by hand.  Someday though… someday I vow to complete a medieval gown with only the stitches pushed through by my own fingers, but until then… *sigh*  Oh well.  I’ll just have to make up for it by adding the decorative embroidery and beading by hand. ^_^  In the end, the dress promises to be beautiful.  If I had a sketch here with me I would post it, but I guess you’re just going to have to wait to see the finished piece too. Too bad.  Mwahahaha! ;)

And now to the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the actual book review.  Be warned: there are definite spoilers ahead.

The book I’m reviewing is “The Candlestone” by Bryan Davis.

In the book, Billy and Bonnie, two half-dragon children bestowed with dragon gifts (Billy has fire breath and Bonny has wings) are once again faced with the threat of an evil pursuing their kind since the time of King Arthur.  What had seemed to be the happy ending of their last, life threatening adventure is suddenly shattered when Bonnie’s father returns and says that her mother, whom she thought was dead, is calling for Bonnie to come and save her.  Fearing for her mother’s life, Bonnie goes with her father back to Montana where her mother is said to be, but the knowledge of her father’s past deeds against her and her mother have Bonnie continually waiting on the edge of her seat for something to go wrong.

Meanwhile, Billy, his professor, and his best friend think there’s something shady about Bonnie’s father.  Bonnie already told them some of what went on while she and her mother were still with her father, so having Bonnie’s dad show up right before Bonnie is about to be adopted seems a little fishy.  However, the law says that Bonnie’s dad has the right to claim her since there’s no real proof that he did what Bonnie says he did and since she’s underage.  Unable to prevent Bonnie from going, Billy and his friends seek the help of Billy’s father and start researching the secrets of a mysterious book believed to be Merlin’s journal.  Along the way, they discover something about Bonnie’s father and the strange Candlestone that seems to draw the strength away from anyone of dragon descent.  In their first adventure, Devin the Dragon Slayer and self-proclaimed knight had used the Candlestone to weaken the children in order to overpower them, but then Devin disappeared.  Now Billy discovers that the Candlestone does more than just draw light to it… it also captures souls.  With no way to escape, some of the souls have been trapped there for centuries with no way to get out, and now Devin has joined them… and he wants OUT.  Billy is afraid that Bonnie might be in much more trouble than she ever could have guessed, and so he sets out to save her.

Well, as you might be able to tell by my summary, this book’s plot is rather complicated.  Which is a good thing.  I love complicated plots; they allow me to keep guessing throughout the entire story, and then they surprise me.  However, I tend to be a somewhat impatient reader.  When I get interested in one person’s story and then the POV changes, I can get frustrated.  Since there are two sides of the story that need to be told in this book, and since they need to be told in two different places at the same time, the POV changes frequently.  And so, me being the impatient person that I am, I kept skipping ahead; I read through Bonnie’s side of the story clear to the end, then I went back and read through Billy’s side.  This is not the ideal way to read a book, it’s true – I don’t actually recommend doing it – but I just couldn’t help myself!  I became so enthralled with Bonnie’s story right off the bat that I just had to know what was going to happen to her next and I couldn’t wait to find out.  I certainly commend Mr. Davis for his ability to captivate a reader.  If his books tend to be a little over-complicated, they make up for it by being mesmerizing.

 Also, as much as I enjoyed the first book, I felt like the characters were much more developed in this book.  In the first book, the characters felt realistic and developed, but somehow Mr. Davis was able to delve deeper into their personalities and pull out the best of them in the Candlestone.  Secrets are revealed, fears realized, revelations understood… the characters are so colorful you almost wouldn’t need the vivid scenery that accompanies them, but Mr. Davis goes ahead and gives it to us anyway.  His prose are spectacular.  I definitely walked away from this book with a few new ideas in my head.  I can’t wait to put them to use.


There weren’t many problems that stood out to me, but I still wanted to give a well-rounded review, so I started to nit-pick.  As much as I love complicated plots, perhaps Mr. Davis is TOO good at what he does.  I did find myself having some trouble keeping track of certain elements that were important later in the story.  For someone who struggles with following some storylines (like my sister) this could end up being a serious problem.

Also, as much as I loved the character development, I felt like Bonnie’s character seemed too naive in places.  Something that Bonnie didn’t understand in the development of the story would seem obvious to me, so I became slightly annoyed at her ignorance.  And to defer claims that I understood things better because I was reading both Billy and Bonnie’s side of the story at once, I must remind people that I read Bonnie’s story first, all the way through to the end, and that it was only after I finished reading Bonnie’s story did I go back to read Billy’s story.

My Overall thoughts:

I think it’s pretty clear.  I liked the book.  A lot.  And I can’t wait to get my hands on the third one.  Any peevish thorns that nibbled at my enjoyment were easily overlooked in light of the book's thrilling content.  Nit-picking doesn't hold a candle to all this book has going for it.

I think I’ll give this book a 5 out of 5.  So worth the read.

(I received this book on the 13th of June from AMG publishers.  I was not required to give a positive review.  The thoughts and views of this book review are completely my own.)


Jake said...

Great review, and glad to see you back!

Er...there was one thing that bothered me, though, being a persnickety writer type. You spelled Bonnie "Bonny". It bugged me a whole lot throughout the entire review XD I felt like I was reading about a dog. O_o Strange, but that's what "Bonny" brings to mind, LOL...

Anyway, I think you'll like the next book. It gets even MORE complicated. O_o

Star-Dreamer said...

@Jake: Ooops! I didn't have the book sitting next to me, so I guessed at her name's spelling. And you know what? I originally thought it was spelled "Bonnie" and then changed it! *head-desk*

I will fix that. Thanks for pointing it out.

And thanks. I'm glad to be back too. It was way too long. :) I have a LOT of blog reading to catch up on. ;)


Galadriel said...

I just finished reading Song of the Ovulum--seven books later--and it just gets better. More complicated, but better.

Jaleh D said...

Great to hear that your edits are moving along.

If you want stuff about costuming, I can send you an email with links. I think I've got some about constructing chemises and kirtles and such. I even have one on constructing a corset. Looking forward to seeing pictures of the dress. :D

Star-Dreamer said...

@Jaleh, I think I'll take you up on that. :) I'm doing as much research as possible. I can't do much about the fabric (my budget only allows for fabric that's on sale at Wal-mart. lol! ;D) but I still want to try and make the dress as period as possible, so I can use all the help I can get! :D

Thank you!