Shameless Plug (for a book that isn’t mine!)

Posted by Jonathan Nori on February 14, 2012
Personal Life / No Comments

Everyone who knows me knows I like reading science fiction, fantasy, and alternative history books. Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars novels, Stephen Baxter’s alternative histories (Anti-Ice was particularly brilliant), and Tolkien are always at the top of my list.

But I read a pretty eclectic cross-section of those genres. For example, I love the Wheel of Time books, but I just can’t get into Game of Thrones. C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books enthrall me, but his Space Trilogy leaves me bored. I only read every other (or so) of Terry Brooks’s Shannara series. I devour Kevin J. Anderson when he writes Star Wars novels, but I don’t find his particular kind of magic works in the world of Dune (that said, I don’t care for Brian Herbert, either; I still like the original Frank Herbert novels best). Much to the chagrin of many of my friends, I enjoyed Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books (I have a soft spot for YA fiction), and I though the Maximum Ride series from James Patterson was pretty fantastic until the careening downward spiral that was The Final Warning.

So, I thought I’d post about a great little gem I discovered called Birth of the Raven by Rachel von Molsdorf. It’s a fun action/adventure, sword-and-sorcery tale, with some angsty teenage romance thrown in. Just the kind of YA fiction that seems to be popular right now, with Twilight on the way out and The Hunger Games continuing to rise as the next big franchise. I know Rachel, and it took me months to get her to let me read what she’d written, and then almost a year to get her to put up for sale somewhere.

So do me a favor and go over to and tell Rachel how good her book is! She’s needs some incentive to part with the next 3 books that she’s already written. Please?



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Book review: The Twilight Saga

Posted by Jonathan Nori on February 08, 2009
Personal Life / No Comments

So I finished reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books this week.

Contrary to popular belief (at least if the authors I work with are to be believed), I do read books published by someone other that Destiny Image. Shocking, I know. Try to remain upright.

And sometimes, I even read non-Christian books.  Again, try not to faint.

This series was pretty good. Once you get past wanting Bella to get eaten by something, anything, that is. She’s whiny and angsty. Although I’ve heard on pretty good authority that this is fairly common for teenage girls.

Meyer’s writing improves over the course of the series, which is nice. I read books by new writers all the time, and Stephenie Meyers shows a clear desire to improve her writing. I wish more writers were like that.

There is probably a pretty good chance that if you’re reading this blog that you’ve never read any of the Twilight books. Because of that, I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but I do want to talk a little about the books.

First, although this is categorized as Young Adult (YA) fiction, I have found that only thing that really eparates YA fiction from Adult fiction is the presence of discussion questions in the back of the book.

Second, these books are really well written. The characters are well-developed, and each has their own motivations for the way they act, and their attitudes. Some characters are flat, but when they’re just playing background for the larger picture, its not really necessary to flesh out everyone, particularly when you have so many characters to deal with.

Third: After 30 years of vampires being defined by Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer is refreshing. Although I still consider Memnoch the Devil to be one of the best vampire books I’ve ever read, Twilight comes in a close second. Meyer has fun plot twists, hilarious conversations, identifiable heroes, vegetarian vampires, and werewolves (well, kinda, but I won’t spoil it for you).

Meyer never gets preachy, either. Something I’ve noticed in YA fiction is the apparent need by authors to preach their worldview, belief system, social change agenda, or cause du jour. James Patterson and the Maximum Ride series is a good example of that kind of nonsense (note to readers: Do not waste your time or money on Max Ride 4: The Final Warning. It is 300 pages of global-warming-is-killing-the-world-by-causing-giant-evil-hurricanes ridiculousness).

Final analysis? If you like fiction, read the Twilight series. It’s good, clean fun.

And yes, I know I just said “good, clean fun” in relation to vampires to a readership that is primarily Christian. Deal.



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