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Month in review

Reviews:
Abramo's Gift by Donald Greco
American Rifle: A Biography by Alexander Rose
Birdsongs by Betsy Franco and Steve Jenkins
The Boy Who Sang for Others by Michael Meddor
Catamount by Marc Laidlaw
Changeling by Dean Whitlock
Cry of Justice by Jason Pratt
Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes
Does a Kanagroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle
An Elvish Sword of Great Antiquity by Jim Aikin
The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars by Jean Merrill
Fright Night Flight by Laura Krauss Melmed
The Gift of the Deer by Helen Hoover
The Guardian by Jeffrey Konvitz
Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg
I Choose You by Tracey West
Legs Talk by D. E. Boone
Llamas in Pajamas by Teddy Slater
Mama Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming
100 Years of California Cooking by Martha Lee
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems
Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale, Nathan Hale and Dean Hale
The Savage by David Almond and Dave McKean
Shadow of the Valley by Fred Chappell
Too Tall Alice by Barbara Worton
When Boston Won the World Series by Bob Ryan

Don Quixote:
Don Quixote: Judge a Book By Its Cover
Try to Remember
Divide and Conquer
Sancho's Big Score

Ulysses:
Episode 1 - Telemachus: Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy

Miscellaneous:
Don't Let the Pigeon Do an Interview

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for The Guardian

The GuardianThe Guardian: 02/08/09

One of my favorite horror films is The Sentinel and the book though flawed was also an enjoyable read for me. The Guardian, the sequel falls short of the first book in a number of ways.

A well written horror novel jumps into the plot either by setting the creepy tone or with some actual horrific event. The Guardian instead has a lengthy prologue spanning about fifteen years with characters whose relationship to the remainder of the novel doesn't become obvious until the book is almost over. This sort of exposition works best cinematically and perhaps coming off the production of The Sentinel Konvitz had that in mind. Unfortunately his opening scenes are confusing. In my notes I have a complaint about the many "false starts" to the novel.

Horror series and their box office franchise cousins often rely on reworking a set of motifs and plot devices to link all the books or films together into a larger oeuvre. Fans of a series especially will expect certain key elements in any novel or film claiming to be part of the series. The Guardian goes beyond the peppering of familiar elements and tries instead to retell the entire story but with the genders reversed. Apparently the sentinel switches from nun to priest everything there's a hand-off.

Next there's the Vatican. Dan Brown isn't the first by any means to drag the Vatican into the plot. I suppose if there's a gate that's keeping Hell shut they'd be interested but frankly the lengthy scenes of the brave priests felt tacked on. Their scenes are clearly there to raise the feeling of terror but they just didn't work for me.

The ultimate sour note for me though is the truth behind Faye and Ben Burdett's identities. The Sentinel of course has the two randy lesbians who try to corrupt the innocent (and frigid! Alison) so that she can't become the next guardian of the gate. So homophobia isn't anything new to the series but here it is taken too far. A husband and wife and their adopted son become the target of Chazen and his legions from Hell just because the wife is transgendered.

So the moral of the story is: if there is a scary priest or nun who is blind, deaf and paralyzed living on the top floor of the apartment building you plan to rent and you are either a) the opposite sex of said priest or nun or b) gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, then run for the hills and find a better apartment somewhere else! Also avoid apartment buildings owned the the local diocese as these might be poorly disguised hell mouths.

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