I found out over the weekend that I was nominated in the "Creative Blogger" category for Book Blogger Twitter Con. I'm so excited and thankful to whoever nominated me :-)
Slave: My True Story, Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis.
Published: Apr. 2005
Pages: 336 (paperback)
Notes: Around the World in 12 Books February challenge - select a book related to Sudan.
Mende Nazer lost her childhood at age twelve, when she was sold into slavery. It all began one horrific night in 1993, when Arab raiders swept through her Nuba village (Sudan), murdering the adults and rounding up thirty-one children. Mende was sold to a wealthy Arab family who lived in Sudan's capital city, Khartoum. So began her dark years of enslavement.
What a book - I cried and my heart broke. The language of the book is easy and simplistic. The story is told, with no literary embellishments and in the author's own voice - she is not a writer and so there is a matter of fact style (it was told to Damien Lewis, a journalist who helped Mende during her escape and who penned the book, but I'm glad he kept it simple). The book has 2 halves. The first is about Mende's life growing up in a small village in the Nuba mountains of Sudan; and then life after Arab raiders killed many of the people in her village, and captured her and other kids to be used as slaves for wealthy families.
Her life afterwards was one of abuse. No rights, no voice, doomed to call her "owners" Master for the rest of her life. After 7 years, Mende manages to sneak away (year: 2000) while living in London with her new captors, with the help of someone she had only met ONCE. As difficult as this book is to read, and makes me literally HATE people who think it's okay to do this, it does show that there are people out there who will go out of their way to help others they don't know - and with no hesitation - just because it's the right thing to do.
Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Published: Sep. 2009
Pages: 563 (hardcover)
Setting: Gatlin, SC
Series: Caster Chronicles (#1)
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a word - I would say Beautiful Creatures is suspenseful! It's a chunkster of a book, but the pacing was spot-on so I never felt bored, or that it was rambling. Instead, I was held captive by the the story, engaged by the plot & enthralled with the characters. Many times people say, "where are the families in all these books geared towards young adults"? Here, they were present and accounted for, flaws & all, as the authors did a superb job of painting a whole picture of the Ethan & Lena's lives.
Ethan, as a main character, seemed a little too good to be true to some - and they may have a point - but I really liked him because the authors explained his motivations & influences, so it wasn't difficult to see why he acted the way he did. Lena was more of the "expected" typical, moody, whiny teenager, and with good reason, so I enjoyed seeing how she coped with all that she was going through and the difficult decisions she had to make. I also liked the supernatural, magical, witchy elements of the book.
The small town setting played an important part in Beautiful Creatures. Many found it cliche and exaggerated, but I didn't. It may not be the experience of many who live in South Carolina, and it wasn't mine, but I had many friends who were from small towns in SC, and they also had fantasized about the minute they were out of there!
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Have you started any new book series this year yet?
- Linked to It's Monday, What Are You Reading @ Book Journey.
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