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The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-Century History and Theory
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
Bill Watterson
Quintana of Charyn - Melina Marchetta This book is a little magical piece that wraps up a great fantasy series Lumatere Chronicles. I'm lucky that I did not have to wait for so long for this one after reading the first two. Still, I was lazy as usual, so I wait half a year to pick it (...) Anyway, the series is full of beauty, and I'd say again and again that I don't have the ability to write a description worthy of it.

It's crazy, but I want to compare it to The Song of Ice & Fire. The two are not really comparable but let's do it anyway. Lumatere is so carefully constructed and woven with large but manageable number of characters and with personalities diverse and unique enough. Lessons behind are... quite profound: humanity, hatred, war and death, forgiveness, family, love, etc. On the other hand Ice and Fire is loosely built on the way it is writen (but somewhat not broken), with a disturbing (to some) army of characters of forgetable titles except for a few main ones. What's left after reading is an awe, a sense of brutality, cruelity, shit, etc.

And I still prefer that shit. Weird.

The most striking difference is that Lumatere is full of good people with a light touch of ugliness. That world is full of misunderstanding, of differences but resolvable, and in the end there is a way out (through love and compassion?). Ice & Fire, in contrast, is full of ugly ones but with a touch of goodness (sometimes very well hidden). Its foundation is the primal forces of human, selfishness, greed, jealousy, desire, lust, etc. but also a bit of love. Despite the sweet and warm story and several few heart-broken occasions, Lumatere, for me, is too magical, too good to be true (sometimes a bit cheesy and heavy on romance as well - but only at the end of the series). It is a great story to make people believe in love, hope, in kindness, forgiveness, in bright future. Its writing is sad, gentle, and moving. And well, it is completely serious, almost all the time through out the book.

My personal view is that life is a joke, a cruel and ironic joke that is. Ice & Fire fits that worldview well with its lightness, bitterness, its high entertainment and just occasional seriousness and yet great connection - I feel more connected to those ugly people than to those nice ones. While I am perfectly content with the fairy-like Lumatere, I wouldn't say that I'm terribly crazy about it. Don't get me wrong. I love fairy tales and I love happy endings. But Lumatere is such a serious fairy tale that I like it less for that. That is why the series get 4 stars even though many believe it deserves 5. Just a clash of taste.