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Wednesday, December 15, 2004
News from Silverfish 
I actually have some promo news from Acmabooks as well, but eh, I deleted it/them by mistake. Anyway. Here's news from Raman, Silverfish in my inbox:
1. Ramli Ibrahim book signing. Ramli Ibrahim was fifty last year. But he still dances with a vigour and vitality that it makes nonsense of the notion of age. Ramli received the Fulbright Distinguished Artist Award 1999 and the Boh Cameronian Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. He will read from his book Ramli: The Heart of Sutra, answer questions about his book and his art, and sign books. Address: 67-1 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-22844837 on Saturday, 18th December 2004 at 5.30pm. And it is also Silverfish Books' year-end party. Admission is free. But come early. Space is limited.

2. New Books. More than 800 new books (including 200 First Editions), all individually selected, most of which are not available in any other bookstore in Klang Valley, have just been added to our collection. Going for remarkably friendly prices, they are ideal year-end gifts or to add to your own collection. There are far too many to list, but they include a new paperback edition of that wonderful autobiography, Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Master by Colm Toibin (2004 Booker shortlist) and all those Shashi Taroor books you may have missed out on the last time.

3. Isiah Jacob was born without one leg. I met him in Bangsar Baru recently soliciting for funds to pay for an artificial limb. Total cost will come to RM 22,000.00 but he has managed to raise some money, by various means, and he says he needs RM 9,000 more for a procedure at the University Hospital. He says he worked in Stamford College for 13 years in Admin before he was retrenched, and that he is a good cook. If anyone out there wants to help, his address is: 5-15-8, Taman Sri Murni, Jalan 1/20, Selayang 68100. Tel: 016-3124550.

Merry Christmas.

graceshu  # 2:32 PM


Sunday, December 12, 2004
The Demon Wars Trilogy 
The Demon Wars Trilogy."Ho, ho, what!"

Well-liked characters, gleefully wicked creatures. Good triumphs over evil: or so we think.

The great evil Bestesbulzibar awakens in Corona, slowly growing in strength and assembling armies of goblins, giants, and powries, which would later attack and set things in motion for the main characters. Elbryan and his childhood friend Jilseponie (Pony) emerged as the only survivors after their village of Dundalis was assaulted, albeit being separated from each other. Elbryan is then taken in by the elves, while Pony tries to live her life down south in Palmaris.

Ultimately, fate brings them together again. Along with their allies, they undertake the task to defeat the demon. The elf-trained ranger Elbryan (also bestowed the name Nightbird from the elves), with the aid of magic gemstones wielded by his lover Pony, soon become formidable partners in battle as we are introduced to other characters that will spur them ahead in their quest, such as the virtuous monks Avelyn and Master Jojonah, Bradwarden the centaur, the naive young thief Roger Lockless and Elbryan's elf mentor Juraviel. As hordes of evil forces continue to ravage and destroy human towns as part of the demon's design, the soul of an abbot also slowly falls prey to the demon, corrupting the chief religious leader into going over to the dark side.

Character development is evident throughout the series, as we grow slowly to feel for the characters and relate to their noble sacrifices. As the norm in R.A. Salvatore's books, there will be ample stunning depictions and thorough descriptions of battle scenes, which is always a plus point. The plot is rather unexceptional and straightforward - after all, there is nothing else to do except to defeat the demon, who keeps causing hoo-hah all over the place - still, the words are weaved in such a way, it takes your mind off the basic plot, turning it into something more than what it appears to be. Accompanied by heroes and secondary characters that you cannot help but root for, you will be pulled along into the battle between the forces of good and evil.

I like best the sense of realism injected into these books. The ending to this series was somewhat an eye-opener, as opposed to the typical 'happily-ever-after' syndrome that normally plagues fantasy novels. Although things are left somewhat hanging towards the end, I am convinced that it is solved in the next book Mortalis (of the Second Demon Wars trilogy, which I have yet to read).

While many other readers will undoubtedly grow to respect and love the righteous Elbryan, I personally could not include him in my list of all-time favourite characters (which has already been strongly occupied by two others, ahem). There are times when it feels almost like a task to continue reading the books in this series - things get a tad bit lengthy at times, and the stubbornness of certain characters makes me want to give them a good wallop in the head. Nevertheless, the Demon Wars trilogy should still be able to please Salvatore fans and those in search of good fantasy novels.

The books in this trilogy include: The Demon Awakens, The Demon Spirit, and The Demon Apostle.

Strizzt  # 7:10 PM