Othello

0517092948-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_Othello by William Shakespeare
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If I had to boil this review down to one word it would be: envy. Although Othello is the titular character, Iago is the play’s central character. Iago’s enviousness towards his Moorish commander results in him destroying numerous lives to get revenge for his lot in life. Through Iago’s enviousness other character’s enviousness comes is exposed to the audience and manipulated by Iago for his own ends like Roderigo whose purpose is used up Iago “vengeance” kills for attempting to murder Cassio.

Iago’s interactions with Desdemona, Emilia, Cassio, and Othello continue his grand manipulations, through Act III sees the him at his best. In fact Act III is truly one of the best Acts I’ve personally read during my Shakespeare read-through and if anything I would see a production or adaptation of this play just for Act III alone.

Mort (Discworld #4, Death #1)

0062225715-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_Mort by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Death takes on an apprentice then takes some time off vacation that results in some interesting events on the Disc in the fourth book of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.  The idea of having the Disc’s Grim Reaper as a major character who is interested in experiencing the “fleshy” side of things could have turned into disaster if not handled right, but Pratchett just uses it to create more laughs and hilarious situations for not only Death but his apprentice Mort, daughter Ysabell, and servant Albert.  The mistakes of Mort as he tries to properly fulfill the role of his boss and his resulting continual screw ups in trying to fix his mistakes without informing Death while dealing with two other living occupants of Death’s timeless domain.

Ever since watching the miniseries based on Hogfather, I have been waiting to read a Discworld book in which Death was the central character and I wasn’t disappointed.  After finishing this book I can’t wait to see what else Pratchett has up his sleeve for Discworld.

Discworld

Infinity Gauntlet

0785156593.01._sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Infinity Gauntlet is one of those comic events that makes an impact when it debuts and then casts a long shadow in the universe in which it is set.  The story within the six issue collection is very well written and illustrated as it shows the effects of Thanos’ use of the Gauntlet as the universe’s new deity and as Marvel’s heroes, villains, and cosmic entities battle to save existence.  Starlin’s use of foreshadowing in the saga itself is well done for the conclusion of the entire story by reminding readers of previous conflicts, however this also undermines the entire volume.  Background of how Thanos achieved gaining possession of the Gauntlet is a big missing piece that leaves a hole in the narrative that hurts the collection for first time readers like myself.  But once a reader like myself is able to see how Thanos gained possession of the Gauntlet then this collection will really shine.

Paladin of Souls (Chalion #2)

0380818612.01._sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paladin of Souls, the second chapter of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion trilogy is just as fantastic as The Curse of Chalion and maybe slightly better.  Shifting the focus from Cazaril and royal court, Bujold followed the formerly mad dowager royina Ista through a false pilgrimage into the heart of a war in which the mortal, demonic, and the divine are twisted together.

Set three years after the first book, the book begins with Ista having finished with the funeral rites for her own mother and dealing with stigma of her former madness.  Wanting to just escape her childhood home, later asylum, Ista uses the uses the idea of a religious pilgrimage for the purpose if only for a little while.  But hardly has it begun when her party is first attacked by demonic and then enemy forces.  After being made a special prisoner, Ista is rescued like in a children’s tale by Arhys dy Lutez, the commander of the border fortress of Castle Porifors.  And it’s only when Ista arrives at Porifors that things get really interesting.

Although Ista is the main character, Bujold returns two other minor characters from the first book the dy Gura brother though the younger Foix is given more attention than his elder brother.  Attending Ista as her lady-in-waiting is “tomboy” courier Liss, who is both feisty and clever as well as been naive creates a well rounded character.  The various inhabitants of Porifors and the their links to the great mystery that Ista and her party stumble upon are ingeniously constructed.  Bujold further develops her theological system, which is one of the most unique and clever that I’ve personally read.

To be honest I couldn’t find a fault in this book, from the first page I was hook and always wanted to follow along with Ista as she attempted to figure out what was happening in both the realms of the mortal and the divine.  I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of fantasy and enjoyed The Curse of Chalion.