Thursday, October 21, 2010

"How to Be a Pirate" and "Skeletons at the Feast"

Reviews of How to Be a Pirate and Skeletons at the Feast
I will start off with "How to Be a Pirate" by Cressida Cowell.  I like the stories of Hiccup and his a little less than faithful dragon, Toothless.   Hiccup is the underdog of his viking tribe, the Hairy Hooligans.  He is the scrawny boy that everyone likes to pick on.  Fortunately for Hiccup, he is a little smarter than your average viking.

In this story, the boys of the Hairy Hooligans are learning how to fight at sea.  Of course, all good vikings know how to fight at sea, and pillage and plunder.  It really isn't Hiccups thing, he is not adept at swordplay and I don't think he really wants to pillage.

Once again, Hiccup finds himself the unexpected hero of the story.  I had fun reading this to my son.

I am giving it four stars.  Now we come to Skeletons at the Feast.
In good conscience, I cannot recommend this book.  This is totally "read at your own risk!"  Chris Bohjalian weaves a great story, but it is way to explicit.  It is filled with violent depictions, sexual encounters, rape and pillage. 

Brutality occurred on so many fronts of WWII.  What "some" of the Germans did to the Jews was inexcusable, what "some" of the Russians did to the Germans was also inexcusable.  I use the word "some", because I think  that many people were in denial, did not believe that the Government/soldiers could be so inhumane.  In no means do I say this to erase facts, or excuse those responsible.  It was a horrible time in the history of mankind.

The descriptions of death, of mass graves, of the rape of children and women are a bit too much for me.  I know that they happened, I wish he would gloss over it a bit, instead of describing it in so much detail.  I only read 38% (my kindle tells me % read) of the book, I may pick it up again later.  I am undecided at this point.

I am giving it two stars.

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