Watchers by Dean Koontz (****)

Dean Koontz is a great storyteller. I was instroduced to him by a friend (it was her favorite author) a long time ago but did not pick it up until recently and now two of his books occupy spots in my top 5. I never thought that he could top Intensity in my book, but Watchers is a book that to me is a masterpiece of modern literature.

The book explores humanity in a way I have not seen in many books. It uses situations to not only illustrate characters personalities but also mirror them. I am also sure that this book like great songs can have different meaning to different people.

I believe that change is the center theme of the book. The characters transform their inner core value and ways of looking at the world. At times these aspect of the book seems more fictional that the actual genetic manipulation plot. It is scary at times to even consider that our lives are not being life to the fullest and that there is no one else to blame but ourselves.

The love story in the book is not only beautiful but also patient. In a time where dating seems like a romanticized idea from long ago, it makes courtship seem appealing once again. In the time of hook ups and my space it brings a nice to the word relationship.

Another impressive facet of the book is the strong African American character in the book. I was very please with the way his character was explored. It was amazing how accurate the sense of almost innate desperation to prove yourself because of the color or your skin was portrayed. I was also glad that everyone in the end realized that family in the end is the most important thing in life.

Koontz explored God in this book in a subtle way. It was more of a theological discussion about human responsibility than an actual religions statement. It is probably the only thing in the book that kind of let me wanting a little more. I personally believe that responsibility when it comes to research should be looked at from many angles. There is no clear answer to all the moral and ethical questions that genetic research raises.

The characters were all very likeable, the flow of the book was excellent, and I believe that everyone can take a little piece of self-improvement from the change in all of the characters. I believe everyone should read this book, just be warned that by the end of it you might want a brand new puppy.

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State of Fear By Michael Crichton (****)

It feels like it took me forever to read this book. It was not because the book was not interesting but just due to the lack of time to read. I am a big Crichton fan since I read Timeline. State of Fear does not disappoint and keeps the action coming at a great pace. The theme of the book is Global Warming, but the real plot is how fear is used to control us.

Being driven by fear is one of the problems with our society. I believe that while terrorism is a real threat we are at times misguided while our judgment is clouded by fear. The book also brought some excellent points about scientific research and corporate involvement. I have always loved the way Crichton has been able to make very complicated subjects accessible to reader.

The book mixes a lot of fact with fiction, and at the end of the book the author states his view on the climate change issue. While the book is more of a thriller than a political book, it still makes you think about how much of what we see on the news is actually corporate driven.

While this book is not new, it really resonated with me since we have been seeing on the news a lot of the scandals in Washington. The fiction of how politics and environmental law at times had nothing to do with preserving the environment resonates a lot more on the Abramoff era.

The characters on the book were likeable, and even though the love triangle that formed did not take the twists and turns that I predicted it still entertained. The book was not as predictable as I imagined it would be while reading it, but it still had a couple of things that I figured out early. The book would make an excellent movie like some of Crichton’s books have done in the past… I just hope if they do make it, it is more along the lines of Jurassic park and not Congo or Timeline.

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The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (****)

I cannot believe how adult this book is. I also cannot believe that I did not read more as a kid, this book has been out forever and I never even knew about it. The only children’s book that I remember reading during my childhood was The Little Prince, which I have been meaning to get for Ty.

The book has an excellent story full of magic and mystery. In its short length it manages to develop a full story that unravels at just the correct pace except for the end that felt a little rushed. I felt the last chapter felt a little too much like the movies that hint to a sequel. Somehow the Harry Potter series has managed to do that in a way that I don’t feel bad about.

The story definitely had a very Christian undertone and almost a parable like feel to it. The themes throughout the story developed each character in such a way that they change to become something a lot better. Also I was surprised that it was not presented as they simply grew up, but that they actually changed traits in their personalities.

Without giving much away, there are many things that Lewis borrows directly from religion. The thought of redemption, forgiveness and doing things for the greater good is shown throughout the book. The sense of adventure is present enough to make you want to get to the next chapter.

I was also very interested in the sense of different magic, and the notion of almost the power of God being portrayed as very ancient powerful magic. There is a sense of right and wrong, and good and evil but they surprisingly coexist in an almost yin and yan balance. Nothings lasts forever, and I am very interested in reading the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia. I give this book full stars and think that you should check it out. It could be a fun library afternoon for sure.

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Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince (****)

HP&HBP or book 6 is not going to take the spot as my favorite in the series from book 3 Prisoner of Azkaban. What it did do is got me back into the series. After reading book 5 I was dissapointed with Rowling. I thought how can you take away someone else from Harry when he is already in so much need of a family. Book 6 did just the same, but I get it this time. I see that Harry is going to have to grow up no only dealing with loss but learning how to follow his own path while appreciating the semblance of family that he does have.

Family is one of the most important things in my life. I cannot imagine growing up without my parents and still being able to experience love the way Harry experiences it. He has had to deal with a lot up to this book and HP&HBP gave him even more to deal with. I did expect him to completely give up hope, but instead he is now a man on a mission.

The book followed the Potter formula of recounting a life in a school year of the kids. As the series progresses there are more and more details being revealed about Voldemort and where he came from, this book was dubbed the Lilly Potter book, but I believe that we learned a lot more about Voldemort. It was not because it was all new information but because it all started to get tied together making a chronological recount of how he-who-must-not-be-named became what he is now.

I have never read a book that can talk about so much magic and incredible things yet carrying a very palpable message, love is the most powerful magic of all. This message makes me even more proud to read a series that a lot of adults might dismiss as kids books.

If you have not read the Harry Potter series, I think it is time you do… if book 5 left you a little empty and feeling like the rest of the series had no meaning anymore, forget about that and read book 6.

***Spoilers*** (Do not read beyond if you have not read all the books including 6)
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Airframe by Michael Crichton (**)

Crichton has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read Timeline. I liked his style of writing. I was really impressed by how he mixed complex subjects such as quantum physics with fiction. He managed to make all the difficult stuff seem simple, still keeping the book fast paced and easy to read. This book however was not as impressive as Timeline was. It was both predictable, slow paced and for the most part from only one point of view. The book had no real depth and made me at times feel spoon-fed by the author.
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