A Review On “Hangman’s Curse”

Hangman’s Curse by Frank Peretti

First off, I’d like to give a disclaimer: I am a little too old for this book, so I have found faults with it that age appropriate readers probably  wouldn’t notice. Also, being a writer, I am highly critical of style as well as content, and make notes to myself the entire time I read most anything, which makes me a little nit picky. That being said, let’s get to the review.

The whole idea behind the series is that there is a private organization, called the Veritas Project, which investigates bizarre crime scenes with the object of finding the truth using a Christ-centered perspective. The thing about this that I found rather hard to swallow is that it reports back to the President, without actually being federal. The individual cases are even discussed on the phone with him before the group takes them. I can’t really imagine any of our recent Presidents, even the “Christian” ones, supporting something outside of their federal control, let alone taking the time for private phone calls with them. I think Peretti would have been just as well off making it a completely private organization.

I also felt that it came off a little preachy in the beginning, when the goals and methods of the organization were being explained, and in the end, when things were being wrapped up. I have nothing against explaining Christianity in fiction, but I do have something against dumping all of one’s beliefs, or a character’s beliefs, into one conversation, no matter what those beliefs are. It’s too much explaining. Even in a conversation full of tension, it can still be dry and boring, and, well, preachy.

A very minor thing that bothered me was the one main character, a girl named Elisha, is straight out described as “attractive.” I have no problem with good looking characters, but I want to be shown that they’re attractive, not told. Paired with a perfect Christian personality, it just made her seem less real, like an ideal. Tell me she has blond hair, tell me she has a sweet smile, but don’t tell me she’s “attractive.” It just feels lazy to me. Anyway, that’s more of a pet peeve than anything else.

Those are the only things I have to say against the book, however. It was intense, interesting, had well thought out and diverse characters, kept up the suspense, and had you double-guessing till the very end. The danger was real and frightening, the stakes were high. I think this book is perfect for eighth through tenth graders, though be forewarned: it does deal with occult stuff. There’s nothing terribly detailed, but it is there; if your kids are in school, however, I doubt any of it will shock them. If your kids are homeschooled, you might want to make sure they know what a Ouija board is first, as, chances are, they’ve never seen one. I first heard on them when I was in sixth grade, but I’m pretty sure my brother, who is in seventh, doesn’t know about them. I guess I’ll have to ask him when I’m done with this.

So, my conclusion is, four stars for Hangman’s Curse. I still like the Cooper Kids series, by the same author, and for just a slightly younger audience, better though.

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Photo Shoot

You might have noticed the new header image… I’ve been meaning to change it for a long time, as the other one was looking a bit too wintery. I had so much fun with this little photo shoot (though some of the books fell over on my bookshelf and knocked the head off one of … Continue reading

Third Term Books

Here they are, a little later than planned:

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Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen

The Godless Constitution by Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore

Are You Liberal? Conservative? or Confused? by Richard J. Maybury (an “Uncle Eric” book)

Basic American Government by Clarence B. Carson

My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Paradise Lost by John Milton

Emma by Jane Austen

The Best Loved Poems of the American People selected by Hazel Felleman

Now, I didn’t read all of these the whole term. Some of them i finished only a few weeks in, others I started halfway through. But they were all on my schedule at one time or another during my third term. I finished the last of them this week. I am officially done. I hardly know what to do with myself.

Reviews coming next week.

End of Term Two

It’s end of term break, hooray! Now I’ve got to write reviews on all the books I just finished… seems like I just caught up with term one! Well, here’s the first two:

Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn

This book was given to me for economics, to teach a healthy view on money. It does that very well, but after the first few chapters, I got bored. The first few chapters were awesome! They present some very good ideas that got me excited! After that however, it seemed to carry on, simply going into the ideas presented in the first few chapters to the minutest detail. I began to wonder how many reasons this guy thinks people need to give. Some chapters would be more applicable for adults, but with the length of the book and especially with the length of the chapters, the book came off to me as long-winded. I had to drag myself through chapters that were so long they took me an hour. I ended up skimming. So… good information, but too much information.

Silas Marner by George Elliot

My sister didn’t really like this book. She thought it was boring until it got to the end. It is a slow book, progressing at the pace of the little country village it takes place in. I did like it, though. It was like a leisurely walk through the fields. Things are happening, however; there is a plot, a mystery, even. Now I did have the advantage of my sister warning me that the little girl on the cover and in the description doesn’t come into play until the end. She’s the center of the description because she’s paramount to the story, but she’s not the main theme of the story. So let you also be warned, so you’re not wondering the whole book through when she’s going to come in, because that was probably what frustrated my sister. On the other hand, it wasn’t what I would call a great book. My friend and I were just discussing this the other day, how though it was a good book and we liked in when we read it, it didn’t stick in our thoughts. when we think of it, we’re not sure what to recall. Nothing about it stuck out. I’m not sure why that is, though I’ve tried very hard to figure it out. So would I recommend it? I’m not sure. If you like leisurely books, this is for you. Perhaps you can find something in it we couldn’t.

So… that’s that. Now I need to get to work on Inheritance – I started it, oh, probably November, and I’m only two thirds of the way done. It is ginormous, people, and when I’m done reading school books for the day, more reading usually isn’t on the top of my list of things to do. But this week! I shall at least try.

Hello Again

I haven’t been around in awhile, have I? Been busy with The Three MusketeersBasic American Government, and Money, Possessions, and Eternity. Big thick books with long chapters.

Anyway, let’s talk about some books I’ve finished. I’ll do two reviews in one this time since I haven’t a whole lot to say about either of my subjects. So here we go.

In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon

This book, which is a fictional story about challenging Christians to really live in a Christ-like manner, was good at first, and got me thinking. I like thinking. It was when it stopped making me think that it got boring. After a while, it seemed like the author ran out of things to say; he even introduced new characters, and still there was this feeling of sameness. I don’t know, there just doesn’t seem to be much of a plot arc. The intensity is at the beginning, not the end. So, where as I would recommend it because of the ideas it represents, I wouldn’t recommend it as a very well built or entertaining story.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I may cause some controversy here. I know one person who reads this book every year. Though not so extreme, I know several who speak highly of it, and one who even told me that I would like it better than Pride and Prejudice. Well, P & P came out on top.

The truth is, I liked it, but I found it rather… dark. I enjoyed reading it; I have certain books on my list that get put off till the end of the week, and this was rarely, if ever one, of them. My issues are these: I would have liked Jane better if she had stayed the fiery child she was in the beginning. As it was, she became rather emotionless to me when she grew older. Not completely, mind you, but just a bit too quite in her thoughts for my liking. As the story is told in first person, that effects a lot. Secondly, her love interest scared me. He really did. And don’t laugh. Finally, I don’t ever like books where I’m holding fast onto the good moments because I have no idea when the author will turn everything ill and I and the character will be in the swamps of depression. I’m not sure how anyone could enjoy that. Not my kind of roller coaster. I did like the fairytale-ness of it, the old English lore that would creep in. It was partly that that made it dark, but that was the part of the darkness I liked. And the end was perfect. I wasn’t sure how she was going to get there, but she did, so I was satisfied. So, it kept me interested, yes, and it was a good book, yes, but I have hit another one of those times when I honestly don’t know what people are carrying on about. Sorry, die hard fans, I just can’t.

So… there you have it. Two reviews in one. Does that make up for not posting in so long? Maybe just a little bit?