Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Book: Shadow of Night
Author: Deborah Harkness
Hardcover: 592 Pages
Publisher: Viking Adult
"Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown"—the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782. Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens. Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.

There are some stories that stay with you forever. All Souls Trilogy is such a story for me. When I finished ADoW, I was waiting patiently and was wondering what is going to happen next. Is Diana going to succeed in timewalking back to Elizabethan England in 1590? When finally the book was out. I saw that the answer was yes and I was at peace. 

In this book we get to see not only some very famous people from that Era, as friends of Matthew, but we get involved into their web of lies, secrets and everyday life. I was really shocked to see how it helped the plot and throughout the book I was really impressed by some parts. 

For example, the whole part with Philippe at Sept-Tours is by far my favorite. And not because Philippos is indeed of Greek origin! Mostly because he was so smart and precise that he was always ahead of everyone. 
Matthew got his closure. Diana learned a lot not only for Philippe but also about Matthew and that helped them along the way to understand their deep feelings. Consequently that solified their relationship even more by the end of the book.

As per usual I won't say more about the plot. Of course, there are more in this book that I love and I haven't shared with you. For now, I will only say that along with Philippe, my second favorite is Gallowglass. When you read about him, you will understand why. I do hope that we will see more of him in book #3 but also  more information of what happened in the present, when Diana and Matthew were trying to find the witch that would help Diana with her magic. 

The only thing I would like to pinpoint is that Deborah Harkness is indeed a storyteller. She can create the scenery, the atmosphere even a pseydo-character, for all those real and historical figures she used in SoN. And that is her magic too. Also, I was not familiar with Elizabethan England or alchemy before reading these series. But even though of my ignorance, I had this feeling that I was taking a very good peak from that Era. 

Finally, for all those people who are still children in their hearts, this story is for you. You will laugh, hate, cry and love the characters even more in the end of the book. Just give it a try and you will be mesmerized. 

And when you will finished it. "Enjoy the Club that waits for Book #3."

You can also read my review on "A Discovery of Witches"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Πάει καιρός...

Καλημέρα και καλή βδομάδα,
Σήμερα είναι μέρα αποκαλύψεων. Κάποια δωμάτια από το "Παλάτι των αναμνήσεων" ζητάνε να αεριστούν. Τι θα γίνει τελικά; Κανείς δε ξέρει. Ίσως οι πόρτες και τα παράθυρα να ανοίξουν για λίγο, για πολύ θα δείξει. Είναι εποχή υπερβάσεων. Ετοιμαστείτε...

Photo Credit: Pammyism

Έχω να παίξω πιάνο δεκαέξι ολόκληρα χρόνια. Σήμερα μετά από πολλά χρόνια ένιωσα την μεγαλύτερη ανάγκη να καθίσω στο παλιό και φθαρμένο μου σκαμπό και να τολμήσω να ακουμπήσω τα ασπρόμαυρα πλήκτρα. Οι νότες θα ακούγονται κάπως, αλλά αυτό είναι φυσικό. Το πιάνο μου είναι ξεκούρδιστο. 

Βλέπω τα πλήκτρα μπροστά μου. Να με καλούν να τα πατήσω. Με καλούν να γυρίσω πίσω σε αυτά. Μα τα δάχτυλα τρέμουν. Δε θυμάμαι όλα τα κλειδιά. Κάποτε τα ήξερα απέξω, μα τώρα πια είναι χωμένα κάπου. Κλειδωμένα μάλλον σε ένα συγκεκριμένο δωμάτιο του μυαλού μου. 

Και παρόλο που ο φόβος με κάνει να αισθάνομαι κάπως, πατάω το πρώτο πλήκτρο. Ντο. 

Η αγάπη μου για την μουσική δε μειώθηκε αυτά τα χρόνια της (αυτό)εξορίας μου. Ίσα, ίσα που την κράτησα κοντά μου. Έγινε το πιο αναγκαίο κομμάτι της ζωής μου μετά το οξυγόνο. Γιατί για μένα η μουσική είναι το δεύτερο οξυγόνο. Οι μελωδίες, οι ήχοι είναι η γαλήνη της ψυχής μου. 

Σου έχει τύχει να αγαπάς και να μισείς κάτι με το ίδιο πάθος; Να το αγαπάς τόσο, παρόλο που απαρνιέσαι ένα κομμάτι του εαυτού σου;  Για χρόνια η μουσική και το τραγούδι ήταν αυτό που ήμουν. Μα ξαφνικά σίγησαν. Σίγησε η φωνή. Σίγησε και το πιάνο. Παρά τις προτροπές αρνιόμουν να το πιάσω στα χέρια μου. 

Αρνιόμουν κατηγορηματικά. Στις ανοιχτές πληγές δεν βάζεις αλάτι. Τις κοιτάς και προχωράς μέχρι να νιώθεις το στήθος σου ότι είναι κλειστό. Και ας δεν είναι. 

Στην ζωή πάντα προχωρούσα μπροστά. Ακόμα το κάνω. Τόσο που σκέφτομαι να τραγουδήσω ξανά. Μπορεί η φωνή να μην είναι ίδια όπως παλιά, αλλά κάτι υπάρχει. Είναι εκεί πίσω, το νιώθω. 

Μια ακόμα υπέρβαση. Υπερβαίνω τον εαυτό μου. Κοιτάω τις πληγές μου, που είναι πια κλειστές. Δεν φαίνονται. Μόνο τα σημάδια με κάνουν να τις ξεχωρίζω. 

Δεκαέξι χρόνια μετά, κοιτάω πίσω και χαμογελώ. Ότι και να γίνει θα προσπαθήσω και ας μη πετύχω. Τουλάχιστον προσπάθησα να κάνω κάτι που με ευχαριστεί. Να αποδείξω στον εαυτό μου ότι μπορώ, ακόμα. 

Η τόλμη είναι συνυφασμένη με τον φόβο. Φοβάσαι να κάνεις κάτι αλλά αν το αποφασίσεις μπαίνει η τόλμη στο παιχνίδι και σου αποκαλύπτει ότι μπορείς. Ότι θα τα καταφέρεις, αρκεί να πιστέψεις λιγάκι. Στον εαυτό σου.

Inspiration in Music: Brian Crain : Softness and Light

English Interpretation : It is time...

Good morning and have a nice week ahead.
Today is a revelation day. Some rooms from “The Memory Palace” wanted fresh air. Will the doors and the windows open or not? Maybe they will open for a short or a long time. No one knows. This is an era where you are overstepping yourself. Get ready


I haven’t played the piano for sixteen years. Today, after all those years, I felt the greatest need to sit down to my old and worn stool and dare to touch the black and white keys. The sound of the notes will be weird, but that is something you should expect. My piano is not in tune.

I see the keys in front of me. They are calling my name. Calling me to touch them, to press them gently. Calling me back to them. My fingers are trembling. I don’t remember all the musical scales. Ι used to. Now they are simply lost. Locked down in a specific room in my mind. Where is the key?

I am afraid, but still I touch lightly the first key. C.

My love for music didn’t fade away because of my exile. I held it close. So, it became the most needed necessity of my life, after the air I breathe. Simply, music is my oxygen. I cannot live without it. The melodies, the sounds calm my soul. Just like that.

Have you felt that mixed feeling where love and hate is so intense? A passion so sacred, but damned at the same time? To love it, but still contemn it. Contemn that part of yourself. For years, music and singing was who I was. But suddenly the lights went down. No more singing. No more music. I was saying no to everyone who said, “but play a little for us.” No. I couldn’t.

I couldn’t play. If you have an open wound you don’t put salt on it. You already know what is there. You don’t need a reminder. So, you look those wounds and continue your life, even though your chest is not closed. You pretend that it is.

In life I was always walking forward. I still do. So, I am thinking to start singing lessons again. I know it’s a shocker. It was for me too. I know that my voice won’t be the same. But my chords are there. Rusty maybe, but I can feel them. They want to stretch a bit.

Overstepping. Overstepping my boundaries, myself. I look at my wounds but they are close now. You cannot see them. Only the scars remind me where they are.

Sixteen years later, I can look back and actually smile. I will do my effort whenever the outcome. I will try. I will try even though I won’t succeed. I will be happy with this achievement. I will prove to myself that I can do whatever I want, even if it hurts me.

Boldness is interwoven with fear. You are afraid to try anything. Your dreams, hopes, everything you have in your heart and soul. But if you decide to act, then courage comes in the game and then you realize that you can do whatever you want. If. Only You. Believe. In. Yourself.

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