March 30, 2009

The Great Hunt

The Great Hunt consists of a prologue and 50 chapters. The main story is about a group of young heroes, namely Rand al'Thor, Mat Cauthon, and Perrin Aybara, ta'veren all, who join Shienaren soldiers in a quest to get the Horn of Valere out of enemy hands. At the same time, Egwene al'Vere, Nynaeve al'Meara, and Elayne Trakand go to the White Tower in Tar Valon to begin learning the ways of the Aes Sedai. And finally, in a distant land, a strange group of people start an invasion of the western coast.


David Wenham as Ingtar Shinowa- Shienaran Lord. Lord Agelmar charges him to lead the band of soldiers to recover the Horn of Valere. His sign is the Gray Owl.

Sela Ward as Siuan Sanche- The Flame of Tar Valon, Watcher of the Seals, the Amyrlin Seat. She is of Tairen birth, and was born with the spark of saidar in her. She was the youngest Amyrlin ever chosen, being only thirty when she was given the position. Along withMoraine, she dedicated her life as a member of the Blue Ajah to finding the Dragon Reborn. Only Siuan, Moiraine, and Verin know who that individual is, except for Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, and Nynaeve.

Matthew John Armstrong as Hurin- A "sniffer," one who can "smell" evil. His ability has nothing to do with the One Power, but Aes Sedai always seem nervous around abilities they do not understand, especially in men, so he usually keeps quiet around them.

Megan Fox as Selene- Woman that Rand saves from a grolm in the alternate universe he reached accidentally by Portal Stone. She is described by Loial as "perfect human beauty in face and form." She is very knowledgeable about the Age of Legends, to the extent that Rand is suspicious that the amount of information she knows may not be available even in the Royal Library in Cairhien. She also knows about the Oneness, what Rand calls the Void. She also knows exactly how to use the Portal Stones, even though she insists she does not. As with many characters, it is likely that Selene is hiding her true identity....

Chow Yun Fat as Turak- Leader of Those Who Come Before (i.e. the Seanchan raiders). His head is shaved bald, and his fingernails are about an inch long. He wears a long, blue silk robe brocaded with birds that drags on the floor for a long distance behind him. He has a collection of cuendillar figurines, including (thanks to the addition he took from Bayle Doman's ship) two seals on the Dark One's prison. It is these seals that Moraine finds broken after the battle at Falme.

Jay Laga'aia as Bayle Domon- An Illianer, captain of the Spray. He collects old things, and includes in his collection a seal on the Dark One's prison. He does not know that the item is a seal on the prison, only that it is made of cuendillar, heartstone, and that all heartstone objects are very rare and valuable. It is this seal that Turan adds to his cuendillar collection and that Moraine finds shattered after the battle at Falme.

Bette Midler as Verin Sedai- Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah. She is one of only three Aes Sedai that know the Rand al'Thor is the Dragon Reborn, the other two being Moraine and the Amyrlin Seat.. Verin is old, even for an Aes Sedai, but the only indication that she is as old as she is is the slight tinge of gray in her hair. She is one of the Aes Sedai outside the Amyrlin's chambers when Moraine is summoned.

Micheal Clarke Duncan as the voice of Loial-An Ogier from Stedding Shangtai, quite fond of books. He is about ninety years old, which (by Ogier standards) is hardly old enough to leave the stedding alone. He is addressed as Loial Kiseran by the Amyrlin Seat, but it is unclear whether this name is Loial's last name or is a general title used for all Ogier. ßPin It

March 18, 2009

Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower is the odyssey of one woman who is twice as feeling in a world that has become doubly dehumanized. The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of "Paints," people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape and murder. When one small community is overrun, Lauren Olamina, an 18 year old black woman, sets off on foot, moving north along the dangerous coastal highways. She is a "sharer," one who suffers from a hereditary trait called "hyperempathy," which causes her to feel others' pain as well as her own. Parable of the Sower is both a coming of age novel and a road novel, set in the near future, when the dying embers of our old civilization can either cool or be the catalyst for something new.


Faune A. Chambers as Lauren Olimina- Lauren Olamina is the narrator and heroine of the novel. She is fifteen years old when the story begins. Lauren is African-American, intelligent and well-educated, already having taken some college-level courses. She thinks for herself and has strong leadership qualities. One difficulty she has to cope with is that she suffers from "hyperempathy syndrome." This means that she feels other people's pain and pleasure as if they were her own. She believes this to be a weakness and tries to keep it a secret as much as possible. Lauren acquired the syndrome because her mother was addicted to the prescription drug Paracetco. Her mother died giving birth to Lauren.

Keith David as Reverend Olamina - Reverend Olamina is Lauren's father. He is a Ph.D. and he teaches at the local college. He is also a Baptist minister. His own parents were murdered and his first wife died giving birth to Lauren. Reverend Olamina is a strict disciplinarian who beats his children when he thinks it necessary. When he beats Keith severely for running away from home, Keith never forgives him. Reverend Olamina also takes every possible measure to protect his family and the neighborhood from attack, and Lauren respects him.

Rachel Ticotin as Cory Olamina - Cory Olamina is Lauren's stepmother. She holds a Ph.D. degree and is a teacher in charge of the neighborhood school. She wants to move to Olivar, but her husband will not allow it. After her husband's death, she takes over some of his teaching duties at the college.

Ryan Kwantan as Harry Balter - Harry Balter is a white boy of about Lauren's age. He is the boyfriend of Joanne Garfield, who is his cousin. When the Garfields move to the company town of Olivar, Joanne wants Harry to go too, but he refuses. When Lauren's neighborhood is overrun by thieves and arsonists, he and Lauren, along with Zahra, escape together.

Kerry Washington as Zahra Moss: Zahra Moss is Richard Moss's husband. He purchased her from her homeless mother when she was fifteen. Zahra has a baby daughter, Bibi, who is killed when the Robledo neighborhood is finally overrun. Zahra can neither read nor write, and Lauren begins to teach her.

Rob Brown as Travis Charles Douglas: Travis Charles Douglas is the husband of Natividad. He is a self-educated black man. His mother worked as a live-in cook and used to sneak books to him from their employer's library. After his mother died he married Natividad and stayed on as gardener and handyman. They fled their employer when he made sexual advances on Natividad.

America Ferrara as Gloria Natividad Douglas: Gloria Natividad Douglas is the wife of Travis Douglas. They are the first people to join Lauren, Harry and Zahra on the journey north. Natividad, who is Hispanic, used to work as a maid in the same house where Travis was the gardener and handyman. They left because their employer was subjecting Natividad to sexual harassment.

Dennis Haysbert as Taylor Franklin Bankole: Taylor Franklin Bankole is a fifty-seven-year-old African-American doctor. He joins Lauren's group about four weeks after their trek north begins; he is heading toward some land he owns in the hills on the coast near Cape Mendocino, where his sister and her family live. Bankole's wife was murdered five years ago by drug addicts who broke into their home while he was away. He takes to the road after his community in San Diego is destroyed by arsonists, just as Lauren's neighborhood was. ßPin It

March 5, 2009

Poison Study

"Like the deadly toxins sought out by the ill-fated food taster Yelena in Maria V. Snyder's debut novel, Poison Study is a powerfully compelling romantic fantasy that will slip under readers' skin, invade their bloodstreams, and seize their heartstrings.

Yelena, convicted of murdering the son of a powerful gneral, awaits execution. But with only a few hours left, she is offered an incredible reprieve -- and agrees to become the new food taster for Commander Ambrose, the military leader of Ixia. Living in a palace and eating only the best meals is a dramatic change for Yelena, who spent the last year locked up in a rat-infested dungeon, eating gruel. But she soon realizes that she has more to worry about than ingesting potentially lethal poisons in the commander's meals. The general whose son she murdered has vowed bloody vengeance, and everyone in the commander's retinue look at Yelena as an untrustworthy criminal. The longer she stays alive, however, the more she begins to understand her own perplexing abilities -- all of which will be put to the test when cunning rebels plot to take control of Ixia.

While many genre-blending novels seem to unintentionally dilute the literary domains involved, Poison Study is both a riveting romance and a spellbinding fantasy. The richly historied and vividly described realm that Snyder has created is completely convincing and large enough to encompass (hopefully) many more novels featuring Yelena, an enigmatic heroine with so many secrets and so much promise." -- Barnes and Noble


Nikki Reed as Yelena- raised in an orphanage in the Territory of Ixia's Military District #5. General Brazell, the leader of MD-5, made sure the kids in the orphanage had everything they needed. In between school lessons, Yelena learned acrobatics, hung out with her friends May and Carra, and competed in the annual Fire Festival. When she turned 16, she was invited to help the General and his son, Reyad with some important experiments.

The experiments didn't go well at all, and after two years, Yelena ended up in the Commander of Ixia's dungeon awaiting execution for the murder of Reyad. After a year living in a rat-infested, dank cell, she was offered a choice instead. Become the Commander's new Food Taster or go to the gallows.

Josh Lucas as Valek-As the chief of security, Valek’s duties involve keeping the Territory of Ixia and the Commander safe. He’s in charge of a vast network of spies throughout Ixia and into the southern lands of Sitia. The work suits him as he enjoys putting together pieces of information and discovering plots and plans well before they’re initiated. Patience learned when he studied the assassin arts aids him when he does find an illegal activity in full swing.

Michelle Yeoh as Commander Ambrose- Powerful and focused, the Commander doesn’t suffer fools at all. Driven by his own code of behaviour, the Commander detests opulence and excess, viewing it as a waste of time and money. He believes in simplicity and logic, and has set up a strict way of living that is very straightforward and without compromise.

Uncorrupted by power, he lives the life he endorses, makes sure all his people are treated fairly, and all their needs are met. Advisors and officers are promoted based solely on intelligence and skill.

Alexander Nevsky as Ari-Solid, strong and unflappable, Ari is a down to earth guy. His intelligence has helped him rise through the ranks of the Commander’s Army from Private to Captain. He is the complete opposite of his partner, Janco, who can drive him crazy at times but Ari won’t trust anyone else to protect his back.

David Anders as Janco- Quick witted and fleet footed, Janco is a fast fighter and talker. He loves to duel with swords and sing rhymes to unnerve his opponents. Known as a jokester, Janco is frequently underestimated and has surprised many with his fighting skills. His views on life are rather odd and he enjoys embellishing a good story. His partner, Ari keeps him in line and grounds him. Janco’s constant bantering and bickering with others makes for either high entertainment or pure annoyance depending on who you are, but if anyone should threaten one of his friends, Janco turns deadly serious.

Ray Winstone as General Brazell- Brazell was a loyal supported of the Commander during the take-over and for a couple years after. However, Brazell is a man of action and the years of peace annoyed him. He wants the Commander to expand Ixia’s borders, and to import more Sitian goods. His desire to exact revenge on his only son’s killer threatens to upset his grand scheme. Her death would make Brazell very happy, but the perfect opportunity hasn’t appeared. Brazell is willing to wait—he’s very good at waiting.

Nestor Carbonell as Mogkan- Mogkan is cunning and determined to gain power any way he can. He feels no regret on the actions he has taken to increase his magical abilities. And he is proud of what’s he has accomplished for the General. Although he is rather smug and can’t be trusted.

Rachel Luttrell as Irys- Irys is a magician who is hunting Yelena. Yelena does not know why, but suspects Irys is working for General Brazell. Her character is very mysterious and makes many attempts on Yelena's life. ßPin It

March 4, 2009

Eye of the World

It's been a long time since I've read this one, but I've recently listened to the audiobook version. It reminded me how much I loved this series, but also of how convoluted the storyline became in later books. With years between novels and the multitude of characters (including POV characters) it became difficult to keep up. I felt to truly appreciate this series I needed to give up until it was finished and I'd be able to read them all back to back. Unfortunarely Robert Jordan has passed away before completing the final book. But on the bright-side, Brandon Sanderson, one of my favorite authors, has been tapped to complete the series. So I'm ready to tackle the WoT series as a whole: all 12 of them!

This movie is very much a possibility, as Universal has purchased the right to the novel. The movie would be very successful (no one has tapped into the niche LotR's opened in adult fantasy), but due to the depth of the series, I think it would be better served as a series. (But think Rome and not the Sword of Truth series.)

The peaceful villagers of Emond's Field pay little heed to rumors of war in the western lands until a savage attack by troll-like minions of the Dark One forces three young men to confront a destiny which has its origins in the time known as The Breaking of the World. This richly detailed fantasy presents a fully realized, complex adventure which will appeal to fans of classic quests. " -- Library Journal

"The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow." -- Book Jacket


Scott Micheal Foster as Rand al'Thor- Shepherd from the Two Rivers. He is a head taller than his father Tam and has grey eyes and reddish hair, both of which are rare in the two rivers. Tam claims they come from his mother, who died when Rand was five. Rand is now twenty years old, and good friends with Mat Cauthon and Perrin Aybara. He and Egwene Al'Vere, the Mayor's daughter, have been all but promised to each other.

David Gallagher as Mat Cauthon-Young man from Emond's Field. He is tall, and has brown eyes. He is a wiry man. Mat is known for his practical jokes and other mischief, even at age twenty. Whenever something goes wrong in Emond's Field, Mat is the one everyone looks to.

Kellen Lutz as Perrin Aybara-Young man from Emond's field. He is about half a head shorter than Rand, one of his two best friends. He's also a fair bit shorter than Mat, his other best friend. He has curly hair, and is very stocky and generally big. His frame works well for his chosen trade, working as apprentice to the blacksmith of Emond's Field.

Rachel Weiz as Moiraine Damodred- Guest in Emond's Field the day before Bel Tine. She has large dark eyes and keeps her hair in ringlets. She barely comes to Rand's chest. She is an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah with an interest in History, and came to Emond's Field to find Rand, Mat, and Perrin.

Thomas Jane as al'Lan Mandragoran-Guest in Emond's Field the day before Bel Tine. He is quite tall, has long hair that is graying at the temples and is held from his face by a narrow leather headband. His face is all stony planes and angles, weathered but unlined. He is Moiraine's Warder.

Ashley Greene as Egwene Al'Vere- Young woman from Emond's Field. She is about eighteen years old, and just earned the right to wear her hair in a braid, the symbol of womanhood. She is the daughter of Bran, the Mayor of Emond's Field, and his wife, Marin. She is of a height with Nynaeve, barely up to Mat's shoulder. She has big brown eyes. She and Rand are all but Promised to each other--this subject makes Rand uncomfortable, and is often used to needle him by his friends. Nynaeve told Egwene that she has the ability to Listen to the Wind, a Talent that all Wisdoms claim to posess but few actually do.

Rhona Mitra as Nynaeve al'Meara- Wisdom of Emond's Field. She has brown hair and eyes, and is quite slender. She is about as tall as Mat's shoulder. Many people in the village think she is too young to be the Wisdom, however, mentioning this to her is a good way to get whacked by the stick she carries.

Donald Sutherland as Thom Merrilin- Gleeman who comes to Emond's Field on Winternight. He seems to have a distrust of Aes Sedai and their ways. He has white hair and mustaches, and wears a patched cloak. He was once a Court-bard. Fond of elaborate bows and flourishes.

Emily Browning as Elmindreda Farshaw (Min)- Young woman from Baerlon. She has short dark hair that she keeps like most boys her age do. She is slender, and barely taller than Moiraine. Her dark eyes are bigger than Egwene's. She dresses like most boys do, a habit she picked up from her hours in the mines with her father; her mother is dead. Min has a special ability, known to few; she can see images around people that predict their future. Moiraine calls them pieces of the Pattern. She sees a lot of things around Rand and his friends, but she claims that if she told Rand everything she saw about him, he would be as curly-haired as his "friend with the shoulders."

Brendan Gleeson as Elyas Machera- Man who lives in the woods. He has graying brown hair to his waist, held at the neck by a cord. He wears a thick beard across half his chest. He once was a Warder who taught Lan much about the Blight and his sword. He once had to kill other Warders to get away from the Red Ajah. He cannot channel, but he can talk to wolves, an ability which the Red Ajah wanted to do something about anyway. His eyes are yellow, and he can communicate with wolves by way of a kind of telepathy.

Blake Lively as Elayne Trakand - Daughter-Heir of Andor, daughter of Morgase and sister of Gawyn. She is quite pretty. She is preparing to leave for Tar Valon to undergo novice training, as all daughters-heir of Andor have done since the nation's founding.

Dustin Milligan as Gawyn Trakand- Son of Queen Morgase and brother of Elayne. He will become First Prince of the Sword when his sister ascends to the Throne. ßPin It

March 3, 2009

The Host

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.


Sara Roemer as Melanie Stryder/Wanderer- Melanie is a 20-year-old human who managed to escape capture by the invading souls for years, living on the run. Eventually she is captured, and a soul known as Wanderer is implanted in Mel's body. Mel continues to fight after Wanderer is implanted in her body, speaking to Wanderer and feeding her memories of the people she loves in hopes that Wanderer will one day lead her back to them.

Wanderer is the invading soul that inhabits Melanie Stryder's body. She received her name due to the number of planets she has lived in, having never settled on one she truly liked. She is later nicknamed "Wanda" by Mel's eccentric Uncle Jeb. Like all souls, she is naturally inclined to do good and is disgusted by violence. She feels incredibly guilty about the unrest her presence causes amongst Melanie's loved ones, and throughout the book she puts others before herself.

Jared Padalecki as Jared Howe- Jared is Melanie Stryder's lover. Circumstances always improve for the rebel humans he runs into, due to his great skill. He is seen as loving and somewhat excitable in Melanie's memories, though the loss of her renders him very bitter. He bears a grudge against Wanda and is unable to empathize with her.

Logan Lerman as Jamie Stryder- Jamie is Melanie's younger brother and is 14 years old when he first meets Wanda. He develops a relationship with Wanda due to her closeness to his sister; eventually, he develops a strong brotherly bond with Wanda himself. He considers Wanda "angelic" and enjoys her stories about other planets. He is very close to Jared, though their relationship becomes tense due to Jared's shabby treatment of Wanda. Jamie is described as having shaggy black curls and chocolate brown eyes.

Gene Hackman as Uncle Jeb - Jeb is Melanie's eccentric uncle. He was one of the first humans to suspect an alien invasion, and thus constructed an elaborate hide-out in caves beneath the Arizona desert. He believes that Wanda can fit in with the humans, and therefore puts both her and the others in very uncomfortable social situations. However, he remains convinced that no one will hurt Wanda due to his habit of strolling around with a gun and warning others that they are in "his house, his rules". Despite his flighty demeanor, he seems to have a handle on everything in the caves and tends to give very good advice. He is described as having a wild beard.

David Paetkau as Ian O'Shea- One of the rebel humans, Ian O'Shea is one of the first of the humans to treat Wanda with anything but hostility. He believes that she is an innocent girl who does not deserve to be punished because she inhabits Melanie's body. Ian does not get along well with Jared , due partially to Wanda's affection for him and partially because of Jared's willingness to harm Wanda for his own personal gain. Ian is described as being "kind enough to be a soul but strong as only a human could be", beautiful, having pale skin, dark hair, and striking blue eyes.

Eric Christian Olsen as Kyle O'Shea- Kyle is Ian's brother. He is a violent and angry man who would like nothing better than to kill Wanderer and rid the world of one less Soul. He is stubborn and quick to react to any situation without thinking. His anger stems from the loss of his wife to a Soul during the early days of invasion. A rift occurs between he and Ian as Ian befriends Wanderer.

Mark Harmon as Doc - A tall, slim human rebel that has medical training and serves as the rebels' doctor. He is shown to be compassionate and emotional, though he initially makes Wanda uncomfortable as he seems to view her as more of a science experiment than a person. He has alcohol problems and often gets drunk to drown his sorrow when he fails at a medical task.

Christina Ricci as The Seeker- One of the invading souls. Melanie and Wanda's relationship is initially based on their hate for the Seeker, who is described as being irritable for the usually gentle souls. She mocks Wanda for not being able to completely drive out Melanie's spirit. She hunts for Wanderer with a ferver and determination that is not normal for a Soul. ßPin It
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