aurora borealis

Book Review: The Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Posted in Uncategorized by kinano on February 2, 2009

Time for the first comeback book review post, wouldn’t you think? 

Set in the fictional small-town-USA Hawkins Hollow, the Sign of Seven trilogy tells the story of the human struggle against darkness and evil. Three young kids unleash a dark, ancient evil force on the night of their 10th birthday only to spend the better part of their lives trying to battle it. The plot is thrilling and Nora Roberts has a strong narration voice that is seamless and enchanting. 

Plot Summary

Cal, Fox and Gage set out for their 10th birthday adventure deep into Hawkins Woods. They have been meticulously planning the celebration of their first decade as one never to be forgotten. Little did they know that Fate has a big surprise  in store for them and their little adventure turns out to be the one defining moment of their life. Their 10th birthday, they  thought, would be the day on which they take an oath, a blood oath, to remain loyal friends for as long as they may live. In  blood, at the strike of midnight, they unleash a engrudged evil force that they soon would realize has hellish plans for their  peaceful town and everyone that matters to them. Years later, our young friends have grown to men with a deep and  unusual past. The time of the Seven is approaching and Cal, Fox and Gage know it in their hearts that something needs to  be done to put an end to the madness, once and for all. This time Fate intervenes again, and they are joined with three  young women who will play a key role in shaping the future of little Hawkins Hollow. 

Book 1: Blood Brothers

blood-brothers

Review

Nora Roberts has an unusual imagination to say the least. Her first book of the Sign of Seven trilogy is captivating. Focusing on one of the lead characters (Cal), she does a marvelous job in setting the scene for her trilogy. The narrative is simple yet enthralling. Her style and language are immensely effortless and as soon as you have read the first chapter, you are hooked. Her words flow seamlessly and without even noticing you are instantly transported into the world of Hawkins Hollow, sympathizing with Cal as he tries to make sense of what has become of his life and the lives of those around him. His ever-restless mind trying to cope with what (or rather who) Fate seems to have thrown his way. In the larger scheme of things, he seems to have lost track of who he is. Eventually though, he manages to put most of the pieces of the puzzle together only to find out how much he had been missing for so long. 

Book 2: The Hollow

Review

In this second book we follow the life of Fox, a successful small-town lawyer who has a hippie, anything-but-normal background. Yet again, we are held captive by Robert’s excellent narrative. Her character development talents are especially evident in this part of the trilogy and you cannot help but keep turning the pages to see whether Fox’s insecurities will get the best of him or whether he will triumph over his deepest fear. With his devotion to his family and two childhood friends, and with his calculating analytical mind, he has no option left but to stand firm in face of the darkness that he knows deep in his heart would bring the end of everyone and everything that has ever mattered to him. What he does not know; however, is that his long-time arch-enemy is plotting for his most elaborate, and dangerous scheme yet. With excitement at its peak, we see a glimpse of how morbid the evil our three friends would have to face with Fox becoming even more attached to everything Hawkins Hollow has come to mean for him. 

Book 3: The Pagan Stone

 

Review

As we approach the end of our story, we are initiated into the world of Gage -a roaming vagabond with a free spirit. He is unapologetic about his very pessimistic, cynical outlook on life. Having always been the kid with the dark history, we always find him reflecting on how his not-so-pleasant childhood and this always puts him at odds with his adult life. Gage has a witty sense of humor that would make you laugh even at the darkest moments of the story. Gage being Gage, we find him constantly trying to come to terms with his destiny. He is constantly at a state of self-struggle and this brings him even closer to life. Soon though, he would have to realize that he needs to move past his history and step into the most crucial and exciting adventure of his life. 

Overall, the Sign of Seven trilogy is perfectly easy read with a great combination of excitement, humor and thrill. Click the book covers to go to each book’s Amazon page. 

Good reading! 

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“But you are… normal?!!”

Posted in Uncategorized by kinano on January 9, 2009
Humanity is Diverse!

Humanity is Diverse!

Oh the many times I heard this line since I have come here! It is as if it were inconceivable for a Syrian, an Arab, or a Middle Eastern for that matter, to be “normal”. I usually reply with an amused tone before I go into explaining how, in fact, we are normal! 

Allow me, however, to let you in on a little secret. Deep down, I take offence in the other party’s shock when making such a statement. The conversation that follows, more often than not, veers into politics with me trying to explain how similar we are to the rest of the world. How, personally, I come from a secular country (the only secular Arab country in fact). How we cherish the same moments of joy, how we lead lives that are as similar to those led by people in this part of the world. How we enjoy music and concerts; drinking, dancing and clubbing; reading and watching movies; and the list goes on and on. 

People tend to forget that the things that distinguish us from one another are fewer and less significant than the things that bring us together. They tend to forget that we are all human beings, built in the same manner as the rest of the human population. They tend to forget that our differences are very much outnumbered by our similarities. They tend to forget that we all share the same time on this planet and in this life. 

Yes I am different. And, to be quite honest, I celebrate the fact that I am. But who said that being different is to be instantly equated with not being “normal”?! I cannot help but wonder. Has humanity become inexplicably divided that we now faction it to those who are “normal” and those who are, well, “abnormal”? If so, then let me take a moment to grieve and mourn the death of humanity. 

It is very easy to place the blame on the media, the politicians, or what-have-you. But the real blame should be ours! We are the ones to blame for what has become of our state of being. Instead of engaging in conversation, we wage war. Instead of building bridges that connect us, we construct monstrous walls to keep us apart. Instead of solidifying our numerous similarities, we amplify our minute differences and have them stand between us. 

We must not forget that extremism, fundamentalism and radicalism are but the exceptions to the human condition. Yet, that is all we are focused on. The first decade of the 21st century has almost ended, yet here we are; divided, we stand.

What a pity! 

Let us talk! Let us all shed off our stereotypes and irrational fear that keep us apart and sit down around one table and talk. Let us talk about the things we share, the similarities that bring us all together, about the differences that make each of us unique but human nonetheless. Let us talk about how “normal” we all are! 

Let us talk.

On Sweden and Going Back to School

Posted in Uncategorized by kinano on January 5, 2009

Well hello strangers! Did you miss me yet? No? Oh well! 😉

It has been almost five months (can you believe it? It feels just like yesterday) since I packed up my life in Kuwait and moved here to beautiful Jönköping, Sweden. Let me tell you this: it was not easy at all!

After a tiring (and trying) 40 hours of continuous traveling I finally managed to make my way to the middle-southern region of Sweden and settle into what would become my home for the coming couple of years. The journey was full of surprises, both good and bad, but I will leave these stories for some other time.

As for now, let me just fill you in on some of what have become of me these past few months. First, well, I am now back in school working on my Masters degree in Business Development. I had not realized how much I have missed being a student until I went back to being one. It is a sweet life especially here in Sweden. My stress levels have fallen down dramatically, I even gained me a few kilograms (of which I am very proud).

Cold Sunrise

Cold Sunrise

My school is very lively and attracts students from all across the globe. I have met people from so many different nationalities and backgrounds it is mind-boggling actually. Students from every continent flock to this peaceful, medieval Swedish town, and with them, they bring new flavors and experiences.

Of course, I also have to mention that it has been extremely draining to keep adjusting to the cold winter of the North. Just when you think it could not get any colder, it does! At this very moment as I am writing this post it is -7 degrees outside with a windchill factor of -14!!! (Last night it was closer to -20) However, I have to admit that being through all this cold is quite refreshing really, particularly when you step into the warmth of your apartment and start to feel life kicking back into your now-numb and pale limbs 🙂

Oh, and let me tell you about the northern winter sun. It is a very shy sun 😉 We see it once every couple of weeks for a couple of hours and daylight is less than 5 hours long. By 4 pm everything goes dark and silent and light would not make it through until 8 am the next day.

I guess this is it for now. Until I figure out the direction of this come-back to the blogosphere, I will leave you with a few pictures I have taken recently on a cold morning hike up a little hill overlooking the city. Just follow the link here.

There are some sunrise shots for my friend, Intlxpatr 🙂