The most fitting way to describe this book is by telling the truth. It is both good and bad.
You may be wondering how I ever stumbled upon Richelle Mead’s The Fiery Heart. The answer: one semester of translating Hebrew and Greek. I mentioned to a friend that over the break I just wanted to read something easy and preferably out of the norm for my tastes. I was thinking sci-fi or fantasy. I thought that that conversation bore no fruit, so I drove to the bookstore where I picked up Octavia Butler’s supposedly sci-fi story Kindred—chosen literally by its cover. Sci-fi written by a black woman, who knew? (Review coming soon).
Anyhow, the next morning I found Mrs. Read’s vampire tale on my windshield and decided to follow the rabbit. Like I said, it’s good and bad. The following sentences should demonstrate what I mean.
There was just her and the feel of her lips, the exquisite way they managed to be soft and fierce at the same time.
I admit that one caught my attention. It is on page three, and it caught my attention because while I was in college, I took an ethics class. (Oh the fondness of that memory.) There was a lady in the class who had some very odd tendencies, and one friend and I identified these tendencies and exploited them. We were classically behaving as “little shits.” In short, while we ate lunch before class, we would decide which of her tendencies we would adopt and then impose them on the classroom discussions at will. One of our innocent classmate’s tendencies was to answer in opposites. You can imagine the fun we had as we concluded any ethical analysis with, “I guess, what I’m trying to say is, I think it’s both right and wrong.” And the best part was that the woman would resoundingly answer, “That’s how I feel!”
Back to blood boilers and dhampirs (thought I’m still not sure exactly what those are). As I read Mrs. Mead’s novel, I kept noticing this tendency to invoke contradictions in the name of good writing. I didn’t start keeping track until about half-way through the book, but here are a string of them. They occurred about every forty-ish pages.
Her long, dark hair spilled over her shoulders, and there was a fire in her brown eyes that was both dangerous (wait for it) and alluring.
Even through my jeans, that touch was provocative and made me think of all the times he’d run his hands over my legs. It was agonizing…(drumroll please) and exquisite.
Time stopped having meaning. It seemed like both an eternity and (How short? Please, I can’t wait a moment longer!) a heartbeat before I was cognizant of my surroundings again.
This isn’t the same as you running off to a witch’s tea party! This is life and (Let me guess…) death. (YES! I was right.)
Last one, for effect. The speaker is talking to the human girl who is dating the vampire boy.
And that’s the thing, I think…the real reason I’m not that weirded out by you two. It goes against all sound logic, but somehow, you two together…it (Anyone else’s head feel warm?) just (Oh boy. I’m not feeling so good anymore. Bathroom please.) works. (Hurrrl. Now, retract tongue.)
Besides these juxtapositions of contradictory and ultimately inconsequential platitudes, the book contains two hundred plus pages of foreplay and a disappointing sex scene, prescription drug use, illicit drug use, and a whole host of other unsavory behaviors (all by eighteen year old’s) which in and of themselves certainly need no help being normalized into our degrading civilization. Oh, and there was a lot of mouth’s crushing together. Considering the nature of vampire teeth, that seems dangerous. And life-giving.
As I continue to share my summaries on my Septuagint (LXX) studies, I have come to realize how much I am assuming you know, and have concluded that that amount is too much.
First, this is my blog. I’m doing my best, but my aim is not much greater than sharing a curiosity of mine in an enjoyable way. Here are three books you need to read if you want to know more. Links to a certain, large online retailer are here, here, and here.
Now, let’s announce the problem. Well, it’s not a problem, it’s just life. I’ll just call it the intrigue. Here’s the intrigue. For protestants, our Old Testament is based on the Hebrew text known as the Masoretic Text. This text dates about one thousand years ago (all dates are debatable) to the 10th century A.D. Now, the Septuagint–the name for the Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures–is dated to 250 B.C. Naturally, that’s quite a bit earlier (1250 years). Everyone knows that the Septuagint is a translation. But we don’t have the text that it was translated from, so we call what we don’t have the parent text, or Vorlage (4-log-eyh if you’re cool). The Vorlage is what we hope to find. See the complexity?
Put another way, we have the translation (LXX) and know it is a translation–there is no dispute here at all. But we do not have the original (Vorlage). Then 1000 years later we have what is presumably the original, but cannot possibly be for at least 1000 reasons. And “no” the MT is not some weird and late translation of the LXX into Hebrew. The contents of the MT (Mastoretic Text) and LXX are close, but obviously not equivalent–no translation is. So what did the LXX translators have? That’s our question. Now you know.
To me, this is fascinating and enjoyable to pursue. Overall, though, it has nothing to do with blood. Ink on paper is not the blood of our Savior. Never forget this obvious truth.
The fact remains that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead our heavenly Father “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.“
We now pause our regularly scheduled programming (three more Cain and Abel re-writes on their way) to bring you some of Robert Louis Stevenson’s best sentences.
From Treasure Island
Silver was roundly accused of playing double–of trying to make a separate peace for himself, of sacrificing the interests of his accomplices and victims, and, in one word, of the identical, exact thing that he was doing.
From Prince Otto
(This first one hits strikingly close to home–perhaps ol’ Bob stumbled upon Ecclesiastes?)
Do you not know that you are touching, with lay hands, the very holiest inwards of philosophy, where madness dwells? Ay, Otto, madness; for in the serene temples of the wise, the inmost shrine, which we carefully keep locked, is full of spiders’ webs. All men, all, are fundamentally useless; nature tolerates, she does not need, she does not use them: sterile flowers!
And this one (Prince Otto, too) persuades whatever inner-workings lie behind the long development of some men’s seemingly hard, dark faces to rush to just beneath the surface the brightest and rosiest hues of red.
There is nothing that so apes the external bearing of free will as that unconscious bustle, obscurely following liquid laws, with which a river contends among obstructions.
These two movies had piqued my interest when I first heard of them, but the mainstream critical reception was off-putting enough that I hadn’t take the time to view them. Finally I had a minute. The critics are wrong.
If you liked Miami Vice and Zero Dark Thirty, then Sicario is for you. My only real problem with Sicario is that it would be ruined if the cartel horrors it depicts were not based in the historical record, but I am too afraid to confirm that they are to do any fact checking. Depressing stuff.
If you have read Moby Dick, then The Heart of the Sea is for you. This one’s reception is especially baffling. Critics can’t say anything good about it, but as far as ocean voyage movies go it is much better than Master and Commander, which wasn’t bad. I loved Moby Dick and so I can’t say how much of that influences my enjoyment of The Heart of the Sea. What I can say is that if you know that Moby Dick is not about a whale, then you’ll like this movie. Conversely, if you are asking yourself, “Moby Dick isn’t about whale?” right now, skip the movie.
Buy it today for $2.99 by clicking here or on the images. And even if you don’t have $2.99 to spare, please, please add a review so that balance is restored to the force.
With a full-time job again, I don’t have time to work, come up with fiction blog posts, and write fiction books. That said, I recently received what I would call the divine inspiration I have been waiting for regarding my next book, so until it is complete, the only posts you’ll likely see will be book/movie reviews or “daughter project” ones. But the new book is going to be great.
One thing I have learned from my two short novels that I hope to put to practice with the new book is that while I was thinking, “Let them test the waters”, the truth is I prefer to settle into a long book if I’m going to read a book at all, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Whereas my books are similar to a movie’s two-hour run-time, a book differs from a movie in that it is something I want to build a relationship with. So this next book is going to be long. And that makes me smile. And it’s going to have violence and sex just the way you want it. And that should make you smile. Suckers!
I plan on giving it to Glenn of Glenn Hates Books at the end of next week. Please don’t let his review (as awesome as it will be) be the first/only one posted.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
May God add His blessing to the hearing, reading, and doing of his most holy word.
With Glenn Hates Books: Brutally Honest Book Reviews – Vol. 1 Conley, unbeknownst to him, reveals himself to be a fervent follower of Saint Paul’s advice. In fact, it is difficult to imagine that a critic such as Conley could even exist if it wasn’t for a childhood diet rich in God’s word. The trouble, however, is young Conley (the boy sitting in the pew who couldn’t get phrases such as “Fuck this shit in the ass!” out of his head no matter how hard he tried) thought that this indoctrination was a matter of the mind, when in fact it is a matter of the heart. And then somehow, despite this mass confusion, he became an adult, got a job, and so on and so forth. Which brings us to the present, where Glenn Conley writes book reviews for fun.
Sticking to the timeless advice that is clearly stamped upon his heart, he writes reviews that are true, reviews that are honest, reviews that are just, reviews that are pure. He claims that he writes these reviews because he hates books. But that’s just a silly marketing ploy to get suckers like me to notice him. The truth is that I know of no one who loves books more than Glenn Conley. He tears through them. A friend once labeled me a “word volcano”. Sticking with the naturalistic theme, if that’s the case, Conley is a “word black hole”. Nothing escapes him. He ingests books at a rate of nearly one a day, and also takes time to consider them and report back to the author–and the world–whether the book had any truth to it. And *big surprise* most do not. Well, most of the books that Conley reads anyway.
We’re here, however, to assess his book. Should anyone read it? To do this, we turn again to the words of Saint Paul. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verse 17-18, the King James version has recorded:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
That is to say, Conley’s book includes swears and graphic depictions–not just depictions, but longings for–rape, incest, and death. So if the temporal, seen world is the only one that matters, then he has contributed no value and his book is a public nuisance. But if we are all awaiting an eternal, unseen world, then his book is hilarious and well-worth reading. (Follow his blog here.) It is best read and appreciated while taking a shit or doing some other activity whose accomplishment is more prudently advanced the more one is distracted from doing it. Just when you think you’ve read all the possible combinations of his “Green Eggs and Ham” sized vocabulary, a fit of uncontrolled laughter signals he knows no bounds.
Lastly, whatever your stance on the time-space universe, keep this book away from literate children.
The biggest reason you should know the answer is “no” is that the book isn’t topping any best seller list.
Lesson learned, okay? After seeing The Divorce and Doom of Simon Pastor not sell, I figured this whole writing books thing was going to be about doing it my way. So I asked my friend, the same one who drew Simon’s cover, to do an oil painting this time. He told me, “Sure, but I don’t usually work with oil.” I replied, “I don’t normally write books. Let’s stretch ourselves.”
I happen to think the painting is great. But I can also admit that formatting it for the book cover took away a little bit, okay a lot, of the greatness. What I will never admit is that two men hugging in a forest are necessarily having sex together that night. Yet nearly everyone that I have talked to in person, not to mention Glenn and one other blogger on his review, have expressed that they expected Buried Within to have something to do with gay men or Brokeback Mountain based on the book cover.
What I really want to say to you all is thank you. For a long time I have feared that it would come out that I’m homophobic. What with my fundamental Christian upbringing, my military background, my having been married and having a child, my love of Michael Mann and Tom Cruise, I mean all these things are classic symptoms of homophobia. But then I heard these rumblings about the book cover and felt an immense swelling of pride. It really is a sign of the times, I think, that you think I have it in me to write a story centered on two gay men. (It also seems like you would prefer to read that book ((which is itself fascinating to me–and noted)) over a simple story of male friendship.)
So thank you.
But, unfortunately for my bank account, Buried Within is an exploration into a pair of men’s hearts that reveals a love that transcends sexuality. It is not about burying anything within anybody–forest or no forest.
Now take your mouse or finger and click here to buy the book. Pick up my other two while you’re there. Do it out of pity. Do it out of the acute feeling of guilt you should have for judging a book by its cover. But do it in any case. And remember, buying a book doesn’t mean you have to read it, neither do you need a Kindle to buy the Kindle version for the low, low price of $1.99.