Review: All the Birds in the Sky

Beautiful, effortless, and calm. Like two rivers merged into a lake, where rainbows came for naps; only showing its magical strength when the time was ripe.

 

The book started like a story for children. Simple, but entertaining enough to reel me further. It started with each protagonist’s struggle against their own family. As they grew older, the number of their oppositions increased; schoolmate bullies. Laurence and Patricia sought an ally and found it in each other. They tried their best to help and comfort for each other, but life’s a mess, and both of them were little children. It got worse when an assassin decided to be involved in the growing resentment between their messed up alliance. They separated for quite a long time and had the chance to cultivate their own gift; Laurence’s mind for science and engineering and Patricia’s heart for healing and trickster magic. Their path eventually crossed, only to be separated again.  The rest was constant struggle against everything, and against each other, and against their own selves. Magic and science entwined; talking birds and tree, wormhole and time machine; struck each other violently because of fear, but there were also kisses because of love.

The first half of the story most comprised of ordinary slice of life events, except the quirks put here and there like, the talking animals and the two-seconds time machine. The book didn’t need to throw big things at my face. It’s pretty calm yet rewarding. That’s why it felt effortless to me. I got to know the characters in slow and intimate pace. The second half was when the lightning began to dance. They were so close yet so far, near but pulled apart. Super storm happened. War waged across the land. Doomsday machine. The unravelling. Parents and friends died. Fear. Fear. Fear. An oath got broken in order to save the dearest one. The story ended a bit weird. Not as satisfying as I would prefer it to be, but not bad.

 

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Review:The Silmarillion

I read the Hobbit,

And I fucking loved it.

In Children of Hurin,

My heart joyfully ruined.

And I,

Skipped The Lord of the Rings,

Jumped right into this Silmarillion thing.


Ugh. Mostly, the Silmarillion itself is about fancy elves making a fuss about their pretty jewelleries. And my main complaint about this is the fact that, even though the lore often mentioned how wise are the elves, yet most of their life wasted in the making and in the bloody-pursuit of gems. Feanor! Smartest, wisest, strongest blablabla, and yet his masterpiece was pretty stones, which then stolen by Melkor, which then made him swore an oath that would curse his descendants also. Come on Feanor, you could build many greater things than that shit; move on! But the tales of foolish bravery unveiled around them are awesome and worth reading indeed.

I enjoyed most of the tales. In the creation tales, Melkor’s act of rebellion, reminded me of myself; when I was a little, everytime I sang in choir, I often brought destruction upon the harmony just so I could hear myself more stand out than the rest. It was childish of course and I think, the creator, the god, Eru Illufarter understood this, so he let Melkor lives. Yeay for free will! Thus, he went on pursuing his malice, playing dark lord on middle earth until some half-elf in flying ship pounce his army down.

Out of many heroic battles in this book, the most daring was Fingolfin. He rode alone to Angband in anger after the battle of sudden flame broke the siege of Angband. Morgoth could not refuse his invitation to duel. So they fought one on one. Fingolfin was a mighty elf, but Morgoth was godly. It was foolish to me, but it was foolishness worthy to be envied for. There’s this song titled: Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill) which I think illustrates the spectacular feat of Fingolfin properly. I loved this song before, and now after reading Silmarillion, my exhilaration is kind of tripled.

Another great duel was between Luthien and Huan versus Sauron. Luthien’s magic was so great that later, even Morgoth himself was put to sleep by it. This was a part of Beren and Luthien love story. A story that can be summed up into: the suitor sought the dangerous dowry, but failed and ended up saved by the princess. Yeah, so powerful was Luthien, that when she wore the Silmaril, Feanor’s sons were afraid to adhere to their cursed oath.

Tolkien has great influence indeed, for before reading this, I already familiar with many of the terms from various metal band’s songs or names or stage names that adopted names from his works. So reading Silmarillion made me finally able to make sense some of those words. And yes, they’re fucking cool names. Amon Amarth! Gorgoroth!

I don’t know what to write anymore. There are things still in my head, but they’re mere tiny complaints compared to the whole awesomeness of the book. So, I guess, I shall end this here. If you seek mythical tales of foolish bravery written beautifully; if you seek to understand the source of all works that adopted concepts and names from Tolkien’s; eat this book!

Hmmm. Yum yum.

Ulasan: Osralus Primum Libro

Jadi, karena waktu itu sedang gelisah dan kesepian, *uhuk* *uhuk*, saya memaksakan diri untuk ikut Emir Salim ke Comifuro supaya ada pengalihan pikiran sejenak. Yah, meski berniat tidak membeli apa-apa, namun apa daya, saya tergoda si ganteng Dimar Pamekas untuk membeli Osralus: Primum Libro.

Saat pertama melihat kovernya, saya langsung terpikir Dragon Age!

Mirip soalnya. Ada tulisan plus bercak merah.

Osralus Primum Libro?

Buka halaman ii, konsep: Tomi Sularso. Oh, Osralus kebalikan Sularso toh.

Ekspektasi: Total War antara Tech vs Magic.

Ternyata: Duh. Politik. Politik nanggung pula. Ah, ada yang segar untungnya.

Di antara setiap cerita ada lexicon yang mengisahkan seputar dunianya. Ya, menarik. Tapi bisa lebih baik jika setiap cerita yang diseling itu juga benar-benar turut menyatu menjadi satu kesatuan yang megah, dan bukan hanya jumlah dari tiap-tiap bagiannya. Atau, saya juga kepinginnya sih, tiga cerita pertama ada konsekuensi jelasnya yang menyebabkan peristiwa pada cerita keempat terjadi, kemudian cerita sisanya barulah terpencar lagi untuk mengisahkan dengan jelas perubahan-perubahan unsur peradaban yang terjadi seusai cerita keempat.

Berikut merupakan kesan-kesan singkat saya pada cerita-cerita tersebut:

Cerita pertama, Minum. Sebenarnya, mungkin inti ceritanya ada di satu paragraf saja, terkait bagaimana sebenarnya tidak perlu memiliki darah superior untuk dapat menggunakan sihir. Itu saja. Tapi untuk sampai ke poin itu, saya merasa cerita terlalu berputar ke mana-mana, ke duel sihir, ke bangsawan mabuk, kurang relevan aja jadinya. Sayang ide di satu paragraf itu jadi kurang dalam.

Cerita kedua, Dari Petang Hingga Fajar. Ada orang berbincang di kedai minuman. Lalu ada orang rusuh masuk. Lalu bertikai. Nah. Seandainya ceritanya lebih jelas, mungkin bisa saya nikmati. Tapi setelah tiba-tiba tempat itu diserbu panah api, cerita semakin kabur.

Cerita ketiga, Jan dan Penjaga Kubur. Dibandingkan cerita kedua, ini lebih enggak jelas lagi ceritanya, meski memang yang ini mengedepankan unsur misteri. Namun, penulis seakan-akan terlalu mencoba menutup-nutupi fakta cerita demi membangun suspense sehingga cerita jadi buram. Twist di akhir cerita juga terasa kurang penting.

Cerita keempat, The Bull of Minos. Nah. Ini yang ceritanya sejalan dengan ekspektasi saya. Seru dan jelas pula. Ada upaya sabotase oleh penyihir terhadap proyek Automata. Ada perang putus asa yang diusung para engineer melawan keperkasaan sihir. Dan ada Bull of Minos. HANCURKAN! GILAS!

Cerita kelima, Keraguan. Ini juga bersuasana mirip, dibanding tiga cerita pertama. Namun meski, jalan ceritanya tertebak, setidaknya, urutan peristiwanya jelas dan utuh. Saya sedikit lebih menikmati ini dibanding cerita pertama. Saya juga suka penyampaiannya. Tentang upaya seorang petinggi kerajaan yang entah hanya hendak menyelamatkan diri atau hendak menjilat atau benar-benar mengikuti alasan yang ia sebutkan dalam cerita; ia semacam tukang intrik pada momen-momen tertentu, dan kali ini, dengan memenggal kepala rajanya sendiri, lalu diberikan kepada pihak anti sihir. Haha.  Untuk apa hanya mencari kesetaraan, kalau bisa merampas kekuasaan di atas yang lain ya nggak? Hahaha. Dasar. Sama aja.

Cerita keenam, Berhala Bukit Dewa. Yang ini sebenarnya juga cukup samar-samar ceritanya. Namun ada suasana yang berbeda dibanding cerita lainnya. Ada kesegaran tersendiri. Mungkin karena cerita ini mengarahkan sorotan kameranya pada suatu setting suku, bukan bebangsawananan atau perkotaan. Mungkin juga karena pergerakan narasinya terasa lebih dekat ke tokohnya, tidak sejauh pada cerita-cerita sebelumnya.

Cerita terakhir, The Watchkington Club. Ini mungkin cerita paling pendek. Tapi juga yang paling mudah dinikmati. Juga mungkin yang paling segar. Gaya dan ceritanya ringan, namun berkesan. Tentang sebuah kelompok orang-orang sok elit bertemu. Oh juga ada referensi tentang perpaduan teknologi dan sihir yang mungkin memang diniatkan sebagai simbol perdamaian? Ayo terbang ke bulan!

Urutan cerita terfavorit:

  1. The Bull of Minos
  2. The Watchkington Club
  3. Keraguan

Mohon maaf jika ada kata-kata saya yang menyinggung.

                Terima kasih untuk cerita-ceritanya.

Teruslah menulis! Yang lebih baik dan lebih seru tentunya.