Monday, August 1, 2011

Enduring Romance is Retired

It was a glorious four year run, making love connections between authors and readers! And those Cyber-Launch Book Parties were a blast. A big thanks to everyone who ever popped in. If anyone wants to follow me around the blogosphere, I can be found at my main site Kimber An and will be spending a lot of time at our new group blog for ePublished YA authors, Fabulously Young ePubs.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Countdown to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Book Seven-Part 2-THE REST OF HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS BY J.K ROWLING!!
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Yep, it’s time for Part II!!!! Whoo-hoo! It’s the Last Battle, and it’s awesome!! Here we go:
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WARNING!!!!!!

ENJOY!
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            Okay, where were we? Oh, yeah. Dobby just died, they’re at Shell Cottage with Luna, Dean, Mr. Ollivander, and Griphook. Wonderful.
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            The trio only stays there long enough to interrogate Griphook and Mr. Ollivander about the possibility of a Horcrux in the Lestranges’ vault and the possibility of Lord Voldemort having (dun-dun-doww!!) the Elder Wand, respectively.
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            So they set off to break into Gringotts-not a good idea, to say the least. This is proved when the treasure in the vault is cursed and nearly kills them, a horde of goblins turn up and nearly kill them, and they hitch a ride on a blind dragon (do NOT try that at home!), which again, nearly kills them.
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            Luckily, though, they get the Horcrux-a cup that used to belong to Helga Hufflepuff. Unluckily, Griphook got the sword, so they have nothing to destroy it with. Unluckier still, Voldemort’s noticed Harry’s going after his Horcruxes. He’s going around checking on them-and no doubt he’s going to be slightly annoyed when he discovers most of them are gone. Okay, that was a bit of an understatement. Try REALLY REALLY YELL-HIS-LUNGS-OUT-ZAP-SOME-GOBLINS/HOUSE ELVES/WHATEVER’S HANDY annoyed. That also means he’s going to turn up at Hogwarts and probably protect his Horcrux there even more securely.
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            Harry has to get there first. They Apparate into Hogsmeade, where they discover the Death Eaters have the whole place under their control. They’re nearly captured but rescued by Aberforth Dumbledore, Dumbledore’s brother!
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            Aberforth protests their fighting Voldemort and all, telling them Dumbledore’s full backstory in the process, but eventually lets them into Hogwarts via a passageway to the Room of Requirement.
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            There they meet Neville, Luna, Ginny, and some other old friends, including Cho Chang which makes things a little awkward. But eventually they sort things out and Luna takes Harry to the Ravenclaw dormitory to see a model of what Harry thinks is the Hogwarts Horcrux-Rowena Ravenclaw’s long-lost diadem.
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            While there a Death Eater attacks, is Stunned by Luna, and the Death Eater and her brother are tied up by Professor McGonagall, who decides to support Harry and fight Voldemort. A little later we meet Snape, who duels Professor McGonagall and escapes, presumably to join Voldemort, who by the way is on his way to Hogwarts RIGHT NOW!!!!
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            Luckily, no one decides to run and scream their lungs out. Unluckily, Voldemort is aware of what is going on and prepares to take over Hogwarts. The Order of the Phoenix joins in and the battle begins.
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            Meanwhile, Harry finds Ron and Hermione. Somehow they managed to get into the Chamber of Secrets, get a basilisk fang, and destroy the cup Horcrux, sharing their first KISS (YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!) in the process. Now they’ve just got to figure out how to get the diadem.
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            Luckily, Harry gets a brainwave and comes up with the answer: it’s in the Room of Requirement! Unluckily, Draco Malfoy and his henchmen Crabbe and Goyle follow him there. Crabbe, who seems to be a bit rebellious lately, sets a Fiendfyre curse going, and the trio, Draco, and Goyle barely manage to get out. Luckily, the fire destroys the Horcrux. Unluckily, Crabbe dies in the blaze.
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            And the tearjerking only starts there. It quick succession three people we never thought would die do just that. I’m not saying who, but it’s pretty major.
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            All this has Harry close to despair. Only heightening the drama is Professor Snape’s death at the hands of Voldemort. But before he dies, he gives Harry a memory. Harry heads up to Dumbledore’s office. He finds out from the memory that-surprise!!!-Dumbledore had planned his death with Snape, so Snape never truly won the Elder Wand from Dumbledore-and thereby, neither did Voldemort! Actually, Draco did-remember, he’d Disarmed Dumbledore right before Snape killed him. So technically it was Draco-and remember, Harry took Draco’s wand at Malfoy Manor, so now-dun dun doww!!-the Elder Wand is Harry’s! Yeah, confusing, I know. But really, are there any good books that aren’t?
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            But even bigger than that is the revelation-Harry’s a Horcrux!
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            Yep, you heard me right. Harry has a bit of Voldemort’s soul living in him. This explains how Harry got Parseltongue, and all those times he read Voldemort’s mind, and how his scar would hurt whenever Voldemort was really angry, really happy, or really close.
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            Unfortunately, it also means that Harry has to die if anyone’s to beat Voldemort.
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            So he does.
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            AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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            Now, don’t everyone go running and screaming in panic. Harry doesn’t die. He almost dies, which is another matter entirely.
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            He survives, again, due to a serious lapse of good sense on Voldemort’s part. Remember when Voldemort took Harry’s blood to revive himself way back in Goblet of Fire? Well, that’s what saves Harry now. When he took Harry’s blood, Voldemort bound them both to life while the other lived. In other words, Voldemort can’t kill Harry, and vice versa. Not for long, though!
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            And plus, Voldemort just unknowingly destroyed the piece of his soul that was in Harry, so there’s only one Horcrux left-nasty old Nagini.
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            She’s soon taken care of by everyone’s favorite cheer-on-able hero, Neville, leaving Harry and Voldemort in the final showdown. Who will win?! Will Harry win, and save the whole world, wizards and Muggles alike? Or will the former-super-cute Tom Riddle turned Voldemort win and take over the world?!
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            I’m not saying, but it should be obvious if you’ve been paying attention.
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            Well, that’s it everyone! I have now reviewed the whole Harry Potter series! I think I did an OK job, but it’s nothing at all like the actual book, so I recommend you go read the whole series. It’s been really fun reviewing these, and I hope you enjoyed it. Sadly the series is now at an end: all the books and movies have been released. But it’s been great! Now go read some more, and I’ll be back with more great reviews! Until then, happy hippogriffs to you! 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fabulously Young ePubs Launches Tomorrow!

Pop on over and check it out.  We have NINE authors contributing from three different publishers.  Fabulously Young ePubs

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fabulously Young ePubs!

Hey, Blog Buds, the other Decadent YA authors and I are throwing together a group blog, so I'll be transitioning to that this weekend as Enduring Romance goes into retirement.  If you are or know anyone who is an *ePublished* Young Adult author, please let us know!  We're all Decadent right now, but we'd like to include non-Decadent authors to spread the love.  Fabulously Young ePubs

Saturday, July 23, 2011

More of Kimber Jr's Top Ten HARRY POTTER Stuff

Kimber An here: This is excellent feedback on why readers like certain characters.
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My Top Ten favorite Harry Potter characters
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1.      Luna Lovegood-because she is AWESOMENESS ITSELF!!!! I like her because she has imagination and believes in things she can’t see, and she’s a very good character. She also knows how to stand up for herself! ;)
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2.      Hermione Granger-because she is among the greatest heroines of all time!!!!! She’s cool because she’s a bit of a know-it-all but that’s a good thing because she’s able to help Harry with the hunt for the Horcruxes. She’s also not afraid to punch bullies like Malfoy! She’s a really good friend and is always there for Harry and Ron and she’s just truly brilliant! And plus-she has a really good sense of timing! ;)
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3.      Ginny Weasley-because she is a true Gryffindor!!!!! I’m pretty sure a lot of people just think of her as Harry’s love interest. NOT TRUE!! Yes, she likes Harry. And Harry likes her. And they kiss like four times-holding the record for most kisses between the same two characters in Harry Potter-but she’s so much more!!! Hey, she dueled Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries, not to mention took part in the Battle of Hogwarts!! She grew a lot from the timid first-year who was possessed by Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Now its clear-she’s a true Gryffindor!
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4.      Harry Potter-because he is a truly realistic protagonist!!!! Now Harry is the person who generally comes to mind when you think of Harry Potter-for obvious reasons. He is like the greatest protagonist ever, just because of the way he grows from book to book. When he’s eleven, he acts like an eleven-year-old. When he’s fifteen, he acts like a fifteen-year-old. And when he’s seventeen, he acts like a seventeen-year-old. He’s also the type of hero you care about. He’s not some random guy running around zapping this other bald guy for no apparent reason. He’s a boy who lost his parents to a very evil wizard and wants to avenge them and everyone else who’s lost their lives to Voldemort. You really care about him and let me tell you that really comes into play in the last part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. All in all, just a truly great character!!
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5.      Ron Weasley-because he is a very good friend to Harry!!!! Ron can be a confusing character. He’s often insensitive and sometimes a bit unkind, but he’s really a very loyal friend to Harry and Hermione. He’s also prone to jealousy, but in the end shows himself as a true Gryffindor, fighting alongside Harry in pretty much every major battle he’s in. Not to mention he, like Hermione, has a very good sense of timing!! ;)
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6.      Mrs. Weasley-because she’s the one who zapped Bellatrix!!!!! Of course, that one act pretty much seals her place in my top ten, because I absolutely hate Bellatrix. But more than that, she acts as a mother figure to Harry, whose mother was killed by Voldemort. She’s very caring and can be very fierce-as she demonstrated when she zapped Bellatrix-when those she loves are in danger.
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7.      Bellatrix Lestrange-because she was bad, but she was very, very good at it!!! Honestly, even I have to admit she was a really good villainess, possibly second only to Cruella DeVil. In fact I’d say she’s my all-time favorite villain, Harry Potter or not.  I would say she even beats out Voldemort in terms of true evilness, but I don’t think so. They’re about equal in terms of true evil, and after all that’s what being a villain’s all about.
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8.      Fred & George Weasley-because they are the main sources of comic relief, yet still manage to be true heroes!!!! These twins are two of the funniest characters I’ve ever encountered in books in general, and yet they still manage to pull off the whole hero routine, and do it well. Not to mention they got revenge on Professor Umbridge, who in my opinion is second in nastiness only to Bellatrix and Voldemort themselves! Truly awesome!!!
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9.      Neville Longbottom-because he is a true unsung hero!!!!! Truth be told, he’s not the type you’d expect to become a hero-though then, neither is Luna. But boy does he become one in the end!!!! He’s the one who defeated Nagini, the last remaining Horcrux, with the sword of Gryffindor. I’m going to say right now, they expanded his role quite a bit in the movie of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and I love how they did it. It’s absolutely magnificent, and if you didn’t think Neville was a true hero yet, you would now!!
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10.   Severus Snape-because he is a truly dynamic, tragic character!!!! Surprised? Don’t be. He is a surprisingly dynamic character. In the first few books he’s just basically a big bully to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. In Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, you learn more about him, including his backstory. Honestly, before I saw the movie, I never thought I’d get that emotional over Snape. He’s just not the type you have much sympathy for-until the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt. 2). Then, just when you start thinking “OK, Snape’s a definite villain ‘cause he killed Dumbledore and pretty much took over Hogwarts, oh, and not to mention he’s a Death Eater,” BOOM!! That whole thing just positively shatters and you really get to see what a tragic life Professor Snape had. You’d never have thought it, but he is a true hero and deserves his place on my list.
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My Favorite Harry Potter Book & Movie:
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Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-just because it’s when you see everything completed and it all makes sense.
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Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2-it’s just magnificent and emotional and everything else a truly great movie should be. Hands down my favorite Harry Potter movie. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Top Ten Favorite HARRY POTTER Moments

In celebration of the last Harry Potter movie, my daughter compiled several lists of favorites.  Besides being fun, I think it's helpful to us writers to see what appeals to readers. 
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Movie Only: this scene is only in the movie, not the book
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BaM: this scene is in both the book and the movie
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1.      Harry and Hermione’s dance-movie only, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
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2.      Dumbledore’s Farewell-BaM (but they’re very different), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
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3.      Ron and Hermione say Goodbye-movie only, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 2
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4.      Hermione Punches Malfoy-BaM, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  Clip on YouTube
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5.      Ron & Hermione’s Kiss-BaM, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt. 2)
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6.      Harry & Ginny’s Kiss-BaM, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
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7.      Harry & Ginny’s Kiss-BaM, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (pt. 1)
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8.      Harry & Ginny’s Kiss-movie only, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
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9.      Harry & Cho’s Kiss-BaM, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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10.   Mrs. Weasley Zaps Bellatrix Lestrange-BaM, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (pt.2)
"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU B***!"
Of course, this IS a personal favorite of MAMA BEARS like me the world over!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

This Blog Will Retire August 1st...

...after four glorious years of making love connections between Readers and Writers. It will remain online, but become Read Only. Please pop back in for updates between now and August 1st.

What Matters Most?

Most of the young adult fiction I write has to do with people saving the world. (Hell, that's what most of my fiction deals with in some way.) But as we know from super-hero movies, even when you're saving the world, you still have a life. So at what point does one fall prey to the other?

I have a tendency to come into popular TV series late. Buffy the Vampire Slayer? I started watching in season 6. Smallville? Uh...on DVD right around the time it ended its run. (Yay for jumping on Supernatural from the start! But...it doesn't take place in high school, so we'll save that for another day's analysis.) But one great thing about watching so much of these shows all at once is that the trends kind of whack you over the head with a two-by-four.

Buffy and Angel I understood. He was instrumental to helping her save the world (or occasionally trying to destroy it himself) more than once. So that was a romance that fit right in with her being the chosen one. But her other romances? Not quite as much.

And don't even get me started on Clark Kent. Seriously, boyo, save the world or get the girl.

There's a delicate balancing act when you're dealing with world-ending matter and dating. How many times did Clark have to ditch Lana to go be a hero before she got the message that he had something more important going on? (Granted, he did, but since she didn't know, that isn't the point.) And Buffy? The only boyfriends that stuck for that girl were the ones who also weren't quite "normal", and every one of them that lasted knew she was the Slayer. And you know that the love interest always ends up in trouble, especially if they aren't super-(or supernatural)-powered.

So how does a character decide what matters most? The love-interest or "the world"? One's immediate and one's...kind of vague. The balance of one life you know and care intensely about weighed against the many strangers. And what does that decision say about them as a "person"? The copout, of course, is that they can manage to save everyone. Sometimes it works. Sometimes though, it just looks like a cheat.

As a writer, it's something I try to weigh very carefully, because reality says it can't work every time. At some point, the character has to decide and someone has to lose.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

YA Decadent Blog Stomp: Bitter Roses

Good morning, Blog Buds!  It's my turn for the blog stomp.  Please scroll to the bottom or click on the Blog Stom icon on the sidebar to the left to learn how you can enter the daily drawings and the Grand Prize drawing for the loaded KINDLE!  
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Looking around at all the wonderful YA Authors I hang out with at Decadent got me thinking about why I write Young Adult in the first place.  Well, at first, I didn't.  I had no idea what I wrote.  I just had big stories in my head and I wrote them down.  It wasn't until people started critting them for me over at Critique Circle  , people like Sara Gwen  who was a teenager at the time, that I started getting feedback about having a 'voice' best suited to writing for teens.  Duh.  So, I worked on toning that voice and packaging my stories for that audience. 
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So, why is my voice best suited for teens?  My personal opinion is my lack of Bitter Roses.  What I mean by that is Adults seem to go through a change at around age 20 (scientifically speaking, this is the age at which the human brain stops growing) and they begin to look back on their childhood and adolescence either in Bitterness or through Rose-Colored Glasses.  Their ability to Think and Feel as their younger selves diminishes dramatically. (I've seen a similar thing happen around age 40, but that's for a different post.)
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This diminishing never happened for me.
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Here's a song to demonstrate what I mean:
'When I Grow Up' by the Beach Boys
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As I was saying, I still Think and Feel childhood and adolescence, which is undoubtedly why I was a Childcare Professional for years and years before having my own four children and finally becoming a published YA author.
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And there's another thing.  My childhood and teens were far from ideal.  I've read that other authors, most notably J.K. Rowling  write for young people as a way to recapture childhood, because their own was not-so-good.  I know I'm nowhere near the calibur of author Rowling is, but I think I've learned something she has too and I've learned to infuse my stories with it.  You can either let Pain fester into Bitterness and end up miserable.  Or, you can turn Pain on its ear and become Empathetic to those who suffer similarly.  This is why the heroine of the Ophelia Dawson Chronicles is an Empath.  It's a supernatural ability for her, but any human can learn empathy by really seeing and feeling for those around her, and then acting in a compassionate way.  I'm not saying I've arrived at that, but my journey in life is taking me there.
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Commenters on today’s post are entered to win a Decadent title of their choice. In addition, all commenters will be entered into Decadent’s grand prize drawing. There’s some great stuff to win, so please enter today and enter often!
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Kimber An

Thank you

I hadn't quite expected to be doing this so soon, but I'd like to say thank you to Kimber An for having me as a reviewer on Endurance Romance. She was the friend who went 'go for it!' when I mumbled about becoming a book reviewer and getting a blog. I'm so glad I took her advice!

Today's my last review on ER for a while. I've had to think through a few long term plans because of my health, and I'm cutting back on extra responsibility outside my own review blog. I'll still pop in to read posts, and I'll definitely be back if I have any publication news for my own novels. Although there's a big ocean between us, I've had fun working alongside Kimber An, Rebecca, Mfitz, Kimber An Junior (whose reviews are hilarious and always have me grinning madly at my laptop screen). I might be able to come back one day, but I'll have to see where life takes me first.

Never stop reading! Books are what make the world go round, along with love and friendship, all of which are found here.

The Jinn Darazgosh by Musharraf Ali Farooqi



June 2011, Kindle ebook
Short story (fable)
Review copy

Summary of the book received with the publicity info
A Fable Relating How the Curiosity of a Jinn Led to the Usual Unhappy Results and Brought About the Closure of the Heavens Upon His Race

As this was such a short story, I won't use my usual review format. I think this is the first Islamic fable I've read. I was really intrigued by it, and I wasn't disappointed with the story. Darazgosh is quite a character, and a prime example of how the full story is often needed to fully understand a situation. I was constantly trying to second guess the story, and I failed miserably every time (a good thing). It is a really short tale, but it's one that's going to remain with me for a long time. I know I'll be re-reading it to remember the finer details, as well as for remembering that situations are often never what they appear to be, because no one ever knows all sides of it. That's the fun of life!

You can find out more about Musharraf on his website.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011