Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: The Dark Foundations

Oh. My. Bananas.



So, this is part three of the Lamb Among the Star's series, and I might have liked this one best.

The Dark Foundations continues the epic story begun in The Shadow and Night (also sold in two separate volumes: The Shadow at Evening and The Power of Night.) Far beyond the tranquility of the Assembly worlds, Nezhuala, Lord-Emperor of the Dominion, is preparing a merciless and crushing attack on Farholme as a prelude to an onslaught on the Assembly. Back on Farholme, Commander Merral D'Avanos recovers from his wounds after the battle at Fallambet where the intruders were destroyed. Yet even as Merral dreams of a return to peace, he receives a warning of imminent war on a massive scale he cannot ignore. Amid the urgent preparations for battle, Merral and his friends realize the inadequacy of their defenses. Then, with weeks to spare before the predicted eve of ware, Merral receives an offer of assistance from the strangest of sources. But can it be trusted? As the wave of war finally crashes over Farholme, Merral must find the answer to other questions in the heat of battle: Can Farholme survive the growing internal strains? Who will pay the price for victory? Will his own weaknesses undo both him and his world?
  In the first book, I would basically describe it this way: for ten thousand years, evil has been caged. And the cage is breaking. So, in the first book, evil is only just starting to leak into their world. I love, I love, I love the way they look at evil in this first book. They treat ever sin as a monstrosity. I think that we (myself included) tend to rank evil. Example:

Stealing 10 grand- That's awful! 
He told a lie- Well, I guess that's not that bad. I mean, you have to give them grace.

It's true. Liars need to be given grace. So do lesbians and murderers.
But in this book, Merral (the main character- I just love him) is so unused to sin that he freaks. out. over sins that we would take for granted (like couples arguing).

However. In The Dark Foundations, sin's cage has completely broken. Merral himself sins. He disobeys a major command that an angel gives him (well, God gives the command, but the envoy tells him). 
You would think I wouldn't like this. But I find Merral even more likable.

Once again, a however, or, rather, two howevers. One, I thought at first that perhaps that Merral and co. get used to sin too fast. But on reconsideration, we all take to sin like fish to water, so maybe this is unfair. 
Two: Sin is unleashed in this book, so, naturally, this book has more things in it like sexual mentions than parts 1 & 2. There is even a demon or two. But considering the other books for teens and young adults on the market right now (Twilight, anyone?), I think this is a definite improvement.

BUT I CAN'T BELIEVE HE KILLED- oh, wait, that'd be a spoiler. :)

Positive Elements:

Spiritual Elements:
God is a big deal in this book. If you have a problem with that, you may not like this book.
Demons, angels, heaven, and hell are all mentioned. Merral and other characters pray, talk to an angel ("the envoy"), and fight with a demon (though their swords and other weapons have no effect on it, which I think fitting).

Sexual Content: SPOILER ALERT
Before reading this section, or reading the other sections, you have to understand something:  there are two main civilizations in these books: the assembly, which consists of Christians, population of approx. 1 trillion, spread over 16000 planets (*which are genetically modified to be like Earth*); and there is the Dominion, which consists of humans who broke away from the Assembly about 10,000 years ago. There are people from the Dominion in this book, so a lot of the sexual content has to do with them, particularly a character named Azeras. So, this looks like a huge section, but it's all really minor stuff.

So, the sexual content:
So, Clemant, Representative Corradon's advisor, is listing off some crimes to Merral on page 107; he says:
"What else? Petty theft - someone stole someone else's garden plants in Ganarat. Increasing sexual incidents. We had a rape the other day."
"Are you serious? Here?" Merral says.
"I'm afraid so."
"It's appalling!"
"I agree." Their conversation then turns to other things.

Azeras, from the Dominion, thinks it's silly that the Assembly has female pilots. I quote- 'Azeras shrugged. "Women have their uses: bed, kitchen - maybe the brighter ones can teach children."'
Later on, when he meets Perena, who is a pilot, he says:
'"A lady captain," Azeras said, and gave Perena a long and intense look. She flushed, and, taking a chair, moved it so she was out of his field of view.'
Later on, after their conversation, Merral says,
'"Perena, at the start something passed between you and Azeras. I was wondering what."
She blushed. "I wast just stunned by the way he looked at me with... a fire of lust. His eyes were almost stripping me bare. I've never felt that way before..."
Vero's face tightened.'
 Then Merral changes the subject.
An intelligent machine, Betafor, insists through out the book that she is a female. Later on, Merral and Vero ask her to take her jacket off so they can look through her pockets. Her reply:
"I refuse to take my clothes off. I am a female. It would be sexual harassment." It's more funny, though, than uncomfortable, because she's really just a machine and 'sexual harassment' is her excuse to try to stop them from looking in her pockets (where she houses poison).
Merral tells Azeras he will reward him, and asks what he would like. Azeras comes back with, "A house by the sea, a supply of wine, a woman." Perena then reprimands him, telling him that women are not objects to be gained, but people and that he should rethink his mindset about women.
Then, another dominion person tells Merral that if he signs this treaty, he can go back to his old line of work (preservation of the forests of Farholme) instead of being a commander in the army. He is strongly tempted, and then it says,
'Don't be silly, a second voice said, temptations are to do with power and sex, not trees.'

At a very dramatic and sad part, Perena says, "Hold me, Vero." He holds her for about 2 minutes and then she walks away.

Violent Content: SPOILER ALERT
There are a few [mostly small] battles, but they 1) keep it from getting too graphic, description-wise, and 2) Merral doesn't like fighting, and only the bad characters o(which I think is nice, compared to the war-loving characters of some books); Merral tries to avoid fighting.
Plus, in pretty much all of the battles, they are fighting Krallen, which are machines, so when, for instance, Lloyd stabs one, it says 'silver fluid leaked out' rather than 'blood poured from the wound, gushing onto the flour in a ruby cascade' like a lot of books do when they're fightin' people.

Crude or Profane Language:
Hell is said a couple times, but it doesn't bother me as it's used in context. Once or twice it says "Azeras said a word in another language that Merral presumed to be a swear word."

Drug/Alcohol content: 
Azeras mentions that he would like a supply of wine. I think someone drinks wine once or twice, but no one gets drunk or anything, that I remember (and I'm not likely to forget something like that).

Other Negative Elements:
It wasn't long enough!!!! I NEED the next book ASAP!!!

Once again, wow. 'that was just about all he could say'. Wow. You. Should. Read. This. Book. I tried my best to not put too many spoilers in, and I shall review the other books, too, with as little spoiling as possible, because I don't want to ruin this book for you.
As I said, in this book, things are a little heavier, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could be. I would give it 10 points, for mature 12 year olds, or 13 and up.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a great book! I'll have to look for it!


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