Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time, #4)The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After finishing The Shadow Rising, I am comfortable in saying that is this book in which The Wheel of Time series became an epic series. Author Robert Jordan changes things up for the second book in row, first with Rand Al'Thor's return as a major point of view character and the second with all the major plot threads did not end together in the same location as the previous three books had done.

With Rand return as a major point of view perspective, we find him more confident in his role as the Dragon Reborn and learning to direct as well as react to events better than he had previously. Interestingly it is Rand, who had never interacted with an Tinkers or Aiel in the previous three books, that learns of their history as well as his own in the Aiel Waste. Along with Rand are Egwene, Mat, and Moiraine who's views of Rand's development round out the picture of a young man learning to use the One Power and if he is going mad or not. Perrin returns to Emond's Field with Faile, Loial, and three Aiel planning to turn himself into the Whitecloaks to save his village and family, by the end he has become a local hero and war leader. Then there is the hunt of the Black Ajah by Nynaeve and Elayne to the western shore of the continent only to find something even more dark than former Aes Sedai. And on top of all these major plots are the events taking place at the White Tower, the news of which hasn't reached any of the major characters.

With all these plot threads and new locations, it would have been easy for this book to become a mess. However this book was so good that I found it hard to put down when I had to get back on the clock. To me that is the best way to express how much I recommend this book.

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Book Review: English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society Under the Tudors by Christopher Haigh

English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society Under the TudorsEnglish Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society Under the Tudors by Christopher Haigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Christopher Haigh's book, English Reformations, begins by showing that before 1530 there was no strong undercurrent for the Protestant Reformation in England in fact the exact opposite was true as Catholic England was going strong. Unlike the general historical belief that once Henry VIII broke with Rome a Protestant England would be the result, Haigh shows it was never the case especially when documenting the reign of Mary I when the majority of the English welcomed a return to the Roman Catholic Church.

Haigh presents that development of a Protestant minority in England started when Thomas Cromwell brought Protestant elements little-by-little into Henry's decision to break with Rome then promoted them even after Henry's natural conservative religious views came into play. The Protestant minority truely came into being during the reign of Edward VI when his Protectors and Council systematically made the Church of England more Protestant. After surviving the reign of Mary, the Protestants overreached at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign when they tried to overhaul the Church of England in one-fell swoop instead of the step-by-step approached used by Crowmell and under Edward, and it was this overreached that most likely created the mixture of Reformed Protestant and Catholic beliefs that are present in the Anglican Church.

Haigh's conclusions and the evidence he presents shows that after all these "reformations" England was Christian, it just wasn't really majority Protestant or Catholic. And when considering the religious and political developments in Great Britain from 1603 to 1714 under the Stuarts along with the various colonies on the eastern coast of North America, this conclusion seems to be correct.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Review: Understanding Revelation in One Day by Roger Miller

Understanding Revelation in One DayUnderstanding Revelation in One Day by Roger Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first thing to know when reading this book is that it comes from the theological perspective of being a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA), which Dr. Roger Miller is. In the book nearly every verse of Revelation is put down in print and examined by using other verses found other parts of the Bible, particularly the Book of Daniel. When talking about this Dr. Miller himself described this book as a more a study guide then a truely in-depth study of the Book of Revelation and at the beginning of this book explains how a reader goes about interpreting Bible prophecies. The book is not without mistakes, which Dr. Miller has acknowledged can be found in his text, mostly with historical details and never to Biblical passages. Overall, this book is a good guide when delving into a Biblical study of the Book of Revelation.

Disclaimer: Currently Dr. Roger Miller is presenting his study of Revelation in the Adult Sabbath School I attend. Also I went to high school, 12 years ago, with two of his daughters though he and I never meet at that time.

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