March 29, 2012
Once Walked with Gods.
Ever read a book that makes you angry from the first page to the last? I didn't even think such a book exists. But really I was so angry the moment the story began. And it didn't really wear off even long after the last page was turned. The anger. The effect it had on me was rather disturbing. The almost dead glimmer of hope. And it had left me addicted.
Betrayal. One of the most common words found in fantasy adventure writings. There's Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter books, Grima Wormtongue in the LOTR trilogy, Luke in the Percy Jackson series, Jeb in the Maximum Ride books - you name them. They are everywhere, these spineless backstabbers, and they do the most ridiculously terrible things to the people who offered them the highest form of gratitude for their fake friendship - trust. And these wretched creatures don't know guilt. They never do.
Peter was a friend of Harry's parents. Wormtongue was supposed to be an advisor to the King of Rohan. Luke was one of Percy's very first friends. Jeb was almost a parent to the flock of bird kids. You'll find one rotten backstabber in each of the series. One. And that would be bad enough. The damage. The number of people affected by one person's disloyalty. And the price these people had to pay for the existence of one dishonest soul. I'd been through all the said series. More than once. Makes me sick every time.
But then I came across Barclay's Elves Once Walked With Gods. It's a present from one of my ex-students, Khairul Fadlyshah. I wondered what made him choose the book for me. I heard that he hadn't read it yet, but I don't really mind. I just want him to know that his getting it as a gift for me was one of the best things that has ever happened to me since I became a teacher three years ago. I am overwhelmed. Pleasantly surprised at his choice of gift. So Che Pa, if you're reading this, thank you. This is definitely one of the best presents I'd ever received. I mean it.
Right. Barclay. I wasn't familiar with the name. But boy he writes betrayal unlike anybody else I'd ever read. It's definitely a frighteningly new level of murdering your friends, sacrificing your families, destroying your country and turning away from your religions. Yes, religions. You won't find a shapeshifter offering valuable information to a Dark Lord, a power hungry advisor who slow-kills a king, a friend trying to kill another friend or a pretend dad running sick experiments on his kids. No. But I'll tell you one thing, one thing for sure - Lord Voldemort is just a pitiful orphan next to the backstabbing murderer-bastards in Barclay's Elves book 1. One pitiful orphan who lacks love. That's all.
Because the betrayals in Calaius were conducted by the people of the highest positions in the country and the religions they live by. Not one selfish elf. Not one insane man. They are leaders, and priests. People who claimed to serve their country and God. High priests of the elven gods bringing bloodthirsty men into their temples, killing their own kind without a second's thought. A parliament speaker trying to publicly rape a female elf and at the same time offering her to the crowd of males to be dealt with however they wished to. A young warrior bled to death by castration, removals of his nose, ears, nipples and eyelids and hundreds of cuts all over his body - no part was left not bleeding. No part. When Methian and Pelyn found Jakyn in such state, I nearly vomited. I cried. I consider myself a vast reader - quite. But that was an entirely new thing for me - ceremonial murder of that kind. Forty elves were sliced at their bellies and laid along the border of the city, their eyelids removed, an insane torture under the blistering sun and not being able to close their eyes, their spilled insides being eaten away by stray animals while they were still alive. More than a thousand elves were burnt alive inside a temple. There was no where to run. And around twenty thousand more died needlessly in the great escape. Massacres. Everywhere. The realistically gory details - crazy isn't it? But those were just some of the heartbreaking parts in book 1. Some.
I had my hopes crushed over and over again as I read, what with the lord of the Al-Arynaar being half sane and the elite warriors (TaiGethen) reduced to such a hopeless number. Throughout the story I was like, 'Macam mana depa nak menang ni!? Buleh ka menang ni!?' Translation: How the hell are they gonna win!? Can they actually win!? Men had magic while the elves didn't. Men had magic. Seriously, I was going to murder someone for that. And my understanding sister helped to retain my sanity by repeating, 'Mesti buleh punya. Depa kan Once Walked With Gods?' Translation: I'm sure they can, they once walked with gods, remember? every time I lost myself screaming, 'Buleh ka ni!?' Translation: Is it (winning) really possible!? Sigh. It had been one hell of a read. Honestly, my journey towards the end of the book would be something I'll remember for a long time, that I am sure of.
And Barclay. Smart, smart Barclay. Amidst the maddening screams of fear, deaths of friends and families, fountains and pools of blood and roars of fire in the final battle for escape, he hinted to the readers about the awakening of an ancient elven gift that had been lying dormant for thousands of years within the long-living race. A hint that brought hope to crushed readers like me. Because Lord Takaar, half sane Takaar - as he was escaping with the other elves - suddenly placed a hand on the head of a pursuing mage and that burnt the man screaming to his death without his casting a spell. *gasp, sh*t OMG yay!* So obviously I was like, 'You fucktards (mages) think you have magic?' Haha. 'Think again.' Like a boss, Takaar. Totally. And then the book ended. *a happy face and a torrent of expletives* No, seriously.
This is a very good book, my friends. You guys should definitely get it. Or get someone to get it for you as a gift. The language, syntax and vocabulary are of a new league to me. Made me realize that I haven't been reading enough. A shame I'm quite proud of. So I ordered the second book in the series - Rise of the TaiGethen. Crazy excited, man. Hehe. The third book will come out next year.
OMG. Feels great to have a book to look forward to. Been a while since my last book spasm, hasn't it?
Now. Sorry I'd been away for quite a while. I didn't think I'd be missed. *winks*
So how do you guys like my comeback?