Review: Ivanhoe

Ivanhoe
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

(Finished this earlier than recorded date)

Lots of knights. A damsel in distress. Robin Hood. English King and the French invaders! A titular character who gets injured and was out of action for what I felt was a significant part of the book, but returns to kick bad guy’s ass.

It’s an adventure book, but not a particularly memorable one for me. The one scene that I liked was the one where (and watch closely how I do this) the bad knight (French!) was locked in his room by the old haggly woman who was a slave in the castle for decades. She turned out to be a nobleman’s daughter (noble English!), tortured and used all this while in this castle as a captive from a siege long ago that also killed her family. She encounters an English knight in an escape attempt from the castle, revealed herself to him and was shocked to hear him denounce her as not living up to her noble lineage by sacrificing herself to kill those who dare destroy the English. She apparently wakes up from her desolate existence and decides to kill the main bad guy. Having locked him in his room, she proceeds to burn the tower, killing him and herself in the process.

I wonder what a wonderfully horrible job I did there, and if I deserve an applause.

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Review: The Secret Footballer: Access All Areas

The Secret Footballer: Access All Areas
The Secret Footballer: Access All Areas by The Secret Footballer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Finished earlier than recorded here)

Ok, a little something about their propensity for sex. Nothing too saucy though. Young chaps with testosterone on overdrive. And willing participants. Oh well.
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I like that Mr Footballer here is very self-aware about what’s happening, and his observation of the environment in which these footballers spent most of their time changes their view of the world. Not everyone matures at the same rate, and some of these boys cannot recover from the praise that was heaped on them since young.

Anyway, a thoroughly entertaining book. I’ve read three of his books now. One more to go. It’s not a competition or a checklist I have to go through. I like the insider bits he shows us as he paints the picture of a world I won’t have access to otherwise.

Compared to his other books, this is average. I liked his Guide to the Modern Game a little more I think, because I learned a little more about the game from the perspective of how it’s played, rather than learning about the dirty bits that go behind the scenes of the game.

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Review: North Korea Undercover: Inside the World’s Most Secret State

North Korea Undercover: Inside the World's Most Secret State
North Korea Undercover: Inside the World’s Most Secret State by John Sweeney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m fascinated by North Korea, which is really an alternate reality on Earth. The Kims have a lot to answer for to the millions of North Koreans spanning generations lost since its founding.

The book adopts an incredulous tone throughout the narrative that I thought detracted from the book a little. Sweeney’s feelings are understandable, and rightly so, but the way it seeps into the text makes the book more emotional than factual. I realize, of course, no text on any subject is free from emotional bias, but the constant name calling (Fat Boy Kim, Elvis impersonator Kim, etc) I feel weakens the text.

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