Thursday, June 22, 2017

Erika Mitchell’s Bai Tide: A Book Review

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Erika Mitchell’s Bai Tide: A Bai Hsu Mystery follows an action packed mission of CIA operative Bai Hsu from the confines of a San Diego Prep School to the inner annals of North Korea. While Bai’s journey commences with running along the beaches of California, he is later seen sprinting through the North Korean winter in his bare feet in an effort to avert nuclear war. One need go no farther in order to state the depth of the premise and the room for an entertaining narrative.

When I was asked to review this piece, I jumped on it for two reasons: first it was fiction and most of what I receive is non-fiction, and second a spy novel sounded intriguing. Mitchell does a strong job of keeping up the mystery, blowing up her CIA operative in the opening pages (he’s fine almost the next day minus some burns) and plunging him into an investigation riddled with action, mystery, and murder. While Bai endures a high degree or trauma, he survives on, gets to the crux of the dangerous plot,

When one reads a spy novel, a certain sense of reality must be abandoned, but Mitchell executes the premise fairly well. It is not unbelievable that a school full of uber elite children may have spies and body guards embedded with them, nor is it beyond a stretch of the imagination that someone would try to infiltrate the school. That said, how such a school would stay in business after multiple employees were murdered and a student was kidnapped is another story. Realism aside, Alan Broccoli (Bai’s alias) works hard to thwart and solve the problem and protect his assets. Mitchell is at her best when she focuses on the game plan of her mystery and pushes forward.

Things go wrong for Bai, but Bai is a spy, a hero of sorts, and will thus succeed. The reader, knowing that success is imminent need not fret over survival, but rather become enraptured as to how and why. Mitchell executes this plan and in doing so creates a satisfying read for those looking for a fun, quick novel.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology: A Book Review

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Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology combines the often hard to digest and find mythos of the Nordic cultures into an easy read that dazzles the mind. Gaiman encapsulates the poetics in this modern rendition, writing snappy dialogue that rings of comic book style, and in doing so he draws a new generation of readers into the rise and fall of Odin and his fellow Aesir. Gaiman avoids a preachy, tutorial tone and instead opts to adopt a casual tone. Magic happens, the gods create, adventure, and destroy. In the end, they are destined to fall and the world will renew, but before that happens, one must witness their exploits. The chapters are short, the racy bits are dealt with in a child friendly manner, and Loki, is well, Loki. That said, give it a read and enjoy the ride.