Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fire and Steel: The Storm Descends

The Storm Descends is volume two in Gerald N. Lund's Fire and Steel series. This book mostly takes place in Germany in the aftermath of World War I. The effects of the lost war on the German people are felt strongly in this book, perhaps especially for the surviving soldiers who fought in the war. The government was seen as incompetent with rebellious groups popping up throughout the country to spread radical communist ideas.

Hans Otto Eckhardt finds himself surrounded by this turmoil. Returning from war as a wounded soldier, he finds no benefits awaiting him and a country that looks very bleak. Confronted on all sides by opposition, Hans finds comfort in home and family, and also in a nurse who cared for him while in the hospital. He finds himself wanting their relationship to be more than nurse and patient, and she seems to also want to pursue a relationship with him.

But when Emilee discovers a series of poor choices made by Hans, she struggled to know if she really wants someone like that in her life. She wants a man of character who can weather any storm. Can Hans be that man? When the storm descends, what kind of man will Hans prove himself to be?

I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next one!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Westly: A Spider's Tale

Westly is a unique story written by Bryan Beus about a young caterpillar named (you guessed it) Westly. His father is king of the butterflies, and Westly wants to make him proud. He looks forward to emerging from his cocoon as a beautiful monarch butterfly and hopes he will have impressive wings as well as the skills necessary so that the people will want to follow him as a ruler one day.

But something goes terribly wrong when Westly emerges from his cocoon as a spider! In horror, he runs away from home and lives among the "dirt eaters," the inferior bugs that are banned from the butterfly paradise. Westly learns to develop talents as he works among them, forging friendships and and learning the valuable role these insects play in their world. He also gets special training from a Raven that knows all about spiders and is able to teach Westly how to create webs. It turns out that in the end Westly is able to save the day strictly because he is different.

This book would appeal to young children, especially those who may feel they are different from "normal" kids. I had a little trouble understanding exactly where this was taking place. They described themselves living inside an atrium with a locked door, but then also hinted that it was the butterflies' ancestors who created this haven. But this explanation seems impossible. I would have liked some more back story with this. But this is me, a thirty-year-old talking. I am sure that young kids reading this book probably won't think twice about it and will enjoy the story for what it is.