Monday, April 18, 2011

Celestine of the Travels to Fahdamin-Ra Series

Celestine is the fourteen-year-old girl who starts the Fahdamin-Ra series by being the narrator of the first book. She is based on my daughter Calllista. Like my daughter, Celestine is pretty, a little bossy with her brother, and very observant. She is discerning, picking up a lot of information about people, who are mostly unaware of her observations. She has a lot of common sense and is strong, but sometimes, like her brother Joel, she sometimes wishes that she was not a Creator in Fahdamin-Ra, with so many people depending on her.

Celestine is mature for her age, and that is why it was easy for her to make friends with Jetta and Ka-puki, who are both several years older than her. She makes many friends, but she has people whom she does not like. One of those people was Prince Kayin of Harun. Hopefully, the reader does not blame Celestine for not liking the prince, with his chauvanistic attitude toward women. She was irritated by him and finally, accidently, turned him into a pig. It was then that everyone realized that she was a Creator as well as her brother Joel.

I suppose that you could say that Celestine is a happy person who generally likes everyone as long as they act decently. If they are awful, Celestine does not like them and does not get over that very quickly!

Something that Celestine is having a problem dealing with is her friend, Chi. Normally, she would probably like him, because he is sixteen, handsome, and interested in all sorts of things. However, he has a terrible crush on Celestine, which makes her feel awkward because she is a Creator. Because Fahdamin time runs faster than here, Chi will be 60 years old by the time that she reaches 20. It also does not feel right that she has so much power over him. When he touches her, it is like getting a small electric shock, and Celestine instantly knows what he is thinking. She likes him as a friend, but she wants to give him the message that she is not interested in romance.

Most of the time, Celestine is happy visiting the tribes, checking on the cats she created for the Harun, and having adventures. She liked staying with the different tribes in the first book and seeing how they live, and loved traveling across the savannah in the second book, because they were exploring and having a lot of fun times. I can hint that in the third book, things get tougher, but she still gets to go on adventures, this time as a voyage to the lands in the north part of Fahdamin-Ra.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Review - Vintage Veronica

I just finished reading "Vintage Veronica" by Erica S. Perl, which is the first novel published by the author. When I was at the library, looking through the Young Adult books (where else?) and I saw the book. It grabbed my attention because I like vintage clothing, and when I started reading the first few pages, I saw that it was about an overweight high school girl named Veronica that works at a vintage clothing store. I was sold, because I could relate to it, having been a fat girl that dressed strangely in high school.

I like the humor that Perl shows throughout the book,weaving it in an out of the story that deals with Veronica's ups and downs. She develops most of the characters so well that you can see Bill, the hippie type, surprisingly insightful salesperson; Eva, the vicious girl that everyone pretends to like because they are terrified of her; and Lenny, the strange boy with the reptile pets who seems to be one kind of person and then another.

Veronica is down on herself at first because of not having friends, being overweight with a disapproving mom, and having her parents go through a divorce.

I was put off by profanity and pot smoking, but I still reccomend this book to anyone who likes Young Adult literature. Even if you were an attractive person in high school, you will find this book enjoyable and it gives you something to ponder when you're done reading it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Olu of the Masamba Tribe

Each tribe in Fahdamin-Ra has a set of numbers that they tend to deal with. The Masambas tend to favor the number 'two'. They have a man and a woman at the head of their tribe because they feel that two people balance each other out, and that most tribal decisions are much too important to leave up to one person. These two chiefs are a man and a woman who are married, rule together as man and wife, and are called the Olu.

During the 500 or so year time period that there were no Creators coming to Fahdamin-Ra, the Masamba lost a lot of their faith. It also did not help when the Shadow Men appeared and the tribal priests gained in numbers (from two to five) and power in order to protect the Masambas. The five priests, with their head man Olo, took more and more power away from the Olu. By the time that Celestine, Joel, and their father, Raymond meet Olu Ko, he has been pushed aside by the tribe and only has his title to show that he has any office at all. His wife, Ama, is not there at the first meeting because she is ready to give birth to their son. Olu Ko would have never been rude to the Creators like the priests were, and would have accepted Raymond and the children, not making them perform tests to show who they were.

How do the Masamba choose their chiefs? If one of the present chiefs loses their spouse, they have the option of selecting a person of the opposite sex to help them rule as a chief for one tree ring, which is a Masamba year. At the end of that time period, if the chief is not ready to marry again, they have to step down and a new pair of chiefs will be selected. Each person who wishes to become chief has to 1) be married, 2) has to show a symbol of what their leadership will be like, and 3) has to explain what their symbol means, and how their leadership will help the tribe. Everyone in the tribe is given a stone and the potential Olu couples hold out woven bags. Tribal members put their stone in the bag of their couple, and each person that is considered an adult gets one vote.

Olu Ko and Ama won because Ama provided a bowl of water and Ko hollowed out a gourd, making it float upon the water. No matter how much they moved the bowl, the gourd still floated, showing how they could lead the tribe through troubled times. They were voted for by a large majority. However, several years passed and the priests still ran the tribe, making Ko especially frustrated, because he saw some of the underhanded things that they were doing. When Raymond and the children appeared, the Olu and other people in the tribe began to hope, while the priests feared the arrival of the Creators.

One of the two things that the priests had going for them was that they supposedly kept the Shadow Men from taking or killing tribal members. If a member did disappear, the priests claimed that the person did not believe. The second thing was that Olo had a stick or wand that he used to help cure people, and it worked most of the time. Ko was despondent when his son was stillborn and the Creators had put the priests out of commission. That was, until Raymond brought the Olu's baby back to life. It was a turning point for Ko and Ama. Not only did they have their son's life restored, but here were powerful beings that only wanted to help and who did not use their power to force people into obedience.

With Olu Ko and Ama in their rightful place, the tribe changed and started going down another path, one to freedom and true equality.