If you’re family, or if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been in hospital for the last 3 and a bit weeks. I’d had stomach pains for a couple of weeks when it got so bad that I went to A&E.
I was convinced they were going to send me home with indigestion tablets and tell me off for wasting their time, but it turns out I had acute pancreatitis! After two weeks in hospital attached to numerous drips and doped up on morphine, I was well enough to have my gall bladder removed, and I then had to stay in hospital for another week for further tests.
I was so happy to be free, that I managed to get out of the house at the weekend to spend a couple of hours with Cameron’s Auntie Julie and Uncle David on Saturday, and a couple of hours with my Aunty Ann today. Definitely in need of the painkillers that I’m currently relying on, I can’t believe how tired and in pain I am right now!
In the interests of broadening my horizons and reading more out of my comfort zone, I settled on this book downloaded on my kindle as my lunchtime reading last week. And when I say out of my comfort zone, this most certainly was!
We start the book seeing a young girl (Samiya) seemingly being abandoned by her mother, and a young boy (David) being branded by his father. Twenty five years later, Sam is sent by the Shemsu Seth to retrieve a mysterious ‘tablet’ from her mother’s home. The tablet is needed to help fulfill an ancient prophecy, which we discover much more about during the book.
When one of Samiya’s guard dogs is killed during this mission, she kills her mother’s partner Tariq as a sacrifice. Although Samiya remembers her mother, she doesn’t seem to care about hurting her to get what she has been sent for, although she doesn’t kill her like the other Shemsu Seth would have done. But when Samiya returns her mother to the underground home of the Shemsu Seth, is that really a good thing?
We learn that there is the Shemsu Seth, ‘the bad guys’, who deal with a power called the Void, and the Shemsu Hor, ‘the good guys’, who deal with a power called the Fullness. There needs to be a balance between the two. Samiya doesn’t like being in the void with the Shemsu Seth, she feels guilty for the bad things that she has to do, but as her mother explains to her, how can you know all the good in the world if there is no bad to balance it out? You need to experience the downs to know the joys of the ups.
The book was a very strange mix of ancient and modern, the juxtaposition of the ancient myths with the jet planes, computers and cars was a little hard to get used to at first, but probably more because I knew absolutely nothing about these ancient Egyptian myths and even less about modern Egypt.
When the setup of the story has been finished and we get into the grit of the book, it looks like David is going to help the Shemsu Hor to battle against Sam and the Shemsu Seth to find the spine of Osiris, but all is not as it seems.
As David goes out into the desert to connect to the fullness, he reaches the void instead, and connects in the most disturbing way, becoming completely Seth and seeming to forget his previous life completely. Which just goes to show you that things aren’t always what they appear, and that you don’t have to follow those paths which seem set out for you. Sam disobeys orders from her evil master to save her mother, and David sacrifices his girlfriend to save himself.
Late on in the book, we find out why some people can connect to the void and some cannot. The Void can be used without conscience, where as the fullness can’t. Which led to my favourite quote from the book:
“Without conscience there is no empathy, no compassion, nothing that makes us human, and nothing which differentiates us from animals.”
I’m still not 100% sure that I understand completely what happened at the end, and although I wouldn’t usually post spoilers for the end of the plot here anyway, I’m not entirely sure I could even if I wanted to. I did mostly enjoy reading the book, although I found it very hard to follow at some points, but I don’t think that’s any comment on the quality of the book or the talent of the author, I think it’s simply because this book was so far out of my comfort zone that I’d never read anything like it before. So I’m going to give this book 2/5 purely based on my enjoyment, but I would still recommend that you read this book if you like this kind of genre.
Just got home from Sheffield where I went to see Il Divo with my Dad. It was officially my Dad’s Christmas present, but I only really said that to justify spending £65 a ticket and I really really wanted to go! We went to see them live 3 years ago in Manchester, and I’m very glad I spent the extra money for the better seats, it was totally worth it – 13 rows from the front!
The show was fantastic, just what you would expect from Il Divo. My only complaint was that the speaker system didn’t seem to be able to cope with David and Carlos singing at the same time and turned a bit crackly, but they are so good it didn’t matter – they could probably have done without the microphones with the power they’ve got.
Carlos was his usual cheesy flirty self, advertising his bachelorhood and making the ladies swoon. It seems like a lot of women seem to have a thing for him, but I don’t get it (Ithink it may be a generation thing). Although the last thing I wanted was to see a load of 70 year old women wiggling their hips right in front of me because Carlos told them to Salsa throughout La Vida Sin Amor.
I was so glad that they sang my favourite songs, Mama, Adagio and Te Amare, although I love all of them really. There were a few funny moments, like when Sebastien got about 3 words into the start of Unchained Melody and forgot the words, so Urs stepped in to help him. Sebastien charmed his way out of it though, blaming it on the ‘beautiful ladies in the audience‘, guess he picked that line up from Carlos. And then the comedy moment when David almost slipped down the last couple of stairs during My Way. He recovered it though, and turned it into a joke when his next line was ‘each careful step along the highway’.
Completely blew my socks off, great show, and I can’t wait to see them again. Even better because I got a rare day out with my Dad which was lovely 🙂
I’ll leave you with a video of my favourite song from the show tonight (although the video isn’t from tonight sadly):