The Winner Stands Alone : not a review

I just finished reading my 10th book for the year.  I know. I am going too slow with my reading challenge progress.  I’m supposed to read (and finish) at least 30 books this year and I am currently 10 books behind.   For the past week I finished two books, not bad huh?  Hopefully I can finish another book before the new term starts ( I have one more week, the joy of the trimester system).

This is not a review, I don’t even know how to make one.  This is just me trying to put down into words the things that came into my mind when I was reading the novel.  There would be  spoilers though so be warned.

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This novel is about dreams; the lengths people are willing to go to and the price they are willing to pay just to achieve that dream; only to realize that fulfilling one dream will be never be enough and they end up slaves of their own need to do more, have more and earn more.   This is not about someone going after her dream, working hard for it and lived happily ever after. This is about human nature and how greed, fame and power consumed us.

Almost 90% of the novel revolved around setting up the final stage.  One by one the characters were introduced.  They are all interesting people and you might have met them all in your life.  Their personalities vary from the simplest to one of the most powerful people in the world aka the Superclass.

The novel tells us that:

  • Everything is just a facade. The glamour, the glitter, and all the fancy things, they are just there to hide the fact that everyone is suffering, that no one is truly free and everyone is just going through the motions, hoping that it will all end soon and they can finally do what they have always wanted to do, that they can finally be free but they are just fooling themselves.  The Superclass may appear like they have everything they could ever want or need but it’s just a front.  There’s always something shiny they want to buy, a bigger mansion, the latest car.  There’s always something they have to conquer after achieving something.  They seemed to the ones everyone is envious of but they have this void inside and hoped that maybe their power, fame and wealth can fill that void.
  • Fairy tales aren’t real, there is no such thing. No one wakes up one day with opportunities knocking at their door, presenting itself on a silver platter.  The Superclass never had it easy they struggle just like us.  However, they do have talent, skills, patience, determination and the grit to survive the hardest of situations. They had once dreamed of something, followed it, worked really hard, accepted the smallest chance given to them, give so much only to receive so little. They dreamed of getting their revenge someday but only the toughest will get it.

I don’t want to end up like Igor. Not just because he killed people for Ewa but because he believed that he can put his life with Ewa on hold while he was busy securing their financial stability.  He thought that he had it all figured out. He’ll work nonstop to achieve financial security until he longer have to worry about money and obligations and he can finally enjoy his time with Ewa.  He put a very important part of his life on hold never noticing that time passed him by so swiftly and that time has changed both him and Ewa. I don’t want to put  everything on hold while I was busy pursuing my ambitions, believing that I have enough time to do all the things I really want only to realize that there is no time left, that it’s too late. I vow that I will see to it that I do at least one thing that makes me truly happy everyday even if it’s as simple as eating my favorite food or browsing books in a library or bookstore.

It’s bad enough to read about serial killers but to know the victims first before they die is worse.   You know about their background, dreams, plans, you already like them then they’re dead, how George RR Martin.

There are some parts where it feels like Coelho was over describing everything and it would sound redundant.   There are also parts where the story kept my heart racing and my eyes is simply not fast enough to satisfy my curiosity like when I was so sure Igor will strike again and I was anxious to know who will fall this time; will it be Jasmine or Gabriella? And the confrontation between the three main characters; Igor, Ewa and Hamid was nerve-wracking.  I wasn’t sure whether Igor would kill both Ewa and Hamid or just one of them so that the other would suffer the loss.

I wasn’t clear why Igor believe that “destroying worlds” will be a clear message to Ewa. Maybe simply because he is a deranged sociopath and has his own version of  a perfect society.  He actually terrified me.  He is so unhinged from reality and doesn’t notice it.  He is so well versed in the art of killing and very wealthy he can basically get away with anything.

Another thing that felt like a lose string for me was the investigation of the killings.  Both Savoy and Morris are working really hard to solve the case (not that they care about the victims or justice but for the fame they will enjoy once they succeed) but its like they were forgotten at the end of the story.  Or probably that’s how it supposed to be.  My bad, for a while I thought I was reading a whodunit novel.

Paulo Coelho is one of my most favorite authors because he effortlessly tells a story while successfully interjecting thought-provoking questions.    I just love how his story flows.

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Boredom and Reading

This is a non-sense, stupid article and unless you are as bored as I am and willing to waste your precious time, I advise you to do something else.  Now you’ve been warned, read at your own risk.

You really have a boring life when you suddenly find yourself typing in Google Search the words“how to make life exciting/interesting?”.   bored gif photo: bored gif CC---bored.gifThat’s what exactly happened to me few seconds ago and I started laughing at myself, so freaking pathetic. That what happens when all you do is work, go home, and work again. Yes, I love my job but even annoying people and challenging tasks gets boring when its an everyday occurrence (stress is part of the job I signed up for). There is nothing wrong in falling into a routine; it makes life orderly, until you die from boredom.  I have so many “exciting” plans in life and they all require money, something that I have to spend wisely.  Without money, where do I go? I don’t like going to malls that much because I am only tempted to buy things I don’t have money for.  I wanted to go to a vacation for the longest time (alone or with family/friends) but then again I would need money.  Oh the things I could do with the abundance of money.  Most would say that even the richest people get bored with their life, so money is not the issue but I hope they introduce me those rich ones and ask them to give me their money, maybe that’s the source of their boredom. Maybe I just have to be creative and come up with things that will spice up my life without spending too much money.  Problem is I am not creative, so I might as well stop this non-sense.  Sometimes I want to slap myself.  I told you, this is a waste of time.

The only excitement I experienced was all from the books I’ve read. Thank God for all those talented, fearless, crazy authors that made my life so much better. Whatever adrenaline rush I felt I owe it all to them (unless you consider being able to squeeze in the train just before the door closes, I know it is an adventure every morning to come to work without losing your patience with the traffic everywhere and crowded LRT all the freaking time).

Through books I live dangerously, loved so passionately,  hated so viciously, fought violently, laughed unabashedly, flirt shamelessly, and of course traveled endlessly, whether through time or space.  I became someone else living somewhere else.  Reading gave me the chance to live as many lives as I can.  I felt almost every emotion there is through reading.

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I cannot imagine life without books.  Like the girl who can’t go to bed without a cup of tea in the song Little Things (the only One Direction song I actually like), I can’t go to sleep without reading; it’s a bad habit I developed through the years.  I am confused whether I really do suffer from insomnia or I am just making it up so I can stay up all night reading but I really can’t sleep without reading anything (usually a romance, my guiltiest pleasure) it puts me on a “serene zone” so that I can easily fall asleep.  Books soothe me, they make laugh and cry, love and hate, happy and miserable, cringe in horror, make me feel blessed and doomed, they cleanse and corrupt me, put me in tranquility or in turmoil, inspires and depresses me, make me feel proud or put me to shame, make a believer or bring out the skeptic in me.  Books remind me that life is beautiful and it may not be always easy but it’s worth living.  Reading is my solace.

Now I am not so bored at all, I actually feel better but I don’t think you feel the same way after reading this.   I told you so.