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CompleteMartialArts.com - Song of Kali


List Price: $15.95
Our Price: $11.16
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Manufacturer: Tor Books
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813.54
EAN: 9780312865832
ISBN: 031286583X
Label: Tor Books
Manufacturer: Tor Books
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 320
Publication Date: 1998-01-15
Publisher: Tor Books
Studio: Tor Books

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Editorial Reviews:

"O terrible wife of Siva / Your tongue is drinking the blood, / O dark Mother! O unclad Mother." It is remarkable that prior to writing this first novel, Dan Simmons had spent only two and a half days in Calcutta, a city "too wicked to be suffered," his narrator says. Fortunately back in print after several years during which it was hard to obtain, this rich, bizarre novel practically reeks with atmosphere. The story concerns an American poet who travels with his Indian wife and their baby to Calcutta to pick up an epic poem cycle about the goddess Kali. The Bengali poet who wrote the poem cycle has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Horror critic Edward Bryant calls Song of Kali "an exactingly constructed, brutal, and uncompromising study of the degree to which an evil place may permeate and steep all that makes us human" and writes that it embodies "the stance of a psychologically violent novel about a violent society as a defensible and indisputably moral work of art." Song of Kali won a World Fantasy Award. --Fiona Webster


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Great setting, shaky plot
Comment: The strength of this book is its stunning power of setting: the misery and festering evil that is this version of Calcutta. The scenes live and breathe and are vicarious fun to drift through - just like a movie.

However, the hero is extremely unlikable, constantly exploding like a five year-old prone to tantrums and impulsive behavior. Also, the plot has real credibility problems. Why did the hero take his wife and baby to such an awful place as Calcutta? He knew he was inconveniencing his wife (a math professor who had work to do), and he also knew that she, while Indian, was not steeped in the right culture to serve as an effective interpreter and guide for him.

Why? Well, obviously to put them in danger as a clumsy plot device. Ultimately, the plot problems capsize the interest of the setting. I wouldn't recommend this one unless you want to try a library copy first.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Disappointing
Comment: After reading the Hyperion and Iluim novels, I approached Kali with high expectations and was frankly disappointed. Maybe I'm jaded by images of human sacrifice, but reading Kali was like reading the novelization of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," minus the comedy.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Gut Wrenching
Comment: I picked this up to read on the plane during a recent vacation and couldn't put it down. Simmons' writing never fails to engage the reader. Song of Kali started off a little slow, but picks up the pace and drags you in; and down to places you probably don't want to go.

It would have rated 5 stars, but it seemed Simmons felt the need to soften the finale, which seemed a little out of place. Overall, this is an excellent story, and not one for the squeemish.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5
Summary: Racism, or just ignorance?
Comment: Wow... worst book ever written. It's depiction of one of India's holiest cities and it's inhabitants is deluded at best, and diabolically racist at it's worst. Not to mention how many Hindus (myself included) his depiction of our beloved Goddess, Kali Ma... Hindus definitely don't sacrifice people to Kali... most Hindus are at the very least semi-vegetarians. Disgusting anti-religious sentiment and racist hatred is what summarizes this book best.
Jai Sri Kali Mata!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Good, but overhyped.
Comment: I'll get to the point: the book is good, but not a masterpiece (understandably).

Regardless of what the hype on the back cover claims, this is not the scariest book out there. It's not the goriest, not the most depraved, not the most chilling. It's a fascinating view of a city that the book claims is rotten to the core accompanied by a mildly compelling storyline.

However, the story resolves itself suddenly without a satisfying conclusion or any real explanation of the book's events. It's an entertaining read, but not the 'masterwork' worthy of many re-reads like the 'Hyperion' books (by this author) are.

If you're looking for a horror novel, check out an early-mid Stephen King work. If you're looking for a fantasy (or sci-fi) novel, check Tad Williams, Terry Goodkind, J.R.R. Tolkien, or Ursula K. Leguin.


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