Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Skammertegnet by Lene Kaaberbøl

This is the second book in the series about the Shamer's daughter. The title of this one translates to The Shamer Sign, or something along those lines.

Unlike the first book, this one hasn't been made into a film, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happened. From what I understand the first film did very well in Danish cinemas. Well, I quite liked it anyway.

The second book follows both Dina and her brother Davin, with the POV alternating between the two. The family has relocated to a highland country to get away from Drakan. Unfortunately they are still not safe as Drakan via a relative, the equally unpleasant Valdracu, continues to stir up trouble. Valdracu manages to kidnap Dina and Davin learns a lot about himself and about growing up as he tries to rescue his sister.

I think all in all I liked the first book better than this one, probably because I was never entirely keen on Davin's chapters. The boy just annoyed me. Oh, probably he was being pretty typically teenager, but he just kept making really stupid decisions. I would much better have liked to have heard more about Dina, really.

Valdracu seemed a little over the top as a villain. Mind you, Drakan, in the first book, was also a bit over the top, but we know a little about his motives and why he's just generally messed up. We don't know anything about Valdracu at all except that he's just plain and simple old-fashioned evil. I wonder if more details about him will come to light in the other books, but I'm not really holding my breath for it. As evil as he is, I get a sort of 'small fish' vibe from him.

I still enjoyed the book. It had a few fairly predictable twists here and there, but on the other hand I'm probably rather older than the target audience anyway. I can easily imagine being completely blindsided by a few of them if I'd read the book twenty years ago.

Sunday, 10 January 2016


We're not really very good at board games. I would love to play some, and would be willing to try almost anything. Husband is more discerning, so finding some that we would both enjoy and which doesn't take forever to play with just two participants can be a little difficult.

Then Husband saw this one, Patchwork. It's designed for two people and takes about 20-30 minutes to play. It didn't even cost very much, so in a fit of decisiveness he bought it.

The object of the game is to build a quilt. You get to choose between three different patches, which you pay for with buttons, place them on your quilt board and finally move your piece on the time board. The time board also have a number of event squares, and if you land on them, you can get either more buttons, depending on the buttons on your quilt patches, or a one square special patch for your quilt.

There are a number of things to consider while deciding what to do with your turn. Which of the three pieces available can I afford? Which fit on my quilt board? Do any of the patches have buttons on them? How many moves do I get to do on the time board and will I pass any special event squares? In principle, it's a really simple game. In practise, although not difficult to play, you do rather a lot of thinking.

When your pieces reach the end of the time board, your quilt score is tallied up. You get points for the number of buttons you have as well as the number of buttons on your quilt patches, and you get penalised for empty squares on your quilt board.

We've only tried playing it once so far, but already now we're seeing how we could have played our turns better or just differently. We both enjoyed playing it and will definitely play again. It's our hope that we can have it as a recurring Sunday afternoon activity with our coffee.