Book Reviews by Someone not Qualified to Review Books- Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi

Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi (Indiana Jones: Prequels #1)Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi by Rob MacGregor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been a long standing fan of Indiana Jones, so I decided to start the book series. My expectations were not very high, since books based on movie franchises are never usually that good, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this book.

Peril at Delphi introduces us to a post-“Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” but pre-movie Indy. I was skeptical about whether the author would get the character right, but I think he definitely did. Indy is just starting out in the world of extreme archaeology, so he lacks a bit of the charm we see in the movies and he still seems to be finding his feet. I really liked this, since this is a prequel after all. Indy himself was well written, and everything he said and thought still felt in-line with the character.

Sadly, none of the other characters were as well thought out as Indy. None of them really stuck with me except Dorian. While I liked her character, her motivations and personality seemed all over the place. That being said, I was not expecting such an interesting female character from a book this old, and I much preferred a somewhat flawed female character in this compared to a Mary-Sue or trophy woman character that are so common in older novels.

The writing itself is nothing spectacular, but it is clear and direct which I think works well in such an action orientated book. The action scenes sometimes lacked a bit, but it didn’t ruin the book.

All in all, it does feel like an Indiana Jones adventure and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. However, I do feel that this book may not appeal to everyone- only Indiana Jones fans and history buffs will likely appreciate the history/mythology based story, since asides from that it doesn’t bring much new to the table. But if you are an Indy fan, or enjoy a good pulpy archaeology adventure, this this is a definite read.

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Wisdom from an anxiety riddled, coffee fueled university student

Here I am, right now, back against a hard stone wall, holding a peanut butter sandwich close to my chest as I stare down the ibis who is slowly approaching in an attempt to steal my peanutty buttery goodness.  I don’t understand why it’s singling me out- I have by far the least impressive lunch of anyone around me.  He could go after the student with the Subway, or the sushi rolls, or the fancy Chinese curry, but no, he goes after me.

Just another hurdle in the life of university.

I am currently in my third and final year of my business degree at the Queensland University of Technology, and even though its my final year, i feel like it is the first year I’ve truly felt like a uni student.

But how does one “feel like a uni student?”

In my first year, uni felt like nothing more than advanced high school.  I didn’t understand the idea of “uni life” or “campus culture”

But now as I sit here on the veranda of the Old Government House (a once popular historical site now overrun by students), watching the throngs of hip young millennials go by (I too am a young millennial, but i am far from “hip”), I kind of understand these terms.  But I expect that everyone has a different idea of “uni life”.  But what does it mean to me?

To me, its an understanding and an acceptance that university is not a walk through the park.  Or it is a walk in the park, except the park is on fire and there’s a horde of zombies chasing you.  It’s getting up early and squeezing onto an overcrowded train.  Its walking across the bridge to the campus and gazing across at the city.  It’s turning up to your 9am lecture with a coffee in one hand and a weetbix breakfast biscuit in the other.  It’s losing your laptop to the precarious fold up chair tables when the hinges suddenly decide to stop working.  It’s staring at attractive students two rows down, and then looking away when they turn around.  It’s staring blankly at power point slides while the lecturer drones on, while you feel an odd combination of confusion, anxiety and occasionally, a glimmer of understanding that makes it worthwhile.  It’s making friends with people you would never expect to be friends with- from girls with perfect makeup and hair and rich boys with nice smelling cologne to scraggly bearded DOTA 2 players and kooky engineering students- I’ve befriended them all.  Why? Because we’re all in the same boat.  We’re from different walks of life, but uni doesn’t care about that- it’ll mess you up no matter what.

I may sound critical of university, but don’t get me wrong- its been some of the best years of my life.  Its the first time I’ve ever felt independent, and free to experience the world the way I choose.

So now I’ll open my textbook to chapter 3, chug my coffee and dread my tutorials.  And when I do, I’ll feel happy.  Because if there’s any way to describe uni:

 

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Lisa

My Melbourne Adventure Day 3: Rolling on the River

The next day we got up early for a morning stroll along the Yarra.  Again, we had abnormal and seemingly unnatural good weather.  I was almost upset that I hadn’t gotten to wear my new coat yet, which I had specifically bought for the trip.  Being the third day of the trip, it was the first day that I felt settled in the city.  Days and two just fly by so fast, and there is so much to take in that you don’t really feel like you’re there yet.  But on day three I finally did.  I could finally start to enjoy the city for what it was now that I was not overwhelmed by new sights and sounds.  The plan for today was a river cruise along the Yarra, but it did not depart till 10:30, and we still had time to spare.  Realizing we had not yet seen one of Melbourne’s most defining locations- Federation Square, we set our course there immediately.  We crossed the river at the northern (I think?  I literally had no sense of direction in Melbourne so we very well may have been going in a completely different direction) end of Southbank over a very old and very beautiful bridge to the figurative heart of Melbourne.

The square is an interesting area.  It is where old and contemporary Melbourne seem to collide.  Old buildings and churches sit side by side with the modern artsy building.  The square also offered me a view of the facade of the historic Flinder’s Street Station.  While my mum enjoyed the square, she found it a little too busy for her liking.  I actually kind of liked the hubbub of the square- you could see there were so many people of different walks of life all hurrying through that square.  As I said before- it was like the heart of the city and its lifeblood, it’s people, was continuously flowing through it and being pumped out to rest of the living city.

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After our foray to Federation Square, we headed back to meet our trusty river-going vessel.  The low floating boat was to take us on a scenic cruise up each reach of the river.  First, we headed upstream.  The leisurely pace was very relaxing, and we got some nice views of Melbourne’s botanic gardens, as well as the many sports stadiums in the city.  Yet on this part of the cruise we also saw grimy overpasses and muddy river banks- a reminder that even Melbourne did have a less aesthetically pleasing side, like all cities.

After seeing the upstream section of the Yarra, we turned around and headed back downstream.  After passing through Southbank again (which was fun to see from the water, especially with the dim winter sun and bright blue skies), we moved into the Harbour district (I think that is what it is called, note that it may have a different name).  This area was characterized by upper class expensive looking high rises and million dollar boats and yachts.  The homes along the water here gave a brief glimpse into the living conditions of the 1%.  Some of those boats alone probably costed twice as much as our house.  Eventually, this classy district gave way to the port.  Yachts and charter boats had been replaced by giant container ships and tugboats.  As someone who actually enjoys that “industrial port aesthetic”, I reveled in sight of huge silos and shipping crate loaders.  There’s just something very raw and productive about them.  At the end of the port is a huge bridge, which I have sadly forgotten the name of, but it was hard to miss as it was flanked by two monolithic support towers.  The bridge marked the end of the upstream journey, and we headed back through the docks and the rich people to Southbank.

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For the first time since we had arrived, we had some real time to rest and relax in the comfort of our room.  After a nice nap we ventured out for a walk in the late afternoon, hoping to capitalize on the good weather.  We went to look at the Penny Woodside- a 19th century tall ship that was on display at the Naval Museum.  As a fan of pre-2oth century, it was cool to see the ship, which’s design incorporated the older style sailing masts and a somewhat more modern metal hull.  It was a lovely afternoon as the sun went down- the clear blue skies meant a bright, clear orange sunset.  As the sky faded cinematically from blue, to orange, to dusky purple and navy, and then finally to black, the lights of the city came to life, reflecting in the mirror like waters of the Yarra.  Every light and every building was reflected almost perfectly in the still black water.

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That evening we decided to watch a movie in our room- James Bond Casino Royal.  I chose this film for obvious reasons- we were staying in a casino after all.  Melbourne also has a modern James Bond-esque sort of feel, with its shining skyline and upper class atmosphere.  It was easy to imagine a story of spies and espionage taking place in this modern city.  Trying to emulate bond, I had a few drinks that evening (shaken, not stirred) and found myself unfortunately awake sometime after midnight very unwell in the bathroom.  It seems long tiring days mixed with heavy alcohol do not mix.

Lisa