I try not to read sequels as they come out. With the exception of every Harry Potter book (yes, I attended three of the midnight release parties) andI try not to read sequels as they come out. With the exception of every Harry Potter book (yes, I attended three of the midnight release parties) and Breaking Dawn (which I bought two weeks after it was released), I wait until an entire trilogy, quartet or series are released in paperback before starting the first one. Like the Faerie Wars or the Derkholm books. I mean, I’m a Tamora Pierce junkie, but I'm still waiting to start the Terrier series.
(Note on paperback v. hardback – it’s a preference thing. Yeah, hardbacks are more expensive, at first, but mostly they’re too cumbersome and unwieldy. I love the way a paperback nestles in my hands, bending slightly to my touch.)
A series of events ensued which resulted in my storming out of the house and to Target, just to get away from the insanity that surrounds my toddlers. I For escapist fiction, my choices were Eldest by Christopher Paolini or The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. I’ve read Eragon, but not The Golden Compass.
Yeah, I bought Eldest.
It went against my nature to do so, despite the fact that I bought it in paperback. But I figured that since the final book, Brisingr, was due within a few weeks (it was released today, September 20), I’d go ahead and read Eldest, even if it meant I bought Brisingr as a hardback.
And then DAMMIT if I didn’t find out too late that Brisingr is NOT the last book in the series – that there’s a fourth and final installment.
I’d read Eragon because I was keenly jealous of child-prodigy self-publisher Christopher Paolini. He began writing the book when he was 15, finished it when he was 19, and then self-published and marketed it before Knopf snatched it up. I was....ambivalent about Eragon. It was...okay.
When they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I don’t think it was a blanket acceptance of plagiarism. By the time I read Eldest, I expected the familiar plots, the Middle Earth sounding names, the slightly stilted language, the Star-Wars-type rebellion. I even started making a list.
And those are just the words that sound the same. (Ra’zac=Nazgul, anyone?)
Paolini has grown leaps and bounds as a writer, however. His dialogue, which has always been decent, really shines in Eldest. Further, he’s successfully tackled the challenge of interweaving different story lines. His characterization has gotten much tighter, showing in the actions more than in too much description. The relationship between Eragon and Saphira continues to be endearing, showing Paolini's mature grasp of intimate friendship in a really delightful way.
Eldest continues the tale of Eragon, country-boy-turned-Dragon-Rider, who has joined forces with the rebel band to overthrow the evil Darth Vader….er, I mean, King Galbatorix. In addition to Eragon’s story, Paolini develops the story of Roran, Eragon’s cousin. Roran, another country boy, defends the village when the Ra’zac come looking for Eragon, and helps evacuate when it’s clear that’s the only choice left for the villagers. Their exodus story juxtaposes nicely with Eragon’s journey to Ellesme’ra to develop his magic under the tutelage of Obi-Wan Kenobi, er, Oromis.
I hate to admit it, but I really, really enjoyed Eldest. While I’m not going to any midnight release parties for Brisingr, I certainly will be buying it (in paperback. After the fourth book is released in paperback.) I love the Inheritance Cycle so far. It’s enchanting; while familiar, it’s escapism at its best.
It’s like the CW’s new show, Privileged. I want to hate it, but I just can’t. I mean, come on, Paolini was homeschooled. Every time I think of it a new geek joke springs to mind. (And I have the right to tell geek jokes, as I am one. And blonde jokes, as I am one – well, artificially, anyway)
But, as someone pointed out to me, Paolini has a legitimate “runnin’-with-the-big-boys”** contract. Complete with paycheck. And a pretty decent book in the process. Here’s hoping Brisingr continues the trend.
Stunningly, bracingly fantastic, grotesque in its beauty, harsh and honest and breathtaking. I read it in two hours. Unforgettable and impossible to pStunningly, bracingly fantastic, grotesque in its beauty, harsh and honest and breathtaking. I read it in two hours. Unforgettable and impossible to put down. Run, run, run and get your copy now. ...more
This book is a good example of why I wait to read series (more about that soon, in my review of Eldest). Action-packed, an original voice, sharp charaThis book is a good example of why I wait to read series (more about that soon, in my review of Eldest). Action-packed, an original voice, sharp characters (although not so much as a mention of Henry's mother's lesbian affairs), but not resolved. For that, of course, you have to read the next book. *sigh*...more
Kira-Kira tells the story of two Japanese-American sisters in mid-20th century Georgia. I appreciated the perspective and information of the challengeKira-Kira tells the story of two Japanese-American sisters in mid-20th century Georgia. I appreciated the perspective and information of the challenges these families of ethnic minority had to face, but what I loved was the interplay between the sisters. It was that relationship that connected with my heart, and left tears streaming down my face at their challenges. It's a pretty quick read for an adult, very emotional, very informative. A great book to give as a gift to a mid-grader or to read with your own....more
I ordered "Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy" from PaperbackSwap.com, as an afterthought. I had never heard of it, but it had the Newbery, so I thI ordered "Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy" from PaperbackSwap.com, as an afterthought. I had never heard of it, but it had the Newbery, so I thought I'd try it out.
Oh, my. I can't recommend this book enough. The writing itself leaves me speechless. The characterizations, the excellent balance of action and introspection, the dialogue are all completely flawless.
Then there's the story - a tale of a small Maine town at the turn of the 20th century, and the 13-yr-old minister's son who has just relocated there. Although he wants to move back home to Boston, he meets a girl just his age named Lizzie. Their friendship defies everyone's expectations, and changes his entire life.
The backstory of the race relations is true; the rest is fiction, but it seems like the quiet, deft tale handed down age to age, hand to hand. It's truly a brilliant, lovely piece of literature....more
The story of Adelia of Salerno, a twelfth century doctor and expert in the science of death, Mistress of the Art of Death is a fun, well-paced, medievThe story of Adelia of Salerno, a twelfth century doctor and expert in the science of death, Mistress of the Art of Death is a fun, well-paced, medieval mystery. Very enjoyable....more
SUMMARY When Sapphire's father disappears, most people say he's been drowned, although the more vicious of the townspeople say he ran off with anotherSUMMARY When Sapphire's father disappears, most people say he's been drowned, although the more vicious of the townspeople say he ran off with another woman. But neither Sapphy or her brother Conor believe either story. Raised on the coast of Cornwall, they have an intimate connection to the sea and her mysteries. Neither of them realizes quite how intimate. When Sapphire feels an irresistible call to the ocean, she must choose where her loyalties lie - to her Air family and the brother whom she adores, or to Ingo, whose power thrums in her veins.
MY OPINION When I stumbled upon it in a Paperback Swap, the premise of Ingo appealed to my YA-fantasy-genes. Unfortunately, the execution is a little weak. The characters are not fully described, so that when one of them (Sapphy, frequently) does something that shows a complexity of heart and mind, I wasn't quite sure how we'd gotten to that place. There are some really lovely moments, like Sapphire mentally connecting to a dolphin while riding it, or a conversation her brother Conor has with honeybees. There are also some awkward moments. Sapphire, frankly, drones on and on about her connection to the ocean, but when her mother's new boyfriend suggests Sapphire should have the dog she's always wanted, Sapphire rethinks her loyalty to Ingo.
Overall, this is a more mature and vivid, almost mystical, view of merpeople than, for example, The Tale of Emily Windsnap." It has the poignant sadness of the original version of "A Little Mermaid," and it reflects Dunmore's deep, abiding love and respect for the sea.
By the way, I found a particularly vile review on Amazon, and had to respond to it. The reviewer (from Georgia) warns that the contents of the book are junk and will cause the reader to go straight to hell. Why she's letting her children read books at all is beyond me, but in my response, I used the word "villipend"!!