I read this quite awhile AFTER Goose Girl, so I had forgotten a few little bits here and there, but I still enjoyed it. Shannon Hale has quickly becomI read this quite awhile AFTER Goose Girl, so I had forgotten a few little bits here and there, but I still enjoyed it. Shannon Hale has quickly become one of my favorite authors, and although Enna Burning isn't AS GOOD as Goose Girl, that doesn't mean it's not good.
I don't have a ton to say about Enna Burning...:/ It's been a year or so since I read it, but I do remember that I liked River Secrets a bit more.
I'm hoping to read them all back to back soon, and when I do, I'll DEFINATELY update my review here ^^...more
I will admit that I didn't read the paper version of this book- I listened to the absolutely delightful full cast audio production instead.
Although II will admit that I didn't read the paper version of this book- I listened to the absolutely delightful full cast audio production instead.
Although I don't want to give too much away, I will say that I absolutely loved Shannon Hale's portrayal of a good, old fashioned fairy tale. In The Goose Girl, Hale manages to take a classic fairy tale and make it completely her own. The characters are great, and I just adore how Hale includes the same dark element that makes the "unedited" Grimm fairytales so intriguing. It's definately not for little kids!
It's been a few years since I read it, so my review is a bit spotty. I will say, though, that I look forward to rereading it very, very soon!...more
**spoiler alert** I was so psyched to read this installment of the Once Upon a Time Series that I went so far as to preorder it. Besides the fact that**spoiler alert** I was so psyched to read this installment of the Once Upon a Time Series that I went so far as to preorder it. Besides the fact that I was interested to see how the series would present a non-european tale, I was very excited because I'd never really heard the story of Mulan (disney film excluded, of course). I started off loving it, but by the end....let's just say I was a bit disappointed.
I have four main complaints:
1) Mulan never truly meets a foe she can't face. Although she does encounter obstacles, she seems able to pass by them with little more than luck and determination. As a result, it seems that things "come easy" to her, which subtracts greatly from her heroic deeds. Although it is clear she works hard for her skills, the author's desire to show Mulan as a determined strong woman overrides the realism of the story. We do not see Mulan frustrated because she can't hit a target, and we never hear about Mulan falling off a horse. In fact, if she could just keep quiet, it would seem this Mulan could do no wrong.
2) Because of the length of the book, important characters, such as Mulan's father, stepmother, her lover, or MOST importantly Prince Guang (who the author seemed to think was the main antagonist, despite the fact that he does NOTHING in the book) get almost no "screentime". Because of this, Mulan's "close" relationships with them seems forced, while relatively minor characters, (such as her childhood friend, Li Po) get a lot of mention, despite the fact that they play a minimal role in the story.
3) Part of the reason I read this series is because it presents me with a unique version of beloved fairy tales. My favorite books in the series are the ones that alter the "traditional" tale, either by changing the story itself (as is the case with Golden and The Crimson Thread), by placing the story in a non-traditional context (As Water Song did by taking the classic tale of The Frog Prince and setting the story in the middle of World War I), or by slightly altering an important aspect of or point of view in of the story. Perhaps this is just because I don't know the story well, but I felt that this version of Mulan had NONE of these qualities. Sure, there was a unique, independent, forward-thing heroine, but in every other way I assume this was a typical retelling of The Ballad of Mulan.
So it seems to me that the very fact that it is not a european story makes it "unique" enough to be included in the collection. And although the story's origin DOES make it special, I don't think being ethnically different from the other tales in the collection makes this story a truly unique retelling.
4) The book itself seems very unbalanced, with the first 50 pages alone focusing on Mulan's early childhood. Although I am normally a huge fan of backstory, in a book of less than 200 pages, the author does not have the leisure of using 1/4 of the book's volume just to discuss the protagonist's childhood. This is especially frustrating in this tale because these 50 pages seem to suggest something horrible looming in Mulan's immediate future- but in actuality, the arrival of her father and new stepmother are ultimately POSITIVE changes.
This, in and of itself would not necessarily ruin the book. However, the author adopts a rather leisurely pace, and so Mulan does not actually leave her home until page 112- leaving the heroine a mere 87 pages to establish herself as a soldier, meet the love of her life, worry about her hidden identity, experience camp life, see battle, fall in love, take down the Huns and save all of China. And yet, despite the small number of pages, the author manages to make Mulan's heroic deed and blossoming romance less interesting than the girl's quiet country childhood.
I can't say I hated the book. It was cute, and I did enjoy Mulan's narration- as misleading as it was. I also liked the "asian flavor" this story brought to the series, although it still seemed very European to me. But due to poor planning, the novel managed to be short AND meandering, which is, in my opinion, quite a feat. Perhaps this was Dokey trying to adopt a more eastern style of writing, or perhaps she was merely trying to stretch out a very short story. Whatever the case may be, I can honestly say this was not my favorite installment of the Once Upon A Time Series. Still, if you liked the Disney film, or are a fan of the series as a whole, you may want to pick this retelling up.
**spoiler alert** I personally loved this book, because as far as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast goes, it sticks close to the original/traditiona**spoiler alert** I personally loved this book, because as far as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast goes, it sticks close to the original/traditional tale, while giving a little more backstory and detail. I found this book's Belle really likeable, and I loved that Dokey decided to give her sisters depth, instead of just making them the typical evil sisters- beautiful, vain and self-centered.
I loved The Beast in this book, and the way he dealt with Belle. He was, in my opinion, exactly what The Beast should be. He's gruff but somehow desperate, strong but still vulnerable. And of course, I really loved the fact that he was not a prince in disguise, just an unfortunate cursed hunter! I would say he is one of my favorite "Beasts".
However, I do think the book also has several flaws. My biggest complaint is that The Once Upon A Time series ALREADY DID Beauty and the Beast a few years ago. As much as I love "Belle", I feel that the series should explore more obscure fairy tales before recycling their earlier tales. As much as I hated "Spirited" (the first version of B&B), it did possess one quality that "Belle" lacked- originality!
Unlike basically any of the others in this series, I felt that "Belle" lacked the peculiar twist that has made these stories so fun. It was not set in a unique setting, or in a strange age, and the author didn't see any need to update or tweak the tale. For all intents and purposes, "Belle" is the typical retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Belle's woodcarving aside, the story is just another incarnation of Beauty and the Beast. Although that's not necessarily a bad thing, I've come to expect the "twist", and I was rather disappointed to find this story was like any other retelling.
My last complaint is one that applies to nearly all of the "Once Upon a Time" books. I personally felt that this book was a bit too heavy with the setup/introduction, and, as a consequence had a very rushed conclusion. I blame the publisher for forcing the authors to keep their tales under a rather tiny word count. There are, of course, benefits to petite novels, but in this case, I felt that cutting the length actually hurt the book. By making it so short, Belle didn't have much "screen time" with her Beast, which, to me, made it a little unbelievable when she realized she was madly in love with him. I could never see myself falling in love that quickly or that easily!
Still, I was pleased with the tale, despite it's flaws. It may not be inventive and new, but I think it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. It retells the classic tale from a slightly new perspective, for a young adult audience!
I can't wait for the next installment, starring Mulan!...more
I just poured my guts out about the first book, so I'm a bit drained. However, I will say that fans of The Lioness Quartet will enjoy the strong, deteI just poured my guts out about the first book, so I'm a bit drained. However, I will say that fans of The Lioness Quartet will enjoy the strong, determined Kel as she overcomes prejudice and sexism in order to protect the innocent, whether they be people, animals, or immortals.
As soon as I finished First Test, I had to run and get the sequel, which I devoured in about two hours. Although the format is a bit strange (the book takes place over the course of four years, instead of one like the first book) the romances that crop up over the course of the book, along with the introduction of Lalasa, made this my favorite, so far. ...more
So far I find it an amusing and thoroughly entertaining read. The amount of time Clarke has put into this story (and those beastly footnotes!) is imprSo far I find it an amusing and thoroughly entertaining read. The amount of time Clarke has put into this story (and those beastly footnotes!) is impressive.
I will admit that it is quite long, and wordy in many spots, but that adds to its charm. My only real complaint is that I find it very difficult to get into (at this point). I love it and I find it very clever, but it is NO page turner, but I suppose that's part of the beauty of it. I would have finished it ages ago, if only it compelled me to read it. It's way too easy to lose my place and stop reading for a week, and then I forget everything that happened. ...more
I JUST finished this book, and I must say, I LOVED it. I bought it on a whim last week (I really liked the cover illustration, and the "complete" titlI JUST finished this book, and I must say, I LOVED it. I bought it on a whim last week (I really liked the cover illustration, and the "complete" title made me grin), and when I started reading it, I nearly groaned. I figured it would just be another one of those books with a unique, witty/strong character who ends up changing/becoming like EVERY other heroine. Fortunately, Flora stays true to her character from start to finish. At the beginning, she's a bit icky, and thankfully, no fairy godmother turns her into a swan. At the end of everything, she's still the same old Flora, just in a dress, with curled hair and a bit more gumption.
Her world and its warlike lifestyle, along with its view on magic is VERY unique. To be honest, I haven't encountered something so bizarre,foreign and immersive since I encountered Rowling's Wizarding World.
I will say my only regret is that I didn't pick up Flora Segunda later....but only because I hate waiting for sequels to come along!!...more
**spoiler alert** Although I rated the first book in the Sisters Grimm series a solid four stars, I feel that it actually falls a little between three**spoiler alert** Although I rated the first book in the Sisters Grimm series a solid four stars, I feel that it actually falls a little between three and four stars. It was a fun read, but a little too predictable and typical fractured fairy tale for me to truly consider it a genius piece of children's fiction.
What I liked:
+Sabrina, the book's main protagonist is super suspicious and skeptical. Oh, and negative. I suppose some people might find this annoying, but I found it a nice break from
+ The way the author reimagined many of the fairy tale characters was quite enjoyable and interesting. I especially liked how she included fairy tale characters from many cultures (Baba Yaga, Shere Khan, etc), mythical creatures, and even popular characters from slightly modern tales - (Alice and Wonderland; King Arthur; Wizard of Oz, just to name a few)
+ Elvis the dog. Plain and simple. Even if he is...well, essentially, Scooby Doo.
What I did not like:
+ I felt this book was far too similar to Brendan Mull's Fablehaven series. I'm not sure WHICH was published first, but I much preferred Mull's take on the whole "fairy tale guardian" idea.
+ The author seems to have borrowed her character descriptions NOT from the original text, but from more mainstream sources (i.e. taking character descriptions for the Wizard of Oz from the movie, not the books)
+ Although this may certainly be developed in further adventures, I felt that the author overused certain stories/tales (Wizard of Oz, Three Little Pigs, Snow White), while ignoring the existance of many other popular tales (Rumplestiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, etc). It seemed a little unbalanced- like Ferryport was made up just of characters from a select few myths. This might be adjusted in forthcoming books, but it did strike me as odd.
+ The presumed dead parents turning out to be KIDNAPPED angle. I didn't like it much in The Overlander Chronicles, I hated it in Charlie Bone, and I don't much like it here, either.
One of the best things about the book was the lighthearted, silly tone the author used. In particular, the initial meeting with Grandma Grimm had me giggling. All in all, a really fun read. I'm looking forward to the next book to see how the author handles the series- hopefully, he'll be able to keep them lighthearted, interesting, and perhaps even take the series in a different direction from Fablehaven....more
I'd been meaning to start this series for years, but had accidentally picked up the thrilling Last Apprentice series, instead (I regret nothing!). AtI'd been meaning to start this series for years, but had accidentally picked up the thrilling Last Apprentice series, instead (I regret nothing!). At my friend's urging, I decided to look into the series, and started the first book last week.
Although I found the first book in the series enjoyable, I failed to see how the series had become so popular. It was a good story with great characters, but I honestly found the books slow and a bit boring (since I'm no tactician). Since it was lying around, I decided to give book 2 a try. I wasn't expecting much. Let's just say I started it at 2:30 AM and didn't put it down until I finished.
It occurs to me now that book 1 was so lackluster because it was merely an introduction. It's clear that Flanagan knows what he's doing and knows how to set up a good story. He's also a master at setting the right tone and for making sure that all characters get screentime.
Honestly, the only thing that disappoints me is the fact that I don't have the third book on hand!...more
**spoiler alert** I'm rating this book four stars because it was a fun, breezy read. Although the free-verse poetry format bothered me at first, I qui**spoiler alert** I'm rating this book four stars because it was a fun, breezy read. Although the free-verse poetry format bothered me at first, I quickly grew to enjoy it. By no means is this tale storytelling at its best, but I really respected both the author's attention to her chosen medieval setting, and her willingness to "change the ending" of beloved Arthurian tales like Tristan and Isolde, The Lady of Shalott, and the Romance of Guinevere and Lancelot.
I felt the author did a good job describing the confusions that come with love, although I wish the tale could have a bit more "action". And last of all, I'm happy to finally find a tale about Elaine where she DOESN'T end up dead.
So for all these things, I'm giving Song of the Sparrow 4 stars....more
I absolutely adore books, and devour somewhere between four to nine books a week, every week. When I'm not reading, I'm working at the local library.I absolutely adore books, and devour somewhere between four to nine books a week, every week. When I'm not reading, I'm working at the local library. So when I say this is my absolute favorite book, that means that it is my favorite out of literally thousands of books of every genre, length and age. This book is absolutely stunning. At times, it's a comedy, at others, a love story, and sometimes its even a spiritual book (although not in the typical christian sense).
The dialogue, as is typical of Neil Gaiman, is brilliant, and the humor is positively outstanding, but that's not what hooked me. What got me is the characterization of the gods and the way that Gaiman portrays the struggle between old ways/nature and technology/progress. I can honestly say that I own two copies of this book and have read it, cover to cover, at least 12 times. And every time I read it, it's like I'm reading it for the first time. This book is so complicated, and dense, I simply can't summarize it for you. So please, read the summary!
Also, please be aware that this is not a book for the faint of heart! There is a fair share of realistic dialogue, often involving swearwords. There are also a few (somewhat graphic) sexual encounters, as well as a bit of violence, so I would NOT reccomend this book for impressionable individuals (i.e. kids under 16), or people who are easily offended! This book explores many pagan religions and mythologies, so if you're opposed to learning about foreign gods and religions this is NOT the book for you. Still, if you are willing to approach this book with an open mind, you will enjoy it thoroughly!
Would I recommend this book to a friend? Actually, I already have, six times, and each person who read it loved it (or at least, grudging admitted it was better than they expected :p). Give it a try!...more
After he dissapears into The Underland a second time, Gregor's mom refuses to let him visit or communicate with The Underlanders. Unfortunately, whenAfter he dissapears into The Underland a second time, Gregor's mom refuses to let him visit or communicate with The Underlanders. Unfortunately, when a deadly plague begins to attack the Warmbloods belowground, Gregor is (literally) forced to return to The Underland with his mother and sister, Boots, in tow. Gregor, Temp, Boots, and Ripred journey to an ancient jungle in search of the cure before time runs out.
This book is a bit different than the others. Due to the events in book 2 (The Prophecy of Bane), the group dynamic is significantly altered, and the government of Regalia seems on the brink of war. Still, what I liked best about this book, and the series in general is that Suzanne Collins doesn't present things as black or white. She depicts the grey area, and this is very prevalent in this book. I think she questions the definitions and stereotypes of the typical "good vs. evil" theme, which is very refreshing. I love that she is able to portray villains or "enemies" as real people, with families, dreams, and needs, instead of just faceless demons. In the third book she completely turns everything upside down, twists the plot, and makes Gregor question just whose side he's on.
I believe that through her books, Collins is encouraging people to think about war, hatred, and racism and to question stereotypes. And that's definately worth something. This series is a must-read!...more