found my attention wandering a couple of times. all in all, witty enough to keep my interest nonetheless. a good effort. could've done with tighter plfound my attention wandering a couple of times. all in all, witty enough to keep my interest nonetheless. a good effort. could've done with tighter plotting, putting a bit more flesh and bones on the characters wouldn't have hurt either....more
taylor oh is one in a long line of cursed oh descendants. she can see ghosts. if one such ghosts touches her skin, she has to avenge its death by tra
taylor oh is one in a long line of cursed oh descendants. she can see ghosts. if one such ghosts touches her skin, she has to avenge its death by tracking down the killer and transferring the 'mark'. and do it fast. because otherwise the darkness will come for her and take her life instead.
"anubis is meant to be the reason for all this. my ancestor was a member of an expedition of ... i suppose you'd call them tomb robbers. they found nefertiti's tomb but it wasn't empty." [arc, 37%]
besides worrying about bullies like justin, who seems to have a special grudge against her. keeping up her grades and her constantly worrying wheel bound, widowed father. taylor has to be on the lookout for murderers and it's definitely a struggle, because time is running out and she never has a moment for herself.
life isn't easy being a non-caucasian girl, especially not when you are cursed on top of that. when justin, the person she hates most is dead .. she has to find his .. killer? taylor and justin team up and the closer they get to the truth, the closer the killer gets to making her his next victim.
where was justin hargreaves? why would he have run away? had something sinister happened? only i knew that he wouldn't be coming back. and i very much needed to speak to the dead bastard.
first things first. i can't write about the weight of souls without mentioning the fabulous cover. i mean, how many times have we seen a cover where a non-caucasian played the main lead and we actually get to see his/her face, but only parts of it or it's silhouetted?
yes, i thought so.
i love how the cover artist included relevant elements. and you can enjoy and bask in its glory too, because it's not an embarrassment to trot about with the book.
our female lead, taylor oh, is half-chinese. people take notice and there's always someone who has to make some oh-how-original-joke. but the author sadly didn't explore this aspect a bit more. it is mentioned that taylor oh is of chinese descent, but to quote s.e. smith & nijkamp: "it never comes up again, depriving characters of cultural context [..] i’d love to see fully developed characters, whose [ethnicity], while informing who they are, isn’t their only identifying marker but part of a complex set of characteristics."
suggestively he adjusted the crotch of his baggy jeans. "hey, look, it's lucy liu, innit? come for some real man, lucy liu?" [arc, 1%]
the narration is pretty clunky in that it contains a lot of info-dumpy inner monologues and extracts from the 'book of oh-fa' an ancient sort-of memoir of one the ancestors detailing the curse background (snooze). another quibble is the characterization, secondary characters needed more fleshing out, for me to actually believe they were more than cardboard characters:
"oh gawd, look who it is." the familiar drawl penetrated my eardrums like a dental drill. it was tamsin harper, she of the faux us accent, the fake blond hair and the fluffy angora jumpers. [arc, 4%]
i feel that there is just so much unmet potential, because it's not like the author infused the characters with pure evil. there were definitely moments were the characters showed remorse or at least other emotions than glee, hatred and malice. which brings me to the next point. we are told that taylor is sixteen, as we experience the unfolding events from taylor's pov, you can get a taste of how young she sounds and it reads like the account of a thirteen year old girl. and honestly i would've thought it was a middle grade book were it not for the book description that clearly states otherwise.
alas, it's just not a book that sticks and that is ultimately what bothered me the most. because the problem wasn't that it was bad. just mediocre. even for all the bad things i've listed, i can tell you that it has its moments of triumph and merits as well. i don't want to keep anyone from reading this. it has popcorn-entertainment value to be sure(view spoiler)[, though i skimmed a lot of the 'book of oh-fa' extracts because they were just so Zzzzzz (hide spoiler)].
random quotes: on the one hand i didn't know what was waiting for me but on the other, i had nowhere else to go. [87%]
(view spoiler)[i caught my breath. i ... liked justin. i explored the sensation as if i was probing a broken tooth with my tongue. [arc, 72%] (hide spoiler)]
arc was kindly provided by strange chemistry/angry robot through netgalley["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
i knew that i was in for a treat when i picked up handbook for dragon slayers. when we’re introduced to the heroine we quickly find out that she2.5/5
i knew that i was in for a treat when i picked up handbook for dragon slayers. when we’re introduced to the heroine we quickly find out that she has a deformity that stamps her an outcast making the people around her sign against the evil eye. mathilda is the princess of alder brook and a half orphan. when the story begins her protective mother is currently abroad. standing or walking for too long shows its effect on her lame foot and she needs to rest and massage it.
this is why she likes to read books and has high aspirations to go down in history as a famous writer if nothing else than to prove the people wrong about being a living curse roaming the earth. tilda is tired of her endless, repetitive duties and responsibilites that comes with being a princess and just wants to leave everything behind and start somewhere afresh.
as chance would have it her handmaiden judith and friend parz decide to slay a dragon. tilda plans to do something no has done before: write a handbook for dragon slayers. of course, things don’t exactly go as planned an she accidentally thwarts the wild hunt by freeing their silver and copper horses, befriending dragons, getting imprisoned by a bluebeard-like character who has his own hidden agenda … all the while saving alder brook from her greedy relatives.
what can i say? i liked tilda well enough, though i have to admit that i probably would not have picked this up if it weren’t for merrie haskell’s wonderful debut the princess curse which won me over with a wonderful heroine. tilda is a bit dull when compared to the princess curse‘s shining heroine reveka. but i have to admit that i am a sucker for dark fairy tales with hades-persephone touch and a dash of twelve dancing princesses. also, the villain in handbook for dragon slayers was not as multilayered as in princess curse and i like my characters grey not black and white.
as it is, the handbook for dragon slayers is a book that does its job by being adventurous and i should think appealing to both genders.
as far as fairy tales go, this one includes the expected and disappointing flat, 2-dimensional cast of characters. not a whole lot of plot and t2.25/5
as far as fairy tales go, this one includes the expected and disappointing flat, 2-dimensional cast of characters. not a whole lot of plot and thus simultaneously sparse text. and of course the happily-ever after with the prince.
the raven girl is the product of a raven and postman who fell in love. she is born as a raven who cannot speak the human tongue, but neither can she fly like she's always longed to. the raven girl goes to college and there by chance encounters someone who might be able to correct that 'mistake' ...
ah, about the art. well, the illustrations have a horrifyingly, ugly quality (gonna scan a page or two to showcase and emphasize my point soon) which i know is a really weird thing to say, as i love the overall book design of raven girl. ...more
forgive me father, for i have sinned. it’s been a long time since my last confession. these are my sins:
i bought rossetti’s goblin market and se1.75/5
forgive me father, for i have sinned. it’s been a long time since my last confession. these are my sins:
i bought rossetti’s goblin market and selected poems as an expensive a folio edition, because i enjoy a good story as much as thoughtfully crafted book design. plus i only understood fractions of it, the writing style is not much to my taste, but that might change if i understand the subtle undertones and messages the author is trying to convey.
this is it, you guys. you cannot get a better designed book if you’re looking for a collection of rossetti’s poems. and … holy shit, it’s just awesome because jillian tamaki illustrated it! [ see more ]
obviously the most famous of her poems is the goblin market. i had my first encounter with her work through laini taylor’s beautiful book lips touch: three times which can be discribed as a nod to rossetti’s poem. here some of my favourite lines:
two thoughts of death.
her heart that loved me once is rottenness now and corruption; and her life is dead [...] foul worms fill up her mouth so sweet and red; foul worms are underneath her graceful head. yet these, being born of her from nothingness these worms are certainly flesh of her flesh.
- p 114
buds and babies
a million buds are born that never blow, that sweet with promise lift a pretty head to blush and wither on a barren bed and leave no fruit to show.
sweet, unfulfilled. yet have i understood one joy, by their fragility made plain: nothing was ever beautiful in vain, or all in vain was good.
- p 100
life and death.
life is not sweet. one day it will be sweet to shut our eyes and die [...]
life is not good. one day it will be good to die, then live again. [...]
- p 72
when i was dead, my spirit turned to seek the much frequented house: i passed the door, and saw my friends feasting beneath green orange boughs [...]
and here we go with the next fairy tale .. i did not even notice how much i like reading picture books until recently when i checked out my bookshelve
and here we go with the next fairy tale .. i did not even notice how much i like reading picture books until recently when i checked out my bookshelves. this edition retold by laurel long & jacqueline k. ogburn and illustrated by laurel long was particularly difficult to acquire and it was only a used one at that (grr)!
the author's note states the following:
this grimm's fairy tale is also known as "the singing, springing lark. [..] the story combines "beauty & the beast" and "east of the sun, west of the moon." our retelling condenses the action, but we chose to follow the dramatic spirit of the ending of "east of the sun, west of the moon" in our treatment of the villain.
plot: a merchant promised his three daughters to bring home gifts. pearls for the first, gold for the second and a singing lark for the youngest of the three. when he stumbles upon a castle's garden with a singing lark, he immediately climbs the tree to fetch the bird and instead ends up bargaining with the lion that he may keep the lark and his life but must give up whoever greets him first at home. of course, the youngest daughter then has to go to the lion. they spend time together, fall in love and marry. she discovers that he is in fact a prince who has been cursed because he refused to marry the wicked enchantress. not only is he a lion by day and a human by night, but if a ray of candlelight touches him, he becomes a dove, forced to fly across the world for seven years. the lady is the actual hero/ine of the story for it is she who rescues the prince (hee). [ side note: neither the lion/prince nor the lady are given actual names ]
the book is richly illustrated with a lot of ornaments. the attention and love to detail that went into it, are apparent with a single glance. the illustrations are very dark and moody with bright splashes of color. the lady & the lion has an abstract feel to it, you will know what i mean when you take a look at them. the characters are bleh, but what it lacks in characterization and heart, it makes up in breathtakingly gorgeous pictures. it also seems as though its setting is somewhere in persia or northern india.