I liked this one a bit more than the first, but I'm not sure if that's because the adaptations or better, or just because I like these stories bett3.5
I liked this one a bit more than the first, but I'm not sure if that's because the adaptations or better, or just because I like these stories better.
That said, I wasn't in love with the almost-realistic-but-not art of the second story, and the last story didn't have the same emotional punch as when I read it. (Not sure if this is because of what it loses in removing prose, or just because I knew it as coming.)
Overall, this is probably one of the better GN adaptations of a book I've read, but I think I'll stick with the prose book for my next reread.
(Also, this could seriously have been released as one book. I can't help but feel breaking it into two volumes is something of a money grab - but, then, I got them from the library, so no skin off my nose, I guess. That said, I'd probably buy the book to have it if it is one instead of two.)...more
This book was definitely just ok for me. I don't know if it's the writing style, or just the sheer predictability of the story, but I just never got iThis book was definitely just ok for me. I don't know if it's the writing style, or just the sheer predictability of the story, but I just never got invested. I never felt any real sense of danger or mystery or awe or anything, and more often than not I neded up frustrated with Lucy who, while presented as being a strong and intelligent character, often misses that which is in front of her face. Also, all of the obstacles and whatnot just seemed too easy, ultimately - and I was disappointed in the ending, which I thought might be (view spoiler)[bittersweet but which ended up a bit too twee. Yes, I know it's a kid's book, but, still... (hide spoiler)]
I will say I can see younger readers enjoying the story more, and there are some lessons woven into the story from the environmental to the personal, as Lucy learns to trust others and not always think she's right.
Anyway - can't say much about this one because, frankly, it didn't leave a strong enough impression for me to even recall that much about it not even two weeks later.
I got no one but myself to blame on this one. I ignored all the reviews talking about the wooden writing and clunky dialogue and flat characters becauI got no one but myself to blame on this one. I ignored all the reviews talking about the wooden writing and clunky dialogue and flat characters because the premise sounded cool, and I rationalized that I'm often in the minority in books - often being less than impressed with many a book with rave reviews - and figuring it could work in reverse, too.
Well, it didn't.
Go read the other two star reviews, who encapsulate the issues with the book. About how everything is way too easy, and obvious, and, worst of all, how the interesting premise is squandered with boring writing.
That said, I did comment to my husband that Lewis seems to have been better about the gender roles and thThis story is true goodreads two - it was ok.
That said, I did comment to my husband that Lewis seems to have been better about the gender roles and things in this one, giving us a decent female character in both Avaris and a bit of Lucy - though I did have to raise my eyebrow at the (view spoiler)[line about Lucy being almost as good as a man, or at least a boy... but how Susan is more girly, setting up the whole thing that happens with Susan later (hide spoiler)].
But don't fret, because in place of the gender roles issues is a nice dose of racism - where the brown-skinned Calamorens (sp?) are barbaric and tyranical and have slaves and are smelly and stupid, whereas the lovely white-skinned Narnians are noble and awesomesaucetastic.
There is less preachiness in this book, though, which is good - though, of course, Aslan ex Machina still saves the day at all the crucial moments.
Mostly, though, this story was just not that remarkable. I generally sort of forgot that I was reading it when I wasn't actively doing so, and would be reminded when I saw it on my currently-reading shelf. I've come to the conclusion that Lewis simply isn't a very good writer - or, I guess I should say just not my cuppa.
Two more to go. I'm so looking forward to Armageddon... (and I can't decide if I mean this as sarcasm or irony). ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
At the start of the story I was generally enjoying it - despite the constant little digs at the school which show Lewis' political leanings and whatnoAt the start of the story I was generally enjoying it - despite the constant little digs at the school which show Lewis' political leanings and whatnot, it was generally a nice adventure story without quite as much preachiness as some of the last stories, especially Dawn Treader.
Sure, there were some moments - but I liked that the kids were allowed to make mistakes and had to deal with the consequences of them, as opposed to Dawn Treader where (view spoiler)[Lion-Jesus constantly showed up to stop them making mistakes all the time (hide spoiler)]. (I really didn't like Dawn Treader... )
And while I found both kids kind of annoying, Eustace was a far cry from being as annoying as he was before. And I liked Puddleglum. The juxtaposition of his doom and gloom attitude with the notion that he was excitable for a Marshwiggle amused me.
But as the story continued I found myself a bit more irritable with the goings on, especially all the stuff with the giants, and then the happenings in the underground, which were all telegraphed from a mile away. (Yes, it's a kids story and, sure, kids might not be as quick on the uptake - but I found the crossover appeal lacking, at least partially because it was just so predictable).
So, anyway -
I'll put this at 2.5, on the level with Prince Caspian. An ok enough story, but I was glad it was over - and even started skimming a bit towards the end.
ETA: I had read somewhere that some of the gender role stuff gets better in the later books, but it was still pretty damn strong in this one... so I'm guessing this doesn't count as a later book?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Aside from the fact that at the beginning of this book Eustace is more annoying than Book 1 Edmund, I was generally enjoying the story. How Lucy &Aside from the fact that at the beginning of this book Eustace is more annoying than Book 1 Edmund, I was generally enjoying the story. How Lucy & Edmund & Eustace get pulled into Narnia in this one make for pretty exciting reading, and I liked the first parts of the journey. It was nice to see Caspian and Reepicheep again, especially.
Once again, however, everything seemed to come a bit too easily and conveniently, such as (view spoiler)[Caspian being sold as a slave only to find out the man who bought him is one of the lords he's looking for, and they quickly turn around and take back the island (hide spoiler)]- and the worst parts were the constant deus ex machinas (though I'm not sure that's the right term in this case).
I suppose a certain amount of divine intervention is to be expected in a story of this ilk - part adventure story, part allegory - but the fact that it pretty much happens every time something starts to happen was pretty annoying, and makes for a boring adventure story. It's like you never have to deal with the fall-out of anything because most anything bad gets stopped before it really gets started... (or 'bad' things end up being good, like when (view spoiler)[Eustace gets turned into a dragon and almost instantaneously becomes a better person (hide spoiler)].)
Still, I was mostly on bard, if a bit irritated at times, until about halfway through when the book just lost steam. Or maybe I lost steam. Either way, by the time I got finished I was just counting down the pages, waiting for it to be over.
In the group I'm reading this for someone mentioned that Lewis seems to have a problem with telling over showing, and I think that that might be a lot of it. I never really feel very connected to what's going on. Part of this is because, as above, everything's just too easy - but a part of it is also from the distance to the sory created by the writing. I find myself wondering how much of it is due to the time period it was written in - writing styles change, for instance, and I'm not entirely sure when the preference for showing over telling became en vogue. Lord knows there are other things that are attributed to the time period (and Lewis' beliefs) - like the deeply ingrained gender roles - and I wonder how much of the writing is equally a product of its time.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
In the beginning, or, well, towards the beginning - specifically during Caspian's story - I was really enjoyinI'm a bit torn on how to rate this book.
In the beginning, or, well, towards the beginning - specifically during Caspian's story - I was really enjoying it, even more than the first book. It was kind of a typical sort of adventure story, what with the thwarted princling trying to recapture his rightful title and all, but perhaps that's what I liked about it. It felt real and honest and familiar.
But I didn't like the parts with the Pevensie kids as much. Edmund was better in this book, and I liked (view spoiler)[how he stuck up for Lucy, learning from his mistakes in the first book (hide spoiler)], though I was less enamored with the whole (view spoiler)[D.L.F. thing (hide spoiler)].
Susan was really annoying in this book. Of course, she annoyed me a bit in the first book, too, when (view spoiler)[she was harping on at Mrs. Beaver to hurry up and leave, and never apologizing or said thank you when they had something to eat because Mrs. Beaver was the only one with any forethought to get provisions. (hide spoiler)] In this book she was just so (view spoiler)[whiny and annoying - though, in fairness, I did understand her point sometimes, especially when being woken in the middle of the night and being told to follow the invisible lion. I'd be rather cranky at that point, too - but, then, waking me is generally not a pleasant thing to behold... (hide spoiler)].
But, really, I think it was more the message of the story that annoyed me. While I spoke in my review of the first book about how there were as many pagan elements as Christian ones, and in some ways that's even more true in this book what with Bacchus and all, on the other hand I felt rather beat over the head with the whole blind faith thing.
I'm not really much a one for blind faith, so perhaps that's why the P-parts of the story irritated me so. I mean, on one hand, I do think they should've given Lucy some trust, all things considered, and, in some ways, that's not really blind faith 'cause they had reasons to trust her. On the other hand, though, I couldn't help but feel that so much of the story was "faith in things unseen" that I felt a bit weary of it by the end.
And then, once again, the ending felt a bit too twee and easy, as it did in the first book. When it was Caspian and his group, the battle felt real and meaningful. Once Lord Pompous shows up, though, it's all a lark in the park.
Ok, not really, but that's how it felt.
I still plan on continuing the series, partially 'cause they're so short, partially out of curiosity, but mostly because it's a group thing. If I'd picked these up on my own, I might be more inclined to throw in the towel.
That said, I do kinda wanna see how the books play out when the P-quartet are less present - though, if I recall correctly, the one kid in the next book is really annoying... so that should be fun...
2 1/2 overall
3 - 3.5 for the Caspian backstory part 2 for everything else["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
First and foremost - what was up with that ending! Freaking cliffhanger thing! Ugh!
I enjoyed this story. It's a quick, light read and, unlike it's preFirst and foremost - what was up with that ending! Freaking cliffhanger thing! Ugh!
I enjoyed this story. It's a quick, light read and, unlike it's predecessor which I had said was a bit darker than I expected, this one was more on the light side all around. Even the villain seemed a more hindrance than a real threat (though we'll see what comes in the next book).
There wasn't much in the way of character growth, I don't think, except for on the part of Lilah, which was kinda cool to see. I also enjoyed the bits with Lulath.
But this story is mostly about Celie and the griffin, and trying to find out secrets about the Castle, as it starts acting all out of sorts, and they want to find out what's wrong.
It was a fun story, and I'm definitely curious about the nuggets of history we learned, and where it will lead Celie and Co.
My one gripe is that it's never really explained why (view spoiler)[the Castle wants to keep Rufus secret from everyone. I guess it's mostly 'cause of Wizard Arkwright, but stop everyone else from knowing? And then nothing really happens when they do find out - so was there really any purpose to it? (hide spoiler)] I really hope that's answered in the next book, 'cause otherwise it just seems like a weakly played out plot device.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A 'classic' that I read as a child and am now reading again for a group read. I liked it well enough, but I did think it was a bit twee. Everything seA 'classic' that I read as a child and am now reading again for a group read. I liked it well enough, but I did think it was a bit twee. Everything seemed just a little too easy and most of the bad stuff got glossed over pretty hard. I understand it's a kid's book, but I feel it's definitely a bit dated by both it's writing style and some of its content - specifically the enforcement of gender roles and stereotypes.
But, still, it's not as bad as it could've been, and it does make for light, quick reading.
One thing I was pleasantly surprised about was how much pagan mythology and themes can be found mixed in with the Christian ones. I mean, everyone knows how these books are often read and touted as Christian allegory, though Lewis himself said he wrote them as fairy stories and the Christian aspects sort of just snuck in, as it were - but I think that, for those inclined to see them, there are just as many pagan elements to the story to be found. There're the obvious bits of the mythological creatures and whatnot, but there's also a lot of seasonal symbolism and the light/dark halves of the year and whatnot.
I wasn't planning on continuing the series when I started reading this, but I am a bit curious. I can't honestly remember if I read the whole series as a kid, though I know my dad had all the books. I might continue, especially if they continue to be this short....more
Not necessarily my favorite book of the series, but I did find it a fitting conclusion as things come full circle and Will is now the grizzled grey3.5
Not necessarily my favorite book of the series, but I did find it a fitting conclusion as things come full circle and Will is now the grizzled grey-beard taking on an apprentice which opens him back up to the world. (I had sort of guessed what the "senseless tragedy" referenced in the blurb was from several of the reviews - so, thanks for that... )
One thing which kept distracting me is I was trying to think of timelines and ages. According to Wiki, Flanagan has said this last story takes place 16 years later - so if we take it 16 years after the first book, Will would be 31. I guess he just went grey early. ^_^
I enjoyed watching Maddie go from a spoiled brat to a disciplined Ranger. It was cool seeing Will as a mentor - repeating many of the lessons and habits picked up from Halt, including a wry sense of humor, but still infused with his own personality.
I found the storyline a little predictable and drawn out in places, but the ending kept me turning pages and I liked the epilogue a lot. It made me happy. :)
For some reason, I had thought Book 10 was going to be the last in the series, and I was very disappointed with it ending there. Then Lost Stories came out, and I thought that was it, and then this came out. I guess this is definitely it - and it makes sense to end here. As I've said, things have come full circle and it's a good conclusion to the series - one I'm sure I'll be rereading at least once or twice down the road....more
I ended up really enjoying this book. Maybe I'm just a sucker for anthropomorphic animals, but Malcolm was great. Some of the secondary characters3.5
I ended up really enjoying this book. Maybe I'm just a sucker for anthropomorphic animals, but Malcolm was great. Some of the secondary characters weren't quite as developed, but the important characters were all developed enough to be interesting and believable - especially Amelia and, to a lesser extent, Jovhan.
The narration style was really interesting, and it's not something I think I've encountered before. Basically, it's written by a student as a note/explanation to his/her teacher. (It's left "ambiguous" who the student is, but it's really rather obvious.) See, Malcolm is a classroom pet to a fifth grade class, and when a missing ring turns up the teacher asks for an explanation for what happened - and the story is one student's explanation of the events which lead up the ring's return.
It's also a sort of dictated memoir, as Malcolm must pass on the details of the story to the author, being unable to write himself. (But, because this is a kid's book, he can read and, using books, point out the words to tell his tale. (Which just requires some suspension of disbelief - not just in the ability, but in the short amount of time such a thing takes in the story, when I can't help but imagine it would take forever.))
It's also a mystery story - not about the ring, which is actually ancillary, but because the Malcolm must discover what Snip, the villain of the story, has planned and who is helping her.
But, for me, it was the characters that really made this book shine.
Malcolm is a rat - but he's small, and mistaken for a mouse. He learns that people, and even that other school pets, don't like rats, because they're considered dirty thieves and liars - but Malcolm wants to show that not all rats are bad.
It's really a story about not judging people based on surface traits, on getting to know people, and about figuring out who the real you is, and being the best you can be.
I think it's a great story for kids, with lots of great little lessons, and was a treat for me to read as well. ...more
When I saw the blurb I can't say I was overly impressed, but I do like me some faeires and the author wrote another series, The Magic Thief, which I eWhen I saw the blurb I can't say I was overly impressed, but I do like me some faeires and the author wrote another series, The Magic Thief, which I enjoyed, so I figured I'd give it a shot. In the end, it's a cute story with a strong role model for girls, but there's nothing particularly stand out about it.
I do like the way that Prineas takes faerie lore and both manages to stick with it generally, but also change it enough to make it her own - like the Mór being an analog to the Morrigan, what with being a warrior and the crows and all.
I think my biggest complaint, though, is that the characters are all sort of one note, even Fer, our heroine. The blurb describes her as spunky, and she is definitely willful, but all of her emotions and thoughts just felt too surface. Not in the sense that we're told she's spirited but never see it, but more in the sense that any fears or doubts or anything she has are thought and then dismissed. They never go beyond fleeting ideas, and so she never seemed fully real or developed.
Same goes for Rook and Gran and, well, everyone, really. They have their primary character trait, and that's pretty much it.
Also, I felt things just came a bit too easy for Fer. Yes, there's some reason for that in the story, but that doesn't change the fact that it's less exciting reading about an adventure and a triumph when things never really seem like they could fail. And the ending was pretty anti-climactic, I felt. (view spoiler)[While I kind of like the idea of the climax really being about her accepting who she is, I would've liked at least some kind of real final battle, too. I mean, it just read like that kind of story - until it wasn't. (hide spoiler)]
Lastly, I was a bit bothered and disappointed by the continuing tradition of equating beauty with goodness. Fer, more than once, thinks something along the lines of "she's so beautiful, how could she be bad?" I wouldn't mind if it was used subversively, but it wasn't. For a story which seems targetted for girls, it's a bit sad to see so much focus on that old trope.
All that said - it was a quick read, and it was an entertaining story. Part of it was because I liked some of the world stuff. I do think that it's possible that this could grow into a better series, and I'm not opposed to continuing the series. I didn't actively dislike the book - I'm just a bit disappointed because I think it could've been better.
Sort of 2.5.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Most of this book is a 2-star read, but I liked the ending so I'd originally bumped it up to 3 stars, but I am seriously reconsidering the 3-stars2.5
Most of this book is a 2-star read, but I liked the ending so I'd originally bumped it up to 3 stars, but I am seriously reconsidering the 3-stars because, honestly, this book didn't leave much of an impression on me beyond being meh for most of the time, and I'm not even sure if I want to be bothered to continue with the next book or not.
Speaking of - this duology is very much a one-story in two books kinda deal. This book is pretty much all set-up. There is a big reveal at the end, which did surprise me - so points for that - but there's really no resolution in this book at all, so if you do pick it up you'll probably want to pick up both books at once.
Back to the whole "didn't leave much of an impression" thing, this review is coming hard to me because, well, I don't remember that much.
I do remember that Snow and her mother are far more interesting characters than the main ones, and if I read the next book - which I probably will 'cause it's short and at least it's only a duology and not a series - then I hope to see more of them. At first Snow comes across as a typical mean girl, but you find out a lot about her, and she seems much more developed a character than Una. And Peter seems kinda a waste. He's training to be a hero, but he doesn't seem to want to actually do anything useful, that I recall.
The pacing is kind of a mess. The beginning drags while we're introduced to this world, but the world doesn't seem all that well-developed. The rules seem sort of haphazard and inconsistent, the characters are mostly thin, with the above-mentioned exceptions, and the dialogue is painful at times (and I don't just mean the faux-fantasy dialogue which is bad on purpose).
Oh, also, Una and Peter are really thick. Yes, yes, "there're just kids", but, damn, for a book about trying to figure out the mystery, we had some pretty pathetic lead characters who couldn't figure out that 2 + 2 = 4.
Um, yeah, so slow pacing while the shoddy world building gets foisted onto us, and then the ending is all rush, rush, rush!
(While writing this, I'm definitely going back down to 2 stars. 2.5, still, but even the sort of cool ending reveal doesn't deserve the bump to 3, especially since there's still a lot of wackiness that doesn't make a lot of sense.)
This review is shoddy and all over the place. So is the book. The end. Or not really, because we'll have to follow it up in Spaceballs 2, the Quest for More Money. ...more
I was a little meh with the first half of the story, in which Connwaer is still searching for a replacement focus stone. He's also having to hide f3.5
I was a little meh with the first half of the story, in which Connwaer is still searching for a replacement focus stone. He's also having to hide from the authorities, who are, generally, useless bureacrats who refuse to believe that their comfortable worldview might be wrong.
There was on in particular, Nimble, who I (view spoiler)[honestly expected to be in league with Arionvhar, so mean-spirited and useless was he, but he ended up just being a general tool, and not a bad guy, per se. (hide spoiler)]
I hate politics. And bureaucracy.
The spell takes Conn well out of Wellmet and, in the outside world, he discovers dragons and, also, about an interesting connection between the dragons and the magic. So while it was a bit plodding for the first half of the book, it was at least kind of interesting.
In the second half things finally come to a head, as the predator magic arrives to try and destroy Wellmet's magic. Without going into details, I'll just say that I really like how things were resolved. It became more than just a fight between good and evil, it became about (view spoiler)[understanding and balance and sort of reaching out a friendly hand to a wounded being. Something Conn is in a unique position to fully understand. (hide spoiler)]
Anyway - The ending might've been a bit pat, in some ways, what with the whole (view spoiler)[amnesia thing and then that being driven away by Pip (hide spoiler)], but it left me feeling content with the world and I was, ultimately, very happy with this little series.
It has it's flaws... but it's a super fast, light read with interesting characters - at least those who aren't just stupid and ineffectual and in the way - and a sweet, tight ending. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
(Ya know, I find it amusing when an author can substitute a cuss word with a madeup word and then cuss with impunity. And there's *a lot*Fiking hell.
(Ya know, I find it amusing when an author can substitute a cuss word with a madeup word and then cuss with impunity. And there's *a lot* a fake cussing in this book. Not that I mind, personally. Reall cuss words don't bother me, so fake ones certainly wouldn't, either. I just find it funny, is all.
Anyway - )
I'm not really sure what to say about this book. As a book in a series it was enjoyable. I like Flora and Flora's world, and I was caught up in the adventure going on. I found Flora a bit annoying at times. At some points she sort of wallows in self-pity because she messes so much up - and she really does - and it would be nice if she actually seemed to think things through sometimes.
Conversely, I understand how she would feel, mostly, and I get why she does the things she does. Mostly.
She is a bit of a snapperhead, though. But, then, so is everyone else, in their way.
(As a side point, I'm a bit uncertain at Flora's age, and the target age of the books. It's sort of in that nebulous area between MG and YA. Or, at least, on the young end of YA. But there are some more mature sorts of situations and things. Nothing explicit - but enough that makes me think it's not a kids book. But it's written in a way to not really feel like a YA book, either.
And with Flora, at times she seemed like the young girl at the start of the series, and other times you could see how she had grown - though she still has quite a bit of that to do. I'd forgotten how old she's meant to be, but I'm thinking around 17-19 or so... but she often came across much younger.)
I liked the addition of Tharyn into the story. I didn't at first, but he grew on me, much as he grew on Flora. I was a little irritated that whenever someone was around to sort of take charge they often did, whether Flora wanted them to or not. Everyone else often seemed more pro-active in the book, where Flora was sort of left reactive... so, even though I liked Tharyn, I also liked when Flora was forced to stand on her own.
I did not like how that storyline was left dangling and unresolved, though.
I also didn't like the inklings of love triangle-itis, and how the thread with Udo was also left dangling and unresolved.
Overall, for a final book in a trilogy, I'm left unsatisfied.
And there's the rub.
If this is the final book, as it's meant to be, then I'm vexed. There's so much left unresolved. For most of the book I was planning on giving this a 3.5 bumped to 4, because I did enjoy the story and wanted to see how things were going to work out.
And while the particulars of this story were worked out, there's still so much left open in the larger world. As a series ender it just feels so... well, unfinished. So I couldn't really give it more than a 3 because, well, frankly, I'm kinda pissed. This can't really be the end - can it?
Picking up shortly after the events on the first book, Connwaer finds himself with a locus magicalus and the other wizards, aside from Nevery, not3.5
Picking up shortly after the events on the first book, Connwaer finds himself with a locus magicalus and the other wizards, aside from Nevery, not only are not letting him continue his studies but actively blame him for "losing" his stone in the first place.
He's also still hounded by Kerrn, the queen, and various others, despite having saved the city.
But Conn, being a non-nonsense sort of kid, pursues the study of pyrotechnics in order to communicate with the magic, because he knows it wants something from him. Unfortunately, such studies are forbidden and, well, no one believe him about the magic anyway.
One thing I really like about Conn is that he's very sure of his own mind. He knows what needs to be done and he does it, despite the costs, and he does this without coming across as just arrogant or a know-it-all. Unfortunately, he doesn't really articulate to other people what he needs to do, he sort of just does it, which causes all sorts of additional problems.
In fairness, though, most people don't want to listen to what he has to say, anyway. Rather annoying, that. I tend to get irritated with kids books where all of the adults are stupid. Luckily, this book circumvents this book for the most part with Nevery and Benet - who remains a solid and unperturbable presense.
Conn is sent to Desh to find out what's going on and lands himself a good bit of trouble - making some new allies and enemies along the way. But, as ever, Connwaer persists and, despite the odds and the costs, does what needs to be done.
It's a short, quick book - I read it in one sitting. Unfortunately, it ends in something of a cliffhanger, and I'm anxiously awaiting my next trip to the library so I can pick up the final portion of this fun little trilogy....more
After reading this short story, I was talking about it to my husband, so then I had him read it. I mean, it is only 20 pages, so it's not like it t3.5
After reading this short story, I was talking about it to my husband, so then I had him read it. I mean, it is only 20 pages, so it's not like it takes long...
He saw it as a parody of Lord of the Rings, specifically the more Silmarillion bits.
Me, being unfamiliar with those nuances of Tolkien's world, read it as a more general sort of fable along the lines of the bad guy not really being evil, but misunderstood, and also how people often prefer comforting lies to hard truths and like to go along with things without necessarily thinking them through.
We agree that it works on both levels. Tolkien's mythos is sort of cribbed from some of the world's own, afterall.
As such - I wholeheartedly support this story on multiple levels.
And the fact that it was done with humor and style in a quickly paced story is just a double win.
First let me say that I did enjoy the story. There were some parts I really liked and was really into, but others that I had some issues with.
First let me say that I did enjoy the story. There were some parts I really liked and was really into, but others that I had some issues with.
Harry Crewe is the kind of protagonist I tend to instantly relate to - a girl a bit too wild to be "proper", looking for her place in the world. And I did relate to her, for the most part, except for the way that she sort of went with everything. The book called it pride and stubbornness, to not challenge your kidnappers, I've seen some reviews call it stoicism... but, to me, it just seemed kinda weird.
Also, while I give McKinley a bit of a pass since the book was written back in the early 80s - before the glut of fantasy of the shelves - but the overall story is just a bit too typical: Outsider is discovered to have the magical power needed by a people, and which lets her learn their language, how to fight, and all sorts of other nifty stuff, in 6 weeks because she has kelar - it's like the Force, but different.
As much as I liked Harry, she was a bit Mary Sue-ish, what with everything coming so easily to her. And I couldn't help thinking that, if this were a movie, the whole training bit would totally be a montage, which got me thinking of the Team America song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU9Uwh...
Honestly, I felt like the writing was a montage in places.
There were times where the writing connected with me, and other times where I found it too sparse and distracting. Not to mention the way it jumped around... doing a summary type thing of "this is how the six weeks were spent" and then going back and filling in some details.
But, that said, I did like it. I liked Harry's growth, and that her stubbornness and pride actually carried through and were important parts of the story. I liked learning about the Hillfolk, who I kept thinking of as vaguely Bedouin-based.
At the end of the day, it's a pretty standard story, but well told enough to make up for this fact. As I did say, I struggled with the jumpy writing in places but, overall, I liked the characters and the world and would make this one a keeper. ...more
My first exposure to Holly Black was several years ago with Tithe, which I loved. Aside from it being one of my first exposures to modern tales of faeMy first exposure to Holly Black was several years ago with Tithe, which I loved. Aside from it being one of my first exposures to modern tales of faerie, of which there now appears to be a bit of a glut, I thought some of the lines and descriptions were just awesome.
It wasn't until later that someone pointed out that those poetic turns of phrase sort of faded as the story progressed but, by that time, I was so wrapped up into the characters and the story I neither noticed nor cared.
But it's something which I have, perhaps erroneously, come to look for in Black's books. Something which I've never really found since.
In other words - there's nothing really special about the writing of this book. Now, I guess part of it could be because it's geared for a younger audience - more the late MG/early YA crowd - but, based on all her other books, I'm beginning to think Tithe was something of a fluke.
Ah well -
That aside, there are other ways this book didn't meet my expectations, and that's in the story itself. See, the blurb makes it sound more like a horror-esque kind of story, and I was expecting something a bit darker.
There are moments of creepiness, some of which even revolving around the doll-girl, but, mostly, this is a story about friendship and growing up and riding that strange tide between childhood and adolescence, and what happens to groups of friends when that tide comes at different times.
And, for what it was, it was an ok story. None of the characters really connected with me. Zach, who was the most well developed, was also the most problematic in that it didn't really make any sense for him to keep the secret from the girls. It was necessary for the story but, on a character level, it didn't feel genuine. It felt more like a plot-device, and I hate that.
At least his story was resolved, moreso than the girls, anyway.
The main plot - the quest for the doll - is resolved but, as I said, it was more a story about the kids, so it seemed like it wasn't quite finished in that regard.
If you go into this expecting more a coming-of-age kind of story of friendship and change and whatnot, then you will probably end up enjoying it more than if you go in expecting it to be mostly a creepy story about a scary doll.
Not to say that a book would have to be one or the other but this book doesn't quite pull off being both...
ETA - Oh, and I wouldn't really liked an explanation as to why the (view spoiler)[kids saw the doll as a doll and adults saw her as a little girl. It kind've would've made more sense the other way, I think, except the doll had to be a doll for the kids for the story... (hide spoiler)]["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
Everyone knows that princesses are beautiful and witches are ugly, so surely there's something amiss when beautiful Sophia is sent to the School fo2.5
Everyone knows that princesses are beautiful and witches are ugly, so surely there's something amiss when beautiful Sophia is sent to the School for Evil and plain Agnes is sent to Good...
Thus is the entire premise of 'The School for Good and Evil'.
It starts off pretty slow and, really, pacing is a problem for much of the book, especially because so many of the plot elements are needlessly repeated throughout the book. The nearly 500 pages could've easily been cut down without anything of substance being lost.
I do like some of the ideas being explored in this - questioning the premise that equates beauty with goodness, and also finding shades of grey within a world of strict dichotomy, but the book walks a strange line. (view spoiler)[On one hand is says that true beauty is within, but on the other it has people actually change to match their level of goodness or evilness, thus sort of reinforcing the very idea that it seeks to challenge.
Also, while it challenges the notions of good and evil via Sophia and Agnes, it doesn't really address the fact that almost all of the Good people are pretty shallow and superficial. I mean, it does make mention of it - but it also sort of glosses it over. (hide spoiler)]
Aside from the good/evil thing, it also touches on the romance elements of these stories, and I liked how while seeking their Happily Ever After, finding their Prince was (view spoiler)[ultimately not the deciding factor (hide spoiler)].
I didn't really like the end battle with the Big Bad. I thought the truth behind the kidnapping of the children was kind of stupid, and was hoping for something more.
That said, I did enjoy it enough - especially towards the end when things finally piked up - that I'll probably pick up the next in the series. I'm curious to see how the School will cope with the changes wrought in this book.
ETA: The School Challenge in the Woods bit reminded me heavily of Goblet of Fire. I generally try not to make those kinds of comparisons, but it was almost impossible, for me, reading that sequences to not think of Harry Potter.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more