Terrible cover, worse title, but AWESOME PLOT! I really enjoyed all of the details and heavy action. There were some surprises too. As characters go I...moreTerrible cover, worse title, but AWESOME PLOT! I really enjoyed all of the details and heavy action. There were some surprises too. As characters go I loved Nick, Alan, Olivia, & Jamie. I was indifferent about Mae. Overall, very enjoyable and exciting. (less)
Wintergirls deals with teenage anorexia and two girls who make a pact to see who will be the skinniest girl in school. These girls are prepared to die...moreWintergirls deals with teenage anorexia and two girls who make a pact to see who will be the skinniest girl in school. These girls are prepared to die for being thin (<90lbs). It's terrifying and disturbing. Although it's hard for me to relate to someone who can control what they eat to 500 calories per day (because I can't). Wintergirls really brings the mental aspects of an eating disorder to light.
The writing is very, very good and the language is so personal and intimate. This one is worth buying. I highly recommend it.
**spoiler alert** Set across the mountains from the Seven Kingdom in the Dells Kristin Cashore has created another amazing world with another beautifu...more**spoiler alert** Set across the mountains from the Seven Kingdom in the Dells Kristin Cashore has created another amazing world with another beautiful set of characters. The Dells do not have Gracelings, but they do have “monsters.” Monsters are brightly colored and extremely beautiful versions of their normal counterparts. They have mental abilities that allow them to communicate with and control non-monsters. ( Think bright green mice, pale blue spotted leopards, and beautiful florescent birds.)
Fire is the last remaining human monster. She has flaming pink, red, orange, and gold hair and a face of unparalleled beauty. She lives in the north of the Dells with Archer (her best friend and sometimes lover) and the rest of her adoptive family. Her existence is simple. She teaches music, hunts with Archer, and does her best to stay alive. Fire is hunted by other monsters that would love to eat her and is persecuted by humans who do not understand her.
War is brewing within the Dells. King Nash and his brother, Prince Brigan, are training their army to fight off their encroaching neighbors. Nash recognizes that Fire’s mental capabilities would be an asset to the army and could tip the balance in their favor. Fire reluctantly agrees. Fire becomes an interrogator for the King and helps Nash and Brigan plot to put down the usurpers.
Fire’s very appearance provokes strong emotion. In some it’s hatred and others it’s infatuation. Brigan is completely closed off to her at first, but he is controlled and not unfeeling. Respect and not infatuation change their relationship into something more. They naturally evolve as enemies become allies, as allies become friends, and as friends become lovers.
There’s a lot I’m not telling, because I cannot summarize this book into a decent length. There’s just too much plot, world building, and character development. It’s just too rich to condense properly. I am a huge Graceling fan so there was no question that I’d love Fire. And I do love it as much as Graceling. I love seeing the similarities in worlds and writing, but the difference between the 7 Kingdoms & the Dells is fascinating.
There are themes in Fire that are reminiscent of Graceling – independence, open-mindedness, & freedom. Fire is nothing like Katsa, but she lives by the same standards as Katsa did and Brigan lives by the same standards as Po. That’s what reminds me that they’re in the same world, because if it weren’t for that (and the appearance of Leck - evil jerk) I’d never know it. It’s different, but not different. You should read it and see.
The plot is intricate from beginning to end. Cashore has an excellent way of dragging out the falling climax to tie everything together. She masterfully loops the plot back around to have a very satisfactory resolution. She also knows how to open with the action and the exposition is gradually worked into the rising action in an unobtrusive way. The writing is just damn good.
There is so much right with Fire it’s hard to pick out what’s wrong. If I had to pick out one thing (which I hate doing, but I always do, so I will here) is that the plot seems to have social/political agenda relevant to this day and age. It was also in Graceling, but less obvious. Maybe it’s more obvious in Fire because I was looking for it. I don’t mind, because I totally back her agenda, but I think it will put off some readers. Also, there is a lot of violence towards animals and monster animals. Fire is in no way a happy-feely book, so be prepared.
In conclusion, I loved it. 5 stars. It might not be for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. Bring on the feminist fantasy YA!
PS - For a man’s perspective my husband is currently reading Fire. When he gives his opinion I’ll let you know.
UPDATE 5/11/09 - Chris thinks that Fire has the same "formula" as Graceling and those who enjoyed something ground breaking in Graceling will feel as if it's more of the same in Fire. I tend to agree. (less)
Wow, this is soooo good! 5 really big stars! I can't even begin to describe all the facets of Dust. It has 3 (may...moreCross posted from my blog E. M. Reads
Wow, this is soooo good! 5 really big stars! I can't even begin to describe all the facets of Dust. It has 3 (maybe 4) different plot lines that converge beautifully. It's action packed and totally captivating. The book literally held my brain hostage for two days. When I wasn't reading it I was thinking about reading it (not a necessarily a good thing when you're working your 8 to 5).
Doing a typical synopsis would take hours and I just don't have the time to do it this second ('cause I'm supposed to be working a conference in San Francisco - don't tell my boss), but I do want to encourage everyone to buy and read Dust of 100 Dogs ASAP. Savvy? Dust is a story of growth, survival, love and more importantly - piracy. Arrgggh!
P.S. If you disturbed by animal cruelty skip pages 232 & 233. Just read 234 and you'll get enough of the point.
P.P.S. I'm slightly disappointed that this is not set up for a series. A. S. King please write more books - preferably about Saffron and Emer. (less)