Really enjoyed this, perfect reading for being curled up sick, swaddled in blankets and drinking tea as I was yesterday. The words were so pretty thatReally enjoyed this, perfect reading for being curled up sick, swaddled in blankets and drinking tea as I was yesterday. The words were so pretty that if I lost my place due to my muzzy head it didn't matter as I could re-read them happily. Also, I think perhaps I appreciated it more because of my muzzy-headedness, which meant I didn't mind the skipping backwards and forwards in time so much (there was a lot of the character in present time storyline remembering things that had happened the day before, or months before, in the middle of other events).
I appreciated that this was a sort of gentle, earthy story: not about the the fate of the world in general, but about the fate of the characters' personal world, the things they most valued. And I enjoyed seeing the subtle but powerful relationships develop between the characters. It felt like the book equivalent of a cup of hot tea with honey.
But I do advise that anyone reading this be sure to have some honey on hand, and maybe some nice warm bread to eat it with (the main character uses honey to perform her particular type of magic).
Also I now have the dangerous urge to pet bees....more
I really enjoyed this book on many different levels, but I think the aspect that impressed me most was the worldbuilding and the concept behind the stI really enjoyed this book on many different levels, but I think the aspect that impressed me most was the worldbuilding and the concept behind the story: of a world with vast technological advances that has determinedly stuck itself in a pre-industrial Era of frilly collars and scullery maids and manor houses, while locking their criminals away to an all-encompassing sentient prison intended to reform them and create paradise. Much of my delight in this book came from admiring the inherent shininess in this construction, and the clean and lyric prose that describes the worlds.
The characters were likewise interesting to me, though I felt less invested in those inside the prison. I found the emotional undercurrents and complicated relationships of the Warden and his daughter Claudia, and her tutor Jared to be the most compelling. I was far more nervous for Claudia, sneaking into her father's study, than I was for Finn the prisoner in any of his perilous predicaments. And a certain scene between the Warden and Master Jared had me on the edge of my seat awaiting the outcome.
This book ended in a manner that left me feeling more that I had set down a much larger book, partway through, than a stand-alone novel. Fortunately there is a sequel, and I will definitely be reading it!
I'm very glad that I bought a copy of this at the same time I bought the first three books in the series. Because after I finished the third (Black PoI'm very glad that I bought a copy of this at the same time I bought the first three books in the series. Because after I finished the third (Black Powder War) I really wasn't sure I wanted to keep going. I still loved the characters, but the third book was difficult for me to get through. But, since I had this on my to-read shelf, I eventually did pick it up again, just to see what I thought, and... I couldn't put it down! There's a compelling backdrop (a terrible disease, a race for a cure) as well as old favorite characters I'd missed in the last two books, and a fascinating new dragon-human society in Africa. Plus, lots of chewy ethical issues and some interesting divergences from real world history. Be warned, though, there is a serious cliff-hanger! But one that is, I think, necessary to lend strength and weight to the development of the overarching plot, and the changes in the perspective of the characters. I was, however, very very glad I had waited so long to read this, because it meant I could run out and buy the paperback of book 5 right away!...more
Loved this! My favorite Tamora Pierce yet. I think my enjoyment was considerably enhanced by the excellent reader for the audio book, who did a marvelLoved this! My favorite Tamora Pierce yet. I think my enjoyment was considerably enhanced by the excellent reader for the audio book, who did a marvelous job with all the accents and voices. It was also a treat for me to read a Tortall book where the female main character wasn't struggling just to get taken seriously because she was a woman, but was instead fighting to be true to her own ideals as a human being. I appreciated the Alanna books as a girl myself, but Beka is a heroine I can love at any age: stubborn, shy, driven, tough, loving, observant, and generous.
My other favorite things: Beka's magical abilities were nifty and not overpowering, the secondary characters were excellent, the lingo and street dialect, and the fact that the Lower City and its inhabitants are not just grimy and ugly and distasteful. There's beauty too, and good people, and I really understand why Beka chooses the life she does.
I must also admit that I am strongly shipping for Rosto/Beka. There's just something about the couple divided by irreconcilable avocations (in this case, thief and law-enforcer)... Plus, he's a scoundrel.
I wasn't even on the last disk before I ran to the library to get BLOODHOUND so I wouldn't have to wait to the rest of the story. I hope it won't be too painful waiting for MASTIFF and the end of the trilogy!...more
I have a soft spot for fairy-tale retellings. It is especially interesting to see how different authors capture the feel of a fairy-tale in novel formI have a soft spot for fairy-tale retellings. It is especially interesting to see how different authors capture the feel of a fairy-tale in novel form, and also what elements of the original material they keep, and how they expand upon it. So purely on that level, I enjoyed THE GOOSE GIRL.
I also appreciated the quality of the writing itself, the gentle, lyrical voice telling the story of Ani as she struggles against the obstacles flung in her way and finds her own strength.
It wasn't a book that swept me up in a giddy wind of words, but I did enjoy my visit!...more
There are books that I love for the intricate plots and books that I love for the beautiful prose. And then there are the books that have both. ShadowThere are books that I love for the intricate plots and books that I love for the beautiful prose. And then there are the books that have both. Shadowed Summer is one of these. I wanted to race through the book to find out why the ghost of a boy named Elijah is haunting 14-year-old Iris, and to find out the truth about what happened to him. But I also wanted to linger over the little vivid details, beautiful and funny and precise and real.
This is a ghost story that will be haunting me for a while yet. ...more
This was a thoughtful, honest and very readable account of the life of a Sikh teen struggling to find her identity in a post-9/11 USA. I felt for Sam,This was a thoughtful, honest and very readable account of the life of a Sikh teen struggling to find her identity in a post-9/11 USA. I felt for Sam, and found the relationships depicted to be realistic and engaging. An excellent mix of heartache, joy, discovery, and questions for the reader to take away....more
This was the sort of book I like to linger over, just enjoying the pretty words and the vivid images. I was not surprised to learn that Ms. Taylor isThis was the sort of book I like to linger over, just enjoying the pretty words and the vivid images. I was not surprised to learn that Ms. Taylor is an artist, because BLACKBRINGER reminds me of the sort of intricate, beautiful-with-corners-of-creepiness picture books I loved as a kid. But it was also a just plain fun story, with a fresh and spunky heroine, and ancient mysteries and magic.
Also, I just loved the crows. Unreasonably. I wish I had my own pack of cheerful, loyal, cheroot-smoking theatrical crows to fly off on adventures with....more
I love books where all sorts of little elements are set in place, and then they all come together and everything fits and you just sit back and admireI love books where all sorts of little elements are set in place, and then they all come together and everything fits and you just sit back and admire it. For me, Mudville was one of those books. It's got a town where it never stops raining, curses, a dad who can't cook, old rivalries, and lots and lots of baseball. And it all melds together into an engaging and surprisingly (for me) exciting story. I say surprisingly because I personally am not the world's biggest baseball fan. But because of the contagious enthusiasm of the characters, I loved it along with them in MUDVILLE. I am so glad I had the chance to read this book!...more