This is my favorite book I have read this year. It's hard to know if it is just because I was really in the mood for an epic save-the-world-middle-reaThis is my favorite book I have read this year. It's hard to know if it is just because I was really in the mood for an epic save-the-world-middle-reader-fantasy type novel or if it would always have been my favorite. The story is about a young boy (Jason) who finds himself in another world which is ruled by the last magician, who happens to also be an evil genius (Maldor). Jason finds himself caught up in the hopeless fight to try and overthrow Him, when all he really wants to do is find a way back home.
In order to destroy Maldor he must find the secret word to undo him. (This happens early so don't be mad at me) The word is broken into seven parts, and while that rings a little familiar- like Harry and the horcruxes, that's where the similarities end.
I loved this book because it is an unlikely hero story- and hey- those are always good. I like that Jason and his friend Rachel work together, get help from others, have to overcome all kinds of challenges like the addictive completely blissful prison, and some other truly unique monsters, friends, and foes. I love good vs. evil stories, and Brandon Mull does a great job showing the difficulty in choosing the hard but right way and opportunities for redemption when people choose wrong.
I am torn because I have a huge pile of books to read, and not a lot of time, but I think I am going to have to go grab book two to continue the story! ...more
I love how this author writes kids books but covers tough subjects and exposes young ones to some of the harshness of life- yet leaves a lot of the fuI love how this author writes kids books but covers tough subjects and exposes young ones to some of the harshness of life- yet leaves a lot of the fun too. (I am thinking of the brothers lionheart and this one)
I liked this book. Ronia is different from her parents and fights and loves and reconciles. The mother is the kind we all wish we were and the father is kinda the bumbling idiot kind. (Sorry guys) I am glad I read this one. Especially the way that the author covers death, and allows it to be sad but okay is a great thing. ...more
well, I liked this book. The first few chapters had be tearing up, in a good way. I have never seen a children's book deal with death in a way that wawell, I liked this book. The first few chapters had be tearing up, in a good way. I have never seen a children's book deal with death in a way that was so positive and believable. (basically, people don't die, they go to another place) and the love between the brothers is beautiful and their adventure is super fun. They try so hard to do the right thing and be brave it is something all kids can relate to. I didn't like the end, and I know this will be a spoiler, so SPOILER ALERT people:
Everything was great except the very end, where the brothers jump off a cliff to go to another land. WHAT?!? why would the author do that? UGH. I wish the dragon had killed them or something... but to have them choose to jump was really strange. Maybe I am sensitive, but I think we should be with stuff our children read. (this book isn't easy to find. I happened to grab the only copy my entire library system owns! It's probably because of that end. With that said- I think I would still read it and talk to my kids about the end too)...more
Oh this book. This insanely zany, strange little book! I will be thinking about you for days, smiling to myself, rolling my eyes, and pondering the meOh this book. This insanely zany, strange little book! I will be thinking about you for days, smiling to myself, rolling my eyes, and pondering the meaning of life all at once. My wonderful sister lent this one to me and it is so perfectly her. She is all of the above mentioned things too. Super deep and kinda silly rolled into one person and I love her for it.
Now on to the book- seriously the plot is kinda funny and almost dumb. It follows one particular gal named Persimmony Smudge who is 10 and lives a boring life made worse by her constantly not fitting in. That is, until the day that she saves the world! I don't want to wreck the plot but something lives under their island town that is putting everyone at risk, but no one believes it. There were a few times that I thought - well this is too silly, even for me... but then hidden throughout the book are life lessons, like the potter who makes pots that give its recipients just what they need, not what they want or even what they themselves think they should have. Or lessons in bravery, even when you don't feel strong, or hope even when it all seems dark.
I guess I read this book at just the right time. Today, people are afraid of Ebola, Global Warming, Common Core, you name it, the list- my list- is long. But above it all and under it all is hope and beauty. Life is hard, life is sad but it's also beautiful and meaningful and that's the whole message of this book. As I drove to pick my daughter up from school I turned the radio off, looked in the rear-view mirror at my beautiful sleeping second child, glanced into a field and saw a Blue Herring standing proudly and just smiled. I think this silly romp through Persimmony's town that thought it was the "Center of Everything" would have approved of that.
I will leave you with this fun poem found inside:
"I climbed a hill as high as hope; I swam a sea as deep as dread; I bound my fear up with a rope To hear what Weeping Willow said.
I heard her whisper through her sighs; "The world has lost all dreams but one. Though night's dark tears may cloud your eyes, Look - Joy is rising with the sun.
For fear cannot be bound with rope, and many swimmers drown in dread; But no one falls who climbs with hope." That's what Weeping Willow said.
And so I laid my sorrows by And sang my beating heart to sleep. And that, my sighing friend, is why I'm dancing while the willows weep." p. 324
I like this book a lot. It helps explain how kids think and their brain development. It also has a cheat sheet at the back to help you remember what tI like this book a lot. It helps explain how kids think and their brain development. It also has a cheat sheet at the back to help you remember what to practice with your kids at what ages. It doesn't give you advice for every situation, but it helps you understand who your little munchkin is and reminds us that we can help them overcome some of their hiccups....more
The writing was great and the story very unique. Hathin, a Lace girl who is sister to the famous "lost" Arilou must protect her family from attack...The writing was great and the story very unique. Hathin, a Lace girl who is sister to the famous "lost" Arilou must protect her family from attack... from the volcanoes they live near (who are gods of the island), from racists islanders who don't like the Lace race and even from some traitors inside. This book is crazy original. To tell the plot would take quite a bit or writing and reading (which is why this book is 570-ish pages long) I will say that the whole idea of "lost" is interesting. There is a gene (or something) that if you have it, you can divide your senses and send your eyes or ears away from your body and split what you are doing. Not everyone has this ability so it's a special thing that causes controversy.
I think it might be a book that grows on you upon second and third readings. In fact, I started out thinking it was a 3 star book (right when I finished it) and then have since bumped it up to 5 stars because it really is so good. It has wonderful messages of forgiveness and the danger of revenge, how racism is terrible, how mobs can get out of hand quickly and spread hate. I didn't like the sadness that is always present and I wish that the author had taken just a little longer with the character descriptions (their names are all very strange so it is sometimes hard to picture the people and remember who is who) but then again, this book is already long enough already. It's kind of nice to have a stand alone book once in awhile anyway. ...more
This book just justified my continued enjoyment of middle reader books. They cover so much territory in such beautiful and simple ways. Liar and spy dThis book just justified my continued enjoyment of middle reader books. They cover so much territory in such beautiful and simple ways. Liar and spy does just that and I loved it. Georges is a young boy trying to get through school despite bullies and moving and his relationship with his Dad is one I hope I have with my kids....more
I grabbed this book on a whim and am so pleased that I did. It will be difficult to review it properly, so I won't even try. There are way too many thI grabbed this book on a whim and am so pleased that I did. It will be difficult to review it properly, so I won't even try. There are way too many themes to cover and the book will likely strike people in different places. This book is about family. Parents and children, siblings, uncles, coming of age, jealousy, forbidden love, and the rest. It follows Young June who is initially pretty selfish (and what teen isn't) and shows how she grieves the loss of her best friend, Godfather and Uncle Finn. While June isn't all that lovely - she isn't really trying to be, she is very typical in some fashions. She is different in that she has checked out of main society and prefers to go it alone and off the beaten path. That's why she connected with her uncle so well... he got it.
While I could write an essay about many different themes in this book- what struck me the most was the coming of age we watch June (and her sister Greta) go through. You see, people don't really ever arrive into adulthood, but there are definitely some realizations that we all come to as we grow... and the process is long and slow. I am sure it's because I am a mother now, and find my days full of activities and chores that wouldn't be of my choosing that I gravitated toward this theme. Even now I struggle to get this review written as my little one's need my attention, I believe this is the 5th time I have sat down to write this.
June's parents are accountants. In fact, during tax season June and her sister call themselves "tax orphans" because her parents are so busy with that. June learns that her Dad doesn't actually enjoy being an accountant all that munch and asks him why he does it then.
"I really wondered why people were always doing what they didn't like doing. It seemed like life was a sort of narrowing tunnel. Right when you were born, the tunnel was huge. You could be anything. Then, like, the absolute second after you were born, the tunnel narrowed down to about half that size. You were a boy, and already it was certain you wouldn't be a mother and it was likely you wouldn't become a manicurist or a kindergarten teacher. Then you started to grow up and everything you did closed the tunnel in some more. You broke your arm climbing a tree and you ruled out being a baseball pitcher. You failed every math test you ever took and you canceled any hope of being a scientist. Like that. On and on through the years until you were stuck. You'd become a baker or a librarian or bartender. Or an accountant. And there you were. I figured that on the day you died, the tunnel would be so narrow, you'd have squeezed yourself in with so many choices, that you just got squashed." (p. 254)
Obviously, June's Dad quickly explains that he does it for the family and for love. The whole concept of sacrifice is one that takes some time, and adulthood, to fully understand. There are bills to pay, houses to clean and chores to be done. All of which kids are sort of exempt from. Naturally, coming of age can be quite a shocker when your final "freedom" also becomes responsibility. The key we all look for is, how to live fully despite all of that responsibility, but also the rewards of Love.
This book is a good read- it helps readers think about life beyond themselves as we watch two teens, and their parents, struggle with cancer and sicknThis book is a good read- it helps readers think about life beyond themselves as we watch two teens, and their parents, struggle with cancer and sickness. All this in the midst of finding friendship and love. The Author is not very religious and so the story is left a little flat for me, compared to more hopeful books... but it still has it's own kind of hope - in having been loved and remembered by some. I realize that this quality will make it even more attractive to some readers, and there is definitely room in the book for many different kinds of faith (which are portrayed)... I just can't shake my own belief that there is even more to life than the conclusion the teens came to. But, they struggled with more than I currently have, so really, who am I to say?
What I loved about it, and something that will stick with me forever, was the idea that your unique love and friendship with someone dies with them. For example... my husband and I share a million inside jokes between each other that no one else would or could ever possibly understand or laugh in the same way we do. I watched as one of the characters struggles at the memorial service for the other because he/she felt people didn't truly understand what they shared together, or who that person actually and truly was. The struggle with death wasn't over-glamorized, yet the book isn't a total downer either. I definitely appreciate the one-of-a-kind love I share with my husband a little more after reading this book, and realize that each relationship I am lucky to have is unique and individual.
I would give this book 4 stars for readability, and 5 stars for worthwhile. It's a retelling of a pilgrims progress, which I have admittedly not readI would give this book 4 stars for readability, and 5 stars for worthwhile. It's a retelling of a pilgrims progress, which I have admittedly not read yet. There were a few fantastic quotes and I will add them shortly- and the whole premise and morale alone make it a worthy read. I only knocked one star because the main characters weren't very personal. It is more about their journey than it is about them and I wish there had been more....more
I Really liked this book, right up until the end. It is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and it was definitely good. I think my favorite part was tI Really liked this book, right up until the end. It is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and it was definitely good. I think my favorite part was that Beauty wasn't all that beautiful, but she wasn't totally caught up in it like some other would-be-heroine types can be. (you know, the man I am not good looking, but he totally is, all while they are actually super pretty)
What I didn't like about this was that the end was super rushed. You spend the whole time wanting to know more about the enchanted castle, and then you barely get a glimpse of it resolving itself.
While still worth reading, it fell from favorite potential to simply a decent read because of the ending. Even some of the characters who I loved (mostly the family) didn't get the type of resolution they deserved. (not to mention I wanted to meet some of the enchanted characters after all was said and done.
really this was a 5 star book turned 3 star at the end. ...more
I really liked this one... it reminded me of sword and the stone a bit as Taran travels around the country looking to find links to his past and cluesI really liked this one... it reminded me of sword and the stone a bit as Taran travels around the country looking to find links to his past and clues to who his parents might be. He learns several trades and life lessons along the way. This is the book where Taran really grows up. I suspect I like it more than the younger audiences will, and believe it might be the only one in the series not nominated for some type of award- that said, it is one of my favorites!...more
I like this series so far and am going to keep reading the other books. I think the weird names of the characters gets in the way of reading flow a liI like this series so far and am going to keep reading the other books. I think the weird names of the characters gets in the way of reading flow a little, making harder to get into the book early. (thankfully, I discovered late in the book that there is a pronunciation guide in the back, which helped, I just wish I had looked for it sooner)
Names like eilonwy (eye-lahn-wee) or Oeth-Anoeth (eth-AHN-eth)can be sort of weird and frustrating...
I like seeing the main character, a young man named Taran make mistakes, but also grow in character as we move through the story with him....more
Rownie, a young orphan boy cannot seem to find his brother anywhere. The mystery is, why are so many people looking for him? Rownie's "Grandmother" GrRownie, a young orphan boy cannot seem to find his brother anywhere. The mystery is, why are so many people looking for him? Rownie's "Grandmother" Grabba, with her robotic chicken legs has housed Rownie and other orphan kids so long as the run errands for her. She is the town witch, and seems to actually posses her children on some of their errands. (um yeah, that's creepy) not only that, but there are performing Goblins who skate around the town's laws forbidding mask wearing and performing because they aren't considered citizens anymore- even though they have been in the town of Zombay longer than anyone. The Goblins seem nice, and have promised not to change Rownie into one of them... yet. Add to that a mysterious mayor and you have trouble. Everyone wants to find Rownie's brother, and he isn't sure who to trust.
I would actually give this more like a 3.5 star rating. The story is interesting, but for me it was a little bit too creepy. Specifically the use of many curses and masks that actually change the person wearing them. Maybe Dark would be a better word than creepy, as it isn't scary in the traditional sense. I admit I am sensitive to that kind of thing, so my rating is lower than perhaps the writing deserves. The other thing that differentiates it from some other kids books with possession is, no one is really "evil" in the traditional sense. the bad guys aren't all that bad, which makes it unique but also sort of dangerous in my mind. The town is interesting... the half human half robot thing is also interesting. I just couldn't get past the darker elements. This book did win the National Book award for 2012... but I think there are better ones out there.