A delightful story - full of Fforde's particular style of writing. Quirky way of speaking. Hinting at a much larger (and well-thought-out) world beyonA delightful story - full of Fforde's particular style of writing. Quirky way of speaking. Hinting at a much larger (and well-thought-out) world beyond the action. Believable, engaging characters. Everything I'd expect from this author.
My only gripe (and it's a minor one) is that the book seemed to end rather abruptly - with everything being swiftly resolved in a short epilogue. As I write this, I have discovered that this is only the first in a series, which seems to justify the "sudden" conclusion. Not untidy, mind you - just a bit out of the blue as it were. Left me wanting a bit more of a gradual end.
On the other hand, I'm twitchy to track down the next book....so maybe Fforde's actually pretty clever, eh?...more
Evie is a teenage operative working for a secret international task force bent on controlling and registering supernatural creatures roaming the worldEvie is a teenage operative working for a secret international task force bent on controlling and registering supernatural creatures roaming the world. When a dark force starts attacking those same creatures, Evie finds herself at the heart of the conspiracy and must break away from her sheltered existence to escape the attacks and eventually put a stop to them as well.
I picked this book up on a lark and found it to be...okay. The concept was cool though I found the characters to be rather bland. Evie was a little too stereotypical and her emotional state from chapter to chapter felt a bit random at times. Still, it wasn't too bad, even with the characterization and choppy pacing. ...more
Pratchett takes us away from the more well-known Discworld characters and creates a standalone collection of clever new protagonists, including MauricPratchett takes us away from the more well-known Discworld characters and creates a standalone collection of clever new protagonists, including Maurice, a cat who suddenly finds himself able to think but hides a secret shame, and a pack of rats, who have the same gift of reasoning and strive for a world inspired by a near-holy book called "Mr Bunnsy Has An Adventure." Joined by a seemingly dim-witted piper, the talking animals scam backwater towns while saving enough money to found a home of their own. But when they come to a town already devoid of rats, they find instead a dark mystery that becomes a dangerous threat to their continued existence as free rats.
My favorite theme throughout the book was how Pratchett creates animals that think like humans but still remember their animal instincts. It's like...how would a cat or rat think if it could remember and rationalize its former instincts. Like all Discworld books, this one has a blending of interesting plot and amusing characters. Even if the reader wasn't too familiar with the Discworld setting, he or she could read and enjoy this book regardless. Knowing the Discworld setting adds to the enjoyment, of course.
The adventures of Alek and Deryn continues as the Leviathan makes its way into the Ottoman Empire. Personal secrets are revealed. Secret missions areThe adventures of Alek and Deryn continues as the Leviathan makes its way into the Ottoman Empire. Personal secrets are revealed. Secret missions are engaged and thwarted. Situations becomes more muddled and complicated when the two friends find themselves caught up in a four-way conflict involving the British Darwinists, the German Clankers, the ruler of the Ottoman Empire, and a hidden rebellion plotting to overthrow the Sultan. Alek makes decisions to take charge of his destiny in a proactive manner rather than hiding...and Deryn must figure out a way to balance her growing feelings for Alek with her loyalty to her homeland.
The action continues practically right where the previous book left off...and doesn't waver in its pace. Once again, Westerfeld gives us a good and plausible story with engaging characters, fascinating intrigues, and nail-biting action scenes. And as with the previous book, the author ends with a description of the real-world people and events and how he tweaked them to fit his own alternate history. Well done!...more
This book caught my eye once in the library and I'm glad I decided to pick it up and try it. Westerfeld creates an alternate world circa the beginningThis book caught my eye once in the library and I'm glad I decided to pick it up and try it. Westerfeld creates an alternate world circa the beginning of World War I, starting with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. However, in this version, the Archduke has a son named Alek who starts a chain of intrigue and conspiracy as the powers of Europe gear up for all out war. In addition, there is a rivalry/conflict between the Clankers (nations who utilize powerful, stream-driven mechanical machines in battle) and the Darwinists (countries who genetically grow and modify living creatures to serve a variety of tasks) that stems from fundamental cultural and scientific ideologies. Further role conflicts develop as Alek, a highborn noble, conceals himself as a commoner and encounters Deryn, a British girl who disguises herself as a boy named Dylan in order to join up with the military, which doesn't accept females into its ranks. Politics, secrets, hidden plots - all with the backdrop of impending and growing war - surround these two characters as both try to do what they think is best for their own countries ... while trying to balance the kindling friendship they develop with one another.
This was a very engaging story that took what was familiar and gave it a twist that was both believable and exciting. The action is cool and the emotions and motivations of the characters are real. The intrigue is deep but understandable, and the plot keeps you turning the pages. And the best part is the appendix at the end in which Westerfeld details the real world events and how he changed them for this story....more
In this story, Stroud takes us back to the time of Solomon, an era oft-spoken of by the jinn BartimaAh, Bartimaeus - how I've missed your adventures.
In this story, Stroud takes us back to the time of Solomon, an era oft-spoken of by the jinn Bartimaeus in the original trilogy. Bartimaeus is one of many demons in service to the wizards of King Solomon, though, as one expects from the knavish spirit, Bartimaeus chafes under the yoke of his servitude. When he then finds himself unintentionally aiding a young patriot of nearby Sheba to overthrow the mightly Solomon, Bartimaeus discovers that his wit, power, and cunning may not be up to the task!
While this story neither adds or detracts from the established setting created in the original Bartimaeus trilogy, it's nonetheless a welcome re-visiting of a rich and vibrant world with an irreverent and thoroughly charming character as our guide. Bartimaeus continues to be an enjoyable rogue of a protagonist, dropping his perverse sense of style with a biting (though often accurate), cynical wit. The story is full of both action and caper-like plots. Like most of this series and setting, it ends with you wanting more.
I highly recommend this book to...well, to pretty much anybody. So there....more
Lady Katsa has a Grace - an almost supernatural ability to do something exceptionally well. Unfortunately, her Grace is killing - and this turns her iLady Katsa has a Grace - an almost supernatural ability to do something exceptionally well. Unfortunately, her Grace is killing - and this turns her into the feared hand of petty vengeance of her uncle King Randa. It's only when Prince Po - another Graceling with skill in fighting - arrives in court on a quest of his own that Katsa finds a kindred spirit and perhaps a disguised opportunity to make up for all the pain she's caused in the past.
The premise for this book is great, but the pacing was choppy at best. At times, it would drag on painfully slow while at other moments, it progressed so fast it was hard to follow what was happening. This may have been deliberate, but it was a little distracting for me.
The characters are all right but were not as engaging as other books I've read. I didn't find myself rooting for the characters all that much - more of just watching them perform their scenes and get on to the next chapter.
Still, it was a good story with points that tended to shine. Overall though, it was a little 'meh' for me. Not a waste of time but not as good as I'd hoped. ...more
This is, as the full title declares, a collection of short stories written by Tamora Pierce. Most of the tales take place in the author's rich world oThis is, as the full title declares, a collection of short stories written by Tamora Pierce. Most of the tales take place in the author's rich world of Tortall, home of heroines such as Alanna the Lioness, Veralidaine, Keladry, Alianne, and Beka Cooper. I'd say my favorite stories (in no particular order) had to be "Student of Ostriches," "Lost," "A Dragon's Tale," "Mimic," and "Plain Magic." Some are extended and others are quite brief but all are engaging in their own right.
I admit that I found some of the stories a little heavy-handed in its message on women's strength but that didn't detract from the stories themselves. With the exception of "Nawat" (which deals with the crow-man ally of the Daughter of the Lioness) and "A Dragon's Tale" (though one could draw parallels with Skysong the dragon) all the stories have young girls or women in roles were they must affirm their desired place in the world. Untapped talents and strengths must be allowed to shine through, and often resistance must be made against the established order that would keep them down. Good and encouraging stories all, if a little blatant.
These stories are quick and pleasant reads and an enjoyable diversion to any fans of the Tortall world....more