“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.”
It’s been a long time since I read a true fantasy nov“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.”
It’s been a long time since I read a true fantasy novel. I had heard a lot of buzz about Uprooted over the last year, and all of it was positive. It was one of the few fantasy novels that I’d see people recommend over and over. And for once, all of the hype is richly deserved.
Agnieszka is a young girl growing up in a village at the edge of the corrupt Wood, which would absorb her village and turn everyone in it into raving, evil lunatics if given half an opportunity. The only thing keeping the Wood at bay is the Dragon. The mysterious wizard appears every 10 years and takes away with him a single girl. She will return 10 years later, unharmed yet never the same. Everyone believes the next girl to be taken will be Kasia, Agnieszka’s best friend.
Except it’s not. The next girl is Agnieszka. It turns out, she has a gift, and that gift is magic.
What follows is part coming-of-age, part quest, and part fairy tale. And it’s all fantastic.
Agnieszka is a compelling lead character. She is timid, but grows more bold. She is unsure, but grows more competent. She is steadfast in her loyalty. Her heart is open, even when it shouldn’t be. And it turns out that she’s not the hero anyone wanted, or ever expected, but she’s exactly the one they all need.
My only complaint about this novel is that there isn’t more of it. I wish it was going to be a series. Or at minimum, a trilogy!...more
I picked this up rather quickly after finishing Cinder, because I enjoyed Cinder so much. Unfortunately, I didn’t think Scarlet was as strong of a stoI picked this up rather quickly after finishing Cinder, because I enjoyed Cinder so much. Unfortunately, I didn’t think Scarlet was as strong of a story.
I think the main thing Scarlet has going against it is that there are two focuses to the story. First, you have the further adventures of Cinder and Kai, moving the overarching plot forward. Second, you have the new story, centered around Scarlet and Wolf (as in Little Red Riding Hood).
Scarlet is a farmer who lives with her grandmother in the French countryside. But unfortunately, her grandmother has gone missing and no one seems to want to do anything about it. So Scarlet takes matters into her own hands, helped by the mysterious Wolf.
Of course, Scarlet’s story ends up intertwining with Cinder’s. We learn some things that I had already guessed, but it was nice to have them confirmed. I think my main issue was that I just didn’t get enough time to know Scarlet before I was thrown into the action and expected to root for her....more
This is only my second Nicci French book, but I’ve already noticed a pattern: girl falls unexpectedly for man who is not good for her. Bad things ensuThis is only my second Nicci French book, but I’ve already noticed a pattern: girl falls unexpectedly for man who is not good for her. Bad things ensue.
However, that doesn’t mean this book was the same as the first. There’s a unique structure here. The book opens with Bonnie and a dead body; after that, the chapters alternate between before the event and after. In the before, Bonnie is putting together a rag-tag band (literally, a music band) to play at a friend’s wedding. In the after, Bonnie is dealing with the aftermath of the death and what she chose to do about it.
I ended up with mixed feelings about this book. I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of the characters. I was more frustrated with Bonnie than worried about her or supportive of her. But then something interesting happened. Just as I was starting to get bored with the story and thought I knew exactly where it was going, bam! Everything changed, and I got sucked back in.
So if you don’t mind not loving the characters, it’s worth a read!...more
Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella set in a future dystopian backdrop. What particularly make it stand out is that the Cinder of this story is not aCinder is a retelling of Cinderella set in a future dystopian backdrop. What particularly make it stand out is that the Cinder of this story is not a young girl, but a cyborg in a world that doesn’t see cyborgs as equal to humans. I really enjoyed the story, and it sucked me in from the start.
The nice thing about this retelling is it hits all the beats of the original without being a point-by-point copy. The inspiration is obvious — there’s a charming prince, and an evil stepmother, and even a pumpkin (of sorts) — but there’s enough divergence to make it interesting. For one, Cinder isn’t in it for love, and she has much more influence on her story than the Cinderella of old.
The setting was a little unexpected. Not so much the dystopian part, or the problem of the plague, but it being set in a future China. Even though you learn early on where they are, there’s not a lot in the story where it matters. There are some Chinese names, but ultimately they could be in any nondescript city. I wish there had been a little more emphasis on the culture so it did matter.
Overall, this was a quick and enjoyable read. The ending leaves some questions unanswered, so I definitely plan to continue the series....more
Honestly, I didn’t finish this book. It rides the line between psychological thriller and ghost story, but even that and the “creepy little kid” tropeHonestly, I didn’t finish this book. It rides the line between psychological thriller and ghost story, but even that and the “creepy little kid” trope weren’t enough to keep me going.
I just couldn’t relate to or understand ANYTHING the mother did. Or most of what the father did. Starting with moving their family to a house they haven’t even set eyes on (her) or set eyes on in a couple of decades (him). A house that is barely holding itself together. A house with a phone line you can’t hear, no cell service, and questionable electrical service. I guess it had working plumbing? Oh, and it’s on a desolate island you can only access via boat or mudflats that are maaaaaaaybe passable by foot at low tide (if you move fast enough). AND THEY DON’T OWN A BOAT.
I get the whole thing about the creepy location adding to the creepy story, but the rest of the story just doesn’t hold together to me. There are some things you can excuse under the guise of “grief may make one act unreasonably”, but as a whole it all added up to one big nope. In fact, the first big “twist” was the point where I put the book down and didn’t pick it back up again.
This was a book club read so I was able to find out what the resolution to the story was, but once I did, I didn’t feel like I had missed anything....more
Cameron Post is a young girl who has basically the worst thing happen to her — her parents are killed in a car accident. Coincidentally, that same dayCameron Post is a young girl who has basically the worst thing happen to her — her parents are killed in a car accident. Coincidentally, that same day is the first time she kisses a girl, and because children aren’t logical, she connects the two events in her mind, thus beginning several years of confusion and denial and secrecy.
In the mid-90s, rural Montana isn’t really a bastion of progressive or inclusive thought. Cameron had a difficult path to navigate as she tries to figure out who she is and who her real friends are. And when one of those friends betrays her, she has to start all over again in an even more difficult environment.
As an adult, I really related to the time period in the book. I would have been right around Cameron’s age, and the story made me think about what would have happened if there were a Cameron in my hometown, in my high school. Heck, there may have been a Cameron, and I just didn’t know it.
I do have a few minor criticisms. For one, I thought it was a little too long. And two, it ends *really* abruptly. I actually would forgo some of the earlier parts of the book in exchange for a little more followup. Though I guess it says good things about the story that I want to know what happens next!...more
This book grabbed me, pretty much from the beginning. Rocky is a young boy who idolizes his cool older brother, even when it seems like things aren’tThis book grabbed me, pretty much from the beginning. Rocky is a young boy who idolizes his cool older brother, even when it seems like things aren’t going so well for him. Even when he abandons Rocky in the woods. Even when he disappears, his high school girlfriend along for the ride.
Rocky is left to grow up in his small Virginia town without him, with his aging father and young mother, and some neighbors that he is a little too curious about. Especially the daughter, who is definitely too old for the teenager.
And then there’s the murder. And that’s when my spidey sense began to tingle.
The further I read, the more I realized the inspiration for Tarkington’s debut novel. The bones of the mystery belong to a well known murder case in Bedford County, Virginia. I won’t go into more specifics, because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone that doesn’t want to be spoiled. But the deeper I got into it, the more I recognized it, thanks to being a bit of a true crime TV junkie. And even though I was then able to figure out the secret, I wasn’t upset at all. Frankly, I was tickled that I recognized it, and I’m rather surprised I haven’t seen it mentioned in any other reviews of the book.
But regardless of the spark of inspiration, this was a solid novel. Music fans will pick up on a lot of references, but everyone else can just enjoy a story that at its core is about family and the unbreakable bonds it can create....more