Anyway, these continue the story of the dragon princess Shimmer and her human companion Thorn in their quest to restore Shimmer's lost ocean home. When Shimmer returns to the dragon High King for help, she discovers that her entire clan have been enslaved by him, and now she must save them all in addition to saving their home. Shimmer and Thorn pick up more companions along the way: the witch Civet, the human Indigo, and most wonderfully, the trickster Monkey, who narrates the last two books. I especially loved Monkey's narration, because he's funny and entertaining in his own right, but he also provides an outside POV on the books' key relationship, between Shimmer and Thorn.
All in all, although they skew a little younger than most of the children's and young adult books I read now, I really liked the series' blend of excellent characterization, great use of Chinese mythology, and fast-paced action. ...more
In 1920s Barcelona, David Martín is struggling to get by as a writer and longing to be noticed by the lovely Cristina, daughter of his mentor's chauffIn 1920s Barcelona, David Martín is struggling to get by as a writer and longing to be noticed by the lovely Cristina, daughter of his mentor's chauffeur. When David discovers that his true métier is for Gothic, sensational stories, he comes to the attention of the mysterious publisher Andreas Corelli, who offers him a fortune to write a shocking book which will be the keystone to a new religion. His involvement with Corelli, however, does not lead David to fame and fortune, but deeper and deeper into a maze of fantastical, dangerous events.
I loved Zafón's previous book, The Shadow of the Wind, to which this is a prequel of sorts, but alas, I was disappointed in The Angel's Game. I still love Zafón's very vivid, visual, almost Hitchcockian style -- I noticed myself visualizing scenes in detail more than I usually do -- and the use of books as keys to the story, and I appreciated the subtle links with The Shadow of the Wind. However, I did not love the characters; I found David selfish and Cristina nearly a non-entity. I don't require that a novel's characters be perfectly admirable, or they would be boring, but I do want them to have more depth and at least some likeability. (I did really like David's devoted friend Isabella, and had more of the book been about her, I would have liked it more.) The plot veers wildly about and finally devolves into an ending which simply baffled me. In the end, though the lush writing and tense action kept me reading to the end, I found The Angel's Game more style than substance. ...more
It is 1903, and Moon Shadow lives in China with his mother; a few months before Moon Shadow was born, his father, Windrider, left for America, the LanIt is 1903, and Moon Shadow lives in China with his mother; a few months before Moon Shadow was born, his father, Windrider, left for America, the Land of the Golden Mountain, to earn money which he sends back to his family in China. Now Windrider has sent for the eight-year-old Moon Shadow to join him. When Moon Shadow meets his father, he finds out Windrider's true dream, to fly, and slowly he grows to believe in Windrider's dream, even though it's keeping them from sending for Moon Shadow's mother. I wish Yep had explored that issue a little more, but overall, I liked the book's historical and cultural details very much and probably will read more of Yep's historical fiction (although I liked Dragon of the Lost Sea more)....more
On a quest to recover the magical gem that contains her lost ocean home, the dragon princess Shimmer encounters a boy, Thorn. When he saves Shimmer'sOn a quest to recover the magical gem that contains her lost ocean home, the dragon princess Shimmer encounters a boy, Thorn. When he saves Shimmer's life in a fight, she rather reluctantly decides that he may accompany her as they pursue her enemy Civet. Though Shimmer doesn't originally feel that Thorn is her equal, because he's so much less powerful than she, she finds that they may have more in common than she thinks and that they can work together to achieve her quest.
The characterization is excellent. The relationship between Shimmer and Thorn is particularly nicely done; overtly, one is powerful and one is comparatively weak, but they develop an equal, helping relationship. It's mostly from Shimmer's viewpoint, since she's the one whose quest it is and who has to change more in order to perceive Thorn as an equal, but there are some passages from Thorn's point of view which show how he sees himself as taking care of her, rather than the reverse. The villain, Civet, is also more three-dimensional than she at first appears, which made the final confrontation more complex.
I really liked the setting. I've always had a weakness for fiction based on fairy tales and mythology, and this hit me in that spot, especially since it's a mythology that I've not read much of. I should read more Chinese mythology and folklore, really; I'd would be interested to see exactly what Yep did use of the tale he started with, about the Old Mother of the Waters, since he says his story grew and changed a lot from there.
This is the first in a series of four (I think), and I'm already tracking down the other ones to read them....more
Daniel Sempere's father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in their city of Barcelona, where Daniel is allowed to choose one book. He chooseDaniel Sempere's father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in their city of Barcelona, where Daniel is allowed to choose one book. He chooses The Shadow of the Wind by forgotten author Julián Carax. Yet quickly Daniel finds out that Carax is not as forgotten as it would seem, and he is drawn into a quest to find out Carax's fate.
I liked this so much that when I got to within about 150 pages of the end, I committed what is often a cardinal sin in our family and withdrew into my cousin's living room by myself to finish it. (Actually, nobody seemed to mind.) It's maybe a little longer than it needs to be, but the mix of Gothic suspense and historical fiction really, really worked for me. I love Wilkie Collins, and this reminded me very much of his books. ...more
It is January 1939, and Liesel is being separated from her family and sent to live with foster parents in Molching, Germany. On the journey, her babyIt is January 1939, and Liesel is being separated from her family and sent to live with foster parents in Molching, Germany. On the journey, her baby brother dies, and at his graveside, she finds a lost book, The Grave Digger's Handbook. Her foster father Hans Hubermann teaches her to read, and soon she is stealing other books, even as her foster family takes in a Jewish refugee and hides him from the Nazis.
Of course a book set in Nazi Germany is going to be depressing, and The Book Thief is -- I cried buckets at the end -- but Zusak saves it from utter depressingness with a blackly humorous narrative voice (the voice of Death, in fact), with hope in the face of tragedy, and with a powerful, beautiful concern with the importance of words and books. ...more