I got this book Saturday and read it Saturday. It's not a taxing or very long read, but it's quite a lot of fun. Hermione Granger did a very nice tran...moreI got this book Saturday and read it Saturday. It's not a taxing or very long read, but it's quite a lot of fun. Hermione Granger did a very nice translation from the Ancient Runes, and it's always interesting to read Dumbledore's commentary.
Of course as a Muggle I've never read most of these stories before (except for "The Tale of the Three Brothers." I'd heard of them, and I'm very happy to have finally read "The Tale of Babbity Rabbity," because the title was so silly it's nice to have something to link it to.
Seriously. If you're a Harry Potter fan, this is quite worth the $10 you'll pay for a hardcover edition (especially when a generous cut of the profits goes to the Children's High Level Group, a service organization helping children in foster-care/orphanage placements throughout Europe. I had a rather difficult time reading "The Tale of the Three Brothers" without inserting Ron and Harry's interruptions from The Deathly Hallows, but the notes on that one are particularly interesting considering what they don't give away.(less)
I love Neil Gaiman. I really do. And this book represents exactly why I love him. He gives us a completely believable hero--a live boy rescued by the...moreI love Neil Gaiman. I really do. And this book represents exactly why I love him. He gives us a completely believable hero--a live boy rescued by the dead from a truly creepy bad guy--who lives his life in a graveyard and is tutored by some, well, lovable but equally scary people. Because this is Neil Gaiman, who for some reason thinks this way when other people just don't, but we wish we did.
And then the ending, in true Neil Gaiman style, becomes abruptly horrifying in one flash of comprehension. I don't usually get fooled by plot twists, but this one got me, and after I finished this book I didn't want to get up out of bed to go to the bathroom because the ghosts might get me. Kind of like Coraline only not.(less)
I've reread this a couple of times now. I love the premise of the series, set as a faux-historical translation of texts from an imaginary ancient civi...moreI've reread this a couple of times now. I love the premise of the series, set as a faux-historical translation of texts from an imaginary ancient civilization, complete with footnotes and references.
The story of The Naming (more so than the other two currently published in the series) is reminiscent of the Harry Potter series: a young girl possessing magical powers she doesn't know she has is prophesied to be the One who will defeat the Dark Lord (okay, okay, the Nameless One, Sharma, same diff). So she gets hooked up with a teacher and goes to a Bard School to learn magic.
Except. Alison Croggon takes this completely similar plot and turns it into an entirely different story. Her writing is lyrical in a way that J.K. Rowling's is not (and I'm a big Rowling fan, please note; this is not intended as a criticism of Harry in any way). There's a compelling immediacy to the story: Maerad is not allowed to spend seven years in a cushy wizarding school to learn magic, she has to learn it NOW, because she has to do whatever it is she has to do YESTERDAY.
The characters are fascinating, the writing intense, complex, and lovely, and the plot moves one with almost dizzying quickness from one dire situation to the next without battering the reader, but placing the reader in full sympathy with Maerad, who is certainly close to overwhelmed by the events that take her out of slavery and servitude to being arguably the most powerful Bard in Pellinor.
Oh, and the Hulls are completely creepy. Sharma, A.K.A. the Nameless One, doesn't creep me out nearly as bad as these minions of his--but that is probably because even after three books I have seen only glimpses of him. I'm guessing when The Singing is finally in my eager little hands, I will at some point have all my blood chilled by the real bad guy.(less)
More of the same excellence from Alison Croggon. The story continues to be rich and compelling, and even surprising at times. I never do this, honest,...moreMore of the same excellence from Alison Croggon. The story continues to be rich and compelling, and even surprising at times. I never do this, honest, but I looked toward the back of the book to find out if something in the story really happened or was just a brain f*#k. I won't say if it was or not here... but I had to know. I just did. I couldn't wait another 200 pages to find out.
When I began this book I was disappointed that we'd be following Hem rather than his sister Maerad. But then I stopped being disappointed, both becaus...moreWhen I began this book I was disappointed that we'd be following Hem rather than his sister Maerad. But then I stopped being disappointed, both because Hem is at least as interesting as Maerad, and because his part of the story is just as important as hers--in fact, it's fully half of the story. Who knew? It was pretty cut and dried in the first two books: Maerad was the one in the prophecy, and Hem was secondary. But no.
And watching Hem grow up in the course of the few months described in this novel is fascinating, too. He goes from a fruit-stealing, trouble-making ragamuffin to a responsible young mage in just a few hundred pages, and in some ways he does it more gracefully than his sister. I also was drawn in to the story of Zelika, a character I liked very much.
So now I'm just waiting for The Singing. Hurry UP, February, seriously!(less)
I really enjoyed this book. I love Tammy Pierce's books in general--they're always a good read, they're interesting. I liked the Circle of Magic serie...moreI really enjoyed this book. I love Tammy Pierce's books in general--they're always a good read, they're interesting. I liked the Circle of Magic series very well, and found the four young mages and their linked nature very satisfying as protagonists.
But this book was a cut above the original four Circle books. The plot was fast-paced and the writing seemed to begin to seek a more mature audience. I liked the young dance mage, Pasco, although he didn't have as much personality as Evvy in Street Magic (but this may be because of the audio version, and my recent reading of Melting Stones. I had a hard time putting this book down.(less)