Samuel Johnson is the kind of clever young boy that baffles and frustrates adults. He stumbles upon a demonic plan to jump-start the apocalypse and it’s up to him and his faithful daschund companion Boswell to stop it. They are occasionally joined by exiled demon Nurd, who enjoys his time on Earth when he’s not getting sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. The big bad here (besides Satan, who keeps threatening to make an appearance) is Mrs. Abernathy, a nasty woman, who is taken over early on by an even nastier demon. Then there’s the assortment of other demons and demonic-powered entities that start showing up, including: a Monster Under the Bed who is so endearingly incompetent its easy to forget he would eat Samuel Johnson if he’d ever agree to get out of bed; an unpleasant undead bishop, who is irked that he is trapped in a tomb; and a host of gargoyles who are saddened to realize that stone doesn’t fly, it falls.
It’s the kind of cheeky story that I think is a specialty of British humor. It’s funny and clever and Connolly continues to prove he is quite a talented writer (which I discovered after reading his dark fairytale The Book of Lost Things)....more
One of the many YA retellings of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon."
In this version, Cassie helps her father out at his Arctic Research center. WhenOne of the many YA retellings of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon."
In this version, Cassie helps her father out at his Arctic Research center. When Cassie's grandmother used to live with them at the Arctic Research Center, she would tell Cassie about the Daughter of the North Wind who was promised to the Polar Bear king, but fell in love with a human man. The North Wind’s Daughter promised the Polar Bear King her daughter as a bride, if he agreed to hide them from the anger of the North Wind. The Polar Bear King did, but the North Wind found them anyway, and whisked his daughter away to be held captive by the trolls.
Clearly, this Daughter of the North Wind was Cassie’s mother. Cassie grows up and decides this is just a nice myth to explain her mother’s disappearance/death. Of course, it’s all real, and the Polar Bear King comes for Cassie. She agrees to marry him in exchange for freeing her mother. This poor Bear will take any bargain he's given– and he doesn’t even try to enforce the terms. He's a bit of a sap, really.
The Polar Bear King is a munaqsri – a guardian who protects the souls of the species he is chosen to oversee, shepherding them into life and into death. Cassie at first doesn’t want to marry a talking polar bear and give up her intended life of arctic research. She eventually comes around, only to have the Polar Bear King “fix” her hormonal imbalance caused by birth control and impregnate her. She’s understandably pissed and decides to look at him while he’s in his human form in the dark. Of course, due to another poor bargain that was made,the Polar Bear King has to now go live with the troll princess. Stop making so many stupid bargains, Polar Bear King!
The second half of the book is Cassie trying to rescue the Polar Bear King, which is 99% having to deal with munasqri who refuse to be helpful, and who care more about the munasqri fetus she’s carrying than her.
It is hard to root for a romance that begins with a captive bride, then steers into the love interest impregnating the heroine against her will. "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" is about a girl willing to go the ends of the earth and beyond for her love. But if I was Cassie, I would have seriously considered letting the troll princess have the Polar Bear King and used my resources to get back to civilization. And being really, really angry at my mom for agreeing to sell me into marital slavery before I was born. ...more
Points to Han for making it a truly beachy read. The present timeline and flashbacks really do invoke the hazy summer days of childhood, when you hadPoints to Han for making it a truly beachy read. The present timeline and flashbacks really do invoke the hazy summer days of childhood, when you had nothing to do but goof off and hang out and basically live in a swim suit. And it was a very fluffy and a fast read.
On the other hand:
(a) Belly is the stupidest nickname ever (up there with “Baby”) and I respect Bells less for not trying to shake it.
(b) I did not care for this love triangle. Both brothers sucked. And there was no chemistry. I think Cam (who Isabelle met first at a Latin competition then again at a bonfire) was great (smart, confident, cute, good at Latin(!), clean cut and clean living but not judgy, etc.), but sadly he was just a placeholder until the Fisher boys finally came around. I hated the Fisher boys when they were huge jerks to Cam out of jealousy. They make fun of him for everything, every chance they get. Grow up, Fisher boys! You suck! Conrad was the worst – moody, bad-boy-wannabe. Jeremiah was supposed to be the nice one, but he can’t be a man about anything. Belly deserves such a rotten love triangle! And Cam is lucky he got far, far away from this madness. Go find a nice girl who deserves you, Cam! ...more