I don't like most Vampire stories. I enjoy any story that plays with tropes though and turns them on their head. So, here we have a YA vampire book th...moreI don't like most Vampire stories. I enjoy any story that plays with tropes though and turns them on their head. So, here we have a YA vampire book that has a girl who becomes romantically entangled with a vampire. Been done to death. (No pun intended.) But here's what I found refreshing that while this book does cover already covered territory -- exploring the romanticism with death, immortality and the glamour of vampires, it also drags itself away from some tropes. Love here springs almost entirely from an act of mercy. That. Just that helps me buy the story. That and how romance and obsession is not the primary motivating factor of our heroine. Instead, Tana is motivated by her personal morality, survival instincts and a desire to protect others. She is I think for the most part a well-rounded character as the author delves into Tana's childhood experiences with her infected mother that color the character's feelings towards vampires and certainly every other part of life. A quick read and, like most books by Holly Black, expertly paced.(less)
There is something to Tanith Lee's prose that draws me back. I first discovered her through the Terri Windling anthologies and eventually made my way...moreThere is something to Tanith Lee's prose that draws me back. I first discovered her through the Terri Windling anthologies and eventually made my way to her longer works. In these volumes, I found myself looking for her name because her stories much like Patricia McKillip's and Robin McKinley's were rich in imagery.
Black Unicorn also contains that lovely rich imagery that invigorates the imagination. "Somewhere between the city and the desert, sunset began. The sky was apple-red in the west, and in the east the coolness of lilac raised the ceiling of the air to an impossible height. Stars broke out like windows opening."
Tanaquil is exasperated with her sorceress mother, Jaive, who is too busy with her spells and studies to notice that her daughter needs to grow out from under her shadow. This really is a classic story of growing up in that way, but the key to Tanaquil's journey from home and towards her own independence and her own identity is through the milk-crystal bones brought to her by her own pet peeve (no, really the creatures are called peeves.) Tanaquil feels quite honestly like a teenager but without too much peevishness to spoil her appeal.
This story could fall into cliche easily -- the sorceresses are red-headed, parents are neglectful. But instead of feeling tired, the story feels universal and vibrant. My only complaint is the brevity of the story, but since this is the first in a trilogy I'm sure this complaint will be addressed.
And truly this is a nice heroine for the young adult audience -- refreshingly she is more inclined to mechanics than fashion and there is not a jot of romance in this first book to distract from the personal growth of Tanaquil as an individual.
Oh and the unicorn is truly wonderful and terrible (although I think my heart was won by the peeve.)(less)
Inkheart is a curl-up-on-the-couch-on-a-snowy-day book. It is also a book that celebrates books. I have to wonder how well that aspect comes off to yo...moreInkheart is a curl-up-on-the-couch-on-a-snowy-day book. It is also a book that celebrates books. I have to wonder how well that aspect comes off to young readers, but as an adult reader the nostalgia and deep love of reading was charming. Many classic books provide chapter openings. Meggie's and her father's affection for the written word leap off each page. I can see this as a great gateway book for some readers to discover books like Treasure Island, Peter Pan, The Hobbit and The Arabian Nights.
This book doesn't replace childhood favorites like The Changeling Sea or new YA favorites like Tithe or Howl's Moving Castle, but it deserves to be read by those of us who have ever wished that our stories could literally leap off the page.
This book treads old ground in some ways but is still a diverting read and a promising *ahem bad pun* start to this series. It begins in a dystopian w...moreThis book treads old ground in some ways but is still a diverting read and a promising *ahem bad pun* start to this series. It begins in a dystopian world where children must begin taking Ichor at the age of puberty. Dreams are forbidden and rare. Real friendships are even rarer. The book begins with Dante and Beatrice (yes, I found the many references to Dante's cycle fitting.)
It is a dark book but I must admit that I loved Dante and Beatrice from the start and am interested to see how the story continues. Needless to say the ending leaves you in a bit of a loop since the second book is not out yet. (less)
I read this book thinking, "I wish this had been around when I was younger..." Well, this is a foolish thought because the books were around when I wa...moreI read this book thinking, "I wish this had been around when I was younger..." Well, this is a foolish thought because the books were around when I was a child, and have been around for awhile. Any books for children that feature a mixture of Georgian/Victorian society, a dash of wolves, loads of adventure, and little girls learning to stand on their own two solid feet has my love. I love that Bonnie is not only a plucky young girl, but also handy with a rifle (good against wolves!). This story is one of daring, bravery, friendship, sisterhood and that very best ingredient in children's stories -- growing up with grace away from parents and adults.
I do wish I'd read this book as a young girl because I could have learned and gained a great deal from Bonnie even if I was more like shy, sensitive Sylvia at first. This book is recommended to young girls (and boys) and any adult that still enjoys that bit of whimsy and wonder in their reading. I would think this would be a great read-aloud and share book.
ps. See the Strange Horizons review of more of Joan Aiken's book for a more clear picture of this Wolves series. Find the review here.(less)