Artemis Fowl is a thirteen-year-old criminal genius. His father (also a criminal genius) is missing, presumed dead and his mother, now recovered (than...moreArtemis Fowl is a thirteen-year-old criminal genius. His father (also a criminal genius) is missing, presumed dead and his mother, now recovered (thanks to fairy magic) from the melancholic madness the affected her during the course of the previous novel has packed Artemis off to an expensive boarding school. There he confounds the child psychologists (he does, after all know much more about their subject than they do -- wrote the book on it in fact) and merely broods on the possibility of finding his father whom he steadfastly believes to still be alive.
A breakthrough comes when Fowl's manservant and bodyguard, appropriately named Butler, hands his master what amounts to a ransom note apparently from the Russian Mafiya and thus begins the adventure.
Meanwhile down in the bowels of the Earth, in the Lower Elements (the last Mud Man -- what they refer to us humans -- free zone on the planet, there is upheaval in the fairy domain. Colfer's fairy domain is not the one you grew up with, rather it is one hip and happening high-tech urban landscape, infested with crime and grime and the need for a police force with an arsenal. Their job isn't easy aside from dealing with the crimes perpetrated amongst their own various kinds from trolls to pixies to goblins, there is the added and ever present danger of discovery by humans.
"Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident" is wholly enjoyable on many levels. It plays with the kind of toys that are now part our everyday lives and where vital clues are transmitted by email and text messaging, ransom demands come as mpg files and added to this are some wonderful impossible inventions, the stuff of pure science fiction. I may just pick up another book from this series, however I'll probably choose one that doesn't involve too much sci-fi elements.
Title Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident Author Eoin Colfer Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. With two trusty sidekicks in tow, he hatches a cunning plot to dive...moreTwelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. With two trusty sidekicks in tow, he hatches a cunning plot to divest the fairy-folk of their pot of gold. Of course, he isn't foolish enough to believe in all that "gold at the end of the rainbow" nonsense. Rather, he knows that the only way to separate the little people from their stash is to kidnap one of them and wait for the ransom to arrive.
Though there are folklore, fairies and fantasy, this is no ancient-themed tale--but wholly of the 21st century, with a bit of high-tech stuff thrown in. Forget the usual wands, cauldrons and spells: There's a magical Book, but also powerful computers and and all the gadgets galore a genius centaur could provide. The descriptions of the faerie technology were complicated and yet somehow still vague and it all sounded like it had been filtered through a dialogue generator.
"Artemis Fowl" fails on a lot of levels. The characters are (intentionally) unlikable, and most of them are even uninteresting and forgettable. Certainly, the title character is somewhat interesting, but stunningly we spend very little time with Fowl and his schemes. Most of our time is spent watching fairy bureaucrats play office politics. As the book goes on, you begin to see that Artemis Fowl does indeed possess a conscience, he is just careful never to let it get in the way of his evil schemes.
I wanted so much to like this book because it sounded like it had interesting possibilities. But the story is weak, shallow, unbelievable. The characters had no personality distinctions--and all seemed to speak in the same sarcastic voice.
Title Artemis Fowl Author Eoin Colfer Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
"Angelology" is not a Biblical-based novel, it is an adventure in an imaginary world. It combines angels and ancient myths and interweaves them into a...more"Angelology" is not a Biblical-based novel, it is an adventure in an imaginary world. It combines angels and ancient myths and interweaves them into a contemporary setting.
This novel is a struggle between good and evil, between Nephilim (angels of the earth) and Human beings. It is a story of magic, and struggle, and hope. We watch as Evangeline, who grew up in a convent, encounters a world and a life she never knew existed. We are introduced to that world with her, and find ourselves suspending our disbelief as we watch the story unfold.
Sister Evangeline is leading a quiet life of prayer in a convent situated in Milton, New York, when she receives a letter from Paul Verlaine asking for access to the convent's archives. With this one request, Evangeline and Verlaine set off a dangerous chain of events that are connected to the secret society of Angelologists, those who have made it their lives' work to study and defeat humankind's oldest enemy -- the fallen angels.
The Society of Angelologists go back many generations, claiming as its members, Sir Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, Milton, of course. They are scholars of theology, scientists, men and women of the cloth who throughout the years have waged a secret war against the Nephilim, the evil offspring of the fallen angels who pass as humans. The darkest periods of human history, such as the Inquisition and the Nazis' rise to power, are attributed to the machinations of the half-human, half-angel Nephilim. However, some of the Nephilim are falling prey to a degenerative disease, and they have become desperate to find a cure.
For many years now, the Angelologists and Nephilim alike have been searching for a hidden, fabled treasure from the Archangel Michael himself, which, if the Nephilim were to obtain it would be their instrument to unlimited power on earth and also cure their mysterious wasting disease. Within the forgotten archives of Sister Evangeline's convent lies the key to its location. From Bulgaria, to Paris, to New York -- the Angelologists race to find this precious artifact before the Nephilim.
In incredible detail, Trussoni tells a believable tale, a tale that pulls you into the very center of the struggle, one that is 3/4 adventure and 1/4 fantasy. I found myself intrigued as I met the characters and watched the story weave itself together.
The story is engaging, fast-paced, and original. The characters are intriguing, believable, and of increasing complexity as the story develops. The settings and time periods range from Paris in the 1940's, to the mountains of Bulgaria, to modern-day New York. Whether in a convent or a cave; whether seeing events through the eyes of a bewildered little girl or a prideful centuries-old Nephilim -- you feel you are there and it feels real.
Title Angelology Author Danielle Trussoni Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
In a predictable flashback device that mimics "The Notebook", 57-year-old Landon Carter spirits himself back to his fateful senior year in high school...moreIn a predictable flashback device that mimics "The Notebook", 57-year-old Landon Carter spirits himself back to his fateful senior year in high school in Beaufort, N.C., when he was an archetypal trouble making teenager of the 1950s, changed forever by an unexpected first love.
Jamie Sullivan, the Bible-toting minister's daughter, with her drab brown sweaters, spinster hairstyle and sincere, beatific advice, is the obvious target of high school ridicule. Despite conspiring in Jamie's derision, class president Landon, desperate for a date for the homecoming dance, finds himself asking Jamie. The story moved slowly at first, with the irritating words "if you know what I mean" written down as part of it every few paragraphs.
The book may be predictable in parts, but that does not deter from the beauty of this story. Landon learns so many truths about life, about love and about humanity. He learns what true and unconditional love is. He learns what it means to treat others with respect, and he learns to be confident with his own convictions.
I think even the most hardened reader, if allowed soulful honesty instead of the pessimism with which we tend to conduct our way through this century, will find tears in the eyes and that constricted throat that means we are emotionally alive during the closing pages of this little treasure.
Title A Walk to Remember Author Nicholas Sparks Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
After a childhood spent assisting her father, one of the world’s most talented art thieves, Katarina Bishop tries to leave the family business behind...moreAfter a childhood spent assisting her father, one of the world’s most talented art thieves, Katarina Bishop tries to leave the family business behind when she forges her way into a New England boarding school.
She quickly discovers, though, that her past is inescapable. Her father has been accused of stealing already stolen masterpieces from a dangerous Italian billionaire. Certain that her father is innocent, Kat resolves to find the missing paintings and return them to their unsavory owner, who has given her a two-week deadline.
Her dad is currently under surveillance by Interpol (a result of the job he was actually pulling on the night the paintings were stolen), so that leaves Kat to discover who pulled the art heist and get the mobster's paintings back before he starts hurting the people she loves.
In her discreet way, Carter sets the stage for a future romance, but the reader is left wondering if it will be Hale, fellow thief, or Nick, whose mom is investigating Kat's father. In a world of rushed romances in literature, it is refreshing to see a romance built slowly over friendship. One of the best parts of this book is how Carter weaved some history into the art heist when Kat "meets" Mr. Romani, who is working diligently to recover artwork stolen by the Nazis. Hopefully in future books, readers will be able to learn more about Kat's parents and perhaps how the family started stealing in the first place.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable, cinema-ready adventure, and the details of thieving tools and techniques, lavish settings, and cast of eccentric characters, including possible spies and love interests, all add texture and depth to the action.
Carter's style is conversational, smooth, and clever, exposing Kat's wry humor and her steely determination. Amid themes of family loyalty and identity, the protagonist comes to understand herself, her beliefs, and her place in her family.
What would you be willing to do, to undergo, in order to have your Heart's Desire?
"You and your firstborn child and his or her firstborn child...It's...moreWhat would you be willing to do, to undergo, in order to have your Heart's Desire?
"You and your firstborn child and his or her firstborn child...It's a gift that will last as long as I live." "And what would that be, sir?" "Your Heart's Desire."
I love "Stardust"! This is THE fairy tale meant for adults. It retains the fantasy that you'd want yourself immersed in: a world that is so much older than what we know, where everything is possible & where you're only bounded by your own unimaginativeness.
Here you meet a refreshing take on the creatures of Faerie: The wood-nymph who became a tree with copper leaves that rustle prettily; a small, hairy creature in floppy clothes who proved to be an invaluable member of the Fellowship of the Castle (I do wish Gaiman expounded on this); the exotic bird/Lady Una with her deep violet eyes & mysterious aura ("I gain my freedom on the day the moon loses her daughter, if that occurs in the week when two Mondays come together"); Tristran Thorn, the most unlikely of heroes who in the end realizes what is truly his Heart's Desire; and of course, the fallen Star, Yvaine ("the way she glitters and shines, upon occasion, in the darkness").
My heart twinge in sadness at what the star must've felt when she thought she had lost the heart she gave to a boy: "I'm called Yvaine," said the star. "So," she said, "you are Victoria Forrester. Your fame precedes you." "The wedding, you mean?" said Victoria, and her eyes shone with pride and delight. "A wedding, is it?" asked Yvaine.
This book features an interview with Neil Gaiman on how he was inspired to write “Stardust” as well as a separate story, “Wall: A Prologue.” Been hunting for this edition for quite some time now, having disliked the current movie tie-in covers currently published.
Title Stardust Author Neil Gaiman Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
I loved this story especially when it came out in a graphic novel of the same title (loved the illustration of the Silver City). Is it possible to kil...moreI loved this story especially when it came out in a graphic novel of the same title (loved the illustration of the Silver City). Is it possible to kill or murder an angel? If yes, then how was it done? If yes, then what is the reason for it? If yes, then will God punish the evildoer? The story is an account of the first murder in the history of the universe, before even Cain and Abel, told from the viewpoint of Raguel, an angel whose function is to be the "Vengeance of the Lord."
The Lord: "Poor sweet Lucifer. His way will be the hardest of all my children; for there is a part he must play in the drama that is to come, and it is a grand role." Raguel: "Perhaps it is true that all that happens is in accordance with Your Will, and thus it is good. But sometimes You leave blood on Your instruments."
I gained a totally new perspective on angels because of this great story. Thank you, Gaiman!
Title Murder Mysteries Author Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
"Stories are webs, interconnected strand to strand, and you follow each story to the center, because the center is the end. Each person is a strand of...more"Stories are webs, interconnected strand to strand, and you follow each story to the center, because the center is the end. Each person is a strand of story."
"Fat Charlie" Nancy leads a life of comfortable workaholism in London, with a stressful agent job he doesn't like much, and a pleasant fiancée, Rosie. When Charlie learns of the death of his estranged father in Florida, he attends the funeral and learns two facts that turn his well-ordered existence upside-down: that his father was a human form of Anansi, the African trickster god, and that he has a brother, Spider, who has inherited some of their father's godlike abilities.
Spider comes to visit Charlie and gets him fired from his job, steals his fiancée, and is instrumental in having him arrested for embezzlement and suspected of murder. When Charlie resorts to magic to get rid of Spider, who's selfish and unthinking rather than evil, things begin to go very badly for just about everyone. Charlie fights back with assistance from other gods, and that's when the real trouble begins.
I thought "Anansi Boys" started off a little slowly. Fat Charlie was such a drab anti-hero, but I found myself wondering how this guy was going to become interesting, because I genuinely liked the character despite his awkwardness. Gaiman does a fantastic job pacing this story. We get sucked into the eccentricities of Charlie's brother, Spider, right along with Charlie. I found myself getting frustrated with Spider, much as I imagine Charlie was.
By the second half of the story, you could see the brothers' relationship changing. They were feeding off each other in a way, taking on characteristics of each other. Brilliantly done.
Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is mu...moreShadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired.
Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Gaiman tries to keep the magical and the mundane evenly balanced, but he is clearly more interested in the activities of his human protagonists: Shadow's poignant personal moments and the tale's affectionate slices of small town life are much better developed than the aimless plot, which bounces Shadow from one episodic encounter to another in a design only the gods seem to know.
Gaiman's protagonist always seems to get shoved, manipulated or dragged around in the story without ever exhibiting much control. Like in this book: eventually it becomes clear that Shadow is the hero because of his remarkable capabilities, but emotionally and mentally, he remains passive, directionless and often--whether literally or figuratively--completely in the dark.
This aspect of the book, while very effective for those readers familiar with various mythologies of the world, is sometimes over laden with references to events and symbols of the various deities. It's admirable to include such a wide variety of worldly figures, but somewhat detracting from the story if as a reader, too much extra research is necessary to understand the associations. The stories range from African gods to creatures from Oman to a woman from Cornwall, England who worships piskies.
The problem is that I was expecting an epic. The book's subject matter, length, awards, and reviews all scream epic. I was expecting something deep, meaningful, and memorable. Gaiman's writing talent teased me nearly all the way through that this was indeed what I was reading, yet it never quite delivered. Instead of a memorable epic, what I finally discovered in American Gods was a well-written and enjoyable pulp novel.
"The world will be built new for you morning. If you stay here, you can have whatever you want." "You really don't understand, do you? I don't want wha...more"The world will be built new for you morning. If you stay here, you can have whatever you want." "You really don't understand, do you? I don't want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted? Just like that, and it didn't mean anything. What then?"
Both Coraline's parents work at home, and sometimes she feels a bit ignored and bored. Nevertheless, she is encouraged to explore and so she does. First her neighbors. Having run out of people, Coraline investigates the premises. Her flat is most unusual; it has 21 windows and 14 doors. Only one door is locked, and that only leads to a brick wall.
Well, most of the time it does. On some occasions, it opens up on a world just like this one, where Coraline finds her other mother, other father, and even other neighbors. At first it seems quite nice, people pay more attention to one there, the toys are better, and, of all things, the cat talks.
Soon Coraline finds all is not quite as it seems. Everyone has buttons for eyes, her other mother has strange hands that seem to have a life of their own, and there are a remarkable number of rats. In fact, if you dig deep enough, things are really most horrible. Coraline has much to do to make things come around right.
"Coraline" is full of sinister atmosphere -- it's easy to tell real kindliness from the creepy parody that the "other" people exhibit. With singing rats, soulless children trapped behind a dark mirror, a doughy grublike "other" person, a bag of beetles eaten like candy, two "other" people melted into a monster, and a clawlike disembodied hand searching for Coraline, it's full of things that will terrify and excite. The easily frightened or grossed out should avoid this book, but those who revel in the over-the-top ickiness and horror will enjoy it.
You could say that it's Gaiman's ability to touch the sources of wonder and fear without the necessity of excessive gore and grimness.
Title Coraline Authors Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
Life looks good for Becky as she spouts financial advice on her TV show, finds romance with Luke, and continues to wrap her bank manager Derek Smeath...moreLife looks good for Becky as she spouts financial advice on her TV show, finds romance with Luke, and continues to wrap her bank manager Derek Smeath around her pinkie. But when Mr. Smeath retires from Endwich Bank and Luke announces he wants to make it big in New York, big changes are literally in store for Becky.
She takes to New York like an angel to heaven, or as she so succinctly says, "These are my people. I've found my homeland." Becky has never been happier and the reader is treated to Becky hyperventilating at a Prada sample sale, seeing the Guggenheim in a unique way, winning the attention of employees at Barney's, all while taking a three-hour group walking tour of New York that turns into a thousand dollar shopping day when the tour director invites them to enter a magnificent place of worship and Becky enters Saks rather than St. Patrick's.
While it wasn't quite as hilarious as the first book in the series, Becky Bloomwood's misadventures were still entertaining. Her naivete is astounding to a certain degree but entirely endearing. I became a little frustrated with Luke in this book, but he does redeem himself in the end. And Suze--who wouldn't want her for a best friend? She's there for Becky at exactly the right moments. She never allows Becky to give up on herself, just as you expect your best friend to be.
Kinsella creates some winning characters, but the credit card and shopping bag action is wearing dangerously thin. It may even be accused of being just a lame extension of a story that had already been told.
Title Shopaholic Takes Manhattan Author Sophie Kinsella Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)