Very complicated for us Kansans, this book is. It's a great fairy tale, and the speculation never ends about who and what Baum really meant to be theVery complicated for us Kansans, this book is. It's a great fairy tale, and the speculation never ends about who and what Baum really meant to be the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, the Wizard, and so on. On the other hand, it sometimes seems as if anytime anyone wants to talk about Kansas, the actual state, they have to put in an Oz reference. This drives quite a few of us crazy on occasion. That, and the joke that the in the film version, Kansas in in black & white while Oz is in color. Still, I'm happy I read it, and happy that I own it....more
This is an interesting fantasy novel. First off, it's not a "novel," but the first part of a series. As such it's hard to tell if much happens plot-wiThis is an interesting fantasy novel. First off, it's not a "novel," but the first part of a series. As such it's hard to tell if much happens plot-wise. It's the characters that make this work interesting. The heroine, Amanda Chariss, is wonderfully mouthy and strong, yet at the same time has lots to learn. There's a god that acts like a family uncle, a colorful household, and a "pet" dragon. It's these characters that kept me reading.
If I have a complaint (and a caution), it's this: point-of-view often shifts without warning, and sometimes does so within paragraphs. There were a few times when this was jarring. Fortunately, the characters are interesting enough, and the information revealed is compelling enough, that these shifts don't slow down the reading at all.
Tho' I do have a weakness for redheads, I'm looking forward to getting the second book and reading more about Amanda's adventures. I'd recommend this book for anyone who likes the fantasy genre, and especially those who want characters as complex as the plot....more
Good story that continues an interesting series. The heroine is a bit more assertive this time, not as much in over her head, and I like that. Doesn'tGood story that continues an interesting series. The heroine is a bit more assertive this time, not as much in over her head, and I like that. Doesn't quite have a final ending like the first three, but satisfying all the same....more
The book starts with Raine still bonded to the soul-stealing rock known as the Saghred. She's trying to run an elaborate con to prevent the elves andThe book starts with Raine still bonded to the soul-stealing rock known as the Saghred. She's trying to run an elaborate con to prevent the elves and goblins from going to war. In the novel we meet a new member of her family of pirates and the assassin who was Raine's ex-fiance'.
The story moves along at a pretty good clip. There's intrigue and action, and the love between Raine and the elf paladin Michael develops nicely. Raine is still a fun character to follow.
*However.* There are two coincidences that come late in the novel. One involves a murder, the other is a bar fight. Both are used to get Raine to the next place she needs to be. The problem is that both events so rely on coincidence that they undermine the plot.
It would have been far better for Raine to get to where she needed to be of her own volition. This would have made her stronger and more decisive. This is especially true regarding the bar fight. The reveal is so coincidental that I was stunned it was there. It was simply not believable.
For me those two incidents removed some of the enjoyment I had reading Con & Conjure. Since the story is supposed to conclude with the sixth novel, I will pick up that and see how it all turns out. Unfortunately I have to say that this is the weakest book in the series....more
The story starts off with Cullen, a put-upon 12-year-old who's an avid fantasy reader living in present-day northern California. Things shift to post-The story starts off with Cullen, a put-upon 12-year-old who's an avid fantasy reader living in present-day northern California. Things shift to post-Roman Britain and Rowan, a druid who escapes an attack by raiders by disappearing into a wooden wand. Also along is Rowan's bride-to-be Fiana, two girls who are Cullen's only friends, and a teacher he has a crush on.
The plot takes off when Cullen finds the wand and begins to communicate with Rowan. At times Rowan even takes over Cullen's body. Rowan wants to find Fiana. She has been searching for him, but she becomes more desperate and dark as time passes. The ending makes this book the first in a series.
I found the characters pretty well-drawn. What was very interesting was Fiana; she doesn't start out bad, but we see her fall as time and frustration take its toll.
On the other hand, there's some switching of viewpoints within scenes. This can be confusing and undermines the narrative flow. To some degree events are set in motion in the present due to coincidence. I suppose this can be attributed to magic, but it's still a bit odd.
I am curious to see how the series progresses....more
This short novel features 13-year-old Rachel. She gets a brief respite from her wild younger brothers while on a vacation in the Caribbean by taking sThis short novel features 13-year-old Rachel. She gets a brief respite from her wild younger brothers while on a vacation in the Caribbean by taking surfing lessons. Towards the end of the day she gets to surf by herself. A mysterious school of fish swim by, and strange wave comes up.
Rachel finds herself in the middle of the ocean. She's picked up by a pirate ship. The crew isn't sure if she's a mermaid (a "pirate bride") come to save them, or a witch who will keep them forever lost. Rachel has to get on the pirates' good side and figure out how to escape her odd predicament.
The Pirate Bride is aimed at middle-school and early teen readers, yet I found it fairly enjoyable. Rachel is a character who is sympathetic but not at all perfect. You see her learn and grow as the story zips along. The book also has some good illustrations. Parents could buy this for their children, and still have a good read themselves....more