Let me say up front that I am a fan of almost anything that reworks a classic, as can probably be seen by the books on my GoodReads shelves.
I was nerv...moreLet me say up front that I am a fan of almost anything that reworks a classic, as can probably be seen by the books on my GoodReads shelves.
I was nervous about this book for about thirty seconds, until I flipped to the full-color pages in the middle, which put my mind at ease and propelled me all the way to the check-out counter.
Princess Alyss Heart isn't really interested in being Queen of the Wonderlands someday. She's more interested in getting out of the palace with her friend from the royal guard, Dodge Andrews, and getting into a bit of trouble.
But when her ostricized aunt Redd storms the castle and engages her mother, Genevieve, in a battle of imaginations, Alyss must run for her life. She escapes the castle through her mother's private looking glass, which dumps her in the forest that borders the Pool of Tears. Along with Hatter Madigan, the dark, silent captain of the Queen's bodyguards, Alyss jumps into the Pool of Tears and is carried to a land far away, where she meets a young and uninspired writer who thinks that her stories of Wonderland are quite extraordinary.
I feel like I should expound on Hatter Madigan, as he totally made this book for me.
Hatter Madigan wears a long black trenchcoat, with a rucksack on his back, silver wristbands, and a high top hat that he never takes off, unless absolutely necessary. He is quick, acrobatic, quiet, and wields the throwing knives that protrude from his hat with chilling accuracy.
I honestly giggled when I saw his illustration.
And I'm afraid to read the sequel (Seeing Redd) because I don't want to finish so quickly that I have to wait ridiculous amounts of time for the third in the trilogy.
As the second installment in this series, Shadows on the Stars ends rather abruptly, and without any closure whatsoever. But it was still worth read...moreAs the second installment in this series, Shadows on the Stars ends rather abruptly, and without any closure whatsoever. But it was still worth reading, of course.
Barron is messing with my head, because I never thought I'd like any mythical place more than Fincayra (see The Lost Years of Merlin), but Avalon is becoming my new favorite. T. A. Barron's website indicates that he's writing a series to go in between The Lost Years of Merlin and The Great Tree of Avalon. I don't think I'll be able to wait.(less)
Sadly, this is the book I was reading as I made plans for my own novel, so I might be stealing quite a few little id...moreI flew through this book.
Sadly, this is the book I was reading as I made plans for my own novel, so I might be stealing quite a few little ideas. Okay, not so much stealing as turning on that literary charm to change things around, you know?
There's something so easy about Barron's narrative style. He's not afraid to do some things, narratively speaking, that I wouldn't dream of doing. Things like "He smelled something new on the morning fog. Dragons! They loomed over him, their tails flexing idly and their teeth gleaming like so many glittering diamonds."
*Note: That wasn't actually something he wrote... it was just something I threw together.(less)
Okay. I recommended this book and all of its follower for Harry Potter fans because it mirrors Harry Potter in more than a few ways. Boy...moreI LOVED this.
Okay. I recommended this book and all of its follower for Harry Potter fans because it mirrors Harry Potter in more than a few ways. Boy has grown up living a weird kind of life: lots of getting in trouble at school, doing things that were kind of weird, etc. At about twelve, he learns that there's something special about him, directly related to who his parents are. He goes to a magical kind of place. There's a prophecy made about him. His best friends are a very smart girl and a clumsy boy (goat).
Anyway, here's the deal. Percy (Perseus... cute!) Jackson gets attacked by something weird in his sixth grade field trip, and he and his best friend Grover have to escape from the Minotaur into a summer camp. They get away (narrowly) and enter Camp Half-Blood. Enter the backstory. Percy is the son of his mortal mother (still alive, unlike Harry Potter) and the great god Poseidon. He's a half-blood, aka demigod, aka hero. Monsters, who are very much real, can smell the hero on him and come to try and kill him. He's safe at Camp Half-Blood, but for interesting reasons he has to go on a quest...
Action-packed at times, HILARIOUS at others. I'm seriously thinking about stealing some things for my own novel.(less)
Percy Jackson has to save his best friend from marrying a cyclops.
He also has to deal with the fact that he has a little brother who's a six-foot cycl...morePercy Jackson has to save his best friend from marrying a cyclops.
He also has to deal with the fact that he has a little brother who's a six-foot cyclops with the mental maturity of a seven-year-old, and Chiron, the camp activities director at Camp Half-Blood has been replaced. And not for the better.
Me personally? I was a fan of Hermes. As the messenger god of travelers, he helps Percy pack, but as the god of theives, you never can tell if you can trust him. When he's really interested in letting you know who he is, his cell phone stretches into a caduceus (you know that thing on the back of ambulances with the snakes coiled around it?) and he introduces you to George and Martha, his secretary/receptionist/snakes.
As with all Riordan books, there were moments when I actually laughed out loud. If there's a moment like that, I automatically like it.
I hadn't realized until I finished the first three books in the Olympian's series that these books are the only books I'...more"Wait. I feel a haiku coming."
I hadn't realized until I finished the first three books in the Olympian's series that these books are the only books I've ever read that use Greek mythology as a jumping off point. I love Greek mythology. I love everything about it. So, naturally, I loved Percy Jackson's stories.
I don't think I could pick a favorite of the characters, but Apollo comes pretty close... he reminds me of Crush in Finding Nemo.
Percy Jackson and his friends are back for another adventure when one of their own is taken, and a goddess is caught in a trap. Percy has to deal with man-hating preteens, walking skeletons a la Pirates of the Caribbean, and a manticore with a French accent.
Oh. And there's a pretty big discovery at the end.(less)
Uglies is the high school english teacher's answer to prayer when they try and assign 1984 to their tenth-graders and get all those complaints from pa...moreUglies is the high school english teacher's answer to prayer when they try and assign 1984 to their tenth-graders and get all those complaints from parents about the "crap" their kids have to read in school.
It's 1984 or Brave New World without all the really offensive stuff.
Consequently, it's a little bit watered down, message-wise. But it's also fantastically detailed. Scott Westerfeld definitely thought this one out, what with the hoverboards (not quite like Back to the Future), space food, and interface rings.
Tally Youngblood is ugly. But that's normal for her age, and she won't be for long, because in just a couple of months she'll be sixteen. In just a couple of months, she'll turn pretty, move out of Uglyville, and party all the time.
But while she's waiting to turn, she meets Shay, an ugly who shares her birthday and isn't so sure she wants to be pretty. When Shay runs away from Uglyville to a mysterious place called The Smoke, it's up to Tally to find her. She has to. Because if she doesn't, they say she can't turn pretty...
Ends abruptly, but that's because there's a second, and a third, and even a fourth.
Great prose, imaginative idea, blessedly clean for a teen book (I swear they're all about sex and vampires), not terribly funny, but then again, we can't all be Terry Pratchett.(less)
There is an interesting arc to my appreciation of Extras.
I wasn't so sure at first. The girl on the front is obviously not Tally Youngblood, and so I...moreThere is an interesting arc to my appreciation of Extras.
I wasn't so sure at first. The girl on the front is obviously not Tally Youngblood, and so I was rather nervous about starting a Westerfeld book that wasn't about Tally Youngblood. But start it I did, and for the first half or so I was in young adult fiction bliss.
Extras does it all right when it comes to futuristic fiction with a bit of a social commentary. Insert Aya Fuse, a fifteen-year-old in post-mind-rain (see Specials) Japan, where they've set up the face-rank system. Your place in society is determined by your face-rank, or how much people talk about you. And poor Aya is stuck at about 400,000.
But there is hope for Aya! If she can find a story to kick, she can catapult herself into top-20,000 in no time. It's just a matter of finding that perfect kickable story.
And it lands in her lap.
The idea of a society where popularity of a feed (read: blog) is more important than how much money you make or what you wear, or what you do for a living is closer on the global horizon than you might think, in a world of YouTube and mySpace.
And of course, this makes Extras CHOCK full of neato futuristic stuff (that's a technical term). Hovercams, mag-lev trains, smart matter (matter than can transform itself at any time), wall screens, eyescreens, skintennae, hoverball rigs.
Keep in mind, this is all that first half of the book I liked.
I wanted to like the last half, really, I did. But it didn't really have an ending. Not a Scott Westerfeld ending, at least.
Other Scott Westerfeld endings had crazy turns, like (spoiler warning) Tally abandoning reason and becoming pretty, even thought it screws with your brain, or like Tally turning Special, even though it screws with your brain, or Tally not fixing her brain after she fixes everyone else's to keep things in order.
No. At the end of Extras, we learn that it was all a big misunderstanding and then go to a party.
Of course, if Scott Westerfeld writes something else to follow this one, I'll read it because I love his books, and I want him to fix this ending.(less)