It was great. I can't help wondering, though, whether Westley and Buttercup truly loved each other,which makes the title rather ironic. Whenever Westl...moreIt was great. I can't help wondering, though, whether Westley and Buttercup truly loved each other,which makes the title rather ironic. Whenever Westley thought about Buttercup, it was always about her 'autumn hair' and 'skin like wintry cream', but never about her personality. Buttercup seemed to 'love' him because of his prestige-he was practically invincible. I don't know about the 'true love' part, but it was high adventure. I really like Fezzik and Inigo.
I still love this book, even more so this time around. So riveting, funny, engaging, romantic...everything. And I like how all the main characters are the best in some area but have flaws-
Buttercup: most beautiful woman, but dull in the mind Fezzik: strongest, but a little dull also and vulnerable to loneliness and planning things himself. Inigo-best fencer, but tends to drink Vizzini-smartest and best at planning, but vain Count Rugen-master of pain and torture, and obviously, cruel Prince Humperdinck-best hunter, but actually very weak and fearful
The only one who doesn't seems to have flaws is Westley, although he is a little domineering.
I like Goldman's tone of camaraderie that says, "I'm right here going through the story with you. Isn't it great?"
I am still bothered by that fact that Westley only loves Buttercup because of her beauty, but oh well.
I feel like starting The Princess Bride all over again...but I could do without the introduction and 'Buttercup's Baby'.(less)
The words in Princess Academy seem stiff and self-conscious, unnatural; it's as if I'm not so much reading a story as witnessing Hale thinking "What s...moreThe words in Princess Academy seem stiff and self-conscious, unnatural; it's as if I'm not so much reading a story as witnessing Hale thinking "What should I write next?" I never get lost in the flow of dialogue and narrative. Instead, Hale seems always present, and her voice feels restrained all around, as if she is reigning herself in and never lets go.
Each line of the dialogue and narrative seems to be trying to 'be' something, such as funny, wise, significant, rather than unfolding naturally. The story is well-balanced and planned out with plot and character development, but the heart and soul of it is missing, meaning emotional connection and response to the characters. I don't really care about the characters, but about what happens in the story.
Perhaps it's the narrative voice, which is very straightforward in telling the story, never pausing to make assessments of the characters, or at least not directly, like commenting on how they perceive things, their philosophies (except for Peder's mom; she really has the most personality). I would have liked some general statements about the village, too, like 'The quarry people tended to be...were always saying/doing...' Without such narration, the book has less of a storybook feel. People are too fixed, either good/bad, hostile/friendly, strict/lax. Their unique habits and quirks aren't really explored.
Miri, for example, is too perfect. There's no struggle shown to learn reading and other lessons in the academy, to study, to become popular, to be kind. She appears to already have it all together, so that it isn't a bit surprising that she is academy princess.
There are also too many metaphors. I appreciate their aptness, but the problem is that I get distracted and pulled away from the narrative because I stop and think about them.
Given my rather blah feel while reading Princess Academy, I do respect it for its richly drawn culture (a hallmark of Hale), messages (the value of education, the desire to keep growing, achieving, of being useful in different ways than others), and some scenes that break out of the blah tone, such as the ball, the celebration when the academy girls return home, and the bandit sequence. Plus, the quarry speech is pretty cool. But the usual grace and flow of Hale's other books, especially Goose Girl, which remains my favorite of hers, is definitely missing. I won't be reading the sequel. (less)
A very powerful story. Dashti is such a strong character, a person I'd like to have around. She doesn't collapse in despair feeling sorry for herself,...moreA very powerful story. Dashti is such a strong character, a person I'd like to have around. She doesn't collapse in despair feeling sorry for herself, but keeps on, always with a sense of hope and humor. She is convinced for so long that she, as a mucker, is inherently inferior to gentry, while showing that she is superior in every way to her lady Saren.
The romance is in Hale's usual bantering style and very cleverly done. It's obvious from the start that Dashti loves Khan Tegus without her directly saying so.
Hale is very strong on describing and maintaining the cultures of her characters. Her settings are always richly drawn as well. I'm not sure I would like to be in the Eight Realms, though, given all the rigid rules, the attachment with the eight gods, and all the hanging.
A book I would recommend to anyone looking for satisfying character development, justice, and page-turning breathlessness.(less)
I really love this-it was instantly relegated to my list of favorites the first time I read it.
But one thing bothers me about the first scene: if Bat...moreI really love this-it was instantly relegated to my list of favorites the first time I read it.
But one thing bothers me about the first scene: if Batty spoke the word 'kangaroo', how could Skye know Batty was thinking of it spelled 'cangaroo'?
I especially love the sisterly love and loyalty. Like when Skye says to Batty, "No, you stupid idiot, there's nothing wrong with you. You're perfect." To me, that expresses more love than if Skye had said, "Batty honey, you're perfect."(less)
One of the best books I have ever read (well, that isn't saying much since I really haven't read that many books-but still!). Each chapter is full of...moreOne of the best books I have ever read (well, that isn't saying much since I really haven't read that many books-but still!). Each chapter is full of richness, meaning, magic, mystery, and imagination, a story in itself. I could start it all over again,since it feels like life will be rather empty without the company and adventures of everyone who is in it. But that might be like eating three pieces of cake in one sitting. I will never stop rereading it over the years.
Among many other things, The Neverending Story has taught me that no stories, whether in real life or fiction, truly end. Isn't it wonderful? Although I still wish all the threads in this one were 'finished'. But maybe that's Ende's point-no matter how much of a story we tell, it still does not end. All the same, I want to know about the four messengers, the Gnomics Engywook and Urgl, Hero Hynreck, Yikka's son, all the stories Atreyu will set out to complete for Bastian, and Mr. Coreander, among many others.I love how Bastian's storytelling is demonstrated with the Acharis, Silver City, Hero Hynreck, and Yikka, while in other books such a gift might be mentioned but not shown.
The first time I read The Neverending Story (this was my third time), I was disappointed that Bastian became strong, handsome, powerful, admired, and famous, because I love the fat, outcast Bastian so much. But now, his wishes make him even more relatable. Who wouldn't take the opportunities Moon Child gave him? Especially if one didn't know he would lose his identity and memories in the process-or maybe that would make him more likely to take the opportunities, if, like Bastian, he didn't like the way he was.
I know exactly what wishes I would make with AURYN. But that's another story and shall be told another time. (less)
I love Hale's Bayern characters: Isi, Enna, Dasha, Razo, Geric, Finn, Rin. They are real, living, and continue to be in the story. They each have thei...moreI love Hale's Bayern characters: Isi, Enna, Dasha, Razo, Geric, Finn, Rin. They are real, living, and continue to be in the story. They each have their distinct personalities, especially the fire sisters-Isi, calm and commanding, Enna passionate and strong, Dasha bright and buoyant.
I can really identify with Rin, always trying to emulate those I admire (it never really works, does it?), feeling like everyone is stronger and more defined than I. Her quest to 'find herself' (though I despise that over-used phrase I can't think of any other!) is satisfying and moving, as she learns to draw from her own strength, power, and calm, not that of others.
Although I love Hale's romances-they feel natural and just right-I'm glad Rin doesn't have one in this book. She has a solitary journey with herself-like the other main characters, but without a romantic sub-plot.
Maybe Hale will write more Bayern books...? I know this one was a big challenge for Hale. Come on, at least one more. Tusken could be the main character...(less)
I really appreciate Snyder's ability to choose just the right words so that it is very easy for me to visualize everything in this book. The two thing...moreI really appreciate Snyder's ability to choose just the right words so that it is very easy for me to visualize everything in this book. The two things that most appeal to me in the story are the setting of the old empty mansion and the sympathy with Robin's urge to 'get away' and find places of beauty and peace.
The Velvet Room itself is lovely, of course-how I wish I had one like it!. However, I think there could be more of it in the story, showing Robin inside it reading or dreaming. It's clear why the place is so important to Robin, but it is most apparent towards the end when she has to leave it.
Though Robin realizes that the Velvet Room can never be as important as her family and other people, I don't see why it can't still be 'an enchanted refuge, a private world of dreams.' What Robin finds that it 'isn't' is a place that can substitute for people, that is more reliable than they are. But some places are just magical, and there's nothing wrong with finding them so and slipping away to enjoy them. Yet Robin practically denounces the Velvet Room and its initial pull on her at the end. I doubt that the room's aura would wholly leave with Robin's enlightenment; it's only that she would be less controlled by it.
At some parts in the book there is more telling than showing, such as in the chapter when school starts. The reader doesn't get to witness any of those interesting talks Robin has with her teacher, with Gwen's dad, Bridget, or Gwen herself. It's all rather brushed over.
Overall, though, a book with wonderful atmosphere and character development. Robin gradually stops 'wandering off' and spends more of her time with people. Her discovery that they are more important than places and things really relates to me with my love of houses, books, settings like the Velvet Room. They can always be replaced by new ones wherever I go, and the feeling of them can stay with me. I like the idea that the mere thought of the Velvet Room gives Robin comfort, indicating that we can have a 'room' inside us that gives peace and joy without actually having to slip away alone.
"Belonging to a place isn't nearly as necessary as belonging to people you love and who love and need you. If you give up on people, you're giving up on life." (Bridget)(less)
Perhaps what I love best about this delight of a story (quite apart from the great wisteria and lovely Forest of Faraway) is the whimsical narrative v...morePerhaps what I love best about this delight of a story (quite apart from the great wisteria and lovely Forest of Faraway) is the whimsical narrative voice that is sympathetic to the characters and makes them endearing, even the controlling King and Queen who only seem to care about marrying Amy off to a royal Highness. From the start the whole thing is hued in warm gold.
I do find it rather hard to believe, though, that no one in the castle seems to take an interest in Amy beyond making her less 'ordinary'. Surely, since she possesses the fairy gifts of charm, wit, and courage, someone would be fond of her. She doesn't hold any grudges, though, but writes home after she runs away.
Though sometimes it's hard to know what she's thinking, I do like Amy's simple approach to things. She doesn't want to be married off, so she runs away to live in the forest (oh, how I'd love to be in that forest among the bluebells! And be friends with creatures, though, of course, nowadays we know that deer are dangerous and animals might be diseased or rabid; ah, things in stories are so much simpler and ideal); she needs a new dress, so she goes to the palace on the other side to find work. She doesn't wrangle and struggle.
The time from when Amy meets Perry and marries him feels a little rush. I love their dialogues-I want more of it! I feel like I hardly get to know Peregrine, man-of-all-work before he is revealed as King.
But despite these minor developmental gaps (which, since it follows the style of bare-bones fairy tales, is to be expected) The Ordinary Princess is and will remain a favorite to crawl back into again and again. I love the cover and interior illustrations, though they don't really match. And I wonder whether Kaye created the theme rhyme 'Lavender's Blue...' herself.(less)
This isn't my favorite in the series, as it is for many Anne fans (Anne of Avonlea takes the cake for me), but I still love it. I can, however, think...moreThis isn't my favorite in the series, as it is for many Anne fans (Anne of Avonlea takes the cake for me), but I still love it. I can, however, think of a scene I literally loathe, and that is when Anne receives a letter from Davy (who I ordinarily adore) in which he talks about how Mr. Harrison hung his dog 'to get rid of him'. The dog escaped the first time, but Mr. Harrison got him back and he 'stayed dead'. Ugh! Did people get rid of their pets that casually? That incident is really a bit of intended humor I could do without.(less)
The main thing I like about this book is Timothy, Vanessa's sidekick. He's so full of enthusiasm and eagerness, up for anything. I enjoy his upbeat ca...moreThe main thing I like about this book is Timothy, Vanessa's sidekick. He's so full of enthusiasm and eagerness, up for anything. I enjoy his upbeat capability, and their little side dialogues when he gets excited about something.
There's an interesting pattern that alternates between everyday and extraordinary--the circus performers (animals and people) in their performance acts versus their everyday, offstage forms; it's hard to believe they are the same, hard to merge both forms in the mind; Lewis, also, is transformed from everyday to agent, with his husband and professional roles at odds. The 'old piebald,' too, is transformed briefly as he does old dancing steps he used to perform.
The problem I have with the book is that there doesn't seem to be enough desire in it, enough purpose for the story. The characters seem to be operating under the terms "Shall we stay here in Austria and poke around until Lewis can come and solve the mystery? We might pick up a few hints for him while we're at it." There is no sense of urgency, and rather more of the settings than the people.
The first chapter has some really insightful lines about Carmel Lacy's character, and some wise sayings of Vanessa's, that pulled me into the story, but then such hooks dropped away and I just don't feel like I'm reading a purposeful story, more of a meandering, indirect one.(less)
Creative, complex, and funny. But I'm just not all that enchanted by the world beyond the divide, and I don't feel any longing to go there. Alittle to...moreCreative, complex, and funny. But I'm just not all that enchanted by the world beyond the divide, and I don't feel any longing to go there. Alittle too much danger and gore. Still, an entertaining story with characters-Felix, Betony, the brazzles-that I like, although the dialogue feels a little stilted at times. I probably won't reread this book much. (less)
I love the letter-writing format (although at least some Gilbert would have been nice), love Rebecca Dew, Elizabeth, and the whole setting of Windy Po...moreI love the letter-writing format (although at least some Gilbert would have been nice), love Rebecca Dew, Elizabeth, and the whole setting of Windy Poplars. (less)