I had mixed feelings about The Flame in the Mist. It opens with a family conjuring up nasty things in tribute to a dark god as part of a weekly family...moreI had mixed feelings about The Flame in the Mist. It opens with a family conjuring up nasty things in tribute to a dark god as part of a weekly family ritual. However, daughter Jemma can't create anything dark, and doesn't fit in with the rest of her family. It turns out that she isn't really supposed to be there, and that they have evil intentions for her. Together with her rat friends, she battles to escape the castle and the enchanted mist that surrounds the area. Of course, there is a prophecy about her that everybody else seems to know about.
There were a lot of elements I loved about this book. There are creepy child ghosts around the castle and in the mist, and the secondary characters were really enjoyable, especially the rats. A few of the secondary characters were also surprisingly complex, being a mix of both good and bad. I like the mythology behind the story.
Things I didn't enjoy as much: at times, the story dragged for me and I had a hard time staying engaged. There's a long time of travel and wandering, and although things happen during Jemma's travels, those are some of my least favorite kinds of plots. It made the book seem overly long, since it clocks in at well over 400 pages. There are also many fantasy cliches sprinkled throughout, so it sometimes felt like I was reading a book I'd read before.
Still, it's refreshing whenever I can read a fairly good, solidly fantasy young adult novel without it being an urban fantasy or Twilight ripoff. With a strong ending, The Flame in the Mist won me over at the end.(less)
Forensic science has been cool for years now. From CSI to Dexter, being able to solve crimes based on the small details and evidence at the scene is a...moreForensic science has been cool for years now. From CSI to Dexter, being able to solve crimes based on the small details and evidence at the scene is a subject of fascination for many people. Bones Never Lie caters to younger fans of forensic science, as well as those who are interested in some of history’s mysteries. There are plenty of illustrations, and the extra bibliographic information will be helpful for any kids that are really into the mysteries and want to delve further.
I actually learned some things from this book. I’d never heard of the mystery behind the King of Thailand, Ananda Mahidol. Three were executed for his death, but it is possible that they were merely scapegoats. Also interesting was the DNA testing of a mummified heart said to have belonged to Louis XVII of France. King Tut, the Man in the Iron Mask, and Anastasia are all also under consideration.
While these case studies are good for showcasing investigative methodology, often the cases are too old for any sort of real conclusion to be reached. I found this to be disappointing, but I’m not sure if young readers will also be disappointed or will merely be excited at the mystery of it all. I think this book serves as a nice introduction for the curious, but they’ll be left wanting more.(less)