Fairy Tale retellings are a dime a dozen and, while I love reading them, I am the first to admit that few are done well. Thornspell is one of the exceFairy Tale retellings are a dime a dozen and, while I love reading them, I am the first to admit that few are done well. Thornspell is one of the exceptions and is fantastic in every sense of the word. It is a retelling of the tale of The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood. This retelling is unique in that the story follows the life of the prince, not the princess.
As a boy, Prince Sigismund longs for adventure and something interesting to happen in his life. He lives sequestered in an obscure castle at the edge of a mysterious wood his great grandfather placed an interdict over. When a mysterious encounter causes Sigismund to fall ill his father sends him a master-at-arms to train and guard him. Suddenly Sigismund's life is not so boring anymore and he discovers that he is a pivotal player in a web of magic spun by two powerful Faeries nearly one hundred years previously involving the mysterious wood and an enchanted princess. But Sigismund is no pawn and through the training of his new companion discovers he posses a powerful magic of his own. This is a valuable asset as the success or failure of his quest will determine the fates of both the mortal and the Fae worlds.
The novel is a combination of the original tale, Arthurian legend, Faerie myth and eastern dragon lore. The world building is excellent and the characters engaging. The author left me wanting to know more about the world she created and that is a job well done. ...more
Wasted potential are the words that most aptly describe this book. A family is shipwrecked and must survive on an island with only each other for suppWasted potential are the words that most aptly describe this book. A family is shipwrecked and must survive on an island with only each other for support. It should have been a great adventure story. Instead the reader is treated to page after page of monotony. Even the scenes that should have sparked interest were dull and completely lifeless. The characters are obnoxiously perfect. The father knows everything there is to know about everything and accomplishes herculean tasks (like bridge building) in one day. The mother is amazingly well versed in the art of outdoor cooking and whips up a homecooked meal the first night they are on the island. The children never complain and are always eager to have more work put on their shoulders. And where on this planet can you find tigers, lions, bears, kangaroos, boa constricters, and a herd of buffalo residing all on the same island? It is completely unbelievable and not in a fun adventure story kind of way. I would recommend reading something else. ...more
Polly is a very quirky 12 year old. She is a precocious young reader who read Anne of Green Gables in fourth grade and aReview originally posted here.
Polly is a very quirky 12 year old. She is a precocious young reader who read Anne of Green Gables in fourth grade and at 12 has just read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. She has requested that her computer be replaced with an old fashioned typewriter, learned calligraphy, embroiders and wears frilly dresses. She also talks like Anne at her most flowery and melodramatic. The book is a first person narrative from Polly's POV so the entire thing is written in this style. Which was cute at first but became annoying after a while. Polly did slip up every now and then, resuming 21st American tween speech, but the slip ups didn't occur nearly as often as would be realistic.
There were some amusing parts in the story one of my favorites being this exchange between Polly and a boy who has a crush on her: Boy: "I know. Mind if I call you sometime? Maybe tonight, and we can talk about...about the olden times or something. My dad used to have an Afro when he was in college, you know. And my grandpa, he's even older than that." Polly: "I...I am afraid I cannot commit to any telephone calls about your family genealogy at this time. Pleas enjoy yourself, and perhaps I may see you when school, once again, commences in the fall. Good day.
I was interested in reading the book originally because I saw a lot of reviews saying the story worked Jane Austen into it well and that its language was reminiscent of Austen's language. Except it's not. Jane Austen wrote in the language of her period and genre but her heroines never sounded as though they were vomiting up a Hallmark store on every page. The language is more like Anne waxing lyrical, but instead of it just popping up every now and then the entire book is written that way. As far as working in elements of Austen, that is definitely there. The book mentions both P&P and Persuasion. The title is a riff on Sense and Sensibility. Polly is playing matchmaker like Emma. However, her character most resembles Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey. She is applying the romantic notions she has picked up in books on the world around her and trying to force real people into the roles of characters. She makes an absolute cake of herself and hurts some people in the process. As Northanger Abbey is a satire making fun of romantic melodrama and its effects I was left wondering what the author was trying to do with this. But that could be me, who wrote way to many English papers on Austen, overthinking the whole thing. Probably.
Overall it is a cute and fluffy story if you can stomach the language. It is best suited for its intended audience, 8-12 year old girls (particularly those who have shown a partiality to the types of stories mentioned). ...more
This book is fantastic. The writing is descriptive, detailed and emotive. There are some parts of the book where the action is slow but that is part oThis book is fantastic. The writing is descriptive, detailed and emotive. There are some parts of the book where the action is slow but that is part of the genius of the writing. The plot unfolds in the same way the main character, Henry, emerges causing the reader to experience the action just as Henry is experiencing it. From the slow start to the rapid fire pace of the end the reader's emotions are engaged with Henry. The magical concepts used in this book are nothing new but the way they are executed is unique and imaginative....more
I devoured this book in one 4 hour sitting this afternoon. It was brilliant. My heart rate is still up and the adrenaline is still flowing strong. YesI devoured this book in one 4 hour sitting this afternoon. It was brilliant. My heart rate is still up and the adrenaline is still flowing strong. Yes, it was THAT good.
The Chestnut King takes us with Henry York Macabee and his family and friends as they search for a means to bring down the witch queen, Nimiane, once and for all. There is a lot of action, peril, and adventure throughout the entire plot. The writing continues to be emotive. It is amazing how much Henry's character grew in the course of the three books and how believable the metamorphosis is. And without giving anything away I will say that I loved how it all wrapped up. There is closure but no over detailed wrap up of everybody's futures. A tantalizing glimpse and then the door is closed. An hour after finishing it I am still smiling.
I really hope I don't have to wait too long for the next book (whatever it be about) that Mr. Wilson writes.
And much thanks to my husband for wrangling the snowbound kids all afternoon so I could read this in one sitting!...more