What a wonderful story! My Gods, I absolutely fell in love with this book! Beautifully written, with lush wording and vibrant descriptions, a charged...moreWhat a wonderful story! My Gods, I absolutely fell in love with this book! Beautifully written, with lush wording and vibrant descriptions, a charged and poetic love story, wonderful characters to fall in love with over-and-over again, and so creative and engaging a plot that you never want it to end. Definitely a recommended read!(less)
I loved how he blended elements of various children's stories together, e.g. Harry Potter and Narnia, and the gritty real-world tone of the story. But...moreI loved how he blended elements of various children's stories together, e.g. Harry Potter and Narnia, and the gritty real-world tone of the story. But I thought the book was paced a bit slow. Seemed like the trip to Fillory took nearly forever to actually occur, and then when it did, it was very short and rushed. I hope "The Magician King" ends up having a more intriguing plot.(less)
Poor Richard Mayhew can never seem to catch a break. With a persnickety girlfriend and a job that seems to be going nowhere, the last thing he needs i...morePoor Richard Mayhew can never seem to catch a break. With a persnickety girlfriend and a job that seems to be going nowhere, the last thing he needs is to help an injured girl named Door and become involved in freeing the magical realm of London Below from a perilous plot by a rapacious angel. Or, maybe that's exactly what he needs. This action packed, originally conceived tale by a God amongst writers keeps readers entertained and always routing for the underdog.(less)
"The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate" is a delightful story written with feeling and child-like wonder. The tale, as told by Calpurnia Virginia Tate, or C...more"The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate" is a delightful story written with feeling and child-like wonder. The tale, as told by Calpurnia Virginia Tate, or Callie Vee, is of an eleven year-old girl, living in 1899 Texas, who discovers her love of science in a world where women should be discovering the joys of homemaking. She is the daughter of a well-to-do cotton farmer and the only girl amongst seven boys. Her grandfather, a naturalist himself, encourages her passion with his steadfast and patient nature, while her mother is constantly concocting new ways to train Callie in the art of domestic housekeeping. Conflicted, Callie seeks to balance her love of studying nature with the demands of her rigorous mother.
However, after all the heartache Callie endures in this coming-of-age tale, there is no resolution in the end. Callie wants to become a scientist and study at the University but that is an unheard of life path for a woman at that time. The reader is left wondering about Callies fate at the conclusion. My slight quibble about the ending is that for a coming-of-age story to be realized, it is helpful for the reader to know which path the character chose. Otherwise, simply reading about a persons struggles without knowing whether or not they succeed in their quest is like reading "The Lord of the Rings" up until Frodo reaches the opening of Mt. Doom and then the story ending.
While I thought the story was well-written, many portions simply dragged on and on. As this is the first-hand account of her daily life, it is understandable that a great deal of unnecessary details are interjected throughout the narrative, but still believe some could have been omitted and sped up the books' pace a bit. I appreciated the fact that the relegated roles for women as domestic divas were not portrayed in any modern-day feminist light. Callie was a feminist of sorts for her time; a spunky young girl trying to realize her own ambitions in a world where the only jobs women could obtain without scandal were either in domestic care or as a telephone operator.
All-in-all a good YA read but just unsatisfying at the end. Apparently, I'm about the only one who feels this way, because it won the Newbery Honor. I do have a personal recommendation, though, for those interested in this book. I actually listened to the audiobook version and found it to be much more palatable than reading the book. The narrator, Natalie Ross, does an exceptional job channeling Callie's personality and charm. During the more boring parts of the story, her performance was the only reason why I didn't just skip ahead to the more interesting bits.(less)
Wow! A thrilling conclusion to an already amazing series! I loved how the cover description summarizes the story: "Who do you follow, a tyrant or a te...moreWow! A thrilling conclusion to an already amazing series! I loved how the cover description summarizes the story: "Who do you follow, a tyrant or a terrorist?" And that's exactly Viola and Todd's dilemma. At the conclusion of "The Ask and the Answer" Todd and Viola are separated, with Viola staying at Mistress Coyles (the terrorist) camp and Todd being forced to stay with The Mayor (the tyrant). War looms and no one is spared. The Mayor's men gear to fight Mistress Coyle's group, but another army is primed to join the fray. The indigenous Spackle look to regain their land and rid themselves of these war mongering visitors to their peaceful home. Battle after skirmish after double-deal after scheme after tentative truce after deceit and heart ache and joy and despair, this conclusion has it all. Todd and Viola have to make decisions that affect everything, not just their own lives. The meaning of peace comes wrapped in bloodied cloth and both must do what they must to not only survive but ensure a future of peaceful relations for the inhabitants of this New World. Ness perfectly captures this coming-of-age story with wisdom that I suspect is far beyond his young years as an author. The superb illustration of the dilemmas in finding your own path in a society that literally forces conformation is unmatched in any other book YA or other that I've ever read (well, perhaps excluding "Lord of the Flies"). As Todd says war truly does "make Monsters of Men." (less)
Goodreads Giveaway Review: Alas, another YA paranormal story that was created out of the same basic recipe as all the other YA paranormal stories out...moreGoodreads Giveaway Review: Alas, another YA paranormal story that was created out of the same basic recipe as all the other YA paranormal stories out vying for our attention. Though listed as YA, it should have been categorized as childrens because the authors writing style is so superbly simplistic and juvenile. Evelyn (Evie) is an agent for some institute that tracks and governs paranormals. Though she's convinced she's not a paranormal, she can see through glamours to identify which beings are paranormals, then tag those individuals. She's spent her whole life working for this institute and craves the normalcy of typical teenagers (as reinforced by her obsession with some 90210-esque TV show). Her life is turned upside down when a dangerous paranormal arrives on scene killing paranormals by stealing their souls. Evie flees with the guy she like (whatever) and ends up hiding out at his house with his father, who turns out to also be a former agent for this institute but has now dedicated his life to providing a safe haven for paranormals to congregate. Needless to say, the new danger on the scene is a girl who looks just like Evie and is eventually able to explain what exactly Evie is (paranormally speaking). This book wouldn't have been so awful if the storyline could have remained focused on the plot between Evie and the dangerous new rival. But, bowing to the market pressure for romance that "Twilight" has generated, more than half the story was dedicated to Evie's constant musings about the object of her affection and how much she wanted to kiss him and be with him and hold him and....Don't waste your time with this book. There are an enormous number of wonderful YA stories on the market that are not only mentally-stimulating but superiorly written. "Paranormaly" is absolutely NOT one of those.(less)
A marvelous and beautiful conclusion to Snyder's Glass Series. Opal Cowen, having sacrificed her magical powers to save others, is now left feeling wi...moreA marvelous and beautiful conclusion to Snyder's Glass Series. Opal Cowen, having sacrificed her magical powers to save others, is now left feeling without purpose. That is, until it dawns on her that the blood the Daviian Warpers stole from her during previous escapades might still exist. If so, she could regain her magical abilities, a void that has emptied her soul despite her newfound immunity to magic. Thus, Opal sets out to track down the location of her blood - a nearly impossible feat. But with the help of old allies, some new friends, and a healthy dose of intuition, Opal is set along the right course. Yet, as with any journey worth taking, her path is frought with danger. Along the way she learns about love, trust and finally understands her purpose. This is a gorgeously written and highly imaginative fantasy series. Definitely recommended!(less)
Wow! What an ending to a superbly written story! "Mockingjay" has all the right elements: a thrilling story you simply cannot tear your eyes away from...moreWow! What an ending to a superbly written story! "Mockingjay" has all the right elements: a thrilling story you simply cannot tear your eyes away from, political intrigues that keep you guessing who's the ally or the enemy; loads of dangerous situations; great character insights without too much psychological overstuffing; and a heartbreaking undercurrent of love and promises that makes you yearn to protect and shelter each of the main characters. Collins has created, in my opinion, a terrific young adult classic. For all of Katniss' trials and tribulations, she still seeks to be a martyr for those who do not deserve her courage. The ending was absolutely perfect. If Collins had made it too sappy it would not have fit and if she had made it too wretched it would have made all of Katniss' deeds worthless. Instead it was not only the most plausible but the most beautiful ending that such an emotionally raw and violent story, such as this, could have produced. I'm sad we don't have another Hunger Games book to look forward to, but I'm glad the trilogy has ended for that means Katniss' physical horrors have ended. If you haven't read the Hunger Games Trilogy, you simply must. It is absolutely unforgettable.(less)
There's nothing like re-reading a book you loved when you were a kid. L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" is just the right mix of silliness and seriousness...moreThere's nothing like re-reading a book you loved when you were a kid. L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" is just the right mix of silliness and seriousness that makes a true children's classic. Meg Wallace's father has been gone from home for a very long time and neither her, her mother or her brothers know his whereabouts. The only fact they do know is that he was sent on a super secret government mission and has yet to return. Depressed and angry, Meg finally gets a chance to find her long-lost father, along with neighbor boy Calvin, and her brother Charles, after meeting the strange trio of guardian women, Mrs. Whatis, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. Using the concept of interdimensional portals, Meg, Calvin and Charles travel to the planet Uriel, "the third planet of the star Malak in the nebula Messier 101", in hopes of finding Mr. Wallace. The group encounters good and bad aliens and ultimately learns that love conquers all. A sweet and fun read.(less)