Read the actual book a while back, but it was super fun to have a visual experience of the Syndrigasts and the Hollowgasts. The Ymbrines are still myRead the actual book a while back, but it was super fun to have a visual experience of the Syndrigasts and the Hollowgasts. The Ymbrines are still my favorite of the Peculiars!...more
I kind of found this book a cross between Spirited Away, A Christmas Carol, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (mostly because Saki encounters so many colorful characters, some of which are normally inanimate objects). But mostly it’s very much like Spirited Away. Reluctant girl travels with family into the countryside and finds herself in the spirit world of all places. There she changes the way in which she views things and begins to appreciate her family more. Maybe she changes because she has a death curse set upon herself and only with the help of three Christmas ghosts spiritual guides (one for each night of the Night Parade) does she manage to undo the curse. Maybe she changes because, you know, characters tend to do that by the end of the story. In any case, thank goodness for character development, because otherwise I would have liked to have seen Saki eaten up by Yamanba’s no-face monster son.
I loved how the book delved quite a bit into Japanese folklore. The emergence of the spiritual guides was definitely my favorite part of the book, and often I found myself laughing at how the spirit animal interacted with Saki. I’m still not sure which of them I liked best, though the mention of the mischievous kitsune at the end kind of made me go “awwwwww” all over again. The tanuki was meant to be the most humorous of the three spirits, but I kind of liked the tengu’s dry humor much better.
“The swarm will not pay attention to you here,” the tengu replied, his voice much closer. Saki breathed a sigh of relief and turned her head to see the spirit circling the air next to her. “Of course, they will ignore you because they expect other spirits to finish you off before you reach the ground…But do not let that discourage you!”
Yeah. I must have a morbid sense of humor, because I still laugh at that quote.
A lot of scenes creeped me out, too. But I kind of expected that to happen, what with so many Japanese spirits frolicking in the pages. Some of the creatures in Miyazaki’s Spirited Away freaked me out the first time I’d watched the film. Heck, a bunch of them still freaked me out years later.
There were a bunch of other aspects of the story that reminded me of Miyazaki’s film, like the dirty bathhouse task and the emergence of the no-face monster.
Saki herself was a hit and miss character for me. A lot of what she does in the beginning indicated that the story was going to change her for the better. I wasn’t very keen on the fact that so many of the characters were being bullies for the sake of story, though. It was all too stereotypical. I’m all too aware that children get super mean with each other, but seriously, the fact that Saki manages to find herself smack dab in the middle of TWO DIFFERENT bullying rings was kind of obnoxious, and I hated how both situations got handled. On the other hand, I liked how Saki found her own voice, enough that she manages to stand up to both her city bullies and her country bullies. To be honest, I wished she’d sent her spirit friends after them, but that’s just wishful, vengeful thinking, lol!
On another note, this book got me HUNGRY for udon....more
This graphic novel pretty much acts as a direct adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, dialogueThis graphic novel pretty much acts as a direct adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, dialogue and scenery and characters all, plus smatterings of extras, etc. For those who haven't read the stories, I'd definitely say pick up this graphic novel, because the illustrations are lovely and helpful and canonly, vividly rich!...more
This book is apparently the third of the Oona Crate Mystery novels, though I don’t actually believe one neededOriginal review at Story and Somnomancy.
This book is apparently the third of the Oona Crate Mystery novels, though I don’t actually believe one needed to pick the previous novels up to understand what’s happening in book 3. Perhaps reading the first two books might have shed some light on certain characters, but I didn’t really mind beginning where I did, so I just treated the book as a standalone.
What I Loved
Oona. She’s a firecracker of a girl, and clearly talented for her age. Of the characters, she was definitely the most fleshed out and it was easy to like her. I think her insistence on female empowerment was what grabbed me as most appealing about her. Oh, and her magnifying glass wand.
The setting. I’m always up for a Victorian era story, and I loved the election events happening in the background. Molly Moon Morgana for the win!
The other characters. The rest of the cast were kind of forgettable, and when I was finally getting to know a few of them rather well, they disappear from the story only to reappear at the end.
The magic system. The concept of the glass gates was pretty cool, but the magic wasn’t particularly interesting for me. It was described as Harry Potter-ish, but the wand/spellwork combination didn’t grip me the way magic at Hogwarts managed to do.
What I Didn’t Love
The pacing. The story was slow-going. While I normally don’t mind certain fantasies their propensity to get overly detailed and long-winded, I think children’s stories should really get on with the show. It took Oona too long to get to the heart of the problem, and while I trudged onward, it became very difficult for me to see the point of it all.
The formatting. Understandably the book is still in its draft stages, since it’s to be published in June of 2015. That said, it was hard to move to certain scenes when there was absolutely no breaks between chapters or scenes. It went from one scene straight to another with no indication of the previous scene ending. I don’t know if the formatting of chapters got lost when transferring to ebook, but I can’t lie and say it didn’t bother me, because it did.
Overall, it was kind of a cute story, and the cover is nice and colorful. While I did like Oona, I’m not sure I really want to read any more of the series....more
Valiant retells the tale of “The Brave/Valiant Little Tailor” inasmuch as it kept the essence of the tale andOriginal review at Story and Somnomancy.
Valiant retells the tale of “The Brave/Valiant Little Tailor” inasmuch as it kept the essence of the tale and expanded on the world of the giants and the backdrop of the tailor. Of course, the Brothers Grimm version was merely a rough skeleton of the retelling, and Valiant itself emerged not so much a variant, but a full-blown story that could very well be a new tale to be AT-classified.
The story is about Saville, the daughter of a tailor who disguises herself as a boy in order to make ends meet after her father gets terribly sick. While posing as a tailor for the king, she is trapped in a city that is about to be conquered by a duke with an army of giants. There isn’t much for a tailor’s daughter to do, right? Well, you would think that. But then again, nobody in Reggen’s met the likes of Saville until now.
What I Loved
The tailor is a young woman named Saville. I’m already a sucker for fairy tales, but a fairy tale with a woman as the hero who gets by on sheer force of will, cleverness, and courage? YES PLEASE. I loved Saville as a character. She had her ups and downs, and there were times she said or did things that I found were a wee bit annoying, but I loved her for them anyway. The word “valiant” clearly defines her journey in the story, but she’d probably tell you differently.
The good, the bad, and the smart giants. THERE ARE GOOD GIANTS. THERE ARE BAD GIANTS. AND THEY’RE NOT DUMB. I emphasize these things because I swear they’re mostly considered bad. And they’re not in this story. In this story, they’re as much human as the humans are. And I loved that. It does remind me a bit of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted in that respect, but obviously both stories are completely different. Also, Volar is awesome.
The little homages to the Grimm tale. I liked how McGuire incorporated that whole stone-cheese and stone-bird trick that was in the Brothers Grimm variant, because it reminded me that the story pulls loosely from an already-established tale. Yet as the story went on, it’s clear the tale will not end exactly as is. Plus, the fact that Saville didn’t exactly go goo-goo-eyed for the king or the princess made for a more interesting outcome in the romance portion.
The characters. Saville was undoubtedly my favorite character, but Will and Galen were close seconds. Will more so because his story was heartbreaking. I admit to having teared a bit at the end, but I won’t say more than that.
The romance portion. SO ADORABLE OMGAH. Okay, fine. Again, I owe this bit to the story itself being a fairy tale retelling. But it’s also probably because of the gradual way the romance grew. Not in a matter of days or weeks, but one that took months to come to fruition. Swoonworthy, that.
What I Was Iffy About
The redeemability of a few characters. Don’t get me wrong, I liked how there was redemption in a few of the characters, the king and his sister-princess in particular. At the outset, both were kind of silly to the point of me asking how they managed to survive so long as monarchs with the way they went about their daily business. It was tiresome to see (yes, I’m using their favorite word, apparently), and I was only too glad when Eldin and Lissa sucked it up and produced their own flavors of valiance. That said, while Lissa’s change had been a bit more obvious, it seemed sudden on Eldin. I guess it would have been nicer to develop him more as a character, but this is just me half-wishing the story had been a bit longer in that respect.
What I Didn’t Love
The Tailor. He’s supposed to be a wretchedly unlovable character, but gods, did I hate him. I don’t know why there was any point to giving him the stroke, though. I thought it would have been just as effective to keep him around as a secondary character who either redeems himself or doesn’t (seeing Saville get around the latter would have been interesting, too).
Overall, I cannot wait to re-read this again upon publication. I devoured this in a day and a half....more
Talk about girl power. This book was adorable and made me want to go back to school again. Well, at least the thought of learning something new compelTalk about girl power. This book was adorable and made me want to go back to school again. Well, at least the thought of learning something new compelled me a wee wee bit! Anyway, yes. I adored it....more
I wasn't going to make random comments over the Circle series, but I absolutely loved this book. It didn't have a crazy catastrophe like a fire, earthI wasn't going to make random comments over the Circle series, but I absolutely loved this book. It didn't have a crazy catastrophe like a fire, earthquake, or pirates, but it had just as deadly an enemy: plague. I thought the story was well done. And I loved the character interactions therein. What I did love the most, however, was the fact that even a talented and arrogant and usually unlikable character like Dedicate Crane became redeemable as a character (and at least his arrogance has some basis!). Also, Briar was always going to be my favorite character....more
Fun, fun, fun! A grand steampunk adventure in the point of view of a very British boy in a very British story with mostly British people and aliens. OFun, fun, fun! A grand steampunk adventure in the point of view of a very British boy in a very British story with mostly British people and aliens. Oh, and throw in a great bit of science fiction in there to boot.
Also, I learned a new word today. I don't think I've ever seen anyone use the word "tergiversator" before. It took me ages to figure out how to pronounce that (and I'm still probably failing!). Anyway, yes. Fabulous book....more
I love Robin MckInley. A lot. I grew up with The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword and I absolutely loved the more adult Deerskin. So I tried realI love Robin MckInley. A lot. I grew up with The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword and I absolutely loved the more adult Deerskin. So I tried really hard to like Pegasus. But try as I might, I couldn't get into it. Not only that, but I had to trudge through the book and skim a majority of what was being said.
I liked the characters, and Fthoom would have been such a great villain except every time he showed up, I was bracing myself for the most boring piece of monologues. And the fact that everyone just sits around to listen to him is ridiculous. I did, however, enjoy the interactions between Sylvi and her family, as well as some of the pegasi, but I felt that there was too much history and introduction in this first book. I felt like the story actually finally began at the end. If only....more
What a fascinating variation of the Arthurian legends! It's certainly been a while, but once the story got going, there was no doubt which direction iWhat a fascinating variation of the Arthurian legends! It's certainly been a while, but once the story got going, there was no doubt which direction it was heading.
After looking at the book jacket, I did believe I was going to read a retelling of Arthur as a boy, and wondered what other fantasy-ish elements were being added to make this a bit more original. A number of names were different (Idris and Ambrose vs. Arthur and Merlin), the area itself was a poisoned heap of land filled with monsters and dirty water, and the story was seemingly about a boy with the destiny of becoming a monstergroom. The beginning was far from anything I had known about Arthurian legends (though I should probably refresh my memory, it's been a while since I've done any reading on the legends), so I thought to myself: "perhaps he's only using names and certain figures as inspirations, and everything else is different..."
Once the story got past character introduction, development, and the setting of pieces of plot, more familiar elements emerged. Ambrose showed himself to be the great tutor that many imagine Merlin was, there were the rumors of a boy who was the rightful king of the land, and, of course, there was the sword stuck in the stone, pulled only by said rightful king.
The twist in the story, however, lies in the title itself. "Well Between the Worlds" sums Idris' adventures about right. Amidst a tumultuous, dying country is a breed of monsters, passing from their world into Lyonesse through well-gates and water. From this, the establishment in Lyonesse included Captains who supposedly kept the monsters at bay. Others have succumbed into greed, seeking to breed the otherwordly creatures with that of the living beings of Lyonesse. And that's only the start of Idris' problems.
So yes. Great read! I'd say I'd have to read more, but that seems to be the case of all the books I like that are part of a series......more
Um, seriously. Did you expect me to rate this any less? I arfing love fairy tales. The only sad part is the fact that I bought only a selected set ofUm, seriously. Did you expect me to rate this any less? I arfing love fairy tales. The only sad part is the fact that I bought only a selected set of tales. Certainly it's only a sample of what technically encompasses the Grimm's household stories.
There were some interesting tales that I'd reread, others that I hadn't. All I know is that while I read, I wrote random notes on a little notepad, just so I can do some comparative work with other fairy tales. But er, that's a digression.
Perhaps one of the bigger reasons why I chose to buy and read the version of Grimm's Selected Fairy Tales is because of the illustration done by Walter Crane that accompany the book. Speeectacular. But yeah, I'd recommend the entire collection, to be honest....more
Well, I feel like I should have read something before delving into An Acceptable Time. It was good, for sure, but I felt like I should have known someWell, I feel like I should have read something before delving into An Acceptable Time. It was good, for sure, but I felt like I should have known some of these characters before I went into reading about them--the old fogeys excepted, of course. I meant more along the lines of Polly and Zachary Gray. But I suppose it didn't really matter so much, since they were all being introduced to new sets of characters.
It was different from the other stories, that's for sure. And I was slightly glad that there were more of Mrs. and Mr. Murry in the story. And the bunsen burner! I wonder what happened to Charles Wallace, though, they hardly mentioned him. Wasn't too big of a fan of the book, I have to admit, it felt too detached from the actual series. I know it was about a Murry/O'Keefe, but still. Though I suppose it is a part of the O'Keefe storyline more than it was the Murry storyline.
And then there was Zachary Gray. By the end, I just pitied the poor kid. I really really wanted to like him, but it was just too much by then. And what could be the worst thing to do to a person? Clearly to call him irrelevant and unimportant. Yeah, pitiable indeed.
Also, yay! That just completed the reading of my boxed set, hehe....more
The book I picked up on a whim, honestly. I was in the mindset of "triple deities" and saw one on the witches of Macbeth. I immediately borrowed it. AThe book I picked up on a whim, honestly. I was in the mindset of "triple deities" and saw one on the witches of Macbeth. I immediately borrowed it. And this was the result.
In her "Author's Note," Cooney urges the reader to read Macbeth after Enter Three Witches. I have to say, I really do want to read Macbeth right after. And I've already read the play once or twice. It's probably one of my more favorite tragedies, and considering the heavy dialogue in the play itself, I was curious over how the book relayed the story, with additional original characters, to boot!
The story came mildly slowly in the beginning. Some scenes I found slightly irrelevant, and other characters that I didn't care about at all. But boy, I liked the further development Cooney had made with Fleance and Macduff and the Macbeths, and I loved how she tied this in into the eyes of a changing Lady Mary and a demonic Seyton. And once the great climax of Acts IV and V came to a close, I still found myself crying for the death of Macduff's children and cheering heavily for the thane, the man "not born of woman."
I did not expect to like it, but it was good!...more
Probably one of my favorite of the series. Many Waters was L'Engle taking a rather different approach to telling the story of the Murrys, and even didProbably one of my favorite of the series. Many Waters was L'Engle taking a rather different approach to telling the story of the Murrys, and even did it in the perspective of Sandy and Dennys as opposed to Meg and Charles Wallace. I had been looking forward to the book because it would involve the twins much more than the books usually did.
The twins weren't the only differences in the book, however. Even with the two instances of a tesseracting occurrence, the traveling didn't get very far. For once the story occurred in the same time period, the same mass of land, only the perspectives switching from one twin to the next, and then to Yalith, another important character. Yet so much happened in the story, and I was only sorry that the twins couldn't exactly stay til the very end to see how it goes.
It was an interesting version of the telling of Noah and the flood. Much more interesting that the Murry twins were learning their lessons and doing their deeds, heh....more