Tiger Lily is a brilliantly imaginative re-working of the Peter Pan story, showing a love story between Peter and Tiger Lily before Wendy came into thTiger Lily is a brilliantly imaginative re-working of the Peter Pan story, showing a love story between Peter and Tiger Lily before Wendy came into the picture, and telling us a different version of the original tale. It focuses on Tiger Lily's life with the tribe, and the links between all the different characters.
It is also told from Tink the fairy's point of view, as she spies from various perspectives on her favourite personalities like we might watch soap operas unfolding, and this gives a unique edge to the narration. It gives us an insight into different aspects of the island and the characters on it.
The whole book feels full of magic and possibility, but there are dark patches as well, and it's not a light and easy read. There is a subtle undercurrent of menace all the way through- with the pirates scheming and the murderous mermaids, not to mention Tiger Lily's pending arranged marriage with a nasty brute of a man. I liked the magic and the sense of suspense as we are led through this doomed forbidden romance, and the beautifully and richly described land of Neverland.
Reading about Captain Hook, the mermaids and Tiger lily, and all these half- remembered characters from my childhood has made me want to re-visit J.M Barrie's original story (or at least watch the Disney film again), as it felt so new and vaguely familiar all at the same time.
Tiger Lily herself is a feisty and strong young woman- which is not a quality which is admired in her tribe. She gets a reputation for being cursed, and being bad luck (which she plays up by wearing crows feathers in her hair), and although she is independent and brave, she is also very lonely. Normally it takes a lot for her to open her heart up to anybody except her adoptive father, so it takes a while for Peter to break down her barriers.
Although Peter Pan himself doesn't came out as a very great character in this version of the story, I liked the telling of it, and that the emphasis was on alternative characters. One of my favourite characters has to be Tiger Lily's cross-dressing adoptive father -the shaman of the village Tik Tok. He always made me smile, and I also loved her sweet best friend Pine Sap. His devotion to Tiger Lily is so endearing. I really loved to hate the mean-spirited character of Aunt Fire who seems determined to make Tiger Lily suffer.
All in all, the book is a clever, mesmerising read, and I would describe it as a fantasy story but with the feel of a contemporary. It's moving and sad in places, heart-warming and magical in others, but it has definitely left a stamp on me. It's a bleaker story than I was expecting to read but just beautifully lyrical in the telling, and heart-breakingly tender. ...more
When I first heard about this book I saw the words "cyborg Cinderella" and I wasn't interested at all. I really want to thank other bloggers and revieWhen I first heard about this book I saw the words "cyborg Cinderella" and I wasn't interested at all. I really want to thank other bloggers and reviewers for keeping on raving about how great this book is, and making me curious enough to pick it up- because it's fantastic! Reading this has made such a refreshing change for me, and I love it so much I want to urge others to read it who are cynical like I was! Cinder is so magically written that it really manages to conjour up images of dusty streets and crowded markets, cleverly mixing the sense of an old fashioned fairytale with futuristic technology, and with an eastern flavour about it. I became completely absorbed in this beautiful writing and swept up in the excitement of the story. It is based on the fairytale Cinderella, but is also so adapted and different, as to make it seem completely new and fresh. I have heard it decribed as a futuristic steampunk sci-fi novel, and as impossible as that is to imagine, it is also a very accurate description! You cannot pigeon hole this novel into any one category! Cinder is a smart hard-working mechanic, but because of an accident as a child she is now mostly mechanical. Her hands and her leg below the knee are artificial, and she has built in sensors and programming in her head. She can access the net, and a light in the corner of her eye alerts her when someone is lying to her. Unfortunately for her, there is a lot of prejudice against cyborgs and they are treated as second-class citizens, even to the extent of being drafted in to be used as guinea pigs to find a cure for the plagues that have swept through the world. The perfect representation of this hatred of cyborgs is Cinder's stepmother. She can't stand having her around, and is so cruel to her. The story is set in New Beijing, after a series of wars that have devastated the world, and people are only just starting to pick up the pieces and start growing into a time of prosperity again. There are so many different threads to the story- the completely different slant on world politics, the wars on Earth, the devastating plagues, and the colonisation of the moon by a people with powers of manipulation and control. The Lunar queen is so terrifyingly evil and manipulative, and with her seeking an alliance with New Beijing with underlying threats of war if they don't comply, the royal family is in a difficult position. Prince Kai is the kind of charming and down-to-earth prince that every girl hopes to stumble across and be swept off their feet by, and I just adored him instantly. He is just so friendly, and adorably insecure, and completely lovely. The growing attraction between him and Cinder was so sweet. The mixture of other characters really makes this story what it is. Cinder's wicked stepmother is deliciously spiteful and nasty. And the invading Lunar Queen is the epitome of evil conqueror. One of my favourite characters has to be Cinder's android assistant Iko, who has such a funny quirky personality about her. She has to hoard all sorts of odd treasures and wants to put on lipstick and talk about boys! She has a very sarcastic sense of humour for a robot! But Kai and Cinder are the stars of the story, and although I could go on and on about them, I'll instead just urge you to read the book for yourself. I have been blown away by this fresh and magical debut novel. This has romance, mystery and intrigue, moments that make you smile, moments that make you cry, and a flawed but determined heroine. The descriptions of all the technology made it all seem very real as well. This is going to be a series, and the next book is due out in 2013. This story is so cool, and I adored these wonderful characters, and the whole world they live in. I can't wait! ...more
Low Red Moon is a fast easy read. The action happens really fast, Avery falls desperately in love with Ben really fast, and reconciles with her estranLow Red Moon is a fast easy read. The action happens really fast, Avery falls desperately in love with Ben really fast, and reconciles with her estranged Grandmother really fast. This is a new(ish) take on werewolf fiction, mixed in with the mystery of the death of Avery's parents, kind of mixed in with a re-telling of the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood. Avery Hood has always lived in the forest with her parents, a bit of an outsider. The setting of the book is perfect- this small out-of-the-way town in the middle of the woods with all these eerie myths and legends about the wolves in the deeper forest. Avery knows the woods and has always felt safe in them in the past. The book is told from Avery's point of view, plunging straight in with the drama, describing in the first line of the book how she she was found with her murdered parents, covered in their blood, and with no memory of what happened. She has to go and live with her Grandmother, who she hasn't really spoken to much since there was an argument with Avery's father. There is a mystery surrounding the deaths of Avery's parents, and her memories only come back to her very gradually. She starts to remember seeing a flash of silver, and then piece by piece other things start coming back to her. Then she meets Ben, the hot new boy in town. Ben and Avery eye-hump each other for about 10 seconds before they both decide that they both desperately want each other and will love each other forever. Ben's eyes flash silver when he is feeling a strong emotion, and he can't remember anything about the night Avery's parents died either. There follows the inevitable "I love Ben", "Do I trust Ben?", "I love Ben", "I hate Ben" struggle before the truth is finally revealed in a dramatic finale. Good Points: *The characters are good- I like Avery who tries so hard to fit in, and I like her grandmother, who obviously cares about Avery a lot and has been hurt by the rift in their families. *The setting. The woods, the small close-knit town with it's own stories and superstitions. *It's well written and the story flows well, keeps your interest and makes sense. *The werewolf mythology. It's there and explained well. *The book itself is very pretty Bad Points: *The speed of Ben and Avery's 'relationship'. *The motivation of the town serial killer. Really?!
This is recommended if you run out of any other supernatural YA teen fiction to read first. It's okay. ...more
I love modern retellings of old fairytales, and Sweetly was another gem of a book. Even though it is set in the modern day, with cars and modern technI love modern retellings of old fairytales, and Sweetly was another gem of a book. Even though it is set in the modern day, with cars and modern technology and roadside diners, it has so many elements of an old-fashioned traditional story to make it seem timeless. We have the wicked stepmother, creepy things in the woods, and a setting that is so isolated and lonely as to make it feel like anything could happen. The writing feels dark and gritty like a back-to-basics fairytale, but it also has Jackson Pearce's stamp of originality on it- so even though it is based on the story of Hansel and Gretel, it is never what you expect. When Ansel and Gretchen's stepmother kicks them out they decide to head south for the coast and a new life. But when their car breaks down in a remote village they find themselves stranded. They stay with Sophia, a young woman who runs a chocolatier and sweet shop out in the woods, and help her out to pay for the repairs on the car. But as one days stay turns into a week, and then a month, they start to feel at home in their new situation and find it hard to think about leaving again. Ansel starts to fall for Sophia, and Sophia claims Gretchen's help is indispensable, and their plans to head to the coast start to grow fuzzy. But the people of the town warn them about Sophia who they say is responsible for the disappearance of several young women in previous years, and there is definitely sinister in the woods surrounding the chocolatier that reminds Gretchen of the death of her sister years before. There are so many different elements woven into the story, and there are so many different things going on that is hard to know what tale to believe. Even impossible myths seem believable and there is definitely something evil lurking in the woods around them. Should Gretchen listen to Sophia who has also lost a sister, or the cute guy in town who doesn't trust Sophia? As the story progresses Gretchen grows to face her fears of the woods and transforms from the scared girl in the beginning, to a heroine who wants to stop running away and stay and fight. She resolves to learn to protect herself, after feeling scared for most of her life, and I really enjoyed the scenes where Samuel teaches her how to shoot. I also really liked the constant sense of danger throughout the book- the feeling that something was about to happen, and the sense that Gretchen and Ansel were only seeing a part of a larger picture, so I really didn't know which character could be believed. The town that they find themselves in is so small and close-knit with it's own old traditions, and it felt isolated enough to have it's own rules. There are many twists and turns, and the mystery about the missing girls is only gradually revealed, but it had me wanting to race to the end of the book to find out what was going to happen. Cute and creepy at the same time, with a sense of magic about it, this is a book that got under my skin and had me dreaming about these characters and this place, and will definitely stick in my mind for a long time. ...more
This is such a shame because I was really looking forward to reading this book. It is a re-telling of the old German folk tale Tristan and Isolde, andThis is such a shame because I was really looking forward to reading this book. It is a re-telling of the old German folk tale Tristan and Isolde, and I'm not going to sugarcoat it- this was pretty dire. The teenage characters in this are incredibly dumb and fickle, and just fall in and out of love with each other at a snap of their fingers. Izzie also foolishly plays around with magic and love potions (which was another ridiculous concept). I know that the characters are meant to be only 16 and in high school, but their personalities were too silly to be believed. There was barely any plot or background, and the idea of witches and potions seemed to be just thrown in- a little jarringly. By the end of the book when it was time for the showdown fight with the Generic Big Bad Thing I just honestly didn't care enough about them enough to be bothered if they lived or died. The best thing about this book? I'll let you know when I think of something......more
Cornelia Funke is the queen of dark fairytales. She writes new stories that make you feel as if you've heard them all your life, as if they are centurCornelia Funke is the queen of dark fairytales. She writes new stories that make you feel as if you've heard them all your life, as if they are centuries old, but with the modern world woven in seamlessly. Funke has created a believable new magical realm beyond a magic mirror. The world of the fairytale is not childlike and simple, but harsh and dangerous and evil lurks around every corner. You also know that the author will not go easy on the characters just because it is a children's tale, and main characters can and do die. Bad things can happen in the real world, and fiction is no different. This leaves you feeling tense and emotional the whole way through the book- genuinely not knowing if they are going to make it through the next danger. Jacob has been travelling into the world behind the mirror since he was a child and is an expert treasure hunter finding things like rapunzel hairs, a glass slipper and other magical objects. He knows which trees will bite you if they get the chance, which stream is safe to drink from and which will enchant you, and which variety of snail you should collect for it's invisibility slime. Jacob feels more at home in the mirror world than he does in his own world, even though he recognises its dangers. Jacob's brother Will is not so savvy, and as the tale starts off Will has been poisoned by the goyle- an angry warrior race with skin as hard as stone. Formerly sweet Will is slowly forgetting everyone he knows and is transforming into a hostile jade goyle, but Jacob is determined to find a cure for him no matter what it takes. Clara, Will's girlfriend also stumbles across the mirror world and joins them on their quest, along with Fox, Jacob's best friend who can transform between a woman and a vixen and who has always been in love with Jacob. Their journey takes them across the mirror realm meeting money-loving traitorous dwarves, seductive fairies that would enchant them and a whole cast of other characters. This is a unique and dreamlike story set in a magical world where absolutely anything can happen. There are familiar elements from the tales of the Brothers Grimm woven into this story, and names or stories that you would recognise (such as cinderella, sleeping beauty). It is part 1 of a series, but could work just as well as a stand-alone book. If you are a fan of Funke's Inkheart series (which I loved), or a fairy story retold then I would recommend this. A perfect book for 11-17 year olds, gripping, pacy, dark at times, but with a smidgeon of romance thrown in. ...more
Cloaked is a cool, funny read. Alex Flinn has taken a medley of old fairytales and given them a funky new modern setting. There are some lesser known fCloaked is a cool, funny read. Alex Flinn has taken a medley of old fairytales and given them a funky new modern setting. There are some lesser known fairystories used as inspiration, but even ones that will be very familiar to people, (stories that leapt out at me were the Frog Prince, The Elves and the Shoemaker, Wild Swans), have been blended together and given a fresh new twist. Johnny is just a simple shoe repair boy working at a hotel, trying to make ends meet and dreaming of better things, when a beautiful princess staying at the hotel sets him on a quest to find her brother- who has been enchanted into a frog. Throw in some witches curses, a magic cloak, rampaging giants, and some birds that aren't quite what they seem and you've got a magical fun story, that'll sweep you off your feet. This is not just a magical adventure story, it is a love story too, and the romance side of it is so beautifully told. It was so obvious to me, reading the story, that best friends Johnny and Meg are secretly in love with each other, and the way that this side of the story came across was so sweet. Some of the scrapes that they find themselves in were pretty incredible, but it is obvious that they trust each other completely, and that one either would do anything for the other. I loved reading about the way they banter with each other, and all their reminisces and stories showed that they have such a history together, and know each other inside out. At times it was frustrating seeing the way they ignored all the signs that showed they had feelings for each other, but it was also hilarious seeing Meg trying to make Johnny jealous. I loved Meg because she is smart, sarcastic and brave, and even Johnny, despite being a bit clueless most of the time, has a strong desire to do the right thing, and was very endearing. This is funny, romantic, and packed full of adventure. It is told in a such a lighthearted way, and I would recommend this to people of all ages, who would like a pinch of magic in their lives. Such a sweet story, refreshing and captivating- I loved it!...more
Imagine the old fairy story Sleeping Beauty in all it's old fashioned glory- a spoiled princess, a witch's curse, the spindle, an enchanted sleep. NowImagine the old fairy story Sleeping Beauty in all it's old fashioned glory- a spoiled princess, a witch's curse, the spindle, an enchanted sleep. Now imagine that instead of waking after 100 years from the kiss of a prince (the good old happily-ever-after) this princess sleeps on- to modern day Europe, to be awakened by Jack- arrogant teenage party animal on a "boring" museum tour. This story is the hilarious result of a clashing of two worlds- the mediaeval princess thrust into the confusing modern world of mobile phones, televisions, pool parties and aeroplanes. (And of a cynical slacker teenager forced into accepting a world of faeries, evil witches and magical curses). When Talia and Jack first meet each other they really don't like each other. They have absolutely nothing in common, and you cannot possibly imagine any scenario that could bring them together- they are just too different. Jack is the furthest possible extreme from the gentleman that she was expecting, and Talia is so much more delicate and moralistic than the girls that Jack is used to. Yet, throughout their adventures together there is something- a protectiveness of each other- that gradually blossoms into affection. The characters are so relatable that you can't help but root for them, and cheer them on right up until the fast-paced ending. Talia views the world she wakes up in with an excited curiosity, and questions everything with an innocent purity. This in turn makes Jack take a step back to appreciate everything that he had previously taken for granted. The story is told between alternating points of view, switching between Jack and Talia, which I love as their voices and whole attitudes are so different at the beginning. There are also opportunities to see the same events told from two different viewpoints, which at times was very funny. They have to deal with family dramas, new experiences, and a pissed off witch- and begin to realise what it is that each of them really want, without being influenced by the pressure of a sense of duty or obligation. Jack doesn't just rescue princess Talia from the tower, Talia gives Jack the confidence to stand up to his parents and live his own dreams rather than being pressured into what is expected of him. This is a cute, funny, story that I would definitely recommend to anyone who loves a light, romantic fairytale retold. It effortlessly brings an element of magic into a modern world, and will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy!...more