Short stories, I have decided, are simply not my favorite medium. They don't offer up enoughThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
Short stories, I have decided, are simply not my favorite medium. They don't offer up enough satisfaction or closure, and there's that obscurely frustrating first couple pages of a story when you don't know what is going on, and that happens over and over again. Thankfully all the stories in this case take place in one area, the city of Newford, with a cast of characters that show up repeatedly. Jilly is a great character and I can't wait to see her again, as well as Geordie the fiddle player.
De Lint has this "magic is just out of the corner of your eye if only you knew how to see it" philosophy, which I suppose makes it urban fantasy, but it felt more like folklore. There was no hard-boiled detective making snarky comments, just simple people with problems like the rest of us, turning to fantasy to take care of them. It struck a chord with me that most urban fantasy does not. A few of the stories became rather disturbing, and the best I could compare it to were the heart wrenching passages in Infinite Jest. Sadly abused young girls and women forced into prostitution telling their childhood stories; they were pretty horrifying. It definitely means Dreams Underfoot is meant for adults, not young adults.
I was so-so on the book until the third story, Time Skip, that had me sobbing into my burrito at Chipotle. Cilantro and tears: turns out? Not so tasty! Unfortunately I felt that it turned so-so again, and none of the other stories have really stuck with me like that one. I didn't have a desire to go reread any of them immediately. Time Skip has a resolution later on in the book but I didn't like that story nearly so much. It robbed me of some of the original poignancy.
This was my first foray into the magical world of Charles de Lint, and although it will not be counted among my favorite books ever, I still enjoyed it....more
Very little about this book was erotic. It was 250 pages of being spanked. That is a lot of spanking. Robert Jordan has nothing on Anne Rice when it cVery little about this book was erotic. It was 250 pages of being spanked. That is a lot of spanking. Robert Jordan has nothing on Anne Rice when it comes to spanking.
There was also a 70 page story of someone talking about their "slave training," which was basically a novella that talked about a) spanking and b)being ass raped.
The actual amount of SEX that happens, I could probably count on one hand. And it was always over in a sentence or two.
And then, of course, there's the whole story, that a medieval kingdom could be run like this, fairy tale or not. There was a lot of complacency.
I'm not giving up on erotica yet but I'm having a hard time finding one I actually like....more
I talk a lot about the journey of the hero, because it is a story format I will love over and over again. It is used ad nauAs seen on Stumptown Books.
I talk a lot about the journey of the hero, because it is a story format I will love over and over again. It is used ad nauseum in the fantasy genre, and lately a lot of authors are trying to subvert the old stereotypes to bring out fresh stories. I admire their tenacity. I also admire the journey of the hero though, especially when it is done right.
Oh! questing reader, constantly searching for a story to love, may I introduce you to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon? Not only does it do the journey right, but it's a heroine! And, my friends, she is awesome. Minli is a great role model for any child - she is tenacious and clever, coming up with quick fixes to otherwise scary situations. And of course makes a number of friends along the way.
Chinese folk lore and fairy tales are woven in seamlessly as characters sit down and talk not just about their past, but also how the love of stories affects and teaches us. I loved this! The stories meant so much coming from each separate character. Eventually, the information we're given through stories comes together with the Minli storyline. I was happy making the discovery as an adult, so I can only imagine a child enjoying this read would take great pleasure it discovering the story lines twisting together.
I read this short book in only one sitting, I loved it so much. I then immediately texted my cousin, a fourth grade teacher, telling him I had a book he absolutely needed to read to his class.
"What book?" He asked.
"It's called Where the Mountain Meets the Moon! By Grace Lin! It's this eastern fairy tale woven in with..."
"Oh, yeah." He interrupted. "We read that school wide last year. Grace Lin came by and talked to the kids, it was great."
Well fine! Take the wind out of sails why don't you. He said Ms. Lin was really gracious and all the kids went wild when they realized who she was. He loved it, the kids loved it, I loved it - that means, you might love it too! I highly recommend it as a quick, simple, but great, adventurous read....more
Forgive me when I say that I uttered a sigh of relief upon starting what I knew would be theThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
Forgive me when I say that I uttered a sigh of relief upon starting what I knew would be the last novel in this series. I grew bored of it in book 2, although this book was much better than its predecessors, it still left me a bit flat.
Again with the terrible brown text on cream paper. The cover for this one is quite pretty, although I'm not sure where the dragon's left arm went. Looks like an action book and that's what we get.
A lot of the negative reviews in young adult novels nowadays is because of how sexist they are. The girl main character gets with a guy, is ok when he is abusive, and generally shows extremely disturbing emotions in a positive light. Cara Diana Hunter, at the very least, can't fall into this category too easily. Sure there are a couple instances of the men being overly protective or brushing over her much warranted need for a good cry and just say "She is so brave" quietly to one another. But you know, at least she's not in an abusive relationship, and she's off having fun scary action times in a fantasy world.
I had this complaint with the entire series and it was not to change for The Last Hunt - all the events are incredibly convenient. Every time a character would get separated from his or her party my immediate thought was "No matter. They'll find someone else wandering around the forest." And of course they did, every time. Coupled with the omniscient narrator, that left absolutely no suspense. I didn't go through and count but another reviewer on Goodreads says there are about 20 viewpoints throughout the novel, and I believe it. It becomes such a mess jumping around to practically every character we've been introduced to, yet it doesn't even include a table of contents. Now I'm not saying a table of contents is what makes or breaks a good novel, but every other book in the series has had one. It does include a very handy glossary at the back, but it unfortunately had me screaming at the book. The glossary contained spoilers! What! When I didn't recognize the name of one of the human sorcerer people and went back to check who it was, it completely gave away his storyline. Ugh I was frustrated at that!
The unicorns are pretty ineffectual in this novel. Amalia Flickerfoot seems content to send off envoys on missions and then just stand around to be caught unawares of a war she knew was going to happen. Yes I know she didn't know where it was going to happen, but there has got to be more preparation than just traveling to the location for the battlefield of choice. No sorts of armor were commissioned from the humans, the unicorns ride into battle with no protection whatsoever. That just seems negligent. This is war here people! But of course Coville tends to shy away from any of the "adult" aspects normally present in a fantasy novel, as it is meant for young adult/middle readers. I'm pretty far above the target audience here but so much of the story could have been fleshed out more had we not had so many narrators in the soup. Or is that cooks in the kitchen? Whatever.
(view spoiler)[A popular story telling cliche is the outsider coming in and saving the downtrodden natives. See Avatar or Dances with Wolves. I can't believe it but it happened here as well, when Cara becomes a unicorn. I always thought that's where the story was heading when we found out Cara was part unicorn, but when it actually happened I thought it was pretty lackluster, and really a bit disturbing. Just like Kevin Costner became more native than the natives, Cara becomes more unicorn than the unicorns, and it is only thanks to her that the unicorns win at all.
All of the storylines go through an epilogue so we aren't left with many questions. However, there are still two that left me shaking my head in bafflement. First, the blind man that took Ian Hunter's sight. Ian's sight isn't taken very many times in this novel but it does happen right at the very end, so I was reminded about it. So...ok? That was a weird bargain in the first place, then it never got resolved for me. And lastly, the dragons mention at the very end that there's another dragon around. Wait there's another dragon around? Is this a set up for another story? Can you tell me....I WON'T TELL END THE BOOK QUICK! QUICKER! Well...fine then. (hide spoiler)]
I'm glad to be done with series, and I'm afraid I can't recommend it very highly. The first novel is enough to make anyone love unicorns, but it falls off too quickly to stay interesting. Read the first one but leave the rest. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I picked this book up because I planned on reading Huntress. This book was written first, so I thought, "Sure, I'll give itAs seen on Stumptown Books.
I picked this book up because I planned on reading Huntress. This book was written first, so I thought, "Sure, I'll give it a try, even if this is not my normal bag."
The first thing to note is that this is a fairy tale retelling. Ask yourself: do you like fairy tale retellings? They usually take elements of a story that you know and love and change them. Sometimes that in itself is enough to turn some people off. I am not one of those - I dislike fairy tale retellings for entirely different reasons, not the least of them being I just find them boring. The end is always a foregone conclusion. The story follows trials and tribulations right up until the moment where they kiss and then BAM, the book is over.
I thought the idea of a lesbian Cinderella intriguing, and I dislike that anyone would find that in itself shocking. Why do fairy tale retellings have to stay in the archaic medieval mode that heterosexuality is the only accepted norm. Don't lesbians deserve a happy ending and someone to sweep them off their feet? Of course! How many stories can I name where that happens?
Yeah I can't come up with any either. It's rather sad, isn't it? There are so many young girls (be they straight, gay, or undecided) and all they get to read about is crappy vampire romance where no one is gay, ever. I know, I'm making sweeping generalizations here. Please, if you know any good titles, share them with me. The best part of the fantasy genre is that anything goes. So why is the genre, as a whole, afraid of GLBT relationships?
While I liked the idea, it could have been so much more. There was no conflict. I enjoyed there was none of the "You can't do that, you're a GIRL!" or "You can't love her, she's a GIRL!" Her sexuality was accepted and not a word was said. I like that it was accepted, I just wanted there to be SOME sort of conflict, a question, an uncomfortable situation, ANYTHING. She falls in love without ever really questioning herself. There is no rocky relationship start; everything falls into place just about perfectly. There was never any question that the two would end up together.
Getting through the years of 12-15 years old is hard. That's why there's so much awesome literature about coping with adolescence; that period of life sucks. How much harder is it when you are also coping with sexual identity? When the entire world is telling you that heterosexuality is the only way you will ever be accepted, it is a seriously big deal. So to brush it off like it isn't a big deal...well, that's one way of telling a story, I guess. While I want more GLBT relationships in fantasy, and I want young girls to be able to read literature that will help them become strong women who accept themselves, this is simply not the book to do it.
Of course, the climax of the love story did still manage to make me feel happy for Ash. I couldn't help it, that part was nicely done. That was the only time the two characters felt alive to me - the entire rest of the book they felt wooden and boring.
Ash spends the first part of the novel going through the well known, but modern, Cinderella origins, with dead father and evil step mother and all that. Once she actually becomes a servant, the story essentially stops being Cinderella. The prince is still a character and he goes through all the normal Cinderella stuff - which was pretty hilarious actually. He's running around in the background trying to find the mystery girl he danced with, and Ash is all "Who wants a prince when I could have that awesome Huntress." I really like that Malinda Lo decided to make it the Huntress and not a princess. Princesses and damsels in distress are not only a heterosexual fantasy, they focus on the men swooping in. So, high five Malinda.
Overall, this book left me feeling completely neutral. I didn't hate it, but I found nothing to love....more
Now that the days are dark and dreary, I feel like reading fairy tales, the ultimate comfortThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
Now that the days are dark and dreary, I feel like reading fairy tales, the ultimate comfort food. The Goose Girl shows up on a couple "best fairy tale retelling" lists, so I went and grabbed it. The quote on the cover from Stephanie Meyer should have warned me away but alas, here we are. I've never heard of the story of the goose girl, so before starting it I went to Wikipedia and read the synopsis. I forget how brutal fairy tales are when they're not put through Disney's filter.
Thankfully this novel wasn't put through the filter quite so stringently, and leaves out the brutal parts while still keeping us interested with all the nasty things happening to Ani, the lost princess. It is written for a young audience, but there's still a bit of sword fighting and blood to satisfy me. What I enjoyed the most was her gift of talking to animals, mostly birds, and how that progresses along with the novel (although the deus ex machina at the end had me rolling my eyes a fair bit). Not only her gift blooms, but the princess also grows as you would expect any riches-to-rags story to go, showing her the kingdom from a different side and making her all the better for it. Strength through adversity and all that good stuff. I noticed that the next novel in the series is called Enna Burning, and we are introduced to Enna, but she wasn't developed nearly as much as I would have liked. This story is very Ani-centric, but I let that slide as she only learns how to make friends towards the end.
The part that bugged me the most - and yes, feel free to label me a little squealing schoolgirl - was that the love story was jaw cracking yawn inducing. The love interest is barely in the story, and when they finally meet on equal terms (about 5 pages from the end, but of course, what more is there to tell after the princess gets the prince), it is the most leaden and unheartwarming dialogue. When I eat my chicken soup I want it to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, damnit! I didn't even crack a smile at her happiness.
I feel like I went into this expecting the wrong thing. If I had it labeled as "young adult novel with strong but stupid female lead," even if I didn't like it more, maybe I would have understood it more. As it stands, her stupidity (which is constantly called bravery instead) really got to me. I don't recommend this as a fairy tale retelling, but as a simple fantasy princess I suppose it's ok. Overall, pretty forgettable....more
Got this from Audible, and I didn't like the narrator at all. It was only $.99 so I listened anyway, but it was teeth grinding at times. I guess I shoGot this from Audible, and I didn't like the narrator at all. It was only $.99 so I listened anyway, but it was teeth grinding at times. I guess I should have just read it, I probably would have enjoyed it more....more
Another awesome cover. Look at that haircut, man. LOOK AT IT.
Didn't hold up that well, I thought. The clothes and music are incredibly 80s, and now thAnother awesome cover. Look at that haircut, man. LOOK AT IT.
Didn't hold up that well, I thought. The clothes and music are incredibly 80s, and now the "I'm a normal person recruited into the dark underworld of FAERIE!" is so overdone. I know this was one of the first, kind of ground breaking in that respect, but now it's kind of dated.
I loved that it was written by a woman. There's never any "But you're a GIRL, you can't do that." All the sexuality is really tastefully handled.
I keep wavering on whether to give it 3 or 4 stars, but honestly I think I'm being bullied (metaphorically) because it has so many die hard fans. So 3 it is....more