I loved this book! The clearly drawn character of Dashti is a good part of the reason why. But I also cared about what happened to Saren, even though...moreI loved this book! The clearly drawn character of Dashti is a good part of the reason why. But I also cared about what happened to Saren, even though she’s not as brave, smart or funny as Dashti. The mark of a really excellent writer is when you care about the welfare of characters that you don’t really like that much. The prose is very well-written, Dashi says a number of very quotable things, it’s very clear exactly why the characters are behaving the way they are, the plot moves right along and unlike many fantasy YA books, I didn’t have to suspend my disbelief at all. The romance is believable and light. Must Read! (And now I must go read all of Shannon Hale’s other books!) (less)
Based on a true story, this is the story of Bridget and Maureen, two girls who grow up together and are very close friends. They look very much alike...moreBased on a true story, this is the story of Bridget and Maureen, two girls who grow up together and are very close friends. They look very much alike with similar colored hair, and very similar builds. Their personalities are different, Bridget is more of a spoiled girl who usually gets what she wants and often talks Maureen into doing what she wants.
One day there is a tragic accident, one girl lives and the other dies. The girl who lives is in a coma for weeks, and the girl who died is buried. The medical personal, the families and the townspeople are all sure they've mourned the right girl, but have they? Or is it a tragic tale of mistaken identity?
This was a fascinating story, for the first half of the book I was sure that it was heading into Jodi Picoult territory. Mitchard, appropriately for a YA book, never dwells on the morality tale but focuses more on the characters and allows her readers to work out the "bad" guys on their own. All the characters are allowed to shine in realistic ways, but the "girl who lived" is particularly well characterized with her frustration and anger at her physical disabilities and her changed relationships. This book is a gift for young adult readers and would make a great book club book for teens. The "what would you do if" questions are endless. (less)
Winner of a 2008 Printz Honor Award Kiriel is a fallen angel, sometimes called a demon. He decides that he needs a vacation from tormenting the damned...moreWinner of a 2008 Printz Honor Award Kiriel is a fallen angel, sometimes called a demon. He decides that he needs a vacation from tormenting the damned and plans to “borrow” a body of teenaged slacker seconds before his death. A repossession. He’s planned this well, he wanted an American, so that he wouldn’t have to worry about food or shelter, a teen so that he wouldn’t have to worry about a job or a wife or anyone who might notice him acting strangely. After all, teens all act strangely don’t they? Except maybe he didn’t plan quite as well as he should have. He didn’t plan on how to deal with his disconnected little brother, or his best friend or the girl he knows has a crush on him. Will he have time to sample all the 7 deadly sins before either The Boss, or The Creator or one of the Unfallen comes looking for him? After all, somebody must have noticed that he’s gone, right?
A quick and FUNNY read. Kiriel’s attempts to understand what humans do and why they do it are very amusing. This book has some depth to it, with Kiriel’s musings on The Creator and the Fallen and Unfallen. (less)
This book is a continuation of The Goose Girl; it's the story of Enna who was a friend of Ani's in The Goose Girl. Enna finds a power of her own, equa...moreThis book is a continuation of The Goose Girl; it's the story of Enna who was a friend of Ani's in The Goose Girl. Enna finds a power of her own, equal to Ani's power over wind, the power of fire. Her indecision regarding the moral way to use this power is set against the backdrop of impending war between her own kingdom of Bayern and Tira.
I was aware that this book is not as well loved as The Goose Girl before I began it. However, it wasn't until I was halfway through the book that I realized why. Suddenly, I found myself in the middle of a book I had already read, Firestarter by Stephen King. So many of the elements are the same that there is little doubt in my mind that the plot was borrowed wholesale from Mr. King. Hale decides to end the relationship between Enna and her captor in a different way than Firestarter, but that doesn't excuse the nearly 100 pages of borrowed plot. I would have tossed the book aside, but I was curious if she was going to borrow someone else's plot to wrap up the book. I wish I had skipped this book and gone right from The Goose Girl to Book of One Thousand Days.
Skip this one, you're not missing anything. Maybe read Firestarter instead. (less)
Based on the old Grimm fairy tale of the princess who becomes a goose girl for a time, due to the betrayal of her servant, this story by Shannon Hale...moreBased on the old Grimm fairy tale of the princess who becomes a goose girl for a time, due to the betrayal of her servant, this story by Shannon Hale breathes new life into an old tale. Her story of Ani adds new elements, such as Ani's ability to speak to and understand bird and her new found ability to command the wind while keeping the basic structure of the old tale with it's elements of betrayal and political intrigue between kingdoms. Hale's kingdoms of Bayern and Kidenzee ring true as does Ani's relationships with her mother, the Queen and Selia, the Lady in Waiting with powers of her own that she uses to assume Ani's place as Queen in the Kingdom of her husband-to-be. Ani's ambivalent feelings about her own role as Princess of Kidenzee, future Queen of Bayern and then as a goose girl in hiding add dept and texture to this novel.
Although it didn't totally charm me as Book of a Thousand Days did, this was an excellent read and a great addition to the re-imagined fairy tale genre. (less)
Aggie is offered a job at Murkmere manor to be a lady’s companion to the Lord’s ward, Leah. She accepts the job...moreJane Eyre meets The Golden Compass....
Aggie is offered a job at Murkmere manor to be a lady’s companion to the Lord’s ward, Leah. She accepts the job because she can then send money back to her Aunt Jennet. Her mother worked at Murkmere before her death and she thinks that if she knows more about Murkmere, she’d know more about her mother. But Leah is so strange, wild and moody and she has a strange bond with the swans on the estate. The Master is trapped in a caged wheelchair and has blasphemous books. Silas, the steward, rules over the servants with an iron hand but is really pious, or is he? No one is who he or she seems to be and whom can Aggie trust? How can she protect Leah? This is one of those books that reads like historical fiction then all of a sudden you realize that it has major fantasy elements. Kind of a “whoops, I guess we’re not in Kansas after all” moment. In this case, this reads like the late 19th century until you learn that most books are blasphemous and there’s an alternate religion based on birds. Really, birds – the Great Eagle is the Almighty. The political structure is different too, as the aristrocrats are Ministers in the government that is considered the mouthpiece of the gods on Earth. The Lord Protector is the head of the Ministration and is involved in the plot as he comes to Murkmere for Leah’s debut birthday. This book is historical fiction/fantasy/mystery with some retold fairy tale (the swan maiden) too! There’s also political intrigue and questions about religion. I really enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s well written and the plot soars along. Highly recommended to anyone who likes any of the above genres! (less)