SDMB Grrlbrarian recco of second book in series DZedNConfused - "I think The Screaming Staircase is more like Miss Peregrine than Bellairs or even a vSDMB Grrlbrarian recco of second book in series DZedNConfused - "I think The Screaming Staircase is more like Miss Peregrine than Bellairs or even a very watered down The Rook."...more
Checked out the audiobook version of this introduction to a new Gail Carriger series from the local library.
Set in the same world as her Parasol ProtChecked out the audiobook version of this introduction to a new Gail Carriger series from the local library.
Set in the same world as her Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School Victorian steampunk fantasy series, this novel follows Lady Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends), a young British female metanatural -- she can temporarily steal the powers of a supernatural being - vampire, werewolf etc.
Rue's adopted father gifts her with a touring dirigible, and also assigns her to a mission to India to investigate a new sort of tea. Accompanied by her BFF Primrose ("Prim") Tunstell and her twin brother, the stuffy Professor Percy Tunstell along with the dashing inventor (and terrible flirt) Quesnel* Lefoux. And we can't forget Spoo**!
Rue becomes embroiled in international espionage (not only among the British and Indians, but the local equivalent of vampires and werewolves as well); and must rely on her own pluck and sense of propriety to win the day. (Mind you, her sense of propriety doesn't exactly coincide with that of a proper British young woman of that day and age - but that's half the fun of this novel!) Yes, the plot falls apart if you take it too seriously, but that's not the point of these series.
I'll admit to being rather smitten with this universe Ms. Carriger has come up with; and IMHO her affected writing style is wonderfully appropriate for it. It's hardly Literature and not for everyone but I find it frivolously and preposterously fun. Moira Quirk is an excellent choice for narrator as well.
I do wish I'd re-read at least Timeless, the last of the Parasol Protectorate series, as it provides some background for Rue and Prim, as well as their parents, despite being set almost 2 decades later.
Recommended to alternate history fans looking for something too-too Victorian - as Carriger herself puts it "Imagine Jane Austen dabbling in science and steam technology. Then imagine P.G. Wodehouse suddenly dropped vampires into the Drones Club."
* One drawback to audiobooks - I had no idea "Conel"'s name was spelt like this! ** See above - except I couldn't find a text reference for the plucky deckhand's name....more
Just finished the full-cast audio version of this novel, recommended by Marianne. C.S. and Hopeful Crow over at the SDMB. I checked it out from my locJust finished the full-cast audio version of this novel, recommended by Marianne. C.S. and Hopeful Crow over at the SDMB. I checked it out from my local library.
It's a YA alternate history/steampunkish adventure, set early in the 20th century, where grand airships make transoceanic voyages. Matt Cruse is a teenage cabin boy on the Aurora, the same ship his father served on before his untimely accident. Matt assists in the rescue of a stranded balloonist, an older man whose dying words speak of "beautiful creatures" soaring above a strange island. One year later, on another voyage along the same route, Matt encounters a remarkable young woman whose connection to that balloonist sparks the events of this action filled novel.
This is my first encounter with Oppel, and I believe I'll be back for more. His worldbuilding is right up my alley. (I have a thing for airships - see Leviathan and Curtsies & Conspiracies) The slight differences of Matt Cruse's world and our own are laid out in a way that flows organically from the story. Once the action gets going, it can be a bit breathless at times, and I found myself shaking my head a bit at the occasional convenient plot elements - even when they had been referenced appropriately earlier in the narrative. Nevertheless, it was a "ripping yarn" along the lines of Verne and Stephenson, updated to more modern sensibilities.
Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries are very well drawn - strong protagonists, but with flaws as well. The supporting characters are equally enjoyable - I hope Oppel brings back Chef Vlad in the subsequent novels! The "beautiful creatures" turn out to be fascinating in and of themselves - I admire the work Oppel put into making them believable and (based on reading the description of the next book in the series) I hope they'll be making further appearances.
The full cast recording was quite entertaining - David Kelly voiced Matt Cruse, as well as all the additional narration. One other reviewer found Kelly a bit much ( as if everything he said had umpteen exclamation marks), but I enjoyed the enthusiasm of young Cruse. Rachel Molten also did a fine job with Kate De Vries. Vikram Szpirglas, voiced by Ronald Sweet was also a lot of fun. My only minor complaint was with the voicing of Baz - the pseudo-Aussie accent grated on me (my luck, Alex Lieben is actually from Down Under )
If you're looking for a fun, fairly straightforward adventure with a touch of alt-history/fantasy, and not a lot of angst and soul searching (I'm looking at you, Naomi Novik), then I'd recommend giving this novel a look-see. I just put the second novel in the series -Skybreaker- on hold at the library....more
I'm now caught up on the Finishing School series, as I picked this novel up on a recent Amazon Kindle sale - as I'm a fan of the series and Gail CarriI'm now caught up on the Finishing School series, as I picked this novel up on a recent Amazon Kindle sale - as I'm a fan of the series and Gail Carriger's work overall. I devoured the e-text version before the local library got the audiobook - with Moira Quirk as narrator, I may have to revisit this novel sooner than later!
Sophronia Temminnick is still attending Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, where she pursues an education as a female intelligencer (steampunk version of spy/assassin). After her friend, Sidheag (aka Lady Kingair) receives some bad news regarding her werewolf pack family, Sophronia, with her classmate and dear friend Dimity, scheme to get Sidheag home to her native Scotland.
They are joined on this adventure by Sophronia's friend (perhaps not just "friend"?) from the boiler room, Soap, and Lord Felix Mersey, upon whom Sophronia has been testing her newly learned feminine wiles. The subsequent adventure brings them up against a former rival, and furthers the overall storyline of the series.
I'm such a sucker for (well-written) steampunk, and adding in the supernatural element with more than a touch of droll humour and whimsy ... well, how can I resist? It seems Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series -- which I got hooked on first -- is wrapped up fairly neatly; and the Finishing School is a somewhat YA version of the same world, with the romance elements toned down appropriately (something I had issue with in the first PP installment). There's a fourth book in the Finishing School series scheduled for November 2015, and Carriger is starting another series (The Custard Protocol), set a few decades on in the same world: Prudence is due out later this month and I already have a hold on the audiobook version!...more
While I still haven't figured out quite what the title has to do with anything in the book, I found this novel engrossing - I enjoyed the "mundane" elWhile I still haven't figured out quite what the title has to do with anything in the book, I found this novel engrossing - I enjoyed the "mundane" elements of the story at least asmuch as the mystical - I kinda want to be Holly Sykes when I grow up!
However, I kinda have to agree a bit with fellow GoodReader Nataliya when she wrote that "the overt inclusion of fantastical elements is what weakened the story." While I found the good vs evil confrontation compelling, it felt like a separate story only peripherally related to Holly and Hugo.
I think I spotted this in the New Reads list on the Indiana Digital Media website. I'd just come off a wonderful steampunk trilogy (Leviathan by Scot I think I spotted this in the New Reads list on the Indiana Digital Media website. I'd just come off a wonderful steampunk trilogy (Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld) and was looking for something similar. I'm also a sucker for literary mashups - so finding that the main characters were the niece of Sherlock Holmes and the sister of Bram Stoker piqued my interest.
While Miss Alvermina Holmes (she goes by Mina) and Evaline Stoker come from different social circles - they are called to serve the Crown in a clandestine capacity to investigate the suspicious disappearances of several society belles. The titular item becomes an important clue - and the game is soon afoot!
A fun read - Gleason drops you right into an steampunk Victorian London, where buildings tower so high they need support from balloons, and the streets are multilevel - the higher levels being toll-based. And yes, vampires are real; but supposedly nearly exterminated, thanks to the Stoker clan.
Mina and Evaline are well-drawn characters, with their personality quirks not distracting too much from the overall story. Being a YA novel - there are romantic interests, of course; they toe the line of being a bit overdone (but I'm not quite the intended audience). There's plenty of action and danger along the way, and both young ladies comport themselves well.
The time travel element seems oddly placed - I think the story would have been just fine without it, but I imagine it comes more into focus in the (presumed) sequels. Thankfully, this novel wraps up its own story (am not terribly fond of cliffhangers), but leaves the door open for more Stoker/Holmes adventures. Worth at least a library read if steampunk, literary mashups and strong female leads are your thing....more
Just finished the audiobook version of this novel, the third (and presumably last?) in the Leviathan series. While it wraps things up well; there's deJust finished the audiobook version of this novel, the third (and presumably last?) in the Leviathan series. While it wraps things up well; there's definitely room to continue with the main characters in this universe.
Prince Alek of Hohenberg and Dylan/Deryn Sharpe are still aboard the Leviathan - a massive, living airship that is part of the British Air Service. The ship is responding to a request from Russia, one of its Darwinist allies to travel to Siberia to rescue a scientist and his team. This scientist is none other than Nikola Tesla, and his latest Clanker invention may just possibly end the World War.
I LOVE the world-building in this series of YA novels! The mix of fabricated beasts created by the Darwinists and the steampunkesque contraptions built by the Clankers provides a rich visual tapestry for the story to proceed upon. Alek and Dylan/Deryn (Deryn the girl is masquerading as Dylan the boy) are very well-rounded and have both shown considerable growth of character throughout the trilogy. The secondary characters, like Volger and Dr. Barlow, and even Eddie Malone are also well-drawn and help move the plot along as well. Not only does Tesla make an appearance, so does William Randolph Hearst and Francisco "Pancho" Villa. And I really, really want a Perspicacious Loris (which I see as a cross between a mogwai and a chinchilla).
Alan Cumming does a masterful job of narrating this trilogy - although his American voices (particularly his Adela Rogers St. Johns) could use a bit of work. However, I can't imagine coming back to this trilogy (which I can definitely see myself doing) without "hearing" his portrayal of Dylan/Deryn Sharpe and her wonderful Scottish slang!...more
Obtained from Kindle First program - Aug 2014 & I'd recommend checking it out if you're into YA-style magic.
Ceony Twill just graduated from TagisObtained from Kindle First program - Aug 2014 & I'd recommend checking it out if you're into YA-style magic.
Ceony Twill just graduated from Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, and has been bound to an apprenticeship in Paper Magic, despite her desire to pursue metal magic. Her master, Magician Emery Thane, is a bit of an odd duck - but when a figure from his past comes to wreak havoc - Ceony finds herself on a quest to save her teacher's life.
While a bit whimsical to start with, I found both the world building and the plot quite interesting, and the characters engaging. It's a fun read overall & I'll probably keep an eye out for potential sequels, as it's billed as the first of a trilogy....more
SDMB: Draelin recco - "they're not only good, they're also hilarious... definitely an urban fantasy feel with an enormous amount of pop-culture refereSDMB: Draelin recco - "they're not only good, they're also hilarious... definitely an urban fantasy feel with an enormous amount of pop-culture references and a good amount of geek-cred."...more
I checked out this novel from the library recently. It's Ransom Riggs' follow up to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which I quite enjoyedI checked out this novel from the library recently. It's Ransom Riggs' follow up to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which I quite enjoyed when I listened to the audiobook back in 2011 (yes, I realize that I missed out on the photos & I've since rectified the matter).
I wish I had re-read the first novel beforehand though, as Riggs dumps us right back in where we left off and I found myself floundering a bit, much as Jacob and his friends in their small boats, crossing the strait from their island to the mainland. After the invasion and destruction of their loop, and the conversion of their protector to her bird-form, the children's only hope is to find their way to London and another ymbryne. However, travelling across a war-torn country is difficult enough, without the hollowgasts and wights in pursuit.
While the novelty of the peculiar children and their world has rubbed off a bit, Riggs still manages to keep a clear focus on his characters and move the larger story arc along as well as provide additional world building. The photos chosen for this novel were perhaps not quite as striking as the original novel, but still supported the story nicely. The children continue to veer from one perilous situation to another, and (fair warning) this installment ends on quite the cliffhanger. I'll have to re-read the first two novels before the next one drops, but I'm pretty sure I will be reading it when it arrives. ...more
This novella (122 pgs) is a retelling of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan set in Edwardian London where Hook is a retired police officer and Peter is a child tThis novella (122 pgs) is a retelling of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan set in Edwardian London where Hook is a retired police officer and Peter is a child trafficker. The characters felt true to the original, even in their altered circumstances, and it was fun to see how the supporting characters (down to Smee and the Lost Boys) were portrayed.
If you enjoy this kind of mashup/deconstruction/homage, it's an entertaining example, and a pretty good first novel. I'd be interested to see what Jacoby comes up with next. ...more
This is a novel I'd heard about for awhile & I think I finally checked it out from the library after seeing it mentioned in a SDMB thread about alThis is a novel I'd heard about for awhile & I think I finally checked it out from the library after seeing it mentioned in a SDMB thread about alternate history stories.
I'm a bit of a sucker for alternate takes on familiar stories, and IMHO Saberhagen's novel is one of the standouts of the genre, not only in terms of age (published in 1975) but in quality as well. While the frame story (Dracula meeting up with the Harker's descendants, and recording his version on cassette tape) is a bit hokey (and now dated), the actual retelling of the events is engrossing.
While I'm no scholar of the Stoker source material; having listened to the Audible full-cast version of the classic fairly recently made reading this novel both more accessible and more enjoyable. Saberhagen obviously covers the same ground as Stoker, but makes Dracula, if not the hero, at least the protagonist. Harker is painted as a well-meaning nebbish, and Van Helsing a scheming malcontent whose claims to scientific knowledge are proven wrong several times by Dracula.
Mina is portrayed as not only a willing accomplice, but a worthy consort to one such as the Count. While I liked her character in the Stoker novel, seeing her as a strong female within the context of the times; Saberhagen gives her even more agency as she is torn between her love for Jonathan and fascination with Dracula.
I would have liked more insight to Renfield, and the ending felt a little rushed, but I'm glad I finally got around to reading this novel, and would recommend it to anyone interested in an alternate take on the classic vampire tale (after reading/re-reading the Stoker version, of course!) I may pursue the sequels at some point, after I check out their reviews here. ...more