A beautifully illustrated book about an imaginary friend who does the unimaginable! A story of making new friends who then make the world a less scaryA beautifully illustrated book about an imaginary friend who does the unimaginable! A story of making new friends who then make the world a less scary place. I particularly loved the images of Beekle on the NYC subway. We do indeed need naptime, Beekle!...more
I remember when I first read The Gates. I was thoroughly delighted by its unique brand of humorous horror, completely charmed by its brave hero and hiI remember when I first read The Gates. I was thoroughly delighted by its unique brand of humorous horror, completely charmed by its brave hero and his lovely little dog. At the time, I didn't realize it was the first of a series. It was certainly strong enough to stand alone.
Looking back, it seems this is the opposite of First Book Syndrome. While becoming reacquainted with Samuel, Boswell, and Nurd was a pleasure, I'm not entirely confident that we needed the story to continue. But since we weren't consulted about such things, let's carry on.
The Infernals picks up some 15 months after the first volume. We discover that Samuel is still a wise, kind, and somewhat awkward boy. Boswell is still unerringly loyal (and rather fretful, for a pooch). Nurd is his usual speed demon self (yet not). And there are others, who I must sadly confess I don't remember as well as I should (since it's been about 7 years, I'll cut myself a break).
It was easy to fall into this story of demon wars and strong friendships and overenthusiastic scientists. The connection to the characters was easily reignited - heroes and scamps to root for, villains you dearly love to hate. The new landscape of Hell and its widely varied denizens serves as a testament to Connolly's imagination. The book also pays homage to more comedy routines than I can possibly number, but I'd put Python down as a very strong influence. In terms of writing, it also calls to mind Adams and Pratchett and a host of others, but still manages to be its own entity.
If I had to name one particular issue, it would be a sense that Connolly was struggling a bit in the beginning. In the first book, the footnote quips enhanced the story. But with this second volume, I spent a good number of pages thinking the humor felt forced. It seemed as though the author was pushing us along through set-up, waiting until the tale really started so he could let loose.
And he did, once our heroes got dropped into Hell.
On the balance, while I wasn't looking for more from this world, I'm happy to catch up with everyone. I'm also deeply disturbed by what's hinted at for the final book of the trilogy. I will absolutely pick up the next one - and this time there won't be a seven year gap between readings!...more
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye is a tale that begins as many do: a young boy loses both his loving parents, only to be stuck in the3.5 stars.
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye is a tale that begins as many do: a young boy loses both his loving parents, only to be stuck in the care of a neglectful uncle and his evil, sneaky wife.
The way the tale sets itself apart is through its ultra-responsible, overworked hero and the steps he must take to protect the family hotel from his horrible aunt. Warren is a likable character - one who makes the best out of his sad situation. He's patient and kind in most every instance (and rather too industrious to be true).
The mystery of the All-Seeing Eye unfolds at a pleasant pace. Clues are distributed without, but only some of these hints are bump-over-the-head obvious. Kids should enjoy successfully putting together some of the pieces, while certain plot reveals will still surprise.
The epilogue is sweet and full of hope as Warren gains the Adventurer status he's longed for. It's a happy ending that allows plenty of room for further escapades with Warren and his friends - a continuation I'd wholly support.
A note on the illustrations: because I was reading an ARC in e-book format, many of the pages had image placeholders. I loved the drawings that were included. Each was extremely detailed and eyecatching, further showcasing the creepiness or comedy or whimsy of the chapter. Looking at another reader's review, I'm going to have to look up more of the artist's work!
ARC formatting issues prevented me from fully appreciating the flow of the story, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.An entertaining fusion of old and new.
ARC formatting issues prevented me from fully appreciating the flow of the story, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. (Who doesn't love art by Emily Carroll?)
Masha is a modern-day girl raised on the folktales of Baba Yaga. When her father brings not only a stepmother but also a stepsister into her life, Masha decides she must find her own place in the world. Appealing to Baba Yaga is certainly one way to do it!
The illustrations were engaging, alternating between dazzling fairytale landscapes and the darker imagery of the present day. Masha is a quick-minded heroine, recalling her grandmother's tales in detail and effectively twisting the fabled solutions to suit her own situation. The bratty sister I could do without, but younger kids might find lessons here about patience and kindness and eschewing pettiness.
It would be nice to explore more of Masha's experiences in Baba Yaga's world. Sequel, anyone?
Stunning illustrations and a compelling creepycute story make this a winner. I adore the grey graphics with the pop of orange. Kids should enjoy the cStunning illustrations and a compelling creepycute story make this a winner. I adore the grey graphics with the pop of orange. Kids should enjoy the characters' facial expressions as well as the surprise actions of the angry little carrots.
Probably not the thing to read if you want them to actually eat their carrots, though... ...more