"Sweet sixteen. It has a magical ring to it. Sixteen is supposed to be the age when girls become princesses and fall in love and go to dances and prom...more"Sweet sixteen. It has a magical ring to it. Sixteen is supposed to be the age when girls become princesses and fall in love and go to dances and proms and such. Countless stories, songs, and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset."
Before I begin the review, I just want to say a few words to all the 16-year olds out there reading the YA novels being "written" these days...
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "TRUE LOVE" AT SIXTEEN. Liking someone is not equal to love (At the most, it can be puppy love, but you'll grow out of it, trust me). YOU WILL NOT FIND THE PERSON YOU WANT TO SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WITH AT SIXTEEN. THIS IS A LIE. The truth is, you'll fall in and out of "love" several times in your life (mostly with fictional characters and/or celebrities) until you eventually find "the one" and, at least once in your life, someone will break your heart. But it's ok - you'll live and come out of it stronger. Trust me on that. More importantly, when you are sixteen, your family SHOULD BE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYBODY ELSE, SO YOU DO NOT PUT SOMEONE (Especially a "devastatingly gorgeous" guy who keeps stressing that he will kill you, if ordered) BEFORE THEM, EVER. THEY ARE NOT WORTH IT. So, enjoy your teens with your family and friends (after which you'll probably grow up and get stuck in a job you hate), instead of giving it all up for some douche who might not even be around THE SAME TIME NEXT MONTH!
I won't go through the plot as it feels like the plot takes a backseat to the love story in The Iron King. Instead, let's talk about the three main characters.
- Meghan Chase (A.K.A Mary Sue, Bella II) :
Now, I wish I could have given an earful of the above rant to Meghan. Oh, poor, stupid Meghan. When we first meet her, she seems likable enough - an ordinary 16-year old girl who crushes on the cutest guy in school, hangs out with her best friend, Robin (who also happens to be in love with her because ... I don't know why), doing normal 16-year old stuff and wants to run away to find a better life.
But all that changes when, she find out she's half-faery and she has all these powers that make her super special and awesome without having to do anything, that every single guy she meets falls in love with her inexplicably, while she just stands around (it's because she's special), AND that, somehow, the entire fate of the faery world has ended up resting upon her shoulders, JUST BECAUSE.
(Did I mention she's special?)
Suddenly, Meghan slowly devolves into a Bella Swan clone, who has to be rescued from crises (that she created in the first place by being stubborn and not listening to people who know better) and falls in love with a "devastatingly gorgeous", pale-faced, brooding, centuries-old-but-looks-like-a-teen, I-love-you-but-I-also-want-to-kill-you romantic interest, proclaims her true, undying love to him and torturously moans to us about how she can't live without him.... EVEN AFTER HE MENTIONS SEVERAL TIMES TO HER FACE THAT BOTH THEIR FAMILIES ARE BITTER RIVALS AND HE MIGHT HAVE TO KILL HER AT SOME POINT BECAUSE HE IS LOYAL TO HIS FAMILY.
- Prince Ash (A.K.A Edward II) :
He is the aforementioned devastatingly gorgeous, pale-faced, brooding, centuries-old-but-looks-like-a-teen, I-love-you-but-I-also-want-to-kill-you romantic interest.
It is never made clear how and why he falls in love with Meghan. At one point he says it's because she looks a lot like his ex (Run, Meghan, run!) but when his ex is finally described, she sounds nothing like Meghan, so that's an unsolved mystery right there.
Ash is described as gorgeous, beautiful, breath-taking, unearthly in as many adjectives as possible every time he is in the scene. His eyes are always cold and hard, and he also seems to have some sort of a speech problem because he can't seem to speak above a murmur at any given time.
- Robin/Puck (A.K.A Jacob II) :
He is Meghan's best friend and guardian. He has been surreptitiously protecting her since she was little and has, in the process, fallen in love with her. But Meghan is truly, deeply, madly in love with Ash so Puck gets friendzoned faster than you can say 'Jacob'.
To heal his wounded heart, Puck resorts to terrible puns and, clearly what he considers as witty, jibes directed at Ash. He also seems to be capable of displaying very few emotions on his face as he is always seen either grinning wickedly or smirking evilly or sneering deviously.
AND IF HE CALLS MEGHAN, "PRINCESS" ONE MORE TIME WHILE GRINNING OR SNEERING OR SMIRKING, SO HELP ME GOD, I WILL CUT SOMEONE.
The story isn't half-bad, at first. In fact, I was ready to give this book a four-star rating....until about halfway through it, when the "love triangle" kicked in and Puck uttered his 275034th "Princess".
Once upon a Time Machine is a graphic novel collection of futuristic retellings of some of the popular fairy tales. Some of the illustrations, as well...moreOnce upon a Time Machine is a graphic novel collection of futuristic retellings of some of the popular fairy tales. Some of the illustrations, as well as the stories, as really good. I particularly enjoyed the re-tellings of Pinocchio, Sweet porridge, The Last Leaf and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.
One complaint though. The graphic novel was not properly rendered in Adobe Digital Editions so everything was a bit blurry which made it difficult for me to read the dialogue often.
ARC received from NetGalley and Dark Horse Comics.(less)
The best in the series, so far! Loved, loved, LOVED it!
The thing I love about the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series is that they keep...moreThe best in the series, so far! Loved, loved, LOVED it!
The thing I love about the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series is that they keep you guessing! You think you have it all figured out, only to be proven wrong a few pages later. This was one such book - I could NOT put it down!
The Indigo King focuses on the mysterious Cartographer this time around. Much like how Dumbledore shows Harry the history of Voldemort and how he came to be, Jules Verne shows John, Jack and Charles the history of Mordred and the Cartographer, and how they came to be. The whole thing was expertly handled and was brilliant to read about. I cannot believe I actually felt sorry for Mordred at the end of it all! Just goes to show there are always two sides to a story.
The book takes time-travel in the Archiepelago to a whole new level! Several places, I found it a bit difficult to digest the story as I firmly believe, in cases of Time travel, you cannot change the past - what has happened, has happened and what will happen, will happen. The Universe always, always course-corrects itself.
So I wasn't comfortable with the idea that Hugo Dyson had gone back in time and somehow ended up changing the past. But in the end, Owen again managed to explain it all away, leaving me with no room to complain :)
But, I must admit, in the end, I got a bit dizzy trying to keep track of the chronology of the story. Maybe some day, after several re-reads, I'll be able to jot the chronology down on a piece of paper so that it'll be crystal clear, but, till then, I'm going to trust that Owen knows what he's doing and let him take me along on this ride to the magical world of the Archiepalago of Dreams.
Highly recommended just for the sheer shock-and-awe factor of the book!
P.S - Apparently Charles is awesome no matter what timeline he's in! His story-arc in the book was one of the main reasons I loved it :)
Even before I begin to write this review, I know right away that no matter what I say, I'll never be able to do this book justice. I'll try, though.
Fi...moreEven before I begin to write this review, I know right away that no matter what I say, I'll never be able to do this book justice. I'll try, though.
First, a little background :
"An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica -- an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between our world and the Archipelago of Dreams.
Pursued by strange and terrifying creatures, the companions flee London aboard the Dragonship. Traveling to the very realm of the imagination itself, they must learn to overcome their fears and trust in one another if they are to defeat the dark forces that threaten the destiny of two worlds."
Now, before you get any false ideas, do not go into the book expecting an unique and original story. Seeing as the story is set in a place where all the lands (ever written about in fiction), exist, you'll probably find yourself going, "Hey, haven't I read this somewhere, before?", more than once. But do not lose heart - the ending will explain everything.
The main attraction of this book is the author's writing. His love for his work, the world he is building and its characters, shines through in every page. I can give no higher praise.
Here, there be Dragons is fantasy in its purest form. A grand old adventure on a ship over foreign seas, with magic, dragons, elves, dwarves, goblins, trolls and many more! In these days where "fantasy" is synonymous with vampires and werewolves (ALWAYS with a bit romance thrown in) this book comes as a wonderful breath of fresh air!
And, the ending! Oh, the ending! Sheer cheek, and sheer brilliance on the author's part! :D Without giving anything away, I can safely say that it blew me away! The fantasy geek in me was thrilled to bits! :D
I cannot recommend this book enough to everybody. Fantasy lovers, this one's for you :)(less)
I stayed up till 1 last night to finish this book.
I REGRET NOTHING.
Recently I've taken quite a fancy to fairy tale re-tellings. You can go right ahea...moreI stayed up till 1 last night to finish this book.
I REGRET NOTHING.
Recently I've taken quite a fancy to fairy tale re-tellings. You can go right ahead and blame Gail Carson Levine for that. The Book of Lost things belongs to that genre, albeit a bit LOT more darker.
The book begins by introducing us to 12-year old David who has just lost his mum. He finds out that his dad is getting remarried and pretty soon finds himself with a baby brother, whom he hates on sight. Deep in his depression, he begins to hear voices coming out of the books he and his mum used to read together. That is when he first sees the Crooked Man. One late night, David hears his mum's voice calling out to him, asking him to come rescue her from something horrible. He follows her voice to a hole in the garden wall and ends up in fairy tale land with no way of going back (the hole in the wall closes after he passes through).
And that is when things get nasty.
Immediately after arriving, David runs into the Woodsman (The Red-riding hood one) who rescues him from certain death at the hands of a group of half-human, half-wolf mutants. Now, David has to find his way back by searching for the Book of Lost things with the help of the Woodsman and the brave Knight Roland, while escaping the werewolves and the ever-lurking Crooked Man, who follows him everywhere he goes.
Another novel to have been mistakenly classified as a children's story, the Book of Lost Things, is like a roller-coaster ride inside a scary, haunted house filled with your deepest, darkest nightmares involving live, flesh-eating monsters and blood. LOTS of blood.
BUT, the rest of the book is seriously creepy, though not more so than the villain of the story, the Crooked Man. To say he is a bad, bad man would be the understatement of the millenium in the entire galaxy. He is fiendish, horrifying, diabolical, wicked, cruel, savage, monstrous, malicious, inhuman, infernal...(Freedictionary.com ran out of synonyms here). SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS, VOLDEMORT'S GOT NOTHING ON THE CROOKED MAN!!
You've been warned.
P.S - The ending is amazing and wonderful and moving and very coming-of-age-y and I CRIED. So shoo, go read it now!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Sometimes you come across a book that makes you smack your forehead and go "Why didn't I think of this idea?!". Suffice it to say, for me, this is one...moreSometimes you come across a book that makes you smack your forehead and go "Why didn't I think of this idea?!". Suffice it to say, for me, this is one such book. Now, everybody here has read the Grimm Fairy Tales, yes? Snow-white, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, etc? Ring any bells? While we read the watered-down, sugar-coated versions back in the days, the original Grimm tales were violent, bloody and down-right inappropriate for little kids.
Adam Gidwitz had the brilliant idea to spin a dark tale around Hansel and Gretel, and trace their path through the myriad of gory Grimmm's Fairy Tales. As the author reiterates over and over in the book, this story is NOT for the little ones.
A Tale Dark and Grimm follows the twins' story starting from their birth to the King and Queen of Grimm, soon after which they are beheaded by their father (long story). But no need to worry, they come back to life and run away from home, scandalized at what their parents did to them. That's when they run into the witch with the house made from yummy goodies. After dealing with her (we all know how that ends!), they run away from, and into, one adventure after another, before finally returning back to their Kingdom of Grimm to rescue their people from a deadly dragon.
The book is filled with blood, gore, monsters, cannibals, mutilation, death and even the devil from Hell itself! But don't be put off, the author intersperses an adequate amount of humour in-between all the horror, which makes it for quite a charming read in the end, actually (What's a fairy tale without a happy ending?). It is fascinating the way Gidwitz has managed to insert Hansel and Gretel into many of the familiar fairy tales and find a place for their characters in the story.