Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a book which I don't think I will ever completely comprehend, and I'm okay with this knowledge. The bMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a book which I don't think I will ever completely comprehend, and I'm okay with this knowledge. The book follows young Jacob, who loses his Grandfather in a rather violent way and seeks to learn more about the man's past. The journey that Jacob takes to learn more about his Grandfather reveals many surprising - and horrifying - things. Jacob will need to decide if he is ready for this new world. And yes, that is the best way to give a summary without spoiling anything.
The big thing about this novel are the vintage photographs which Ransom Riggs uses to continue the narrative and illustrate the fantastical descriptions given. Without these photographs, I don't doubt that the story would be as good, but they do lend a certain extra something to the story that helps to lift it to a higher level of story-telling. Also, they are nice pictures and it's always nice to see older examples of photography.
The Miss Peregrine's series is to have it's first movie released in September 2016. I would really advise reading these books first and no doubt there will be changes and there are just things that happen on the pages that need to be read to be believed. I'm looking forward to reading the next book, and this is certainly one I'll recommend to people if they ask. ...more
Return to the Isle of the Lost is the follow up to 2015's Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz, both tie in movies to the Disney Channel OriginaReturn to the Isle of the Lost is the follow up to 2015's Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz, both tie in movies to the Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants. The books focus on the children of the classic Disney villains, and their lives. So there's a short recap. What about this book?
It's not as good at the first one.
I feel horrible saying that, but it's true. I can't quite put my finger on it, the book starts off quite strong and you feel as though you're going to be experiencing the same type of ride as you did with the first. But... But it doesn't happen. Return is written to fit more in line with the events and characterisations of the movie rather than the previous book and I think that may be why there are problems. The first book was darker than the movie, though still in a family friendly way. Mal has gone from Queen of the Schemers, she who cannot be out-schemed to being easily played. Evie and Carlos had retained their sense and Jay has gained fear and lost his habit of lifting. While character development is a good thing, it has to be done in the right way, and I don't think this novel has let it happen.
Of course the reason of the plot is also a bit of a let down, being more of a find quest that doesn't have the same stakes as the one of the previous book. It's rare in these reviews that I find myself lost for what to say but it's honestly happened here. I enjoyed reading Return, for what it's worth, but I don't think it's as engaging or memorable as the first book. The writing is still good quality, it's just the story isn't as... It didn't grip me in the same way.
Read it if you like Descendants, but it's not one I'd recommend people to go out of their way and read, to be honest. I hope the upcoming School of Secrets series is more engaging. ...more
The Death of Death is an odd and very short story. First of all, I should explain. This does seem to be aimed at a younger age group, but it was thatThe Death of Death is an odd and very short story. First of all, I should explain. This does seem to be aimed at a younger age group, but it was that title that appealed to me - I had thought it might be slightly like a Pratchett work. I wasn't entirely wrong, but that doesn't mean I was entirely right either... It also appealed as it was Christmas Day, and I had a new Kindle Fire to download books on to, and this title was under the 'free' books. So, yes, free will get me reading a lot. This is the first of those ones that I chose to read and I'm glad I did.
So, The Death of Death. There's no real way to describe the content of this very short story without going too far into spoilers, but I'll give it a shot. We are introduced to a character who is about to die, as she well suspects, and as has confirmed by her Guide. Before she dies, she would like her Guide's story - the story of how the Guide died. Except that's something the Guide doesn't know. So she goes looking.
And yes, that's all I can give as a summary, and even then it spoils a bit. For as short a story as it is, there is a very strong emotional punch to it all. Parker's words - though in need of some editing in places - convey their view of various afterlives well. They also manage to convey gruesome murders in a sympathetic light as seen by the people who were murdered, an interesting turn of events. Yes, I did just give a spoiler of sorts there, but I suspect that you had already guessed you'd hear about other people's deaths having read the summary of the story that I gave.
When we get to the ending - and what a bittersweet ending - there's a sense of ... being deprived, I think is the best way to explain it. While I think having gone on any longer than they had would have ruined the story, I did find myself wanting to spend more time with this world. I wanted to know more about the Guides, and the people who become them. I'd be interested to see if there's any other in this world.
3 out of 5, because it was just a bit too short for my liking. ...more
Star Wars: Before the Awakening appealed to me as it really stands as a sort of beginning of an expanded universe for this new series in the Star WarsStar Wars: Before the Awakening appealed to me as it really stands as a sort of beginning of an expanded universe for this new series in the Star Wars canon. That it focused on our new trio, and happen to be written by one of my favourite comic writers, Greg Ruka, were just happy bonuses, truth be told. I had been wanting to get into the Star Wars expanded universe for a while now, but there's so much and with no real idea where to start, I found myself a bit overwhelmed. Then comes the news of a new movie, and the EU is tossed out of the window, ready to begin all over again. So this time, I have a chance of catching up.
As much as I would love to go into huge detail about every single section, considering it's not even been a month since the movie was released at the time of this writing, I will hold my excitement and instead try to give a simple overview. The book is split into three sections, for Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron in that order. Finn's - or FN-2187 which happens to his Storm Trooper designation and thus his 'name' - section shows us what life is like for those who work for the First Order. For those who get shades of Big Brother, you're not wrong. Rey's section shows us one instance of life on Jakku, the junkyard trader planet, and how desperate life was for her. Poe's shows us the life of someone who works in the Resistance.
Each section of the book does well at both fleshing out the characters that we come to know and love far more in the movie, as well as helping to flesh out the new world we are introduced to in general. It has been 30 years since Return of the Jedi, after all, and life has changed for everyone in a galaxy far, far away. These three very different points of view do not just help to show us why each character is strong enough to hold a movie on their own, but also helps to show them as a person, and help our feelings go out to them more than the movie already does. They also answer some of the question that could have been left over from seeing The Force Awakens, which I'm sure will please many people.
Long story short, it's worth picking up if you like just one of these three characters. Rucka's writing is descriptive and emotive in the best of ways, and is also clear enough for all ages to be able to read, though younger readers may need a hand here or there.
5 out of 5 stars from me, and I really cannot wait to find more books that build up the new canon for Star Wars. How else can I end this but: May the Force be with you. ...more
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a strong return to the Star Wars mythos. Alan Dean Foster's novelisation of the movie is an enjoyable read. Going by tStar Wars: The Force Awakens is a strong return to the Star Wars mythos. Alan Dean Foster's novelisation of the movie is an enjoyable read. Going by the actual text, and the content of the film proper, it can only be assumed that he was working for the latest version of the script with each scene as there are only a few lines of difference here or there that can easily be explained at changes on the day.
As a novel? Well, it stands fairly well, if a bit average on the writing side. Foster has a talent for reusing older narration styles for sci-fi that, while fitting in well with the general feel of Star Wars does tend to make feel like it is sticking out a bit to an audience used to a different writing style the generally seems to come with the genre these days. However, Foster's style does help to convey the moment of humour that worked perfectly in visual, because he describes things very well, meaning that some of the most laugh out loud moments from the movie are recaptured perfectly.
(Admitedly one isn't, but that one was more down to the delivery of the lines, rather than anything else)
Overall, it's a good book, and serves as a fantastic read who those who wanted just that little more detail to the movie. And yes, that is all you're getting as a review because spoilers, sweetie....more
Disney are good at making franchises. Descendants is the one that hit in October/November 2015, with a DCOM that featured the children of Maleficent,Disney are good at making franchises. Descendants is the one that hit in October/November 2015, with a DCOM that featured the children of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil and Jafar going to the same school as the children of the heroes we love from the movies. This novel serves as a prequel to the movie, while at the same time fleshing out the world and the characters further than the 90/100-odd minute time frame would allow.
Melissa de la Cruz is a talented author, clearly working within the confines of what Disney have given her, and still managing to create a world that comes across as deeply horrific for our lead villain children. With the right words chosen, we're aware too much of the lives they would have been living and it sets up the whole message of the franchise: are we like our parents? Do the sins of the parents have to be taken out on the children, and basically what does good and evil mean anyway? If the Good people are capable of cruelty, then surely the Evil people are capable of selflessness. Of course, that could just be me reading far too much into it, but it is interesting to see how people react when you just describe the conditions to them. Kudos to you, Cruz, for creating an atmosphere that has people raising their eyebrows and asking what the hell the heroes are on.
The story of the novel is a quest type tale, with the usual bonding and friendship coming from it that would would expect. What was not expected, however, was which villain kids had been 'friends' the longest, though having read the book it now makes perfect sense. The lead character is Mal and she is an interesting character to follow. Named for her Mother, but barred from the name until she proves herself, Mal is desperate to be the next Mistress of Evil, a Queen of Darkness, and spends all of her time doing as much evil as she can, even coming up with long convoluted plans that exist only to cause one person misery. She's a smart, sharp girl, who can think on her feet and roll with the punches - though she'd much rather be giving them.
Her Mother's demands drive the plot, and her need to prove herself is what keeps it moving. It's quite sad, really, seeing how the children of the Isle interact with their parents. Without stating it outright, Cruz makes the reader aware of exactly what is going on here and the effect it has on each of the characters we meet. It will be interesting to see if this subtext is ever addressed head on in the sequel novel.
Overall, I'd say this is a book worth reading, and while it is very clever in its use of language, don't go into it expecting great literature. The audience this is aimed at is probably just a little older than the usual audience for Disney products, and the language used reflects that. Still well worth reading though, and I look forward to the sequel....more
Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell, is a book that is meta in it's concept. It's based off of fan-fiction, about a fictional novel series, in another fictionCarry On, by Rainbow Rowell, is a book that is meta in it's concept. It's based off of fan-fiction, about a fictional novel series, in another fiction novel, and can be related to the Harry Potter series by a sort of painting by numbers technique, if you like. It's all about the meta, to put it simply. This does mean that you could build an excellent argument about the legitimacy of fan-fiction as a whole on it, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. No, what I want to discuss is the book itself. Carry On is, frankly, a fantastic read.
One of the main problems of the YA genre as a whole is that it is often the case that GLBTQI+ characters are not often seen as the main protagonists. Actually, fiction as a whole has an issue with diversity, but let's focus on this one right now. Simple to say, this book does not have that problem. As it is based off of Cath from Fangirl's fan-fiction, the book is primarily about the development of a romantic relationship between characters Simon Snow - the worst Chosen One to ever be Chosen - and Baz Grimm-Pitch - clearly a vampire. There is also - as any good magical 'series' should have - a mystery to be solved, and a big evil to fight. And the twist on that big evil is so damn clever that I could not stop squeeing about it. Seriously, I think I annoyed the person I was talking to.
The characters are so memorable in this novel, it genuinely did feel like I was coming back to a set of characters that I had known for years. This was actually my first Rainbow Rowell novel, and I have been assured that this is a common thing of her books. Penelope may be one of my favourite ladies of all time, and I loved that the relationship between her and Simon was shown to be platonic love at it's best and that there wasn't even a question of them ever hooking up. When accused of disliking Simon's relationship with girlfriend Agatha, Penelope answers with a basic "it was making you both miserable" which is true. Speaking of Agatha, she's an interesting character. Rowell has succeeded in creating a character whom I hate, but at the same time I completely understand why she is doing the things she is, and I support her decisions and just want her to be happy in life. That is a special talent.
Simon and Baz are the focus of the novel and their characters are the most fully developed as well as the most fun to read about. I'd say it's especially fun to read Simon's point of view, and then to straight to Baz's, simply because of how wrongly Simon reads things. He may be the Chosen One, but he is an oblivious idiot. Which, actually, makes him the type of hero character I enjoy. I have a type. I do not see this as an issue.
I would love to say more about this novel, but I feel like even spoiling the smallest thing about it could completely ruin the experience for someone else. Needless to say, this is one that I think people should pick up. Especially if they liked the Harry Potter series. Rowell drops us into a world fully created, and yet we never feel lost or as if we're missing information. We run alongside the characters as their problems escalate at a rapid speed, and never feel as though the pacing is off. It's a slow build leading to an explosive finale, and I'm glad I read it.
...I really would love to read some of Simon Snow's other adventures too. ...more