Simple. Elegant. Genuine. Wonderful. I don't think it's for everyone, but I loved it. After finishing it I just sat and savored what I was feeling for...moreSimple. Elegant. Genuine. Wonderful. I don't think it's for everyone, but I loved it. After finishing it I just sat and savored what I was feeling for a while (which is rare for me, since I'm always doing something).(less)
Gordon Edgley's sudden death came as a shock to everyone--not least himself. One moment he was in his study, seven words intot the twenty-fifth senten...moreGordon Edgley's sudden death came as a shock to everyone--not least himself. One moment he was in his study, seven words intot the twenty-fifth sentence of the final chapter of his new book, And the Darkness Rained upon Them, and the next he was dead. A tragic loss, his mind echoed numbly as he slipped away.
Although his death is unexpected, Gordon has a will and has left his entire estate and fortune to his favorite neice, Stephanie. It doesn't take long for Stephanie to learn that Gordon's books--tales of horror and magic and wonder--are based on reality, though, for dark forces quickly seek her out. She is rescued by a friend of Gordon's who calls himself Skulduggery Pleasant. Skulduggery is a wizard who has returned from death as just a skeleton, a "survivor" of a centuries-long war between the powers of magic and currently operating as a detective in that hidden world of sorcerers. Stephanie attaches herself to Skulduggery, initially out of fear but also because she is intrigued by this new world, and quickly learns that her uncle was murdered. A new war is coming, and Stephanie may be getting more adventure than she bargained for.
While Stephanie is not a realistic portrayal of a 12-year-old, this book is a lot of fun and just dark and mature enough to keep it interesting. It's a J, but I also recommend it for teens.(less)
I've just finished reading Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer. A couple of weeks ago I read Peeps, by Scott Westerfeld. They are both vampire books and are...moreI've just finished reading Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer. A couple of weeks ago I read Peeps, by Scott Westerfeld. They are both vampire books and are two of the better books written for teens last year, but they don't have much in common besides that. They each have a very different take on the traditional vampire mythology and I'd highly recommend both.
Twilight: "When seventeen-year-old Bella leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Washington, she meets an exquisitely handsome boy at school for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction and who she comes to realize is not wholly human" (from the library catalog record). This starts off feeling like a contemporary teen issue book that becomes something of a romance with a bit of action, mystery, and tension.
Peeps: "Cal Thompson is a carrier of a parasite that causes vampirism, and must hunt down all of the girlfriends he has unknowingly infected." This starts off as an action fantasy right away with a bit of a mystery to solve. It's made all the more believable, however, by the fact that every other chapter briefly tells the story of an actual parasite. Very creepy.
C. and I were discussing them at work. She absolutely loved Twilight, calling it "the sexiest book [she's] ever read (even though there's no actual sex)." Sue Ellen has consistently recommended it as her favorite book from last year. It's shown up on a lot of best book lists. So I was surprised to find myself a little disappointed with it. Don't get me wrong, I was very caught up in the story and enjoyed reading it, I just never felt the erotic tension the way others seem to. C. said she suspected that might be my experience, since it's a female protagonist/narrator. She said there's just something about that dangerous "bad boy" attraction that provides the sexiness, the thrill of not knowing if the guy would rather love you or kill you. I suppose I can relate to the idea (Angelina Jolie, for instance), but didn't get drawn into it from this book.
Peeps, on the other hand, creeped C. out. She ended up skipping a lot of the stuff about parasites that I found interesting and cool. They are each good in their own way, but if I had to pick one over the other I would say I preferred Peeps. I hate to stereotype and generalize, and I don't think of myself as a typical "guy" (not many other male children's librarians, you know), but I guess it really does make a difference if you are a boy or a girl.
Although I'd say the one thing that didn't work for me in Peeps was the attraction. Like all good parasites, this one wants to find new hosts. Since it is spread by saliva and bodily fluids, then, it makes carriers like Cal all-the-time, super horny. And there is a female lead, of course, who he is supposed to be very attracted to, but I never really felt it in this one either. I'd say it must be me, except I absolutely fell for the character Alaska in my favorite recent book, Looking for Alaska. I haven't experienced yearning like that from a book very often, and would guess again that it depends on whether the reader's gender.(less)