The UK finally get The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland! I’ve been pining after this book sinc...moreThis review was originally posted to Once Upon A Time.
The UK finally get The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland! I’ve been pining after this book since it was just a young ARC in the US so when Constable & Robinson contacted me offering a review copy I may have jumped up and down waving my hands in the air going, “Ooh! Ooh! Yes please! *kisses feet*” And by golly it didn’t disappoint. It’s as bizarre and fantastic as the blurb and cover art leads you to believe.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland (in a Ship of Her Own Making) is an utterly nonsensical, charming, and of course, brilliant book with possibly the longest title I have ever seen. The characters are utterly bursting with colour, there are little things throughout that had me giggling and at one point almost in tears, and Fairyland itself.. wow. Fairyland is a fantasy world that is entirely conscious of what it is: a fairy tale world. And while knowing this, lovingly stroking it like a precious cat. It is charming and fantastic, simultaneously it’s dark and terrifying. September, the protagonist, I didn’t entirely love but that was most likely because I was way too busy loving everything else in the book. Catherynne M. Valente has such imagination that you are able to completely lose yourself in Fairyland.
If you haven’t read this yet, whatever your reading preferences may be, I suggest you do so. Recommend your local libraries order copies in and tell every book worm you know that this is a great book for young and old readers. It’s a modern fairy tale reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz with just a dab of darkness at its’ heart, just enough to rock your emotions. It is exactly the kind of book that if you don’t put down quickly, you won’t at all and it ends in such a way that everything is well wrapped up and you’re a happy reader, but it leaves a way in for a sequel. I only wish there were more books like this one!(less)
While I thought this one tailed off a little at the ending - I guess that's the trouble when the magic of a tail resides on its' mystery - The Night C...moreWhile I thought this one tailed off a little at the ending - I guess that's the trouble when the magic of a tail resides on its' mystery - The Night Circus is a solid and fantastically dreamlike read that I recommend to EVERYBODY. Some might not like it, and that's okay, but at least try it. Please.
I won't be reviewing this one on the blog but I will say a few words. The Night Before Christmas is an absolutely lovely read, especially nice if you...moreI won't be reviewing this one on the blog but I will say a few words. The Night Before Christmas is an absolutely lovely read, especially nice if you like Christmas chick lit. It has the same format as any chick lit really.. but that's what I love about these stories! They're comforting and leave you feeling warm and happy, and The Night Before Christmas is no different. There were a heck of a lot of mistakes but that's not Scarlett's fault and you can ignore them it's just a bit odd, is all. The story is nice, set in the Lake District in an old house, snowed in with her best friends, her current boyfriend who she's suddenly not sure about, and the ex love of her life, as well as a yummy local guy who came to fix the boiler, Lydia is determined to have a perfect Christmas. I'll be watching for future books by Scarlett Bailey, for sure. :)(less)
Frogspell is a fun little read about a boy called Max who is lousy with anything resembling a weapon and would much prefer to be a wizard. He sets out...moreFrogspell is a fun little read about a boy called Max who is lousy with anything resembling a weapon and would much prefer to be a wizard. He sets out to create a spell so impressive that it will win him the Novices' Spell-Making Competition and finally get him noticed. This is how he accidentally invented the frogspell during a fight with his sister and how they end up helping Merlin to stop the Lady Morgana in her tracks.
This book is absolutely adorable. Written for the younger reader, there is a lot of humour geared towards kids. Of course, as adults we might not always 'get' it, however even in my foulest mood while reading this I found myself chuckling along. At only 158 pages, Frogspell is a very quick read which is great for the younger generation who don't want to sit through 400 page novels but also for the rest of us. Sometimes a quick easy read is exactly what you need.
David Wyatt's illustrations are delightful and add to the story nicely. Children's books don't tend to have a lot of description so pictures are always a bonus and Frogspell has chosen its' artist well. Not only do they help you to form an accurate picture of the environment and characters but they themselves bring a little humour, as well as making the book more appealing to its' target audience. And I'm just a little bit in love with the cover art.
The story itself isn't anything new. It's an Arthurian retelling featuring the young awkward kid who doesn't get along with his sister who manages to accidentally create a powerful spell and save the day. The thing that makes it truly unique is all down to Busby. Her writing style is at once succinct and absorbing and thus easily, and most probably, read in one sitting. The characters are lively and varied. From Max and Olivia to their caring parents, the evil and deceitful sorceress with her lackeys who are more like very mean bullies, and of course the talking animals, my absolute favourite being Adolphus, Olivia's pet dragon who is most definitely two sandwiches short of a picnic and afraid of heights. It's all quite Disneyesque which is fantastic when you happen to love Disney.
If you're looking for a fun and quick read, perhaps aimed towards young kids, I would definitely recommend Frogspell. It is a fantastic read for kids but just as enjoyable for older readers. It has bursts of humour which will have you giggling, adventure, magic, and a very silly pet dragon. What's not to love?(less)
The End of Mr. Y has been described as a novel about time travel though I don't think this is entirely accurate. It is a novel with an undertone of bi...moreThe End of Mr. Y has been described as a novel about time travel though I don't think this is entirely accurate. It is a novel with an undertone of biblical references and an overtone of quantum physics and philosophy. The story follows Ariel Manto after the collapse of one of the university buildings causes her to have to walk home because she isn't allowed to go back in her building to get her car keys due to possible structural instability. As she hasn't lived here for very long, it is the first time she has walked and on her way home, she finds a second hand bookshop and within buys a box of very rare books for £50, including a copy of a book thought to have only one copy left in existence in a vault in Germany. This book is 'The End of Mr. Y' by Thomas P. Lumas, a discredited mad Victorian scientist who focused on thought experiments. The catch? It is said to be cursed. Everybody who has ever read the book has died shortly after doing do.
I must admit, I picked this book up in the charity shop I volunteer in and brought it home because of the cover and the black page edges, I love the whole appearance of the book and that drew me to it. This is a book that proves that it can be okay to judge a book by its' cover. Written in the first-person from the perspective of Ariel and in the present-tense, it's quite easy immerse yourself in the story. The text isn't overly descriptive, yet as you read, you can picture the environmental surroundings quite clearly. Thomas succeeds in switching voices easily between Ariel's inner monologues and passages from The End of Mr. Y, to the different voices in the Troposphere. Ariel herself is very disconnected from reality and has an extremely addictive personality, openly admitting that she's addicted to coffee and tobacco, and throughout the story, her addictions become more and more apparent.
It is a story absolutely full of the grim realities of sex and the inner workings of the human mind. It can be more than a little crude in some parts, though it wasn't unnecessary, it added to the characters and created this idea that humans are nothing more than animals who have gained language. The story itself is gripping, though pretty weird, especially the ending.
The End of Mr. Y, while a wonderful story that grips you right until the very end, can also be a little long-winded. Ariel is a PHD student studying thought experiments, and very often she will start thinking, or talking, philosophically about quantum physics and the way the mind works. These can go on for quite a bit and I found myself skim reading them at times because I just wasn't interested, but I advise you to endure them because they are relevant to the overall story.
I recommend The End of Mr. Y to fans of contemporary literature. It's a great read full of mysteries for you to work out while you read if you enjoy that kind of thing, and it's a mighty fine headfuck. If you like an easy to follow plotline, this definitely isn't the book for you. The long passages about philosophy, thought experiments and quantum mechanics can quite easily lose you. I also wouldn't recommend it for people under the age of about 18.(less)