With gorgeous manga-style illustrations, Manga Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice is a compeThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
With gorgeous manga-style illustrations, Manga Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice is a compelling representation of the Bard's famous play about the Jewish moneylender. The three intertwined plots -- Antonio's bond with Shylock, Bassanio's suit, and Jessica's escape from her cruel father -- are all brought together in an undoubtedly less intimidating way than Shakespeare's original play.
Having read and thoroughly dissected almost every single word of The Merchant of Venice as a student recently, this manga still managed to provide me with new insights and details that might not have been noticed from reading the actual play.
An interesting aspect of the volume: word choice. It reads like Shakespeare's original, although it isn't quite the same -- yes, I dug out my copy of The Merchant of Venice and compared the two. The manga uses the same writing style, vocabulary, and similar sentence structure, but is slightly more condensed. I vastly prefer this method to a simple rewrite of the great Bard's words, as most of Shakespeare's lyricism was not lost.
Manga Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice is a great introduction into Shakespeare for those who feel the urge to curl up in a fetal position each time the Bard's name is mentioned. And for Shakespeare fanatics, the volume is a fresh new look at greedy Shylock, self-sacrificing Antonio, and beautiful and cunning Portia.
Charlie hates Fielding, and vice versa. What do you even expect? The two have been practicallThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Charlie hates Fielding, and vice versa. What do you even expect? The two have been practically glued at the hip against their will for the last four years as promotion for their popular hit tween TV show Jenna & Jonah’s How to Be a Rock Star. It isn’t until the paparazzi pick up on a vicious rumor about the pair that they are forced to escape to an obscure beach house to ride out the publicity wave. Among the blessed quietness that accompanies obscurity, Charlie and Fielding proceed to discover something surprising: they really don’t know each other at all.
Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance is the type of novel that would correspond to some sort of crème-filled chocolate doughnut in the delightful world of food. It is definitely sweet, but eating too much of it will induce episodes of barfing. While I enjoy this type of bubbly and extremely non-surprising teeny bopper lit, they must be enjoyed in moderation. I mean, just look at the book’s cover. So very pink. Even the book jacket itself resembles some sort of doughnut.
The novel has its fair share of aww moments and some other facepalm ones. Unlike other bubbly novels, the two characters weren’t annoying most of the time, which made reading through this quite a breeze. Charlie and Fielding are quite dense about each other, though. And sometimes you just can’t help yourself from wanting to smack the two atop the head with something heavy, maybe an anvil of some sort.
Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance is a great pick for people who find delight in light, fluffy teen lit.
Relic Master Galen Harn and his apprentice Raffi know that all is not well the moment they seThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Relic Master Galen Harn and his apprentice Raffi know that all is not well the moment they set foot in the settlement that had boldly requested their help a few days before. Drawn by curiosity and the possibility of discovering a relic, the pair nevertheless decides to venture into the castle-like fortress that is the settlement’s stronghold and soon come to regret the decision. After an unpleasant meeting with the leader Alberic, Galen and Raffi are off once again -- this time in search of a thieving Sekoi that had ravaged the settlement and the Crow, who, if found, would prove to be very helpful to Galen indeed. Carys, an orphaned girl in search of her father, soon join the group on their journey to the dark city of Tasceron, where both the Sekoi and the Crow were rumored to be found. However, the Watch is always present at every turn; their deception knows no bounds.
Having read and tremendously enjoyed Ms. Fisher’s Incarceron duology, I was, to say the last, excited to get my hands on the Relic Master series. While Incarceron seems to be geared more toward young adults, The Dark City reads more like a middle grade novel to me, albeit an intense and still relatively interesting one.
The world-building present in The Dark City is subtle and yet comprehensive. The use of magic by Galen and Raffi, while not extensively clarified, was explained enough to be understandable and not overwhelming. The cast of characters were quite darling, also, with their own little quirks and secrets. Even though the plot tended to drag noticeably in the beginning and middle parts of the novel, I think the ending was a success overall.
Book one of the Relic Master series, The Dark City will appeal to middle grade fantasy lovers and readers who are willing to plunge into the fantastical world of the magic-wielding Order and the seemingly omniscient Watch.
Koumail knows exactly who he is: Blaise Fortune, undisputable and abandoned-through-a-train-aThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Koumail knows exactly who he is: Blaise Fortune, undisputable and abandoned-through-a-train-accident French boy. Even as the seven-year-old flees the collapsing Soviet Union with Gloria, his beloved mother figure, Koumail knows that there will always be a safe haven for the faux mother-son duo in France. It turns out to be a journey fraught with hard work and starvation, doubt and heartbreak. Through it all, Koumail merely has to recite one sentence -- just one -- to make sure he still has the strength to continue. My name is Blaise Fortune and I am a citizen of the French Republic. It’s the pure and simple truth. Or is it?
Wow, A Time of Miracles is a little 200+ page novel that packs quite a punch. Translated from French, this story is told as an extended flashback laced with intricate details and told in flowing prose. Originally, the synopsis failed to impress me, and I started this book with a feeling of dread, often reminding myself of the fact that I could simply write a scathing review to vent my feelings afterward. Well, I apologize profusely to this book. To put it simply: I was blown away. This is just a simple story of a boy and a woman, escaping oppression and searching for freedom. And yet, it was also emotional and gripping all at once. Ms. Bondoux definitely succeeded in drawing out the reader’s sympathy for the two characters.
And Koumail, oh Koumail -- funny, sweet, and fiercely protective of Gloria. It isn’t possible for someone to not like this little boy. He entertains with his antics, his blind faith, and the three true loves he meets on their short journey. Even while Koumail’s begging in front of a random restaurant in the icy coldness, he’s still alight with hope.
A Time of Miracles is a surprisingly moving historical novel. It is one of those books you close with a quiet sigh.
Orphaned at a young age, Grace and Lily Parkes barely scrape by living off of the revenuThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Orphaned at a young age, Grace and Lily Parkes barely scrape by living off of the revenue from their watercress-selling operation. When Grace -- barely sixteen herself -- gives birth to a stillborn baby boy, she embarks on a train ride that causes her to crash head-on into two individuals who ultimately come to define the sisters’ messy future. And what a messy future it is, for the entirety of legal London is abuzz over Grace and Lily, two oblivious heiresses to a huge fortune left by their deceased father. A desperate race for the money ensues as the affluent families in London begin to plot for ways to take advantage of the Parkes sisters, and the trusting girls step right into these well-woven traps. Eventually, a boy will rescue one girl, and she will stop at nothing until her sister is by her side once again.
Fallen Grace is one of those novels you chew through slowly because of its meticulously and beautifully described setting. Ms. Hooper delivers a stunning portrayal of 17th century England, complete with opulent characters and an abundance of child beggars; even the King and Queen make a random appearance. However, the plot turned out to be rather slow in the beginning. I kept waiting for the pacing to pick up: it never did. The entire book felt like an easy rambling walk -- unhurried and enjoyable, until you get bored and decide to run like a maniac and feel the wind in your hair instead.
A nicely written novel nevertheless, Fallen Grace will appeal to avid readers of historical fiction.
Fang has left, and Max, hurt and bewildered, has no idea how to function anymore. She knows tThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Fang has left, and Max, hurt and bewildered, has no idea how to function anymore. She knows that the world still needs saving -- that life is bigger than the two of them -- but it is one thing to say it and another to believe it. When the deserter, he-whose-name-must-never-be-mentioned, fires a call their way out of the blue, Max, Dylan, and the gang is dragged into yet another plot for world domination -- or in this case, mass destruction. The Doomsday Group has suddenly sprung up out of nowhere. With its hypnotic figurehead, the DG is gaining followers fast. After witnessing a group rally, the two groups led by Max and Fang journey to the DG’s headquarters in an attempt to crush the cult right at its roots. Never underestimate a group of crazed and fanatical humans, even if they aren’t genetically enhanced, even if they aren’t the future of mankind, as the DG have started to call Max and her little group. The future of mankind, huh? That is quite a title.
Followers of the Maximum Ride series have come a long way, from Max’s first discovery of her real identity to the various times her gang has successfully thwarted a crazed scientist or politician of some sort. Angel, this newest installment of the series, brings forth with it yet another villain to eradicate, which makes it feel as if the former books of the series don’t matter at all plot-wise. At least Max hasn't lost her sarcastic touch and gangstah attitude. The addition of Dylan, the new gorgeous bird-mutant guy, creates -- yes, you guessed it -- a love triangle. Really, Mr. Patterson, I expected more of you. Maximum Ride started out as a fresh new series and has now been reduced to just another teen paranormal novel -- in terms of characterization, at least.
While the plot of this book grabbed the reader’s attention, there was not much depth. Even so, I could not resist reading the novel in one sitting so I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining. I did feel like Mr. Patterson was making too much of an effort to sound like a teen girl, though. Yes, Max is fifteen, but like, teen girls don’t like, OMG, add in a “like” every few letters when they like, talk, you know? I was fifteen just four months ago. Trust me; I know what I’m talking about.
Despite all that, Maximum Ride is addictive and a very fun read. I know it seems as if I butchered every aspect of Angel, but still, I will not hesitate to obtain a copy of the next book in the series when it becomes published. We have a weird relationship, Max and I.
Animals are showing up dead in the woods with their throats ripped out and the rest of tThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Animals are showing up dead in the woods with their throats ripped out and the rest of their bodies untouched, and the residents of the little town of Mystic Falls are freaking out as they attribute the attacks to demonic activity. Through all this mayhem, there is Stefan, who's led a relatively simple life; until now, that is. The boy suddenly finds himself faced with an unexpected arranged marriage and an equally unexpected visitor -- alluring and orphaned Katherine Pierce. Needless to say, it is attraction at first sight, and when Stefan's brother Damon returns from the army and appears to be quite taken with the young Katherine as well, trouble begins to brew. Two brothers and a girl: there has to be a winner, and there has to be a loser.
Based off of the hit CW TV show Vampire Diaries, Origins describes Stefan, Damon, and Katherine’s mysterious back-story. There are countless differences between this book -- co-written by the two TV show producers instead of L.J. Smith -- and the original Vampire Diaries series. While both are enjoyable, I found Origins to be slightly superior plot-wise, and L.J. Smith’s original story to be better written and characterized.
One little quirk: we never really discover who the villain is because of the abrupt ending. A nice conclusion or revelation of some sort would have been cleaned the plot up nicely. Overall, the book was still appealing -- the latter half especially, as the story finally picks up pace.
Origins would be a great read for all die-hard fans of the Vampire Diaries series and TV show, as it presents an alternative view of the Vampire Diaries world and sheds light on the murkiness of Stefan and Damon’s past.