**spoiler alert** The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric is unlike any other book I have previously read. It is a book full of historically interestin**spoiler alert** The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric is unlike any other book I have previously read. It is a book full of historically interesting facts about Venice with a fantastical twists but also includes a wide variety of colourful characters, human and not human.
The story is set in 1899 & is told from the viewpoint of the two main characters; Teodora (aka Teo) a girl from Naples & Lorenzo (aka Renzo) a local boy of Venice. My first impression is that the story is very heavy for a child. The book covers everything from death to betrayal to racial discrimination to violent/bloody battle scenes to evil revenge centuries old. It's definitely not a lighthearted fairy tale.
The book begins with tragedy as generations of a single family drown in the Venice lagoon one fog filled night under mysterious-magical circumstances and of the baby whose body was never found...
Fast forward to "present day" and Venice is under threat of destruction. The best scientists from around the world are being sent to Venice in the hope they can figure out way to save the drowning city scientifically. Teo is the bookish daughter of two such scientists and a visit to Venice seems like a dream come true but it all turns into nightmare from the moment a book called The Key to the Secret City falls on her head.
As the lines of an old prophecy begin to come true, Teo, with the help of Renzo, must find a way to save the city from an ancient enemy and travel throughout Venice encountering many strange/wonderful creatures. One of which are mermaids who talk like sailors & have a love of spices. The mermaids were one of my favourites and often gave comedic relief in this dark story.
If you want to read something new and unlike any other story you have read before, give this dark tale a go.
P.S. At the end of the story the author has included facts about the history of Venice and advises where you can find places you have read of in the book. It might surprise you to learn what was actually true......more
The Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1), prequel to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, does not disappointment. And if you're like me andThe Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1), prequel to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, does not disappointment. And if you're like me and the whole implied "incest" side plot in the first series made you cringe, you can breath a little easier.
Set in the late 1880s London, it is story of Theresa "Tessa" Gray who leaves America after the death of her aunt and follows the promise of a new home with her brother Nate in London. Once in London, Tessa finds not all it what it seems, especially herself, when Nate goes M.I.A and she is abducted by the Dark Sisters. Captured by Warlocks with no hope of rescue and with only her mother's keepsake, a little clockwork angel, to keep her company, Tessa is taught to harness a unique power within her that she never knew existed but to what end?
Meanwhile William "Will" Herondale and James "Jem" Carstairs, Shadowhunters and best friends, are following a trail started by the discovery of a blade with a Ouroboros symbol near a dead girl killed under mysterious circumstances. What they did not expect to find is the threat of a new type of enemy, an army of magical mechanical automatons headed by the mysterious Magister & Tessa at the center of it all.
Ok, the beginning it did drag a little and I was not a big fan of Tessa. I found her naive & overly trusting, so the climax of the book didn't really surprise me. Though towards the end Tessa did seem to grow the beginnings of a back bone, intriguing enough to keep me interested. Will reminds me of Jace from Mortal Instruments, as they both have a similar sense of smart-mouth humour(surprise, surprise)which is pretty entertaining. The budding love triangle between Will-Tessa-Jem is also something that will leave me hanging out to see who will get the girl. Bad-Boy Will with a heart of stone who may not be all that he seems or Jem, a sweet and caring outcast with a heart of gold whose hiding a deadly secret?
Considering I'm not usually a fan of prequels, I was pleasantly surprised with this latest installment in the Shadowhunter world and looking forward to the next book, City of Fallen Angels, when it comes out....more
Dee & James are back in the dark sequel to Stiefvater's Lament.
Things are decidedly awkward between Dee and James, formerly the best of friends uDee & James are back in the dark sequel to Stiefvater's Lament.
Things are decidedly awkward between Dee and James, formerly the best of friends until a fateful text that ruined their friendship at the end of the last book. Now starting at their new art school, Thornking-Ash, they barely hang out and the air between them is heavy with the tension of words that have been left unsaid.
James is still as cocky and witty as in Lament. You often feel like either giving James a hug or a slap behind the head, depending on the situation. Nothing new there but his comical observations and one-liners are still as entertaining as ever. Dee, on the other hand... well apart from littering some of the pages of the book with unsent texts to James in lame failed attempts to bare her soul and the occasional odd Emo appearances that makes you want to slap her...really hard... or push her off a tall building, Dee barely registers in this book until the end. So without a doubt, Ballad is mostly from the view point of James, picking up where the last book left off.
Apart from the new friends James makes at Thornking-Ash, such as Sullivan a pretty cool down to earth teacher that let's kids drink coffee during lessons, my favourite character in this book is Nuala. Known as a leanan sidhe, Nuala is a solitary fey who inspires gifted humans to new creative soaring heights before feeding off their energy when they end up dying before their time. This beautiful but deadly muse has now decided to make her new mark James but he is adamant not to play her game. What follows is an entertaining & often comical battle of the wills/wits as Nuala tries to convince James to make a deal with her and James tries to lead a semi normal life. Key word - TRIES. Understandably hard when Nuala can turn into your deepest desire or worst nightmare. Still, as the story progresses you find that there maybe more to Nuala than she lets on.
Meanwhile Thornking-Ash is more than what it appears to be as well and as characters from the previous book start showing up during the course of the story you realise that there might be some unfinished business left to attend to and new dangers to face.
Overall it wasn't a bad book and it wasn't what I expected, which was surprising in a good way. As entertaining as it was to witness James finally "grow a pair" as Nuala puts it, I really hope there is a 3rd book that answers my old questions from the 1st book and the new questions from the 2nd book.