[This short story can be found as a bonus story in the back of Magic Breaks, but takes place just after Magic Slays.]
A young adult-ish short story in[This short story can be found as a bonus story in the back of Magic Breaks, but takes place just after Magic Slays.]
A young adult-ish short story in Kate Daniels world featuring Kate's teenage ward, Julie. Kate cleverly enlists Julie to find a missing student whose location spell reveals she is alive but hidden somewhere on her school campus. This is a fun read in which we get to see Julie using her magic and investigative skills to help find the missing girl. I loved seeing how much Julie has learned from Kate, and not just in solving the case, but also in her compassion for wanting to help innocents who need assistance or protection. A great short! ...more
I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this novel. Honest and raw, it was brutally familiar of my own teenage years in so many ways. To all the CI'm so glad I finally got around to reading this novel. Honest and raw, it was brutally familiar of my own teenage years in so many ways. To all the Charlies out there, you have my heart. Know you are special, loved and worthy of all the good things that will come to you in life. I promise you they will come. ...more
This is a great little book of poetry for readers of all ages and would make a wonderful read aloud book for parents and children. It's simple in itsThis is a great little book of poetry for readers of all ages and would make a wonderful read aloud book for parents and children. It's simple in its delivery, but provides so many outlets for discussion on how God is everywhere and how we are all His children. I'm not even religious and yet felt a connection to the poems on a spiritual level. I liked it a lot. ...more
It was just okay to me. I could see how it would appeal to young adult readers in grades 6-8, but it's not very original or inspiring. I finished it tIt was just okay to me. I could see how it would appeal to young adult readers in grades 6-8, but it's not very original or inspiring. I finished it thinking there just has to be a sequel because it ended without major conflict resolution nor did the protagonist learn the importance of a democracy over a dictatorship. ...more
Bound is a stark, realistic retelling of the commonly known Cinderella typ[originally reviewed on my blog the happily ever after... in February 2009.]
Bound is a stark, realistic retelling of the commonly known Cinderella type fairy tale. The setting of the story in ancient China, along with the historically accurate traditions of ancient Chinese culture help make this story incredibly realistic and offer the reader a stark look into the unfair expectations and treatment of women within the society. While the hardships faced by women during that time seem unjust and demeaning to the modern reader, the author was able to convey normalcy of those hardships during that particular time period for that culture.
In the traditional Western version of Cinderella, the stepmother and stepsisters are wicked, selfish, and ill-intentioned. Yet in Bound, the stepmother's actions are actually understandable and somewhat justified based on the norms of the ancient Chinese culture. This allows the reader to empathize with Stepmother to a certain degree, making the conflicts of the story not entirely black and white, which in turn gives this story more depth and complexity than the typical Cinderella story. No doubt, Stepmother does inevitably act in poor character, but she is driven by the need to literally survive and will stop at nothing to secure Wei Ping's and her own future by finding Wei Ping a husband. It truly is a matter of life or death for her and her daughter, and sadly, there is no obligation to secure Xing Xing's future or even to preserve her life.
Xing Xing is a lovely character. She is lonely and mourns the loss of her mother and father, both of whom she loved dearly and with whom she shared close relationships, yet despite this sorrow, Xing Xing is an optimistic young girl who through constant reflection of all her parents taught her, manages to maintain a love of life and a hope for a better future. Xing Xing is also insightful and clever, and learns when and where she should expose her skills in the arts where it can work to her advantage. Xing Xing is also empathetic and caring, especially towards Wei Ping and she does what she can to care for her and keep her spirits up. She is even gracious to Stepmother--at least until Stepmother betrays her in the worst way. Upon learning of Stepmother's betrayal, Xing Xing reflects on the following philosophy taught to her by her father. It is one of my favorite passages from Bound:
Learning is not the accumulation of knowledge, but rather, one thing only: understanding. To truly learn, you listened first with you ears, then with your heart, then with your qi.
Note: In traditional Chinese culture, every living thing possesses a qi. While its meaning is varied, it is largely thought of as the "flow of energy" that sustains a living thing.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and found it to be a very unique and powerful rendition of the classic tale. At the end of the story, however, I wished it wasn't a retelling of the classic Cinderella, because I felt the lost slipper and Prince ending to be a bit anticlimactic. Through self reflection and self confidence bestowed upon her from her mother and father, Xing Xing grew from a child to an independent, brave young woman, and I wanted her to acquire her freedom being bound on her own, without the help of a Prince. While I understand that the story is bound by the constraints of the classic tale as well as by the realism of a woman's power in this time period, I felt the ending was rather incongruous with the rest of the story. However, it is still a wonderful, thought provoking story that shouldn't be missed.
Bound is a beautifully and poetically written retelling of the classic, familiar fairy tale-- a coming of age story that is enlightening and hopeful. ...more
This is the debut novel of young adult author Anne Osterlund. For most of the story the characters were flat and the plot was unbearably predictable tThis is the debut novel of young adult author Anne Osterlund. For most of the story the characters were flat and the plot was unbearably predictable that at times I could practically state characters' lines exactly before they even said them. Needless to say, I wasn't too impressed, but I still felt compelled to finish the book. And then to my surprise, the last 60 pages or so got a bit more interesting and the author's directions in this classic princess story began to show uniqueness. So despite the slow, tedious beginning and middle, the end was quite good and I would read the next book in this world. ...more