I'd actually started reading a different book, which I honestly liked. It had a cool setting and premise, but about 30 pages into it, I realized I'd hI'd actually started reading a different book, which I honestly liked. It had a cool setting and premise, but about 30 pages into it, I realized I'd have to deal with yet another predictable heterosexual romance. And I just didn't want to. At that point the girl the hero was clearly gonna fall in love with, hadn't even been introduced, but I knew it wouldn't be long. I could be mistaken, of course, maybe the romance will be great! But I couldn't handle it.
So I picked this up instead. And god, am I glad I did. It's unique, it's fresh, and it was exactly what I needed.
It's the story of Nolan who, every time he closes his eyes or even blinks, is sent into the mind of someone else: Amara. Who lives in a world so different from his own, a world of magic and fantasy. She's the servant of the princess Cilla, who's on the run, and she's tasked with keeping her alive. She has no idea Nolan is there, sharing her life, until one day, when he suddenly manages to take over her body. Suddenly they can communicate. And it quickly turns out they might need each other way more than either thought.
I loved the idea of a young, ordinary (and disabled!) boy who shares the life of a black, magical girl. It's not always pretty, and the fact that he's essentially trespassing and violating her body by posessing it is not taken lightly.
And I loved the romance. I loved the way Cilla and Amara felt something for each other that went way past their uncertain friendship and their obvious roles as mistress and servant. Both are trapped by the parts they have to play, the roles the world has forced them to inhabit. It's also their search for some measure of freedom from that life, for a future that could, perhaps, contain something else, a little bit of happiness.
Nolan, Amara and Cilla soon realize there are greater powers at play, and that the answer to their riddles is a lot more complicated than first assumed. And none of them are obvious heroes. None of them are chosen, or all-powerful. Their power comes from wanting to do the right thing, and not quite knowing what the right thing would be.
It also asks a very interesting question: if you could chose between your own, ordinary world, or a world full of magic, fantasy and out-of-this-world excitement. Which would you choose? It's so easy to get lost in fictional (or, in this case, real) worlds, and forgot our own, but we shouldn't.
And honestly, it's an exciting book. It kept taking turns I didn't expect, things kept happening I didn't would work, but then they did, and suddenly the story was another one, than the one I expected. I was on the edge of my seat at the end of it. It's a clever book. With an interesting plot, that I've certainly never seen before (seriously, if you read it and think "this is too familiar" then keep going).
Just a really unique book with great, non-traditional characters and a romance and plot that was definitely neither boring nor one I'd seen a million times before.
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. Perhaps because I'd been ready to give YA fantasy a break after Uprooted, which disappointed meI enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. Perhaps because I'd been ready to give YA fantasy a break after Uprooted, which disappointed me greatly.
It got off to a rough start though, as it seemed C.J. Redwine tried to stuff every single piece of background information into the first chapter. First off, it was unnecessary, most of it was explained in the prologue, and secondly, readers can think for themselves. And giving out information at a slow pace is also a very viable option. Keep us guessing!
However, it soon went away and the story changed from the completely cliché I feared it would be, and into something pretty fresh and almost original. Not entirely original, as it is a retelling of Snow White, but it's one of the better ones I've come across (better, even, than Marissa Meyers Winter), because it doesn't focus on beauty, but on power.
It's the story of Lorelai, who's had her father murdered and her throne snatched away by her stepmother Irina. Forced to flee with her brother, Leo, we meet her nine years later, in the middle of attempting to start a rebellion amongst the people. Irinas magic has corrupted the land, and the nation is dying. Other than that, Lorelai wants revenge for the death of her father.
I liked Lorelai. She seemed a slightly different sort of protagonist. I liked that it didn't just turn out she had powerful magical abilities, she'd known all along and trained to use them. It also didn't just turn out that she's the heir to the throne, she knows this too. And she doesn't shy away from her responsibility, she takes it in a stride, ready and willing to rule the land. She has doubts of course, but not about her own worthiness, no, it's rather doubts about whether she can really overthrow Irina. In any case she'll die trying.
And I liked that she didn't just throw herself head first into danger. She's a planner, she looks at every outcome, every possibility and then she makes a decision. I'm sick of heroines who just run headlong into danger and everything works out fine. It's fucking stupid and shouldn't work for anyone.
Lorelai's undying love for her younger brother was what really won me over though. I have a younger brother too, and I recognized her protective impulses and devotion towards him. I don't know what I'd do without him, he's one of the few people on this earth, that make it all worth it.
Thrown into the middle of this is Kol, who, after tragically losing his parents, becomes king. In an attempt to save his own kingdom, he comes to Ravenspire and makes a deal with Irina. It does not end well for anyone.
He's obviously the love interest. But the romance wasn't as forced or gag-worthy as it really, really can be in books like this. Instead they (after a few terrible twists and a little use of magic) end up sharing each others thoughts. They bond over their similar struggle with grief, responsibility and the fear that responsibility ignites in both of them. They grow into a kind of understanding of each other, and come to rely on the other, not just for their strength, but for the comfort they can give, just by showing they neither of them are alone. Someone else knows their pain, their despair and their stubborn willingness to move forward.
A romance built on that makes sense to me. I can support it and root for it.
Loss and grief are a huge part of the novel, not just when it comes to bonding with Mr. Right. And this novel's portrayal of grief especially got to me. There's no senseless loss. When they lose someone important to them, they, and the book, keep coming back to it. It matters in the narrative. The anger, the sadness and the pain of loss stays with them, it is returned to, it's felt again and it changes, moves and affects them, and I admired that a lot. It's easy to use death as a quick way to further the plot, and then forget to take the weight of it seriously. This novel takes it very seriously. And that, I think, more than anything, made me really like this book. ...more
Considering the amount of magicians that exist in literature, it is actually comparatively rare to see exactly how they become who they are, how theyConsidering the amount of magicians that exist in literature, it is actually comparatively rare to see exactly how they become who they are, how they learn to wield their power and become the heroes - or villains - they're destined to be. Even rarer is it to see how they live with that power once that have it.
The first is something that happens often in YA, however, with the trope of the Chosen One, who must embrace their fate of being the ultimate badass. What happens after that, however, isn't talked about too often.
Our protagonist Ged (or rather, call him Sparrowhawk, since names have power and you must only ever give your true name to those you trust completely) fits into the Chosen One trope. Ged has a strong, natural talent for magic and it soon attracts the attention of those who wield the gift as well. He finds a mentor, he goes to school.
But youth is a turbulent time. Some are born lucky and grow up wise, confident and pleasant, while others must go through great suffering, great trials and moments of terribly clarity to arrive at the same point. Some never reach it. Sparrowhawk is an arrogant, vengeful, and angry teenager. He longs for great power, to prove himself and for others to take him seriously.
In his arrogance he attempts to raise the dead, and raises an unspeakable shadow from the depths. A shadow that trails him, haunts him, and wants him dead. It brings pain, death and suffering with it. Sparrowhawk attempts to run, but some things really, really cannot be outrun.
I love Le Guin, and this is wonderful fantasy. It has a beautiful magic system, that is presented in slightly vague terms, but that makes absolutely perfect sense. The world is in a balance, magic has the power to topple that balance - so it must be wielded with precision and respect.
Despite its short length, it presents a very expansive universe. It's told in a style that feels a little detached, but is full of detail - and emotion, too, although it may not always appear so. It also contains the beginnings of something interesting; Ged's life as a wizard. We get to follow him, I hope, during many years of his life in the next novels, it hints at a distant future and the man he will become, and I'm looking forward to it.
And it's got all a proper fantasy novel needs: dragon fights, magic castles, damsels (potentially) in distress and a darkness luring right behind you, waiting to strike.
Le Guin is rarely anything but original and surprising, so this should be no different. I'm excited to see where it goes next. ...more
At first this book was everything I'd expected. It was a brilliant, fantastical blend of science-fiction, magic and a Caribbean atmosphere. It had carAt first this book was everything I'd expected. It was a brilliant, fantastical blend of science-fiction, magic and a Caribbean atmosphere. It had carnivals, costumes, streets full of laughter, dancing as the planet of Toussaint celebrate a festival. And it's all in a society so advanced that everyone has an AI built into their brain, and all work has been taken over by robots; it's a world of complete inter connectivity and leisure (for some). At the heart of it is the young girl Tan-Tan and her parents. Her father Antonio who cannot forgive his wife her infidelity, and her mother, who can't forgive her father his indifference. Then suddenly, on the tail-end of a tragic crime committed by her father, him and Tan-Tan escape to another planet, to New Half-Way Tree where murderers, criminals, exiles and outcasts have been sent throughout the years. A planet of brutality, wild nature, even wilder magic, mythical creatures, dangerous beasts and most dangerous of all; human beings with little to lose.
I loved the descriptions of New Half-Way Tree, I loved the gentle, savvy lizard-like creature that helps Antonio and Tan-Tan survive in the merciless jungle, I loved the douens. In general I loved the universe Hopkinson presented, it felt full of an ancient, mythical magic, where future and past converge to create a present that is both familiar and strange all at once.
As Tan-Tan and Antonio make a new life in a settlement on this new planet the book took a turn I absolutely didn't see coming. It change everything about the story I expected to be told, suddenly I wasn't expecting an adventure story, but more a story of redemption, revenge and acceptance.
Something unforgivable happens that forces Tan-Tan to flee once more into the jungle, to adapt to new surroundings, and to attempt to forgive herself and become who she's always been: the Robber Queen. It's through this persona, this power of myth and legend she seeks her freedom. Freedom from the crime that haunts her, the violence brought down upon her, and it's through this new alter ego she must finally face her own truth.
It's a powerful story of healing, growing and learning to forgive yourself. Sometimes, in order to come back to yourself, you have to break free and be someone else. To play a different part, speak with a different voice, and do things that you'd never otherwise do. The strength you carry with you will always be there, all it needs is an outlet to show itself. (view spoiler)[The descriptions of the sexual abuse Tan-Tan was put through were very impactful, perhaps because they were never described in great detail. It was small things, but it carried expertly the horror, disgust and discomfort it inflicts, and the alienation you feel, not only towards your own body, but towards your own self. Tan-Tan is two people; Bad Tan-Tan, and normal Tan-Tan, and playing the Robber Queen - becoming the Robber Queen unites the two once again into a whole. (hide spoiler)] This was a book that went deeper than I expected it to, that dared take a turn towards a darker, more violent, more uncomfortable narrative, and did it with emotional realism in a universe full of fantasy. It was a great read.
I wish it had spent more time expanding its universe in some areas, especially the society of Toussaint. And the second half of the novel deserved to be longer than it was, I felt it went by a little too quickly, and some things were presented and explained in a way that was a little too shallow. But ultimately the novel worked very well, and incorporated its many elements seamlessly together to form one coherent tale.
And the cover is phenomenal. It also made me want to try Hopkinsons other novel Brown Girl in the Ring as well. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This may be my favorite volume of Chew so far. I'm not sure why, because it'sPOYO! <3
TONI! (not Tony, but his twin!) <3
Those two are my heroes.
This may be my favorite volume of Chew so far. I'm not sure why, because it's in places pretty whimsical (Poyo's secret missions are absolutely ridiculous, but also absolutely amazing), and then in others it's deadly serious. Literally.
Tony is, due to circumstances that took places in the last volume, in the hospital for most of the volume, and Toni (and Poyo for one issue) are center stage instead. I'm okay with this, because I love Toni. I love her bubbly, positive nature. I love her ability to see the future of the living things she eats, I love that she's intelligent as hell and an agent of NASA. I love her and Caesar trying to figure out where they met (which is a lot of places apparently).
And it broke my heart, honestly. It's weird with comics, because I read them a lot faster than I do books and so when something bad happens it takes a while for it to really hit, and I know it'll come in waves. When I pick up the next volumes I know nothing will really be the same - and that little crack in my heart grows bigger. But it did it in a great way, in a really wonderful way. And while it made me very sad, I can't wait to see what happens after this. Because as heartbreaking as it was, it was also, more than anything, a game changer. The game is fucking on, asshole.
This will make literally no sense to anyone who hasn't read the volume. Never mind. Go read it now. It's fabulous.
Did I tell you there's a bio-mechanically engineered rooster in this? And that it's a badass killing machine? POYO <3
If you ever desired an african fantasy/sci-fi inspired creation myth (or in this case, more a re-creation myth), then this is it.
Who Fears Death is tIf you ever desired an african fantasy/sci-fi inspired creation myth (or in this case, more a re-creation myth), then this is it.
Who Fears Death is the story of the Okeke people and the Nuru people set in a postapocalyptic Africa. The Nurus rule the Okekes, keeps them as slaves, and is in the middle of systematically wiping them out, sustained by the belief that they are worth less than them. They are supported by The Great Book, which tells the creation of the world, how the Okekes rise out of the darkness, commit crimes against nature and the divine with their science and invention, and the Nurus fall from the stars, to cast them under, to show them their proper place.
Onyesonwu, the protagonist, is a child born of rape. Her mother, Najeeba, was violently abused and raped by a Nuru man, and left alive after she flees in to the desert hoping to die. There she discovers she's pregnant, and in honor of her child, she fights to live - and Onye is born. Onye is different, her skin is almost golden, her looks distinct, like all children born from Okeke and Nuru parents, she's immediately recognizable. She's Ewu. They settle down in the Okeke desert town Jwahir, and although Onye is eternally different, they manage to build a life. She makes friends, she meets another Ewu, Mwati.
And she discovers there's much more to her than her distinct looks: she possesses magic. She can learn to use and control the four mystic points. But her destiny reaches further than that.
It sounds like a pretty generic description, but this book refuses to fall into any lazy, storytelling traps. It takes well known tropes (things such as "the chosen one") and subverts them. It uses them cleverly for its own storytelling needs, it changes them, insists on making us see them in a new light. Because while Onye is definitely a kind of Chosen One, she is so in a way that is new, and strange, and brilliant. Her growing into her destiny was my favorite thing about this. This novel takes well worn tropes and weaves them into a new tale, a tale that's a dream, a dream where magic and prophecies are real. A dream and a world where an alienated, shunned and hated woman, an Ewu, a woman born of violence and abuse of power, has the ability to alter the destiny of the world. What's not to love?
Of course the change of whatever it is that makes one people hate another so terribly, and for no apparent reason, isn't easy to facilitate, and it doesn't come without a price. The desire to save the world from the stupidity, hate and ignorance that leads to violence, murder, rape and genocide is not a desire that necessarily ends well. It may cost you your soul, your life, everyone you love. Or it may not.
It's a novel that refuses to conform. It wants to tell its story in a way that's unique, but familiar, and it succeeds. I wish it had spent more time world-building, because while it says it's set in a post-apocalyptic Africa, I didn't feel that was elaborated on much. However, this does have its strengths, because we're given the history of the world the same way the characters in the novel are; via myth. They have their stories, their beliefs, their prejudices from The Great Book, and so do we. Everything we know we're told through the story, and the stories in the story. It's potent. And carries a great message about the power of stories, and their ability to shape how we view and interact with the world. How something is presented is never unimportant.
Another way it defied expectations was by focusing so much on the humanity, and the "trivial" everyday desires, hopes and fears of the characters. Onye travels into the desert with Mwati, and their friends, in an attempt to face their destiny and maybe save the world. But on the way there they're just people, young teenagers in the desert, trying to live with each other, love, not be too afraid of what's to come and what's already happened. It worked really well, because you got to understand exactly what these people were risking, and how easily they could've all let be, and done nothing. But they chose to risk it all.
It's a great novel that defies expectation, presents a compelling, interesting universe (with a pretty excellent magic system), and it's as different from the western fantasy I'm used to as I hoped. A lovely story about the power of stories, about how the myths we believe in change the world we inhabit, the reality we live in, and how changing myths can mean changing the world. ...more
I was so excited about this book. I thought it was going to be something new, something fresh, an original, interesting take on the fantasy and fairytI was so excited about this book. I thought it was going to be something new, something fresh, an original, interesting take on the fantasy and fairytale genre. I thought it was gonna be a book that pushed boundaries. That refused to buy into weary tropes and stereotypes.
I'm sad to say that it does just that.
Yes, there are parts that are great and inventive. I loved the idea of the Wood. That felt like a new take on something old and familiar; the forest that all heroes must pass through, that holds challenges and mysteries. In this case it's a forest of unspeakable horrors, corruption and evil. I liked it. It was creepy. The idea that those who are lured or kidnapped into the Wood either never come out at all or come out changed, soulless almost, bringing death and murder and violence with them.
That was not the problem. As the villain of the story, the Wood served its purpose to perfection.
But everything else felt a lot like a cliché. Which is a shame, because the idea is interesting. Every ten years a girl from a village in the valley is taken to the tower of the Dragon (not a real dragon, just a wizard). There she'll live for ten years before she's released and he picks another. Nothing happens to her, he doesn't abuse her, she just works as a servant and is then sent on her way. Of course, there's a little more to it than this. It's a fun take on the fairytales of princess kidnappings.
It's just that there was nothing new or groundbreaking about the character of Agnieszka. She's average looking, has no particular talents (except going scavenging in the woods and always coming home dirty and messy), and feels she's very unimportant and unattractive. She has a friend who's beautiful and wonderful and all that she isn't. Oh, and of course it turns out Agnieszka is magically gifted and can do magic that her teacher, the Dragon, doesn't even understand. Why must 90% of YA heroines be like this. Why, why, why. Just once, ONCE, give me a heroine with an ounce of confidence (and no, not that girl from Throne of Glass, that book also sucked).
The idea was so good, it had such potential for being new and interesting. And then it's a fucking cliché! Agnieszka and the Dragon even fall in love. There's literally no reasonfor them to fall in love!! None. Oh, so your magic is attracted to my magic? Then sure, let's bone! Goddammit.
Honestly, out of everyone Kasia, Agnieszka's perfect friend, has the most character development. I loved her story arc, it was sad, but empowering. And the friendship between the two was my favorite thing. If only the romance had between the two of them instead. It even says in the book Agnieszka kisses her twice! Doesn't specify it's on the cheek or anything. But no, of course we need the forced heterosexual romance between a man who's honestly a bit of a dick to begin with (and like a 150 years old?) and the 17 year old girl. Not. Realistic.
But Kasia and Agnieszka had so much chemistry. There was so much love between them and a real examination of their feelings. Ugh.
The plot was mostly alright, although pretty predictable. Maybe I'm old, but I'm sick of teenage girls always being rewarded for being stubborn and throwing themselves into ill-advised danger, and being right to do it. Why doesn't the centuries old wizards know just a thing or two more than her?
It's not a terrible book. It just suffers from being pretty much exactly like a ton of other YA fantasy novels. And I really thought it wouldn't be. So I'm disappointed and sad.
Not even the magic was very interesting. Or, it might have been if it was explained in the least how it worked. I mean where it comes from and how its power work. But no, we mostly get some fancy words and that's it.
This could have been a new take on well-worn tropes. It isn't. It just repeats them and it's honestly not that interesting. It takes zero risks, it dares nothing. I expected more.
It's not a bad book, as such, you'll probably just feel like you've read it all before. ...more
I'm sad I never read this as a child, because I would have loved it. I would have loved Meg's stubbornness (I probably also would have found it annoyiI'm sad I never read this as a child, because I would have loved it. I would have loved Meg's stubbornness (I probably also would have found it annoying, most likely because I'm stubborn too), her devotion to her family, her fighting spirit. Not to say I didn't love it now, but there's a simplicity to children's stories (and by children I mean young teenagers too) that you may be tempted to frown upon, slightly, as an adult. You don't mean to, it just happens, your horizons have broadened, your tastes have changed, but I think A Wrinkle In Time holds up even when my first reading of it was at the age of 24. Part of what make childhood reads so significant is that the impact on us is - I won't say greater, although maybe it is, but it certainly seems greater, when we look back on it.
I doubt I get the full impact of a book like this when I read it at this age, but I'm still glad I did. Better late than never.
And there's something so utterly wonderful and delightful about a book for children that doesn't underestimate them, their intelligence or their capabilities as readers. This is something I've also enjoyed in Neil Gaiman's stories for kids and teens; they're taken very seriously, as they should be.
Honestly, this book is fantastic. There's magic, science, and saving the world, there's beauty, darkness, heroics, fear, love and friendship. It's quirky and full of warmth, a genuine warmth, there's an appreciation that the smallest things in life, the love we show and give to others, is immensely powerful. The characters, despite the book being fairly brief, were not one-dimensional, and while there wasn't a lot of world building, it didn't feel out of place. Kids will just accept that the world is vaster and grander and more frightening, but also more lovely than they ever thought, they don't need a lot of explanation - they need to get on with saving the world.
And it's heartening, of course, that the flaws we spend all day beating ourselves up about, the fact that we don't always fit in, or work the way other people work, could be the very thing that made us fit for saving the world someday. That's exactly the sort of story you need to be told at all stages of your life.
There's also one, very significant thing in this book, that made it all the more precious to me; Meg has a younger brother, Charles Wallace. He's a genius, he's out of this world intelligent and he sort of reads minds; and Meg loves him. Together with a friend they travel the universe, they 'tesser' as it's called, to fight an evil darkness that's threatening to consume their home world... And it has their father. It's simply a very compelling story, but what really did it for me? I have a younger brother. I love him, possibly more than anything else in this world. And if he were ever in danger, I would break worlds, I would traverse the blackest, vilest darkness to get to him, and I have faith that love like that is strong enough to fight even the most powerful villains.
So I cried, in the end, I cried a lot. There's nothing in the world that gets to me like the love between siblings. Nothing at all. ...more
I read Khanani's book Thorn and loved it, which is frankly the reason we're here today. I don't mean here in the world, I mean here reading and writinI read Khanani's book Thorn and loved it, which is frankly the reason we're here today. I don't mean here in the world, I mean here reading and writing this review, respectively.
At first this story felt incredibly familiar. I was happy with the diverse cast, but the story itself was not very original. Our young girl, Hitomi, wants to prove herself, wants to fight against the tyrannical leaders of the city, has hidden magical powers, attempts to prove her worth to her rebel-leader, but it goes wrong and she's captured. It was a slight variation of a tale we've probably all read before... but then it changed.
After her capture everything goes wrong, of course, and Hitomi finds herself thousands of miles from her city, alone, frightened and in a real freaking mess; trapped in a tower with a very hungry something. From there on out it wasn't at all what I expected, and despite its brief length (only 140 pages), Khanani manages to create a complex world and a compelling story. She keeps it simple, but forceful, and very realistic despite the fantasy setting. This was something that impressed me with Thorn as well. Despite having a protagonist who's clearly got immense powers and is Very Important, it never feels over the top. Hitomi is sympathetic, resourceful, and clever, but she makes mistakes, and she's allowed to make them, to ponder them and learn from them - something not nearly enough fantasy protagonists do. Taking her from the very familiar city-setting Khanani keeps the story from stalling and becoming cliché.
The friendship that grows between Hitomi and another character is one of my favorite things, and a huge part of what made it a memorable reading experience. It was less a story of epic battles (difficult to fit into 140 pages in any case) and more about Hitomi growing as a person, no doubt we'll see her perform daring heroics in the next book, but this was a nice, unassuming start to the series.
Abandoning its familiar premise it turned into something unexpected, but delightful. It was fun, surprising and well-written, and as with Thorn I couldn't put it down. Khanani starts fast and doesn't waste time. Definitely one of the better takes on YA fantasy, and I can't wait for the next book to come out. ...more
Yeah, so I accidentally started this book before I'd read the third one, because I'd put them up in the wrong order on the shelf.
This book isn't realYeah, so I accidentally started this book before I'd read the third one, because I'd put them up in the wrong order on the shelf.
This book isn't really about September (well, it is a little, she is our dear heroine after all), but focuses on Hawthorne and his friend Tamburlaine. They are the opposite of September; where she was stolen to Fairyland, they were stolen from it. They were taken from their parents, taken to the mondane world and given to parents whose children have been kidnapped to fairyland in return.
Hawthorn is originally a troll, but is now forced to grow up in a human body. Talk about feeling different inside than outside. And he's absolutely lovely. He makes up all these fantastic rules about living in the world, because the world is not his world. It's all wrong, and he works hard at making sense of it. The same way September works so hard to make sense of Fairyland whenever he goes.
The rules can look like this:
"The Laws of the Kingdom of School:
One: A Teacher is the same thing as an Empress only a Teacher wears skirts and uses a ruler instead of a scepter.
Two: Be present at eight o'clock sharp or you will be marked Tardy and if you are Tardy enough you will be banished to the Land of Detention where no food or joy can live."
"The Kingdom of School is like Sherwood Forest and in Sherwood Forest it is better to be a bandit than an unjust substitute-king like Mr. Wolcott, who stole the throne from Mrs. McDermott when she went on Crusade and rules wickedly while she languishes in the Maternity Ward."
And he is inherently magical. All he has to do is remember, to figure out how to work Fairyland magic and maybe, maybe find his way back home. Of course that's a bigger hassle than you may think, because changelings are never supposed to go back. They're supposed to wreck havoc in the "real" world.
Also, I am in love with Blunderbuss. What a wonderful creation, what a wonder of imagination and creativity. I want one. Badly.
I thought they all were a beautiful breath of fresh air, and it was great seeing things from the other side. Because the idea of changelings is kind of horrid. I mean, imagine being kidnapped from your parents, always knowing you belong somewhere else, but not remembering where? Or who you are? It's a poignant type of story. A story, not of going on an adventure, but of coming home. ...more
I have loved Catherynne Valente's Fairlyand series from the very first page. Her vision is astounding, her imagination always astonishes and brings joI have loved Catherynne Valente's Fairlyand series from the very first page. Her vision is astounding, her imagination always astonishes and brings joy, pleasure, a bit of sadness, and always, always, an incredible measure of humanity.
However, I didn't like it quite as much as the previous two. I don't know if this is because I accidentally started the fourth book instead of this one. I put them in the wrong order on my shelf and that ruined everything. I got halfway through the fourth one before I realized my mistake.
And I liked the fourth one a lot, perhaps because it wasn't about September. Which made me feel weird, because I love September, very dearly. I love her, and Saturday and A-Through-L. A thing I have loved consistently about this series is the abundant feminism. Valente doesn't confine her heroine, she lets her be not only a kickass girl, but everything. She's complicated, she's scared, brave, clever, loyal and such a mess of emotions. And she does her best, always full of love and looking for adventure.
These books are beautiful fairytales, because they give kids (and adults) a new world to travel to. A new Narnia, a new Oz, a new Hogwarts. And it's a world that is nuanced and complex, but where violence is never the answer. There may be fighting, may be injustice, but it's solved in a way that is never black and white, never good vs. evil.
I love these books because they teach so much. Valente lets her stories and characters be so incredibly human, they . I don't know how to explain it, but I love her for it.
So I don't know why I liked this particular installment a little less than the previous two. Maybe it's that September is starting to grow up. Or maybe it's that the story started to feel a little familiar. It was as if the series had started to fall into a pattern, and it felt a little dull.
But well... then the ending happened, and let me tell you, that pattern I thought I saw was blown wide open. Especially considering the next book isn't really about September at all. I felt a little like I'd read the story this novel was trying to tell me before, and then suddenly I realized this is the beginning of the end. Here begins the story that will end the series.
And I was a little emotional.
Valente is amazing. Everyone buy these books for your freaking kids. Asap. ...more