What a totally charming, heatwarming tale which proves that you don't need guns death to make an adventure. This is a lovely change for somone who seeWhat a totally charming, heatwarming tale which proves that you don't need guns death to make an adventure. This is a lovely change for somone who seems to only find these things in adventure novels nowadays..... (yes, I'm a tad cynical about adventure books).
It has lesbian balloonists, moustached artists and many many more great characters who you can't help but adore because of how well they're written. But Barnaby Brocket's family are the best literary family I have ever come across, strange and definitely normal but brilliant because they were so horrible and yet totally plausible. To be fair to the kids of said family they were the exceptions of the "horrible" since by some second miracle they turned out to be alright.
Oliver Jeffers' illustrations need a mention because they're divine. They encapture exactly what I was picturing mentally but at the same time
The fable-like narrative mixed with the modern setting and characters makes me feel that this is a modern fairy tale which I'm going to recommend to any and every person to read. Just because I love it that much.
But what I totally love most about this book though is that it celebrates breaking out of normality and expanding your imagination to the fullest. All this whilst revelling in others who do the same.
Straight off the bat it has to be said that this book is gorgeous! The different coloured writing, the black outline illustrations, the full colour ilStraight off the bat it has to be said that this book is gorgeous! The different coloured writing, the black outline illustrations, the full colour illustrations and finally, the gold cover. In all its package it is just a stunning book and I already saw the danger of faliing irrevocably in love in it.
But now onto the story itself. It was cleverly set into 4 different "sections", Oliver alone, Delilah alone, them together and the actual fairy tale. Not only did I love every section but I didn't have a favourite which is really strange for me in a multi-voiced story. This was mostly down to the beautiful characterisation of each character, no matter how minor they were.
The illustrations as I mentioned before is quite rare for a YA book now, to this extent at least. But I do hope they are making a comeback because they just emphasised the fairy tale message of the book whilst triggering nostalgia for those old fairy tale tomes we had when little. At least it did this for me.
To mention Picoult's collaboration with van Leer is important I beleive as it really was a joint venture in my reading of the book. I've read some Picoult books before and loved her style and grasp of realism which is ever present in these books but the touch of the magical and whimsical I like to think is van Leer's influence. In which case they were the perfect match to write this book and I am ever grateful they did so, it's cheered me up no end.
That and delicate back stories which just made you love the story even more gave an overall effect of a real fairy tale for the ages.
Even the cover is gorgeous. The idea for the book is gorgeous, the characters are gorgeous and the setting is gorgeous, it was in fact a gorgeousnessEven the cover is gorgeous. The idea for the book is gorgeous, the characters are gorgeous and the setting is gorgeous, it was in fact a gorgeousness overload as you can see by the over use of the word gorgeous which I'll stop using now..... ah, who am I kidding IT WAS GORGEOUS!
Since I've worked in Waterstones in Petersfield I've met a lot of interesting people but Sam Hawksmoor knew his stuff he'd been there, seen it, met that and got the book. Due to this oppurtunity I picked his brains over this book and the next (The Hunting which I'm totally getting. What is wrong with me I'm turning into genric teenage girl over this book. Get a hold of yourself woman!!) so I will interject my review with bits and pieces he told me about. No direct quotations I'm afriad a busy shop isn't the best place to record and I don't want to say what I think...perhaps..her might've....said so I'll state the general fact and hope that's okay with everyone.
This book starts in the town of Spurlake inspired by the Canadian landscape ( I liked knowing this, not sure why I think it helped my internal visual picture). The aspects of these massive buildings mixed with the natural landscape contrasts heavily with the tiny scale of the town Spurlake. This tiny little town where everyone knows each other, what you would call "a tight-knit community", is key to the rest of the book as it keeps your feelings of disbeleif mixed with complete acceptance of the world Hawksmoor creates to page 550. I don't know if you've seen the movie Halloween (1978) but it envokes many similar feelings to Dean Cundey's shots of empty , eerie streets with no people or real sound just eerie silence.
This swiftly follows by the hard packed punch of narrative in the form of Genie and her life. The horrific treatment of Genie by her mother is one of the reasons why I dislike religeon (there are reasons why I like it also) there is a tendency for mass hysteria which can lead to mistakes which later are deeply regretted. One such example is the Jonestown mass suicide led by Jim Jones, a man which created The Peoples Temple and ended in 918 deaths mostly due to suicide using cyanide poisoning. Just an example of mass hysteria ANYWAY back to the actual book, Genie's treatment shows many elements of said mass hysteria therefore making my history geek out moment relevant for example the burning cross on her arm which is just enough violence without it being ARRGGHHAGHHGGHAGH I WANNA BE VIOLENT TO CHILDREN! Which is never good in a book as it's not advised in fiction or in real life.....ever however seems to be more frequent in YA which I don't like and give kudos to Hawksmoor on his stand.
But the best thing about this whole book is the complete flip Hawksmoor slams right in the middle. Don't get me wrong the beginning wasn't boring but this was sooo interestingly good. It was science and adventure and love and a bit of gore and in short....awesomeness. Who knew that teleportation could keep me that interested for that long without going this-is-too-Star-Trek-it's-starting-to-bore-a-hole-in-my-skull. If you like Star Trek that's all too fine with me buuuut I reserve my right not to......By the end of the book I truly thought that teleportation was a crazy important issue and people need to be more suspicious of over zealous priests which I beleive is a sign of a good book. (This mad little phase passed by the way, have no fear). The inclusion of Marshall was also interesting as he was something of a tragic hero, he falls victim to his one main fault: his love for science therefore of course he expects science to always love him back. But as everyone knows it doesn't always work out that way so his hopes which he keeps so secret even to himself is my theory don't come to the fore to avoid shame I guess at his rejection or fear of further rejection.
Lastly and yet sweetly was Rian and Genie who is so happened were based on real life people who Hawksmoor knew. Real-Life-Genie so happens to be in the army, HOW COOL! Anyhoo their romance was adorable and beleiveable in it being the driving force of the action within the book, which as a hopeless romantic I loved as the idea of love driving action and not the other way round. Needless to say they're making it onto my favourite characters list.... ...more
Errr...errmmm...hmmm.. where to....how to......hum................................ Right. So. I thought that, from the start and all, it was going to bErrr...errmmm...hmmm.. where to....how to......hum................................ Right. So. I thought that, from the start and all, it was going to be one of those off the wall weird different books which brings a whole new level to Victorian London. I got this from the sheer amount of poo that is mentioned at the start (and throughout, it doesn't go away) and how he finds this the most character shaping part of his life thus far. Which is what I got annoyed by, it seemed the tiger had paled in significance with his encounters of the Thames. LIKE A TIGER WOULDN'T BE THE MOST AMAZING LIFE CHANGING MOMENT IN VICTORIAN LONDON!
So, as unimpressed by the tiger as he was he seemed to remain uninterested in much apart from animals but dang....could I find any animals for most of the book? No, no I could not. Sea, weird sores and various ship folk who you really don't care about was found in abundance. But no animals. However on a positive note (I try to get these in as often as poss when dealing with this kind of thing) the description of the incident was very well done. An interesting approach for an otherwise slightly uninteresting book.
A lot of Ishbel though, I love the name but apart from that it was hardly the romance of the century by any stretch of the imagination. Even I failed to be moved by it and I'm the soppiest romantic around. I don't know whether it was just that I didn't get along with the characters or whether it just wasn't my kind of book but I won't be recommending it any time soon to anyone but the customer who comes in asking for sailing victorian fiction....When that day comes I am prepared. Similar to a cub scout. Not that that's something I really wish to be associated with at 17. http://theteenagebookworms.blogspot.c......more
It was so darkly motivating and interesting I was captivated from the first page, literally spent 4 straight hours reading it until I thought perhapsIt was so darkly motivating and interesting I was captivated from the first page, literally spent 4 straight hours reading it until I thought perhaps 3 o'clock in the morning was too early for this kind of thing....
Eli and Charlie are the most loveable murderers you will ever come across in fiction, they're just so well humanized that you think you could be their friend even with the murdering rampages. Eli's emotion over his past and his actions are barely there, he states what has happened with no real connection to those events. This makes him sound like an evil monster,which I'm not going to hide it, is definitley a part of his character. In fact you can simplify his character to two halfs, the side which could kill you and not even blink but what Patrick deWitt does which others haven't is give that 2D character a likeable side. He does this by creating Eli's search for love....
ELI SISTERS' DATING GAME
CANDIDATE NUMBER 1: Hotel Worker Lady: Attributes - She seems obviously interested, Doesn't try and steal his money Is fairly young (we assume) Cons - Is a prostitue (we think) Has already slept with his brother
CANDIDATE NUMBER 2: Woman from Brothel: Attributes - Beautiful Sad in an interesting way (is there any other way to be sad in a novel?) Seemingly interested in Eli from the off
WHO WILL HE CHOOSE? .....................................................................................................................................................no one
Why? I hear you ask. Well he tries, and then leaves them money and thats it. All the pulling power the man has is his money (his looks aren't an option, he's referred to as fat and generally unattractive throughout the whole book). But still his quest for love continues through the book, plodding along very like the character it's tied with quietly reminding us that with humans, nothing is ever black and white.
Quite like Eli's brother Charlie. He's a drunkard, is very "free" sexually and seems to have no morals to speak of and yet why was I drawn to his character? It was a slight tortured artist gravity I'll grant you but it was there and if that isn't great writing then I don't know what you expect! The relationship between the two brothers is what keeps the book alive and interesting, even during the Gold Rush context (such an awesome inclusion by the way).
It slightly dipped into fantasy waters, just the one toe mind, definitley not too much. But this risk, I think, paid off immensley (unlike the risks our banks seemed to have been making). It fitted with the rest of the narrative perfectly without changing the genre or tone of the novel which left me respecting deWitt and his skills as an author. http://theteenagebookworms.blogspot.c......more
I was really looking forward to this, massive a task though it seemed I thought yessss a long book which is gonna be great! Result! I wasn't THAT disaI was really looking forward to this, massive a task though it seemed I thought yessss a long book which is gonna be great! Result! I wasn't THAT disappointed.....just slightly
If you haven't read the Black Magician trilogy and are contemplating this book I'd stop you there, you should read this before this prequel. Yes it is set 200 years before the BMT is set but I don't think that the significance will really get through if you haven't already got understanding of the world and how it works.
Tessia was the same as Sonea and yet more boring and more ready to give up....can I heal this person NO THEY'RE GONNA DIE FOR SURE.....oh ....wait...if I try....wait....they're alive. Awesome. This got a tad repetitive and dull. I don't normally slag off main characters because obviously authors have put effort into them however I didn't feel like this was new or that any real effort to be original had been made therefore I'm a bit scathing.
I liked that it included the understanding of healing and the start of the guild but it was so belated I put it down halfway through and forgot about it for an age. There was no real NEED to read it and once you have you've kind of forgotton about it quite soon afterwards. I felt the book could've done with being downsized by half and in installments with a lot more original action but now I'm stuck for words....more
I really went against this book even before I got given it, it was a YA book that was highly talked about, had really thought out adverstising and eveI really went against this book even before I got given it, it was a YA book that was highly talked about, had really thought out adverstising and everyone wanted it or was reading it. The threat of disappointment was too much for me to chance it because it sounded good but one of thse books that if you join halfway through the hype you always leave thinking that just wasn't as good as I wished it to be. It's like if you take leftovers from a resturant, they're never as good becuase you know what it's going to be like, the moments over and the idea is stale.
I didn't want Gone to be leftovers needless to say so I decided now was the time.. Actually thats a total lie it was more my boyfriend was like READ IT NOW so I did (don't get any ideas feminists among you I normally wear the trousers have no fear). When I did eventually start it I was hooked, I don't know if anyone else experienced this but there was nothing I could do bar read this book but I was just so busy that I couldn't find the time, you have no idea how upsetting this was. I took to taking this book around everywhere with me so that I could just read a page! Ridiculous I know and yet it happened.
I love love love love love love MUTATION and boy was this book full of it! Every kind too! Weird, awesome, icky and all. The only one I didn't really like was Drake's not mutation but general weirdness....that just freaked me out a bit. Sam was a brilliant leader and by the end I was completely smitten with him, including his cuteness with Astrid. I liked that Grant followed their story through, the start where they were not even talking to where he was all protective and adorable it was beautifully and realistically done. One of the best side line romances I've ever read and if you don't know me by now I'm reading into this a lot because I'm massively obsessed with romance.
The concept of the book was so new and fresh to me that I really found it intriguing.He pulled it off very well and it's definatley something I'm recommending for christmas, well I have been recommending really. Anyway GET IT! http://theteenagebookworms.blogspot.com/ ...more
Well there was such big hype over this thing that when I saw the book proof I thought it was just annoying Fate putting his hand in again. So that's tWell there was such big hype over this thing that when I saw the book proof I thought it was just annoying Fate putting his hand in again. So that's that. Book in hand I started what I thought just had to be good if the Green brothers had recommended it. Sadly I was mistaken, I seem to fail in chosing the best of teen fiction or maybe perhaps I am just too old for it now, I'm not sure.
Ginny annoyed me! I really tried to like her but she just didn't seem to WANT to do anything thing, she had no drive and for someone like me that is slightly unforgiveable. However her character really is personsal taste. She made the travel sound boring and I just couldn't picture it, I LOVE LOVE LOVE travelling, it's stupid I know but I want to go to every single country there is and leave a mark like a drawing or pictures. Lots and lots of pictures, I want to document everything so when I'm gone someonee can see that my life changed things. As I said, stupid.
I loved the concept though, kudos to Johnson it was brilliance which I really enjoyed reading. The description of the places was good and I liked the things the aunt did there but it seemed a tad rushed to me. I dunno, I just thought she rushed things when detail would've been nice.
Anyways overall this was just a break really from reading more in depth books, something everyone needs once in a while but to me, this wasn't something I'll remember in a months time.
I had no idea that Denmark was called Hitler's canary, I didn't even realise how the Nazi's treated Danish people until this book. I, of course, knewI had no idea that Denmark was called Hitler's canary, I didn't even realise how the Nazi's treated Danish people until this book. I, of course, knew about the Holocaust and the monstrous things that happened during that time but I had no idea that for such a small and normally peaceful country, they put up such a big resistance and evacuated THAT many jews.
This book was aimed at children as an adventure story but I beleive that unless you know and understand the context of this book you won't be able to get the full message of the book. The illustrations and general language, combined with the main character choice was screaming children's book however the message was strangely more adult and her mothers illness due to the cuts on her legs is quite graphic for a kid. I would've been very interested in the story from the mother's point of view, it would've been much more interesting....
A sweet book that let itself down by giving everyone a happy ending really, when that obviously wasn't the case in the war. I didn't approve of that but then again I can never see a childrens book being relevant or understood by children. I also disapprove of "wartime adventure" it wasn't an adventure!!! I really don't like it but that's just me...
Something about this book has stayed with me though, in the "Program Notes" I saw that the children wrote and drew pictures on the walls of their cells. To try and lighten up themselves and others most probaly but now we know that they were there. They left a mark therefore won't be forgotton, a desire I think a lot of people hold today no matter how they make their mark.
This completely took me by surprise, it's actually one of the best books I've read in ages, with a totally original idea that kept me captivated withThis completely took me by surprise, it's actually one of the best books I've read in ages, with a totally original idea that kept me captivated with every page. Free running hasn't been in many books I personally have read, I think it's because there's such a danger of it sounding utterly dull but Hucklesby killed it! She captured exactly what free running is and made it her own.
Her characters were each a gem of the highest calibre. Little Bird, although initially I thought, cheesy idea, however within sentences she ha dme completely converted. There wasn't an annoying character in sight, which is rare for teen fiction. Dair was brilliant, I loved him. The steel bottle cap?? GENIUS!!! Alfie of course was like an adorable puppy, quite a resiliant puppy granted but a puppy nonetheless. He was everything he should've been and more. Calypso herself was so well worked on I could've met her and not beleived she was fictional (in the land where you can meet fictional characters of course. Which I would LOVE, I mean every girl has that literary guy crush right?) Anyway she was just right for the book, being realistically scared out of her wits and yet strong enough to survive.
The world Hucklesby created was intriguing too, FISTS sounded like something that could, one day, be us. Which made the book even more intriguing for me. SPOILER
The End...........................Soooooo frustrating and yet I still loved it. Depending what mood I'm in I can beleive that it's Little Bird's hand that Calypso is holding and the "caress" is Alfie or I can switch it round I can run riot with the endings in my head. I love it and therefore it should stay that way I very much hope they don't do a second one, it would ruin it.
Overall though this book was beyond brilliant and I would definatley recommend it to anyone, I may in fact even force it on a few people.....