My driving motivation for buying this book were the vintage illustrations. I loved the vintage books my family read to me as a child, and this was admMy driving motivation for buying this book were the vintage illustrations. I loved the vintage books my family read to me as a child, and this was admittedly a nostalgic purchase.
The story itself is quite short, with an easily understood lesson - no matter how small, a little bit of help can go a long way.
Unfortunately I agree with some other reviews, I do wish the little toy engine had not gone back to the toy shop to stay. It's not really a discouraging message, but I would have been more interested in the idea of potential if he had gone back to the fire house with the big fire engines. That would be an open ended possibility allowing for kids to imagine what adventures the little toy engine might have in the future, as opposed to the stagnant ending of returning to the toy shop....more
Overall this book left me feeling meh. The writing was not as smooth as I like to see in children's literature. I'm planning to give it to a 7 yr oldOverall this book left me feeling meh. The writing was not as smooth as I like to see in children's literature. I'm planning to give it to a 7 yr old to encourage his reading, and I'm worried it may be too young for him, but we'll see.
The downsides to the book: use of the word "lame" to mean "uncool" and a heavy gender dichotomy. All female characters with any part to play in the story were either cast as villains or suspected of being villainous.
On the positive side, Eugene's new friend is coded as a PoC, so there is one tiny step for diversity there. Taking that into account, I'll give it a D for diversity....more
Beautiful illustrations pair well with talented story telling in this adorable book that says it's okay to be different. Planning to gift it this ChriBeautiful illustrations pair well with talented story telling in this adorable book that says it's okay to be different. Planning to gift it this Christmas....more
Filled with intrigue the way the first three are, but somehow slower and more deliberate in pacing. Sophos is a good character but he doesn't hold myFilled with intrigue the way the first three are, but somehow slower and more deliberate in pacing. Sophos is a good character but he doesn't hold my attention quite as raptly, which I honestly did not expect.
The end feels conclusive in a nice open ended way, and characters were true to themselves to the very end.
summary (including spoilers): Sophos' goal of winning his kingship is a long, drawn out process. The twists and turns are constant but somewhat slow. His first captivity as a slave is perhaps the most interesting as his characterization grow most then. However, his second captivity as king fleshes out the political scene in a satisfying way.
The means to the end of kingship were unexpected to me. So much fantasy depends on some kind of deus ex machina to avoid sullying the hands of the hero. But this fantasy is a much different setting. We have a world in which there are guns and an active pantheon of gods, a setting that might be any modern historical period, in a geography distinctly Mediterranean. It was refreshing and thought provoking to see the best option still be a "bad" option and watch the characters cope with that.
The killing of the rebel leader was unexpected for me, but a key plot point. The wounding of the ambassador was again unexpected, but mostly because the rebel leader had been killed. Yet both actions were equally important for securing the result of Sophos' power over his barons.
It is, of course, clear why he was always the magus' favorite....more
I had a few reservations when I started this, but I couldn't help but keep reading. Maya is charming and authentic, her writing is expressive, perfectI had a few reservations when I started this, but I couldn't help but keep reading. Maya is charming and authentic, her writing is expressive, perfectly portraying the awkward, hilarious, and touching moments she faces on her journey....more
I went into this fully expecting something light and healthily silly, and I was not disappointed. Upon reading a few angry reviews, it seems most wereI went into this fully expecting something light and healthily silly, and I was not disappointed. Upon reading a few angry reviews, it seems most were misled into believing it would be historical fiction of some substance. If that's what you're looking for, this isn't for you. Rather, this is an interesting blend of modern chick lit and historical (smutty!!) romance. As in, the tropes of each are heavily represented... Yet I found myself interested enough in the characters to continue.
The sex felt out of place, the conclusion was satisfactory though a bit anticlimactic, and I felt as though several background characters would have made for better heroines, but I can't help but admit I sincerely enjoyed this book....more
I don't really have a review at this point, but on a deeply personal (and probably tmi) note: I haven't been able to stick with and finish a book forI don't really have a review at this point, but on a deeply personal (and probably tmi) note: I haven't been able to stick with and finish a book for quite some time due to an unfortunately persistent downward turn in my depression. I feel as though I'm constantly leaking tears lately, but upon finishing this my tears were of relief and gratitude....more
To be perfectly honest, I decided to read this after seeing the movie. It was obvious that it should be on my to read liOkay. It is time for a review.
To be perfectly honest, I decided to read this after seeing the movie. It was obvious that it should be on my to read list for quite some time, but if just hadn't gotten around to it. I inexplicably thoroughly enjoyed the movie and it spurred me to buy the book within the week.
I was disappointed.
True, I read it quickly, happily absorbed for a few hours. But it was a let down. The obvious comparison is to the hunger games, so I'll frame this in that manner: the world building was not satisfying (and periodically heavy handed: I go that it was Chicago the first time, the continuous hints were jolting), the main character was well rounded but dislikable in a way I couldn't get comfortable with (alternatively, there were times I hated Katniss and the choices she made or the thoughts she had yet I had still respected her, felt her character was authentic, and was damn glad she existed). I love YA, I love dystopian literature, and while I prefer fantasy, I have a firm fondness for science fiction. But this was a let down on every one of those fronts.
And now for the least fun part. I was disturbed by the discussion of suicide. It was an issue presented as either the greatest sin (and the most selfish act) or the greatest act of bravery, both of which are hugely problematic. It crossed my mind that these extreme viewpoints were used intentionally in order to point out how dangerous they were, but if so, the plan went terribly awry. There was no discussion of alternate views, and most importantly, there was no mention of the true nature of suicide.
Suicide is a symptom. It is the result of a person's pain outweighing their ability to cope with that pain.