“You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into…”
The island of Blessed.
At least, that was how I felt while reading Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. It felt like I was reading something out of The Twilight Zone. I couldn’t get the do-do-do-do theme song of The Twilight out of my head while reading.
And that’s totally in Midwinterblood‘s favor because it comes off as super eerie.
It’s sort of a book of short stories, because Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick consists of seven different stories, with new characters and plot lines for each one. They each have a creepy note to them.
Unlike your typical book of short stories, however, they are tied together through small, but concrete things: people with some variation on two names. A phrase. A plant. A few other small symbols.
And most importantly, they all take place on the island of Blessed, this island that we know from the start of the first story as “mysterious.”
While there are some bits I still found confusing (like the opening paragraphs of the book), this book was satisfying. It was just eerie enough to be interesting, but not so much that I jumped at small noises. And as we move through the stories, we find more and more to tie them together.
And, thankfully, Sedgwick wraps it up to reveal to us how they’re all tied together, for which I was SO GRATEFUL. I think I’d have driven myself crazy if I continued to try to puzzle it out.
To sum up: If you want eerie and mysterious but not outright SCARY, Midwinterblood is a solid choice....more
Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride is the sequel to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and the book is like a smorgasbord of paPosted to Almost Grown-up:
Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride is the sequel to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and the book is like a smorgasbord of paranormalcy. THE BEST kind of smorgasbord, filled with hilarity.
Sam’s still trying to work out how this whole necromancy thing works. When push comes to shove, he’s still basically a college-age kid. Watching him grow into his role not only as a necromancer, but as a member of the magical council is just as engrossing as when he first stumbled into this supernatural world (or, more accurately, when it kind of attacked him).
Lish brings Sam to life so authentically that I half expected to look up from my copy of of Necromancing the Stone to see him standing in front of me. He’s just… he’s such a boy, guys. A good guy, and noticeably matured from the first book but… he feels real. If one of my IRL guy friends was put in the situations that Sam’s in, I expect that he’d react very similarly.
The humor in this book is another thing to marvel at. It’s chock full of laugh out loud moments… especially when it came to the lawn gnomes. I had the unpleasant experience of snorting soda up my nose from laughing during one of the their appearances. But I’ll let you see that for yourself.
It’s true that the main character’s in Necromancing the Stone are guys, but the secondary female characters like Sam’s family, his girlfriend, and a couple friends are drawn equally strong and are each fierce in their own right. My favorite among them is probably werewolf Brid, who will lead her pack one day, kicks ass, and doesn’t take anyone’s crap. But it’s still obvious that she’s got feelings.
One thing that I’ve discovered really makes a novel come alive for me is when you get to know the villain. Douglas isn’t exactly a sympathetic character, but Lish McBride develops him, explains his past so that we get him and understand what makes him tick. He may not feel sympathy for his present, but it gets to the point where you (or at least I) mourn the person he once was and could have been.
Basically there’s an element of authenticity to the character voices that I rarely see in a paranormal novel. Overall rating: 5/5. A sequel that is either equal to the first awesome book… or one that just plain surpassed it.
Be sure to check back on September 27th for my stop on the Necromancing the Stone blog tour, when I’ll be interviewing Sam’s “capricious werewolf sort-of girlfriend,” Brid!...more
I have literally been looking forward to this book for years. I grew up reading Meyer’s Sailor Moon fanfiction and followed her livejournal account of her writing adventues. She was one of my favorite fanfiction authors. I think I can safely remove the word “fanfiction” from that title after reading Cinder. Meyer’s become one of my favorite authors, full stop, with her debut novel.
As one could probably infer from the title, Cinder is a futuristic reimagining of the fairy tale of Cinderella. The tale begins when Prince Kai asks Cinder to repair his android and, in the very same day, plague strikes close to home. Enjoy the quiet peace of the first few pages of the novel. Things quickly turn into a roller coaster ride of a book.
The relationship between Kai and Cinder is one that you really have to appreciate. Unlike so many other books out there, it isn’t part of the insta-love phenomenon that is the bane of my existence a little unrealistic. We grow to know both Kai and Cinder in their own right, understand the various pressures that they both find themselves under. And then, we see that seed of attraction that we can spot early on grow.
There is definitely enough romance to make lovers of it swoon, but I also loved being taken along for Cinder’s ride full of self-discovery. She learns things about her mysterious past that I never saw coming, and Meyer threw twist after twist that just left me reeling.
And let’s have a look at Meyer’s world-building for a moment: It’s more than fitting that for a futuristic novel, the villains are ones that we can’t even find on earth. It’s fitting also that the unusual “draft” only affects cyborgs who aren’t considered entirely human because of technology, and that arguably Cinder’s closest friend is an android named Iko (I totally want an android like Iko to give me fashion advice, by the way. She was adorable!). The way that the day-to-day technology is written, such as “coms” or “netscreens,” makes it seem day-to-day. I was never wondering what exactly they did, every device just seemed like something that belonged there.
Fair warning, the book ends on a wicked cliffhanger. You will want Book 2: Scarlet in hand promptly and, if you’re like me, will want to thrash around on the floor, beating your fists, crying “WHY?!” as in “WHY don’t I have Scarlet yet?!”
But it’s worth it. Meyer’s writing has all of the charm of a traditional fairy tale with the extra zap! of technology and wonderful characters to give it pizazz.
Overall rating: 5/5. I have a new favorite series. Move this book to the top of your TBR pile NOW. But don’t come crying to me over the cliffhanger please. I’m just barely recovering myself....more