I probably would have enjoyed this more if I had read any of the other Dancy Flammarion stories but I still liked it, and understood enough of what wa...moreI probably would have enjoyed this more if I had read any of the other Dancy Flammarion stories but I still liked it, and understood enough of what was going on. It was a good American Gothic piece.(less)
This was a fantastic anthology. There are a lot of anthologies out there that are quite patchy, some good, some bad, but this one really maintained a...moreThis was a fantastic anthology. There are a lot of anthologies out there that are quite patchy, some good, some bad, but this one really maintained a great standard. Many of my favourite modern authors such as Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Kelly Link, Elizabeth Knox and Libba Bray were in there, and their stories were fantastic as usual. I also enjoyed the stories but authors whose work I had read less of, or not read at all, and look forward to reading more of their work in the future. There was a great mix of stories, from Victorian, modern day, and post apocalyptic to even steampunk Rome. All of the stories had interesting and inspiring new ideas, and opened up the genre more, instead of just following conventions (if steampunk could really be said to have conventions).
This book definitely gets my six stars out of five rating for a book that goes far beyond what was expected. A truly delightful read!(less)
I enjoyed the dark humour, absurd plotlines and vivid, if sometimes a little confusing artwork. The main thing I would have liked is a little more bac...moreI enjoyed the dark humour, absurd plotlines and vivid, if sometimes a little confusing artwork. The main thing I would have liked is a little more backstory for the characters, and perhaps being a little more clear on their powers, as it took me the entire story, up until the short prequel comic to realise what The Rumor's power actually was and I'm still not sure on what The Kraken's talent is.
I liked the inevitability of disaster in the plot due to the personal mistakes made by the characters, and the idea of the cost of bringing the children up to save the world, but not giving them what they needed emotionally, making them into tools.
Recommended for those who enjoyed The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the graphic novels, not the movies).(less)
A beautifully illustrated story for kids well worth reading. This story breaks down gender myths and is great for kids to read. Little Kay is a girl w...moreA beautifully illustrated story for kids well worth reading. This story breaks down gender myths and is great for kids to read. Little Kay is a girl who pretends to be a boy to become a knight. While the king suspects something and sets traps with girly things like jewels and clothes, it is the men who appreciate them, while Kay just pursues her own goal of being the best knight. Not only a fun and gorgeous book, but one that reminds kids that boys can like nice clothes and pretty things and girls can be tough and be heroes. (less)
This version of Snow White is better than the original! A fascinating and dark tale of a girl who is married off to an old man, who forces her to eat...moreThis version of Snow White is better than the original! A fascinating and dark tale of a girl who is married off to an old man, who forces her to eat apples and does experiments on her. She begins to have feelings for his beautiful daughter, while not really understanding what is going on, and that she is one of Seven...
I don't want to give away too much, there are so many amazing twists in this story that left me gasping. This is one of the most imaginative tales I have ever read. I loved every minute of it! It could not have been more perfect! (less)
This was an amazing mythic retelling that I recommended to everyone I knew. Jennifer Diemer cleverly and evocatively wove myth and fairytale into a to...moreThis was an amazing mythic retelling that I recommended to everyone I knew. Jennifer Diemer cleverly and evocatively wove myth and fairytale into a totally new version of the Rapunzel tale. I loved the tale of a girl who is part of a sacred tree, unable to leave it. Other people believe she grants their wishes, but her own is just to be free.
As always with Sarah and Jennifer Diemer, the pacing and unravelling of the tale is always just right. I would have had no idea how to end this story, but she found a perfect ending. (less)
China Miéville is the kind of writer who can take really absurd situations and characters and make them not only believable but sympathetic. The world of UnLondon, and all it's strange and surreal characters and places are so far from anything in this world, born out of an amazing, dream-like imagination. And yet the story easily sucks you in, and soon you are not questioning how and why, but cheering on your favourite characters, and hoping they make it through to the end.
Zanna and Deeba are best friends who live in an English housing estate. But Zanna is the Shwazzy, the chosen one, the one who will defeat the smog and save UnLondon. But when things don't go according to prophecy, it is Deeba, the unchosen one, who must step in.
What do I love about this novel? I love that Deeba is just a normal girl like the rest of us, someone who thinks she is not special, knows she is not chosen, but does what she has to to proetect her friends and family. This makes her a real hero. It's one thing to be talented and special and fight when it's easy, it's another to do it when it's hard.
I love the surreal world of UnLondon, a kind of twin city to London, but utterly different. It's a place where all the unwanted things of London, the trash and treasure, come. Houses are made of junk (A.K.A. moil), there is a tree of fireworks from Guy Fawkes day, and even a town of ghost people from both London and UnLondon. There is so much else...including giraffes...
One of the things that helps with this strange world is the little illustrations throughout the book, drawn by China Miéville himself, which help visualise the strange houses and creatures that fill his world. He creates such a complete world, it's hard to not believe that it might not actually exist, only waiting for us to find a hidden path to it. And apparently there are others of these 'abcities' all around the world.
Among all the other wonderful people and creatures, I really loved the Extreme Librarians or Bookaneers, who work in a gigantic tower of books. It is a dangerous job, searching for books in trips that can take weeks on end. One of them was once even lost and never found again.
Un Lun Dun, like it's namesake, really needs to be experienced to be believed! It is an amazing, totally immersive experience, and one that I enthusiastically recommend!(less)
I found this book mildly amusing, flauting the conventions of Regency literature and humorously rewriting some of the lines from the novel. It wasn't...moreI found this book mildly amusing, flauting the conventions of Regency literature and humorously rewriting some of the lines from the novel. It wasn't the greatest thing I had ever read, and I found the inclusion of ninjas very jarring. A mildly entertaining novel without much substance.(less)
"What if all those strange and unexplainable bends in history were the result of supernatural interference? At which point I asked myself, what's the weirdest most eccentric historical phenomenon of them all? Answer: The Great British Empire. Clearly, one tiny little island could only conquer half the known world with supernatural aid. Those absurd Victorian manners and ridiculous fashions were obviously dictated by vampires. And, without a doubt, the British Army regimental system functions on werewolf pack dynamics."
Gail Carriger. Interview in the back of Soulless.
One of the things I love most about this book is the way it does weave the werewolf and vampire legends into British History. The vampires and werewolves are not hiding in the dark. Two of the queen's main advisors are a vampire and a werewolf. I liked the hierarchies, wolf pack and vampire 'hive' dynamics and the relations between the human and supernatural worlds. I liked the group known as BUR that hired both supernatural and human employees to regulate human-supernatural relations.
Another thing I loved was how she changed the whole soul thing (for want of a better word) around. Instead of having vampires as soulless creatures, vampires and werewolves are actually creatures with 'an excess of soul', and it is 'preternaturals' like the heroine, Alexia Tarabotti, who are without souls. I thought it was interesting that a term traditionally used to describe vampires in the Anne Rice novels was applied to a human in this novel.
As a preternatural, Alexia can neutralise the powers of a supernatural with a touch. I enjoyed the little joking references to things such as Alexia having no taste in clothing because she had no soul.
The romance bit was fun, with some rather steamy making out and neck biting, which is always sexy. I liked the revelation of the villains, I thought it made a lot of sense and went along well with the other themes of the book.
I did feel that Lord Akeldama, as the only homosexual secondary character was perhaps a little stereotyped, being flamboyant and dandified, although he was still likeable.
The story is fairly light, with an enjoyable way of poking fun at society, although it does get a little bit darker at the end when we finally meet the villains. All in all an enjoyable book. (less)
The Dark Wife is a retelling of the Persephone myth. In achingly beautiful prose, Sarah Diemer tells the story of a young girl, deep in her first love, when her lover is violated and then turned into a flower by her lustful and domineering father, Zeus. King of the gods, he lords it over everyone, mocking other gods, and treating both gods and mortals as if they are his possessions.
At a party at Mount Olympus, the young, still grieving Persephone meets Hades, the goddess of the underworld, and finds herself strangely drawn to her. For Hades, mockingly called the Lord of the Dead by Zeus, is in fact a woman, and not cruel, but kind. So begins a love story that will change everything you might have thought about the Greek gods, revealing a new and fascinating interpretation. Sarah Diemer's descriptions of the underworld are lush and beautiful, sometimes beautifully horrific. I found the ending unexpected and wonderful. The characters really got into my heart.
I really loved this as I had always imagined the Persephone tale as more darkly romantic, and this was really perfect to me!
This has been another 'six out of five' for me. A definite must-read. It can be read online free through Goodreads or Sarah's website (http://www.oceanid.org), and if you like, you can buy a copy to support her. (less)
Even if you haven't read any other of the Newford books (I've only read one), I would read this. It has been said you don't really need to read the Newford books in order, and I feel that this one can really stand alone. While the identity of some of the other characters may be a little confusing at first, there is enough information about most of them to be able to get along just fine, and the book mainly focuses on Jilly, telling her story.
The onion girl is a consummate work of magical literature by Charles de Lint. A work told from many viewpoints, in both first and third person, present and past tense, it somehow manages to be both comprehensible and completely enthralling. There isn't a moment where I wasn't drawn in and held there, barely able to escape to eat or sleep. (In fact, once I had made my food, I ate it while reading, being careful not to get food on the book.)
In this book, de Lint has created his own worlds: both that of the town of Newford, a town where magic and grim reality go hand in hand, and the dream world, where creatures of imagination walk alongside ancient beings from the beginning of time. De Lint effortlessly interweaves fantasy elements with the problems of human life.
Jilly Coppercorn is an artist who inspires. Her works show the streets, the homeless people, the abused children. But they also show magic, faerie creatures, she reminds us that magic can be found even in the worst times and places. But Jilly has a dark secret, something she barely speaks of, even to those who she cares for and who care for her, a secret that mars her life every day. Her dark past of abuse. And, sooner or later, she has to face up to that past.
Full of engaging characters, fascinating folklore and creation myth, the harsh realities of abused children, and the possibility of a new start, this book is an amazing work that really defies description. I really can't say too much, I don't want to give anything away, as it is so exciting to figure things out as it all pans out.
Needless to say, this book is a 'six out of five' for me, going well beyond just fantastic into the realms of 'this author is a magician, weaving a web of magic and taking us to another world!!!' (less)