Kim Wilkins makes me proud to be an Australian. Why? Because she is the author of the most amazing dark, twisted adult fairytale I have ever read. Taking all the elements that make us love fairytales, the darkness, the death, wicked witches, fairies, forbidden love, Kim Wilkins weaves a magical tale set in modern day Berlin. Christine, an ordinary girl with whom the reader can relate, is staying in Berlin with her boyfriend, Jude. Jude is a painter spending a year in the building of bizarre art lover Mandy Z.
Christine is haunted by tragedy: by the death of her parents in a hit and run that also left her with chronic pain, and by a half forgotten childhood memory that begins to come back to her of her childhood friend May, who disappeared. Mayfridh is now the queen of fairies, but she is lonely, and wants to reconnect with Christine. And as she insinuates herself into Christine's life, events begin to unravel, along with a sinister threat that none of them are aware of.
I love this story because it goes back to the original dark roots of fairytales, with all the passion and horror that are often taken out of modern day fairytales to make them more acceptable and 'child friendly.' This book has everything I am looking for in a book, and more! It blew me away the first time I read it, and I keep coming back to read it again! There is also lush descriptive prose throughout the book, not a dull sentence to be found. I wholeheartedly recommend it!...more
Like Ginger Snaps, Blood and Chocolate combines the pain and confusion of adolescence with werewolf legends. Navigating isolation, friendships, familyLike Ginger Snaps, Blood and Chocolate combines the pain and confusion of adolescence with werewolf legends. Navigating isolation, friendships, family duties and relationships, filled with heightened adolescent emotions is hard enough without being a werewolf.
Blood and Chocolate flows nicely, and is very readable. While some readers seem to find it difficult to relate to Vivian because she is ultra-attractive, I think that can be looked past, and is not really that important an issue.
I think this is at its heart a rather poignant portrait of a teenage girl trying to find her place in the world. At worst it is a fun adventure with lots of teenage hormones, romance and action....more
Some people say children shouldn't read scary books. I think that's rubbish. As a child I loved dark fairytales, with stories of giant killers, dragons, evil stepmothers, murders, the list goes on. Of course, it depends on the child. For some children, these stories may be frightening, but for those who are not, these are wonderful adventures. For me as a child, stories like this never scared me, but things set in the 'real world' where horrible things happened did.
The Graveyard Book, is, in my opinion, a book that can be enjoyed by almost all ages. I would not recommend it for very young children, as it may be too scary for them, it is really up to the parent to judge. I have been told it is best for 9 and 10 year olds up. But it is definitely a book that can be enjoyed by both adults and children. It was simply and beautifully written, and very evocative. Not that I would expect any less from Neil Gaiman.
The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody (Bod for short), a boy who is brought up in a graveyard by ghosts and other mysterious creatures after the murder of his entire family. Outside the graveyard, danger still lurks in the form of the man who still seeks to kill him. The story follows Bod as he grows older, and experiences adventures and danger in and outside of the graveyard.
Most of the characters in this book are dead people, and they are very likeable and feel like real people you could really like. My favourite character was Miss Lupescu, but I won't give away too much as she comes in later.
In this day and age, where the supernatural is currently such a popular topic, it is refereshing to see a story like this that follows no formulas and takes its own storytelling path. I have always loved tales of the supernatural and magic, but I get frustrated that so many of the stories these days follow formulas, and I really enjoy something different, like this.
The Clockwork Angel is a Steampunk prequel to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. While I did really enjoy the original series (or at least the three of them I read, apparently there is a fourth now) I feel that this book is far superior to the initial series. First of all, I enjoy the use of sarcastic humour on the parts of characters Jem and Will. Their wry comments made me laugh many times and I'm not someone who is really into humour. This made them both likeable, despite their secrets and hidden darkness. Although I loved that too.
I enjoyed the setting. I love things set in Victorian England, but I enjoy the Steampunk element because it allows for strong, emancipated female characters, and anachronistic technology and social mores. Clare seemed to have a good handle on both creating the characters and understanding where their behaviour differed from social behaviour of the time and making the reasons for it clear. For instance, the main character, Tessa was surprised at the familiar way that Shadowhunter adults addressed each other by their first names. I also liked the references to Boadicea, the warrior queen.
Tessa is a likeable character because she is strong and determined. She does what she has to to survive, acting with great bravery and initiative. I also liked the characters of Will and Jem, the possible love interests. Although I feel that one is really put forward more strongly as a love interest than the other. Unlike with Simon in the original series, I liked both the main characters in this. Both had a great sarcastic sense of humour, and they both had darkness and tortured pasts, which always makes characters fascinating. It's that sense of wanting to know their secrets and save them from their darkness that draws you to them. I can't wait to learn more about the past of one of them that has not yet been revealed.
I also liked Charlotte, head of the institute and Sophie, and would like to hear more of their stories, and perhaps the back story of Charlotte and Henry. There is some good steamy romance also, although never getting past the PG level, although there are references to sex (assignations).
There hasn't been all that much Steampunk technology yet, nothing out of the ordinary, and the supernatural elements from the earlier books are still at the forefront of the novel, but I think all the elements in the plotline have been well woven together. As usual with Clare's books, I am much more interested in the interplay between the various characters than the particular plots and machinations of the seedy underworld.
I am currently on the library waiting list for the next novel, and very much looking forward to it....more
The first writer to really humanise vampires, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles remain modern literary masterworks. She took the character of the vampire from dark menacing presence, and fleshed them out. She gave them life histories, motivations, secrets. She made them dark and tortured and beautifully wicked. It was Anne Rice who truly taught us to love vampires.
Her books are eloquently penned, Gothic epics spanning centuries, filled with opulence and terror. Paris, Louisiana, New Orleans, Italy, Egypt... she takes us across the world. I discovered her novels when I was only thirteen or fourteen and was swept away by them. Her stories of the Savage Garden of life, and the predators that haunt it. Tortured, regretful, so very human Louis. Misunderstood and misanthropic Lestat, sometimes the villain, sometimes the hero.
It is clear that most modern vampire stories draw on Anne Rice's mythos. Louis, especially, the tortured vampire sometimes forced by his guilt to feed upon rats instead of humans clearly played a part in the creation of Angel (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel), and, of course, the flavour of the moment- Edward Cullen. In The Vampire Diaries, the painful and unhealthy co-dependant relationship between the brothers could be said to mirror the early relationship of Lestat and Louis. Even the migration of modern vampire novels to America, especially the South can be traced to Anne Rice's novels.
So why aren't their praises sung so much anymore? Why are modern YA novels preferred to these classic Gothic tales? Do love triangles and high school romance appeal more to the modern audiences? I will admit to watching a the Twilight DVDs (I could never get into the books) and enjoying them as far as rather uninvolved enjoyment goes. After all there is some good cinematography, and the landscape is beautiful, however I always felt there was something missing. The focus was too small for me, the story of two lovers, not a complex plot involving the lives of many over a long time and it does not share Anne Rice's dark, violent lyricism.
Rewatching films like Interview With The Vampire and Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula, they clutch at my heart. I lament ever seeing modern vampire films to equal them. Of course, Coppola's Dracula was heavily adapted from the novel, the whole dark love story element likely having been influenced by The Vampire Chronicles.
On Goodreads, most of the Vampire Chronicles books are rated at a little over 3 ½ stars, far too low a rating for books that spawned an entire genre of their own. Twilight rates approximately 0.20% higher.
I think we need to rediscover the modern classics of our era such as these novels. I will never forgot the sense of awe I felt when first reading these books, the respect I felt for the brilliant writer who, by letting us into the hearts of vampires, let them into our hearts. ...more
As a young teenager, long before the twilight craze, this was the first vampire novel I ever read. I was completely drawn into the world of this storyAs a young teenager, long before the twilight craze, this was the first vampire novel I ever read. I was completely drawn into the world of this story (a retelling of Dracula) and hung on every word. I loved the created chracter of Ox, and the rewritten character of Mina. I will always remember this book with fondness. After this, I moved on to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and, of course, the original Dracula novel, but I will never forget the dark magic of this book....more
I read this quite a while back, and I liked that it didn't do the typical zombie thing, or even the typical romance. As others have previously stated,I read this quite a while back, and I liked that it didn't do the typical zombie thing, or even the typical romance. As others have previously stated, this is more about discrimination. The 'dead' kids can think and move- albeit usually more slowly than normal kids- and just want to try to get on with their lives. There were some interesting character insights such as the main antagonist hating zombies because his dead girlfriend had failed to come back from the dead. It was fairly well paced and enjoyable, although not the greatest thing I have ever read.
As others mentioned, I don't think this cover really works, and I like the one with the dead rose much more. ...more
There are two sides to Finley Jayne's personality. One is sweet and meek, like a good Victorian girl shoudl be. The other is fast and strong and enjoys violence. It is this part that protects her when her employer's son tries to force his unwanted attentions on her. Terrified of what will happen to her for hurting a rich and important young man, Finley flees. Which is the best thing that could have happened to her. Knocked down Duke Griffin King's velocycle, she soon finds herself part of his team...
The Girl in the Steel Corset was enjoyable and difficult to put down. It has good pacing and action, strong female characters that are likeable and somewhat relatable, and smouldering young men who make you weak at the knees.
Finley is a great character because she is not passive. She doesn't just let things happen to her, she fights back. I like proactive heroines who don't just wait around for men to rescue them. I also love Emily who is an inventor, wonderfully intelligent and very spunky.
I also enjoyed the references to Jekyll and Hyde, A Journey to the Centre of the Earth and the descriptions of the Aether. I've always loved Victorian mysteries and horror stories, and science fiction of the past, such as HG Wells. I enjoyed the loving friendship between Griff and Sam, it's nice to see a friendship like that portrayed between men.
I enjoyed this book completely, it had all the elements I love: A Victorian setting but with strong, modern, intelligent women who can take care of themselves; supernatural/ mystical elements (the Aether) and cool technology....more