Well, I guess this completes the series in a satisfactory way, since we were left with the disappearance of Sophos in a previous book. Perhaps I was g...moreWell, I guess this completes the series in a satisfactory way, since we were left with the disappearance of Sophos in a previous book. Perhaps I was getting tired of the series, but this just didn't hold my interest very well. Yet another point of view - Sophos this time - but he is nowhere near the hero that Eugenides was in the first three books. In fact, there seems to be very little of him here at all. So unless you are dying to know what happened to Sophos, this book seems like just an afterthought to tie up the loose threads. There is none of the trickster quality that made Gen so endearing. Just a lot of political maneuvering. Sophos seems a bit plodding, and I'm not sure what Gen and the Queen of Eddis saw in him. It did pick up again toward the end when Sophos finally decides to fight for his right to rule Sounis.
Book Description: Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father's villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace. In Attolia, Eugenides, the new and unlikely king, has never stopped wondering what happened to Sophos. Nor has the Queen of Eddis. They send spies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as time goes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever see their friend alive again. Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the magus—and Eddis—sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever.
Series info: Book 4 of The Queen's Thief series (see The Thief)(less)
It is fun to have a new perspective here - someone who does not know Eugenides. Of course, if you have read the first two books in the series, then yo...moreIt is fun to have a new perspective here - someone who does not know Eugenides. Of course, if you have read the first two books in the series, then you know that Eugenides is not the buffoon that he seems to be. Just as much fun as the other books in the series.
Book Description: By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making. Told from the point of view of a naive young guard awaiting execution for striking the despised new king. Inexplicably, Eugenides pardons the young squad leader on one condition: Costis must faithfully serve as his personal assistant and bodyguard. But it's not until assassins unsheathe their glittering blades that Costis realizes how much the quirky king means to him.
Audio version: Jeff Woodman's superb narration highlights all the compelling action and subtle humor of a spellbinding novel with enough twists to suggest that things aren't always what they seem to be.
Series info: Book 3 of The Queen's Thief series (see The Thief)
Nothing much to add that I didn't say in my review of The Thief. Another enjoyable installment of the world created by Megan Whalen Turner - part fant...moreNothing much to add that I didn't say in my review of The Thief. Another enjoyable installment of the world created by Megan Whalen Turner - part fantasy, part adventure, part romance. Narrated by the wonderful Jeff Woodman.
Book Description: Picking up where the Newbery Honor Book "The Thief" left off, "The Queen of Attolia" finds Eugenides detained inside a dank torture chamber, where the Queen orders that his hand be cut off to punish him for his past trangressions. After his release, mischievous Gen retains his sense of adventure, but is haunted by his loss and a growing attraction to the ice-cold Queen of Attolia. But he remains fiercely loyal to his cousin, the Queen of Eddis. When war breaks out between Attolia and its two neighbors, Eddis and Sounis, Gen must use all of his smarts to devise a plan for getting the rulers together to end the conflict -- and perhaps sweep the Queen of Attolia away for himself.
Series info: #2 of The Queen's Thief series (See The Thief.)
I'll continue to be generous with this series and give it 3 stars, which is still a huge drop from the first book. I didn't dislike it, but it had non...moreI'll continue to be generous with this series and give it 3 stars, which is still a huge drop from the first book. I didn't dislike it, but it had none of what made the first book such a memorable experience. I suppose for one thing, the world-building has been established, so we don't have the mystery of figuring out what is going on. And while I still find the odd photos intriguing, the story is too much contrived by the photos instead of being an accompaniment to the story. While Jacob seems a little older and wiser in this book, there is not really any character development. The whole love story angle is very flat. I'm not a fan of cliff-hanger endings. It worked in the first book, and despite being a cliffhanger there was a sense of completion. This book just feels like "filler" material to me - enough to make a movie out of, but a pretty shallow plot for a book. Ransom Riggs writes well enough, and the historical setting is good, but I hope he will give more attention to plot and characters in the 3rd installment.
Description: Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom.(less)
I have been meaning to read this series for quite a long time now. And I love anything narrated by Jeff Woodman. The world created by Megan Whalen Tur...moreI have been meaning to read this series for quite a long time now. And I love anything narrated by Jeff Woodman. The world created by Megan Whalen Turner here is a blend of medieval fantasy (kingdoms and castles, but no magic or dragons) and ancient Greek mythology (tales of gods and goddesses). I picture Gen as a young Matthew Broderick (Ladyhawke), with the same knack for getting himself in and out of trouble. Turner has created the background mythology of this world and woven the stories of the gods into the adventure. But are they just stories, or do the gods still have a hand in the fates of mankind? The plot twists will keep readers in suspense until the very end. I had to go back and listen to it a second time once I knew the ending. Recommended for age 12 and up, but I think younger children would also enjoy it.
Book Description: Gen, the young thief, spends his time pacing restlessly in the king's prison. Chains on his arms and legs don't permit him to move very far. If only he hadn't bragged about stealing the monarch's ring, he wouldn't be here now! When the royal magus summons Gen to his office, he has a surprising proposal for the prisoner - steal a marvelous treasure for the kingdom and earn his freedom - but fail, and pay with his life. Escorted by four hostile guards, Gen sets off on a thrilling journey so filled with adventure and intrigue that the gods themselves must be involved.
The Queen's Thief series: #1 The Thief #2 The Queen of Attolia #3 The King of Attolia #4 A Conspiracy of Kings(less)
I first read this so long ago, that I do not remember reading it. Definitely written for children, Tolkien wrote this 30+ years before The Lord of the...moreI first read this so long ago, that I do not remember reading it. Definitely written for children, Tolkien wrote this 30+ years before The Lord of the Rings. Here, the famous ring is just a magic ring of invisibility, without the dark overtones and corrupting power that it would acquire later. That is not to say that the book can't also be enjoyed by teens and adults, although I found the silly rhyming names of the dwarves to be somewhat distracting. Tolkien did go back and revise The Hobbit so that the version we have now is more in line with what he wrote later after developing the world of Middle Earth. We can imagine that perhaps this is the version of his adventures that Bilbo wrote to tell his nieces and nephews. I can definitely identify with Bilbo's conflicting needs for adventure and security. But it is through adventure, through stretching ourselves, and leaving our comfort zones, that we grow as human beings. This is also a cautionary tale about greed. I look forward to seeing what Peter Jackson has done with the movie, and I'll also be taking a look at The Annotated Hobbit.
Description: A great modern classic and the prelude to The Lord of the Rings. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum. (less)
Impossible to characterize! Fantasy but not quite. Mystery/suspense but not quite. Romance but not quite. Allegory? Fairy tale? Steampunk? Metaphysica...moreImpossible to characterize! Fantasy but not quite. Mystery/suspense but not quite. Romance but not quite. Allegory? Fairy tale? Steampunk? Metaphysical? All I know is that without much of a plot, and without much character development (which should be faults), and without even a real magical contest (if that isn't a spoiler), the author has created a magical, riveting world that I won't soon forget. It jumps around in time and place and from one character to another, which should be confusing, but isn't. It just adds to the sense of an elaborate illusion, the peeling of an onion to get to the truth of why all of this has been set in motion. And whose story is it in the end? Reading this book is a bit like reading Tarot cards. What do they mean? How do they relate to each other? Is it about the past or the future? It is about symbolism, and archetypes, and how we might escape from the things that bind us. It asks us to ponder the nature of dualism, black and white, good and evil, power and weakness, truth and illusion, the nature of time and of being. Among the recognizable archetypes are the Hero's Journey, the Wheel of Fortune, Merlin in the tree, Tristan and Isolde, and the Labyrinth. The prose creates vivid images, and I think this will make a splendid movie. My favorite scene: the boat made of books sailing on a sea of ink... I am still there, and I expect to look out the window and see the black and white tents far off in the cornfield.
Description: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
This was just what the doctor ordered to provide a lighter diversion alongside Wolf Hall. I am not regretting spending actual money on the ebook. The...moreThis was just what the doctor ordered to provide a lighter diversion alongside Wolf Hall. I am not regretting spending actual money on the ebook. The intended audience is probably preteen - I would say ages 10-13. But I'm an adult and enjoyed it. The author has created a (mostly) believable underwater world (Atlantis, after it sank). The mermyds are very humanlike - some, like Nia, even have legs instead of tails - and they can breathe out of water. Nia is a spunky, likeable heroine. Some reviewers have criticized all the details about the city and its history, but that is what is bringing it alive for me. I like lots of details, and I think children do too - it's what puts you into the story. I also like the sci fi elements (the squidlike Farworlders who exist in a sort of symbiotic relationship to the mermyds). Nothing overtly Arthurian in this first book of the trilogy - this is a teenaged Niniane long before she becomes the "Lady of the Lake." I am looking forward to finding out how she gets there....
From Publishers Weekly This imaginative debut book in the Water fantasy series stars an appealing, strong-willed 16-year-old who dreams of ascending to the Low Council that, conjointly with the High Council, rules Atlantis. Nia aspires to become an Avatar like her grandfather, one of 10 mermyds who pair off with a highly intelligent alien Farworlder to govern their underwater city. But Nia's Bluefin clan chooses Garun, her "hardly noticeable" cousin to represent them in the Trials, the contest to select a new council member. And Nia soon learns that her underwater city "is not quite the perfect and open place it seems." First, Nia discovers a secret prison holding an Avatar and his Farworlder, then she realizes that her grandfather is manipulating the trials in Garun's favor. Dalkey's intriguing marine world brims with descriptions of Atlantis and mermyd life, including details of the Trials and the ceremony joining Avatar and Farworlder not to mention the mystery surrounding Garun's likely ascension to the council. Some of the plotting, however, seems truncated next to all this exposition: for example, the alliance between Nia's boyfriend, Cephan, and the imprisoned Avatar could have been more clearly drawn, and readers never learn why Nia's family opposes her entering the Trials. Perhaps more will be revealed in the next installment, Reunion (due in April), but even given these vagaries, readers will relate to the heroine, from her jealousy of Garun to her excitement at seeing Cephan. There is enough intrigue right to the finish to keep this story afloat. Ages 12-up. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Series info: Water series 01. Ascension - read ------------------------ 02. Reunion 03. Transformation (less)