I thoroughly enjoyed all three of Wrede and Stevermer's collaboration books. The Enchanted Chocolate Pot is, no question, the best of the three, but t...moreI thoroughly enjoyed all three of Wrede and Stevermer's collaboration books. The Enchanted Chocolate Pot is, no question, the best of the three, but the second two are charming additions to this world that is a blend of reality and fantasy.
My only real complaint with The Mislaid Magician was that Kate (my favorite character of the trilogy, and one of my favorite heroines of all literature) spent the entirety of the book stuck at home, dealing with the domestic end of their troubles and mysteries. Not that she wasn't useful, or didn't see any action (she certainly did) ... but as a stay-at-home mother myself, I was rooting for her to get out and wreak some havoc among the criminals, instead of having to wait for them to come to her.
Cecy and James, Thomas and Kate - their friendship is delightful, and by now, they feel like old friends to the readers as well. I can only hope that at some point, we will get to see them as grandparents, still off having adventures, magical and otherwise.(less)
I liked it, but I couldn't like it as much as I wanted to. While the concept was clever and the introductory chapters, all about life for the Darcys i...moreI liked it, but I couldn't like it as much as I wanted to. While the concept was clever and the introductory chapters, all about life for the Darcys in the past six years and how the world in general reacted to them were very well-executed, once the mystery itself started everything slowed to a slog. It was, perhaps more true to the time that Darcy and Elizabeth would hold aloof from the investigation, but why write a P&P murder mystery if the two main protagonists are only going to be observers? Very in-character observers, true, but it did make for a dull read for anyone who is hoping to see more of the cleverness and wit that these two share.
Elizabeth's observations on Charlotte and Mr Collins, though having nothing to do with the mystery, were fantastic, and Lady Catherine's letter made me laugh. Mr Bennet was perfectly in character, and I immensely appreciate James' portrayal of Jane and Mr Bingley as gentle and compassionate, but NOT dull or ignorant, deliberately naive and mawkish. Not many people get their characters right, but she did.
All in all, it was an enjoyable read, but not the hugely entertaining story for which I had hoped.(less)
Much as it pains me to give anything less than five stars to anything by DWJ, this was not one of her best (hey, they can't ALL be fantastic, can they...moreMuch as it pains me to give anything less than five stars to anything by DWJ, this was not one of her best (hey, they can't ALL be fantastic, can they?). The pacing felt uneven, and I think the resolutions was a bit too vague for the book's intended audience. The narrator, Mig, was another problem for me - her constant tears and whininess and inability to do much of anything for herself did not make her a tremendously sympathetic character, though I suppose she was rather realistic.
On the plus side, this has all the whimsy one has come to expect from DWJ, is cleverly woven, and Aunt Maria's ending, while it might not satisfy a younger audience, seemed tremendously appropriate to me. As always, I admire DWJ for not doing the expected - her books are all fresh in a genre that has become terribly repetitive.(less)
I was bitterly disappointed in Pierce's latest offering. Not just because of the surprise twist near the end, that mangled an already-established char...moreI was bitterly disappointed in Pierce's latest offering. Not just because of the surprise twist near the end, that mangled an already-established character beyond recognition, but because none of the characters lived up to their former selves, nor did the story match the other two in this series.
Beka's voice was dull and lifeless in this story that dragged on and went nowhere. From the quiet but determined young woman of the former two books, she came across in "Mastiff" as insensate and apathetic. Not only were we presented with her as the victim of an emotionally abusive relationship, without any explanation as to why she would let herself get caught in such a trap (nor why her friends would let her do so), we were handed her new relationship and told it was good, without any reason shown as to why. In real life, that would be called a rebound, and it would not, in fact, be healthy; nor would entering into a serious relationship with someone you have only known under stressful and abnormal circumstances be healthy. Both relationships were utterly out of character for sensible, practical Beka.
We got to see far too little of any of the characters we came to appreciate in "Terrier," or new friends made in "Bloodhound," and none of the introduced characters here (including the mage Farmer) lived up to Beka's former friends.
As for the story itself, where it didn't drag it clunked. It meandered around and preached without ever showing anything interesting happening (almost everything interesting took place off stage) or giving sufficient motivations for the plot. Points brought up in the first two books had no resolution here, and the events of this book were not given enough foreshadowing earlier in the series.
I have been a fan of Pierce ever since discovering her "Protector of the Small" series, and Beka was my favorite character after Kel. Not only has "Mastiff" turned me off Beka for good, it has turned me off Pierce. To see her betray her characters in such a fashion has left me with no interest in reading any new works from her ever again.(less)
A lifelong fan of Wrede's, I found Shadow Magic lacking somewhat in the sharp humor and witty characters I have come to expect from her - unsurprising...moreA lifelong fan of Wrede's, I found Shadow Magic lacking somewhat in the sharp humor and witty characters I have come to expect from her - unsurprising, given that this is her first book. Judging it by itself, however, not in comparison to her other books (comparisons being, after all, odious), it is a good read. The world-building is intricate; the plot holds together well; the characters are not quite as well-rounded as I would prefer, but still interesting and entertaining. All in all, a book I'm glad to add to my collection.(less)
Another well-written book by Duane. My chief complaint is that it seems a re-hashing of the first two - same enemy, same stakes, same difficulties, sa...moreAnother well-written book by Duane. My chief complaint is that it seems a re-hashing of the first two - same enemy, same stakes, same difficulties, same sacrifices, same ending. New world (literally) and a new protagonist, but everything else seems like we've read it all before. If the rest of the Young Wizards series is more of the same, just the exact same battle fought in various places, I don't think I'll be reading many more of them - a change in location and cast of characters is hardly enough to keep my attention for the same story told over in the same way, no matter how well-written it is or how much I enjoy the main characters.(less)
The Austins manage in this, the first book featuring them, to be real, idealistic, and lovable all at once. None of them are perfect, but overall they...moreThe Austins manage in this, the first book featuring them, to be real, idealistic, and lovable all at once. None of them are perfect, but overall they represents exactly what I long for most - a family of loving, thinking, laughing individuals. I can never read a dinnertime scene without fiercely wishing for that in my own house.
If you are looking for an exciting story, this isn't it. If you are looking for a story that seems simple on the surface, yet simmers with quiet joy underneath, that stays with you for a long time after reading, look no further. Meet the Austins is the book for you.(less)