I read this book aloud to my seven-year-old over the course of a few weeks, but I have to admit I would have finished it sooner and solo, had I not prI read this book aloud to my seven-year-old over the course of a few weeks, but I have to admit I would have finished it sooner and solo, had I not promised not to jump ahead. We picked this book when the title and cover caught our eyes while browsing the library shelves. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon brought me back to my love of fairy tales. Minli’s story is the kind of heroic tale we pass down through generations.
The main character of the book is an adventurous and imaginative girl named Minli whose family lives with little material goods or money, and just enough of everything else. Ma, the mother, is unhappy with the family’s fortune. Ba, the father, keeps Minli’s imagination running wild with classic Chinese myths: prompting Minli to set off on her own journey to change her family’s fortune.
The quality that I loved most about this story was the interweaving of classic Chinese legends with a new tale of a brave heroine. Grace Lin writes the legends in, having various characters relay them over the course of the novel as Minli continues on her journey. Reading the legends offered a way to see how the history of each character relates to their present day decisions and attitudes. Which brings me to the another stellar element to this novel.
I absolutely adored getting to know so many different characters! Each one was unique and individual, even two characters who are meant to be identical. Although Minli was the protagonist, the reader is able to see private moments of Ma and Ba too, which shows how two totally different adult personalities are affected by the spontaneity of their whimsical child. These private moments were just as integral to the novel as the high-energetic adventures. Dragon is a sage who doesn’t just serve as help to Minli. He also requires the knowledge of the youth at various times throughout the story.
This book was long, but it was necessary, I think, in order to include all of the legends. The pacing was steady throughout. There are times, in reading or writing, where I feel like a scene might be just transitional. I appreciate stories that make the transitional moments equally as important as the major events. I don’t believe the book could have done without any of the legends either, and in fact, I found myself wanting to read more. We’ve already added Grace Lin’s other books to our TBR pile.
I recommend this book as a nice fantasy escape where the imagery is seen through poetic metaphors such as skies brewing like tea. If you enjoy myths, legends, fairy tales and the like, this might be for you. ALSO! If you are looking for a title to read aloud to a young child, or for an advanced reader who still prefers to read younger themes, this would be a good choice. This book is multi-award winning (A NEWBERRY!)....more
I wasn't a huge fan of this book. I thought there were cases were it introduced a lot of big themes and concepts without really touching on the emotioI wasn't a huge fan of this book. I thought there were cases were it introduced a lot of big themes and concepts without really touching on the emotional aspect. It felt like each big scene was rushed through and the moments between the action stretched out too long.
I think this might be a good book for someone who is looking to learn more about WW2 and Pearl Harbor (and is psychologically equipped for it) but needs to do so at chapter book reading level. I do not recommend this book for children in chapter book age range, unless they are at a level where they can handle the graphic aspect of war. ...more
This book captivated me immediately. The story starts with the protagonist, Veronika waking in the hospital, after she has recently attempted suicide with sleeping pills. She describes herself as a boring woman, who lives a life everyone thinks is perfect. “She had managed to appear utterly independent when she was, in fact, desperately in need of company. When she entered a room everyone would turn to look at her, but she almost always ended the night alone, in the convent, watching a TV that she hadn’t even bothered tohave properly tuned.” (67 Coelho) She sounded average, but the description of her subtle actions made me want to know more. I read on, almost frustrated at the protagonist, because I swore she had depth she refused to admit. When Veronika wakes in an asylum, she asks about her condition. The doctor informs her about irreversible damage on her heart from medication. Veronika is told she has about a week to live, and the book takes place over the course of this last week.
This books deals heavily with internal conflicts. The chapters are short, and a few of them seem private, almost voyeuristic. The story progresses as Veronika finds her passion for life. She starts speaking her mind more freely, and doing what she wants with no regrets. Expressing herself causes her to wonder about these other aspects of her self, and how long she’s been this way. Paulo Coelho captures the conflict of wanting to die, but not feeling quite ready, in a way that feels too real. I enjoyed this book, and it felt very appropriate for some of the life changes I’m seeing now.
There are other secondary characters in this book who also see some major changes. Mari a long term resident of Villete (the asylum) considers her reasons for being a resident. Veronika has an impact on every character she meets in the week. I anticipated the ending about half way through the story, but it was wrapped up so beautifully, it was still a gift. I’ve already read The Alchemist, and I have Brida to read next. Has anyone else enjoyed this title, or others from Coelho?
One word I learned while reading this title:
1.) Minstrels: “Like the ancient minstrels, he begant to write her poems, in the hope of one day marrying her.” (57 Coelho).
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines minstrel as “a musical entertainer in the middle ages.”....more
James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is a middle grade fantasy fiction novel written by Colm McElwain. The book follows the adventures of orphanJames Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is a middle grade fantasy fiction novel written by Colm McElwain. The book follows the adventures of orphan James Clyde and his best friends/adopted siblings Ben and Mary. Shortly after the beginning of the novel James Clyde finds out he was born in another world that he is set to become King of, a land called Orchestra. James must protect one of the diamonds of Orchestra from getting into the wrong hands. Through every part of the novel James has to face many obstacles to protect the diamond and to return it to where it belongs.
This book is written in third person omniscient point of view. The point of view helps to appeal to older readers through use of descriptive language. By writing the story through an all-seeing point of view readers are aware of what is going on at all times but still kept curious as to how the book will end. Although the main character is eleven years old, the adventures he faces keep readers of all ages intrigued. At times the point of view can be a bit confusing; especially in many of the action scenes when the reader is switched to different parts rather quickly. It can be hard to follow for some younger readers.
The setting was described so adequately as to place the reader directly in the book.
“He felt as though he had entered a beautiful painting and was enjoying at first hand the wondrous use of colour.”
The scene is entirely imaginable and the strange characters met throughout Orchestra are detailed very well, one might even be able to draw them out. There are a few portions of the story which lack in action but the reader can make it through the few lulls they will be pleasantly surprised with the ending of the novel.
The characters are relatable with their odd quirks. There is Mary the innocent but full of faith eight year old, Ben the protective but doubtful best friend and brother, and finally James who proves to be loyal and brave through the end of the book.
This book will appeal to readers of all ages who enjoy a good fantasy novel with an air of mystery and a good amount of quest themed action. This new series is one that should be picked up by Middle Grade and Young Adult readers who are looking for a brave character who overcomes their feelings of self-doubt. ...more