I'd probably give this a 2.5 overall. There were definitely some cute and funny parts, but the characters were cookie-cutter. Them getting together by...moreI'd probably give this a 2.5 overall. There were definitely some cute and funny parts, but the characters were cookie-cutter. Them getting together by the end of the first chapter kind of turned me off. The story has potential, though, so I may go on to volume 2. I can just see it being quite repetitive. (less)
This book was enjoyable, and nearly any child will find something to relate to between the two main characters, Hazel and Jack. For anyone who grew up...moreThis book was enjoyable, and nearly any child will find something to relate to between the two main characters, Hazel and Jack. For anyone who grew up with her nose in a fantasy book, Hazel is you - the world doesn't make sense, because it doesn't involve that special something books have. The real world is boring, and you don't fit in it. You fit in the magical side of the universe that hides underneath everything. And when it comes to friends, you gravitate towards people like you - like Jack. But then Jack begins to change and drift towards the real world, where boys are no longer friends with girls, because it's not the thing to do.
The story tugs at many heartstrings: the pains of growing up, having a split family, losing friends, not knowing where you fit in. It answers many of the questions in the best way it can, but also doesn't sugarcoat it. Some things in life cannot be fixed.
For any lover of fantasy books, I would recommend Breadcrubms. The references inside are countless, from classic fairy tales to popular children's lit (Golden Compass, Harry Potter, Wrinkle in Time, Chronicles of Narnia, etc.). The language is beautiful, and the characters are far from perfect, which also makes them beautiful.(less)
If you enjoy magical realism--or just an awesome imagination--you have to read this collection of short stories. I was definitely surprised myself wit...moreIf you enjoy magical realism--or just an awesome imagination--you have to read this collection of short stories. I was definitely surprised myself with the impact Tan could produce with such few words. Perhaps I got along so well with this book because it mirrored not only other favorite authors of mine, but also my own writing style (or attempts; people who have taken writing classes with me may be the only ones able to verify that). Being able to add a touch of the bizarre to ordinary worlds and make it sound completely believable and, most importantly, preferable is a great accomplishment. The illustrations that helped move each story along added fantastical depth and provided even more evidence of Tan's brilliant imagination. I'm not sure I can pick a favorite tale. Certainly, some stood out a more than others, but they were all excellent. Everything had a touch of Neil Gaiman magic with a few parts Monty Python. The stories had simple set-ups but just went so deep when it came to theme. The poetic nature of them will make you think. I'm not sure I can praise this book properly; so I will just tell you all to go read it and find out for yourself. Go on, now.(less)
The second installment of the Otori was as equally good as the first. However, it simply had a different feel to it. As this story takes place in-betw...moreThe second installment of the Otori was as equally good as the first. However, it simply had a different feel to it. As this story takes place in-between two major stages in the characters' lives, most of the "action" is a little slow-paced. Many would consider this a filler book; however, the information is undoubtably crucial to the rest of the story. I look forward to the coming battles in book three and four. I listened to the audio version of this book. The guy who read for Takeo was great. The woman who read for Kaede, however, drove me nuts. She read slower than molasses and had little to no emotion. The robotic tone made every character sound stiff, when I know they aren't from reading the first book. Plus, there was hardly any distinction between the characters voices, so telling them apart was a little difficult at times. Not being able to see when the chapters changed, I begged for Takeo's story to pick up again after Kaede was going for a few tracks. This reader was really a downfall for the character, who is so strong and (usually) full of emotion. When you read a line like, " 'I can't take this anymore,' Kaede said on the brink of tears.' " flatter than a hotel pillow, there's a problem.(less)
It's always welcoming to have a story in which the princesses fend for themselves. In this case, it's the prince who needs rescuing. Who's really to a...moreIt's always welcoming to have a story in which the princesses fend for themselves. In this case, it's the prince who needs rescuing. Who's really to argue when Cinderella picks up a glass sword, Sleeping Beauty is a whip-slinging martial artist, and Snow White throws snowflake shurikens and rules at mirror magic. You don't need me to tell you this was quite fun. I enjoy fairytale remakes, and one that do not necessarily follow the traditional road. Mercedes Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdoms rules that genre, but this will easily be the runner-up. Hines took the princesses we know best through Disney--and a good few who know the original plots from Grimm and pals--and added to the story. He brought very interesting back-stories and gave each a whole new level. I will start by saying I never really liked Snow White, in any rendition. This is my new favorite Snow White and I want to read more about her. She was fantastic, strong and feminine at the same time, resourceful and brave. Sleeping Beauty (Talia) has quite a dark past that's not at all Spinning Wheels and Dragons and Kissing Princes. She provided a great contrast between Snow and Danielle and also brought most of hand-to-hand fighting smarts. She's also extremely loyal. Danielle, aka Cinderella, even though she's the Main Princess in this story, gets less attention at times. However, she's still a great character and holds onto a lot of her initial kindness despite how often she gets screwed over. These girls were My Little Pony level of friendship, and they kicked ass at the same time. My only gripe is that the story progressed almost too easily. Every tip they got and every hunch brought them where they needed to be first time. They never hit a dead end, and I found that to be a bit unrealistic. Perhaps magic was helping and it just wasn't specified? But I feel the story could have been fleshed out a little more. Still reading the next one! I'd like to see how Hines expands the rest of our fairytale friends.(less)
I wish I could give this 4.5 stars. The only thing keeping this back from a 5 was the pacing. At some points during the story, you miss entire chunks...moreI wish I could give this 4.5 stars. The only thing keeping this back from a 5 was the pacing. At some points during the story, you miss entire chunks of time. I can understand the book needed to cover a very long period within 500 pages. I just think it could have been scheduled a little differently. It would not have hurt the story if we spent a little less time when she was a kit, and saw more of her deputyship.
That aside, I really enjoyed this book. Bluestar is quite the infamous character within the first Warrior series, and she always managed to bring out a strong response in me. Her character was so fiery and alive, and carried so much negativity (well, she wasn't negative, she was dark - which I can relate to)! I hated her and loved her at the same time. This book gives every little thing she does once Firepaw comes into the story a reason. If you ever wondered why Bluestar was so cranky, this answers every question. I don't want to give too much away - Warrior fans should read this Super Edition; they will not be disappointed. No wonder she was the way she was. She grew up with a bunch of douche-bags (for lack of a better term at the moment). Her father basically ignored her existence, her sister falls for a big-headed jerk, and she's surrounded by shady leadership and a half-crazed medicine cat. I'm sorry, Bluestar, honestly. I need to re-read Into the Woods (et al.) and give you a second chance.(less)
This book kept teetering between two and three stars. The story and its characters had potential, I just don't think either was used in the best way....moreThis book kept teetering between two and three stars. The story and its characters had potential, I just don't think either was used in the best way. The language and the main character's narration was quite monotonous. There were chapters that were nearly the same, with only minor differences. I wanted to feel more for Rhine and Gabriel, but she had the tendency to flip-flop and talk herself in circles (not to mention she brought up the same things over and over again.. I get it!). The book had its high points; I can see why a certain crowd would love this story. However, too many times for my liking, the whole thing plateaued to "Meh."(less)