This is the first book by Bernard Cornwell that I've had the pleasure to read. And, pleasure it was. :o)
It's true, there are no great surprises and th...moreThis is the first book by Bernard Cornwell that I've had the pleasure to read. And, pleasure it was. :o)
It's true, there are no great surprises and the story follows the familiar historical romance trope of downtrodden heroine who is really much more than at first she appears and who, in the end, is rescued by that tantalizing combination of love and a secret, noble past.
Dorcas Slythe thinks she's the daughter of an epically nasty Puritan father at the start of the Protestant Revolution. Of course, she's not. She's the secret love-child and fabulously wealthy heiress to the aristocrat who was once the most handsome, charismatic nobleman in Europe.
About to be married to a grotesque, greedy, slug of a man, she escapes to find her true ancestry, destiny, and love--a handsome red haired Lord whom she met while illicitly bathing naked in a stream.
There are bad guys who seem good, good guys who seem bad, and even super-secret jewels. It's everything a girl could want to curl up with on a cold winter's night with her cat and a roaring fire...until her own lover gets home a bit later.... ;o)
I had a really hard time rating this book about Eva Nine, possibly the last human girl alive in an alien world....moreWondLa = Wonderful?
Meh, not so much.
I had a really hard time rating this book about Eva Nine, possibly the last human girl alive in an alien world.
There were a lot of things I really enjoyed about The Search For WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi: the main character, Eva, is very engaging, as is her "Muther" robot and many of the creatures she meets on her quest to find other humans and to escape the evil huntsman, Beesteel.
The story started as strong as any I've ever read. I recall--explicitly--saying out-loud, "Oh, yay! It's going to be good!" after reading the first chapter. Even through the first hundred pages of character introduction and world building, I was seriously feeling the five stars.
And then, the "middle".
Two hundred pages of repetitive world-building. I found myself asking, "Okay...is something, ANYTHING significant going to happen any time soon?
And then, when the odd thing did, it was over so fast and so anti-climactic (Oh, look! She escaped Beesteel, again....), that frankly, I started getting annoyed.
Fortunately, I kept at it and was rewarded with a satisfactory ending. Over-all, though, I feel this book held such great promise but for me, was cumulatively underwhelming.
I give the first 100 pages five stars, the next 200 pages, 2 stars, and the final 100 pages, 4 stars. Add to that a hearty five stars for the illustrations (I loved those--all of them), and we eek out a weak 3 stars on the whole. (less)
A few weeks back, I ranted a bit (okay, a lot), about the absence of aspirational heroes in Middle-Grade fiction these days. For the most part, I’m s...more A few weeks back, I ranted a bit (okay, a lot), about the absence of aspirational heroes in Middle-Grade fiction these days. For the most part, I’m still feeling tantram-y about the general state of things in this regard.
WONDER, by R.J. Palacio, goes a long way to correct this.
Let’s face it: there are books and then, there are BOOKS! And, by the latter category, I mean those rare gems that not only captivate us but also change us—-for the better—-by us having had the good fortune to have read them.
WONDER is such a wonder. It tilted my orbit, just a touch, and here’s why:
The story is about Auggie, a normal kid with a horrifying facial deformity. Yes, I said *deformity* although, like everyone else in the story, the impact of that word diminishes for the reader as we, too, get to know this remarkable little man.
The story unfolds through the eyes of first, Auggie, then in sections devoted to the people who know and love him. It’s a study in perspective—-how each character views and copes with the daunting challenges of everyday life when you’re always the center of unwanted, and sometimes hostile, attention.
The writing is sublime perfection. Simple, and yet, so, so powerful. Palacio’s voice carries the sophisticated eloquence needed to lift such a melancholy story into the realm of inspiration.
One of my favorite passages:
“Why do I have to be so ugly, Mommy?” I whispered. “No, baby, you’re not…” “I know I am.” She kissed me all over my face. She kissed my eyes that came down too far. She kissed my cheeks that looked punched in. She kissed my tortoise mouth. She said soft words that I know were meant to help me, but words can’t change my face.”
My heart aches, just typing that.
There is so much wisdom in this book. I’m in no way surprised that so many have plucked pearls from its text. I am particularly fond of this one:
“I think that there should be rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
Wouldn’t we all be better people if we gave more of those and received at least one?
Read this book. You’ll be grateful you did. (less)
I really enjoyed this book. As others have mentioned, the tone reminds me of "Lemony Snicket", with its "Dear Reader" authorial intrusion (which, I lo...moreI really enjoyed this book. As others have mentioned, the tone reminds me of "Lemony Snicket", with its "Dear Reader" authorial intrusion (which, I love). It even features its own 'series of unfortunate events'. Great cast of characters, loads of chocolate cake and carrots (nevermind--you'll see how the two go together), and a rollicking pace that kept me planted as firmly as Goblin garbage in the Underworld until I'd turned the last page. There's not a tween topside who won't enjoy this book. Very highly recommend it. (less)