No suprises here - this is another excellent children's book by Neil Gaiman. It's set in a time when the Vikings regularly raided places like ScotlandNo suprises here - this is another excellent children's book by Neil Gaiman. It's set in a time when the Vikings regularly raided places like Scotland (which is precisely how Odd's father found, fell in love with, and abducted Odd's mother), and when the gods were real. When Odd's father didn't return one time, Odd's mother eventually had to remarry and Odd's stepfather was cruel. So finally Odd decided to leave the village. What follows is a delightful tale.
This book has a slightly old-fashioned feel to it, which is perfect given its kinship to old myths and legends. The bookshop I work in has this in a new edition lavishly illustrated by Chris Riddell, but this older edition has lovely pen-and-ink illustrations by Brett Helquist which I enjoyed just as much....more
That's all the reader needs to know. In fact, the reader doesn't need to know anything about it because Jamie weaves it into the narrative and you don't notice you're learning something.
So, the gist of the book is that Jamie's older sister, Summerlee, has been off the rails for the last three years (she's now 18). Then on her 18th birthday she buys a Lotto ticket - using numbers that Jamie suggested, but which she later denies - and wins over 7 million dollars. Immediately she moves out and hosts drunken and drug-saturated parties and gets into trouble with the police. And of course, in rebellion to her parents' advice she welcomes the media attraction.
If you've read the blurb you know what happens next - their younger sister Phoebe is kidnapped.
This is an intelligent and excellent novel. It's not action after action after action (though there certainly is major stimulation towards the end) but a novel of suspense, of emotions, of a teenager trying to think things through, of memories, of family relationships and friendship ... I had troubles putting it down in order to sleep!...more
I would like to put some quotes in this review but I had to take the book back to the library. The thing is, we did a couple of library trips this weeI would like to put some quotes in this review but I had to take the book back to the library. The thing is, we did a couple of library trips this week, which totalled 8 libraries visited, and I maxed my card (as did the grandchildren). And I still had reserved books to pick up, which incur a $2.00 fee each if not picked up within the time period stated. None of which has anything at all to do with this book.
Terry Pratchett consistently gives me extreme pleasure. This, this time, is despite the fact that vampires are the plot drivers in the novel. I can't stand vampire stories. I read the Bram Stoker classic years ago. Fewer years ago than that I read a book set in Rome (maybe) which was contemporary. It was quite good, but I didn't like it and can't now remember what it was called. I have less than zero interest in these recent bestseller books and movies which glamorize the truly vile creature that is a vampire.
Using them to poke fun at the pretentious is great - these vampires haven't just come into the modern world (as it were - this is Discworld, we mustn't forget), but they claim to be inured to all the traditional vampire-killing methods, and they have plans to take over the world, or at least Lancre. Of course, the rather dim but very well-meaning King Verence sent them an invitation to his daughter's baptism, being also very modern and believing the best of everybody. So once you've invited them ......
Enter the witches! And a terribly earnest religious nutter (also invited, but to perform the baptism). And the story evolves. And there's philosophy within the general hilarity and excitement. Pratchett at his usual excellence....more
I don't think there's any children's author of magic who comes close to Diana Wynne Jones. Yes, I loved the Harry Potter books (and movies), but HP haI don't think there's any children's author of magic who comes close to Diana Wynne Jones. Yes, I loved the Harry Potter books (and movies), but HP has standard-type magic with potions and waving of wands, and the world apart from the magic is just like the real world. Diana Wynne Jones, on the other hand, has different ways that magic happens - her Chrestomanci books have their own, and the Young Wizards have their own, and the magic of the Dalemark Quartet is again very different - and in each book (or series) they talk about the magic differently.
In this book we don't know we're dealing with magic for some while. At first we have a huge man, named the Goon by Howard's sister Awful, who is ensconced in their kitchen and says he won't leave until their father has paid up his 2000 to Archer. But then we hear that Arthur "farms" electricity in their town. And there are 6 others, siblings to Archer, and they all "farm" something or other else, so that they between them have control of the whole town. Who knew?!
This book is a romp. There are hilarious goings-on, fabulous characters, and twists and turns that delight the reader and horribly confuse Howard and his family. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!...more
This is a fun book for children set back in the time of Leonardo da Vinci and his experiments making various machines. While some of the happenings seThis is a fun book for children set back in the time of Leonardo da Vinci and his experiments making various machines. While some of the happenings seem a little improbable, it hardly matters as the two travelling children along with the girl's interfering angels end up fighting an evil count and his henchmen. Semi-historical fun....more
This is the second book I've read by this author (my first was We Are All Made of Molecules) - both have been about misfit boys and involve other charThis is the second book I've read by this author (my first was We Are All Made of Molecules) - both have been about misfit boys and involve other characters who are different to the 'norm'. Happily, Nielsen does it well; even more happily, I'm satisfied enough that I'm marking her to continue reading.
In Word Nerd the boy is 12 years old, has a peanut allergy and a severely over-protective mother, plays Scrabble with his mother every night, is a victim of bullies, etc. His mother has been moving them from town to town every couple of years, which has resulted this last time in his pretending to have made friends. This ends up disastrously - the 'friends', who are actually his current lot of bullies, think his claims of peanut allergy are as real as his claims that he went to a party of one of their places, and they put a peanut into his sandwich. He nearly dies. And ultimately, he becomes homeschooled.
Enter the ex-convict son of the landlords, who Ambrose (12-yr-old above) discovers plays Scrabble. Enter boredom at home on his own. Enter a notice about Scrabble club once a week, on the night that his mother goes out with a colleague. Say no more - deceit enters the scene.
This is fun and serious all at once, with a number of issues explored. On top of that, the dialogue is fun. I leave this review with a little conversation between Ambrose and Cosmo:
'Then why were you in jail, really?' He hesitated, then he said, 'I did some B and E's. Breaking and entering into people's houses.' 'You stole their stuff?' He nodded. 'They let me off on probation the first time, but the second time the judge felt she needed to send me a message, so she sentenced me to six months.' 'Wow. They let you off the first time and you did it again?' Cosmo nodded. 'How dumb is that?' He looked started for a second, but then he laughed. 'You have a point. . . .'
This is an excellent children's book about a boy, Paddy, who finds out his grandfather's story of Guadalcanal. What I really like about it is that itThis is an excellent children's book about a boy, Paddy, who finds out his grandfather's story of Guadalcanal. What I really like about it is that it brings the history (of New Zealand's Second World War action in the Solomon Islands) to life amidst a story of getting to know your family better. It also has an element of the supernatural - Paddy hears ghosts, which were captured in the pages of a book about the war. On top of that Paddy is doing a project for school, so it includes awareness for a wide range of people.