Erec Rex is a fun, fast read filled with whimsical, memorable characters. I was really charmed by the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. The central myst...moreErec Rex is a fun, fast read filled with whimsical, memorable characters. I was really charmed by the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. The central mystery isn't all that mysterious but the characters are likable and well written. Kingsley does an excellent job bringing the reader into Erec's world and keeping the plot moving forward. Great world building, a fun premise and good descriptions all combine to make this an excellent start to a new series. I immediately went searching for the other books as soon as I finished this one.(less)
The second Erec Rex book is as fun to read as the first. The original characters are back with a few notable additions. I listened to the audiobook ve...moreThe second Erec Rex book is as fun to read as the first. The original characters are back with a few notable additions. I listened to the audiobook version of this book and it has an intro by Kaza Kingsley. It's interesting to the hear the author talk about how she thought of the series and the way she has planned the story arch. While a few sections of the book felt a little contrived I liked that Erec is not an almighty hero but just a kid bumbling through the story and needing help from his friends. He's far from perfect and yet utterly perfect because of that. I really enjoyed reading about his adventures with his friends and look forward to reading other books in the series. This is a good solid middle-grade reader book and a good choice for reluctant readers. I think it will appeal equally to boys and girls but there's enough of a story to draw in adult readers who like kids' lit as well. (less)
Kate, Michael and Emma P. (Penguin, Perkins, Parisomony?) Have no idea what their last name is or where their parents are. The three siblings have bee...moreKate, Michael and Emma P. (Penguin, Perkins, Parisomony?) Have no idea what their last name is or where their parents are. The three siblings have been raised in series of orphanages since they were very little. But they insist they are not orphans - one day their parents are coming back for them. Unfortunately, it's been ten years since the children were abandoned and the orphanages have been getting progressively worse. When the children end up at an orphanage in the tiny backwater of Cambridge Falls they stumble into a magic world and discover that they each have an integral part to play in saving Cambridge Falls from an ancient evil as they search for a lost magical book.
The plot-line of this novel sounds similar to many middle-grade reader fantasies, however the execution is so well done it's hard not to fall in love. I was very strongly reminded of the Harry Potter series in the tone and feel of the writing throughout. Stephens creates a host of characters that stand out and are easy to identify with and he fills a fully-fleshed out world with them. The world building in this book was very well done and I loved all the little details. Stephens brought the story to life with just enough description to set the scene but not so much that the reader is bogged down.
This is a fun, fast read that will appeal to fantasy fans and reluctant readers. I think it will do equally well with boys and girls and I can't wait to pass this book on to my children. I'll be eagerly waiting for the next two books in the series.
I have only one real criticism of the book - it's spoilery, however, so I'll share that below for all who care to read on.
SPOILERS BELOW 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Like many middle-grade and early YA books there are few real consequences for the main characters in this novel. Emma is badly injured early on and is miraculously healed with only a tiny scar and no other lasting effects. Another main character, Gabriel, supposedly dies but then in the end it turns out he's just fine and dandy. The lack of consequences, of any real lasting impact of various actions and sacrifices lessened the appeal of the book for me.
I would have respected the book and author more if he'd been willing to let even one character stay injured or even, *gasp* die. There is a tendency to sugar-coat children's literature as though kids are too fragile to handle any lasting consequence or outcome befalling their beloved characters. I'd argue that on the contrary, as you see with books like the later Harry Potter novels and all 3 of the Hunger Games novels, audiences appreciate when an author lets bad things happen and deals with it rather than waving a magic wand and making everything perfect. Life is not perfect and it's possible to show that while still having a happy and satisfying ending.(less)
Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs is filled with great, strong characters and lots of humor. One problem major problem, however: NOTHING HAPPENS for most of...moreNice Girls Don't Have Fangs is filled with great, strong characters and lots of humor. One problem major problem, however: NOTHING HAPPENS for most of the book. Where is the conflict? Where is the bad guy? And when the bad guy finally does show up it is so slapdash and ludicrous that I was literally groaning aloud. Humorous quips alone can't carry an entire book and while I liked a great number of the characters the overal book was very disappointing. I'm not sure if I'll give the other books in the series a try - perhaps the plotting and pacing improve.(less)