**Update: sigh I love Harry Potter so much. And I've decided that I have no time for naysayers! JK Rowling is writing young adult fiction, she's not t**Update: sigh I love Harry Potter so much. And I've decided that I have no time for naysayers! JK Rowling is writing young adult fiction, she's not trying to be the next James Joyce. And frankly, she knows how to write a story.
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I'm taking a break from Vampires to read about Witches and Wizards! This is the only Harry Potter book I've read only once, so I thought it was time I gave it a re-read. I'm loving it again so far. JK Rowling's world just sucks you right in....more
I really loved the idea behind this book. Who isn't longing to hear the Witch's story this day in age? And I loved the beginning. However, I thought (I really loved the idea behind this book. Who isn't longing to hear the Witch's story this day in age? And I loved the beginning. However, I thought (though it has been quite some time since I've read this book and my opinion may change with a rereading) that the ending was just not as captivating as the beginning had been.
And I hate to say this but the musical was fantastic. So, kudos to Gregory Maguire for his success!...more
So, basically I waited too long to write a good review of this book. I'll just have to try and remember...
It was a little slow in the beginning for meSo, basically I waited too long to write a good review of this book. I'll just have to try and remember...
It was a little slow in the beginning for me. I had trouble getting into the rhythm and into Faris' personality. But by the time she was in her second or third year and I was in 60 pages or so, I was hooked. And I really liked the book once Faris and her crew leave the school and go on her save-the-world quest. One thing I LOVED about this story was Stevermer's wit and quite, dry humor. Jane, Faris' companion and chaperone, cracked me up throughout the whole story with her staunch pragmatism.
All-in-all, a very good manor-punk, fantasy novel. I look forward to trying Sorcery and Cecelia. ...more
I enjoyed this book. It wasn't my favorite story and the characters weren't some of my favorite characters, but there are some things about the book tI enjoyed this book. It wasn't my favorite story and the characters weren't some of my favorite characters, but there are some things about the book that I really appreciated.
Harry, short for Angharad, Crewe grows up in the old forests of the Homeland, but after her parents die she comes to live with her soldier brother in Damaria, the Homeland's newly conquered territory. There, she encounters a desert and a native people with whom she feels surprisingly at home. After an unusual and surprise visit by the king of these natives, Corlath, Harry is kidnapped and taken to live among the Damarians. There, she learns that inside her lives the same kelar, or magic, that lives inside the King and the very hills of the Damarians. She also learns that she has an untapped gift for swordplay and skill with horses. Finally, Harry learns that she has a strong connection with Damaria's ancient heroic figure, the fiery-haired Aerin, and becomes the only woman in 500 years (or so) to bear Aerin's blue sword. As Harry's fate calls her to save her newly adoptive culture, she struggles to accept her new abilities and to balance her past as an Outlander with her future as Harimad-sol, laprun-minta and savior of Damaria.
What I enjoyed about this book was the fact that yes Harry is a woman and she's a warrior, but that's not really the point of this story. We're not meant to exclaim over the fact that she's female and fighting. And none of the other characters care much about that either. When Harry shows up in the Outlander town after having been transformed into this tremendous and formidable fighter, her brother and father-figure don't even question that identity, and they treat her with the same amount of respect as they do any other commander. It's true that only a woman can bear the blue-sword, but that's only because the sword's former owner was also female. Harry becomes part of a culture in which women regularly fight and join the cavalry, though not as much as they used to, and who claim a female warrior as their greatest hero. While her martial skills may be unusual as of late, they are by no means scandalous. The identities over which Harry is conflicted are more issues of nationality (she becomes the bridge between the Outlander empire and the Damarian natives) rather than gender. So that in and of itself was extremely refreshing.
My only issue with this book was that the dialogue felt somewhat formal at times which I thought made the romance between Corlath and Harry feel a little stiff. Alsothe writing felt a little thorny. It was as if I couldn't see the forest for the trees; sometimes I couldn't quite forget that I was reading text on a page. So I was a little surprised that I found this book in the Juvenile section of my library. The language and syntax felt of a higher reading level than 12 years old. But maybe it was just this printing's type-font that made this book feel a little dense! And it's very possible that it might just have been me and the mood that I started the book in. ...more
**spoiler alert** There were some things I really liked about this book. Like the role of the main character Yelena as food taster to the ruler. Also**spoiler alert** There were some things I really liked about this book. Like the role of the main character Yelena as food taster to the ruler. Also the history of how the Commander came to power and the way that his new society works, that was pretty interesting. And I loved all the spy and poison stuff.
However, there were really a lot of things about this book that kind of fell flat. Like some of the side characters, specifically I'm thinking of Rand, the cook who befriends Yelena. I never really bought Rand as a fully fleshed-out character. And the sudden and strong friendship between Yelena and the two palace guards Ari and Jaco. Also the romantic relationship that develops between Yelena and her boss, the head spy master and assasin. I mean, you see it coming from miles away, but when it finally gets there it feels kind of...forced and way too much.
But finally, the biggest problem I had (and a big spoiler) was the revelation of the Commander Ambrose's true identity...as Ambrosia. Which should be kind of cool. The Commander's gender identity isn't relaly a problem in this society because in the Commander's new world everything is based on skill rather than gender, unlike the world of the old, corrupt king. So if the Commander was born a woman but feels that he is a man and so chooses to appear as one, then no big deal.
Except....the way we find out about this is so bizarre. Yelena just suddenly sees the Commander as woman standing over a dead snow cat and sililoquying about how this proves that she's finally a man... It just rings a little false.
But it's still cool that in the end the Commander is saved and continues to rule the country with an iron fist and is taken by everyone, including those who know his past, at face value. No big deal.
Also, one final side note, I'm kina getting a little tired of books featuring female protagonists who learn self-defense and then kick the butts of anyone who attacks them from that point on. I mean, way to go, female power, and all that jazz. And, don't get me wrong, I loved it in Alanna. But in some ways, it feels like the bad guys in action movies that can never shoot the hero even though there's, like, 20 trained killers shooting at him at once. If I went to a self-defense class, I doubt I'd be breaking people's knee caps in a couple weeks. But then again, maybe that's why I'm not the hero of a fantasy story....more
A wonderful book in the fantasy vein. Orphaned protagonist? Check. School of magic? Check. Ongoing feud with a snotty fellow student? Check. Your usuaA wonderful book in the fantasy vein. Orphaned protagonist? Check. School of magic? Check. Ongoing feud with a snotty fellow student? Check. Your usual fantasy tale? Che... Wait, no! Uncheck! Patrick Rothfuss' "The Name of the Wind" is anything but typical. In his capable hand, the seemingly familiar trappings of fantasy twist and transform into a completely unique and completely enjoyable tale. It's a marvelous story of a world both strange and familiar, a magic both extraordinary and pragmatic, and a protagonist who is both a living legend and heartbreakingly human. proclaimed by the Onion to be "one of the best stories told in any medium in a decade," this book must be read. Can't wait for the sequel? Check!! ...more
A good book with a strong female protagonist, both literally and figuratively. She's an expert fighter and has to come to terms with her prowess and hA good book with a strong female protagonist, both literally and figuratively. She's an expert fighter and has to come to terms with her prowess and her quick temper. A great main character and a not-to-sappy love itnerest to go along with it :)...more