I loved this book even more than I loved the classic it's based on, and I don't say that lightly. Everything that rubbed me the wrong way about THE SE...moreI loved this book even more than I loved the classic it's based on, and I don't say that lightly. Everything that rubbed me the wrong way about THE SECRET GARDEN (especially the Disability Fail) is dealt with beautifully here, and Roo's tough background makes her personality utterly believable and maintains the reader's sympathies (though NOT their pity, because Roo is far too strong and dynamic a character to be pitied). I adored the supporting cast, Jack especially, and the way the author makes the setting come richly and vibrantly alive. For such a slim book there is a lot packed into these pages -- it's light, but never slight. Beautifully done, Ellen Potter.(less)
I was afraid to read this book after CODE NAME VERITY -- not because I feared it wouldn't be as good or bette...moreExtraordinary. Shattering. Unforgettable.
I was afraid to read this book after CODE NAME VERITY -- not because I feared it wouldn't be as good or better on a technical level, but because I was afraid I wouldn't connect to it quite so strongly.
I needn't have worried.
Rose's story, told by a single narrator and in four sections, is different in scope and focus from the two-part shared narration we got in CNV. Her voice is uniquely her own -- American rather than English or Scottish, with its own rhythms and vocabulary. The story is self-contained (though there are glimpses of a couple of characters we met in CNV, which I loved), so it isn't necessary to have read the other book to understand this one. But the same qualities of humanity and courage and fierce loyalty between two (and more) young women in the face of the unthinkable are present in this book as in CNV -- without it ever feeling like a repeat of the same story.
A tremendous work of historical fiction, one that never forgets the human faces and hearts behind the details -- and is all the more powerful for it.(less)
Yes, I totally did write the Fifth Doctor story "Irresistible Force" in this anthology, and I'm still rather fond of it more than ten years later. (It...moreYes, I totally did write the Fifth Doctor story "Irresistible Force" in this anthology, and I'm still rather fond of it more than ten years later. (It's still on the web if you're curious: http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?s...)
Apparently I like to write stories about people getting haircuts and terrible things happening in Kitchener-Waterloo. I have no idea what this says about my psyche.
Also, I never received my contributor's copy of this anthology so I can't tell you what I think of any of the other stories, but I'm sure most or all of them are quite good.(less)
I'll admit it: I was scared to write this book. Not because I didn't believe in the characters or the story, but because I knew it was going to challe...moreI'll admit it: I was scared to write this book. Not because I didn't believe in the characters or the story, but because I knew it was going to challenge me in all kinds of new ways, and take me to places as an author and as a researcher that I'd never been before. I wanted it to be a satisfying follow-up to ULTRAVIOLET, yet at the same time a quite different sort of story, and one that could be read and appreciated even by people who hadn't read the earlier novel. And at times, the pressure to live up to my own expectations of what this book ought to be -- let alone worrying about everybody else's expectations -- drove me almost to despair.
But it was worth it. Because the revisions are all done now, and with the help of my editors and critique group and faithful research consultants, the story has become everything I wanted and more. Maybe one day I'll get a notion to write a third book, but I don't think right now there's any need for one, and I can't even really imagine what it would be about or who would narrate it if I did. I think ULTRAVIOLET and QUICKSILVER stand up as two distinct and complete stories, which also form a complimentary whole.
I love QUICKSILVER with all my heart. I hope you will too.(less)
This book has saffron cake and Cornish pasties, and underground tunnels full of mysterious beauties and hidden dangers, and dancing and quoting Shakes...moreThis book has saffron cake and Cornish pasties, and underground tunnels full of mysterious beauties and hidden dangers, and dancing and quoting Shakespeare, and issues of disability and prejudice and the clash of cultures, and a lot of other things I find fascinating and worth talking about. It's also a tribute to my Cornish maternal grandmother, and all the sayings and traditions she passed on to our family even though she died before I was born.(less)
I already knew that I loved Elizabeth Wein's books after reading her Telemakos series (seriously, a lot more people need to read THE SUNBIRD / THE LIO...moreI already knew that I loved Elizabeth Wein's books after reading her Telemakos series (seriously, a lot more people need to read THE SUNBIRD / THE LION HUNTERS / THE EMPTY KINGDOM, especially fans of Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia series and Elizabeth C. Bunce's Digger books), but even I was unprepared for how completely this amazing novel worked its way into my mind and heart. It is smart and beautifully researched and real and heartfelt, with lovely writing and sympathetic yet believably flawed main characters; it has unexpected twists and layers that reward re-reading, and it broke my heart into a million pieces but as soon as I was finished reading I wanted to read it all over again. Best of all, it made me want to write, even though my stories are nothing like Elizabeth Wein's, and to me that is a rare and precious quality in a book.
Another amazing thing about this book is its portrayal of female friendship. It's not a superficial "girl power" novel where the female characters are approved for behaving pretty much exactly like a particular stereotype of masculinity (i.e. the tough, ruthless warrior type) -- it's a book about real young women being extraordinarily brave and resourceful in the ways that a number of historical women during the same time period were extraordinarily brave and resourceful even though we seldom hear about it. But it's also about a pair of young women being extraordinarily brave together, as the very best of friends, and it's more compelling and moving (not to mention believable) than most fictional romances. Yes, there are hints of traditional romance in the book too, but they never take away from the main focus of the story, which is on the two girls' friendship and the ways it transforms and empowers them both.
I recommend this book highly to anyone who has even the most vague passing interest in WWII, planes, spying, England, Scotland, Nazi Germany, love, friendship, courage, or just a fantastically well told story.(less)
I've written a lot of stories, but ULTRAVIOLET is one of the very closest to my heart. It was also one of the hardest and most demanding things I've e...moreI've written a lot of stories, but ULTRAVIOLET is one of the very closest to my heart. It was also one of the hardest and most demanding things I've ever written, but thanks to the help of numerous smart critique partners, a tirelessly supportive agent and two wonderful editors, I can look at it now and say, "Yes. There it is. THAT is what I meant." I love this book very much, and I hope you will too.(less)
I am as proud of this book as I am of anything I've ever written. I hope those who've enjoyed the first two in the series will find it a satisfying re...moreI am as proud of this book as I am of anything I've ever written. I hope those who've enjoyed the first two in the series will find it a satisfying resolution!(less)
I am happy to say that A Conspiracy of Kings absolutely lives up to the promise of Megan Whalen Turner's earlier books. I felt confident that it would...moreI am happy to say that A Conspiracy of Kings absolutely lives up to the promise of Megan Whalen Turner's earlier books. I felt confident that it would be a good story, but it even exceeded my wildest expectations of just how good it would be.
No worries, I am not going to spoil this book in my review. I would sooner cut off my hand than spoil it for anyone. I will say, however, that the summary in the HarperCollins catalog is slightly misleading. There's so much more to this story than just the question of What Has Sophos Been Up To, gloriously so. There's the usual rich background, diverse cast of characters, byzantine political machinations (but they never get boring, and from someone as infamously apolitical as myself, that's saying something), flashes of wry humor, and unexpected wrenches at the heart. It's subtle and clever and outrageous and surprising and touching and thought-provoking, and all the things I've come to expect from Ms. Turner's writing -- plus some.
And it made me love Sophos -- who never really made it onto my radar in The Thief, being so eclipsed in that book by the irrepressible Gen -- more than I ever imagined possible.
I can't wait until April when everybody else can read this book. I don't want to overhype it (oh yeah, like I haven't already) to people who haven't read the series, because I am sure there will be readers out there (as with any book however brilliant) who don't connect to the story and the characters the way that I do. But I do feel confident in saying that if you have read the earlier books and are already a fan, A Conspiracy of Kings will definitely not let you down.(less)
Rich, haunting, unforgettable, this story draws on Russian folklore to immerse the reader in a unique and fully realized fantasy world.
Erin Bow is no...moreRich, haunting, unforgettable, this story draws on Russian folklore to immerse the reader in a unique and fully realized fantasy world.
Erin Bow is not only an award-winning poet but a masterful and captivating storyteller, with a knack for handling powerful emotions in an understated way that makes the reader feel them twice as strongly. She excels at portraying grief and horror, but she also has a deft way with humor, and though Kate's story leads her down some dark paths there are always glimpses of love and light.
PLAIN KATE has the feel of a classic, and I have every expectation that it will become one.
I really enjoyed this book. Reggie is a lovable character that readers like myself will root for, yet his doubts and mistakes -- including things like...moreI really enjoyed this book. Reggie is a lovable character that readers like myself will root for, yet his doubts and mistakes -- including things like his rivalry with his sister, and his struggles to get over the embarrassing "puke" incident that's haunted him all year at school -- make him believable. The supporting characters are diverse yet none of them stock or stereotypical, and a lot of difficult issues such as homelessness, poverty, and racial tension are touched upon thoughtfully without becoming heavy-handed or preachy. I really appreciated that all the loose ends weren't tied up in a neat Hollywood package, either -- it made the book feel that much more like real life. And yet the ending is definitely satisfying...
Beautifully written, with an understated but smooth style that never once pulled me out of the story. Recommended.(less)
Well, I gave my last one five stars because I wrote exactly the sort of book I wanted to read myself (funny, that!), and I think this one is just as g...moreWell, I gave my last one five stars because I wrote exactly the sort of book I wanted to read myself (funny, that!), and I think this one is just as good if not more so than KNIFE a.k.a. SPELL HUNTER -- so I hereby award myself five stars in the hope that at least some of my readers will enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it!(less)