Yay! This book was so good! I absolutely must read A Northern Light now. I loved the message and its background in history but its setting in modern tYay! This book was so good! I absolutely must read A Northern Light now. I loved the message and its background in history but its setting in modern time. It was amazing and I loved it. (:...more
CATCHALL This was my first read from this author but it certainly will not be my last. The beautiful love story is*****FINAL RATING: 4.50 STARS*****
CATCHALL This was my first read from this author but it certainly will not be my last. The beautiful love story is romantic and everything about the book is absolutely lovely. I burned through it so quickly and I simply could not get enough. Every page left me yearning for more. This gorgeous retelling of Beauty and the Beast is marvelous.
THE HEROINE Annabel is a beautiful and complex character and I loved her from the start. And I'm not just being biased because of the whole name thing. ;) She usually makes good decisions and always seems to try to truly make the right choice, taking herself into consideration without being completely selfish. It's a trait that seems so rare in YA heroines these days and I loved seeing it here. Annabel is strong and independent and shows over and over again that she doesn't need anyone else's opinion to survive on her own. Annabel is also so brave. I admired that in her, as well as her strong faith, which is another thing sorely lacking in YA reading these days. Annabel is an incredible exemplar of female strength and I loved that both about her and about this book as a whole.
THE LOVE INTEREST Ranulf is a haunting and gorgeous character who immediately intrigued me. As the book progressed, I got to know him better and better, as opposed to hearing about the same traits over and over again or nothing at all. He continually develops throughout the novel. He has a little bit of darkness to him but buried underneath his outward appearance lies a sweet man. He has much more substance than many YA male leads. I thought he was a very well-written character. He blossoms beautifully throughout the novel. Ranulf is definitely one of the better characters in this book.
THE PLOT Ah, the plot of this novel was pretty and fairly original considering that it was a retelling. First and foremost it was a love story, but it also has themes of independence and a lot of faith. There's a lot of content in the Bible readings that take place throughout the novel. Annabel's plight also serves as an entertaining plot line for the romance to write itself on. There's no really dull points and it moves at a nice pace, not too slowly but not too quickly.
THE ROMANCE Annabel's and Ranulf's romance is sweet and believable. It is a tad underdeveloped, but overall I really liked it and felt it was much nicer done. And there's definitely no insta-love. No love triangle either, which was quite refreshing. The romance isn't gross and it's not too insubstantial. It's beautiful. It takes time to develop and doesn't factor in for a little while, so it doesn't dominate the entire book, even though most readers will realize he is the love interest.
THE ENDING I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that I really liked it. It was fascinating and fantastically written.
THE WRITING Dickerson's writing is artful and eloquent without being ostentatious. It's pretty and not over simplistic. She writes with a practiced hand and it is clear that she is a professional writer. It does not come across as amateurish. The writing was probably one of my favorite aspects of this novel and made it very enjoyable.
WRAPUP It was a beautifully written story with strong characters and a sweet romance. I genuinely enjoyed reading it and will be picking up more novels by this author in the future.
CATVHALL Oddly enough, this book touched me. I put off reading it for a long time, a really long time, but by the time***FINAL RATING: 2.65 STARS***
CATVHALL Oddly enough, this book touched me. I put off reading it for a long time, a really long time, but by the time I really got around to reading it I was pleasantly surprised. It could have been better, but it could have been far worse. I really only had one major problem that kept this book from getting a higher rating, but I'll get to that later. And check out that title; it's gorgeous!
THE HERO JACK It took me a while to connect with Jack, actually, but once I did the connection was inseverable. He was a completely human character who suffered and felt real pain, and had it hard but didn't complain. It wasn't something tho be whined about, it simply was. And that was the way he treated it. He wasn't irritating, just a kid with a run of bad luck, trying to survive.
THE COMPANIONS JANE She was, to say the least, an odd character. But then, she was supposed to be. Wild, free, untamable. Jane's the type of girl who needs to move around, who needs to be free to do whatever strikes her fancy. She's admirable and brave, not ready to stand aside in the fare of danger when there's something she can do. TONY He was a plucky, brave boy who wasn't about to be left behind, and yet he comes into the story and becomes a character all in his own right, smart enough to make his own decisions and really a role model to children today, who, forgive me, are somewhat lazy. His drive to survive is intense, and he answers it.
THE VILLAINS "PRETTY BOY FLOYD" He turned out to be not so much of a villain, and I actually found myself liking him. He was very nice and was always ready to be helpful, even at his own expense. He had a good heart to him, and turned out to be very different than expected. "BAD TIGER" As a gangster name, it kind of sucks. It made me giggle every time I read it and I simply could not take it seriously. TIMMY Timmy was also ruined as a tough-guy type because I know this Timmy and so I kept picturing him and it just didn't work. I actually would have liked to hear more of Timmy's story, though, because it felt like there was something there in the background, just waiting to be discovered.
THE PLOT While it seems a bit far-fetched to me, I suppose I don't know a whole lot about gangsters and the Great Depression, so it could be that that's how things really were.
The childrens' mission fit in with the coming-of-age theme, and they really learn to embrace who they are.
The plot moves along at a rapid pace, a bit predictable but also really fun at the same time. I enjoyed the way it progressed, bumps in the road and all.
There were real challenges overcome with a little help from friends, and things to deal with, but the children ultimately come out on top, it seems. Yet somehow this is believable. Plausible, even.
ROMANCE Romance is almost a staple in coming-of-age novels. But it isn't intense, heavy romance or true love; just young love, finding its first wings. It's sweet and strikes a real chord. There's jealousy and conflicting wants and the feeling that some things might not work out, but over all that there's an underlying romance to it all, that young, sweet love forming for the first time. Lansdale captured that really well.
THE WRITING Here is my main issue, you see. Perhaps, even likely, Lansdale is actually an extremely eloquent writer. Unfortunately, for this book, he tried to use period-speak, which frankly got on my nerves and made me want to pound my head against the nearest wall. (Dude, this book took me like two and a half months to finish.) Some of it was completely dated and other parts' grammar had me positively cringing. And, oh, God, punctuation. Periods were invented for a reason.
THE ENDING I usually hate open endings, because I like to know how everything ends and don't like to make it up myself necessarily. But this one worked for me. It fit into the characters and it fit into the book, and really it couldn't have been better. The ending suited everything and made sense, but was also a clear choice for everything, and I really loved that.
WRAPUP I suppose I might read more of Lansdale's works if I run into them at the library, but I probably won't purchase them or actively seek them out. If the writing wasn't so horrific, I might have, but as it stands I unfortunately cannot. Still, though I wouldn't recommend this to everyone I'd definitely recommend it to some people.