The Good Luck of Right Now is the newest novel from superstar author, Matthew Quick. Like his othThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
The Good Luck of Right Now is the newest novel from superstar author, Matthew Quick. Like his other novels it is both funny and thoughtful, quirky and beautiful.
This novel is told in the form of letters. Specifically letters from regular guy, Bartholomew Neil to super star actor and activist, Richard Gere. I really enjoyed the letter format. In this format Bartholomew is able to be at his most honest and shares details with Richard Gere that he may not share with someone he knows and has to see on a daily basis. It gives us real insight into Bartholomew’s character while simultaneously making some very interesting points about the power of celebrity and their influence over us.
The humour in this book was spot on. It often caused me to erupt into giggles in the middle of a crowded subway. From Bartholomew’s observations of the world around him to Max’s colourful language this book will have you in stitches. But there are also some brilliant bits of wisdom woven into that humour. I often found myself reading passages twice – once to laugh and the second time to appreciate how beautiful the sentiment was.
Another element I really appreciated was the way religion was presented. Primarily because it wasn’t presented as an oppressive, negative force. I think The Good Luck of Right Now shows all the different ways people find comfort in their faith – from the traditional to the bizarre. I also liked that there was an intersection of religions – specifically Catholicism and Buddhism. Both have doctrines and philosophies that Bartholomew draws on throughout the course of the novel and I liked that Quick didn’t present it as an either-or situation. Bartholomew wasn’t less Catholic because he chose to embody some Buddhist teachings. If anything the two religions enhanced one another and I think that could lead to some really interesting discussions.
And perhaps best of all Canada makes an appearance! (Ok not best of all but still pretty awesome). As the novel progresses Bartholomew makes a number of friends – a defrocked priest, an extreme cat lover and a girl who has been abducted by aliens. So naturally the four of them go on a road trip! A trip to Montreal and Ottawa to be precise. I love road trips in novels – especially the way the characters interact with one another as time goes by.
The Good Luck of Right Now is a beautiful and insightful novel about faith, grief, and learning to find the little things in life that make you happy – whether they be cats, having a beer with an age-appropriate friend or Richard Gere movies. Ultimately I think Quick’s previous novel, Silver Linings Playbook, is a stronger book but I would still highly recommend The Good Luck of Right Now – especially for fans of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and The Universe vs Alex Woods by Gavin Extence....more
Crazy Rich Asians is like Dallas meets Downton Abbey in Asia. I can think of no better descriptioThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Crazy Rich Asians is like Dallas meets Downton Abbey in Asia. I can think of no better description.
Nick’s best friend is getting married back in Singapore and he see’s this as the perfect opportunity to spend a summer with his girlfriend – Rachel – in Asia. And for her to finally meet his family. What he doesn’t tell her is that his friend’s wedding is the social event of the year, and that family he wants her to meet? They’re rich. Supremely rich. Crazy rich. It’s a fantastic premise and one that lives up to all your expectations – it’s hilarious, it’s smart, it’s well plotted and it offers some interesting insight and commentary into the lives of the super rich.
Crazy Rich Asians is dramatic. I compared it to Dallas and Downton Abbey above. And those comparisons are totally apt – this book is full of twists and surprises but more importantly it’s filled with drama and scandal! It had me hanging onto every page waiting to see what this crazy group of people would do next. No one could be trusted and you were always waiting to see who would stab who in the back. This scandal is also what gives the book its comedic edge. Crazy Rich Asians is a satire and you can’t help but giggle at some of the over the top schemes that are carried out. Especially those of Nick’s mother and cousins.
Crazy Rich Asians is chock full of interesting characters – some loveable, some intensely despicable. Normally when a book has such a huge cast of character I have trouble keeping them straight. When I read War and Peace I had to keep a special bookmark on hand with all the characters names and who they were so I could keep them straight in my head. But this didn’t seem to be a problem while reading Crazy Rich Asians. Everyone had such distinct personalities. I may not be able to recite everyone by name but I do remember who they are and how to connected to the larger plot.
There is so much detail throughout this story. Kevin Kwan truly did a fantastic job of bringing Singapore to life on the page. From the architecture, to the food, to the clothes. It was brilliant. This was a whole different world to me. I’ve never been to Asia but after reading this book I am dying to take a trip over there. Particularly for the food. They ate so much food in this book and it all sounded fantastic. I also loved the footnotes. Scattered throughout the book they were used to explain slang, or menu items or just general customs. The footnotes were my favourite part of the book. They were funny and insightful and expertly placed – I never felt like I had to pause the story just to read them.
Recommendation: Crazy Rich Asians is a funny and smart summer read. It’s definitely one you’ll want to throw in your beach bag or read out by the lake. Highly recommended....more
The story of Kiki de Montparnasse is both an admirable and a tragic one.
The back of the book describes her as “one of the first emancipated women of tThe story of Kiki de Montparnasse is both an admirable and a tragic one.
The back of the book describes her as “one of the first emancipated women of the 20th century.” And the authors of this graphic novel, certainly make that case. But when all was said and done I found myself wondering if that was the most accurate description of the Queen de Montparnasse.
Kiki (born Alice Prin) is the definition of coming from nothing. Born an illegitimate child in a small French village, her mother ran off to Paris, leaving her to be raised by her very poor grandmother. She was a bit of a wild child – running unencumbered through the streets. But when she was twelve they could no longer afford the extra mouth and sent her off to Paris to live with her mother. Unable to live the way her distant mother wanted her to, she began to pursue her own unique lifestyle as model to some of the greatest artists of the early 20th century. And this is where the admirable part of her story kicks off.
“Life is full of stories. Or maybe life is only stories.”
After hearing Ruth Ozeki read in Toronto I knew I would have listen to the audiobook. She has the most fantastic voice. It’s energetic and also very soothing. Usually I can usually only listen to an audiobook for an hour or so at a time but with Ozeki narrating I easily doubled that. Her voice draws you in and makes you want to learn more.
A Tale for the Time Being is a tragic story that touches on a number of issues and themes but the one that stood out to me the most was that of suicide. It explored the idea of suicide from a variety of angles (from Japanese notions of honour, to the people who jumped out of the towers during 9/11) and provides a lot of food for thought. Nao’s story is an emotional one and at times hard to read. I loved the back and forth between her narration and Ruth’s. I could really relate to Ruth and her reactions to Nao’s story felt so authentic.
This is an incredible story of loss, of courage and of moving forward. There’s a reason A Tale for the Time Being is making all the “best of” lists. Ruth Ozeki has a way with words- both on the page and off....more
Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell’s earlier novel, broke my heart. But Fangirl patched it up againThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell’s earlier novel, broke my heart. But Fangirl patched it up again and made me smile.
I am a child of the Harry Potter fandom. Midnight book releases, movie opening nights, the whole deal. And since it’s been over no other fandoms have quite filled that gap. Thankfully the Harry Potter community is alive and well – we’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Rainbow Rowell is a part of the community and as a result she has provided us with a book that perfectly sums up how we all must feel in the wake of such an amazing series. If for no other reason, you should read this book for nostalgia it will make you feel.
That, however, is not the only reason to read Fangirl. There’s also an incredibly charming and irresistible love story. I would love for Levi to be real. He’s just so sweet and adorable. And brings coffee. But more than that, I loved that for Levi and Cath it wasn’t love at first sight. No insta love here. Cass had room to grow as herself before she got involved with anyone. Rowell gives Cath room to tackle her own issues independently, and she comes out a stronger character because of it. I also liked that Levi didn’t try to change Cass (and vice versa). They liked the other person as is and that mutual respect brought out the best kind of relationship.
Fangirl isn’t all love story, though. It also deals with family. Cass has a complicated relationship with all the members of her family. With Wren, her twin sister, she’s trying to balance what’s comfortable and Wren’s desire to be her own person (instead of one half of a set of twins). And then there’s her father, who she looks after as much as he looks after her, and a mother who has suddenly resurfaced years after she first walked away from them. Cath’s home life is a difficult one but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was an unhappy one. I appreciated that Rowell illustrated the shades of grey that exist among families.
Since this takes place during Cath’s freshman year of college this fits into the “New Adult” category. And this kind of book is what I wanted since the term first started floating around. It deals with issues unique to setting out on your own for the first time, but it also has universal elements that would make it an enjoyable read for almost any age. (Be prepared to explain fanfiction to some less internet-obsessed people though)...more
Ink is the story of Katie Green. After the death of her mother, Katie goes to live with her auntThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Ink is the story of Katie Green. After the death of her mother, Katie goes to live with her aunt in Japan. It’s a difficult transition for her – not only has she lost a parent but she’s experiencing some pretty intense culture shock. And while it may be difficult for Katie (at first), easily my favourite thing about Ink is the Japanese setting. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan but have never made it (yet). It was interesting seeing it through Katie’s eyes, as someone who is just dropped into a whole new world and forced to adapt. After university my partner and I had considered going to teach in Japan and I like to think my experience would have been similar to Katie’s (without the ancient gods and gangs of course).
I really appreciate the care Amanda Sun took with the detail in this novel. Shizuoka, where Katie goes to stay, comes to life on the page. Every little detail is present in her descriptions of the setting, the food, the clothing and the school. This made the pacing a bit slower than your average YA novel, but at the end of the day I think the novel was richer because of it. I don’t mind a writer taking the time to slowly unravel the world if it means I get to experience it more thoroughly.
I also really enjoyed how unique the mythology was throughout. I’ve never read a book that featured paper gods before and it made for a very intriguing story. I did find, however, that the romance overshadowed the mythology a little too much. Katie and Tomo’s relationship was a little intense for my taste. It happened so fast and stood in stark contrast to the slower, more purposeful world building. But overall I enjoyed the novel and the high stakes of their situation. And I’m definitely intrigued to see where the series goes next....more
Despite the fact that I am a rabid Margaret Atwood fan I am always nervous when I pick up her newThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Despite the fact that I am a rabid Margaret Atwood fan I am always nervous when I pick up her new book. Will it be as good? Will it live up to my incredibly high expectations? Will it still manage to be that combination of humorous, dark and insightful that I’ve grown to love so much?
Thankfully MaddAddam, the final book in the MaddAddam trilogy was the perfect conclusion to a series that I have been following since 2004.
This series is so detailed. Atwood has thought of EVERYTHING. From changes in technology, food, animals, industry. She has created an entirely new world. But the truly brilliant thing is that she makes all of these elements so plausible, so lifelike, that you can truly imagine this happening to our current society. Even something as seemingly inconsequential as SecretBurgers – meat made out of unknown sources. Is that such a big leap from people blindly eating fast food burgers nowadays, not really giving much thought to what’s actually in them? The world of the MaddAddamites is terrifying and dangerous and crazy yet at the same time completely believable
Though all three installments have had amazing characters the real stand out in this volume is Zeb. The Crakers also take quite a shining to Zeb, and Toby spends a good portion of the book relating his story to them. Which is actually the story of all of them. As it turns out Zeb has been at the center everything along with Adam One. I found him to be a really dynamic and interesting character and I loved reading about all his adventures -from working for BearLift, to being tech support, to arriving at Scales and Tails. Like the Crakers I hung on attentively to every word.
In Year of the Flood I was a really big fan of Toby but in Maddaddam she is much more complicated. She is still very pragmatic. Finding solutions when there doesn’t appear to be any, taking over Jimmy’s role of storyteller for the Crakers. And she’s a bit older now, she’s more reflective and aware of how much she is learned from all the different experiences life has thrown at her up until this point. I have a lot of respect for her character. That being said I wish she wasn’t so wrapped up in Zeb. She spent so much time being concerned about whether or not he was cheating on her. It’s not that it’s unrealistic but a) human kind if literally falling apart around them, b) they could have a simple conversation and deal with it and c) it didn’t fit with my memory of Toby from Year of the Flood. I liked Zeb, I liked him a lot, but I would have liked Toby to be less dependent on him.
When it comes right down to it the MaddAddam trilogy is brilliant. This final installment blends many of the themes from the first two books together. It examines the environment, and how we interact with it – both now and it that version of the future. It looks at consumerism and counter culture. And perhaps most interesting it looks at religion. How they are formed – from the Church of PetrOleum, to the Crakers, to science itself – and it examines how those religions interact with society, both in positive and negative ways. MaddAddam entertains you as casual reader but like many of her novels, it also challenges you, as a member of society to think of the issues that confront us and how you are implicated within them.
I’m sad to see this series end, but it has been an incredible ride. It is no wonder that Atwood continues to be my favourite author, even after all these years....more
In superhero fiction – whether books or comics or movies – there are certain pre-conceived notionThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
In superhero fiction – whether books or comics or movies – there are certain pre-conceived notions about “good” and “evil.” Or more specifically about “heroes” and “villains.”
V E Schwab takes these ideas and turns them right on their head.
Imagine there was a way to achieve superhuman (or ExtraOrdinary) powers. It’s not a guarantee but there’s a damn good chance. Would you try it? Or would you err on the side of caution? For Victor and Eli the choice is easy. They must try it – sure it’s dangerous and reckless, but as you’ll soon find out Victor and Eli are dangerous and reckless men.
The narrative switches almost seamlessly between their efforts to become ExtraOrdinarys (or EOs) and their showdown in the present. Bit by bit the reader is fed pieces of information, clues as to what happened to turn two best friends into mortal enemies locked in battle until one or both of them is dead. But despite this very deliberate pacing, the story never drags. Instead it keeps you hanging onto every page, every word, dying to see what pieces will fall into place next. Schwab is such a brilliant author that you’re willing to sit back and let her writing consume you. You know you’re in extremely capable hands.
The nice thing about Vicious is that it doesn’t feel overly plot driven or overly character driven. There’s a nice balance. The plot is dark and twisty but the characters are intriguing. Eli Ever has built his adult life around “saving” people. Which people exactly? Well that’s tough to say. To suggest Eli lives in a moral grey area would be understating his cause. But Victor Vale is no saint either. Having just spent the last ten years in prison he is dead set on one thing and one thing only – killing Eli. Both of these characters have totally twisted moralities, but at the same time you can follow their rationale. Schwab has created such complex and fascinating characters, it still feels like they’re living in my head, skulking around, causing a ruckus.
Vicious is a dark, bloody and brilliant novel. It examines the concepts of good and evil, it explores what it means to be a hero, it asks how you judge a human life with all its flaws, complexities and intentions. The characters, the tension, the action and the writing itself are just SO GOOD.
Is it too soon to call Book of the Year? Possibly – but my money is on Vicious taking the prize....more
When The Way We Fall ended we learned the pandemic had spread much further than the island. It waThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
When The Way We Fall ended we learned the pandemic had spread much further than the island. It was everywhere and the world we once knew was no more. The Lives We Lost picks up almost right after the first book ends. The reality of the current world staring our cast of characters right in the face – but hope springs eternal when Kaelyn discovers they might have cure.
I loved that this book got them off the island. Not that I didn’t like the island. But it’s such an isolated place and there is next to no opportunity to introduce new characters into the mix. Once our group leaves the island a world of possibilities are presented to them. There is a lot of walking. But I don’t want to call it “second book syndrome” because things do happen to them while they’re walking. Lots of things. So instead I think we should call it “Two Towers Syndrome.” We know it’s leading up to something big but it still keeps us entertained while we wait.
Part of the reason I’ve fallen so hard for this series is it takes place in Canada. It really irks me when Canadian authors set their books in the States when they could just as easily be set here. I love the angle being in Canada gives this story, as they’re basically walking across the Eastern half of the country during winter. And we all know Canadian winter is no picnic. I learned so many survival tricks and tips while reading this book. It was truly fascinating.
But awesome survival tips aside, it’s the characters that really make The Lives We Lost stand out. There are so many characters. Many of the originals are still around and we are introduced to a number of new ones along the way. Everyone felt unique and distinctive. I think Megan Crewe did a great job capturing the variety of personalities one would come across on a journey such as this. And Kaelyn is still so fabulous. She never gives up. But she’s not perfect either – she has doubts, like anyone would, and is forced to make many difficult decisions. But she is brave and I would follow her if I was in their position.
Recommendation: If you like adventure stories and realistic post-apocalyptic tales check out the Fallen World series. Also recommended for fans of Mike Mullin’s Ashfall....more
Sometimes you start a book and you know right away. You just know that this will be one of those books that sticksOriginally posted at Hooked on Books
Sometimes you start a book and you know right away. You just know that this will be one of those books that sticks with you for a long time to come. You'll hang on every word, every interaction and each one will touch you deeply. This was my experience with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
It is the characters that really make this book an amazing experience (though the story will captivate you as well). Harold Fry moved me in a way I definitely hadn't expected. I found myself cheering for Harold when things were going his way, crying out for him when obstacles came up against him. There were a couple of times where actual, full blown tears came to my eyes. I loved Harold's spirit, I loved the honesty about who he was and how he saw himself, and most of all I found myself connecting with him in a incredibly personal way. And I don't think I'm the only one that will have that experience.
Although if we're being honest, the real surprise wasn't how much I fell in love with Harold's character. The real surprise was Maureen. At the beginning of the novel, she's a bit annoying and uppity but as the story progresses you learn just how layered her character truly is. At times her own struggles really stole the show and I was amazed by how badly I misjudged her. I found myself cheering for her, just as much as I was cheering for Harold.
I had no idea what to expect from this book. As this is a mostly speculative fiction blog, you can guess that it's not the type of book I usually read. And at face value I don't have that much in common with Harold. But that is where this book is unique. It's a book that spoke to me in a very universal way. I may not look like Harold or live where he lives but we're all on a journey of one kind or another and Harold's journey is just one manifestation of that.The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has been nominated for the Booker Prize and it would not surprise me at all if it walks away with the award....more
This was one of those books that everyone was talking about at Book Expo America this year and I knewThis review originally posted at Hooked on Books
This was one of those books that everyone was talking about at Book Expo America this year and I knew I had to get myself a copy. If only to see what all the fuss was about. And I'm so glad I did, because not only did I love this novel, it has become one of my favourite reads of 2012 so far.
A sure fire way to get me to fall in love with your novel is to have a complicated but kick ass heroine. Celaena fits this bill in every way. She can take care of herself – not only is she the most famous assassin the land, but she also survived Endovier - one of the most ruthless work camps/prisons, which no one ever returns from. But this strength and “talent” do not make her a cold person. She obviously cares about other people, and she struggles with demons of her own. I liked that she wasn't a cut and dry character and I really enjoyed getting to know her. Plus she likes to read! Hooray for bookish heroines that can kick some butt!
But an amazing heroine isn't the only thing that won me over to the Throne of Glass fan club. I was also entranced by Sarah J Maas' descriptive writing. Everything she wrote about felt so vivid. She's obviously a skilled writer and makes use of all five senses when depicting a scene to her reader. I often found myself re-reading passages over and over because I was blown away by beauty of the phrasing. If I can write a fantasy novel half this well, I will consider myself a success.
Another equally important element of this novel, however, was that Sarah J Maas knew when to stop writing. She knew when enough detail or background was enough. I wasn't overwhelmed by excess characters or annoying subplots. Everything that was in the book should be in the book, with no filler to distract the reader. That being said, I would have really liked to see more of the trials Celaena was put through and to have her interact a bit more with her fellow competitors. I felt like she wasn't given enough time to showcase her skills and abilities. She is an assassin after all. But here's hoping there will be more of that in Book 2, when she isn't so limited by guards and competing for her life.
Throne of Glass is an example of everything I love about fantasy novels. Great characters, beautiful settings, intricate plot lines, mysterious magical forces. I wish there were more books like this.
Final recommendation: Throne of Glass is a perfect read for fans of Kristin Cashore and Tamora Pierce. Or just anyone who loves strong female characters.
P.s. I'm also head over heels for the Captain of the Guard and his understated, tortured kind of love. *swoon*...more
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen was not the book I expected it to be. I had another copyThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen was not the book I expected it to be. I had another copy of a Susin Nielsen book - Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom - before received this one and judging from it’s synopsis and her creative titles, I thought I was in for a nice light read, and maybe a few laughs.
A did get few laughs but a “nice light read”? Not even close.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a criticism. If it had been the book I expected, I probably would have flown through it, enjoyed it, but then it would simply become one of those books that sit on the shelf, forgotten among a sea of titles. Instead, this book is forever cemented in my memory. It made me cry, it made me angry, it made me want to curl up with my puppy until I felt okay again.
In light of all the conversations happening right now about gun violence and bullying, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen could not be more timely. Henry Larsen is the brother of a bully victim AND also the perpetrator of a violent crime. Told in the form of Henry’s journal entries, I think this book does an amazing job of exploring the situation for a variety of perspectives and ideas. The Larsen family, the victim’s family, the media, the community. This book is a fair and honest account. I don’t think it makes any excuses for anything that happens, but does it’s best to present all the information and let the reader decide for themselves.
That being said, it’s hard not to like Henry. He’s charming but also afraid. I wanted to be his friend but I also wanted to wrapped my arms around him and squeeze as tightly as possible. I instantly felt like I could relate to him – especially since we were both Reach for the Top members (trivia for the win!). Susin Nielsen nails his voice. He seemed so real when I was reading – at times it really felt like I had stolen some poor boy’s journal.
I think The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen is an important book for students to read. Especially those struggling with bullying, or those simply trying to fit in. I also think it’s an important book for parents and teachers to read. This book confronts a lot of issues that we all should be thinking about and it would be an excellent way to get the conversation started. And it’s a Canadian setting! This may not seem like a big deal, but little references to things like the Superstore, Reach for the Top and familiar cities, could really help this book resonate with Canadian students. It may help them realize that these things can happen here too and not just in far away cities.
Recommendation: The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen is more than just a memorable read. It’s a life changing, necessary read and I personally think that it should be on hand in every high school across Canada. But be warned – you may find tears rolling down your cheeks before the book is through....more
I really hope my review of this book does it justice. Because I want everyone to go out, find a copy of this booOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
I really hope my review of this book does it justice. Because I want everyone to go out, find a copy of this book, reserve a day or two and just dive in. I mean it. Everyone.
I absolutely loved this book. Malinda Lo is an incredible story teller. I read Ash earlier this year for my YA Pride month, and was totally swept off my feet by her way with words. Initially I wasn't sure how this would translate to the science fiction genre with Adaptation and though the words were not as lyrical as they were with Ash they were still awfully compelling and I was hooked on this story before I knew it.
Seriously, I dare you to read to page 52 of this book and then try to put it down. It grabs you and demands your attention. And you'll want to give in, because it only gets more exciting from here on out.
Adaptation has an amazing premise, and the plot is unravelled carefully and deliberately, but not to slowly. Trust me, you will not get bored while reading this book. You'll need to keep turning those pages to find out where it is all going. There are also some really excellent twists and turns throughout the entire story. You may have your suspicions about what will happen in the end, but you will be plenty surprised as well. It almost feels like an extended episode of the X-Files. No matter how "out there" some of the ideas may be, you'll eat them right up and beg for more. Well researched, well plotted, suspenseful and exciting. It was the perfect mix for a science fiction read. Or any read, for that matter.
If brilliant story telling wasn't enough, Malinda Lo has a permanent place on my favourite author list, because her writing is just so inclusive. Not only is there a bisexual character in this novel (IMHO one of the most under-represented groups in YA literature) there are other gay characters, people of colour, there's even a female president! And it never feels forced or deliberate. It just feels natural, an accurate representation of what the world actually looks like.
Final recommendation: An edge of your seat, nail biting read, that will keep you hanging on to every word. Recommended for science fiction lovers, X-Files fans and those looking for GLBTQ inclusive literature. ...more
Liza needs to save her brother, Patrick, from the spindlers. A mysterious, spider like group of people, who are deOriginally posted at Hooked on Books
Liza needs to save her brother, Patrick, from the spindlers. A mysterious, spider like group of people, who are determined to steal his soul. Despite the fact that she doesn't know where they are, is lost in a completely new world and is forced to travel with a talking rat (of all things!) she presses onwards. Determined to see her journey through to the end.
There are many things to love about the new middle grade novel, The Spindlers. For starters there's the loveability of it's protagonist Liza. She knows her brother has been taken, and even though he drives her crazy a lot of the time, she's determined to bring him home. Why? Because he's her brother and she loves him. No hesitation. No dragging of the feet. She see's what needs to be done and she's sets off to do it. I found her brave, and intelligent and just generally a joy to read about.
And I love that Lauren Oliver touched on the idea of sibling love. I know, even as an adult, I can relate to Liza's feelings about her brother. My own brother can sometimes drive me up the wall, but at the end of the day there's nothing I wouldn't do for him. This is an especially important message to reinforce with children, who are potentially still getting used to having a sibling or at a time when siblings can be at their most mischievous.
The world underneath our own world, the one Liza ventures into, is really a testament to Lauren Oliver's creative mind. It's a world reminiscent of The Borrowers or Roald Dahl. It's full of strange but interesting creatures. Case and point, Mirabella, the talking rat that accompanies Liza on part of her journey. She certainly is a bizarre character and at times you really won't know what to make of her. But she is guaranteed to make you laugh and tug at your heartstrings.
Final recommendation: Lauren Oliver's The Spindlers is the stuff good middle grade is made out of. It's an adventure to a new world, filled with imaginative and bright characters and it'll keep you hanging on, cheering for Liza and Patrick right until the very last page....more
First off - such gorgeous world building. Snow covered and dangerous - it hinted at Imperial Russia without simply resortinAbsolutely loved this book!
First off - such gorgeous world building. Snow covered and dangerous - it hinted at Imperial Russia without simply resorting to being Imperial Russia. This was clearly a distinct and imaginative world. Leigh Bardugo gets all the points.
And the characters - I loved them all. Even the Darkling who is so dark and mysterious and I just have all the questions about him. But my favourite, by far, is Alina. I like how she grows throughout the novel and went from being someone I kind of like to someone I want to be friends with.
I wish there had been a little more explanation about how the Grisha's magic works and the testing to determine if a child is Grisha - but this is a small complaint at best. And definitely something that could be expanded upon in further books.
Can't believe I waited so long to read this book. Everyone told me I would love it and they were right. ...more
I have a confession. I like vampire novels. Not the more recent vampire novels that always devolve intOriginally reviewed on Christa's Hooked on Books
I have a confession. I like vampire novels. Not the more recent vampire novels that always devolve into love stories but the gritty, dangerous ones from writers like Anne Rice and Kristen Painter. So when I heard that Julie Kagawa was tackling the vampire novel I was excited (but a little nervous). She's easily one of my favourite authors and after getting a look at that eye catching cover I had high hopes for the story. And you know what? She delivered.
Julie Kagawa makes no apologies for the vampires. They are dangerous, they're blood thirsty, they can not be vegetarians and sooner or later they will kill somebody. That's the way it should be.It helps that she's set this story in a post-apocalyptic setting where vampires are the supreme overlords of many of the major cities. The idea that we would essentially become blood slaves in order to survive is a pretty chilling one.I've heard a lot of people describe the setting as dystopian and I don't think that's quite accurate but it is definitely a jaded version of our own world and one that I was fascinated with.
Just because the vampires are dangerous however, doesn't mean that you feel disconnected from them. The Immortal Rules is set from Allison Sekemoto's point of view - a.k.a from the vampires point of view not from the POV of a sappy human that is in love with said vampire. You get an in depth look of what life was like for a human in this world and later what it was like for a vampire. Allison may become a dangerous and blood thirsty killer but she still has a personality and a heart and you get to experience all of her struggles right along with her.
The fabulous Julie Kagawa has done it again - she has created an amazing world with interesting characters for me to become obsessed with. I have no doubt that I will be following this series just as eagerly as I do the Iron Fey.
Final recommendation: For all of you who love a good old fashioned gritty vampire novel. And of course for fans of Julie Kagawa. She doesn't disappoint. ...more