Friday, July 29, 2011

The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy

The White BoneThe White Bone by Barbara Gowdy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I ended up not really enjoying this one. There were things I liked about it- the perspective was kind of fun. Seeing things from the elephants' points of view was an interesting change. Their mythology, their creation story, their after-life were all enjoyable. It was also fascinating to learn a bit about their family units and the hierarchy that goes along with them. What ruined the book for me though was the constant obsession with poop and sex. Granted, it's animal sex, so it's different- less offensive- than if we were talking about humans, but it was still a major and unnecessary distraction from the story. And while it's true that animals are obsessed with dung and urine and anything else that marks a strong scent, as a human, I don't care to hear about animals eating each others' poo. Maybe that's just me, though. Also, I didn't care for the ending, but I won't spoil it by going into detail.

But I have to give Gowdy props for doing something completely different.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart

Beyond the Deepwoods (Edge Chronicles, Book 1) The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, let's see if I can get this right. The Edge Chronicles is a 10 book series. This juvenile fantasy gem caught me completely by surprise. I jumped in somewhat grudgingly because it wasn't the greatest time in my life to be starting a long series. But I have been richly rewarded for my sacrifice. Here, you'll find a world where the laws of physics as we know them do not apply. There are creatures you've never imagined, but the illustrations of Chris Riddell help bring them to life.

I'd like to say a little something about the genre here- yes it's unquestionably fantasy, but it is also my first introduction to steam-punk, which I had heard of before and knew roughly what it was but didn't feel too interested in. By the end of the first book, I felt that this is a fabulous introduction to the steam-punk genre. It has turned out to be thrillingly imaginative. Stewart writes in such an easy way, it feels only natural that I should love this special niche of fantasy.

I read all 10 books in numerical order, and that was fine way to do it. But now that I've done it, I can tell others that they have options. If 10 books seems a bit much all at once, then you might be interested to know that the series is really three trilogies and an extra book to tie it all up. Reading them numerically, you'll find that there is a lot of jumping around in this world's timeline. But if you want to read them chronologically, here's the order for you:

Quint's Trilogy:
The Curse of the Gloamglozer (book 4)
The Winter Knights (book 8)
Clash of the Sky Galleons (book 9)

Twig's Trilogy:
Beyond the Deepwoods (book 1, pictured above)
Stormchaser (book 2)
Midnight Over Sanctaphrax (book 3)

Rook's Trilogy:
The Last of the Sky Pirates (book 5)
Vox (book 6)
Freeglader (book7)

Nate's story and the end of our epic tale:
The Immortals

Reading them this way would allow you to take a natural break from the series (if you wanted one) before committing to reading more. Just a thought.

I really enjoyed every book in this series and highly recommend them. Bare in mind this is juvenile fiction, but it also has some pretty adult themes, such as war and political intrigue. There is a lot of fighting, and yes, killing. Personally, I would still let my child read it because it isn't terribly graphic. So add it to your to-read list. Now.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels

The Tender Mercy of RosesThe Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I could have read this book in one sitting if my time hadn't been so limited this week. I found myself thinking about the characters and the mystery, even when I wasn't reading. Anna Michaels writes beautifully, as well. I got caught up in her use of words, which lent a southern flavoring and poetry to the story.

Although this story involves a murder mystery, I felt that it wasn't morbid at all. The rodeo setting didn't overwhelm the rest of the story. The ethereal Native American element gave it a beautiful spirituality that felt natural.

Be advised: There was some strong language, but only a little of it. It seemed like Michael used it only to help develop a clearer picture of Pony Jones' character; her masculine upbringing, her wild personality, her lack of education. That's how it struck me, anyway.

I really enjoyed it. If you don't have a problem with mild profanity, I'd definitely recommend it.

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