Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

September 7th, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly, Middle Grade
 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children took me by surprise. By the back cover copy, I thought it would more of a ghost story with maybe some light horror type elements. It’s actually a fantasy novel along the lines of an X-Men type story with no technology and a little more magic.

In the present day, teenage Jacob loses his World War II grandfather to what police and his parents call a vicious dog attack. Jacob knows this isn’t true, as he found his grandfather and saw the hideous monster responsible for the attack. Jacob falls apart, and eventually his father takes him to a Welsh island for six weeks. The island is interesting to both Jacob and his father. To his father, it’s a birdwatchers paradise. For Jacob, it’s a chance to research his grandfather’s past, as his grandfather was evacuated from Poland to an orphanage on this island during World War II.

Jacob’s grandfather showed both his son and grandson photos of ‘peculiar’ children, like a girl floating a few inches off of the ground. He told them tall tales of his life in the orphanage before he enlisted in the Army. As Jacob finds the bombed-out orphanage, he realizes that maybe those tails weren’t quite as tall as he’d assumed.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a great novel for both older middle-grade and younger YA readers. There’s a little romance but it’s inline with novels like Rick Riordan’s Olympian series. The old photos add a nice visual touch to the novel. This is clearly the first novel in a series, with an end that clearly sets up the adventure for the following books.

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Source: Nook e-book
Read: August 2011

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The Unwanteds: Dystopian Middle Grade novels mixes an idyllic magical world with a cold, repressive regime

August 2nd, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, ARCs, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly, Middle Grade
 

In Quill, the people are divided into three groups: wanted, necessary, and unwanted. The unwanted are eliminated. Permanently. When thirteen-year old Alex is declared unwanted, he tries to stay strong and be grateful that his twin brother Aaron is wanted.

When Alex arrives at the eliminated site he’s shocked to find that instead of being killed he’s taken to the magical world of Artime. Created to protect the unwanted, who tend to be artists, musicians and other creative folk, Artime is a magical paradise with fun classes, talking statues, and more. Alex is finally able to express himself, as drawing, creative thinking, and expressing emotion are encouraged in Artime while banned in Quill.

Meanwhile, Aaron progresses in the Quill University and has come under the eye of the country’s dictator, Justine. Alex wishes Aaron was with him in Quill, feeling a bond between them that increases over time. This bond could destroy Artime’s very existence.

The Unwanteds would make a nice combination gift pack with The Giver by Lois Lowry and Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Fans of Harry Potter might also enjoy it. The world is a fun mixture of cold, repressive regime and colorful world in which children are taught to use their creativity to solve problems. Alex makes his own choices and faces consequences, yet he also has a strong mentor able to both understand and guide him.

Definitely recommended for middle grade readers.

Read by: Kelly

Title: The Unwanteds
Author: Lisa McMann
Date read: July 2011
Source: ARC

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Review of A Clash of Kings, sort of

May 31st, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly
 

Clash of Kings George RR MartinIn a review of the TV show Game of Thrones, New York Times Reviewer Ginia Bellafante essentially bagged on fantasy and claimed that women don’t read fantasy. Her exact quote:

“While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.”

As a female reader I found this offensive. As a thinking individual I was a little surprised that the New York Times review of TV show would spend so little time talking about the production values and quality of a show. I’m impressed that HBO took a fantasy saga of this scale and wish the reviewer would have actually reviewed the show.
As far as actually reviewing A Clash of Kings, I don’t want to get too much into the plot of the book since it will give away certain plot points that carry a ton of weight/emotional impact for the end of Game of Thrones.  Given how closely the TV show mirrors the book, getting too much into plot of A Clash of Kings could spoil both the end of the book and TV show. Since I love the book, I don’t want to spoil the end for anyone.

The basic premise: five kings are fighting for control of Westeros. Tyrion Lannister really stole the show for me in this novel. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and appreciate the world Martin created. A Clash of Kings doesn’t have the same emotional impact as Game of Thrones but it’s really set the stage for the next book. I enjoy the female characters, especially Arya although I appreciate how Martin juxtapositions Sansa’s perspectives against the rest of the female cast.  Sansa has the least power of any of the woman. Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow also continue to be favorites, and anti-hero Theon Greyjoy brings additional color.

Expect a dual (duel?!?) review of Game of Thrones soon!

Read by: Kelly

Title: A Clash of Kings
Author: George R. R. Martin
Source: Barnes & Noble Nook
Read: May 2011

 

 

 

 

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