Why Are There All These Blank Spaces?

You may notice that in some of my posts there are blank spaces in the reviews. These are spoilers that I've written so I can remember important details of the books when I want to read the sequel. I've made the text a beige color to blend in with the background so you won't accidentally see something you don't want to. If you want to read it, just highlight the section to make the text appear - although you should really just read the book yourself! :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Little White Horse

by Elizabeth Goudge

I've gone about this completely in the wrong order! A few weeks ago I watched a little movie called The Secret of Moonacre. I learned that it was based on a book titled The Little White Horse (the movie's title is superior in my opinion, although not sure if would work for the book). Then I learned that the book was one of J.K. Rowling's favorite childhood books. I then decided that I needed to read it.

Alas, though I can see why this was a favorite book of Rowling's childhood, it does not really do it for me as an adult. Much of the plot comes across as silly and entirely too unrealistic. **Spoilers** The characters decide to just go tell their enemies to stop being evil and it (eventually) works, Robin and Maria agree to marry in such a bizarre way (and then they get married at age 14!), and various other details are almost laughable. There is no suspense except for one brief chase scene (which was probably my favorite part of the book). Interesting characters and I liked the bare bones of the story, but this is a kids' book, and it doesn't really work unless you are one.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


by Chris Wooding

Poison is the happy result of wandering the aisles of Powell's books. I bought it because it sounding interesting and different, because it was a used paperback and therefore cheap, and because it is so purple it will not be denied.

Poison is the story of a young girl of the same name. Poison lives in the Black Marshes, with her father, baby sister and stepmother. Poison and her stepmother do not get along, although Snapdragon is not necessarily a bad person. Poison always dreams of one day escaping the Marshes and seeing the world. That day comes all too soon when Poison's sister Azalea is kidnapped by the phaeries and a changeling is left in her place. It is then that Poison sets out to find the Phaerie King and demand her sister's return.

I'd have to say that Poison is one of the most compelling stories I've read in a quite a while. The characters are interesting and the narration is stunning. I found myself frequently re-reading paragraphs simply because they were so beautifully written. The last time I did that was when reading one of N.D. Wilson's books (another of my favorite story-tellers).

Poison is pure delight from the very first chapter, and I was eager to share details about it with every new twist. I will say however, that towards the second half, the book looses a little steam as the story is set on a new path. Poison is now not only seeking her sister, but also unravelling a plot to overthrow the Hieriophant - the ruler of all the Realms. It is because of this that the original story goes partially unresolved, and therefore left me yearning for a sequel. I do not care for loose ends, or ambiguous resolutions that depend on the reader to make their own conclusion.

However, because the beginning was so amazing, and some of the adversaries Poison meets on her way so terrifying, that I simply have to give it 5 stars. The Lady of Cobwebs alone warrants it.

I really do wish for a sequel though. Perhaps Azalea's story??

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Sacrifice

by Richelle Mead

Here it is, the final book in the Vampire Academy series. One of the things I've liked most about this series is the different take on vampires. In the VA books, there are a few types of vampires - the royal, pure Moroi vampires, who live on blood, but don't kill to get it; the dhampirs - a mix of Moroi and human who don't drink blood and live to protect the Moroi, and the evil Strigoi, who kill anyone they can get their hands on. Throughout this 6-part series we've meet Rose (the dhampir), Lissa (her best friend, the Moroi), as well and their ever-widening group of friends and acquaintances. We've seen Rose's love Dimitri turned Strigoi and then back again, and watched Rose struggle with her feelings for both him and party-boy Adrian.

At the start of this book Rose is in prison, accused of killing the Moroi queen. Desperately trying to think of a way to clear her name and avoid execution, Rose is surprised when she is suddenly broken out of jail. On the run, Rose and her companions begin a search for Lissa's previously unknown half-brother or -sister. Meanwhile, back at court Lissa and the gang are searching for who really killed the queen so Rose's name can be cleared.

Oh, and did I mention that Rose is still trying to decide between Dimitri and Adrian? Because she is - that's what young adult book heroines do!

I liked the whole solve-the-mystery aspect of this novel, even though it was a little slower than the previous books. The main thing I didn't like was how blase Rose was at the end about how things had turned out for others. **Spoilers**Adrian was right when he called Rose out for not being concerned enough for others. She didn't fret long over cheating on him with Dimitri, as soon as she was back at court and had the answers she needed she forgot all about Sydney, and she only spared a few passing thoughts for how Christian was feeling about the turn of events. It was all about her getting Dimitri, with a side of saving Lissa. I actually think this could have been alleviated by including an epilogue at the end, to fully explain where everyone ended up, and hopefully showing how Rose had made an effort to patch things up with everyone. As it was, she came across a little selfish. **

Mostly satisfying conclusion, a few character problems, but redeemed mostly by good story-telling.

Friday, December 10, 2010


by Ally Condie

Cassia lives in a future society (simply called The Society) where all of her decisions are made for her: what she will wear, what she will eat, where she lives, and now, who she will marry. Cassia is 17, and in The Society, that means a young person can decide to be Matched or to live life as a Single. The Society uses their extensive knowledge and resources to match each teenager with their ideal mate. Usually, teens are matched with another adolescent from a different district, who they then communicate with via computers before their initial meeting. Everyone is surprised then when Cassia is matched with Xander, her childhood friend.

Both Cassia and Xander are overjoyed, until Cassia sees another boy's face on the microchip with information about her match. The Society tells her it's a mistake, but Cassia is left very confused. The Society doesn't make mistakes, and this boy is also a boy she knows - her mysterious classmate Ky. Cassia is left with an agonizing choice to make - a safe, comfortable life with her best friend Xander, or a life of excitement and danger with Ky. Of course, if she chooses Ky, The Society will not approve.

The premise of this story was what really caught my attention. Along with vampires and faeries, dystopian novels are the next big thing in YA literature. And although I was left disappointed by the end of the Hunger Games, the genre still intrigues me. I did like Matched, and yet there were parts of it that bugged me.

**Spoilers** Now, I think it's pretty obvious from the start that Cassia is going to pick Ky. I have yet to find a book where a girl has to chose between the sweet boy next door and the dark, mysterious stranger when she doesn't go for the latter. And yet, I didn't understand why she ended up falling for Ky. She sees his face on the screen, she's puzzled by him and somewhere along the line she forgets her love for Xander and decides she loves Ky more. I knew it would happen, but it was not justified. **

The end is ok, but does leave a lot of loose ends - this is a trilogy after all.

Despite my reservations (and fear that this is going to end dismally like the Hunger Games), I'll probably be persuaded to read the next book.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Tale Dark & Grimm

by Adam Gidwitz

I bought this book because the cover was interesting, and the first few pages had me laughing out loud in the book store:

"Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome. I know, I know. You don't believe me. I don't blame you. A little while ago, I wouldn't have believed it myself. Little girls in red capes skipping around the forest? Awesome? I don't think so. But then I started to read them. The real, Grimm ones. Very few little girls in red capes in those. Well, there's one. But she gets eaten."

This book is a retelling of 9 Grimm fairy tales that are adjusted to feature Hansel and Gretel as the main characters. Not much of the gruesome stuff it changed from the original Grimm version, and thus this book is bloody at times. The author relieves some of that by jumping in at times with his own commentary, clearly marked by a bold-face font. Also weaving throughout the book is the theme that children should be valued and not cast aside as many of the adults in Hansel's and Gretel's journey did.

I particularly liked this line at the end:

"There is a wisdom in children, a kind of knowing, a kind of believing, that we, as adults, do not have. There is a time when a kingdom needs its children."

Four stars simply because some of the "icky" stuff makes it hard to recommend this book across the board.