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A Reader of Fictions: August 2011

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Touch Me - The Doors

White Tiger
Dark Heavens, Book 1

Author: Kylie Chan
Pages: 386 (for the story alone); 414 (with extras)
ARC Acquired from: HarperCollins via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Emma is an Australian living in Hong Kong, where she teaches English to the children of wealthy families. Sick of her annoying boss, Kitty, Emma quits and gets hired on to work full time for the sexy and mysterious Mr. Chen as nanny to the sweetest little girl ever, Simone. From the get go, Emma has had a huuuge crush on her employer, but he's obviously got secrets and no one will tell her what they are. Even more frustrating, he keeps acting like he might like her too, but not following through. What's a nosy girl to do?

Well, I haven't read an adult fantasy romance in a while. This one was pretty interesting and, by and large, I enjoyed it, but I do feel compelled to mention that this is more about the fantasy and less about the romance (in the harlequin, sexy fabio on the cover sense). If you are in this for sexy scenes, you will be woefully disappointed. They have to happen sometime, but not yet.

The plot of this novel was largely setup, with little actually resolved, although there is a definite narrative arc to it. The characters were interesting, but didn't quite resolve into entirely real people for me, particularly Mr. Chen and, to a lesser degree Emma. Possibly the disconnect is because of the parts of themselves they do not yet know? Whatever the case, I do like pretty much everyone and hope that their story turns out well.

I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that this story has a lot of Chinese mythology in it, about which I know a grand total of nothing. Reading a story set in a different mythological base was really refreshing, not that I don't dig my Greek myths. I also loved reading about wholly different cultures (Hong Kong and Australia).

While this one did not blow me away, I am seriously curious to check out the next book/s in the series, because I so want to find out what's going to happen. What's the deal with Emma? Does she have some sort of power or is she just awesome? Will she and John ever be able to be together for real?

Today's song choice is a little mean considering, but I could not resist. The weather stuff and all seemed so appropriate. Plus, this is what Emma's thinking through pretty much the whole thing. :-)

"Yeah! Come on, come on, come on, come on
Now touch me, baby
Can't you see that I am not afraid?
What was that promise that you made?
Why won't you tell me what she said?
What was that promise that you made?

Now, I'm gonna love you
Till the heavens stop the rain
I'm gonna love you
Till the stars fall from the sky for you and I"

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Not While I'm Around from Sweeney Todd

The Winters in Bloom

Author: Lisa Tucker
Pages: 271
ARC Acquired from:
Simon & Schuster via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Kyra and David Winter are seriously overprotective parents. They took their son Michael out of public school for fear that bullies might pick on him, even though nothing bad had actually happened; instead, they home school him. Every bit of his life has been carefully considered and child-proofed. Both Kyra and David have dark pasts that lead them to be so afraid of losing their child. Not only that, but Michael nearly died of meningitis when he was a baby. Their restrictions are so tight that it was astounding that they let him play out in the yard by himself. During this brief period of time, Michael is taken by a woman who says she knows his family. Will the Winters survive this latest catastrophe?

When I started reading my e-galley of The Winters in Bloom, I noticed first the page at the beginning where the publisher was talking about how much she loved this book and how it was the best one of the year. Her praise was so high that I kind of rolled my eyes, thinking that she loves it because it will make her money. I am happy to report that the book really was that good. From the absolutely incredible first chapter, I was totally involved in the story.

My one previous experience with Lisa Tucker proved disappointing (The Song Reader), perhaps because my expectations were really high. I own a couple of her other books, but haven't gotten to them yet. I am now super glad that I have them.

So yeah, I mentioned how mindblowing the first chapter was. The book opens from Michael's point of view (although in third person) and you can see how much he has been affected by his parent's worries. Young as he is, he has already inherited their fear of everything, as evidenced in the first line: "He was the only child in a house full of doubt." Five years old and he looks around thinking about the many ways he could get injured. This is what he was doing in his time in the backyard by himself when the nice lady came and asked him if he wanted to go on a ride. Wow. Just wow.

While the rest of the story was not as dramatic and intense as this one, the story definitely maintained its beautiful simplicity. I loved finding out what had happened to the various characters to make them into who they now were. There are a lot of hints as you go along, allowing you to make your own suppositions (I was right about David/Courtney, but wrong about Kyra).

If you like stories of family drama and broken people, this is one that is not to be missed. What a completely beautiful, depressing, uplifting story!

"Nothing's gonna harm you, not while I'm around.
Nothing's gonna harm you, no sir, not while I'm around."

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

She's a Lady - Tom Jones

Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
Publisher: Scholastic Press

Very Brief Summary:
Lord of the Flies...with Beauty Queens. I could tell you more, but, really, that's all you need to know.

Thus far, I have been hugely skeptical of Libba Bray. I read A Great and Terrible Beauty and found it neither great nor terrible; mostly, I thought it was boring. After that let down, I had little desire to read more of her stuff, despite the crazy buzz about Going Bovine (and the pressure of my friend Nori). Allow me to happily renounce any bad thing I have said about Libba Bray in the past! This book was off the hook awesome and I am now very glad that I gave into the impulse to purchase A Great and Terrible Beauty (from Goodwill), since I hope to find things I missed before.

Why is this book so great? Well, how about I give you a little (or long) list.
  1. It's a dystopia.
  2. Beauty Queens stranded on an island...who doesn't want to see that? Also, how did the Corporation not think of that?
  3. The mocking of pretty much every aspect of pop culture, most especially of reality television.
  4. The Corporation. You may wonder why I would love an evil corporation that's trying to take over the world and doing all sorts of awful things. That's because the commercials remind me of Veridian Dynamics, so I spent the whole book imagining that it was The Corporation. Oh references, intended or not.
  5. Girl power. For an example, check out Tiara's speech on page 335.
  6. Love for the LGBT community.
  7. Everyone didn't pair off in the end. I get so sick of that, sweet as it is. In real life, everyone doesn't find their true love at 16.
  8. Every page is abso-friggin'-lutely hysterical. I dare you to read this book and not laugh out loud at least once.
So yeah, I definitely need to read the rest of Libba Bray's stuff and to procure a copy of this book for my very own, since I read one from the library. Also, I just realized that Libba Bray's name uses only letters from the word library. Coinkydink? I wonder...

Oh, and just for funsies, here is my one criticism of the book: on page 361, Adina says something (singsongs it, actually). Unfortunately, she's not actually in that scene yet. Wah wah. Editor fail. She enters on page 363.

That brings us to the song for today. Although there are a lot of things that would be hilarious and appropriate for today's book, I also cannot miss adding a reference to Miss Congeniality. I also love imagining Adina or Taylor reacting to some guy saying this to them. haha.

"She's got style, she's got grace, She's a winner.
She's a Lady. Whoa whoa whoa, She's a Lady.
Talkin' about that little lady, and the lady is mine.
Well she's never in the way
Always something nice to say, Oh what a blessing.
I can leave her on her own
Knowing she's okay alone, and there's no messing."

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Two Princes - Spin Doctors

Nightshade, Book 2

Author: Andrea Cremer
Pages: 390
Publisher: Philomel Books

Brief Summary:
Calla wakes up in the middle of enemy territory. The Searchers have captured her and Shay. They say they want to be allies, but can they really be trusted? Can Calla really give herself to Shay or does she want to be with Ren, now that he's the one she can't have? Are the Searchers or the Keepers the bad guys? Will Call be able to save her pack?

I absolutely cannot stand Calla, Ren and Shay. This is unfortunate, given that they are the main characters and that I am probably supposed to like them. Here's the thing: they're supposed to be in this epic love triangle, wherein Calla really is supposed to be with both guys. Yeah, I just don't buy that. You can love both, but you can't love them the same. You either are in love with one of them and will let the other down as easily as possible, or you don't love either one and should start looking for someone better. All of them spend the whole book being completely jealous of any other person who looks at their beloved. Ugh!

Thankfully, the story is action-packed and exciting, which kept me moving through the book, even though I sometimes wanted to hurl it into the wall...or hurl on Calla. The other characters, too, are much more likable. I really loved Connor and Ethan, despite the fact that they're not the most charming folk. Sabine and Bryn both proved awesome. And, of course, Nev and Mason have always been the adorablest.

All in all, a solid follow up to Nightshade that leaves me ready for more, although preferably with less love triangle nonsense (though I doubt it). If you loved the first book, you'll love this one too. Those who think love triangle nonsense is incredibly irritating (even moreso than I do) should probably give the whole series a pass.

"Marry him or marry me,
I'm the one that loves you baby can't you see?
I ain't got no future or a family tree,
But I know what a prince and lover ought to be"

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The Beauty in Ugly - Jason Mraz

Ugly Duckling's Love Revolution

Author: Yuuki Fujinari
Volumes: 4
Publisher: Yen Press

Brief Summary:
Hitomi's brother takes care of her and he does a pretty good job, because he loves her so much. Still, his love causes him to overlook her unhealthy habits. This enables her to put on a lot of weight. The weight doesn't stop her from making friends, even really hot ones, but she's worried about her health. Will Hitomi's diet succeed? Will one of the hot guys in the apartment complex her brother runs fall in love with her?

This was one weird manga, and believe me I know. What's weird is that it's a shoujo manga with no romance. It's hinted at, but never goes anywhere. Hitomi loses the weight and, Bam!, that's the end of the story. Shoujo is all about romance, so it's very strange for it not to be included. Stranger yet, this is a reverse harem manga, and she still doesn't get to have one of the like eight bishounen surrounding her.

What was cool, if not incredibly realistic, was how popular Hitomi was, regardless of her appearance. All of the hottest guys in school were friends with her and wanted to spend time with her. One of them even seemed to have a crush on her. Everyone in the manga was pretty nice, even the ones that were gruff on the surface. It would be nice if people really were this encouraging and focused on internal beauty.

Of course, I do think it undoes some of that message that Hitomi was depicted as a chibi character a lot, like on the cover of volume one. Also, she didn't get to have the typical large pretty eyes of a manga character. Fat people get little dots for eyes. Umm, what is that about? People's eyes stay the same size no matter their weight, but, sure enough, when she got skinny, she got pretty girl eyes. Uncool.

If this manga does anything at all, it endorses working out and staying healthy, perhaps suggesting that you will get yourself a bunch of sexy friends if you do so. I will not be revisiting this one, but it was interesting enough, so long as you know what to expect from it.

"She's so big hearted,
But not so remarkable
Just an ordinary humble girl"

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

You Will Marry Him - Lesley Barber

The Legacy Trilogy, Book 1

Author: Cayla Kluver
Pages: 488
ARC Acquired from: HarlequinTEEN via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Princess Alera has just turned seventeen, which means that over the course of the next year, she must choose a suitable man to be her husband and the future king. Unfortunately, her dad's qualifications are such that the only acceptable man is the vain, egotistical jerk Lord Steldor. Alera knows she cannot be happy with him, but does not know how to rectify the situation, especially since she really wants to be queen (actually, she would like to rule herself, but that not being allowed, she'll settle for this), thus making abdicating in favor of her younger sister impossible. Even worse, she has finally met a boy she finds intriguing, but there is no way her father would ever approve. What's a princess to do?

From the cover, I thought this was going to be historical fiction of some sort, maybe like The Luxe. I was wrong, but this was definitely better. Fantasy is pretty much always acceptable. Legacy reminded me of maybe Tamora Pierce (without the women being epic warriors part) with a little bit of Diana Peterfreund, in the way that Kluver's completely willing to make her characters suffer. Everything that happens is not rosy and sunshiney. Be warned.

My only complaint about the book is that, for much of it, Alera mentions how forthright and outspoken she is, but then, whenever faced with her father or Lord Steldor, she proceeds to say a big nothing. Honey, you're not that outspoken, are you? She got into her stride in the middle of the book, a bit, but was still not what I, an outspoken girl, would consider particularly outspoken. To be fair, she does live in a society where women are property.

About that...I hate this country. I don't know that it would be such a bad thing if Cokyri took them over or if they merged. Their country is so patriarchal like whoa. Women have pretty much no rights; their husband can do anything he wants to them. Argh! I imagine this will change in the future books; goodness, I hope so!

Anyway, I just ate this up; it was so good and absorbing. Why do I not have both sequels RIGHT NOW. I want them so much! You cannot just leave me at that ending. Holy cliffhanger, Batman!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We've Gotta Get out of This Place - The Animals

Dust & Decay
Benny Imura, Book 2

Author: Jonathan Maberry
Pages: 519
ARC Acquired from: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

Brief Summary:
Benny Imura and his friends are ready to leave Mountainside and venture in search of the jet. One more zom outbreak in town is enough to push them over the edge and make them depart a couple of days early. They plan to spend a couple of nights in safe havens before they really start venturing. Well, safe is a relative term in the Rot and Ruin. Turns out they have enemies wanting to exact revenge on them for destroying Gameland. Can they survive?

I liked Rot & Ruin. It was a solid read, if nothing completely exceptional. If you liked it, I can pretty much guarantee that you're going to like Dust & Decay. The formula is similar, just as full of action, zoms and danger. Actually, I think I liked this one a bit better, with one exception, although I can't say whether that's because I knew what to expect or because it was higher quality.

So I might as well begin here with the one thing I could not get over and did not like, even though I did try to come to terms with it: they get attacked by a rhino. My first reaction was approximately, "lol whut?" because, well, rhinos don't generally chill out west. Then I thought about zoos and how they wouldn't be manned anymore, so animals might just roam, which did turn out to be the explanation. I also briefly wondered if rhinos can survive here what with not being native and perhaps not used to rough winters, but gave up since I don't know much about rhinos. Anyway, explained or not, I really don't know why the rhino attack happened. I mean, it was a disheartening thing to have happen on their quest, but couldn't it have been a less ridiculous animal, like a big ass boar, which is what I expected?

Rhinoceros aside, I really liked the pacing of this book (except for the little snippets of Nix's notebook, which made her seem like an airhead and not like the badass we all know she is). It kept the action coming and blended in some interesting ideas and thoughtful moments well. For example, I really loved the Greenman's (please tell me this is a reference to It's Always Sunny...) observation that the earth was actually recovering because of the zoms. Oh, and the scene where a horse and zombie did a little do-si-do with the horse just staying out of reach.

Unfortunately, I am totally ready to read the next alliteratively titled book in the series right now, but I'm guessing it won't be published for another year at least. Sigh. It promises to be even better, because I really want to know what's happening in other parts of the country. How cool if different places reacted in different ways!

"We gotta get out of this place
If its the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this place
'Cause girl, there's a better life
For me and you "

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Falling In - Lifehouse

Marmalade Boy

Author: Wataru Yoshizumi
Volumes: 8
Publisher: Tokyopop

Brief Summary:
Miki's parents go on a holiday and, upon arriving home, declare that they are divorcing and marrying other people, also a married couple until this holiday. They are swapping spouses and the two families will live together in one house as one big happy family. Miki is, at first, extremely opposed to this admittedly ludicrous plan and expects, Yuu, the son of the other former couple, to be just as put out as she is. When he's not, she starts to think maybe it is best to just let her parents be happy, even if the situation is somewhat unconventional. An even bigger problem soon arises in her attraction to Yuu, since her mother warned her not to fall for him...

For the most part, Marmalade Boy is a sweet shoujo romance series, of the kind I have come to expect from Wataru Yoshizumi. She is one of my preferred mangakas, although not exactly a favorite as a couple of her series really annoy me. Still, she has a really cute art style, likable characters and a fun sense of humor. That is true of this series, however the overarching plot line just makes me so mad. If you want to know why, keep readind, but be aware that there are SPOILERS ahead.

I have read a lot of manga, so I am aware of a lot of the common themes and, from this, I know that the Japanese really love tales of forbidden love. For example, manga plots about student/teacher romances and brother/sister romances are very popular. Both of these are found in Marmalade Boy. Neither is a plot line I particularly enjoy. The former is done with a touch of class, I think, and feels as un-creepy as such a thing can, largely because of the serious maturity of the female student involved.

Sometimes the brother/sister thing is just step siblings, as appears to be the case at the outset of Marmalade Boy. This is somewhat taboo, what with having their names on the same family register, but is totally fine from a genetic standpoint. In Marmalade Boy, Yuu and Miki come to suspect that they may actually be related to one another by blood (half siblings). In response to this, they break up, but then decide that they cannot bear being apart, so they will marry anyway (since they're not legally considered siblings).

Excuse me? Why would anyone ever do that? They're not sure if they're related, but they just go with that assumption. This whole plot line could have been easily nipped at the bud had they just gone to get a blood test. How hard is that? I mean, I hate needles and avoid them when I can, but, for this, I'm pretty sure I would be more than willing to get stabbed with one. Come on, people, use your brains!

So yeah, not my favorite of hers, but you should definitely check out some of the others. Oh, and in case you're curious about the title, it's a reference to Yuu and how he seems sweet but is a little bit bitter once you get to know him, like marmalade.

"Everytime I see your face
My heart takes off on a high speed chase
Now don't be scared, it's only love
Baby, that we're falling in"

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Julia - The Beatles

The Magician King
The Magicians, Book 2

Author: Lev Grossman
Pages: 400
ARC Acquired from: Penguin

Brief Summary:
Quentin is growing fat as a king of Fillory, so content he could die from it. He desperately wants a quest, anything to keep him busy. When the Seeing Hare appears, they all go after it, because whoever catches it gets a prophesy of the future. Only what the hare sees turns out to be death and what could be the end of magic as they know it.


Warning: Spoilers for The Magicians pretty much inevitable.

If The Magicians was Harry Potter meets The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Magician King is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Much of the book is spent aboard a vessel, the Muntjac, in pursuit of one quest or another. This book is rather meandering, drifting from one port to another, finding new purpose seemingly at random. They quest for the hare, receive a terrifying prophecy, go to collect back taxes from a meaningless island, and, eventually, end up needing to prevent magic from disappearing. The connections between a lot of this were tenuous at best.

This book was much tougher to get through than the first one, because Quentin spends the whole book in that self-indulgent, whiny, poor little rich boy phase that only dominated a quarter of the previous novel. That Quentin is pretty much impossible for me to like. He is, frankly, quite irritating. Terrible things have happened to him, no doubt, but he just whines about how he wants to be a hero rather than stepping up.

What saved this was the addition of Julia's narrative, which was strange and depressing, but at least broke the flow of Quentin's despondence. Julia has a unique story, one that opens some interesting theoretical and philosophical doors into the world Grossman has created in this series.

This series actually reminds me of Joss Whedon somewhat. Lev Grossman has a similar love for making his characters suffer, never wanting anyone to find long-lasting fulfillment, romantic or otherwise. He also likes to kill off characters to make things feel real. Plus, everything is so incredibly improbable, even through the lens of the universe that he has created. I feel like they might get along. If they collaborated, they would make the most fantastical and depressing story ever.

I infinitely preferred the first book, but am still definitely eager to discover where the story's going to go in the next installment. I sincerely hope that it will find Quentin a more grown up man.

"Half of what I say is meaningless
But I say it just to reach you, Julia"

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Once Upon a Dream - Mary Costa & Bill Shirley

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior

Author: Maureen McGowan
Pages: 314 (if you read all of the scenarios)
ARC Acquired from: Baker & Taylor Publishing Group via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
This is Cinderella as you've never seen her before. This Cinderella has magical powers and, as the title intimates, ninja skills. Why is someone so rocking a prisoner, you might conceivably wonder. Well, that's because her stepmother has magical powers too, only she works for the dark side. Can Cinderella escape her evil stepmother's grip in time to win a contest in magic and a dance with Prince Tiberius (and, more importantly, with Ty, the royal messenger)? You decide!

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved choose your own adventure books. In fact, they were the only Goosebumps books I could bear to read, since I have always been a complete and utter wimp when it came to anything remotely horrific. Additionally, I adore fairy tales, so this new series that does its best to combine the two was impossible to pass up.

Unlike the choose your own ending books of my youth, these books aimed at teens or adults have many less decision points, a sacrifice made for story and plot. On the one hand, this is a good thing, but, on the other, I really wanted to make all the choices. Oh well. I only read one of the eight possible outcomes (along with one of the other sections, just to get an idea), because my reading pile is ridiculous, but it was pretty good. I imagine it would probably be my favorite of them, should I read all of the others.

Actually, this book reminded me, rather strangely, of The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver, which has nothing to do with fairy tales or choose your own adventure. In this book, you see two possible courses a woman's life could take, based on whether she decided to have an affair or not on the night of her birthday. There are two story lines in all but the first and last chapters, where everything comes together again. Here, too, all roads lead to the same place. Again, that's cool, but not altogether realistic, I feel. Some of the plot lines always feel forced to get you back to that specified ending.

All that aside, this was a charming, fun way to spend an afternoon. It was nice seeing a powerful Cinderella; in fact, my favorite parts were the ones that were off book, where she was doing magic. If you miss having a say in some of your main character's choices, give this a try!

"But if I know you, I know what you'll do
You'll love me at once

The way you did once upon a dream"

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Not Afraid - Eminem

Pearl Verses the World

Author: Sally Murphy
Illustrator: Heather Potter
Pages: 75
ARC Acquired from: Candlewick via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Pearl's language arts teacher is educating her class on poetry and they are all ordered to write rhyming poems on a number of subjects for days and days. Pearl does not approve, because her poems do not rhyme. She learned about poetry from her grandmother, who can no longer read poems or walk or talk, only lie in bed drooling, taken care of by Pearl's mother.

When I was a kid, I remember going through similar lessons on poetry, although I don't think the unit was anywhere near this extensive, and I hated them. Of course, the stress was more on the different kinds of poetry than just on the rhyming ones. Here's the thing: I don't understand poetry that doesn't rhyme. For the most part, poetry just seems (unfairly) to me to be prose that has been formatted differently. Blank verse, especially, confuses the heck out of me logical-minded brain. Even now, I envy Pearl her ability to speak in poetry.

Pearl's poems are simple and charming. They cover her roving thoughts on her grandmother's health, death, social groups at school, poetry, gender roles, family and boys. Pearl has a definite personality that comes across in her meandering evaluations of certain topics, like fairy tales: "But I wonder, / Why does the prince need to be handsome? / I wonder if all princes / are supposed to be handsome" (9). She also wonders why the princesses don't just save themselves. Good question, Pearl. Something tells me she won't much like Twilight when she reads it.

Pearl Verses the World is a sweet, simple story, ideal for children dealing with the loss of a loved one. Or, perhaps, just for those who love poetry, whether or not it rhymes. As Pearl poets (verbed!), "Rhyme is okay sometimes, / but my poems don't rhyme / and neither do I" (4). Ergo why I made what is probably the strangest song association with this book for children; I just think Pearl and Eminem would see eye to eye on this point about the art of poetry/rapping.

"I shouldn't have to rhyme these words in the rhythm for you to know it's a rap"

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The Egg and I - Seatbelts

Ready Player One

Ernest Cline
Pages: 372
ARC Acquired from: Crown via NetGalley

Brief Summary:

Wade Watts had little to no social life, even when he had to leave his hideout; He's overweight and incredibly nerdy, not exactly the combination to make someone popular. So it should come as no surprise that he jumped at the opportunity to take classes online in OASIS, a simulated world that you can interact in like it's the real world via haptic gloves (or suits) and glasses that show you everything your avatar sees. When the OASIS's creater, Halliday, dies, he left his money to whoever can go on the ultimate scavenger hunt and locate the egg, he has hidden somewhere within his creation. Ready Player One is the story of Parzival's (Wade's avatar) hunt for the egg; it should come as no surprise that he became a gunter (egg hunter).

One of the main themes of the book, yet again unsurprisingly, is the question of whether life in the OASIS is really living. Cline seems to come down on both sides of the fence there, believing that real connections can be made mentally, stronger than those in the normal world even because the physical part does not get in the way. Still, he frequently has Wade comment on the fact that no one leaves their houses and really interacts with the world anymore, which seems to be seen as a bad thing. Certainly, in a perfect (or even halfway decent world) I do think people should not spend all of their time in an alternate reality; that's not healthy.

However, people really need an escape, because the Earth has pretty much been destroyed. Enter dystopian aspects of the story here. The world sucks. Most people, in America at least, live in trailers. And since they ran out of space for the trailers, they started stacking them in precarious towers. Pretty much everyone's poor, unless they've sold their souls to an evil conglomeration like IOI or were lucky enough to invent something like OASIS. If you are lucky enough to earn some money, you are likely to have it stolen from you by the many predators hanging around the trailers. No wonder people want to live somewhere else; in fact, if Wade gets the money, he wants to build a spaceship and get the hell out of Dodge.

Still, even without everything being a shitstorm outside the aptly named OASIS, I know anyone with a nerdy bone in their body would at least want to be there for a while, because there are planets and planes from every sci fi franchise under the sun. Try to tell me you don't want to ride on the Serenity or visit the planets from Star Wars (with the possible exceptions of Dagobah or Hoth or, well, maybe most of them actually, but I would like to check out the Death Star and Endor)! The fact that people do become obsessed with their alternate realities is no surprise though. Certainly I know a few people who would be all over that, doing quests, visiting the worlds of their favorite games, gunting...they'd never want to leave. Plus, I know I would have loved the chance to miss all of middle school and probably high school too for this online version. Not only would it save me from having to be lonely during my awkward teen years, but it also sounds super freaking cool. I mean, for history class, they can be part of a simulation in which the event they're studying takes place; I bet science was like being a kid in Ms. Frizzle's class! Who wouldn't want to learn that way?

Even better, the whole story is completely chock full of nerdy references, mostly from the 80s, but some more modern things too. This gave me a number of opportunities to nerd out. Ernest Cline clearly loves science fiction, anime, fantasy, as well as family comedies like Family Ties. He also loves Ladyhawke, which there is a debate about the book. I must share my opinion on this matter, which is that it is freaking awesome, especially the soundtrack. Plus, Matthew Broderick was such a sweetie pie when he was little.

So yeah, all nerds, science fictions lovers, dystopia enthusiasts, and video gamers who like to read will definitely want to add this one to the to read list. Personally, I hope to see more equally nerdy fiction from Cline in the future!

Note: Today's song is one that the characters ought to approve of, taken from the soundtrack for Cowboy Bebop.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

A Little's Enough - Angels & Airwaves

Academy 7

Author: Anne Osterlund
Pages: 259
Publisher: Speak

Brief Summary:
Aerin Renning and her father, a trader, crash-landed on the planet Vizhan. Her father died instantly in the crash and she became a slave on this harsh world without technology. Eventually, she managed to escape in the damaged ship and is picked up by another ship before her air runs out. The captain of that vessel manages to sign her up for the tests to place into a school, even though she's not a citizen of the Alliance. Dane Madousin, on the other hand, is the son of the General, the leader of the Alliance's military. He is born of privilege, but that isn't always as nice as it may seem, so he is also rebellious and constantly in trouble. Both Dane and Aerin are accepted to the Alliance's most elite school, Academy 7, where both hope they can blend in and hide their secrets.

Dane and Aerin are both very screwed up people, broken and closed off. Academy 7 is science fictions, deals with wars, ethics and family, but, ultimately, I think the most important aspect of the story is the way that Dane and Aerin are slowly managing to recover from the wounds of their childhoods together. There relationship evolves slowly and believably.

Although I never got very close to any of the characters, I did like Dane and Aerin, drawn naturally to their intelligence. The first sections at the school reminded me heavily of the manga Special A, as the boy and girl have a serious rivalry for the first slot in the school, although here the girl is winning everything but debate.

The other story elements, some of which I listed in the first section of this review are well done too, although I think the story could have been better had it been longer. A number of points could have been more fully fleshed out, as could the characters. At the conclusion of the novel, I still have a lot of questions, such as what happened to the General. Perhaps a sequel will come someday when Osterlund has finished up her work on Aurelia's series.

Overall, this was a sweet, touching story of two scarred people coming together to mend against an awesome sci-fi backdrop.

"Where are those secrets now
That you're too scared to tell

I'd whisper them all aloud

So you can hear yourself"

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Giveaway Winner!

The lucky winner of Lev Grossman's The Magician King, selected by random.org, was Nori of Nori's Closet. Congrats, Nori! And I hope you enjoy the book. I'm reading it now!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Theme from Mansfield Park - Lesley Barber


Author: Jennifer Bradbury
Pages: 309
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Brief Summary:
Agnes is an incredibly brilliant girl. She can speak, read and write in ten different languages, some of which are self-taught. Unlike mos girls of the 1810s, she follows along with the political situation and is enthralled by what she learns. Even more telling of her intelligence and fine taste is her obsession with Jane Austen. Now 17, she faces her Debut into society and the rather surprisingly overt attentions of the most desirable bachelor, Lord Showalter. Agnes worries that her life will quickly become mundane as she settles into wifehood, but, thankfully, she finds a relic on a mummy, unlocking a mystery that could affect the outcome of the wars with Napoleon. To solve this mystery, she's going to have to turn up with a totally Darcy-ish hero. Clever girl.

So if you're me and you pick up a book and the heroine is reading, especially if she's reading Jane Austen, you're probably going to love most anything that comes next so long as it's halfway decent. Sure I suppressed a shudder (somewhat unsuccessfully) when I realized that the Austen book in question was the insufferable Mansfield Park, but later Agnes mostly quotes P&P and S&S, so I'll forgive her. So yeah, Austen lovers should check this out, because the constant Austen references will make you giddy.

For those who (for some crazy insane reason) do not like Jane Austen, the similarities are limited pretty much entirely to the references. The plot, characters and action are not remotely like those of an Austen novel. Caedmon is compared to Darcy in his first appearance, but really has nothing in common with him at all, except for his physical appearance as perceived by Agnes. As for Agnes, she is as sassy as an Austen heroine, but she pushes boundaries much more, what with her then deemed excessive education and propensity to crossdressing when she wants to leave the house unescorted, not to mention not having the good sense to fall in love with a wealthy man.

The story of Wrapped is altogether fun and silly. While the plot twists were completely unsurprising, I was still happy to see them come and quite excessively diverted by the story as a whole. Plus, the cover is completely delightful, even if it did make me expect a Beauty and the Beast reimagining for some reason I cannot explain.

Jennifer Bradbury has written an adorable period piece and I cannot wait to see what she'll do next!

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Popular - Kristen Chenoweth


Author: Elise Allen
Pages: 390
ARC Acquired from: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Ever since an unfortunate pants-peeing incident in kindergarten, Cara and Claudia have been best friends and social outcasts. They would love to be among the populazzi, the highest social tier in high school, but know that they have no chance of overcoming the social stigma of being a pants-wetter. When Cara's family moves to another Philadelphia suburb, Claudia informs her that this is her chance to ascend the social ladder, using her as-yet unpatented method, aptly known as The Ladder. All Cara has to do is date increasingly high status boys until she reaches the ultimate position of Supreme Populazzi. There's no way this could go wrong, right?

Likely, you have discerned that there are in fact myriad ways in which this little scheme could go south, and pretty much every single one will in fact occur, except for the difficulty of not being able to find boys. This is one of those books that is just remarkably painful to read, because it is chock full of dramatic irony, perhaps moreso than a horror movie. (I hate horror movies) Pretty much everything Cara does makes me want to shake her really hard, or at least shake the book really hard and yell at it, except that I was reading it on a computer.

Here's the thing. This popularity drama is very immediate when you're a high schooler, but, generally, by the time you're out of college, you're over it and realize how ridiculous it all was. Because of this, I mostly just felt incredibly awkward and sorry for Cara, while also thinking she deserved most of what came to her. In high school, I was probably on a lower tier than the happy hopeless, but I still would never have gone to such lengths. Admittedly, Cara would not have either, had it not been for the persistent urgings of Claudia, who I hated (despite the fact that she regularly quoted Shakespeare, which is awesome).

However, this book was not all bad by any means. I thought the writing was pretty good, and, though I didn't like most of them, she did write stellar and dynamic characters. My favorite, of course, was Archer, although I also felt like shaking him occasionally. My favorite scenes were almost all within the first hundred pages; Archer and Cara have such a realistic flow to their conversation, which makes them completely charming. They also make tons of bad jokes and accidentally say inappropriate things and play ping pong like champs. I wish I could have hung out with someone like Archer in high school!

I recommend Populazzi for those interested in themes of popularity and the expected messages that follow such a topic. While not my main interest by any means, this was definitely a much better read than anticipated. I would definitely be willing to read more from Allen in the future. Let's get some more nerdy characters, like Robert and Archer!

"You're gonna be popular!
I'll teach you the proper poise,
When you talk to boys,
Little ways to flirt and flounce,
I'll show you what shoes to wear!
How to fix your hair!
Everthing that really counts to be...

I'll help you be popular!
You'll hang with the right cohorts,
You'll be good at sports,
Know the slang you've got to know.
So let's start,
'Cause you've got an awfully long way to go!"

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Monday, August 8, 2011

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother - The Hollies

Rot & Ruin
Benny Imura, Book 1

Jonathan Maberry
Pages: 458
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Brief Summary:
Now that he's fifteen, Benny Imura has to find a job or lose his food rations. The search is not going particularly well. Nor is ignoring the fact that his one female best friend (the one all the guys promised, when they were younger, never to fall for) is really attractive and probably into him. Yet another reason to throw himself into the hunt for work, which leads him, eventually, to his only option: apprenticing with his much older brother, Tom. Benny hates Tom, who ran away with Benny on First Night, the night when the zoms rose, rather than saving their parents. Tom may be a badass bounty hunter to everyone else, but to Benny he's just a coward. On his first journey out of Mountainside (their small community) into the Rot & Ruin (pretty much everything else - a zombie-infested wasteland, Benny's going to learn a whole lot about the life he's led so far and his preconceptions.

At the outset, Benny is a bit of an obnoxious kid. He has some serious teen boy syndrome going on, what with the rebellion against his parental figure, whining, messing with a girl's feelings and idolization of whoever has the biggest muscles. Although this did help create sympathy for Tom and Nix, I still had trouble, even to the end of the novel, liking Benny, or Tom for that matter. Benny definitely got better, but he still has a lot of growing up to do. He wasn't completely awful and I didn't want him to die or anything, but he is not going down as a favorite either. Tom, while a really good guy, who I would probably have a bit of a crush on, just came off as way too much of a goody goody, even when you get to see him in action mode.

You know who I loved though? Nix and, to a lesser degree, Lilah. Although Rot & Ruin is written by a man and the main character is male and the main audience is likely teenage boys, most of the women in this novel still kick serious ass. Props to Jonathan Maberry for not writing about teenage girls who only talk about boys and trip all over themselves and constantly need to be saved. Honestly, I think Nix saves Benny's hide more often than he saves hers.

The dystopian aspects were pretty cool, although somewhat similar to the way Carrie Ryan's world reacted to the zombie menace, minus the crazy gates all over the place. Maberry didn't do anything too original with his worldbuilding, but its solid and the book is well-written. For zombie dystopias, I rank this way above Carrie Ryan's books, but still far below Mira Grant's Newsflesh series.

While I never got super engrossed into Rot & Ruin, perhaps because I just wasn't quite in the right mood, it was definitely a solid read and I am looking forward to the second book, Dust & Decay.

"It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my brother"

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The Perseus Chronicles, Chapter 1

Introducing Perseus

Knowing how dearly book lovers adore cute animals, I have been intending to post about my new kitten for over a month now. I am finally doing what I have previously failed to: introducing my rambunctious little tabby kitten Perseus.

Before I got him, I averred that I wanted a full grown (or close to full grown) cat, not a kitten, because I work all day and do not have the energy to deal with kitten antics. Enter cat-loving coworker, who, upon taking his cats to the vet, found that they had cute tabby kittens there. He knows I have a weakness for tabbies and even offered to drive me to his veterinarian's office to look at the sassy little cats. Against my better judgment, I agreed.

When I saw him, I was in trouble. His cute little face, his big eyes, his absurdly large ears and his purring right from the beginning melted my frosty heart. Who could resist the tiny lovin's?

Note the tiny face and ears the size of his entire head.

On the day I brought him home, he immediately set to exploring, conquered the stairs and began playing with the scary giants who had taken him to this new land. He loves toys and playing and pouncing and snuggles and being held. Of course, the active ones generally win out against snuggles, because he has all the energy in the world.

I can get it!

I should have known when I saw him settle in and start attacking things (or trying, as he was still too little to reach a lot of things) that he would be a right little scamp. Oh boy, but he is. Cute as can be, but any guest I have is saying 'don't pounce me!' to him by the end of the night.

Percy loves to make eye contact.
But if you look at him for too long, he will pounce your face.

Most of the time, Perseus' name seems a bit too epic for him, so I generally call him Percy or Perce or Mr. Perseus (somehow the Mr. makes it sillier). The name works, though, because Perseus is a little hunter. He has killed a selection of bugs, including three flies (and he's not yet four months old!) and eviscerates socky, depicted above, every single day. Socky may be the same size he is, but he is undaunted. The same is true of humans; they may be giant, but he will get 'em! Thankfully, even the most active and vicious of kittens get sleepy sometimes.

Look at that wittle face!

So that is a very simple introduction to my crazy kitten. He has grown so much in the just over a month I have had him. It's crazy looking at his kitten photos. Expect further installments of The Perseus Chronicles, in which you can mark his progress from kittenhood to full grown valiant cat warrior.

Perseus would like to leave everyone with one final message: books pave the stairway to success and purrfection!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Everyone's a Hero - Nathan Fillion

The Last Dragon

Author: Jane Yolen
Illustrator: Rebecca Guay
Pages: 141
ARC Acquired from: Dark Horse Books via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Two hundred years since all the dragons in Britain were killed, one lone egg that somehow survived hatches. The dragon grows up and begins terrorizing a small town. Desperate, the town sends for a hero, but all they get is a boasting storyteller with big, but untried, muscles. To have any chance of not becoming a tasty dragon morsel, the hero will have to team up with the daughters of the first human victim.

The Last Dragon is really short, which is good on some levels, but also unfortunate, because I feel like this could have been a really awesome story in novel format or in a longer graphic novel. There really just are not enough pages to establish character or even do justice to the overall plot. Still, the art is beautiful and I enjoyed some of the elements of this tale.

For example, I really like Tansy. She's smart and unique, and, while she needs a hero, she only needs his aid not a whole rescue. I also thought it was so cool how she looked different all the time, depending on her surroundings. She's a human chameleon! How crazy cool is that? I really loved not just this concept, but seeing how the artist managed to depict that in every scene.

To reiterate, this is a lovely graphic novel to flip through, but not long enough to have quite enough substance to be a highlight in my reading history.

"Everyone’s a hero in their own way
In their own not-that-heroic way"

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Friday, August 5, 2011

As You Sleep - Something Corporate

A Long, Long Sleep

Author: Anna Sheehan
Pages: 342
ARC Acquired from: Candlewick Press via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Rosalinda Fitzroy met her first love when she was 7 and he was an infant. At first, he was like her little brother, but over the years they became best friends and, eventually, when he was 16 and she was 15, they fell in romantic love. Anyone wondering about my math? Well, Rosalinda's parents put her in stasis whenever she got 'overexcited' or whenever they went on vacation. While in stasis, people do not age, so Rosalinda ages impossibly slowly. When woken up from stasis, Rosalinda feels like no time has passed, but it always has. This time, woken up by an unfamiliar boy, Bren, Rosalinda discovers that 62 years have passed and that, while everyone she knew before has died in dystopialike circumstances, she is still 16 and her body is seriously weak from all that time in stasis. To make matters even worse, there is a robotic human out to capture and terminate her.

At its core, A Long, Long Sleep is a reimagined version of Sleeping Beauty. This is most apparent in the opening scenes and then occasionally referenced. The fairy tale elements are what drew me to the story, but this is way different than most revised fairy tales, which generally keep to the story but flesh out characters and plots. Sheehan has taken an old, familiar story and created an amazing science fiction world and made the heroine someone new and different than just a girl trapped in a castle.

Rosalinda made a really great main character. Usually, I would dislike a heroine like her, at least in the first parts of the book, because she is, essentially, helpless and is physically weak. She is also filled with self-loathing and serious feelings of inadequacy. She is painfully shy and awkward, unable to make friends. Still, there are reasons for this and they are so clearly put forward that I did not expect her to be any other way; instead, I just rooted for her to overcome her problems. To some extent, she does, but at the end of the novel, she still has a ways to go, which is awesome too because that's how real life works. Those kinds of deep-rooted insecurities are really hard to get over, just like her weakness from so long spent in stasis will take a couple of years to go away completely. What I love about Rosalinda is that she is so real and that, when push comes to shove, she will do whatever she can to save herself and those around her, even though she doesn't think she's smart or worthy.

The worldbuilding here was so awesome. I really hope Sheehan writes some more books set here, like one written during the Dark Times maybe? As my dear readers may know, I am obsessed with dystopias and that book would totally be a dystopia. That makes me wonder if this one could be to; certainly, the community they live in, all owned by one corporation, could qualify as a completely terrifying future, not to mention the creation of people like Otto and the horrible treatment his kind received. Also, I have to say how much I love Otto.

I just ate this book up. I loved it right from the start. It was one of those books where I just did not want to stop reading. Last night, I almost stayed up until I could finish it, but then thought better of it, knowing that I'm an adult who has to get up and go to work. (Lame!) Now, having finished it, I just want more. Anna Sheehan needs to write more books for me to enjoy. This is an excellent example of YA fiction.

Today's song is dedicated to poor Rosalinda. The chorus, shown below, is from her parents.

"But as you sleep, and no one is listening
I will lift you off your feet, I'll keep you from sinking
Don't you wake up yet, cause soon I'll be leaving you
Soon I'll be leaving you, but you won't be leaving me"

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Reavers Chase Serenity - Greg Edmonson

Cowboys & Aliens

Authors: Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, Fred Van Lente & Andrew Foley
Illustrators: Dennis Calero & Luciano Lima
Pages: 112
Publisher: It Books

Because of the blockbuster movie (which I want to see but haven't), I was very curious to try this graphic novel when I saw it show up on the list of recent arrivals at my library. I had pretty high hopes for it, because the idea of aliens and cowboys makes me think of space cowboys which makes me think of Firefly which rocks hardcore. The graphic novel is okay, but definitely not of anywhere near Firefly quality.

I am curious to see the movie at some point to see what they did with it, because, as is, it's not exactly two hours with of entertainment and has very little dialogue. I imagine they'll go more into character back stories, as there is none of that here.

Cowboys & Aliens has cool art and an even better crazy alternative history. The story is set, for those who don't know, during the manifest destiny days of the United States, wherein cowboys were busy depriving Indians of their homeland. This makes an awesome backdrop for an attempted alien takeover, because of the obvious parallels between the two situations. I applaud this historical comparison.

Mostly, the graphic novel consists of images of battle and frontier ingenuity in trying to defeat the aliens, which is okay, but not super awesome. Overall, I found this to be a very quick, fairly entertaining read with some highlights. Like the ending, which was hilarious.

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Giveaway: Lev Grossman's The Magician King

I am super, super thrilled to be able to offer my first giveaway on Reader of Fictions. What makes it even better is that I can offer to one very lucky reader what promises to be an incredibly awesome book, The Magician King by Lev Grossman. I just reviewed the first book in the trilogy, The Magicians, so make sure you check that out, so you have some clue how epic book two is going to be. Expect a review on The Magician King in a couple of days. If you're too lazy to read the review of the previous book, just know that this is a series that has been compared to Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia, only for adults. So yeah. Get it.

The winner will be selected by a secret algorithm (very mysterious!). To enter to win this free copy of The Magician King, sent to you directly from Penguin, all you have to do is fill out the following form by August 11, 2011 (next Thursday) by 5 PM Eastern. I do not require that you follow my blog or anything to enter the giveaway (because I hate when other people do that), but doing so would be mighty appreciated!

P.S. This giveaway is open only to readers in the U.S. and Canada.

This giveaway is now closed.


What You Wish For - Guster

The Magicians
The Magicians, Book 1

Author: Lev Grossman
Pages: 402
Review Copy Acquired from: Penguin Books

If you do any kind of research on The Magicians at all, even just reading the back of the novel, you will find it compared constantly and fervently to Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. I tend to take such comparisons with a grain of salt. With such epically amazing series, it's unlikely that the comparison will do the book in question a favor, because it will merely disappoint, clumsily ape the better novel or actually have nothing in common whatsoever with the book to which it is being compared. The Harry Potter series is definitely among my favorite books of all time and Narnia, although not a favorite due to the Christian allegory, is still incredibly well-written and not to be easily matched. With that said, Lev Grossman managed to mine both for inspiration and create something new, wonderful and completely his own.

So yeah, I kind of loved it from the beginning to the end. Like Harry Potter, this series follows a main male character, Quentin Coldwater, in the third person, revealing only that which Quentin personally observes, experiences or is told. For those of us who still dream sometimes about receiving a Hogwarts letter (or the American equivalent) and a time turner, by which to go back to the right age, we have yet another magical school to lament not having received an invitation to join. This school, Brakebills, is even more exclusive: just having witchy powers does not guarantee you admittance. You have to be a genius, not just smart but incredibly brilliant, and also possess a certain something to get to go. It saddens me that I am not smart enough to have ever gotten to go to Brakebills.

The story is told in four books, all of which have their own themes and arcs. The first book is what I like to think of as the Harry Potter arc. In this section, Quentin gets his invitation and takes the test to go to Brakebills. The students there are of the age to go to college, older than the HP crew, but they go through similar schedules with classes and holidays and all of that. This part is where you learn about the rules of magic and meet the cast of characters, most notably Alice, Eliot, Penny, Josh and Janet.

In Book 2, they have all graduated and are living it up in New York, in a the world is ending kind of way. They're all completely crazy and screwed up, but in a familiar way; many people make these mistakes once out of college and unsure what to do next. Basically, they're disillusioned and spoiled and depressed and without motivation, waiting for some sign of what they're meant to be and do. This section is painful to read, but believable and necessary.

Let me sidetrack for a moment to talk about Quentin as a character. Overall, I kind of don't like him, because he can be so dumb for one so smart. Why? Quentin sees the world in a very black and white, childish kind of way, which is why his mood does such crazy rockets from the heights of happiness to the depths of despair. He has huge expectations from his life and is monumentally destroyed and depressed when life does not meet them. He has high standards for others and judges them for their mistakes, but blames his disappointing life for his own. He always expects the next new thing to fix all of his problems and bring him the perfect paradise he always knew he deserved (thus the Fillory obsession).

Since I didn't do a summation at the beginning, allow me to explain Fillory briefly now. Fillory is the Narnia equivalent, a magical land from a novel series written for children. These books are about children from a family who manage to pass into another land via a number of means (such as a clock) and there are made kings and queens and have adventures, although they are always made to leave at the end of each book by the goat gods of the world. Book three of The Magicians is the Narnia portion. It is very like Narnia and yet so very, very different and much, much darker.

The fourth book largely sets up for the sequel, The Magician King. I can't say much more than that without spoilering, which I most ardently do not wish to do, because I want everyone to enjoy this book as much as I did. If you love Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, high fantasy, stories about geniuses, well-written novels and/or incredible stories, go get yourself a copy of this posthaste. Fangirling complete.

"Once had this dream, crashed down in Oz
Not black and white, but where the colors are
I never dreamed that I would let her go
And I will get what I deserve

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Monday, August 1, 2011

When Water Comes to Life - Cloud Cult

Avatar: The Last Airbender:
The Lost Adventures

Authors: Aaron Ehasz, Josh Hamilton, Tim Hedrick, Dave Roman, J. Torres
ARC Acquired from: Dark Horse Books via NetGalley

For those of you not familiar with Avatar, you probably should be. It's super cute and deeper than you might expect on first glance. It took a few episodes to grow on me, but, by the end, I was pretty much in love with it, even if my ship didn't turn out (still a little bitter!).

Anyway, The Lost Adventures is, as you may have guessed, little episodes that happen between the episodes or scenes of the show. They span all three seasons, and, as with any collection of stories, some are better than others. For the most part, I give this a big thumbs up. These little vignettes definitely retain the atmosphere of the show, giving the impression that at least some were probably cut from the show for time and are now being given to the fans (just in time to amp up interest for the reboot).

My only complaint is about the two sections which really do not seem to belong in this anthology. Two of the stories are totally amateur hour; the art is awful and the stories unremarkable. When you can make the characters look realistic, why wouldn't you do so? The last story had silly art, but it made sense in context; these other two were trying to be serious and good, but failed utterly.

Avatar fans should definitely give this a looksee, if they want more cute. Now, I really want to watch Avatar (although I won't because I'm working on Party Down and M*A*S*H) and am totally stoked for the reboot!

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