Saturday, November 17, 2018

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

6699003I was feeling nostalgic so went looking for a fairy tale to read.  Why not one about a 12 year old evil genius looking to steal the pot of gold?  Also Artemis Fowl is about to get a silver screen treatment.

I have always had very mixed feelings towards fairy tale retelling.  I understand fairy tales were meant to be passed along and that will include its own bit of telephone with each iteration.  However.  The amount of modern retelling that take classics that I can't even find the original backbone is exhausting.

Artemis Fowl is able to take the fairies of old and insert them into the modern world because this is inspired by fairy tales as a whole without trying to retell any specific story.  Artemis Fowl plans on putting his white collar crime family back on top by robbing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

He is assisted by an intense mercenary trained from birth to complete any challenge, Butler.  He is hampered by a loony tunes mother.  He is definitely operating above his age group.  But can he really outsmart the fairies, who have protected their gold from humans for millennia?

This is a completely enjoyable quick read that I really hope they don't screw up in Hollywood.  It is action packed without being overly serious and grim.  An excellent variety of fairies are represented.  I'm going to need to see if my library has the rest of the series.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle

Many Waters (Time Quintet, #4)
Time does not flow like a river towards the sea in L'Engle's cosmos.  Many Waters takes place somewhere in between A Wind in a Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet--and some 3,000 years in the past.  

The story of Noah getting a fictional treatment gives me some mixed feelings.  I love that L'Engle's books have spiritual and quantum physics mixture, but taking a biblical story and making it her whole plot is a stretch for me.

Yet despite my misgivings, I couldn't put the book down.  L'Engle's writing is enthralling and thought provoking.  I may not have loved the subject, but the lesson was one of her best.  

The adventures of Sandy and Dennys start in the lab when they accidentally tamper with an experiment.  They find themselves in a desert with no way to return home. 

Unicorns make a second appearance.  These aren't your standard fairy tale unicorns.  These are quantum unicorns that travel through space-time.  We are also introduced to water divining mammoths, seraphim, and nephilim.

The regular people are interesting characters too.  The way that everyone interacts with each other and the lessons they all take away from each other are what make this story.  It is full of tension and excellent pacing.  I just wish it hadn't been Noah.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio RacesI had really meant to put this review up in time for the scorpio races, but I missed it and the opportunity for ambiance. But everyone here already is aware of my lack of timeliness so we'll just get along to the review.

On an island off the coast of what appears to be Britain of a begone era, a group of riders take on the ultimate challenge--racing water horses.  A young man named Sean has an astounding relationship with the water horses, but Kate wants to prove that it's not all about the local legends.

This is a gut-wrenching tale about choices, home, and love.  The cast of characters is a vast array of usual suspects.  They have nothing extraordinary about them, and that is what makes them some of the best developed characters I've read.  I was incredibly impressed with the sense of reality even being in a fantasy island with mythical creatures.

I picked this book off an Amazon sale for the horse race plot.  I want to be very forthcoming, if you are looking for a high action horse race, don't get this book.  If you want to read a high quality story with the bonus of horses, then certainly pick up this novel.  

The story pacing is definitely slow, but I never felt like putting the book down.  The characters are gripping and the tale itself is life.  By the end of the book, I was mesmerized.  A definite 4 star book.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Lady Mechanika: La Dama de la Muerte

Lady Mechanika: La Dama de la MuerteToday is Dia de los Muertos, and I have a spooky treat for you.  This is a nice little story if you are looking for seasonal reads to enjoy with all the festivities of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.

This is a side story from Lady Mechanika's past.  There is significance in character building, but none towards the plot that has been building in Volumes 1-4.  

Lady Mechanika has just lost Dallas and headed to the remote village of Santa Catarina.  She is trying to hide from her pain but has arrived in Mexico during the Dia de los Muertos festival.  The citizens convince her to participate as it will be more healing than hiding in her room getting drunk.

The citizens do not know, however, that Lady Mechanika always manages to run into the wrong people when she is on holiday.  The Jinentes del Infierno have been taxing the village for years as an order of protection.  Of course, Lady Mechanika can't abide bullying, so she gets involved.

The three comic set is short and sweet and a great Mexican culture representation.  How we deal with the loss of our loved ones is perfect for Dia de los Muertos, and the eerie coloring and gory plot are perfect for Halloween.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon

Image result for Curious Incident of the Dog in the NightI'm not even really sure how to write this review.  This was a rather unusual read for me.  I typically stay away from big general fiction sellers.  My mom gave me this book in our version of a book subscription box because it has a poodle on the cover and the lead character has autism.  

There were plenty of factors to this story that were relative and my mom gave it to me so I had to read it.  I finished the book last year, but I have put off writing the review for all the other books I have read in between.

In the end, I figured out how I feel about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  I enjoyed this book.  It has an excellent plot, characters, and writing.  I found nothing negative to say or dislike about the book.  But, there was nothing special.  There was no factor that made this book a favorite of mine.

It is a completely average book to me.  However, it does make sense that it is getting stage treatment--which looks utterly ridiculous and horrifying--from its popularity and has sold millions of copies.  

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Where the Stars Rise edited by Lucas Law and Derwin Mak

Some are good, some are great and some I really could have gone without ever reading.  But that's just how an anthology works.  I've lately really become fond of anthologies.  It is nice to just pick up a short story between projects.  Especially with the weather taking a quick turn to the cold side, I've not been able to garden for as long as I would like in a day.  I enjoy coming in for a hot cup of tea and a quick read.

Where the Stars Rise is a collection of fantasy and science fiction stories by Asian authors.  It has been a vastly interesting collection.  The eastern mythos provides an entirely different spin than I have been raised with and gives a nice edge when I get in a fantasy slump.

Some of the stories I would love to see get an entire novel based on these short prequels--such as The dataSultan of Streets and Stars by Jeremy Szal.  

Some were just great stand alone stories that really make you think about life--like any good science fiction should--such as Weaving Silk by Amanda Sun and Vanilla Rice by Angela Yuriko Smith.  I especially like the interlinked paradigms from A Star is Born by Miki Dare.

Some were just over my head because I don't have enough cultural heritage to understand the myths the authors are building around--such as Udatta Sloka by Deepak Bharathan.

Overall I give this short story collection 4 stars.  The ones I truly enjoyed well overrated the ones that were beyond my understanding or just poorly written (which there were only two).

Friday, October 19, 2018

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

Witches Abroad (Discworld, #12; Witches #3)While the witches are not my favorite arc of the Discworld (that honor goes to Death), I do highly appreciate Granny Weatherwax--she is a very sensible woman--and Nanny Ogg is a hoot.  On the flip side, Magrat is starting to rub me raw.  I wish her character would trade places with Granny's hat (there is a little bit of a pun there).

The satire here is all about fairy tales and happy endings.  It's fairy godmothers versus witches in a showdown for who gets to influence the city of Genua.  There is great humor--as always with a Pratchett novel--overlaying the very serious topic of predestiny and choice.

Nanny Ott speaks fluent foreign, and I couldn't stop cracking up.