April 9th, 2010

Books!

The Seduction of the Water

The Seduction of the Water


Carol Goodman

Iris Greenfeder has a lot of almost's in her life, she's almost in an amazing relationship, almost (well, ok not almost) done with her dissertation and almost has all the knowledge she ever wants to know about her mother. While teaching English for new immigrants, indifferent art students and convicts she comes up with an assignment about Fairytales of peoples childhood. Her assignment inspires her to start writing about her mother, a famous novelist herself and sets her in motion to go back to the hotel she grew up in and find out everything there is to know about her mother and the unpublished third book of the trilogy she was writing. Along the way she falls for one of her ex students, meets up with old acquaintance and learns that there may be more interesting secrets in her mothers life than where she hid the manuscript.

Carol Goodman does an excellent job of depicting a Hotel rich in history and personality in the Hotel Equinox, where the majority of the story takes place. Her characters are rich with excellent and often quirky personalities. Iris herself often toes the line from so single minded she could end up annoying, but she always snaps back into a driven girl. Among other characters are Aidan, an ex-con with a great story and a huge heart, Aunt Sophie, who is strict but caring and Harry Kron who's Hotel chain and arts patronage saves Iris's childhood home.

The most compelling part of this story is the mixture between fairytale and real life. The Seduction of the Water starts with a short piece Iris wrote about a Selkie story her mother used to tell her. It sets the tone for all the other often overlooked tales that are incorporated in the book, such as the Tam-Lin and the Swan Wife. Most chapters are started with and excerpt for Tirra Glynn books her mother wrote that also incorporate old world fairy tales, a new and interesting fantasy work and snip-its of her own life.

While the story does have a mystery element it doesn't play as big of a part as the romantic themes and life searching moments that can be found throughout the novel. All in all it was a quick, compelling read. Definitely worth checking out at the library or buying as a paperback.

My Rating:
4/5

As always, past reviews can be found at here
Carnival

#34 The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Mary lives in the village, a simple place ruled by the Sisterhood, protected by the Guardians, and surrounded by a metal fence to keep out the unconsecrated. Mary has already lost one parent to the unconsecrated, and when her mother is taken too, she is forced to take refuge with the Sisterhood, an order of secretive nun-like religious figureheads. Then, the Sisterhood receives two visitors: Travis, the boy that Mary loves, and a strange girl named Gabrielle that Mary has never seen before. Could she be from another village? Is there more beyond the fences then the forest of hands and teeth?

I picked up The Forest of Hands and Teeth with the highest of expectations. At first glance, it appears to be the perfect book for me, a young adult dystopia with zombies? Count me in! The setting that it takes place in is fascinating, and I think logically represents a society where people’s main focus is survival. The intensely dark storyline is filled with action, romance, and all of the things I typically look for in a young adult book.

So why did I struggle to connect with the story? The biggest reason was my dislike of the protagonist’s voice. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is written in the first person, and much of the book is spent inside Mary’s head as she reflects on the world around her. I didn’t like the author’s habit of writing a paragraph or two about a topic, and then following it with a single sentence paragraph that summarizes what you just read, such as how the people know nothing about life outside the village beyond the forest, or the level of control the Sisterhood has. It often feels as if the author is saying “oh you know what I’ve been saying in a roundabout way for a paragraph? Here’s what I really mean in case you didn’t get it.” This is a little insulting to the reader’s intelligence (and yes I’m aware it was written for a young adult audience), and the frequency that it happens had me rolling my eyes. It also contributes to the air of melodrama that occasionally permeates the story.

Since we spend so much time in Mary’s head, many of the minor characters don‘t seem to get the development they deserve. The most obvious example of this is in the character of Travis. We know from the beginning that Mary really cares about Travis, and she grows to love him quite intensely. I could not help but wonder why, as I never really felt I got a handle on who he was. This is quite frustrating as the romantic storyline is actually a rather important one.

Most people who have picked up this book seem to love it a lot, and there are many things I enjoy about it. The setting is really well done, and the story can be quite exciting at times, especially near the end. Unfortunately, my dislike of Mary’s voice and my issues with the characterization ultimately held me back from fully enjoying the book. I’m not saying that it’s necessarily a bad book. It was okay, but despite all of the unresolved plotlines at the end, I don’t think that I will be reading the sequel The Dead Tossed Waves.

Rating: three stars
Length: 310 pages
Source: paperbackswap
Challenge: This book is part of the 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge
Similar books: The dark dystopia storyline reminded me of The Hunger Games (my review) and Catching Fire (my review) both by Suzanne Collins. The romance reminded me of The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer.
Other books I've read by this author: This is my first

xposted to [info]bookish, [info]temporaryworlds,  and goodreads
  • Current Mood
    frustrated

Greeks gods and heros by Roberts Graves


(This is not the cover art of the book. I couldn't find it, but thought this looked pretty awesome intested.)
Title: Greek Gods and Heros
By: Robert Graves
Pages: 160
MyRating: B
Mythoughts: If your at all intersted in greed gods, I suggested you reading this book, along side with The Greek Gods by Eveslin. You'll find the difference's in the two books ever interesting. For example, the story of Hephaestus In Graves verison Zeus throw him off mount olympus and that why he deformed, while in Eveslin verison he is born deformed and Hera thorw him away.
  • Current Mood
    crazy
Kitty: Angry Calico

Turner, Megan Whalen: The King of Attolia

The King of Attolia (2006)
Written by: Megan Whalen Turner
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Pages: 387 (Trade Paperback)
Series: Book Three (ongoing)

The premise: ganked from BN.com: By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making. Attolia's barons seethe with resentment, the Mede emperor is returning to the attack, and the king is surrounded by the subtle and dangerous intrigue of the Attolian court.

When a naive young guard expresses his contempt for the king in no uncertain terms, he is dragged by Eugenides into the center of the political maelstrom. Like the king, he cannot escape the difficulties he makes for himself. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king's caprice, but he discovers a reluctant sympathy for Eugenides as he watches the newly crowned king struggle against his fate.


My Rating

Must Have: it's very, very close to a "Keeper Shelf" because I'm very, very tempted to sit down with the first three books and read them all over again. The King of Attolia was beautiful, and I'm not sure what else I can say. When I finished, I just sat there, savoring it, not wanting to rush to the next book in my TBR pile because I simply wanted let the book resonate with me. There's so much beauty here, and what a heroic and clever journey for Eugenides. It's a quiet, subtle fantasy that delights the mind and warms the heart PROVIDED you already have the first two books under your belt. Mind you, this could be read as a stand-alone, but you're missing a whole other dimension to this book if you do so. So don't. This book is by far the best of the three, and I can honestly say I look forward to the fourth book in the series, A Conspiracy of Kings, once it's available in paperback (though I won't say no to a free hardcover if it came my way). I did get the bonus of a short story in the back of my The King of Attolia copy, which focused on a childhood experience between the girl who would become Eddis and the gods, and that too was beautiful. Honestly, I have to say I love the way Turner handles the magic and religion of this series, as it's honest while being fictional, honest without being trite. Fantastic work, and I highly recommend this book, let alone the series, to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy but hasn't yet checked this out. Just note: The Thief is very different in tone and style than the rest of the books, so don't be jarred like I originally was when I read The Queen of Attolia. :)

Review style: I'm going to talk about why time heals (some) reading wounds, how the style isn't as jarring this time around and why, and how having the first two books under your belt really helps the enjoyment of the novel even though it could be read as a stand-alone, and lastly, how this series just doesn't feel like YA in the slightest, and how I'm not convinced that the characters I'm reading about are even teenagers. Spoilers? Unlike Eugenides, I'll behave.

The full review is in my LJ, for anyone who's interested. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)

REVIEW: Megan Whalen Turner's THE KING OF ATTOLIA

Happy Reading!

DON'T MISS OUT: Win an ARC of the upcoming werewolf anthology, RUNNING WITH THE PACK, edited by Ekaterina Sedia. For a list of contributors and details on how to enter, click here.

ALSO:

Book club selections @ calico_reaction. Hop on over! We'd love to have you!

April: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia
May: Natural History by Justina Robson

Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite

Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite
Simon and Schuster (240 pages) Copyright 1996
ISBN 0-684-82254-7
 
Summary: from vamp.org

Blood-soaked sheets, cannibalism, rotting, half-dissected corpses: this gruesome psychological horror novel has all the grue a reader might -- or might not -- want. Brite (DRAWING BLOOD, 1993), the reigning queen of Generation-X splatterpunks, pulls out the stops in this ghastly tale of two serial killers who find true love over the body of a murdered and mutilated boy in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. Londoner Andrew Compton, imprisoned for the necrophiliac slayings of 23 young men, escapes from prison by (rather unbelievably) faking his own death and killing the coroners gathered to autopsy his body. Fleeing to Louisiana, he hooks up with Jay Byrne, slacker scion of a wealthy old family, whose murders are even more fiendish than Compton's own.

My Review

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