August 9th, 2010

Carnival

#61 Inda by Sherwood Smith

Ten-year-old Inda has grown up knowing that his older brother will one day rule Choraed Elgaer, and Inda will support him as his Shield Arm. So he is surprised when he, along with other noble second sons, is called to the military academy, an unprecedented act spurned on by an impending war. Here Inda will learn to fight, and begin to grow into his potential as an innovative military commander. But when he attracts the wrong kind of attention from powerful man, Inda finds his newly happy life taking a dark turn.

Inda is the first book in a fantasy quartet by Sherwood Smith. Before reading this novel, I was familiar with Smith's Crown Duel, a book which takes place in this same world, but at a different time. One area where Inda truly excels is in it's world building. Smith presents us with an incredibly rich world with a well defined culture and history. I could not help but be fascinated by this strange land which puts so much emphasis on war and violence. Another one of Smith's strengths comes in characterization. The novel Inda is filled with a large cast of characters, that are often more complex than you'd suspect at first. Inda himself is a likable protagonist. I loved the fact that he was so clever, and enjoyed watching him grow from age ten to sixteen. At the same time, I felt a deep sympathy for him. Poor, honorable Inda faces true hardship in this book. At times, he reminded me of Ender from Ender's Game. A likable and remarkably bright individual facing challenges at far too young an age. Some of my other favorite characters include Sponge, a young prince, and Hadand, Inda's older sister.

Although this is my first time reading Inda, it is not the first time that I have picked it up. I actually purchased the book a few years ago when it was first released, but had a really hard time getting into it. The reason for that is that Inda is a very complex novel, filled with as large of a cast of characters as you'd expect to find in a door stopper like this, and a culture which possesses many special titles that can be hard to remember. Inda is also not a page turner. In fact the pacing can be on the slow side. The novel is 568 pages long (at least in hardcover, more in paperback), and you feel all 568 pages. Inda is also very much a series book. Very little is resolved by the end, so if you plan on picking this book up, be prepared to make a four book commitment.

So does this mean that Inda is a bad book? Of course not. Inda is an enjoyable story, but it's a book that you really need to commit time to in order to fully appreciate the depths of the story. It's also not for everyone. I'll admit at times I found the large cast of characters to be confusing (I found out too late that Smith has a character guide on her website) and the slow pacing to be frustrating. Still, I appreciated it's world and characters too much to give up on it. I would recommend this book for fans of large fantasy books with a heavy emphasis on world building and character development over a nail biting plot.

Rating: four stars
Length: 568 pages
Source: shelf
Challenges: This book is part of the Summer of Series Challenge
Similar book: The nautical setting that takes up a large chunk of this book reminded me of Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy.
Other books I've read by this author: Crown Duel (which consists of both Crown Duel, and Court Duel), Wren to the Rescue, Wren's Quest, Wren's War

xposted to temporaryworlds , bookish , and goodreads
dany

Review: She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

Title: She's So Dead to Us
Author: Kieran Scott
Page Count: 278 pages
Summary: Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends -- friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn't like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.

Now, two years later, Ally's mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally's new low-key, happy life, it'll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.

But then there's Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake's friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it's Ally Ryan.

Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can't be forgotten. Isn't there more to life than money?

(Review @ Read Sam, Read!)
noa

Win an autographed copy of Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong



Hey everyone! I'm a first time poster here. I just wanted to let you all know about this contest my sister is having. She met Kelley Armstrong a couple days ago at a reading and Mrs. Armstrong was generous enough to provide a signed copy of Waking the Witch for my sister to give away on her blog! All you have to do is go to the blog and comment with your email :) You get extra points if you also subscribe to the blog and follow her on twitter.


Read about the contest here

And here's her twitter if you'd like to follow.


Thanks guys, good luck!
lyra silvertongue
  • irnan

Enchanted Glass, by Diana Wynne Jones

Disclaimer: I don't think I've ever read a Diana Wynne Jones novel that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed. This review may be slightly biased. ;)

The book opens with the death of Jocelyn Brandon, who's left his house and everything he owns to his grandson Andrew, who's an absent-minded history-book-writing professor (or would be, if he actually had his PhD yet, not that anyone listens to him when he tries explaining this) who needs a small boy, lost and grieving, to remind him of all the magic he once learned at his grandfather's knee and then forgot. Under Jones' pen the most extraordinary things become commonplace, magic everyday, so natural that you expect to shut the book and find a fairy sitting at the table with you.

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lyra silvertongue
  • irnan

The Likeness, by Tana French

Ostensibly The Likeness is a crime novel - Detective Cassie Maddox gets talked into going undercover as her murdered doppelganger in order to find out who killed her - and I went into it expecting suspense and excitement, interesting characters and a bit of action.


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In short: it's the kind of book that gets its claws in you and won't let go, full of interesting characters, haunting places, clever, not very exciting, but then it's not really supposed to be: the tension isn't in the actions of the characters but their emotions. If you've read The Secret History, don't be put off by the parallels; they're the stuff that lit class papers are made of, I think. I really, really liked this one.


  • quippe

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

The Blurb On The Back:

What you want is not always what you get.

Even when your wishes come true.


Andi desperately hopes her long lost half-brother Bernardo will be as mad on basketball as she is. But when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she can’t believe her eyes. She hasn’t seen him for ten years, but even so, how did he get to be EIGHT FOOT TALL? An eight-foot tall boy who is about to crash into her life with his size 22 feet.

But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has an amazing story to tell.


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The Verdict:

Candy Gourlay’s debut novel is a warm, charming tale about giganticism and accepting peoples’ differences and it has a wonderful supernatural element to it that gives the story an ambiguity that’s delicious to read. Bernardo and Andi are great characters and the use of a Filipino village gives a welcome multi-cultural element that’s interesting, humorous but never patronising. Definitely a writer to watch.

Cross-posted to books, bookworming, kiddie_lit and middlebooks.