Tuesday, July 28, 2009


by David Almond

Grade: Good

Very interesting little book. The author is Catholic, or was, and it shows up (although not obviously). However, it seems to be a bit of cultural Catholicism, as opposed to orthodox, as Almond mentions at the end, "Catholic children are often told that they once were angels, and that they might become angels again." I mean, what?
Skellig himself was an awsome character, and so was Mina.

The Carpet People

by Terry Pratchett

Grade: All right

It was pretty good, actually. Maybe I should have put "Good" down instead... The fantasy land itself was very original and inventive, and the story had Pratchett's typical wit and interesting characters.
The part with the women fighting bugged me a bit. Not because women fought, but because of the way it was treated. I like it much better when women simply do fight, and there isn't such a big fuss made over it, like "Look! Look! The Women are fighting! The Women are fighting!"
And it was a bit short.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rose Daughter

by Robin McKinley

Grade: All right

I loved the sisters, Lionheart and Jeweltongue. The roses were cool. But Beauty and the Beast didn't actually do much or say much, and their romance seemed a bit quick. Technically it was seven months, I guess. But it was also seven days.
Bit slow moving. Good for savouring.

Oh, and there was this one part near the beginning where it was explaining how, at five years old, Beauty didn't understand the fact that her mother had died. Eleanor's four, and I think she'd understand. People just don't get how smart little kids are.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

by Trenton Lee Stewart

Grade: All right

I liked the first one better. The puzzles were excellent in the first half, and the second half was very tense and cool.
This one, not so much. Although I loved Constance even more, I think. And I will read the next one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Feet of Clay

by Terry Pratchett

Grade: Good

Not my all time favourite Watch book. In fact, perhaps my least favourite. But it was still excellent. I loved the introduction of Cheery Littlebottom. And I loved when I realized that Vetinari was in control the whole time. I was a little worried for a minute there, until I got to page 261: "If the poor man took any longer he'd have to start giving him hints."

Some parts I liked:
"Who had a motive for poisoning Lord Vetinari?
No, that wasn't the way to crack it. Probably, if you went to some outlying area of the city and confined your investigations to little old ladies who didn't get out much, what with all the wallpaper over the door and everything, you might be able to find someone without a motive."

"This always happens in any police chase anywhere. A heavily laden lorry will always pull out of a side alley in front of the pursuit.
If vehicles aren't involved, then it'll be a man with a rack of garments. Or two men with a large sheet of glass.
There's probably some kind of secret society behind all this." (pg.158)

"Bingely bingely beep bong! [...] It's nine of the clock,' said the organizer, poking its head out of Vimes's pocket. '"I was unhappy because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet."'
The Watchmen exchanged glances.
'What?' said Vimes, very carefully.
'People like it if I occasionally come up with a little aphorism or inspiring Thought For the Day,' said the imp.
'So how did you meet this man with no feet?' said Vimes.
'I didn't actually meet him,' said the imp. 'It was a general metaphorical statement.'
'Well, that's it, then,' said Vimes. 'If you'd met him you could have asked him if he had any boots he didn't have any use for.'
There was a squeak as he pushed the imp back into its box." (pg.189)

"Vetinari had tamed Ankh-Morpork. He'd tamed it like a dog. He'd taken a minor scavenger among scavengers and lengthened its teeth and strengthened its jaws and built up its muscles and studded its collar and fed it lean steak and then he'd aimed it at the throat of the world." (pg.223)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

by Terry Pratchett

Grade: Good

Even better than I thought it would be. Terry Pratchett always tends to do that. I loved the rats, especially Dangerous Beans. He was a Fiver sort of character. In fact, the whole thing reminded me somewhat of Watership Down. It made me more interested in what the relationship between Vetinari and his rats was.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

by Susanna Clarke

Grade: To Own

WOW, what a book. Massive, slow, and grand to start with, and then how eerie and wild and tense it becomes!
VERY 19th century. Spelling, style, plot, characters, everything. I had to check to make sure that it really was written in 2004.
It was so melancholy and tragic, so hopeful and romantic, dry and boring, creepy and alluring, ivigorating and inspiring all at the same time.

Here are a few little parts I liked. Not my favourite parts, or the best parts, but how could I choose those?

"Often the French would look up from whatever they were doing and see Major Grant on horseback, observing them from atop a far-off hill. He would peer at them through his telescope and then make notes about them in his little notebook. It made them most uncomfortable." (pg. 318)

Pg. 323: Neopolitans are from Naples, apparently. This was new to me, and I thought it rather amusing.

Pg. 492: "On the third day she died." So abrupt, I just sat staring at it for a minute. And then it went right into Volume III--and what a volume that was!

"He began to have the strangest feeling...the feeling that something was coming to an end and that all his choices had now been made. He had taken a road in his youth, but the road did not lead where he had supposed; he was going homne, but home had become something monstrous. In the half-dark, standing by the black bed, he remembered why he had always feared the darkenss as a child." (pg. 707-8)

Strange's madness: so eerie!
"After a few minutes he looked out of the window and into the Campo Santa Maria Zobenigo. People were walking up and down. The backs of their heads were hollowed out; their faces were nothing but thin masks at the front. Within each hollow a candle was burning. This was so plain to him now, that he wondered he had never noticed it before. He imagined what would happen if he went down into the street and blew some of the candles out. It made him laugh to think of it. He laughed so much that he could no longer stand. His laguhter echoed round and round the house. Some small remaining shred of reason warned him that he ought not to let the landlord and his family know what he was doing so he went to bed and muffled the sound of his laughter in the pillows, kicking his legs from time to time with the sheer hilarity of the idea."
And then...
"All seemed well until the waiter approached his table and put the cup of coffee down upon it. Strange looked up and saw a glint in the man's eye like a tiny candle-flame. He found he could no longer recall whether people had candles in their heads or not."

"[Strange] took hold of the doctor's arm and whispered, 'May I ask you something?'
Dr. Greysteel nodded.
'Are you not afraid that it will go out?'
'What will go out?' asked Dr Greysteel.
'The candle.' Strange gestured to Dr Greysteel's forehead. 'The candle inside your head.'" (pg. 636)

And I loved the very last page. And all the parts about Arabella and Mr. Strange, especially after she died. And the prophecy was wonderful, rather Tolkien-esque, but stranger.
Oh, enough ranting now. I loved it. That's enough.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Skin Deep

by E. M. Crane

Grade: All right

A slow, quiet sort of book. Not quite my sort of slow, quiet book. However, it was interesting, and I loved the descriptions of colour. And I did like how some gross characters were shown to be a bit sympathetic at least, like Andrea's mother.