Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mini Reviews 9

It's time for another set of "mini" reviews (I use the term mini loosely, as I tend to still go on and on).

Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication date: February 2012
Pages: 304
Source: e-book from NetGalley
For: Review
Series: Magic Under Glass, Book 2

Even though Erris has become a living person, he is still stuck in the clockwork body. He and Nimira travel to a distant place, hoping to find the one person who might know how to free him. But when Ordorio is missing, Nimira can't wait around forever and begins to seek her own answers to saving Erris.

My thoughts:
The plot and setting are fairly unique, what with a sort-of alive clockwork fairy prince and a former dancing girl learning illegal magic; I'm quite sure there aren't too many of those around.  I thought the idea of Nim finding her own magic and learning it by herself was a nice touch, since many magic systems are only taught by old magical tutors or something like it.  The story has a lot of potentially interesting side characters too, Annalie shrouded by spirits, Violet the hidden fairy princess, Ifra the reluctant jinn, Belin the conflicted fairy king.  Alas, I did not think these characters or the story lived up to their potential.  I couldn't ever muster enthusiasm for the characters or interest in the plot.  It took me months to finish and I just never cared about what happened.  It felt slow moving and very much not interesting enough to capture my attention.  I felt so lackluster about it I nearly gave up, but for some reason kept trudging through.  The ending has more action, but it's pretty condensed into the last pages.  A fun idea, but executed in such a way that I find it unfortunately forgettable.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication date: February 2010
Length: 5 hrs, 28 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun
Series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1

Miss Penelope Lumley did certainly not expect to have such unusual children when she took the job as governess at Ashton Park.  Raised by wolves and taken in by the Ashtons, the peculiar children are a handful as Penelope tries to reform them in time for Lady Ashton's Christmas party.  But it seems someone is determined to bring out the worst in them.

My thoughts:
Count this one in the quirky-fun middle grade category and then get your hands (or ears) on it.  I thoroughly enjoyed Penelope and her mixture of propriety and whimsical (hello, Rainbow Ponies).  Despite not being big on plot, I liked getting to know our characters, those incorrigible children and their hilarious wolf-ish antics.  It was a blast listening to it (mostly because of Katherine Kellgren) and she does fabulous spot-on accents for everyone, including some great howling.  As I said, it was a little lacking in plot, but I'm interested to see what happens in the next books, since I've got some pretty good ideas of what's coming.


Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Publication date: April 2012
Pages: 336
Source: Library
For: Fun
Series: Kat, Incorrigible, Book 2

After her oldest sister gets married, Kat's family is thrown into chaos by accusations made against her next older sister, Angeline. When stepmama takes them all to Bath to wait out the storm of gossip, Kat manages to find trouble there, too. Being expelled from the order of Guardians didn't even quite dampen her curiosity and she becomes embroiled in a dangerous magical conspiracy.

My thoughts:
I do truly enjoy the delightful romp that is Regency era England mixed with a spunky 12-year old and a crazy magical system all set in Bath.  Kat is so entertaining in her assumptions and her decisions.  I loved watching her do the unexpected in nearly all situations.  She reminds me a bit of Flavia de Luce, but less mean to her sisters.  I was, however, a bit disappointed in the magical details.  It felt unclear and a bit random in places, particularly in the wild magic aspect.  Perhaps that is more of something that is lightly passed over in MG books, but I kind of wanted more details.  It was still fun and refreshingly light.  I'll definitely be wanting more.

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication date: 1986
Pages: 5 hrs, 24 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun
Series: Song of the Lioness, Book 3

Alanna is newly knighted and newly revealed to king and court as a woman. She heads away from the uncomfortable feelings of her home and off on adventures. Ending up among the Bajir, she finds herself as head magician to their tribe and fighting off an old evil.

Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication date: 1988
Pages: 6 hrs, 58 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun
Series: Song of the Lioness, Book 4

 Alanna still isn't sure where she fits in.  Being the first (and only) female knight of Tortall, she certainly stands out.  But when she hears about a mysterious jewell that will bring power and prosperity to any land, she's determined to bring it home to Tortall, to help save her kingdom.  A dark familiar presence has fallen over the court and Alanna returns only to face a foe she's seen before.

My thoughts:
I thought I'd talk about the last two books in this series together, since my thoughts are pretty similar.  I love a good fantasy that has complex cultures and fabulous characters; Alanna is so prickly and ornery that you can't help but love her.  She waffles back and forth on who she loves.  She hates to be in one place.  I like how she is not your typical woman for her culture, but how she also wants to find a way to fulfill all her parts - knight, woman, wife, wanderer.  Also, you really wouldn't want her as an enemy.  Trini Alvarado does a pretty good job as narrator, but not outstanding.  I'm not really fond of the way she talks as Alanna, since it sounds kind of breathy and bored.  Still, that works sometimes.  I did get a bit bored with the episodic feel of the stories, sometimes feeling a bit meandering.  I guess I'm more of a fan of clear one-story plots.  I kept thinking the book should have been over, since the main story line had finished, but I was surprised to find more.  I was also a bit surprised by Alanna's fairly casual sexual relationships.  But, what makes this series so great is the wonderfully real fantasy world.  There are so many things going on and so many characters who come and go.  Just how a great fantasy should be.  I'm excited there are more books set in Tortall to enjoy.

Any thoughts on these books?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

1 comment :

  1. I so enjoy mini reviews...I don't think I've heard of any of these books, though. How sad is that?


Love it when you comment!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Copyright © melissa of One Librarian's Book Reviews 2008-2015