Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Blue Shoe

By Roderick Townley
Start Date: 28 April 2010
End Date: 30 April 2010

I thought I was going to like The Blue Shoe as soon as I saw the subheading: "A Tale of Thievery, Villainy, Sorcery, and Shoes". I knew I was going to like it when I saw that it was written by Roderick Townley. It didn't disappoint me. From the first page, I was drawn into the tale of Hap Barlo, a shoemaker's apprentice in the village of Aplanap and the caretaker of a mysterious blue shoe. It was covered with precious blue stones, but its unusual size and shape made it impossible for it to fit anyone. And in addition, it was only one shoe, which made it even more useless. "Yet everyone who learned of this shoe was seized with the desire to own it." Hap is finally overcome by the temptation and is sent to Mount Xexnax, where the criminals were sent. I don't really want to give away the rest of the story, but it is really good. Also, dazzling illustrations by Mary GrandPre, best known for her illustrations in the Harry Potter books complement this subtly enchanting tale.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Book of Mordred

by Vivian Vande Velde
Start Date: 18 April 2010
End Date: 22 April 2010

I didn't really want to repeat authors so soon, but I really did not like this book at all, and I thought it deserved mention just to say how much I disliked it. (Also, I have just been reading a lot of Vivian Vande Velde recently.) The story itself is about Mordred, the illegitimate son of King Arthur. The book is split into three sections, each told by a different person. One of the things I didn't like about the book is how disjointed and separate each of the sections seemed. They all sort of came together in the end, but I still felt like there was something missing in the flow of the story. The idea behind the story is to take the character Mordred, who was cast in a very bad light in the traditional stories of King Arthur, and present a different side of his story. The reader never really trusts Mordred, but he is definitely considered a "good guy." It sort of bugs me in books when you want to trust the main character but you know you can't because all of a sudden he does something that makes him seem like a bad guy again. So even though I do really really really like Vivian Vande Velde's books, this one did not meet my expectations. It wasn't funny like the others, it wasn't engaging like the others, and most of all, I just didn't enjoy reading it. Please do not read this book.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

by Jessica Day George
Start Date: 13 April 2010
End Date: 13 April 2010

Well, after reading the Dragon Slippers series, (also by Jessica Day George, I'll post about them later) I wanted to see what else she had written. I really liked her style, although I felt that the Dragon Slippers books were written for a younger audience than what I was used to. But anyway, I bought Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, and was totally blown away. Expecting a lighter style more like the JDG books I had read before, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow caught me completely off guard. I found myself caught up in the characters and accidentally stayed up almost all night finishing it.

The story is about a girl with no name, called "pika" which means "girl" in the language of the North. Blessed with the ability to speak with animals, she is sought out by an isbjorn (polar bear) who requests that she come with him and stay in a place for 1 year. In return for her family's health and safety, she agrees. However, as she slowly unravels the secrets of the Ice Palace, she realizes that the isbjorn is not who he seems. I really don't want to give away what happens, so my summary sounds vague and unhelpful. But the reason I don't want to give anything away is that the plot itself, in addition to the beautiful writing style, is incredible and will keep you turning pages until to last word.

Heir Apparent

by Vivian Vande Velde
Start Date: 14 April 2010
End Date: 15 April 2010

This is the 5th time (I think) that I've read Heir Apparent, and it never gets old. I found myself laughing out loud on the 5th time just as much as the 1st. Basically, the story is about a teenage girl, Giannine Bellisaro, who gets stuck in a virtual reality game called Heir Apparent. While she is playing, the equipment gets damaged, and so the game gets stuck on a loop. The only way out is to win. However, when the equipment gets damaged, the safety systems also get damaged, so Giannine only has a certain amount of tries before it overheats and goes on "fatal overload." As strange as it sounds, this book is amazing, hilarious, and really well written. I definitely recommend it.

P.S. Okay, I know that I read this a few days ago and it's not 15 April anymore, but I'm going to mix old and new books, so a lot of these books will not be in order of when I read them.


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