Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox, 5th Edition

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren
Participants are encouraged to talk about anything bookish they received during the week.

This week, I bought:
Supernaturally, by Kiersten White
I technically bought this two weeks ago when I bought Paranormalcy, but it arrived this week. I've already devoured it, and I thought it was great. Full review to come.

This week I received:
Winter's Passage, by Julie Kagawa
Thanks to the wonderful Small Review for this e-book. I didn't know about it before, but it comes between The Iron King, which I have read, and The Iron Daughter, which I bought last week. Small gave me Winter's Passage and a link to Amazon for a free copy of Summer's Crossing (which takes place between The Iron Queen and The Iron Knight). I downloaded that one as well. Both are e-books, which I don't usually read, but since these weren't released in hard copy, I'll read them in e-book form. Neither are very long in any case. Thank you again, Small.

What's in your mailbox?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Poison Study

by Maria v. Snyder
Start Date: 13 July 2011
End Date: 14 July 2011
Paperback, 409 pages
Published November 21st 2008

Summary (from Goodreads):
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace-- and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...

My Review:
Poison Study was fantastically written. I loved reading about Yelena, and slowly discovering her story. Although the book starts out after Yelena has already confessed to committing murder, the reader suspects (and of course eventually finds out) that she wouldn't have done it if it wasn't the last possible situation. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that Yelena was totally justified in killing Reyad. From the beginning, I was immediately drawn into Yelena's narrative. It seems I have a particular fondness for books that start with the main character in prison for a crime they admitted to committing (see my review of The Thief). I find they make for very interesting main characters. In any case, from the beginning, I had a feeling Poison Study was going to be good. Then Yelena meets Valek and is given the Butterfly Dust, and it only got better from there.

The characters were great - fleshed out really well and so much fun to read about - and the politics were nearly as good as those of The Queen's Thief (which, if you haven't read The Queen's Thief, is high, high praise). The way that Snyder describes Yelena's magic is also wonderful. It's so original, yet it makes total sense. (The whole blanket metaphor was so cool!)

And finally, Valek. Valek was one of the main reasons I read Poison Study in the first place, or at least, he is what brought it to my attention. He lost to Aragorn in the YA Fantasy Showdown (in my opinion, simply because Aragorn was better known) but that definitely made me keep an eye out for Poison Study, since I have rarely been steered wrong by a recommendation from the YA Fantasy Showdown. Valek was a wonderful character. He was just mysterious enough, just human enough, and developed throughout the book into a character I'd love to read more about (and hopefully will in the sequels).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday, 24th Edition

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am doing a slightly different version of Teaser Tuesday. Since I go through books so quickly, I'm going to put a quote from any book I've read in the past week.

"Everything shimmered with white ice, each twig and stubborn leaf coated. All the statues had cakes of snow on their head, and it topped hedges and pergolas dripping with icy vines." - Entwined, by Heather Dixon

"In the kitchen, Nyssa didn't open the shutters to check if it was almost dawn, and never even thought about taking the pole and the well buckets. She simply opened the door and walked out into the street." -Witch Dreams, by Vivian Vande Velde

"I think one of the most awesome things about Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series is that it's not obvious which guy is best for Tally. Okay, yeah, in the end Tally's best choice is the not-dead guy, but ignoring that tiny detail..." -Mind Rain, by Scott Westerfeld (Excerpt from "Two Princes" by Sarah Beth Durst)

"'... Only the cold is so bad - it's terrible coming home at night, Jurgis. Sometimes they can't come home at all - I'm going to try to find them tonight and sleep where they do, it's so late and it's such a long ways home.'" -The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

"In spite of herself, she'd stopped scrubbing to listen to him, trying to imagine the world he might have come from. And she couldn't." -Steel, by Carrie Vaughn

What are you reading this week?

Monday, July 25, 2011

In My Mailbox, 4th Edition

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren
Participants are encouraged to talk about anything bookish they received during the week.

This week, I bought:
The Iron Daughter, by Julie Kagawa
I liked the Iron King, even though it wasn't a five-star book for me, and I'm expecting like the Iron Daughter well enough, but the Iron Queen, the next book in the series, is supposed to be fantastic. And even though I don't absolutely love the series, it certainly does keep you wanting the next book. A couple of reviewers that I depend on for many of my recommendations mentioned having the same experience as me for the first book, and loving the third. So I figure this is an in-between book, and I'm determined to like it all the same. On an unrelated note, I was totally surprised when I opened the box  to find that the cover was purple. And here I was, expecting a pretty periwinkle cover. Nevertheless, the cover is great is person. Even though I'm not expecting to love it, I am excited to pick this up.

Magic Study, by Maria V. Snyder
I loved Poison Study (review to come), and I could not wait to get the next in the series. So I didn't. Not much else to say.

Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White
As I've mentioned before, everyone seems to love this book. I don't think I've read a single negative review (at least, none come to mind). Supernaturally, the sequel, comes out tomorrow, and so Paranormalacy has been popping up around the blogosphere and I was reminded that I really wanted to read it. Amazon offered a large discount to buy the two books together (which is still up: here is the link), so I got them both. Supernaturally arrives tomorrow, and Paranormlacy arrived late last week.

Witch Dreams, by Vivian Vande Velde
I'm a huge fan of VVV, so when I saw this book (I don't even remember where), I decided to get it just to try out a new VVV. I knew very little about it before buying it. Turns out, it's Middle Grade (which I don't mind at all), just over 100 pages with large font and margins, and reads like a rather long short story. I read it in about an hour a few nights ago. Review to come.

Across the Great Barrier, by Patricia C. Wrede
According to Goodreads, this wasn't supposed to come out until August 1, but I received it a few days ago in the mail. I am really looking forward to reading Across the Great Barrier, but it's been pushed pretty far over on my shelf, since I try to read books in more or less the order I get them. You can read my thoughts about this book in my post on August Releases. By the way, the cover is even prettier in person.

From the library:
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
This is the first Agatha Christie I've read. A friend and I watched the movie And Then There Were None at the beginning of the summer, and we've also been slowly working through her collection of Poirot (the TV show). When I went to the Book Swap in October, I got a collection of Agatha Christie that I gave to that friend, but it seems to have gotten lost in transit. In any case, watching the Christie mysteries with her has gotten me interested in what the books were like. And to top it off, this morning, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing posted a Memory Monday about And Then There Were None. So when by chance I saw it at the library today, I snatched it off the cart and checked it out. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get to it before it's due if I keep reading the books in the order I got them, so I might bring this to the top of the stack. On the other hand, I can always check it out again later. So maybe not. In any case, I'm glad I got it, and it is going on my TBR whether I get to read it in the next week or not.

What's in your mailbox?

Review: Entwined

by Heather Dixon
Start Date: 22 July 2011
End Date: 23 July 2011
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published March 29th 2011

Summary (from Goodreads):
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

My Review:
Entwined was absolutely lovely. I picked it up a few nights ago, thinking I would read a chapter or two before bed, and was drawn in from the first page. Before I knew it, I had read almost 100 pages. As a few reviewers have mentioned, it is long, but I didn't mind at all. It's the type of book that doesn't keep you turning the pages at breakneck speed, but lets you bask in the world of the characters. It's a perfect book to curl up with for a few hours in the evening. It is very long, nearly 500 pages, but it never drags. I barely noticed the length. Based on the The Twelve Dancing Princesses (which makes it automatically great, since it's a fairytale retelling) Dixon was able to beautifully combine elements of the original story while branching off in ways that fit so perfectly they could have easily been a part of the original.

One of the things that struck me the most was the way Dixon showed the importance of dancing to the princesses. Based on the summary, part of me was afraid that Azalea would be shallow and only interested in the "beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing" that the summary mentions. This, happily, is not the case. Dixon is able to convey, both in the first few chapters and throughout the book, how dancing is an integral part of the princesses' lives. Dixon also managed to write the dancing scenes so that both dancers and people with very little knowledge of dancing could easily enjoy them.

Another aspect I enjoyed was the backstory to why the princesses were not allowed to dance during the day, and the entire subplot between the princesses and the king, who is often not mentioned much in other retellings. In the first chapter of Entwined, Azalea visits her mother, who is sick, and promises to take care of her sisters. Spoiler-that-really-isn't-a-spoiler-at-all-because-it's-kind-of-inevitable-and-happens-within-the-first-two-chapters: the queen dies. So for a year the princesses are in mourning, which means they must wear black, stay inside with the curtains closed, and not dance. Usually it is not explained why the princesses go off at night, and I appreciated that this retelling had a backstory that explained everything. And the king- oh, the king. I loved this subplot. It was nearly as magical as the secret passage to see the relationship between the princesses and the king grow and change. Azalea has had to become the mother to all of her sisters, and when I saw that the girls were getting their father back I could have cheered (spoiler, highlight to view).

I really appreciated how Dixon was able to give a role to every sister. Every princess is named after a flower (like in Jessica Day George's Princess of the Midnight Ball), but the clever part is, they are each named alphabetically. To me, having the alphabetical names helped distinguish all of the different characters. Too often in retellings of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, I can remember three or four of the princesses, but the rest are all somewhat jumbled in my head. This made things so much clearer and helped define each princess as their own character. And although the story is told from Azalea's point of view, I grew to love the other princesses as their own characters. Bramble was hilarious, Clover was so sweet, and every one of the princesses down to little Kale, who bit people she didn't like, and baby Lily  who was born at the beginning of the book, was a joy to read about.

Speaking of Bramble, in addition to being lovely, Entwined was, at parts, incredibly funny. I didn't mark any quotes while reading, but I'm including two I found on Goodreads:

"Down with tyranny!' Bramble cried. 'Aristocracy! Autocracy! Monocracy! Other ocracy things! You are outnumbered, sir! Surrender!"

[In the midst of an argument with the King, when he forgets Clover's birthday]
"'You forgot my birthday too.'
     'And mine.'
     The girls looked miserable. The King opened his mouth, then shut it.
     'Sir!" Whined lord Teddie. "You forgot my birthday, too!'
     Bramble gave a surprised laugh, then slapped her hand over her mouth, as though shocked at letting it out. The tension broke. The girls laughed sheepishly, and Lord Teddie beamed. He probably did not have many ladies think him funny. In fact, he probably got slapped by a lot of them."
There is plenty left to talk about, but I'm only going to mention two more things. First is the Keeper. I thought he was close to perfectly written.  He seems so sincere, and his rottenness is only revealed as time passes. I didn't really understand how his magic worked, but I never felt a pressing need to figure it out, which I'm sure I could have if I needed, or if I reread it. I won't talk more about him in order to avoid spoilers, but he's a great character.

Last is the romance. In this regard, Dixon is brilliant. The oldest three princesses fall in love by the end of the book, and none of them are forced or out of place. The romance between Azalea and a certain person is wonderfully developed, and it feels completely natural to read about. You can tell that the man is perfect for her, and helps her throughout the book. (And the scene, where they finally get together is just so amazing. As soon as I finish this review, I am going to go back and reread it, since I just reminded myself how wonderful it is.) Bramble and Clover are also matched perfectly, although each is a bit of a surprise at first.

All in all, Entwined was wonderfully done. Highly recommended.

Note: I'm going out of order on my reviews because I wanted to get this posted in time to submit it for Small Review's Review Comparison for Entwined.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Posts to Come

Hello, readers.
I wanted to post a few updates on things to expect in the next few weeks.
I haven't posted this yet on Pica Reads, but one of my summer goals is to review every book I read over the summer (books read for school not included). But as you may have guessed but the parenthesis of the last sentence, I'm currently in summer school, so I'm a bit behind. I have been meeting my goal of posting 3-4 times a week, and when summer school ends in two weeks, I'll try to catch back up with the formal reviews. Right now I'm in the middle of writing a review for Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder. Next on the list are Fly Trap, Eona, Mind Rain, and Witch Dreams (which I will probably reread before reviewing, since it's very short). I want to post at least one of these reviews this week (preferably two, but I'm not sure how that's going to work out), and one or two next week.
In the meantime, I will also be posting regular In My Mailbox and Teaser Tuesday posts, a Judge a Book By Its Cover post, some more Upcoming Releases, and hopefully a Friendsday Wednesday.

Until Later,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

August Releases

So many great books are coming out soon, I had to talk about a few of them. I couldn't possibly talk about all of them, so I decided to do it month by month. These are some of the August releases that are at the top of my to-read list, in chronological order. Let me know if I'm missing any.

By the way, I really should have talked about August new releases sooner, but I don't really have too many TBRs coming out in August. I'd love to hear about some that you're excited about.

1 August
Across the Great Barrier, by Patricia C. Wrede

Summary (from Goodreads): 
Eff is an unlucky thirteenth child - her twin brother, Lan, is a powerful seventh son of a seventh son. And yet, Eff is the one who saved the day for the settlements west of the Great Barrier. Her unique ways of doing magic and seeing the world, and her fascination with the magical creatures and land in the Great Plains push Eff to work toward joining an expedition heading west. But things are changing on the frontier.

There are new professors of magic for Eff and Lan to learn to work with. There's tension between William and his father. And there are new threats on the frontier and at home. To help, Eff must travel beyond the Barrier, and come to terms with her magical abilities—and those of her brother, to stop the newest threat encroaching on the settlers.

With wit, magic, and a touch of good pioneer sense, Patricia C. Wrede weaves a fantastic tale of the very wild west.

My Thoughts:
I read the first book in Patricia C. Wrede's Frontier Magic series, Thirteenth Child, in August last year, and although it wasn't my favorite Wrede book, I liked it, and I'm excited for the sequel. If I have time, I want to reread Thirteenth Child before I read Across the Great Barrier, and I think I will like it better than I am remembering (right now my sleep-deprived brain is being biased by a negative review I read a little while back). Also, I like the cover for Across the Great Barrier so much more than Thirteenth Child.  Good job, Ms. Wrede!

2 August
The Near Witch, by Victoria Schwab

Summary (from Goodreads):
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

My Thoughts:
I didn't really want to read this at first because multiple reviewers mentioned how creepy it was, and I know I have a very low creep tolerance, but it seems like everyone loves this book. People have been praising it left and right, and I finally gave in and decided to add it to my TBR. I am determined to get past the creepiness and enjoy this book. And who knows? Maybe I'll surprise myself.

Are there any August Releases you're excited about?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday, 23rd Edition

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am doing a slightly different version of Teaser Tuesday. Since I go through books so quickly, I'm going to put a quote from any book I've read in the past week.

"What was perhaps more surprising was the way Mosca's spirits surged to the defense of the rebel city, despite the fact that it had brought her nothing but trouble. It was too late to stop her getting ideas." - Fly Trap, by Frances Hardinge

"It would have been better if Jurgis had been really ill; if her had not been able to think. for he had no resources such as most invalids have; All he could do was lie there and toss about from side to side." - The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

"I could smell the clean scent of damp earth tinged with the distant aroma of wood smoke. It was my first trip outside in almost a year, and before we went past the gate in the immense, stone buttress that surrounded the castle complex, I peered back." - Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder

"She chooses to fight because the world is imperfect, because it never measures up to her exact standards - and because the deck is stacked against her from start to finish. The fight nearly destroys her, but it's also what saves her." - Mind Rain, by Scott Westerfeld

"The last time I had seen Dillion, he had attacked Ryko and me and wrenched the black folio from my keeping... The poor fool did not realize it held more than the secret of the String of Pearls - it held the way for royal blood to enslave us and our dragon power." - Eona, by Alison Goodman (Highlight to view - there are no spoilers for Eona, but it is a large spoiler for Eon, the prequel.)

What are you reading this week?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Fly By Night

by Frances Hardinge
Start Date: 11 July 2011
End Date: 12 July 2011
Paperback, 512 pages
Published March 1st 2008

Summary (from Goodreads):
Twelve-year-old Mosca Mye hasn't got much. Her cruel uncle keeps her locked up in his mill, and her only friend is her pet goose, Saracen, who'll bite anything that crosses his path. But she does have one small, rare thing: the ability to read. She doesn't know it yet, but in a world where books are dangerous things, this gift will change her life.

Enter Eponymous Clent, a smooth-talking con man who seems to love words nearly as much as Mosca herself. Soon Mosca and Clent are living a life of deceit and danger — discovering secret societies, following shady characters onto floating coffeehouses, and entangling themselves with crazed dukes and double-crossing racketeers. It would be exactly the kind of tale Mosca has always longed to take part in, until she learns that her one true love — words — may be the death of her.

My Review:
I love this book. I can't believe I forgot about how much I loved it for such a long time. I reread it in the last couple of days so that I could have it fresh in my mind when I read Fly Trap. This time around, I consciously noticed a lot of parts of the story that I had subconsciously noted and made me like the book last time. Through witty exchanges, politics, mystery, wonderful characters, and above all, a love of language, Hardinge creates a story that is nearly impossible not to enjoy.

First and foremost, I adore Hardinge's writing style. In my most recent Teaser Tuesday, I included two quotes that I felt showed different aspects of her style. When I was rereading Fly By Night this time, I was sorely tempted to write down some of my favorite quotes, but I was enjoying the story too much to be bothered to put the book down, and I also realized that I could have easily filled up pages of favorite quotes. I can find a great quote by flipping a any random page. For example, within one page of meeting Mabwick Toke, a character who plays a large role in the puzzle of Mandelion's ever-shifting politics, Hardinge gives the reader this description:
Mabwick Toke ran a quick eye over the ballad, droning the words to himself in his throat. Absentmindedly, he caught up a quill to jot and correct, occasionally licking the nib to wet it. This was clearly a habit of his, since the tip of his tounge had become black as that of a parrot. He drinks ink, thought Mosca, looking at his black tounge. He eats nothing but paper, she added to herself, noting his dry, pale lips and the crumpled-looking skin of his face and hands. (Hardinge 134)
The book is absolutely filled with such descriptions. Harding thinks of the most imaginative and wonderful descriptions of everything from the most ordinary - the water of Chough, Mosca's hometown, for instance - to the somewhat fantastical -  such as the floating, kite-powered coffeehouses in Mandelion.

My second favorite aspect of Fly By Night are the wonderful characters. These characters are not shallow in the least. From Mosca, our quick-witted heroine, to Eponymous Clent, the wordsmith and con man, to The Cakes, who befriends Mosca, to even the Duke of Mandelion and Lady Taramind, there is no character with a missing backstory or unclear motives. Even the villains are fun to read about, and many characters who seem insignificant upon first meeting end up with a larger role than expected. And of course Saracen, Mosca's loyal (and homicidal) goose, can liven up any scene.

The third best part of this book would have to be, of course, that it is so incredibly funny. Even the more serious scenes have a line or two that makes the reader smile. Flipping to (yet another) random page, I picked a quote that  displays Hardinge's sense of humor. (Unfortunately, it's also a very minor spoiler, so highlight to view)
"Saracen!" She gaped at him in horror. "Look! I'm all criminally printed!" ... "Well, I can't go back to Mandelion like this," she muttered. "I've got an illegal nose." (Hardinge 371)
 Additionally, every character takes part in tons of witty dialogue, and I found myself laughing out loud throughout the book.

Also, tons of separate strands of plot create a colorful and engaging narrative. Fly By Night is, in addition to a puzzle about the politics of Mandelion, a commentary on government, religion, freedom of speech, and an engaging yarn about a girl navigating the world. (By the way, I totally missed the whole commentary part when I read Fly By Night the first time, years ago. Of course, that extra layer makes it even better.) I highly recommend Fly By Night.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox, 3rd Edition

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren
Participants are encouraged to talk about anything bookish they received during the week. 

This week, I bought:
The Dark Divine, by Bree Despain
I've heard so many good things about this book, and I don't even know why I waited so long to buy it. I've picked it up in the bookstore so many times, but have always put it back in favor of another book (which often turned out to be fabulous anyway). But now I have it, and I'm very excited to read it. It seems like it will be very different from all the other stuff I have on my to-read shelf right now, which is great, since I get bored if I read too much of the same thing. I'm crossing my fingers for this one to be fantastic!
Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand
I haven't actually heard a ton about this book. I read one or two reviews from reviewers who I trust that said it was very good,  but it's not at all the type of book that I normally read.  I bought it partially because I wanted to try something new, partially because I'd heard it was good, and partially simply because I was intrigued. This is totally different from my type of book. What's it going to be like? (And also I love the cover. That helped.)

Steel, by Carrie Vaughn
I saw Steel for the first time on a Goodreads "Prettiest Covers of 2011" list (or something to that effect). As I mentioned in my Crown Duel review, I like covers that have girls with swords on them, so this one caught my eye. Most of the people who disliked it on Goodreads were frustrated because of the lack of romance, but I don't think I'll mind too much. Although I've read a bunch of negative reviews, I'm hoping I will still enjoy Steel, becuase the issues that those reviewers mentioned were not what I value in these types of books, and now I know not to expect them.

What's in your mailbox?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Judge A Book by Its Cover - Inkheart

In this edition of Judge a Book by Its Cover, I wanted to compare the different covers of Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. I know I already did Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord three Judge a Book by Its Cover posts ago (click here to see), but I honestly scroll a random amount down my Goodreads bookshelf a random amount and pick whichever book my cursor lands on. From now on I'll try to mix it up a bit more. (Also, Funke's books are great for this particular feature, since they've been published in many languages, often with multiple editions of each.) At this point, I've also realized that I tend to have a bias toward the cover(s) that I know and love rather than the covers from foreign editions, but I'll try to overlook that. As always, I love hearing your thoughts on your favorite covers, and feel free to let me know if I missed any covers. Click on any of the pictures below for a larger version. And without further ado, may I present... Inkheart.

Summary (from Goodreads):
Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can "read" characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie's mother disappeared into the story. This "story within a story" will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.

1.  Hardcover Edition

2. Paperback Edition (US)

3. UK Edition

4. French Edition

5. German Edition
(note: the series was originally published in German, and I believe this was the original cover)

6. Italian Cover

7. Spanish Edition

8. UK "Gift Edition"
(not really sure what that means, but oh well)

9. Indonesian Edition (Movie Cover)
(note: I couldn't find any other Indonesian edition)

10. Movie Edition

My thoughts:
1. I love this cover. It's such a cool way to represent the world of Inkheart coming into our world. It immediately establishes that it's fantasy, and summarizes the premise of the book. I can't remember exactly, but I believe all of the things on the cover is actually read out the book sometime in the course of the story. This cover is very well done.

2. I really like this cover, but the one thing that bothers me is the "soon to be a major motion picture" sticker that immediately draws my attention. Thankfully, it's not quite as eye-catching on the physical copy, but I'd still prefer if it wasn't there at all. Otherwise, the cover fits the story really well, and the text in the bottom third is actually a quote from the book.

3. Is very similar to #2, but it seems more magical to me than the US cover. I love the way the lizard's tail becomes the "r" and the light at the end of it. I also prefer the bottom section of this version; the blackened edge on #2 is a little bit distracting. On the other hand, I think this cover looks a little washed out, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it all works very well together, but I prefer the more vivid red of the US cover. [EDIT: I think I changed my mind. I like this color better.]

4. I don't really know what to think about this cover. It looks like an "adult book," (not in the sense that it has adult content, but I book I'd be totally bored with at the age when I'd most enjoy Inkheart, because it's written at an adult level) and I don't think I'd pick it up in a store, but I can't find anything to criticize about it.

5. Although this cover doesn't really show much of what the book is about, it's a really beautiful cover. It has a few scenes from the book, but they don't explain anything if one hasn't yet read it. But the manuscript letters - wow. They seem to be overflowing with love of books, and that is an important part of Inkheart, since the lines between our world and the fictional world start to waver. This is definitely one of my favorites of the bunch.

6. It took me a really long time to get that the character was actually in the process of coming out of the book, rather than just standing behind it. That fact alone gets a bunch of points for this cover. However, I don't really identify the character on the cover with any of the characters in the book. (I suppose he would have to be Capricorn, because who else would it be, but he doesn't look like Capricorn in my eyes.) Overall, a cool design, but I wouldn't have guessed it was the cover for Inkheart. Unless, of course, I spoke Italian, because apparently the direct translation is "Ink Heart." Nevertheless, this isn't my top pick.

7. This cover is the strangest one yet. I can't even figure out what's happening. I guess the one comment I do have is that it looks more like sci-fi than fantasy, so I probably wouldn't pick it up in a store. It looks like something I'd get as a birthday present for my brother (well, perhaps not anymore, but when he was going through his sci-fi phase) and not read for myself. But I think, although it's definitely not a "girl book," it is more to my taste than my brother's. Actually, I think he might have read Inkheart (one of the many times I shoved a favorite book of mine into his hands). I'll ask him what he thought of it. As a side note, or I guess more of a central note after that tangent, the translation is apparently "Red Heart."

8. At first glance, this cover looked like nothing special, but when I looked closer, I saw a lot of hidden references to things that happen in the book. I also found another version of this cover, with the same design but slightly different coloring. I like this second version better, but it's a lot harder to see all the pictures. Overall, this isn't my favorite cover, but it's not my least favorite either.

9. I like this cover well enough for a movie cover (trying so hard not to be automatically biased against movie covers.... nope, can't quite do it), but the cover, although I found it as an Indonesian edition of the book, is actually the exact same image used for the poster (see left). Actually, if you'd like a better look at the book cover (since I wasn't able to get a bigger picture than the size above), you can click to zoom in on the poster, and it's pretty much identical except for the actors' names and other text details. If the movie wasn't so incredibly crummy, and I wasn't so immediately opposed to movie covers, I'd say this is actually not bad.

10. Gahh. This movie cover is just taking it over the top. Why is Meggie as small as Elinor? Why does it look like Dustfinger is the main character? Why is there a random Minotaur? This is my least favorite of all the covers.

My favorite: Oh no, I have to choose! #1? No wait, #3, no, #2. Let's just say the first three are tied, with an honorable mention to #5.
My least favorite: #10.

What's your favorite? Judge this book by its cover! 


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