Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The First Mother's Fire

Yet another review from my husband. I should have some new reviews up shortly...

[Synopsis from book cover] Unemployed after graduation, Kenneth McNary seeks inspiration on the Appalachian Trail. He never suspected that it would find him first. Ken is transported to a fairytale world by a god-like sentience and is tasked with uniting the world's denizens for a coming war -- a war with eternal consequences for every soul consumed by the Enemy. While grappling with metaphysics and the dangers of his strange surroundings, Ken learns that the few humans inhabiting the realm are meek slaves to near-immortal beings who have lost their magic. Complicating this situation is a mysterious new race of magic wielders and the reappearance of subterranean, flesh-eating creatures long thought extinct. To survive the perils and embrace his destiny in a land hostile to humanity, Ken must discover the Fire within. But he faces two problems: he is a novice pitted against masters, and the magic may kill him before the masters do!

I just finished reading W. L. Hoffman’s work The First Mother’s Fire, which is book one of what will be The Soulstealer War series. Hoffman, a law professional by day, has been a science-fiction and fantasy lover all his life and while toiling away at law school, the foundation for The Soulstealer War was born. Years later he penned his ideas to paper and created The First Mother’s Fire, which is his first literary attempt, and as such, is impressive.

Kenneth McNary is a law graduate deciding what to do with his future by taking a few months off to hike on the Appalachian Trail. He has certain traits he has inherited from his family: from his father he grew to be an analytical and logic-minded man, from his Uncle Dale, he learned to be an outdoorsman with survival skills, and from his Grandma Gwen he learned about faeries and other alternatives to mainstream religion. These three people are important in Kenneth’s life and helped make him who he is. One aspect of Kenneth that wasn’t taught is his sixth sense, something that kicks in when he is in danger (which has saved him many times from possible death). All this is important because Kenneth is about to be thrust into a scenario which is out of this world. Weir is a much older parallel world to Earth which can be accessed with the right magic through portals. The Elder Race, created by the First Mother, have lost most of their magic in Weir and blame the humans for their insipid ways. Magic is not gone from Weir, though, the Nosferu, a new race, have much magic and claim to want to save Weir and its inhabitants. Kenneth learns through the First Mother herself, who has not been in communication with the Elder Race for a long time, that the Nosferu are evil and use their magic to destroy. She gives him the task of seeking out and defeating the Nosferu. Kenneth goes through the portal and quickly befriends Aldren of the Elder Race and realizes that the First Mother not only has given him a task, but has given him special powers to achieve that task. However, Kenneth also learns that this task will be harder since the Elder Race holds humans in disregard and enslaves them. The First Mother’s Fire continues to tell the tale of how Kenneth deals with the cards dealt him and how he wins the respect of some, while becoming a bitter enemy to others.

I enjoyed Hoffman’s descriptive storytelling and the world he used to explore his various themes. The world he created is very satisfying. Weir as the older “inner” world filled with magic and history, and Earth as the newer “outer” world corrupting nature with no respect for magic. I think his character development is superb; he gives us both physical descriptions of the different races and also lets us into their mindset of why they believe and act the way they do. He uses his magic system to help explore the themes of environmentalism and religion. Weir’s world is based on magic from the First Mother and is tied to nature; the first tree that Kenneth camped under protecting him was a great example of the nature aspect and is something I enjoyed immensely being more aware of today’s lack of respect for natural resources. The souldrinking concept of the Nosferu was very entertaining, but The Soulstealer’s Doom black armor was perhaps the best use of a magical device to test the protagonist’s inner strength.

Although Hoffman’s approach is novel, his themes are similar to many science-fiction/fantasy books. Good verse evil, free will verse destiny, compassion verse greed, logic versus creativity, meaning of life and death and the compassion within. Hoffman plays no tricks with these; you absolutely know he is questioning and exploring, logic, compassion, religion, destiny.

One of the few criticisms I have with that is that it could be more subtle, especially when dealing with Kenneth’s italicized thoughts. At one lengthy soliloquy I found myself skimming the paragraph. Some more mature fantasy readers might feel like they’re getting cheated since they are not able to discover them on their own. What makes up for this weakness is the way he shows the inner struggle of Kenneth.

My only other criticism is a criticism of many fantasy books--serialization. While I’m not sure what Hoffman’s plans are for Kenneth, or how many books it will take to get there, I do know that upon finishing the last paragraph I turned the page looking for more. The end of book one didn’t seem climatic enough for me to warrant the end. That being said I’m a big fan of many series that have this same problem, the books themselves are not standalone novels, but the series are extremely gratifying – and I recommend this book to fantasy readers of all ages.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ender in Exile

I, myself, am not a huge science fiction fan. Yes, I read some science fiction, but it's usually along the lines of young adult or kids sci-fi. You know, like Harry Potter, or Discworld. Anyway, recently I had an opportunity to review a science fiction book, and instead of passing the opportunity by completely, I passed the book along to my husband, Joseph, an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy books. Until he gets his own blog up and running, he has agreed to post his reviews on mine. Below is his review of Ender in Exile, by Orson Scott Card--enjoy!

Recently, I had the opportunity to read Orson Scott Card’s latest work, Ender In Exile – my thanks to Julie from FSB Associates for supplying the book. Ender In Exile is one of many in the Ender series; it is a direct sequel to Ender’s Game and although written after the other Ender books, chronologically takes place during the last two chapters of Ender’s Game. If you have not read Ender’s Game, stop what you are doing and read it immediately. To me, it was in the ranks with Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Clarke’s Childhood’s End, and Asimov’s Foundation; some of my favorites.

Synopsis from book cover: At the close of Ender’s Game, Andrew Wiggin - called Ender by everyone - is told that he can no longer live on Earth, and he realizes that this is the truth. He has become far more than just a boy who won a game: he is the Savior of Earth, a hero, a military genius whose allegiance is sought by every nation of the newly shattered Earth Hegemony. He is offered the choice of living in isolation on Eros, at one of the Hegemony’s training facilities, but instead the twelve-year-old chooses to leave his home world and begin the long relativistic journey out to the colonies. With him went his sister Valentine, and the core of the artificial intelligence that would become Jane.

The story of those years has never been told. Until now.

Ender In Exile was a very good book that primarily explored the details of Ender’s life after the war with the Buggers. Card managed to put some of the themes of Game under a microscope in Exile. While Exile has less action than Game, Card makes up for it by delving into the psychology of Ender. We see how Ender uses the same manipulation that Graff had used on him to achieve his goals. We see that Ender is just as good at political strategy as military via his battle with Admiral Morgan. We see that Ender has keen insight into others as he manipulates Alessandra so that she may be free of her mother. Most of all, we see Ender accept the guilt of Stilson, Bonzo, and the entire Bugger xenocide and take responsibility for his actions. Card develops existing characters like Graff and Valentine excellently, while adding interesting new characters like Alessandra and Sel Menach. Valentine is perhaps the most important person in Ender’s life, but I’m not sure he knows it. She is his conscience and I think is the one person keeping him connected to the real world while he is obsessing over the Formic world. I was at first surprised when Ender finally broke down and made contact with his parents and resolved his relationship with Peter, but then I realized he could only do those things after he found what he was looking for. Card did a beautiful job detailing the events of Ender after the battle and for fans of Ender’s Game it is greatly appreciated. My only criticism is actually a compliment to Card; he created the new characters so powerfully, I would have loved to learn more about Vitaly, Alessandra, Sel Menach, and Abra. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoyed Ender’s Game.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Misadventures of the Wanna-Be Rich and Famous

Oliver Booth wants nothing more than to join the ranks of Palm Beach's high society. But with his arrogant personality, garish wardrobe, and incompetent stewardship of an antique shop filled with gaudy reproductions, he doesn't have a chance. Oliver's luck takes a turnabout when the society doyenne Margaret Van Buren sends him and his assistant, Bernard, to Paris on a shopping spree to furnish her new estate.

What ensues is a series of hilarious, Voltaire-esque misadventures as Oliver bumbles his way through the milieu of the elite. A satirical look at the lengths some people will go to in order to enter the insular circle of the privileged, David's Desmond's novel is a witty glimpse into a world few of us know. (-Greenleaf Book Group Press)

This was a quick read that had me wanting more! While I've never actually been to Palm Beach or to Paris, I honestly felt like I had spent time there after finishing this book!

The book starts out in Palm Beach, with Oliver Booth trying to make himself a bit more important that he really was. He owns an antique store but it's not on the main drag of town, Worth Avenue, so as a result he doesn't see much traffic. (Not that he would anyway-he has reproductions that still have the Made in Mexico stickers on them!) After an unfortunate incident at the Morningwood Country Club on New Year's Eve, Oliver finds himself in an unusual situation. He is asked to go to Paris, along with his assistant Bernard (also a waiter at Morningwood), and find furnishings for the guest house for Margaret Van Buren-one of the Palm Beach Society's elite. The trip is, to say the least, hilarious, and it has Oliver in an even more interesting situation, one he would definitely NOT want to have appear in the Shiny Sheet in Palm Beach.

I really enjoyed reading this book; I felt as though I was looking into the lives of the rich and famous. The characters were rounded, and I felt as though I knew Bernard and Oliver personally. I was a bit worried when I first started the book though-I noticed that Desmond was using larger words than necessary. I realize that it gives the air of importance and richness, but I wasn't sure it was necessary. By the middle of the book, however, either I stopped noticing it as much or it slowed down, because I flew through the book, just wondering what was going to happen next.

I definitely would recommend this book-I think everyone wonders what life of the elite is like, and this does give a taste of it, even if it is just an amuse bouche.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ella Minnow Pea

Summary: Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop was named after Nevin Nollop, author of the immortal pangram,* “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Now Ella finds herself acting to save her friends, family, and fellow citizens from the encroaching totalitarianism of the island’s Council, which has banned the use of certain letters of the alphabet as they fall from a memorial statue of Nevin Nollop. As the letters progressively drop from the statue they also disappear from the novel. The result is both a hilarious and moving story of one girl’s fight for freedom of expression, as well as a linguistic tour de force sure to delight word lovers everywhere. *pangram: a sentence or phrase that includes all the letters of the alphabet (-Anchor)

I read Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn as a recommendation from a friend. I am so happy that I did! The setting of this book is in Nollop, a small island off the coast of South Carolina. The folks there idolize the man who created the sentence "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." There is a statue of him with the sentence in the middle of town. As time goes by, letters begin to fall off, which the citizens take as a sign that they are no longer to use them. Initially, letters like q and z aren't too hard to live without, but as time goes on, spelling becomes challenging, as letters are combined to create the same sound of a former letter. The only way to get the letters back is to create a sentence that uses all of the letters of the alphabet but is smaller than Nollop's original one.

I loved this book! It was so fun, and it was quite enjoyable. I always like books that written in 'letters' to others, but this one definitely tops the rest. The folks of the town are quite verbose and I enjoyed the different words they would choose just to mean something simple. (Ie Omnipotent being instead of God) It was fantastic! I highly recommend this book. I only wish there were others like it-although I really don't know that they could master the technique as well as Dunn.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Death of a Garage Sale Newbie, a review

Summary: What could Ginger the baby boomer, Kindra the college student, Suzanne the pregnant mother of three, and Mary Margret the silver-haired real-estate agent possibly have in common? Who would’ve guessed…a passion for garage sales!

This motley crew forms the Bargain Hunters Network–bonding while clipping coupons, attending half-price sales, and scouting clearance racks in their hometown of Three Horses, Montana. But when one of the four turns up missing, these shop-till-you-drop women must set their bargain hunting aside to take up an entirely new venture altogether–solving a crime.

As the three amateur sleuths retrace their friend’s fateful steps, they discover clues that lead them to suspect her murder is linked to an unusual garage sale purchase made on the morning of her death. But when their search unearths a disturbing secret that’s been carefully concealed for over twenty years, the women are drawn into a dark underworld filled with bribery, greed, and deception. With determined criminals who will stop at nothing to keep their secret safe, will these fiscally conscious females end up paying the ultimate price? (- WaterBrook Press)

I came across Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn on LibraryThing. It was listed as a suggested read for something I'd read earlier this year. Do I remember which one? No-I've checked out a bunch of those suggested reads lately! Anyway, I was in the mood for a quickish mystery, so off to the library I went to check out this book.

It started out decently, three friends who love to bargain shop and their 4th friend is missing, soon to be found dead with an arrow in her back. I have to admit, I think this is the first murder mystery that I've read that the murder weapon is a bow. Anyway. The story continues on, with a police officer who is struggling to connect with her son and keep him out of trouble, an older lady who is missing her husband who passed away 15 years ago, and the grieving 3 friends. They've determined that the reason the friend was killed had to have been important, so they go through the final garage sale purchases of the deceased and try to put the clues together. While I enjoyed this book, I just found it a bit too forced. Perhaps I've just read too many other mysteries. I wanted to find out the ending, but at the same time, I didn't necessarily care if I did. It almost seemed as though there was just too much going on in this book. It seemed as though every character had an issue. Not that that's horrible, but I wasn't expecting that. I wanted a light mystery.

I don't know that I'll continue reading the Bargain Hunters Mysteries series or not. The title of her next book, Death of a Six Foot Teddy Bear, does sound intreguing. I cannot say that I'll rush right over to check it out though. Perhaps when I'm at a lull for books in my TBR pile I will.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A meme...

Yes, this is a double post, from my other blog, but I felt it was worth it to post it here as well. After all, the topic is book characters, and what better place to post the meme than on a book related blog?!

A meme:

A while ago (a long while, I'm sorry to say) I asked to be part of a meme that has you commenting on fictional characters, all of whom have names that start with a specific letter. I was given the letter 'S'. Below you will find my answers (and below that the rules to participate, should you so choose).

1.) Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird) Definitely one of my favorite books and a favorite character too. You can almost imagine what a girl of her young age was thinking when the country was trying to deal with segregation. I know that even now it's hard to believe that such things took place. Scout is such a real girl, and you can totally feel like you know what it was like to sneak past Boo Radley's house, but yet to be fascinated by him at the same time.

2.) Severus Snake (Harry Potter series) - he's so annoying, you can't help but like him! I am a fan of the Harry Potter books, and I really enjoyed the role in which Snape had in Harry's adventures.

3.) Pomona Sprout (Harry Potter series) - There was something about this gal you couldn't help but like. I always picture her almost as a Martha Steward of the wizard world. She can grown anything!

4.) Snow White (Disney Princess) - As much as I'd love to say that she really exists, she's just a fantasy. I remember that Snow White was one of the only movies that I went to as a kid, my mom taking me to the theater after my grandfather had died. I like how her character causes girls to dream of being a princess, and of having seven short men helping you out-at your beg and call!

5.) Slightly Sane Georgie (Hat Full of Sky) - He's not a prominent character. He's a Nac Mac Feegle, and those little blue men just make me smile. The fact that his name started with S just was perfect!

(And because I had to)

6.) Jack Schitt (Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde) - He's an evil man, that Jack Schitt. He's caused Thursday's husband to vanish from the memories of everyone, even poor Thursday! He does such horrible things, it's no wonder he works for Goliath Corp! Definitely a character you love to hate!

Ok. So there they are. Better late than never! :)

Here are the rules to the meme, let me know if you'd like to play too!
1. Comment on this post.
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Think of 5 fictional characters and post their names and your comments on these characters in your blog.
4. Have fun!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Book Give Away

While I have yet to accumulate any books to give away, Booking Mama is giving away a copy of The Uncommon Reader. It looks to be an interesting read, and if you leave her a comment, you just might win. So head on over, and if you want, you can tell her I sent you! :)

Here's a description of the book, as taken from the back cover:

When her corgis stray into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Discovering the joy of reading widely (from J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) and intelligently, she finds that her view of the world changes dramatically. Abetted in her newfound obsession by Norman, a young man from the royal kitchens, the Queen comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with the routines of her role as monarch. Her new passion for reading initially alarms the palace staff and soon leads to surprising and very funny consequences for the country at large.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A fun read

There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell: A Novel of Sewer Pipes, Pageant Queens, and Big Trouble by Laurie Notaro

I read this book because I had stumbled upon a few others of her books while I was looking at Borders a few weeks ago. I was trying to figure out what I was going to use my teacher discount on, but I wanted to read some of her work before I actually purchased anything. I went to the library, and the only book on the shelf was this one. It looked intriguing, so I thought I'd check it out. It's hilarious! There are some sad times in the story too, but honestly, I was laughing throughout almost the entire book.

A brief synopsis: Maye finds herself moving from a big city like Phoenix to a small town called Spaulding. Everything in Spaulding is different-it's environmentally friendly, and she doesn't know anyone but her husband. She tries to make friends by joining her neighbor for tea, only to realize that she's one of the few who isn't on a motorized scooter. She then tries to join a Gothic book club, and the results of that are hilarious. She ends up deciding to try to run for Queen of Spaulding, or Sewer Pipe Queen. What ensues is a sweet tale of friendship, with quite a bit of humor mixed in.

Laurie really draws the reader in in this story. It wasn't long before I wanted to know what Maye was going to do next, and if she was going to embarrass herself at her husband's company party again. I would exactly classify this book as 'chick lit' because no one falls in love with someone that you don't expect them too. This book is definitely a work of fiction, and from what I've read, Notaro usually does non-fiction. I think she did a pretty decent job in switching over. But then, I'm not an expert, just a typical person reading a book off the shelf. I definitely look forward to adding Notaro to my list of authors to purchase when I get to use my discount again!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wee Free Men

I chose Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett on a recommendation from a friend who really enjoys Terry's books. I can now see why!

The book starts out with a young girl named Tiffany. She's down by the river with her younger brother, and a monster comes out towards her. She attacks it. She also encounters these small blue men who speak kind of funny. This is when she realizes there is something different about her.

The little blue men are the Nac Mac Feegles, or as they call themselves, the Wee Free Men. They're blue, they wear kilts and they speak with a Scottish accent. I have to say, I absolutely loved reading what they were saying! It was amusing. I kept picturing little leprechauns that had defected to Scotland. And since they enjoyed drinking, they clearly had found the good Scotch ale!

Back to the story. Tiffany's little brother is abducted by the Quin, er, I mean queen, and miss Tiffany has to figure out how to get into the Queen's world to get him back. She is assisted by the Nac Mac Feegles, and has a few adventures along the way.

I really enjoyed this story, and I highly recommend it. Now that Harry Potter is over, I think this will make a great new series to read. (There are apparently several books written by Mr. Pratchett.) Let me know if you've read any of these books yourself and what you think! I'd love to compare notes!

Double Bind, a review

Do you remember reading The Great Gatsby when you were in school? I do. It was by far one of my favorite books we had to read in English class. I honestly can't tell you what it was about this book that I enjoyed so much. Perhaps the time frame, the way that Gatsby was finally able to see Daisy, I just don't know. And I just reread the book again, and still can't tell you why I liked it so much! I just do!

I reread Gatsby because the book, The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian refers to Daisy and Tom Buchanan, and their daughter, Pamela. I'd been recommend this book by my friend Susan, who knows my love for Great Gatsby and is a Language Arts teacher.

The book starts out with the main character, Laurel, talking about being attacked while bike riding in Vermont. She talks about the men who attacked her and what saved her from being killed. While the book itself doesn't focus on this, it is an underlying theme.

From there, we're brought back to present day, where Laurel is given pictures that were taken by Bobbie Crocker, a former resident at the homeless shelter where she works. Bobbie had recently passed away, and her boss thought that perhaps the photos could be put together to make a show and then be used as a fundraiser for the shelter.

There are photos showing famous singers, actors, musicians, and then some that also show the Gatsby residence, and one of Pamela Buchanan and a boy, whom Laurel believes to be Bobby Crocker. There are also a few pictures of Laurel on her bike in the woods in Vermont, wearing the shirt she described as wearing when she was attacked.

Laurel becomes obsessed with finding out who exactly Bobby Crocker is and how he was connected to the Buchanans. I can relate with her obsession-when you have a mystery to solve, you want to know, and sometimes other things just get tossed aside.

The rest of the book deals with her obsession to solve the mystery, print the photos from negatives, and to find out just who exactly Bobby Crocker was. I don't want to give away too much of the ending (which was quite surprising to me, and I honestly need to now reread the book to see what little details I missed), so I'll leave it at that. Let me know if you want to know more about the book or if you've read it yourself. I'm curious to know if other readers are as surprised by the ending as I am.

Everything Nice by Ellen Shanman

This book originally caught my interest because the main character, Mike, was in the advertising business and quickly finds herself without a job, and resorts to teaching. While I wasn't necessarily in the 'business' my degree is definitely in advertising, and I'm definitely NOT working in that field any longer. I have been working as a sub for the past 6 years, so I really wanted to read this book.

Mike finds herself one day without a job, because the folks at her advertising agency just not longer want to work with her. (And they had just fired her 'boyfriend' if you can call him that, so getting rid of her just made sense.) I have to say that the following excerpt just made me laugh out loud when I read it.

"Is this about the tampons? Because--"
"It's about a lot of things, although while we're on the subject it was probably inappropriate to refer to the consumers as 'bleeders' in front of the client."
"It slipped out."

I just found that hilarious. I could see myself possibly referring to someone like that, although I'd really hope that I'd have the brains NOT to say it in front of a client. Anyway...back to the book.

So Mike is jobless and within a few months realizes that she's not going to find a position in the advertising world because her reputation is fairly well known. So, she ends up moving back in with her father, something she thought she'd never do. The biggest problem? He's got a girlfriend (which Mike didn't know about) and the girlfriend is moving in too!

The air is tense the first few times Mike and Deja are in the same room. Deja is a retired teacher and she mentions to Mike that she thought there would be a position in the marketing department for her old school. Turns out they need a "life skills" substitute, and she fills in. The results are an interesting turn for Mike. She works as a teacher, she sees her ex-boyfriend on late-night tv performing a comedy routine based upon their previous relationship, and she discovers she has feelings for someone that she's known for quite awhile.

I really enjoyed this story. I was sad when it ended, although I have to admit, the ending is pretty predictable. I look forward to reading other books by this author.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Gatecrasher

I am a big fan of the books written by this author's pen name Sophie Kinsella. I really enjoy the humor in her books! I've also come to enjoy reading books by Madeleine Wickham, although their topics tend to be a bit more 'serious'.

The book starts out with Fleur, a single mom, trying on a bunch of hats and only wanting to order them in black. It turns out she's a gatecrasher-but not of the wedding kind. She crashes funerals and memorial services, but only for those whom she believes will pro...more I am a big fan of the books written by this author's pen name Sophie Kinsella. I really enjoy the humor in her books! I've also come to enjoy reading books by Madeleine Wickham, although their topics tend to be a bit more 'serious'.

The book starts out with Fleur, a single mom, trying on a bunch of hats and only wanting to order them in black. It turns out she's a gatecrasher-but not of the wedding kind. She crashes funerals and memorial services, but only for those whom she believes will provide her with a wealthy widower.

She attends the memorial service for Emily Favour and meets Richard. She quickly gets to work and the next thing she knows she's been invited to lunch with him. Soon they are almost inseparable, and Fleur cannot really deny enjoying it. Richard is quickly in love and enjoys the newness in Fleur. They go to his second home in the country (in a gated community, of course) and she quickly befriends Emily's sister, as well as the children of Richard and Emily.

Trouble brews when Zara, Fleur's daughter, shows up. She could possibly bring Fleur's happiness to an end by unveiling Fleur's secret. Will the happiness end and Fleur have to find another widower to "fall in love" with??

For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It read quickly, as the other books by Wickham/Kinsella have. I did, however, have a problem with the ending. I felt as though Madeleine was suddenly rushed to get the book to press and just quickly ended the story. There seemed to be so many balls just left in the air and nothing to catch them. Because of the final chapter, my entire opinion of the book changed.

Overall, the book was fine, and I would recommend it to others, with the warning that the ending is a bit disappointing. I'd hate for others to be just as disappointed as I was.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Sisters Grimm

I purchased this book because I have been enjoying books that contain familiar characters, but in a different context. Most notably, books by Jasper Fforde-both the literary Thursday Next series that brings the classics in, and the Nursery Crime series which brings mystery into everyday nursery rhymes.

The book starts out with a pair of girls, sisters and orphans. They're on the train to meet their grandmother, whom they have believed to have been dead. Once you've been introduced to the characters, the interaction amongst fairy tale characters begins. The girls and their grandmother are investigating a house 'explosion' when Mr. Charming (also known as Prince Charming) shows up on the scene. Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk becomes a character of note, and readers are quickly trying to remember the different Grimms tales that they've read as children. (And other fairy tales/nursery rhymes as well.)

As an adult, I found this book to be a quick read, and I did enjoy it. Given that the suggested reading level is for grades 3-6, I find it right on par. Enough interest to engage the younger reader, but also enough to also entertain even the oldest of readers. I look forward to continuing the series