Archive for February, 2008

Pandora Gets Jealous

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Pandora Gets Jealous By Carolyn Hennesy [LibraryThingAmazon]

Pandora, only daughter of Prometheus, is not exactly the most popular maiden in school. So when she finds a box containing all the evils of the world, she figures there’d be no harm in taking it to school to show off…right? Of course, the box gets opened. Now Pandora has six months to travel the known world with her two best friends and her dog, collecting the plagues. That’d be bad enough if the gods weren’t using her for their own purposes…

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The Sisters Grimm #5: Magic and Other Misdemeanors

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

The Sisters Grimm #5 By Michael Buckley [LibraryThingAmazon]

Since returning to Ferryport Landing, now under the control of Mayor (Queen of) Heart(s) and Sheriff Nottingham, Sabrina has thrown herself into the business of being a Grimm with a will. But when their latest case causes rips in time to start opening up over town, that business seems even more dangerous than usual. Sabrina and Daphne find themselves on the other side of one of those rips, in a dystopian future where their very survival is in question. Can they get back to their own time and solve the case before they’re left with no future at all?

I found that I couldn’t really discuss my reactions to this book without talking about the various twists and turns the plot makes in some depth, so beware: there are major spoilers behind the cut, and they are not hidden behind a spoiler tag. You have been warned.

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Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Alcatraz Versus the Evil LibrariansBy Brandon Sanderson [LibraryThingAmazon]

Aside from being an orphan raised in a string of foster homes, and aside from his unnerving tendency to break everything he touched, and aside from his ridiculous name, Alcatraz Smedry was a more-or-less normal kid. At least, until the inheritance his parents left him finally got delivered. It turned out to be a bag of sand, which was weird enough; weirder still, that bag of sand was immediately stolen by an evil librarian, and Alcatraz learned that, if he didn’t get his sand back, the consequences would be dire.

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The Dark Hills Divide

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

The Dark Hills DivideBy Patrick Carman [LibraryThingAmazon]

As every summer, Alexa Daley is staying in Bridewell with her father while he conducts important political business. But she has decided that this summer will be different: Alexa is bound and determined to find a way outside of the wall that protects the civilized cities from the outside world. And when she does so, she develops the magical ability to speak to animals—and discovers a conspiracy that might just doom the world as she knows it.

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Meta: Cover Blurb No-Nos

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

I have actual review posts in the works, including one of the latest Sisters Grimm, but I wanted to take a minute to speak more generally of books. Specifically, what makes me put books down without buying them after reading the back cover blurb.

I picked up two books in the store the other day and immediately put them back down because according to the back cover, they both revolved around three male characters. I will happily read and enjoy books with a male protagonist (the Gregor books were probably the best things I read all last year), but if there’s no female character important enough to be even mentioned on the back, I move on.

I also picked up – and put down – The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda. According to the blurb on the back, it’s about a boy who inherits a music box from an elderly relative, which is governed by strict rules, and his uncontrollable girl cousin, who breaks those rules and releases an evil sorceress that the children must then defeat. You know what? I am sick of the trope of boys respectfully following the rules of magic and girls breaking them willy nilly because apparently that’s just how girls are. I’ve been sick of it since Eve and Pandora were blamed for bringing evil into the world. (And of course the evil itself takes the form of a woman. Nice.)

It’s entirely possible that this book actually reclaims and reverse that trope. And it’s entirely possible that the other books are full of rich, nuanced female characters who didn’t make it into the blurb, or have no female characters to speak of but are really good books otherwise. But these are the things that made me go: “Hmm. I don’t think I want to read this,” when I looked at the books in the store. And since it does writers no good to have books that are awesome if people don’t want to buy and read them, I think these things are worth looking at.

What are the things that make you put down a book based on the description? I’m not talking about things like “Oh, this book appears to be about a dystopia and that’s not really my thing.” I mean pet peeves or narrative tropes that annoy you enough to keep the book in the store and your money in your wallet. Do you hate wiseass talking cats? Do girls in love with vampires leave you cold? Do you want to punch emo loner protagonists in the face? Share!

Magic or Madness

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Magic or MadnessBy Justine Larbalestier [ LibrarythingAmazon]

Hi. So. Jess and I aren’t dead, we’ve just been exceptionally busy. But we have been reading! So here’s a review to prove it!

Reason Cansino has never been normal: she’s spent her entire life on the run with her mother, hiding from her grandmother. Reason’s grandmother believes magic is real—and that belief has turned her into an unstable criminal. But now Reason’s mum is in the hospital, and it’s up to her to escape from her grandmother, rescue her mum, and figure out what the real secret of the Cansino family is.

At least, that’s her goal… Until a fateful trip leads her to the revelation that not only is magic real, and her grandmother can indeed control it, but that she can, too. Now Reason has to figure out who’s been telling her the truth and who’s been lying—and she has to figure out how magic works, or else she’ll never be able to save her mother or herself.

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