Fantasy Realms

Explore the realms of fantasy, from Alagaesia to Middle-Earth, from Coruscant to Tortall and beyond!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sorcery & Cecelia

Title: Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot: being a correspondence between two Young Ladies of Quality regarding various Magical Scandals in London and the Country
Author: Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Pages: 326
Rating: @@@@@
Price: $7 (about)

Main Characters
The loveable main characters of this novel are Kate and Cecelia, cousins in a post-Napoleon England where magic is real.
Kate is in London, going through her first Season as a Young Lady of Quality, and looking for a future husband. In her letters, Kate complains about her too-beautiful sister, Georgina, and the Mysterious Marquis, but uses her brain to get her out of trouble.
Cecy, on the other hand, is disappointed about being left at home. She’s soon appreciative, though, when it proves to be just as interesting. Her developing magical talent is a big help later on.
Kate and Cecy are both headstrong and stubborn, but I find Kate as the mastermind and escapist – due to her skillful lying – and Cecelia as the one who gets them into trouble. Both are also proper Englishwomen, constantly keeping up appearances and worrying about finding husbands.
Two more main characters are James Tarleton and Thomas, the “Mysterious Marquis” of Schofield. These friends cause trouble for Kate and Cecy, unintentionally involving them in a subtle magical warfare. James is clumsily attempting to be ‘sneakily’ following Cecelia around, though he does a horrible job of it. Thomas is desperate to get Miranda Griscomb off his back, so asks Kate to pretend to be engaged to him. The boys, often referred to in the letters as ‘odious,’ are quite impossible when it comes to proper etiquette, so it’s up to Kate and Cecy to teach them something.
The villains are ambitious Sir Hilary Bedrick (yes, he’s a guy), and the scheming Miranda Griscomb, who wants her daughter to marry Thomas.

The Story
Kate has left Cecy alone to suffer their strict Aunt Elizabeth (better than Aunt Charlotte, but at least Kate is in London), sure to die of boredom. But in both London and Rushton Manor, trouble is brewing quite literally. One of the very first parties in London ends for Kate with a nearly scalding incident with a chocolate pot and Miranda Griscomb, who somehow mistook her for Thomas Schofield, the Mysterious Marquis.
Cecelia finds herself dealing mainly with Sir Hilary, a neighboring magic-practiser. She finds a charm-bag under her brother Oliver’s bed, which causes many questions throughout the family. Soon, James Tarleton gets nosy, and ends up being choked by a ribbon – just barely saved by Cecelia’s small interest in magic. Dorothea, Miranda’s stepdaughter, is hanging about, making every eligible – and several ineligible – boy fall in love with her.
Back in London, Thomas is anxious to get away from Dorothea, who has come to have her Season. He knows that if he stays near her long enough, he’ll fall in love too, because Miranda placed a charm on her stepdaughter. In his desperation, he asks Kate to marry him, supposedly because she’s the only one who isn’t fool enough to take him seriously. He tells her not to break off the engagement no matter what he says or does, for he knows he’ll be weak against the love charm. Several weeks later, he begs her to cry off, so he can marry his beloved Dorothea, while at the same time Dorothea begs Kate to help arrange a marriage – between Dorothea and a boy named Robert. What’s a girl to do?
And what is the matter with Sir Hilary’s chocolate pot? Thomas, for one, is eager to get his hands on it, while Sir Hilary and Miranda are doing all they can to keep it to themselves. Will Cecy be able to get out of this without Kate’s clever bluffing?
The only question I have left after reading this spectacular novel is this: What on earth was the incident with the goat?!?


The Book & The Authors
This is, to put it simply, the most enjoyable book I’ve read in quite a long while. It seemed as if the authors had great fun writing it. That’s because they did. Several years ago, this book began as a game. It’s called the letter game; two people take turns writing ‘in character’ letters – letters written from an imaginary character’s point of view. In this case, it was between Patricia C. Wrede – who wrote as Cecelia – and Caroline Stevermer – who wrote as Kate.
I recently had the privilege to meet one of the authors, Patricia Wrede. She spoke at a conference in Baltimore called Books for the Beast, for librarians, teachers, and teens. In the morning, she gave a speech about her books, with a short Q & A session at toward the end. But I was one of a lucky few who was able to actually meet her afterwards, in our book discussion groups. She was in charge of my fantasy group, and instead of talking about the books, we were able to talk to her about what she’s written, what plans she has for future books, and other fun questions.
Ms. Wrede said that this book was the most fun of all her books to write, primarily because she didn’t originally intend it to be a book. Only after the letters were written, the game finished, did she and Caroline Stevermer realize it was publishable.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author: J. K. Rowling
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: @@@@@
Pages: 652
Price: $16 - $30, depending on where you buy it.

Summary: Harry’s back and ready for action. He’s a far cry from the Harry of book one, and this story shows it. Lots of romance, lessons with Dumbledore, and a potions book crawling with tips from the Half-Blood Prince make this particular book a definite older-level read. And why is Moaning Myrtle comforting a sobbing Malfoy?

Opinion: This book is very different. Not worse...just not what I expected. The sudden Harry/Ginny, Ron/Lavender, Hermione/McLaggen, and Ron/Hermione and all the “snogging” in the halls seemed gossipy, like a normal teen book. The addition of all the new themes – Horcruxes, romance, etc – made me think it was more like an amazing fanfic than the genuine thing.

Hey! Sorry about the formatting problem. My computer has been doing this weird thing on all my e-mails and posts, and I can't fix it without changing the format. When I try to edit a typo or something, the post shows up about three inches down from the title. It's really weird.

Children of the Lamp

Title: Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure
Author: P. B. Kerr
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 355
Rating: @@@@@
Price: $3 (paperback, a real bargain)

Summary: Everyone has heard of genies in the lamp, but this is a whole different view. There are good djinn and bad djinn, influencing luck around the world. Two young djinn, twin brother and sister, are planning to go to “camp” until their uncle appears to them in a dream, and tells them about their heritage.

Opinion: It wasn’t a particularly spectacular book, but it had interesting lore about Egypt that I enjoyed. Overall, a fun and simple read, perfect for lounging at the beach or reading to little kids. The very low price makes it a steal, and you’re not spending so much on a “kids’ book.”

Touching Darkness

Title: Midnighters #2 – Touching Darkness
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Genre: Fantasy/Suspense
Pages: 328
Rating: @@@@@
Price: $16

Summary: Only two weeks after she learned about the secret hour, Jessica Day and the other Midnighters are once again in danger. Dess has been ‘mapping out’ the secret hour, and came across the best surprise yet – one of the old Midnighters. Secrets abound, but how do you keep secrets from a mind reader?

Opinion: Scott Westerfeld quickly rose up to my favorite authors list as soon as I read Uglies, and Touching Darkness did not disappoint. Creating and adjusting the rules of the secret hour has to be hard, but Scott has made them real and believable, with real teen reactions and romances.

Sign of the Qin

Title: Outlaws of Moonshadow Marsh: Sign of the Qin
Author: L. G. Bass
Genre: Fantasy/Action/Adventure
Rating: @@@@@
Pages: 383
Price: $17 (about)

Summary: In this action-movie-like tale, Starlord Zong has been born with the Sign of the Qin (pronounced “chin”), an outlaw band. With the help of his Guardian Monkey (a master thief who’s on his one hundredth life), White Streak (leader of the Qin), and Jade Mirror and Silver Lotus (his kick-butt outlaw maid and his harp-playing, dart-shooting mother), he must overthrow not only the mortal king, but also Yamu, King of the Dead.

Opinion: Another Zodiac-related book. The most confusing part were the Zodiac scrolls, and their meaning. The rest of the book was excellently written, with loads of detailed visuals. It’s slightly out of my style, but it’s good anyway. I love that there are girls out there, fighting with all the others. There’s few girl goddesses, though.

Fruits Basket #10

Title: Fruits Basket #10
Author: Natsuki Takaya
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy
Pages: 192
Rating: @@@@@ (4.5, really, but I can’t show that very well.)
Price: $10

Summary: Tohru Honda lives in a zoo. When her mother died, the Sohma family took her in. But the Sohmas have a secret: they turn into an animal of the Zodiac when hugged by a member of the opposite gender. Right now, Tohru, Yuki, Kyo, and the rest are at the beach, and Yuki tells Tohru something shocking (but rather obvious, really).

Opinion: As with all these books, I loved it. The story line is complex, the characters are alive (I especially love Tohru and Kisa) and the artwork is wonderful. Shigure’s flashbacks about Hatori are slightly confusing, and the speech bubbles sometimes misled me as to who was talking when, who’s thinking what, etc.

A Hat Full of Sky

Title: A Hat Full of Sky
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 407
Rating: @@@@@
Price: $6.99 (paperback)

Summary: Tiffany is leaving the Chalk to learn more about witchcraft. With the Nac Mac Feegle watching her, and a thing stalking her, she faced with peer pressure from other students. Once again, the underlying theme of self-identity takes form. I only have two words for this book: Pink rhinoceros.

Opinion: I liked this more than the first one, although I missed the Wee Free Men, who weren’t as prominent. The two-bodies-one-person idea was brilliant, as was the dancing with bees scene. It really made me think about who I am, how I define myself, and what the plural for “rhinoceros” is.

The Wee Free Men


Title: The Wee Free Men
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 272
Rating: @@@@@
Price: $16 (Hardcover)

Summary: Tiffany Aching, a girl from the Chalk, has been thrust into adventures far…smaller…than the normal kid could handle. With the six-inch-high Nac Mac Feegle (Wee Free Men), she must battle an ice queen to find her snot-nosed brother. Meanwhile, she learns what it means to be herself: Witch of the Chalk.

Opinion: I began reading this for the “Books for the Beast” program – I continued it for the wonderful humor, themes, and the fighting blue midgets. The recurring ideas of ‘Who am I?’, ‘What am I?’ in Terry Pratchett’s books are exactly what teens need and what parents should freshen up on.
Plus, there’s no cursing by the Wee Free Men at all. Really. Those random words they say when they get angry that no one understands, that’s not cursing. Obviously.

Rivers of Zadaa

Title: Pendragon #6 – Rivers of Zadaa
Author: D. J. MacHale
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating: @@@@@
Price: $15

Summary:
Bobby Pendragon: 15, teenage boy, inter-dimensional Traveler, rescuer of the universe (or Halla) five times so far. His girlfriend Courtney had a breakdown, his geeky best friend is trusting the class bully, and he’s off fighting Saint Dane in a parallel world with a fellow Traveler – a hot, girl Traveler.

Opinion:
I love the geek-befriends-bully aspect and was sorely disappointed when I realized Andy was bad. I only hope that he made some progress before Saint Dane took over. I found myself wishing for more about Courtney, then more about Bobby, flipping back and forth. Only downside: Now I have to wait a year or so for the next one!

Yes, I realize I haven't updated in so long. I'm really sorry, and I hope to make it up to you guys with eight short, poorly-written reviews that I found in my summer booklet (yes, I did write them, but for the longest time I couldn't find it), and fixed up. Please forgive me!

Also, in the next week or two I'll be doing a special-edition post about the Books for the Beast conference, which happened a week ago today. The "keynote speaker" was Patricia C. Wrede, so I'll be spotlighting one of her books.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Abarat

Title: Abarat
Author: Clive Barker
Pages: 431
Rating: @@@@@
Price: $6.99 (paperback)




NEW! Abarat in three words:
Imagination
Vibrant
Straightforward

Summary:

Candy Quackenbush lives in the most boring town in the U.S.: Chickentown. They’re known for...chicken farming. When her spiteful teacher tells the class to find ten facts about Chickentown, Candy’s not happy. She doesn’t want to write about chickens. She asks around, and comes upon a bit of juicy history that doesn’t appear in the textbook. When the teacher reads it, she’s furious that someone could turn in such nonsense, and consequently, Candy is sent to the principal’s office.
For some reason, she refuses. Instead, she walks out the door, down the street, and out of town into a grassy field she’d never seen. That’s when the weird things start happening. She meets John Mischief – and all the other Johns, who live on his horns. They plead with her to turn on the lighthouse – though, why there’s a lighthouse in Montana is a mystery – and doing so, she summons a sea that sweeps her into the Abarat.
As one from the Hereafter, our world, Candy causes a stir. Many factions are attempting to rule Abarat, including Christopher Carrion, who rules the Gorgossium, the island where it’s always midnight! Who is this Commexo Kid, and why is he so…generous?
Candy, caught in the middle of several plots for multi-world domination, is sought out by Carrion, his minions, and Rojo Pixler. Not only is she a link to the Hereafter, but she has the Key to…something, she’s not quite sure.
Candy has no problem staying in Abarat; she felt called to leave her world, and the only thing holding her there was a dysfunctional family. She feels as if she knows about Abarat, like she’s been there before. Snatches of memory, a vision in the 25th hour, and a feeling of connection never felt before seem to mean more than she’s realizing.

Opinion:

Many times, I get so lost in the plot that I can’t see the pictures. With this book, it’s nearly the opposite. I didn’t read the illustrated version – though one of my friends specifically bought that edition – but the vivid visions of so many species and creatures left me breathless. From the island of midnight, with nightmares galore, to late afternoon, with things beyond your dreams, this is the most lively, bright novel I’ve read in a long while. It’s difficult to think of words to accurately describe the chilling feeling of Carrion’s nightmare collar, or the sleek grace of the Tarries.
All that makes sense, because this came, originally, from paintings. Clive Barker painted over 300 pictures (100 of which illustrate the first book) before writing the books themselves. All the islands (each of which is a time of day, if you didn’t get that) are so brilliantly portrayed that I don’t even need the pretty, bright pictures.
The characters are original too. Malingo reminds me vaguely of Lump (from The Witch’s Boy), and the talking cats seem familiar, but other than that…I’ve never heard of any character who has seven other brothers living on his head. Carrion simply is a nightmare himself, taking pleasure in the living horrible thoughts that float around his collar. And our heroine, Candy, is s strong character, though at times she falls into the “narrator” trap; where the main character(s) loses their personality and becomes more of a viewpoint.
One last point that I want to say, is that I appreciated how Barker wrote about a real life, and a real family. Candy’s household is far from perfect: Her dad’s an unemployed drunk, her mom’s spineless, and the entire danged town smells like chickens!
Definitely a good book, and though I gave it a 3 out of 5, it’s more of a 3 and a half.

Sorry about the long-time-no-update. With school starting, everyone's schedule is busier, not just kids'. So expect updates on weekends (probably Saturday nights). I realize that I haven't reviewed any of the books I said I would. There's a reason for that.
...
...
Just let me think of one.
Well, I like to procrastinate, and I will do Alaizabel Cray, but I'm going to wait until I go through it and pick out all the deeper meanings, which I have to do anyway.

Now, my updated "COMING SOON" list:
The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray -by Chris Wooding
Thief of Time (Discworld) -by Terry Pratchett
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -by J.K. Rowling (If anyone didn't know that...)
The Wee Free Men -by Terry Pratchett
Protector of the Small -by Tamora Pierce (Possibly her new book, depending on release, how fast I get it, etc.)
The Riddles of Epsilon -by Christine Morton-Shaw
Chanters of Tremaris -by Kate Constable
Wicked -by Gregory Maguire (Probably not, because of...past PG-13-ness.)
Silver Crown -by Robert C. O'Brien (Though Paige, I don't have the book so there will be a wait.)
Cry of the Icemark -by Stuart Hill
And more!

Really, I'm just too lazy to remember the rest! See ya next time!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Uglies

Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Pages: 448
Rating:
@@@@@
Price: $6.99

Summary:
“The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.”
When a story begins with a sentence like that, you know it has to be interesting. Tally Youngblood is waiting for her sixteenth birthday. No, not for her driver’s license. She wants to turn Pretty. In this futuristic world, everyone turns Pretty. They get to choose how they look, what they do to their face, skin, hair. It’s a full-body makeover, plastic surgery to the extreme. It’s perfect! New Pretties live in…New Pretty Town, where they party all day and all night, the perfect life for perfect people.
As in every society, there are rebels. The ones who – for some strange reason – want to stay Ugly. Tally’s new friend Shay is one of them. Shay leaves soon before her 16th birthday, wanting to take Tally, but leaving a message just in case. Then, a branch of authority thought to be a fairy tale approaches Tally with a choice: Follow Shay and betray the rebels, or never turn Pretty.

Review:
I spent days searching down this book, from the first time I saw it in the library’s “New Books” review section. Since then, I’ve read “So Yesterday,” “Midnighters” (The Secret Hour and Touching Darkness), and have “The Risen Empire” on hold at the same library. I don’t have the actual book with me, because my friend borrowed it, then her older sister borrowed it, and it has yet to make its way back to me. A book this good, to make followers out of everyone near it, has to have my highest praise. (I only lent it to my friend on conditions that “You cannot bend the cover, hurt the pages, or get any spots on it. If you do, I will hurt you.”)

What makes it so good? The characters are involved in the plot. The villains are believable while inhumanely cruel. The plot has meaning. A plot with meaning does more for a book, in my opinion, than flashy covers, multimedia news coverage, or movie-making status. The writing is lively and funny, and the ending…is the worlds’ biggest cliffhanger. If you buy this book, be prepared to spend money on its future sequel, Pretties (which you can pre-order at Amazon).

Tally, the main character, is interesting. She keeps her personality, which is extremely important and all too rare in so many books these days. You know what she’s thinking, you would make the same mistakes she did, you want her to succeed. You know her like you know your friends. She doesn’t fade off into some being with no emotions. I can think of several major novels in which the characters stop being characters and become the narrator. She doesn’t fall into that hole.

Is anyone interested in links to certain authors? Reviews of certain books? I have an extensive collection of fantasy/sci-fi author links, which I'll be adding to the links on the side of this blog. Y'know, over there ----> ---->

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Naming

Title: The Naming (The Gift, in Australia), The First Book of Pellinor
Author: Alison Croggon
Pages: 492
Rating: @@@@@
Price: $17.99 (Hardcover)

Summary:
Maerad is a young girl, living as a slave in a worthless mountain village. She’s barely able to remember her mother; all she knows about her father and younger brother is that they died. The locals think she’s a witch, and they’re more right than they think. While she’s milking the cow, a man comes into the barn who seems astounded that she can see him. The man, Cadvan, urges her to leave with him. Soon, she’s ready with all she owns: a harp from her mother. After making it through the dangerous mountains, Cadvan reveals that she has the power of a Bard, the last Bard of Pellinor. The first School they come to is like a heaven to Maerad; everyone is kind, there’s food, and best of all, hot baths. Circumstances insist that she become a Bard as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many Schools are more corrupt than Cadvan believes. Who is the orphan Hem, and what are Enkir’s true motives?

Review:
Once you get past the huge, phone-book intimidation, this book is something you can get into. I personally pick out books on the basis that they’re phone-book sized (I like something that lasts more than a day) but The Naming went quickly because I read it in every spare moment. Maerad is just a girl, and she’s thrown into drastic, extreme situations that require important decisions. The kind of decision that decides the course of the world. And the best part is, she reacts like a normal girl. All too often, authors give characters incredible powers of judgment and perception, but not Maerad. She’s unsure, she makes mistakes, and she works through them. She’s able to fix most of her errors.
One of the major factors in choosing this book was the crucial mini-reviews on the back. Only a sentence or two, but the name struck me. Tamora Pierce, the all-time girl-hero standard, liked this book and recommended it. I know from prior experience (a mini-review quote on the front of Crown Duel) that her recommendations are good. Top-of-my-favorites-list good. This book is now, predictably, one of my faves. (If anyone knows of strong girl fantasy – feminist fantasy? – please post a comment with titles and/or authors.)

http://www.theatrenotes.blogspot.com/
http://www.alisoncroggon.blogspot.com/

Reviews probably coming soon:
The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray -by Chris Wooding
Thief of Time (Discworld) -by Terry Pratchett
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -by J.K. Rowling (If anyone didn't know that...)
The Wee Free Men -by Terry Pratchett
Protector of the Small -by Tamora Pierce (Possibly her new book, depending on release, how fast I get it, etc.)
The Riddles of Epsilon -by Christine Morton-Shaw
Chanters of Tremaris -by Kate Constable
Wicked -by Gregory Maguire (Probably not, because of...past PG-13-ness.)

Notice a pattern with these books? They have strong, female, leads. I think I've cleaned out every bookstore within ten miles, plus a couple in neighboring cities, of every feminist fantasy. I truly would like suggestions (as long as they're appropriate for teens, because I work closely with teen readers and suggest lots of books for them; there would be conflicting opinions from parents).

I'd also like any suggested websites/blogs for book reviews. Quality book reviews. And if you point out anything wrong with my writing, post away. I personally can't keep from correcting grammar/spelling of my friends. If you have a conflicting opinion of your own, say so! I may (if it's thought out, written correctly) post it in my next review. Suggestions, complaints, comments, opinions, anything! Make this a quality blog, with many different opinions and views!

http://www.thetomereader.blogspot.com/ - A book review blog I like.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Star Wars: Joiner King

Title: Star Wars: Dark Nest 1 - The Joiner King
Author: Troy Denning
Pages: 443
Rating: @@@@ (out of five)
Price: $6.99

Summary: Much has happened in the five years since the defeat of the Yuuzhan Vong. Jacen Solo has gone on a personal quest to know the Force. His twin sister Jaina is helping the Vong adjust to life on Zonoma Sekot. The Skywalker family is busy with Jedi duties, and the Solo couple is off searching for habitable planets. Suddenly, a group of Jedi Knights including the Solo twins begin to feel a call for help through the Force, and five of them up and leave, followed by Han, Leia, and the Skywalkers. Near the border of the Unknown Regions they find a Colony of intelligent insects. Soon, the Knights are in danger of becoming Joiners (or bughuggers, in Han’s words) and their not-really-old-yet relatives are in danger of becoming bug juice. No one knows the true intentions of the Colony – not even the Colony themselves. A Jedi falls, a fallen Jedi returns, and a costly mission returns to the surface of everyone’s mind.

Review: Wow. After months of waiting, that’s all I can say. In the time since Episode III’s release, I’ve been devouring all the prequel-time novels, and rereading a good deal of the rest. Now I’ve been rewarded with an action filled, Force-twisting, intricate tale that makes me think I reread the wrong books. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you may want to read/reread Tatooine Ghost and Star by Star – both by Troy Denning – to refresh your knowledge enough so that you won’t be lost, as I was.
I don’t like bugs. Not at all. That made this book slightly harder to read, but I understood the main principle of collective conscious. I think Denning made this book even creepier by making the Joiners have bug-like habits and thoughts. I loved it, though, and I really can’t wait to see the rest of the trilogy. He’s woven enough hints into his other Star Wars books that you could almost piece together the basic plot, but not quite. I was also astounded by the technical description, but that’s just my normal problem with the Star Wars books – instead of green meadows and mountains, it’s stars and ship diagrams. As a bonus, you get the short story Ylesia, previously only available in ebook format.
The ending was particularly clever, rounding off just enough loose ends so that it can be an ending, but leaving lots and lots of subplots that you want to see resolved. A must-read for any SW fan, but not a good book to start the series with. For that, I’d recommend The Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyers. Or better yet, the children’s series Jedi Apprentice by Jude Watson.

As you may see, I'm just getting used to the basics of this. So bear with me, and the layout, format, etc will get better (I hope).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Witch's Boy

Two posts in one day! Yay me! Well, almost the same day. I'm up too late again. Don't always expect this kind of service, though. I have to actually read the books sometime.

Title: The Witch’s Boy
Author: Michael Gruber
Pages: 377
Rating: @@@ (out of five, due to frustration)
Price: $16.99

Summary: What happens when a witch takes in a boy? Well, his life certainly won’t be normal. Lump is…well, a lump. He has no aptitude for magic, no ambition for anything else, and was raised by a negligent witch, her cat familiar, a bear, and a demon. To make things worse, he’s not the handsomest of kids. In fact, he’s downright ugly. When he finally sees normal human children, he pities them for looking so odd, and decides to emulate their behavior, which includes torturing animals. He learns about human society the hard way, and it just gets tougher. His heart gets cold, the only person he loves will never love him, and he withdraws from the world. The ending I will leave for you to read, but the journey is most enlightening, including mentions Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, and Morgana le Fay, but not with the usual stories. This upside-down fairy tale mock up is a frustratingly fun story about the world’s biggest antihero.

Opinion: This book was hard to get through. Not because of difficult plot, or big words, or small print, or length, but because I despised Lump, I hated his character. Yet I knew that I saw some small part of myself in him, a little of me that would’ve argued for the same disastrous decisions. The part I enjoyed most was the retellings of fairy tales and myths. Goldilocks as a one-eyed ogre, Hansel and Gretel meeting a kind witch, and the Rumpelstiltskin issue. The ending wasn’t expected, nor deserved, but it was what I wanted. The talking cat was a big plus too. I just can’t get past my loathing of Lump.

Links:
http://www.amazon.com
...For the obvious reason (and because the link to "The Witch's Boy" was too long and strange). Remember this: Unless you have a really bad memory, libraries are always cheaper!