Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Looking Glass Wars

The Looking Glass Wars

Frank Beddor

Alice is really Alyss, and wonderland isn't anything like Carrol wrote. Wonderland has been taken over by Redd, Alyss's aunt and Alyss is stuck in Victorian London where nobody believes in Wonderland. Now Alyss must be brought back to lead the Alyssians  who have been fighting in her name and defeat Redd and her Black Imagination.

Now, I was never a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland. I didn't like the book, I didn't like the Disney movie and I get sick of all of the references of going 'down the rabbit hole', but I did enjoy Beddor's interpretation. I liked Alyss's growth. At times the writing was a little to fast paced for me, glossing over major events and relaying on a timeline in the back to give out information about Redd's Reign. For me, the only thing I liked about the original Wonderland was how classic and beautiful it seemed. This Wonderland still has its charms, but this are shinny and new and remind me of futuristic weapons. The story was well thought out. Even when I wasn't enjoying what I was reading I was very interested in how things would resolve themselves. It was an enjoyable enough read, not something I plan on picking up again and not something I would be willing to spend much money on.

My Ratings:


Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is about a boy, Bruno. Bruno is an adventurous 9 year old living in 1940's Berlin until his father is reassigned to Auschwitz (which he pronounces Out-With). Bruno hates the move and resists the possibility that this change is permanent for a long time, until he meet's the boy on the other side of the fence.

For starters I did not see the movie adaptation that came out last year and new nothing about the actual story when I walked into Barnes and Noble last week. I have to say I wasn't expecting what I got. Bruno is so naive it is painful. He thinks that being honest will get him everything he wants and that everything can be turned back to normal just by asking for it. He speaks out of turn and starts. He is an amazing character, mostly because one would think that a 9 year old living under one of Hitlers top men would understand what was going on in his country, but Bruno is oblivious. Knowing how history plays out makes reading Bruno's thoughts painful, many are callous because of his lack of understanding and even more are dangerous. I found myself thinking as I read things like "oh please don't say that out loud".

As the back description warns, this definitely isn't a book for 9 year olds. I would very much recommend The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It is a great book that will definitely leave you with a heavy heart.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen

The Creation of Eve

Lynn Cullen

The Creation of Eve centers around a real but little know artist of the Renaissance, Sofonisba Anguissola. The story follows her from being a student to Michaelangelo to being the favorite lady in the Spanish Court of Felipe II.
For all of you Phillipa Gregory fans out there, I highly recommend this novel (to be released March 26). It combines strong characters, interesting history and a sense of melancholy in every page of Sofi's diary. Cullen creates great contrast between Sofi and the typical ladies serving the Queen. The Queen herself is what you would expect a  year old girl to be, but her learning process is so interesting to follow as she has to fight to keep her head above water in so many situations.

If you are a fan of Historical Fiction this will probably be right up your ally.

Thanks for the LibraryThings early review program for the book

My Rating

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bridget Jones's Diary - Gielding

Bridget Jones's Diary

Helen Fielding

Bridget is keeping a journal this year. Her goals are to lose weight, stop smoking and meet a man who isn't a alcoholic, workaholic, commitment phob, misogynist, megalomaniacs, chauvinists or a  emotional fuckwit. Her year is ripe with man issues, mom drama and job troubles. Her friends are her only constant through a very eventful year.

Being an occasional fan of chick lit I was pleased with Bridget Jones's Diary. Having just seen the movie for the first time a little more than a week ago I was expecting a plot slightly more like the film, but was pleasantly surprised with how fresh and different the book was from the film. Most girls will empathies with Bridget's 'Singleton' lifestyle, her weight loss struggles and the frustration of mothers and friends of mothers trying to set her up with various men. It is also apparent that 1996, when this novel was written, could be looked at as a new sort of dark ages by todays young adult population. No Cell phones, the thrill of instant messages on company computers and no real speaking of Google ever.  A refreshing, light read.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Moab is My Washpot

Moab is My Washpot

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry's Moab is My Washpot is a brilliant example of a well written memoir. Although it is disappointing that Fry left out (for good reason) his years at Cambridge, Moab does cover his early years until he is in his twenties. A great read for a fan of Fry.

I was most impressed with Fry's ability to tell the story of his childhood and adolescence while all the while interjecting pieces of his forty year old life. It was refreshing to see the childish Stephen paired up against the Stephen we all know and love today.

His stories of his first (unrequited) love were heart warming and his tales of boarding school interesting for anyone, like myself, who would have no way of knowing the ins and outs of boarding school life. Especially in a country different from my own.

I look forward to sitting down and finishing his novel Making History and can't wait for his next memoir, which he is currently working on.

My Rating: ****