Monday, April 28, 2008

On the bookshelf

The 13th Tale coverIt gladdens one's heart when a first-time writer produces a thoroughly engaging piece of work. I had a hard time putting down Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, a mesmerizing story with all the gothic allure of a nineteenth-century novel, with none of the plodding and not a single unbelievable plot twist. Everything fit together in the end like an intricate puzzle. Rare is it these days for me to shelve a book with such a feeling of satisfied loss, for as much as I shall miss the characters I know that they are at peace and have no need to enter my life again, save during moments of introspection.

This is a perfect book for those who love books, ghost stories in particular —The Turn of the Screw leapt to mind numerous times — and a well-turned phrase.

P.S. The website for the book is the coolest. Be sure to check it out:

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A W O L...R

Away Without Leave...Reading

After discovering the pleasures of Holly Black's YA novels during our recent vacation to Los Angeles, I've been able to do little beyond read, sleep and, on occasion, attend to crucial domestic duties. Note that I'm referring to Black's "modern faerie tales" aimed at youth slightly older than readers of The Spiderwick Chronicles, of which Black is co-author with Tony DiTerlizzi.

ironside coverIf you happen to have any teenagers in the household—the back cover of Tithe categorizes the fiction as appealing to ages 14 and up—do give Holly Black's books a try. Faeries are dark in this modern tale, the worst of the lot motivated by greed, revenge, even downright sadism, and the majority are no fans of humans; however, that doesn't stop an angst-ridden teen (in Valiant) and a half-human/half-pixy (in Tithe and Ironside) from falling head over heels in love with (respectively) a fierce but gentle-hearted troll and a goth faery knight.

The trilogy is dark, frightening, and, best of all, wildly entertaining. Featuring heroines that are flawed, vulnerable, and yet, when push comes to shove, utterly courageous, these novels top my 2008 best-book list.

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