The Princess and the Hound – A Fairy Tale With Psychological Questions

Book Review : The Princess and the Hound

By Mette Ivie Harrison

Spoiler Alert!

639197

Summary

     He is a prince, heir to a kingdom threatened on all sides, possessor of the animal magic, which is forbidden by death in the land he’ll rule.
She is a princess from a rival kingdom, the daughter her father never wanted, isolated from true human friendship but inseparable from her hound.
Though they think they have little in common, each possesses a secret that must be hidden at all costs. Proud, stubborn, bound to marry for the good of their kingdoms, this prince and princess will steal your heart, but will they fall in love?
  (Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

 The Princess and the Hound had an old fairy tale quality, while still being completely original. Though inspired by Beauty and the Beast, the reader would easily be able to enjoy the book with out any background checks for information.

One of the things I liked the most was the complexity of the two main characters. Prince George, is young and inexperienced to take on the role of the king. He has experienced a difficult childhood, primarily because of the loss of his mother. His father didn’t know how to be the kind of father George needed, though he wasn’t distant to be cruel. George has also been set aside by others in the nobility, mocked and never befriended. Finally, he has animal magic – is it a blessing or a curse. Regardless, it has changed how he interacts with others.

Beatrice, has also had a difficult childhood. Her father, King Helm, has intentionally belittled her because she wasn’t a son to be his heir. She was unexpectedly befriended by the hound, Marit, who became closer than a normal companion. Because of how she has been treated she is fearful to allow George into her tight-knit world.  George is the one who recognizes the similarities they have experienced, though through different means.

I don’t want to add any big spoilers, but I was interested in Dr. Garn. I was curious to his motivations. He was very odd, and yet the king trusted him. He had been able to move through the layers that insulate a king from the people, however, even the trusted servants had very little interaction with the doctor. Nobody felt like Prince George was in the right to be distrustful. He even doubted himself. I liked how Dr. Garn showed the reader other sides of the personalities of different characters.

The world building, and character building for Prince George felt a little slow. Once George has agreed to marry Beatrice the story takes off at a great pace. I enjoyed seeing how George approaches problems; he could have been a psychologist in a different world. I would also be intrigued to hear what others’ thoughts were on the relationship between Beatrice and Marit….. I thought Harrison had a clever approach for George to fall in love.

I enjoyed this book and it is appropriate for a broad audience. The psychology of a fairy tale was to teach a principal or a fear to children. What lesson is taught in this story? Perhaps, the moral lesson of doing the right thing, even when its hard. Would it be a good example of thinking through problems of multiple personality disorder. For one thing, think of how the two kings, Davit and Helm, represent two polar opposites, but still distance themselves from their only child. Like many fairy tales, there is romance at the end of the tale. It was a satisfying experience.

4 out of 5 stars

4 star

  • the Mother

If you like this one try some of the older books of retold fairy tales, such as, Beauty by Robin McKinley and Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede. A modern tale to try is Cinder by  Marissa Meyer and The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.

Advertisements
Posted in young adult book reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Forsaken Throne – The Good and Bad News & Will Trynne Find Love?

Book Review: The Forsaken Throne
The Kingfountain series 

By Jeff Wheeler

Spoiler Alert!

51UHqInSUBL


Summary

A devastating disaster has left the Forbidden Court in ashes, its fountains destroyed, and its magic at risk. It was destined as the site of Trynne Kiskaddon’s coronation as empress. Now, all Trynne can imagine is the roar of flames, the cries of Gahalatine’s people, and the smell of cinders in a city gone dark. Tragic as the threat to Kingfountain is, it’s nowhere near as foul as the treachery posed by Morwenna. Saboteur, conspirator, and full-blood sister of the king, she is prepared to set forth a wave of destruction that will eliminate everything that stands between her and possession of the throne.

But Trynne has her weapons, too—her magic, her resilience, her skills at intrigue, and especially, Fallon. The man who once swore his allegiance to Morwenna now stands by Trynne’s side as they venture into the unknown to protect those they love, reunite with a family scattered by diabolical forces, and safeguard a kingdom…as well as the destiny the Fountain has for each of them. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

I received an ARC for The Forsaken Throne and this is my honest review. Thank you to Jeff Wheeler and NetGalley for providing me with this book.

I will tell you the good and bad news right at the beginning, so you can relax and read the rest of the review. Bad news first, is that The Forsaken Throne is the last in the Kingfountain series, but the good news is that Wheeler is giving us another prequel! Look for The Poisoner’s Enemy which focuses on Ankarette Tryneowy before she saved Owen’s life scheduled to come out January 9th 2018.

If you have followed the reviews for the Kingfountain series, you all ready know I am a fan. I was quite worried that after I have loved the entire series that I would feel let down by The Forsaken Throne, because there were so many threads that needed to be tidied up. I hoped the characters would stay true to themselves or show growth. I was very happy with the conclusion.

From the opening dialog, the reader has his fears confirmed that Morwenna has been deceitful from the beginning. Combined with the opening scene, between Trynne and her new husband, I could tell it was going to be a rough ride. I love it when a book is fraught with tension. I was shocked that Gahaltine wouldn’t have had more faith in his wife, whom he had respected and outwitted the Wizr council to marry. The controlling Wizrs did a very good spin job to have Gahaltine turned so thoroughly against Trynne. It was an essential plot move because a book about countries rebuilding after a war would have been tedious. Once that plot device was established, I was turned for another loop with a twist plot. Wheeler is a master of building tension! By the end of the book I felt more compassion for Gahaltine than I would have expected; he showed growth in this final book that meshed well with his character’s voice.

In the previous novel, The Silent Shield, readers were left on tenterhooks wanting to know what was happening with Owen. The facts, as we knew them, were that he had been imprisoned, his memory taken, his power suppressed and he had escaped and was fighting in an army. The questions were; what army and who did he serve, how could his memory be restored and how could he return safely to his homeland? Even without his memory intact, Owen was true to his basic nature. He analyzed the facts he had for the best solution, served with honor and sought the truth. He remained open to discovery, which was a key for him to be saved. I did not expect Owen’s location as a prisoner, however, the author did lay a solid foundation and it was logical (I had originally thought he was in Gahaltine’s court – which I suspect the author had hoped). I love it when an author surprises me with a plot twist!

Trynne is one of my favorite characters along with Owen, and the Maid of Donremy through the series. Trynne has faced challenge after challenge, and even when she wants to give up, she doesn’t. She is blessed with the gift of having loyal friends, sort of – if they are not ensorcelled by evil wizrs. Trynne learns how to draw on her inner strength as her life falls apart. Her mother has been called by a vision to sail to the Deep Fathoms, her father is imprisoned, her husband has been estranged from her through deceit, her lands, with all her subject whom she loves, will be destroyed if she leaves for a long period of time. To top off everything else, her own king doubts her loyalty. Trynne has relied on Fallon many times, doubted him and is drawn back to him. She permanently gave up Fallon to save her nation by marrying King Gahaltine, where once again Wheeler dashed the hopes of all readers of a happy romance. In The Forsaken Throne, Fallon and Trynne are thrown together again, and because they are both people with morals we know, as the reader, that they will not break their commitments. Will there ever be a happy ending for Trynne? So, here is the spoiler – there is a happy ending, mixed with sadness for Trynne.

I am also fascinated by the Fountain in this series. Generally, a force of nature is not seen as a character, but in this case it is such a defining element, I believe the fountain can be seen as an over-arching character. The fountain-blessed aren’t given a gift from the Fountain based upon their own good nature. Each person chooses how they use the gift they were given, and some individuals choose wickedness rather than goodness.  Even so, the Fountain directs the recipients of the gifts, IF they are willing to listen. The Fountain reminds me of the Bible expression that roughly states; the rain falls on both the good and the wicked. So often in books, a force like the Fountain, would be bestowed only upon those who are worthy of the blessing, consequently, the Fountain in this series is more mysterious and opens up many plot possibilities. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a chapter where the reader could hear the Fountain’s thoughts?

Jeff Wheeler suggests that it would be beneficial, for undisclosed reasons, to have read The Legends of Muirwood and Whispers of Mirrowen prior to ending this series. I had not read the other series and was still satisfied with reading The Forsaken Throne. Even so, I will go back and read the others.

I highly recommend this entire series. It is clean, the violence isn’t over the top, and the plot is interesting, being woven through with history and Arthurian legends. It is also appropriate for high school and older, I believe children in middle-school would have a harder time following the plot complexity, though they could certainly give it a try.

5 out of 5 stars

5 star

-Michelle

If you have enjoyed Wheeler as an author I would highly recommend reading A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I am confident that you will love their books.

Try The Lost Book Of The Grail by Charlie Lovett if you love Arthurian legends, though this one is not exactly a fantasy novel, it is well worth reading – I love the different stories lines.

A few older books to try would include The Raven Ring by Patricia C. Wrede, the Windrose Chronicles by Barbara Hambly, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley and The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia Anne McKillip.

 

Posted in All Time Favorites, grown up books reviewed, young adult book reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Girl Who Drank The Moon – Did You Think This One Should Have Been A Newberry Award Winner?

Book Review : The Girl Who Drank The Moon
                       Newberry Award Winner 2017
386 pages

By Kelly Barnhill

Spoiler Alert!

28110852

Summary

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule — but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her — even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.  (Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

I frequently find I am out of step with the Newberry winners. Why is this? I read a variety books in multiple genres and am very familiar with children’s literature. I believe the committee who chooses the winners have a different agenda on what they are looking for in a book. In children’s literature, I look for excellent writing, identifiable characters, usually an uplifting story and meaningful (which are actually elements I enjoy in adult literature too, though the list could be longer).

In The Girl Who Drank The Moon, there were some elements that I enjoyed. I liked how the baby Luna is described; she is quite precocious and knows the Grand Elder Gherland is up to no good. Luna has the same birthmark as her mother, brown skin and black curly hair – she could have been of many different ethnic backgrounds, which weren’t part of the story.  Reading about characters with different backgrounds is a great way to combat prejudice. With a stretch, one could also say the novel shows the love between children and their adopted parents.

I also liked several other characters. The grandmother, Xan, is kind and giving, Glerk is a monster with the heart of a poet and the dragon, Fryian, is guileless and busy as any two year old. Antain, is kind of a wimp, but he has his heart in the right place. Most of the male characters feel flat compared to the female characters.

I enjoyed the imagery of the origami birds being formed from magic and flying. The descriptions of Antain’s home with his wife were also delightful. Finally, the description of the dragon growing was very fun. How often do we think a child just needs to grow into their features?

My overall complaint with this novel is that I don’t care for the voice the author has chosen. The voice or tone has a sing-song happy, baby-word, fairytale, “everything is right in the world” simplistic sound. Everything is not right in their world; the entire city is depressed and the actual witch eats their sorrow, and engineers more sorrow. The novel has a scattering of inserts of an unidentified person telling stories – later we learn the identity of the storyteller, at least one storyteller.

     “It is not an ordinary volcano, you know. It was made thousands and thousands of years ago by a witch.
Which witch? Oh, I don’t know. Not the Witch we’ve got, surely. She is old, but she is not that old.” (p. 240)

My second complaint, really continuing the first complaint, is that this cutesy style is a thin veneer for horrible acts. The charming origami birds cut Antain’s face, which is left as a map of scars. The witch, Sister Ignatia, murders hatchlings for the sorrow of their mother as well as feeding on the sorrow of the parents who have had their children stolen, the Protectorate leaves children in the woods suspecting they are eaten by animals to preserve their stranglehold over the population. The adults suffer from depression, which is a sorrowful story to read for children.

Another complaint, though minor, is that I didn’t like the names of most of the characters. Ethyne, as the love interest for Antain, was about the worst. It looks like Ethylene, a gas produced by overripe fruit. I can’t imagine that was the author’s intention.

I didn’t like how the author suddenly introduced seven league boots into the story. They were completely unnecessary, and everything they accomplished could have been done in another way. I also felt like it was a trite, over-used item added to her use of trite sayings. The author also had Glerk, who loved the world, blah, blah, blah – re-hash words from the Bible, “In the beginning, there was the Bog. And the Bog covered the world and the Bog was the world and the world was the Bog.” (p.381) – it was odd to bring a Christian overtone to Glerk as though he was a type for Christ, I liked him better as a monster who loved poetry. Christianity didn’t fit into the world Barnhill had created.

I didn’t really care for The Girl Who Drank The Moon, it was a fast read – though way too wordy, easily 100 pages could be cut out. I have a hard time imagining children enjoying this book. I don’t think it should be an award winning book. I have seen lots of readers who strongly disagree with me, but the three people I have talked to all had similar feelings to mine.

3 out of 5 stars

3 star

  • Michelle

Other books I recommend for middle-grade readers include Schooled by Gordan Korman,  Maniac Mcgee by Jerry Spinelli, The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George.

Posted in children's books, Newberry & Awarded Books, young adult book reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bewitching Mr. Darcy – Did You Consider That Elizabeth Could Be A Witch?

Book Review : Bewitching Darcy
A Pride and Prejudice Paranormal

By Cass Grix

ebook

Spoiler Alert!

32335585

 

Summary

Fitzwilliam Darcy has never met a woman like Elizabeth Bennet. He finds her fascinating, irritating, compelling, inspiring, maddening, and absolutely beautiful. If he didn’t know better, he would think he was bewitched.

Bewitching Mr. Darcy is a paranormal variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a long novella. It was previously published with Jane Grix as author.
(Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

 

I did not realize this was a paranormal version of Pride and Prejudice. I quickly had to adjust the lens of my perception when I realized that Elizabeth was a witch. With that quick turn around, I had decided to just embrace magic in the novel.

Any author who takes on writing a new version of a revered classic is working an uphill battle. The novella, Bewitching Mr. Darcy, had a hard time because the book can’t help, but be compared to the original. The author based her novella on a line about how Elizabeth was bewitching, which was a good idea. There were some charming moments and it is a fun, light read. It is not my favorite re-written version.

My main disappointment was when the original plot and scenes were changed. I would have liked to have seen the magic woven into the original.

1- The famous proposal was changed! I would have liked to have Darcy rejected by Elizabeth because of his rudeness, instead, she explained how she was a witch. Darcy was horrified. He didn’t get the chance to explain the actions of the nefarious Wickham, and I missed the scene.

2- Lydia is convinced to NOT marry Wickham. I just can’t picture Lydia making any wise decisions because she was such a silly, incorrigible flirt. Elizabeth had no forewarning that Wickham was trouble, and no ability to feel sorrow over not having tried to prevent Lydia’s rash behavior.

3- The set-down by Catherine was ineffectual because Elizabeth was already engaged to Darcy. In the original, this was the moment when Darcy finally had hope that Elizabeth had changed her mind. It was disappointing to miss out on the angst brought out in Darcy and Elizabeth relationship.

I hate to do it, but I’m knocking this one down to 2.5 stars. I want something with more punch! Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth deserve more sizzle.

2.5 out of 5 stars

2 1:2 star
-Michelle

 

I would recommend An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan, an alternate version from Darcy’s perspective.

Try Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron and Austenland by Shannon Hale.

For a regency novel that incorporates magic try Sorcery and Cecilia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by  Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede. It doesn’t include characters from Pride and Prejudice, but it is an excellent read. It will have you swooning!

Posted in grown up books reviewed, young adult book reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Contact, In Her Name – Will You Want To Make Contact?

Book Review : First Contact
In Her Name

By Michael R. Hicks

ebook

Spoiler Alert!

10881616

Summary

Terran survey ship Aurora finds two habitable planets in an uncharted star system. But Aurora is disabled by gigantic alien warships and boarded by blue-skin females with fangs and claws. The warriors slaughter the crew in ritual one-on-one combat. The sole survivor is returned to Earth. This Messenger bears a real-time globe device that counts down to an impending attack.

That is the way of the Kreelan Empire. For centuries before man have they waged war, seeking a prophesied savior. Soon to be extinct, the ancient species wages their last war, hoping for redemption of sins long past. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

Here is a DNF (did not finish) review. I read about 35% of the book and will not pick it up again.I had received this book for free. I decided to read it based on others’ review, which were overwhelmingly positive. When I dread having to open up a book, that is not a good sign.  Here are my top reasons for not finishing the book (a prequel to the series):

  1. I was bored reading it. The first climax is at the beginning of the book where the aliens take over and destroy the Aurora. So far, the rest of the book has been about trying to convince earth and the other human inhabited planets that a deadly enemy is coming.
  2. I didn’t connect well to any of the people. This might actually be my number one reason for not liking the book. I predicted that Sato would be the one person to survive the alien attack. He had a little more depth. We had a view into his childhood with a loving, but disabled grandfather and a horrid, abusive father. Once he gets back to earth he becomes boring too. Everyone else was pretty flat.
  3. The language was offensive. I am sure if earth was going to be slaughtered by aliens there would be some pretty strong language, so, even though the foul language could be considered appropriate for the situation I felt like it was used for shock value. Characters would suddenly blurt out an expletive in the course of a normal conversation, it would make better sense to be screaming when faced with death.
  4. The aliens felt like I had met them before. It is very apparent that the aliens are working on a hive-like mentality, have a single leader with the ability to communicate instantaneously with her people and the lives of the “drones” are not valued. Does this not sound like the aliens Orson Scott Card wrote about? By the way, the aliens are blue women, and similar in physiology to humans. A matriarchal alien society might automatically sound like bees regardless of what else the author writes.

I cannot recommend this book, and I really hate having to say so many negative things about a book I didn’t even finish. If you finished the book, or series and loved it, I would love to hear your thoughts. I wish I hadn’t made contact!

1 out of 5 stars

1 star
-Michelle

My go to for science fiction has always been the classic Foundation series by Asimov and short stories by Ray Bradbury.  I remember reading a book in college, Inherit the Stars by James P. Hogan that I loved, but I haven’t picked it up in years.

A recent ebook that I thought was fun, though not of literary merit, was The Phoenix Conspiracy by Richard Sanders.

I would recommend just about anything over this book.

Posted in grown up books reviewed | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Forbidden Stone, The Copernicus Legacy – Does The Past Draw In Readers?

Book Review : The Forbidden Stone
                       The Copernicus Legacy

By Tony Abbott

Spoiler Alert!

18085469

Summary

The Copernicus Legacy has everything middle-grade readers love-an international adventure, a compelling friendship story, and a mission that draws on history and astronomy. Readers who loved Percy Jackson will be eager to follow our heroes on this six-book, six-novella journey and excited to enter a sweepstakes to participate in a real-life scavenger hunt hosted by Tony Abbott that lets the reader become part of the story.

It all began when four friends-Wade, Lily, Darrel, and Becca – received a strange, coded email from Wade’s uncle Henry shortly before the old man’s sudden death. They set off for Germany to attend the funeral with Wade’s father, Roald, and discover that Uncle Henry left them yet another baffling message that they suspect is the key to figuring out how and why he died.

The message leads to a clue, and the more clues they discover, the farther they travel down a treacherous path toward an ancient, guarded secret. Soon they are in a breathless race across the globe, running for their lives as a dangerous shadow organization chases them around every corner. Their only hope of saving themselves-and the world that they know-is to find twelve magical relics from a hidden past that will unlock the Copernicus Legacy.
(Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

I am behind in writing reviews! I read The Forbidden Stone a few weeks ago. Overall I had a good impression of the book and would recommend it for a young audience, approximately from 11-14 years old. This is a book that should cross over to either gender.

One point I am always concerned about, is the amount of violence in children’s books. The Forbidden Stone has characters who die, and are threatened with death. We know that someone was killed in an elevator accident, but the reader is not led through a murder, step by gruesome step. The villain is a disturbing because she is so young; described as being only a few years older than the four protagonists. In the first book we don’t know her background, but it is sure to be a stunning revelation. The book is not overtly violent.

I am always interested in the characters. Wade and Darrel are step-brothers, and they are best friends, though very different from each other. Wade is “nerdy” and loves science and the stars. Darrel is always hungry (like many teen boys) and seems like he could almost be a hippy. I have had a harder time distinguishing between Lily and Becca, but I was reading fast and just keep mixing them up and which one Wade has a crush on. I really like how Wade’s father has stayed in the book, rather than having teen children rushing all over the world by themselves. He seems cautious and has just been sucked in to the adventure because of circumstances and his love of science.

I also like the historical references. Wouldn’t it be cool if Copernicus had made a time-machine? Even if there isn’t evidence of such an amazing break through the novel includes facts about the development of science and math which are accurate. The descriptions of places in Germany and Italy also seemed very authentic.

The plot is fairly straight forward, in that, they need to find the clues to the relics before the villains can obtain the precious pieces to use Copernicus’s machine for their own evil uses. Because The Forbidden Stone is aimed at a middle-grade audience, the plot isn’t nearly as important as the execution. Abbott moves the plot along quickly. It has lots of action, puzzles and near misses. He includes the ingredients for a novel that his audience will want. There are no questionable scenes with kissing to put off young readers. All the romance in book one is just the embarrassed “liking” of one another as experienced in middle-school.

3.5 out of 5 stars

3-half-star-hotel

  • Michelle

If you enjoyed The Forbidden Stone, my sons would recommend the Michael Vey series by Richard Paul Evans (though, honestly it wasn’t my favorite), and I would recommend  Schooled by Gordon Korman for a humorous read, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld for an adventure mixed with an alternate universe and Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers for a combination of humor, adventure and history (with no romance at all).

For a slightly older audience check out the Relic Master series by Catherine Fisher.

And if they haven’t read Harry Potter, try to convince this young generation to read it and not just watch the movies! It seems only fair to read this series when it changed children’s literature.

Posted in children's books, young adult book reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment