February 27, 2009

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner


This book has been sitting on my shelf for several (we won't go into how many exactly) years. I even *gasp* had both sequels sitting on the shelf next to it. And in the interest of full disclosure, I even started The Thief a couple of years ago, got 25 pages in, and stopped. For reasons I no longer recall. The fault, whatever it was, was clearly mine because this book is the beginning of something truly special. I completely understand why it won the Newbery Honor and am very glad it did.

Gen is a thief, and a rather boastful one at that. Claiming he can steal anything, Gen succeeds in making off with the King of Sounis' seal only to brag about it to the wrong man and get himself thrown in the King's prison indefinitely. Along comes the Magus, the King's senior advisor, who pulls Gen out of prison and sets him an impossible task. Journey to a hidden temple, steal a mythical artifact, and turn it over to the King. On pain of death. A long, slow, excruciating death. Not being a fool, Gen agrees to the terms and sets out on the journey accompanied by the Magus, his two apprentices Sophos and Ambiades (or as Gen likes to refer to them: Useless the Younger and Useless the Elder), and the inimical soldier Pol. 

And thus begins the adventure. Set in a world that is not quite ancient Greece but looks very much like it, it is a story that builds up slowly, but surely and I won't say that I didn't wonder once or twice if it was ever going to get where it was going. But hindsight is 20/20 and I can see now just how methodically and craftily Megan Whalen Turner leads you down the primrose path into thinking it's a simple story about a simple thief. It's remarkable, really. Because the whole thing does build up into one humdinger of a climax and by the time you realize what's happened there's nothing left to do but doff you hat to the irrepressible Gen for he completely wins the day and the reader as well. Nothing in this story is what it seems and that is possibly Turner's greatest strength. She (and her Thief) have the ability to take on any guise and pull off any ruse in order to achieve the desired result. In this case, it was my unadulterated adoration and I gave it up without even a hint of regret. The Thief, for the two of you who haven't yet fallen victim to this wonderful series, is the first of three books in the Queen's Thief series. Word is Ms. Turner is at work on the fourth as we speak. Thank the gods.

February 26, 2009

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Okay. We'll start with Jellicoe Road because it's the one I read first. I picked it up as a result of Trisha's glowing, cryptic in a good way review and the fact that it came away with the Printz Award this year. It is Australian Melina Marchetta's third book and the first of hers I've read. A fault that will have to be remedied quickly as I absolutely loved this knotty, painful, beautiful book. 

Taylor Markham is head of her house at the Jellicoe School--a backwoods boarding school located somewhere in Australia. Abandoned by her mother at a 7-Eleven on the Jellicoe Road, Taylor was taken in by a mysterious woman named Hannah and installed at the school. Now eighteen, Taylor is embroiled in turf wars between the Jellicoe students, the Townies, and the Cadets. But when Hannah up and leaves without a word, Taylor is convinced it has something to do with her mother and with a horrific accident that happened on the Jellicoe Road twenty-two years before. Past and present become harder to discern as the story unfolds. Simultaneously obsessed with and terrified of finding out what happened and just how closely it is tied to her own fragmented life, Taylor is forced to form alliances with the leaders of her rival gangs, including Cadet leader Jonah Griggs with whom she shares a confusing and painful history. 

This story grabbed me by the throat and shook me until I begged for mercy. Parts of it read almost stream of consciousness and you have to just let it wash over you as characters and histories distill and become clearer on the page and in your mind at about the same pace they do for Taylor herself. And by the time the wars really begin, you are so invested it's impossible to extricate yourself from the world Marchetta has created. Fortunately you don't want to. I was charmed by the dust and heat of the Australian summer, the layered language with its overtones of fear and longing, and the periodic chapters detailing the story of five children who were determined to survive after the world ended. This book will both stop your heart and then remind you how to breathe again. It's gorgeous and deserves every accolades it gets.

February 25, 2009

Gobsmacked

Please accept my apologies for the unusual pause in our regularly scheduled programming here. I seem to have read Jellicoe Road followed by a double chaser of The Thief and The Queen of Attolia. Am now sitting here gobsmacked at the excellence. Reviews to follow just as soon as I recover the power of speech. 

February 19, 2009

Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn

It's difficult for me to describe exactly how excited I was for this book to come out. Silent on the Moor was easily at the top of my most anxiously awaited books of 2009. I discovered Deanna Raybourn last year and, after blowing through the first two Julia Grey novels, have spent the last six months in that special agony reserved for the lovers of sequels. Fortunately a copy popped up at a local (ish) bookstore and I was saved from suffering through the last two weeks til its March 1st publication date. 

The third installment opens with Julia's big brother Bellmont trying to talk her out of haring off to Yorkshire after Brisbane when he has made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he does not want her anywhere near the place. Julia, of course, doesn't care a fig for Monty's scandalized pride and makes her way with all haste (and several good intentions) to the moors. Unfortunately, Brisbane's new home, Grimsgrave, is even creepier and more decrepit than he led Portia to believe in his letter. The whole place reeks of Miss Havisham's manor and, after meeting the current occupants, Julia soon realizes something is seriously amiss in this house where madness and murder walk hand in hand. Not only does she face the task of convincing Brisbane of a few increasingly important things, but Julia also finds herself uncovering hidden corpses, accepting charms from Gypsy witches, and thwarting a particularly vicious murder attempt. 

Reading Silent on the Moor was an exercise in conflicting emotions. I wanted to blow right through it to the end in one sitting and I simultaneously wanted each page to last longer than it possibly could so that I could savor being back with these two characters I have come to love. I had some pretty high hopes for this one. The third book in a series such as this comes with a rather hefty share of promise resting squarely on its shoulders and can really make or a break the series as a whole, in my opinion. This one truly made it. Every hope I had was fulfilled and I found myself turning back to reread favorite passages before I was even a third of the way through the book. This practice was repeated at regular intervals for the duration--truly the mark of an excellent read around these parts. If you like literary mysteries and haven't come across this series before, for the love of all that is holy, go get them now. I am immoderately fond of them. 

Meg Rosoff Guest Blogging at Penguin

Meg Rosoff is guest blogging over at Penguin. She's there the entire week and answering questions in the comments. So far the topics have ranged from her cottage on the Suffolk coastline, to poisonous mushrooms, to the moons of Jupiter. Rosoff's most recent novel, What I Was, was on my Best of 2008 list and her upcoming The Bride's Farewell is due out August 6th. Head on over and check it out.

February 18, 2009

Fifteen Weeks of Bees

Attention all Mary Russell fans. This spring marks the 15th anniversary of The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R. King's first novel in her wonderful mystery series featuring Sherlock Holmes and the unflappable Mary Russell. It also marks the 150th birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. To celebrate those two events, as well as the publication of The Language of Bees--the 9th book in the series, Ms. King is putting on Fifteen Weeks of Bees. The festivities will be grand and will include, among other things, a blog tour, contests, free downloads, and more! 

A dear friend of mine (Hey, CK!) introduced me to this series several years ago while we were both faithful members of Readerville and the YARG (may it rest in peace). I fell in love right away and have enjoyed not only each subsequent installment but passing them on to other appreciative readers. If you like literary mysteries and haven't dipped into this series, now would be a great time. And if you have, spread the word about the goodness that is the Mary Russell books. 

A full press release is found here.

February 17, 2009

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Bloom has been on my list for quite awhile now and it finally got bumped up to the top of my Amazon cart and made its way to my door. This is my first Elizabeth Scott book and she comes highly recommended. Comparisons to Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen abound and, as I am a big Caletti fan, I was hoping for a nice, cozy read on a snowy February evening. 

Lauren is pretty sure she's as average as it gets. The one thing she excels at is playing the clarinet in her school's jazz band, but no one but her best friend Katie even knows she plays at all, so that hardly counts. The one un-average thing about her life is her boyfriend Dave--the golden boy. For reasons unfathomable to Lauren, Dave chose her the year before and they've been together ever since. Lauren spends her days in a pleasant, if rather lackluster fog, walking through life on Dave's arm.  Enter Evan--a blast from Lauren's past. His mother and her father lived together for a short time when they were kids and the shared trauma of that experience reverberates through each of them when Evan moves back into town and begins attending Lauren's high school. 

Bloom was good and I enjoyed it. I kind of flip-flopped with regards to my feelings toward Lauren. In many ways, I really liked her. I liked her dedication to the clarinet and her nervous excitement at being given a solo in the upcoming concert. I liked that it was her secret and I got why she couldn't tell anyone about the one good thing she had going on. She took care of her dad even when he didn't deserve it and she tried (and failed) but she tried to do right by her incredibly nice, incredibly clueless boyfriend. On the flip side, I didn't really like how oblivious she was to her best friend's rapidly disintigrating personal life. I didn't really like how long she let the facade of her relationship with Dave go on. It hurt at least four people more than any of them deserved. Back to likes: I really liked Evan. I really liked the mature (yeah, mature) way he and Lauren got to know each other again. I really liked one particular encounter they had in his kitchen. And I really liked how the two of them approached their parents' collective paranoia and disfunction and chose not to make the same mistakes. Overall, this is a relatively short story with a lot of threads, not all of which were as developed as I would have liked. But it has sweet, humorous, and heartbreaking moments and it was a good read on a snowy February evening.

February 16, 2009

The Cybils 2008

The fun folks over at The Cybils have announced the winners for 2008. Last year I served on the Graphic Novels panel and it was a blast. So I was anxious to see which ones they chose this time around. Looks like Rapunzel's Revenge won for Elementary/Middle Grade and Emiko Superstar for the Young Adult category. I've got Rapunzel's Revenge on my TBR shelf. Must bump it up. 

I was also happy to see The Hunger Games win in the Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction category (my review here), although I think I would have been hard put not to give it to Graceling in the end. And The Graveyard Book won in the Middle Grade category. I have to admit, I'm still sort of mystified as to the big draw of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (winner for YA). I felt decidedly underwhelmed by it, like I was very much supposed to like it but...didn't. In any event, it looks like a fun time was had by all and you can find the full list of winners here.

Fade by Lisa McMann

After finishing the wonderfully creepy Wake, I couldn't wait to extend my time with Janie and Cabel in Fade. The story picks up shortly after the end of WakeJanie and Cabel are finishing up school, looking forward to the day when they can leave Fieldridge High behind and try the freedom (and anonymity) of college life on for size. And if there are a few key, seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their way, well, what's the use of letting your worry play on an endless loop? Particularly when real, peaceful, be-who-we-are moments are so few and far between.

When Captain hands them a new case to pursue, Janie and Cabel have no idea how far it will take them from those peaceful moments together. Cabel, particularly, begins to doubt the worth of their involvement when he realizes the case centers around a possible sexual predator(s) at Fieldridge High. That and the fact that Captain intends to dangle Janie out there as bait. What Cabel doesn't know is Captain has also handed Janie a folder. One that holds the contents of her predecessor's experiences and warnings as a dreamcatcher. Emphasis on the warnings. They are dire. As Janie works day and night to catch the predator and understand her abilities, Cabel tries to help but finds most of his time taken up worrying over Janie.

My favorite thing about Fade is that spare, distilled writing Lisa McMann excels at. It's a pleasure on ice to turn the pages and simply absorb the clean, concise lines of the story. I did find myself wanting a bit more in some areas. Janie's mother remains all but nonexistent and one begins to wonder just why she's there at all. And how she could possibly be that much of a nonentity, scores of empty bottles notwithstanding. I keep feeling like she's going to play a larger role at some point, but it must be yet to come. I also felt that everyone around Janie should have seen the eventual crisis coming from a mile away. (I did). And so I spent the last portion of the book gripping the pages, internally ranting that this shouldn't. be. happening. And wishing someone would listen to Cabe and not let her go there! That said, any scene Janie and Cabe are in together is breathless and lovely. And I really liked the developing relationship between Janie and Captain. Girl needs some halfway decent adult taking an interest in her life. 

Fun snippet:
Once in her bedroom, Janie closes the door tightly behind her.

Falls to the bed, like a lump of dough.

After last month's ordeal with the drug bust, Janie knows she's got to get her strength back or the dreams will take over her life again.
That night, Janie's own dreams are blasted with churning oceans and hurricanes and life jackets that sink like stones.

11:44 a.m.
Janie wakes to sunlight streaming in. She's ravenous and dreaming about food now. Smelling it. 

"Cabe?" she mumbles, eyes closed.

"Hey. I let myself in." He sits on the bed next to her, his fingers drawing her tangled hair away from her face. "Rough night, Hannagan? Or are you still catching up?"

"Mrrff." She rolls over. Sees the plate of eggs and toast, steam rising. Grins wide as the ocean and lunges for it. "You--best secret boyfriend ever."

The third and final book, Gone, will be out February of next year. 

February 12, 2009

Envy by Anna Godbersen

Third Luxe book and my favorite cover to date. Could just be that it's Diana on the cover and she's my favorite character...but I really like the dress. Actually, this is my favorite book of the three as well. And I really wasn't sure it would be. What with Henry and Penelope being...shudder. But this one seemed the most real. People grew up and, in a couple of notable cases, grew spines. Whether or not it will all be too little too late remains to be seen. The fourth (and final) Luxe book, Splendor, is due out in October and will hopefully settle a few things satisfactorily.

Envy begins just a couple of months after the disastrous conclusion to Rumors. Elizabeth is inexplicably back on the scene, but not really there. Diana is floating through a fog of numb and trying to rise above the crushing blows that keep coming her way. Ditto for Henry. Lina is capitalizing on all her success and makes a surprisingly apt romantic choice. And Penelope is Penelope. You just want someone to stash her in a broom closet for Two Seconds so everyone else can take a deep breath and perhaps hatch a plan to put her in her place once and for all. And amid all this, everyone manages to sweep off on a trip to Palm Beach where much of the book takes place. 

I liked the change of scenery in this one. Putting everyone together in a Florida beach hotel for several days on end forced them all to interact despite the myriad tensions criss crossing between them. It also provided several quiet moments in which several characters reflected on how they ended up in the nasty mess they're in. It was nice to see some talk of doing the right thing at the cost of short-term (even long-term) happiness. Though I do hope happiness is in the cards for the most deserving (read: Teddy, Elizabeth, Diana, Henry). I liked this one best because it seemed the most natural. Every single character, at one point or another, was able to see beyond themselves for a moment to the people around them. I hope they remember what the view was like. This continues to be a diverting series and I look forward to its conclusion.  

February 11, 2009

The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald


I was lucky enough to win a copy of The Outback Stars in a giveaway at Janicu's Book Blog. She read and reviewed it awhile back and enjoyed it so much she decided to give away a copy to spread the love. Awesome, no?  She really piqued my interest, so I was thrilled to get a copy. The Outback Stars is military scifi meets space opera meets Australian mythology. Janicu says (and I agree with her):
I think if you are a fan of Elizabeth Moon you will like Sandra McDonald's books, particularly because of the military aspects. If you like Linnea Sinclair and Ann Aguirre you may like this as well. The author was an officer in the U.S. Navy and her knowledge of the day to day workings of the military seems to really show in this novel.
She's right on with that assessment. Specifically, it reminded me in many ways of the wonderful Games of Command. So if you're a fan of that book like I am, this one might be for you. 

Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is in a bad way. One of the sole survivors of the destruction of the Yangtze, she's spent months in forced recuperation and can take it no longer. She makes the decision to cash in a favor and finagles her way into a new job on the Aral Sea in lieu of curling up and dying of guilt and grief. Even before she sets foot on board, Jodenny is warned that the Aral Sea is an unhappy ship. She soon finds this to be true as she is put in charge of a completely derelict division, complete with pregnant ensigns, uncouth civilians, possible Japanese mafia members, and one accused rapist. All of whom need her. And Jodenny starts to flourish once more as she is back in her element organizing her division and prodding her people toward excellence. But the borders between officer and enlisted, history and mythology, reality and memory begin to blur, Jodenny finds it difficult to know which course to chart.

I thoroughly enjoyed this reading experience. I enjoyed the politics, the familiar military lingo, the slow, careful character development. In fact, oddly enough, I would say nostalgia was the primary emotion I experienced while reading The Outback Stars. I grew up a military brat and reading this made me feel like I'd been transported back in time a decade or so when my days were filled with new bases, adjusting to new environments, and a good night was nestling in and watching Star Trek with my dad. At the same time, the inclusion of the unfamiliar and intriguing Australian mythological elements kept me fascinated and really enriched the story. I felt satisfied with the ending, but kind of tickled to find out there is a sequel and a third one in the works, due out July 21st. Thanks, Janicu!  

February 9, 2009

One Book

One book you're currently reading

Military Scifi/space opera/Australian mythology mix. Loving it.

One book that changed your life

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Turns out books and wardrobes take you to other worlds. I was 10. And nothing was the same again. 

One book you'd want on a deserted island

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Because when I sink into her lovely, knotty narrative, I never want to be anywhere else.

One book you've read more than once

The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White

White's prose gets me in my gut every time. And Rebecca is so very strong. 

One book you've never been able to finish

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

It appears I do not have the James gene. I just...don't. 

One book that made you laugh

Straight Man by Richard Russo

Finny the duck, not the man. Hehehe....

One book that made you cry

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

I can only read it about once every ten years and I can never read it without weeping, but I'm pretty sure it's the most beautiful book I've ever read. 

One book you keep rereading

Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier

Perfect. From beginning to end. I have several scenes memorized by now and reading it feels like home. 

One book you've been meaning to read

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

I loved Anna Karenina. I will read this one. Someday. 

One book you believe everyone should read

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Because it's as honest and true and good as it gets. 

Finally, grab the nearest book. Open it to page 56. Find the fifth sentence.

"Which was not surprising, given the nature of their errand and the complex, many-generational hatred that twisted between those two men." 

Mm, I like that one. Any guesses as to what it's from? :-)

(As seen on Kiss a Cloud). 

February 6, 2009

Wake by Lisa McMann

So I've been hearing about this one for quite some time. And I confess, I deliberately waited for Wake to come out in paperback before buying it. (No, my library does not have it. Sigh). I figured that way if it was only so-so, I'd have spent less on it. But if, as I was hoping, it was Teh Bomb, then I'd be that much closer to the sequel coming out. It was, ahem, the latter. And now Fade is out! Must secure a copy. 

Janie has a hard time sleeping. What with the being sucked into everyone else's dreams without so much as a by your leave. If she's alone in her room with the door shut, she's usually fine. But all she has to do is walk by someone who's sleeping and bam! She's living their dream or nightmare right along with them. And the thing is, they often look right at her and ask her for help. But Janie has no idea how to help, or why this curse chose her life to wreak havoc upon. As if she didn't have it hard enough trying to get by with an alcoholic mother, no father, and no money to pay for college and a way out. She does have a part-time job at a nursing home, a kind, if somewhat unreliable friend Carrie, and a loner boy named Cabel who, after she storms out of a school dance, pushes her home on his skateboard. 

Lisa McMann writes Janie's story in third person present tense, making optimal use of short, terse, emotion-packed sentences. Here's a good example:
1:37 p.m.
When she feels the hand on her shoulder, she jumps.
A mile, a foot, an inch . . . she doesn't know.
She looks up.
"Ready?" he says. "Didn't know if you heard the bell.
She stares at him.
"You okay, Hannigan?"
She nods and grabs her books. "Yeah." Her voice is not completely back yet. She clears her throat. "Yes," she says firmly. "Are you? You have a dent in your cheek." She smiles shakily. 
"Fell asleep on my book."
"I figured."
"You too, huh?"
"I, uh, must've been really tired, I guess."
"You look freaked. Did you have a bad dream or something?"
She looks at him as they walk through the crowded hall to government class. He slips his hand onto the small of her back so they stay together as they talk.
"Not exactly," she says slowly. Her eyes narrow. "Did you?" The words come out of her mouth like gunshots.
He turns sharply into the doorway as the bell rings and he sees the look on her face. He stops in his tracks. His eyes narrow as they search her face. She can see his eyes are puzzled. His face flushes slightly, but she's not sure why. 
The teacher comes in and shoos them to their seats.
Janie looks over her shoulder, two rows back and toward the middle of the room.
Cabel is still staring at her, looking incredibly puzzled. He shakes his head just slightly.
She looks at the chalkboard. Not seeing it. Just wondering. Wondering what the hell is wrong with her. And what is wrong with him, that he has dreams like that. Does he know? Did he see her in that one?

2:03 p.m.
A wad of paper lands on Janie's desk. She jumps and slowly looks over to Cabel. He is slumped in his seat, doodling on his notebook, looking a little too innocent. 
Janie opens the paper.
Smooths it out.
Yeah, maybe . . . (?)
That's what it says.

I loved the way this very brief style emphasized the constant strain Janie lives under and how it becomes difficult to breathe as things begin to spiral out of her control. Janie and Cabel are both sympathetic, flawed characters and I cared about them very much. Everything about this book is fleeting. I read this through in one sitting, glued to the page, anxious to figure things out along with them. I look forward to finding out more in Fade.

February 5, 2009

Bookshelf Meme


The book that's been on my shelves the longest:
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. 
Read it with my mom when I was six. I wanted to be Kit. And I'm still in love with Nat. 


A book that reminds me of something specific in my life:
Middlemarch by George Eliot. 
The best book I read during grad school. It summed up exactly why I was there and springboarded me into my thesis. One of the books of my life.

A book I acquired in some interesting way:
A box of the first 15 Trixie Belden books when I was 9. 
They were sitting on the side of the road with a FREE sign taped to the side of the box.


The most recent addition to my shelves:
I finally got around to this one. So very glad I did as it is excellently creepalicious.



The book that's been with me to the most places:
I take it with me on almost every trip I take. Three continents and counting. Always makes me feel as though I'm embarking upon a great adventure. 


If you feel like it, consider yourself tagged!

The Rules 1. Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
2. Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva can collect everyone’s answers. 
3. If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a bookmooch point if you prefer. 
4. Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water… 
5. Make the meme more fun with visuals! Covers of the specific edition you’re talking about, photos of your bookshelves, etc.

February 4, 2009

Pride by Rachel Vincent

So it really seems like I just read Stray. I can't believe it's been almost a year since Rogue came out and that this is the third Werecat book. But, having finished PrideI can honestly say that this series has gotten better with each book and this is my favorite one so far. The good news is that the wait for the fourth book,Prey, will be much less than a year. It's due out July 1st and I will definitely be picking it up. Rachel Vincent has a tendency to end each volume not necessarily on a cliffhanger, but certainly at a point at which you are definitely opposed to stopping! Pride was officially released on February 1st and until the 4th Rachel is hosting a Pride release contest. Here is the blurb:
Here's hoping cats do have nine lives.
I’m on trial for my life. Accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. I’m not guilty. But tell that to the panel of Alphas sitting in judgment. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.I’m two for three. A goner.
On top of that, Marc is in danger of being tossed from the Pride, then we discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. I think I can protect her from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council. 
If I survive my own trial…
This third story focuses almost solely on Faythe's murder trial and I liked the less extended plotline as it gave me a chance to visit these characters during some rather unusual downtime, though it was no less tense to be sure! The Alpha tribunal she faces consists of her sympathetic Uncle Rick, the obnoxious and conniving Calvin Malone, and the decrepit not-long-for-this-world Paul Blackwell. Malone appears intent on pushing for the death penalty if he can get Blackwell to back him. And in this courtroom Faythe is guilty until proven innocent. 
I sank back into the world in this volume much faster than last time. It was good to be back with Faythe, Marc, Jace, and the gang. I immediately cared about what was going on and how/if Faythe was going to get out of this one with her claws intact. Perhaps most rewardingly, I felt like I was able to actually watch her mature somewhat during the course of the story. She's still Faythe, of course. Her credo is always gonna be it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. But, that said, she is beginning to take into account the larger picture, the intricate snarl of pride politics, and the subtler ways in which she is able to maneuver within her world without causing dire ramifications for those she loves. I maintain, it's hard to be Faythe, and I admire her strength of will. I'm not sure I would be able to make some of the choices she's made. She's never gonna pull her punches, but she's learning to pick her battles and I have high hopes for the continuation of her fight in the next installment.  

February 3, 2009

Tuesday Giggles

If you haven't run across the hysterical Cleolinda in your webcrawling, now is the time to rectify that oversight. Cleo does many things, among them mind blowingly funny paradies of movies "in fifteen minutes." My favorites have been her Harry Potters, but today I caught her Twilight parody. Made of awesome, my friends. Made. Of. Awesome.

February 2, 2009

Ballad Cover

Maggie Stiefvater is very happy with the cover for Ballad, the upcoming sequel to the awesome Lament. And rightly so, eh? It's lovely! And so very bright and fiery in comparison to the much colder cover of its predecessor, which, for the record, I really love. I also like the new subtitle for this one: A Gathering of Faerie. Here's the blurb:
In this sequel to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, faeries follow James and Dee to Thornking-Ash Conservatory, where James struggles with his feelings for Dee and with the dangerous faerie muse, Nuala. When Halloween plunges both Dee and Nuala into danger, James finds he can only choose one.
Sigh. Ballad is due out in October.