In the middle of book 112 and just can’t bring myself to read another page — I really do want to read on because there are the promised twists and turns and horror and freakiness (from the reviews) — but this book has something that always goes against my reading taste: grossly exaggerated and blatant meanness of school children and adults that reads like a really really bad episode of something from Nick Jr. or Disney Channel. I don’t think I mind the meanness as much as how NOT inventive these behaviors/dialogs are. I can only take that many pages of these unpleasant and cliched behaviors/dialogs before I simply stop trusting the author and his/her ability to weave a quality tale. Moving on…
Tag Archives: 2012 Reads
This tale started off dealing with one aspect of sibling relationship meandered into a slightly more complicated story that deals with some tough decisions that many young people have to face: friendship and the pressure that comes with it — when choosing the morally correct path is in conflict with securing a strong bond with someone you admire. I think the book succeeds in preaching the “right way” but the problem is also that a young reader can sniff that obvious intention a mile away and might not believe in the perfect, one-sided resolution at the end of the story. The rapid loss of power of the morally questionable but charismatic child just does not ring true.
Speaking of pulling one’s compass the wrong way: book 111 has emerged recently as one of the top praised books in the field of children’s books and I finally got to read it. And I had to put aside all my ingrained political upbringings and sensibilities to appreciate the truly distinguished aspects of this title. I hate to, but I will, go back and re-read and re-look at this outstanding volume and appreciate it on its literary and artistic strengths — and to keep telling myself that this experience presented within the book is also a valid portrayal of a historical and political scene that I, like anyone who is not a trained historian of any given period or region, have only seen from a limited angle.
I thoroughly loved the gentle tone and the overall homeyness of book 109. Such a little gem. But, I definitely wonder about the “presentation for a child audience” aspect of it: who will care enough to read through the entire book which has little to no plot and almost no conflict/resolution. I do see it as a lovingly shared book from an older generation to the younger. Perhaps it can inspire the adult readers to recall something special in their youth to share with the younger listeners. There is a part of the book that gave me pause: my 2012 political sensors were called into action although I don’t fault the author for including faithfully what were true of a yesteryear practices. I just wonder if the young readers/listeners will pick up on the fact that things are or should be different in 21st century… Will it affect how I evaluate this book’s literary achievements? Should it? I know it should not — but it is hard when something pulls at one’s interior compass the wrong way!
Book 108 is overall a fun read and much of the world building kind of works — although the explanations for many of the “phenomenons” are not necessarily satisfactory. This seems to me one of the many new speculative fictions that are published now that wouldn’t have had a chance to see the light of day a few years back prior to the success of books such as Hunger Games or Twilight. There are some holes that the author (and the editors) never addressed and one in particular that really troubles me and that makes the book much less successful in my mind.
In some ways, 107 and 106 are similar: unlikely scenarios and characters thrown into a highly imaginative world. This one, I like! Much more. Just because it fits my taste better — there is the slightly dark, somewhat melancholy tone blended with a lot of very ironic and somewhat cynical humor. Unlikely and reluctant heroes tend to also win my heart. First book in a series, this book did not end happily but that is oddly satisfying and also quite in keeping with the rest of the book. It promises a great series… I do hope the sequels are planned out, being written, and will maintain the same literary quality as this first title!
The things I really like about book 106 (105 was a half-finished, meh, kind of book… so, no entry) are the blending of unlikely elements (time, place, events, characters, elements, etc.), the excitements during certain vivid scenes, and the potential of a really grand storyline with murky and difficult moral choices. It definitely kept my interest high the entire time. I’m not so sure that I appreciated how the book ends, though — it is set up to take the readers into the second volume but it did not quite resolve several threads that I’d have liked to see rounded up. A couple of surprising twists felt more for convenience sake than well thought out plans by the author. No matter what, this is a FUN read!