I know I promised to review some books & I swear that shall be done. Mostly I haven’t had time during the day and at night I come home and immediately fall into bed.
Books To Be Reviewed After the Cut
- The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
- The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
- The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
- 100 Girls (a graphic novel) by Adam Gallardo & Todd Demong
Yesterday was primarily spent on an organizing spree for my boss at work but I was allowed to wade through the queries at the end of the day, which I had been looking forward to since my day one. Most of my time at Writers House has been spent reading partial and full manuscripts and offering my editorial comments but I really wanted to jump into the slush pile and pick out the stuff that interested me. (Instead of reading the requests of my predecessor.)
Of course, I have to keep my boss (and her boss)’s reading tastes in mind–thrillers/mysteries (which I’m afraid I have no eye for), women’s fiction/romance, and health-related non-fiction–but after a while I got into the rhythm of looking at genres I wouldn’t ordinarily pick up.
You know, I always thought that Miss Snark might have exaggerated some of the ridiculousness of the queries that land in her inbox but I was wrong. Very wrong.
Dear Prosaic Slush Slogger:
I refuse to read a 250,000 novel-in-progress. I don’t care how “unique” and “creative” the hook is (which it isn’t); no one in her right mind would willingly read an unfinished 1000 page novel about ghosthunters.
Dear I Have A Personal Relationship With Christ Slush Slogger:
If My Friend Jesus were any bit as entertaining as the idea of Buddy Christ I would have requested you…
Dear I Can’t Read The Directions Slush Slogger:
If you can’t obey simple instructions, then you deserve to rejected outright.
Dear My Book Is Fiction–I Swear!–But I Need To Give You My Life Story In My Query Slush Slogger:
You’re not kidding anyone.
Perhaps I am mean. Perhaps I am quick to dismiss a work of genius–if I would only just read a sample!–but no. I am content to be mean. I am shallow and judgmental and I’m totally okay with that.
Review of The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
I suppose it makes the most sense to review these two together, being books II & III of the same trilogy. I read The Thief a long while ago after having read a positive review for the series by Sarah Rees Brennan and was charmed enough to pick up the other books.
Well, providing that a bookstore even carried the other books. I feel as though my despair at the lack of Attolia books in stores is well documented.
While The Thief is very much a middle-grade fantasy adventure story, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia are very different in tone and even subject matter. Each book contains a significant twist, although I felt that only The Thief was able to execute it without my feeling cheated. The Thief was written in first person, although the clues to the narrator’s true identity were buried in the text all along, which made me promptly return to the start and reread it. It was a bit like The Sixth Sense in that way, I suppose.
On the other hand, the “twist” of The Queen of Attolia made me shut the book and contemplate throwing it across the room before I decided to trust Megan Whalen Turner. It was a hard decision, but the “I didn’t see that coming” hit me in the face like a Mack truck and I was pretty annoyed about it.
Yet, without the twist in The Queen of Attolia, you couldn’t possibly have the premise of The King of Attolia, which is my favourite of the three. Mostly because I love Eugenides. What can I say? I love me some mischievous pranksters who know far more than they let on. I found it interesting that each book was written in a different POV: The Thief was first person, The Queen of Attolia mostly in omniscient third (but oddly this didn’t work for me), and The King of Attolia in close third from the POV of Costis, a member of the Queen’s Guard.
These are highly recommended by practically everyone, so I’ll throw my opinion in with the lot. But don’t say I didn’t warn you about The Queen of Attolia.
Review of The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
This would be the fifth speculative fiction novel I’ve read this year which is rare for a girl like me who much prefers fantasy over science fiction. This book was a case of me finding Mary E. Pearson’s blog via someone else’s Livejournal friendslist and becoming intrigued by the premise of her novel. A girl has wakened from a year-long coma. She has no memory of who she is except for what the people around her (her family) tell her. Yet she can recite word-for-word all of Thoreau’s Walden and know the smallest details about The French Revolution. People are also being awfully secretive about the accident that put her there. But why?
I pretty much gulped this one down in one sitting. If Bear were at all the sort to read for pleasure and not for school, I would absolutely give this to him which touches on issues of neuroscience and medical ethics, all wrapped up in a cracking good page-turner. In some ways this book reminded me a bit of the movie The Bumblebee Flies Anyway (which I admit I only saw because I was infatuated with Elijah Wood’s beautiful blue eyes at the time–ah for the obsessiveness of youth!): both have amnesiac protagonists trying to remember their pasts and the details of the accident that put them there. The butterfly too reminds me of the bumblebee motif in that movie; the butterfly here representing a scientific term, but also the myth about butterflies and souls. Highly recommended.
Review of 100 Girls by Adam Gallardo & Tony Demong
One of the things I love about my current job is the plethora of free books that accompany it. This is one of the offerings I plucked from my boss’s “To Give Away” pile because 1) I love graphic novels and 2) well, I love graphic novels.
Sylvia Mark is a freak: she’s skipped two grades and is adopted but she’s okay with that. It’s the other freaky things about that are starting to bother her. Her supernatural strength, for one. Her acrobat’s agility for another. The worst part? Their sudden onset. Where did these abilities come from? A sinister research facility in San Diego may hold the key.
This was easy enough to read as far as comic books go, but nothing stood out for me. Adam Gallardo is no Alan Moore, but then again, I do hold my standards high. Admittedly, if this weren’t free I wouldn’t have read it. Decent, but ultimately forgettable.