I was very excited to read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell after reading and loving Eleanor and Park last year. There’s so much love out there for Fangirl so I went into reading this with my expectations set sky high, ready to have my heart and mind truly blown. And while I enjoyed this YA book, there was a lot to like about it, it didn’t grab me as much as I thought it would.
For anyone who is not familiar with Fangirl, it tells the story of Cather or Cath, twin sister to Wren. When they start university, Wren wants to set out alone from the whole twin thing and party. Cath on the other hand, hides out in her dorm room like a hermit and works on her fanfiction story that is part of the world of Simon Snow (a Harry Potter like publishing phenomenon). Continue reading →
Tithe by Holly Black was a book I re-read recently in anticipation of reading The Cruel Prince. And I’m glad I did as Kaye and Roiben from Tithe make an appearance in The Cruel Prince. It’s a YA fantasy novel that blends faeries and the modern world together.
Tithe tells the story of Kaye, a teenage girl with a rocker for a mum who moves from place to place as her mum pursues her music. Like her mum, she’s a bit rebellious. She’s not going to win any prizes for being a model teen as she smokes, drinks and skips school. She also has a big attitude.
Kaye and her mum go back to New Jersey to live with Kaye’s grandmother. When she was a kid, Kaye used to have friends in this place — faerie friends that only she could see. And now that she’s back, strange things start to happen and she begins to explore the powers she’s always had. Continue reading →
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black was on my wish-list for a while due to all the love for it that I saw on bookstagram and because I re-read Holly Black’s book Tithe recently. I don’t read a lot of YA fantasy but since reading and loving the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas based on bookstagrammers’ recommendations, I thought I would give The Cruel Prince a try.
If you don’t want to know anything at all about this book, don’t read on. I am going to reveal a tiny bit of plot that occurs in the first few chapters.
Set in the world of Faerie, the story is told from the point-of-view of Jude who is a human girl living in this world with her twin sister Taryn, half-faerie sister Vivi and Vivi’s faerie father General Madoc and his second wife and son Oak. Continue reading →
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is a heart-jerker of a book. It’s a book so poignant and enjoyable that I had to invent a word for it. Right from the beginning, I fell in love with this book and I read it like my life depended on it.
Set in the 80s, it tells the story of two teenagers Eleanor and Park who sit together on the school bus each day and go from not acknowledging each other to bonding over comics and music and then something deeper.
But life is complicated for Eleanor as the new kid in school. She battles with a poor body image and her red hair, terrible clothes and weight makes her a target for bullies at school. Life at home is just as bad as she has an abusive stepfather and is living in poverty.
Park has a great family but battles with his identity and what it means to be half Korean. He is also the son of a Vietnam vet and struggles to measure up to his dad’s expectations.
I came to this Young Adult fantasy series very late but I’m glad I finally made it. While I jump on the occasional YA reading bandwagon (Twilight, His Dark Materials and The Hunger Games), I consider myself a bit long in the tooth now to read this genre and I don’t really read much fantasy. But maybe a good book is a good book no matter how old you are or who the target audience is. And so when I recently joined the Bookgramming community on Instagram and saw all the love for the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas, I was intrigued to find out more and went and bought the three book box set.
I consumed all three books in the series–A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Wings and Ruin–in a week. Now I finally get all the hype and all the love for this series. I can see why teens and women alike are filling their Instagram feeds with photos of these books and I’ve happily joined this reading cult.
For the uninitiated, don’t worry, I won’t give any spoilers. But I will say this is a fantasy series about the world of humans being divided by a great wall from the world of faeries after a great war 500 years ago. The main character Feyre is a human huntress who is struggling to feed her starving family (a crippled father and two older sisters). She reminded me of Katniss from TheHunger Games in that she is a bit ragged around the edges, smart and tough. Feyre kills a huge wolf she suspects might be a faerie who has come illegally through the wall. This sets off a chain of events that sees her whisked away over the wall into Prythian, the land of the Fae, as punishment for her crime.
There must be something in the water in Oxford. It was once the literary stomping ground of writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) and C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia series) who formed part of a writer’s group called the Inklings and met regularly at the Eagle and Child pub to discuss their writing. And Lewis Carroll was inspired to write Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland while living in Oxford. Now Philip Pullman, who resides in Oxford, can easily be added to this rich literary heritage as an author who creates such detailed, fantastical worlds.
Philip Pullman has just released The Book of Dust Volume One: La Belle Sauvage (what a mouthful). It is set in an Oxford that’s similar in appearance to the one we know, but is quite different. Pullman’s Oxford still has students, academics, colleges and pretty countryside but there are some magical differences. Every person has an animal companion called a daemon who is an extension of themselves and can talk, think and feel. Children’s daemons can change into all sorts of animals, reflecting their moods and needs, but once maturity hits the daemons settle into a particular animal form. In this alternative world there are also witches and other mythical creatures.