A Tale Dark & Grimm is a middle school novel by Adam Gidwitz. Another novel suggested by the beautiful Emily that I decided to pick up when we were in New York last spring for our mission trip. It’s a fairy tale gone wrong in all the oddest ways.
You may think you know Hansel and Gretel, but you have no idea. This story follows Hansel and Gretel as they battle their way through gory fights, menacing witches, and all sorts of fairy tale beasties.
The story is interspersed with asides from the narrator, which I found interesting, but totally distracting. I was also shocked by the gore found in a novel for middle schoolers. Definitely gross at some points. Mostly I found it as somewhat cute, but nothing special. Which is odd because you know me and fairy-tale rewrites! It was alright, but I wasn’t interested enough to keep reading the series.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner is a popular YA novel that is being made into a film. I can’t help but be interested when a young adult novel gets so much attention.
The novel begins with a young man waking up in an elevator; he does not know who is he or where he is. He only knows his name – Thomas. When the elevator opens, he finds himself among a number of other “lost boys” of sorts. None of them know why they are there or where they came from. All they know is that there is a maze right next to their home base, a maze that opens each morning and closes each night. Some of the boys are maze runners, going into the maze each day to scope it out and possibly find an escape. The maze is dangerous, though, and nobody wants to get caught inside when it closes. Everything changes when a girl comes up the mysterious elevator. Why does she look familiar to Thomas and why are they all there?
Honestly, I was bored. There were too many questions, not enough answers. And truly, I didn’t really care about any of the characters. The danger seemed lackluster and I just couldn’t get into this one, which is a shame, because I really wanted to like this one. Not recommended if you are like me and have to like the characters to enjoy a novel.
When I was a single, this was definitely something that bugged me. C’mon, people, wear the ring!
I kind of just happened upon Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Time by Emma Trevayne. I saw the cover on Goodreads and was intrigued. Intrigued enough to pick it up at my local library! It was definitely an odd read, to say the least.
Jack Foster is a ten year old in 19th century London. One day he follows a mysterious man through a doorway into an alternate, mechanical London called Londinium. The air is dark and smoky and almost everyone he meets has mechanical alterations. Jack befriends a wind-up fairy and her creator, before meeting the Lady. The Lady rules over all of Londinium and decides to adopt Jack as her own son. At first, the Lady spoils Jack and he is beyond happy, but it isn’t long before the Lady’s darker nature becomes apparent. How is Jack to save Londinium and his friends from the Lady’s wrath?!
This novel was so inventive and strangely dark for a middle-schooler novel. It reminds me of anything from Tim Burton… very Nightmare Before Christmas-esque. Magical and intriguing. Would definitely read from this author again.
-Our weather here went from mid-50’s to the ‘teens in one night! Ugh, I should be in Hawaii!
-The amount of water I’ve been drinking lately! Water and hot tea, repeat!
-Finally catching up on some of my reviews that I’ve let lag since the wedding! It feels good to get some of my writing out (because mostly I feel like it’s stuck inside of me)!
-My brother got me a Chocolate Frog for Christmas. The nerd in me (just kidding, it’s ALL OF ME) was superbly enamoured with the wizard card inside! I got Severus Snape!
-Fun new games on my phone… Trivia Crack. Seriously, if you’re not playing it, you need to download it already and get addicted!
-Audio books. Don’t know that I’d survive my daily drive without them.
Across a Star-Swept Sea is the sequel to Diana Peterfreund‘s For Darkness Shows the Stars (review here). This novel starts on the opposite shore from where we left Elliot and Kai.
The island of Galatea is under turmoil, as the revolutionaries give the Reduction drug (which inhibits brain function) to any remaining innocent aristocrats. The innocent’s only hope for rescue is The Wild Poppy, a mysterious spy who has save numerous aristocrats from being given the Reduction drug. The Wild Poppy is really Persis Blake, a young woman whose cover as a spoiled and frivolous socialite is working very well to keep her identity a secret. On a rogue mission gone wrong, Persis finds herself saved by Justen Helo who is looking for safety far from Galatea.
Once back on the neighboring island of Albion (Persis’ home), Justen reveals he is a runaway from his home. Can Persis help protect Justen without revealing her secret identity?
This Scarlet Pimpernel-inspired adventure is full of action, humor, and wit. Double identities always prove to be fun reads! I enjoyed the mystery abound in Peterfreund’s latest novel about a dystopian Earth.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is my second foray into the writing of Holly Black. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with White Cat, her novel about magicians, but The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was an entirely different story and type of writing.
Once upon a time, vampires were hidden from mortals… that time is not now. For as long as Tana has been alive, Coldtown has been broadcasting the parties of infamous Caspar, the vampire who started it all. So when Tana wakes up at a high school party and everyone is lying dead on the ground, she’s shocked, but not TOO shocked. Vampires abound in the world, it just makes sense that her classmates might be sucked dry someday. The only other person alive in the house is Aidan, her ex-boyfriend, who has been bitten and tied to a bed. Next to Aidan’s bed a vampire is chained up. With the vampires in the basement waking up as the sun goes down, Tana makes a rash decision and saves both Gavriel and Aidan, but not before she gets nicked on the ankle by a vampire’s tooth.
Afraid that she will turn Cold and be tempted by human blood to turn into a vampire, Tana goes to Coldtown to lock herself up until she has safely gotten through the Cold stage. What Tana doesn’t expect is for her younger sister to show up unexpectedly in Coldtown. She also didn’t anticipate Gavriel’s uncontrollable desire to murder Caspar, Coldtown’s most famous resident. Things quickly run amok in the town full of vampires and those begging to become vampires.
I’m not usually one for vampire novels (re: Twilight… no, no), but there is something intriguing about the paranormal and their lack of rules. I love the fantasy genre just because it’s so unpredictable. Every time I thought I had this novel figured out, something else completely random and shocking occurred. GREAT read. Can’t wait for the sequel (please tell me there will be a sequel)!