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Entries from Jan 2012

favorite books of 2011

28 Jan 2012 · 1 Comment

A dozen, in alphabetical order by author:

Lou Beach: 420 Characters
Gail Carriger: Soulless
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Lisa Goldstein: Dark Cities Underground (also Walking the Labyrinth)
Alexander Jablokov: Brain Thief
Jeff Kass: Knuckleheads
Janna Levin : How the Universe Got Its Spots
Sara Levine: Treasure Island!!!
Barry Lyga : The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and [...]

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Tags: 2011 · lists

Rick Riordan: The Lightning Thief

24 Jan 2012 · No Comments

It took a while for The Lightning Thief to win me over. For much of its length, it felt too nakedly calculated to appeal to Harry Potter fans (with the interesting, but hardly unique, added dimension of a basis in Greek mythology). The character dynamic between Percy Jackson and his pals seemed a bit too [...]

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Tags: children's · fantasy · l-title · r-author

Eva Ibbotson: The Secret of Platform 13

19 Jan 2012 · No Comments

This past Christmas afforded me the happy opportunity of researching what-next-after-Potter? books for a young relation, and of course I’m reading a bunch myself. This book shares the plot detail of a mysterious train platform leading to another world*, but what it reminded me of most was Roald Dahl, perhaps because cute, quirky, and creepy [...]

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Tags: children's · fantasy · i-author · s-title

John Warner: The Funny Man

16 Jan 2012 · No Comments

There’s a lot of craft I admire in The Funny Man. Initially, chapters alternate between the titular character’s first-person narration of his manslaughter trial in the present, and third-person narration of the funny man’s career arc. (For a while I was mildly irritated by the funny man’s namelessness, but it’s eventually justified; the novel is [...]

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Tags: f-title · satire · w-author

Tanith Lee: Wolf Tower

12 Jan 2012 · No Comments

This young adult novel, told in the protagonist’s diary entries, mostly detailing a flight across a hostile land in the company of a handsome prince, offers many opportunities for Lee to play with and subvert assorted fairy tale conventions. This ranges from minor details — female characters who are overweight, old, and/or bald are described [...]

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Tags: fantasy · l-author · w-title · young adult

Stephen M. Irwin: The Dead Path

08 Jan 2012 · No Comments

I can’t say The Dead Path didn’t get its hooks into me: I finished the final hundred pages at a single sitting, anxious for one of its characters, in particular, to escape the morass. There are some clever aspects to how it works an old religion into a modern tale; Irwin’ prose is reliably serviceable [...]

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Tags: d-title · fantasy · horror · i-author

Patricia C. Wrede: Dealing with Dragons

02 Jan 2012 · No Comments

Dealing with Dragons shares several traits with the fantasies of Dianna Wynne Jones. It assumes familiarity with fairytale conventions and tropes, and reworks and subverts them, with a particular focus on excising sexism and adding subtle metatextual humor. Princess Cimorene is the sort of strong, quick-witted, and self-reliant protagonist who could easily be at home [...]

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Tags: d-title · fantasy · w-author · young adult