Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Few Quick Reviews

Delirium's Party: A Little Endless Storybook (Little Endless Storybook II)Delirium's Party: A Little Endless Storybook by Jill Thompson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another fun "kids" book about Neil Gaiman's 'Endless' by author/illustrator Jill Thompson. I thoroughly enjoyed it! The illustrations are magical and very creative and the story is quite cute. If you like Gaiman's 'Sandman' series, I definitely recommend this as a fun way of viewing that world!

The Little Endless StorybookThe Little Endless Storybook by Jill Thompson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it! A great different view of Neil Gaiman's Endless. Very creative! Wonderful illustrations! And the Little Endless are simply adorable! A must for any fan of Gaiman's Sandman series!

The Giver (The Giver, #1)The Giver by Lois Lowry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Along the same lines as 1984 and Brave New World, this book doesn't have quite the depth or power as those or other dystopian novels I've read. But since it's a 'middle readers' book, I wouldn't expect that, anyway. For a young teen of a tweener, this is probably a great intro to the concept of a dystopia. The story is well told, with the author gradually letting us see the darker side of the community, so it slowly dawns on the reader what is going on. This helped the story progress quite well.

Young readers will no doubt identify with the protagonist, Jonas, and will find many of his feelings familiar. I think the 'normal' nature of Jonas helps to contrast with the very not normal (to us) world in which he lives.

Our book club had a lively discussion about many of the themes, ideas and scenes, including a good debate over the meaning of the ending.

For an adult, this is a fast read, but certainly of interest to anyone who enjoys dystopian literature. And if your child is assigned it in school, I encourage you to read it so you can discuss it.

The Books of MagicThe Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't even know this book existed until I saw it on the shelf at my local comic book shop. Having fallen in love with Gaiman's writing and devouring everything of his I could find, it was quite surprising to see it there!

Alas, this book didn't seem to me to quite live up to his usual brilliance. It may be that many of the characters were from other comic books and I wasn't familiar with them, so I didn't get the depth some who was familiar with them might have.

Don't get me wrong, it was still chock-full of amazing creativity. It just didn't quite resonate with me as many of his other books have. Perhaps a younger reader who can identify with the protagonist might enjoy it more.

Basically, it's the story of a young boy's introduction to the world of magic - but don't think Harry Potter! This magic is dark, twisted and dangerous. Www journey to many different 'realms', seeing a different aspect of magic and its possible consequences. It's very original and creative, for sure. It just didn't knock my socks off like Gaiman's other work.

Last RitualsLast Rituals by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by a friend from Iceland. It takes place there and is written by an Icelander. The book is a murder mystery, introducing us to Thora Gudmundsdottir, an attorney who is reluctantly brought into the investigation.

Having been to Iceland I especially enjoyed the descriptions of places they went, but I think anyone who likes reading about other countries would enjoy it as much.

The mystery is pretty good and it involves a bit of witchcraft/pagan rituals as clues (hence the title). I didn't find it scary or really very suspenseful, but the way the clues were unraveled kept it quite interesting. And we also learn a bit about Thora's personal life, and as this is the first in a series, I'm sure there will be more revealed in future books.

One thing that I thought was poorly done was the 'romantic' banter and developing relationship between Thora and the male investigator. This may have been due to the translation or perhaps due to cultural differences. But I found it very cardboard-y and it stood out from the rest of the scenes as a glaring weakness. However, I liked the book enough that I plan to read the sequel and we shall see if this improves.