Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
2011, Harlequin TEEN

Synopsis: To cold faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase - a half human, half fey slip of a girl - smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the unwelcome company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end - a quest to find a way to honor his vow to stand by Meghan's side.

To survive in the Iron Realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. And along the way Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The Good: Ash in the forefront. Ash and Puck, traveling together. Ash and Puck dealing with their shared past and current situation with Meghan being a distant character, unable to get involved in the boys issues. I loved the trek, the challenges Ash had to face, everything that lead back to Meghan. Everything, except . . .

The Bad: There is a significant problem with the resolution Ash's major issue in this book. He wants a soul. He must earn a soul, as he is fey and they don't have souls. Souls are a purely human thing. The fey DO NOT have souls. Therefore, Kagawa's plan on how Ash obtains a soul is impossible. Without giving anything away, all I can say is it does not work. You can't say fey's don't have souls of there own and then go the route the author went here. I don't know, maybe she didn't realize went against everything she had previously stated. Or maybe she meant for some exception to that rule. Either way, it kills the power behind stating that souls are not something the fey possess. You can't have it both ways and it absolutely ruined a perfect book for me.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
1999, William Morrow Paperbacks

Synopsis: Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

The Good: I haven't enjoyed Gaiman's books as of late. I've enjoyed a few, but on the whole, I tend to hate his stories. I went into Stardust with nothing short of dread in my heart. I dragged my feet the whole way into this book, pushing it off time and again. Turns out, I didn't hate it. It's a fun, lightly written, fairy tale full of dark things. Decent characters and an easy to follow plot made the book very readable and not worthy of the near insurmountable hesitation on my part.

The Bad: Who does Gaiman write these books for? Books like Stardust and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I mean. They're obviously children's stories, with their basic vocabulary and fairy tale/fable/moral story vibe. They're even presented as such, with big fonts and widely spaced letters. Except the situations faced soon turn darker than your average third graders taste. They're clearly written for adults, but adults with limited vocabularies and bad vision? It bugged me the entire time I read Stardust.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
1999, Penguin Books


Synopsis: Meet Bridget Jones—a 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:
a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise

"123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)..."

Bridget Jones' Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.

Over the course of the year, Bridget loses a total of 72 pounds but gains a total of 74. She remains, however, optimistic. Through it all, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter, and — like millions of readers the world round — you'll find yourself shouting, "Bridget Jones is me!"

The Good: Bridget Jones, as a person, was awkward - well before awkward was something people celebrated in TV shows and internet memes. It was humorous at times.

The Bad: It is really, really hard to feel Bridget's pain when her pain revolves around being 120ish pounds and the size of her couldn't-possibly-be-all-that-large thighs. Her issues do eventually move past these trivial things and turn to focus on her love life, which is just plain sad. Completely textbook choices of the whiny girl in her twenties. The fact that it was playing out in her 30s, when she should clearly know better, is more pathetic than anything else. Bridget's issues are all in her own mind and of her own doing. At least the movie managed to make it seem charming more often than not.