19 September 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (13)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine which asks what book we're most looking forward to.

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
Publication date: April 2013
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world). Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth. As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds -- through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses...

I love her Ashbury High books, so I'm really looking forward to this one!

What are you waiting for?

17 September 2012

Review: The Brides of Rollrock Island

Publication date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
This book was provided to me by Knopf/Random House for review.
On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings—and to catch their wives. The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.

This. Book. Is. Gorgeous. Seriously, guys. I don't want to insult other YA books because it's not my intention, but The Brides of Rollrock Island is purely literary and extremely thematic. It can be a difficult read; I admit to struggling at times with the language and prose and having to reread passages again just to make sure I understood it. This isn't a book one speeds through because you'll want to take your time and experience everything.

Lanagan takes folklore of the selkies and writes a new legend with this book. I have never read anything like it. The story is told through the voices of a chosen few who live on Rollrock Island. Each and every one of the characters is so distinct and they all have faults; you'll find no Mary Sue inside. I love that sometimes while reading, I'd feel sympathetic for a character and then on the next page I'd do a one-eighty and think "nevermind, you're a jerk and I hate you and I don't feel sorry for you and you make horrible choices and did I mention you're a jerk?" And then later I'd do another one-eighty and think "I am so sorry I called you a jerk and I guess I can forgive you for what you did as long as you don't do it again and I hope you learned your lesson." There are some non-sympathetic characters in this, yo.

The difficulty of the language and the themes of the story could be a hindrance and go over some heads. I say could be, because it really all depends on the reader.

And a warning for those who care, there are quite a few sexual situations, but it's not the gratuitous kind and I, personally, feel it fits with the storytelling.

06 September 2012

Review: Brightly Woven

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Publication date: March 23, 2010
Publisher: Egmont
The day the rains came was like any other, blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness....Just as the rains come after ten long, dry years, a young wizard, Wayland North, appears, to whisk Sydelle Mirabil away from her desert village. North needs an assistant, and Sydelle is eager to see the country - and to join him on his quest to stop the war that surely will destroy her home. But North has secrets - about himself, about why he chose Sydelle, about his real reasons for the journey. What does he want from her? And why does North's sworn enemy seem fascinated by Sydelle himself? Through a journey that spans a country, magic and hard-won romance are woven together with precision and brilliant design by a first-time novelist.

How cute is Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken? MEGA-cute. And so much fun! I picked it up after reading an ARC of The Darkest Minds, also by Bracken. I loved The Darkest Minds (review to come closer to release date) and had to pick up her previous work. I'm so glad I did!

I found the author's writing to be quite...convincing. Does that make sense? Hmm, let me explain: Bracken succeeded at poking my heart, making me grow feelings for the main characters, and having me become obsessed with Sydelle's and North's romantic developments. Sometimes it felt like I was reading a gossip magazine following Sydelle and North. Those two have so many ups and downs, yo. I NEEDED to know what was going to happen with them and when. Good job, Bracken. You got me invested (obsessed).

This is a romance. Or at least that's how it came across to me. Brightly Woven may be a fantasy book, but I wouldn't recommend it to all fantasy fans. If you love your fantasy with world building, this is not the book for you. I will admit, I found the lack of location description to be disappointing and I felt the book location hopped a lot. Sometimes I felt like I missed precious time between North and Sydelle while they were travelling:

North: "We need to get to "Blah blah" in two weeks. We're losing precious time!"
Sydelle: "Yay, we're here!"

Please excuse my poor, horribly made-up example. My point: what happened during those two weeks? I kind of want to know! I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel like the transitions could have been a bit smoother. But other than that, I really enjoyed the book. This is a fantastic recommend for fans of Shannon Hale. I also loved that the book is pretty clean and is a great option for those 10-11 year olds who want to read YA, but aren't quite ready yet.