Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book Reviews

The Road of Bones by Anne Fine

Hmmm.... how to describe this book? An epic tale of growth and loss as Yuri travels from boy to man in a post-revolutionary sort-of-Stalinist kinda-Russia.

This book is dark. Very dark. It explores the results of totalitarianism. How people who are tortured become those who torture. It reminded me very much of George Orwell's 1985. Not futuristic, but frightening. When anything you say can be misconstrued as treasonous, eventually you learn not to say anything at all.

This book is depressing. But I love depressing books.
You know how Dandelion Wine makes you feel warm and hopeful? The Road of Bones is the opposite: it makes you feel cold and dismal. I would say anyone who loves post-apocalyptic or modern-day parable or studies governmental change would like this book. Plus the cover is RAD.

The Ghost's Child
by Sonya Hartnett

This novel is a beautifully written fable that tells the story of Matilda and her true love, Feather. Set in Australia, The Ghost's Child features Hartnett's astounding prose (which is actually even BETTER in Surrender, reviewed below).

Matilda's tale, related one evening to a young visitor in her parlor, is fascinating and lyrical.

It is fantastic to read an original fable and to enjoy so much the absolutely beautiful prose with which it is presented. I highly recommend The Ghost's Child to anyone who loves fairy tales and/or great writing.

Lifted by Wendy Toliver

Poppy is a girl at a new Christian school in Texas. She wants to fit in socially as well as with her demanding mother. Poppy finds herself shop-lifting with her new girlfriends and becomes hooked.

 I like the themes and the idea that a character's bad behavior might make the reader contemplate what makes a person "bad".

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

Madison Stanton wakes up in a void, surrounded by objects she lost in life. It doesn't take long to realize she's dead. Madison uses the objects to revisit scenes in her life. She can inhabit her body during the scene, or watch from a distance. Through a series of flashbacks, the reader builds a picture of Madison's life, and how it led to her death.

The concept is intriguing.

Surrender by Sonya Hartnett

Surrender is the story of Gabriel and his best friend, the feral child Finnigan. There is also a dog named Surrender. This book also contains: abusive parents, a series of fires, descriptions of a small Australian town and a tragic secret. I don't want to say much more than that.

This is a book I in which I would highlight passages and make notes. Sonya Hartnett is a VERY skilled writer. Her prose is magical, full of imagery and astonishing metaphor. An example:

"My ribcage is the hull of a wrecked and submerged ship. My arms, thin as adders, are leaden as dropped boughs. The mattress, my closest friend, has been carved by the knots of my unfleshed bones into a landscape of dents. The soul might rise, but the body pulls down, accepting the inevitable, returning to where it began."

Uh. Wow. The entire book is replete with language just as beautiful and compelling. Read it.

Content warning: violence, disturbing imagery

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