Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

After their mother and father die, Prosper and Bo find themselves in the not-so-nice care of their Aunt. Prosper plans an escape and he and Bo set off to Venice, their mother's favorite place in the whole world. Once there they find a home among a gang of thieves - or really, orphans who have a clever young master who steals fancy and expensive objects under the cover of a bird's mask. Then these items are sold, and the children use the money to provide food and clothes for themselves. Prosper and Bo immediately find a home among these young thieves. Then one day the group's most faithful buyer, Barbossa, tells the Thief Lord of someone who needs a talented thief to steal something for him - in exchange for a lot of money. The thief, Scipio, and his daring troupers are up for the dangerous task, as well as the mystery that is behind the wooden angel's wing they are about to steal.

This book fascinated me - it's a very original idea, with lots of great characters, adventures, schemes, and lessons to be learned. It is magical. It has depth. I fell for the characters quickly.

Cornelia Funke has always inspired me. From The Princess Knight, one of her picture books, to her Ink-trilogy (I'm actually reading Inkheart for the third time right now!), she has always written wonderful stories that can relate to all ages. I recommend this book heartily. Whether you are a six-year-old boy wanting a thrilling adventure or a sixty-year-old woman wanting to relive the adventures that come with being a child, this book will sweep you up and always be faithful to give you a good adventure.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Inkheart, Quotes

So saying, he picked up one of the torches from Elinor's deck chair. He sipped from the bottle with the moonlight in it and spat something whitish out into the big vase. Then he dipped the torch he was holding into the bucket, took it out again, and held its dripping head of wadding to one of its burning sisters. The fire flared up so suddenly it made Meggie jump. However, Dustfinger put the second bottle to his lips, filling his mouth until his scarred cheeks were bulging. Then he took a deep, deep breath, arched his body like a bow, and spat whatever was in his mouth out into the air above the burning torch.
A fireball hung over Elinor's lawn, a bright, blazing globe of fire. It ate away at the darkness like a living thing. And it was so big, Meggie felt sure everything around it would go up in flames: the grass, the deck chair, and Dustfinger himself. But he just spun around and around on the spot, exuberant as a dancing child, breathing out more fire. He made the fire climb high in the air, as if to set the stars alight. Then he lit a second torch and ran its flame over his bare arms. He looked as happy as a child playing wiht a pet animal. The fire licked his skin like something living, a darting burning creature that he had befriended, a creature that caressed him and danced for him and drove the night away.

- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Pgs 66-67

This is why Dustfinger is my favorite. Ever.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sylvie and the Songman by Tim Binding

All is not well in London, England. Sylvie has noticed that the birds refuse to whistle, and her own dog, Mr. Jackson, apparently has lost his bark. The fox she always sees from the train isn't on his platform, watching her pass. Her father, Daniel, a creative musician who builds and plays his own insturments, has just discovered an entirely new note. Shortly afterward, he disappears, leaving only an eye drawn on the bathroom mirror with toothpaste to give Sylvie a clue to work with. Sylvie and her friend George must find Daniel and figure out why the world has stopped singing - and all the while running from the evil Woodpecker Man and his master.

Buying this book was a gamble: I hadn't heard anything about it, but it looked too good to pass up. (I don't normally just buy books because nowadays, unless I've read them from the library and just have to have them on my shelf.) Sylvie and the Songman definitely could have gone either way, but I was willing to take the chance.

It was amazing. I read it once last December, and I just finished it for the second time. What a ride! It's full of mystery, interesting (and sometimes scary) characters, and a fascinating battle between good and evil. The Songman is a psychological and puzzling man, worthy of note. His helper (one of those wicked characters who, even though he works for someone, isn't actually bound to that person) is the Woodpecker Man, a frightful character who flies in a balloon pulled by swans, surrounded by green woodpeckers. Then there's Rabbit-tooth and the Knitting woman. Daniel and Sylvie and George themselves are masterpieces. Daniel is still saddened by the loss of his wife, but loves Sylvie and wants her to be happy. Sylvie and George make quite a duo: Sylvie is quiet and curious, while George is proud and ambitious. They work well together and emit a wonderful sense of loyalty throughout the book.

Tim Binding is a very talented writer. His style forms this story into what it is - a beautiful piece of prose, a wonderful work of the English language. And I can tell you now... You'll never see woodpeckers the same again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter has been a wizard all his life and has never known. His Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia always did, but they never told him; instead, they kept him in his cupboard (a.k.a. his bedroom) and treated him differently - much differently - than his cousin Dudley, who was spoiled beyond comparison. On Harry's 11th birthday, however, Harry receives a visit from, well, a giant. Named Hagrid. It is then that Harry learns of his past - and what his future could be. After dealing with Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, Hagrid whisks Harry off to Hogwarts and a new life of friends, magic, flying and...and evil sorceror who is trying to knock Harry off his broomstick - literally.

I'm a first time Harry Potter reader. I've heard so many different opinions that when I started reading The Sorceror's Stone I was really excited to form my own opinion about the series. So far, I have to say that I'm impressed. I was expecting a bit of an "older" read, but I guess that is yet to come. As Harry grows older and progresses in wizardry, so do we. I like that. I'm very much looking foward to seeing that change in the story/characters in the coming books.

While J. K. Rowling has a very strong original writing style, there was one thing that bothered me every time I saw it. She has a slight case of the "run-ons". I hate run-ons. They seem so easy to find and simple to fix - and yet there are so many of them in literature today. However, I can't say that the few grammatical errors I found in The Sorceror's Stone ruined the book for me. It was much too good for that.

In one word, I think - and a few weeks ago I never thought I'd say this about a Harry Potter book - I would described The Sorceror's Stone as lighthearted. It was very funny and J. K. Rowling has a quite a bit of sarcasm under her belt. I laughed out loud multiple times. Fred and George Weasley were always making me laugh, from their smart mouths to them always getting in trouble. The Sorceror's Stone was a very good start to a series that I hope will get better and better as I continue to read.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Incarceron, Quotes

Walls have ears; doors have eyes
Trees have voices; beasts tell lies
Beware the rain; beware the snow
Beware the man you think you know.

- Songs of Sapphique

Page 158 of Incarceron