Monday, July 18, 2011

A Fantasy

I have just freshly finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Liani Taylor. My struggles and (small) triumphs with reading teen fiction have been documented elsewhere on this blog, and I am therefore pleased to report that I have now read another teen novel and really enjoyed it!

I browsed through a few online reviews for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and it has a very intense "best-book-EVAH" following. I wouldn't go that far, but I enjoyed it immensely. And far more than I had expected to, which was a nice bonus. It's a fantasy novel about unearthly creatures, magic, wars in other worlds and a 17 year old girl with blue hair trying to figure out who she is and what her place is in the aforementioned tangle. I loved the worlds that Taylor has created; setting the book in Prague means that even the "Earth" bits are magically escapist, dreamy and quaint.

I felt there was a certain amount of sophistication lacking in the peace/war analogies, but I think that's more a product of the book having been written for teenagers than a lack of ability on the author's part. It didn't stop me from enjoying the book, it was just something I happened to notice. All up, I would give it five stars as a teen book and three and three quarters as a grown up book.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Night Has Fallen

Last week I finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and wandered around in a daze. The best way i can describe how I felt was that it was a bit like entering the real world after having had a massage; you feel giddy, and warm and fuzzy. The light seems brighter and everything looks clearer.

I hate it when people say they don't want to tell you too much about the book or they'll ruin it... but I don't want to tell you too much about the book or I'll ruin it! I've mulled over this problem for a few days because it seems like a cop-out. So the conclusion I've drawn is that the plot is not the reason it is such a good book - the reason is really in how Morgenstern makes everything come alive for the reader, and that isn't something you can describe easily in a quick conversation. However, the plot is quite unusual so it is tempting to latch on that when trying to explain to someone why the book was so amazing.

So I won't describe the plot here, I will only say that a wonderful, whimsical, richly imaginative world was created by Morgenstern and I was enthralled by it. I enjoyed reading The Night Circus so much that I forgot to bring a critical eye to the experience; I just got wrapped up in the story which is really what it should be all about, all the time.