Monday, August 2, 2010

Shannon Hale, Jeanne Du Prau, Mary Hoffman, and Eoin Colfer

Recently I've managed to find a string of really well done children and teen books. I decided to go and get some books I've been meaning to read for awhile but haven't had the opportunity to read and ended up with these three authors. Hale, Hoffman, and Colfer: I'm in love with their writing, and Du Prau's first novel I liked, though the jury is still out on the second. So here's the list, along with some reviews from me and descriptions from the authors.

Shannon Hale
Rapunzel's Revenge
Calamity Jack
The Goose Girl:
I'm sure that I have at some point read the story of The Goose Girl, as I am a huge Grimm Brother's and fairy tale fan, but I didn't remember it. I had loved Shannon Hale's books "Rapunzel's Revenge" and "Calamity Jack," and so figured I should give this book a try. I absolutely loved it. The story kept me enthralled from beginning to end, though I think she dragged the storyline a bit in the middle with all the "hunting the princess in the castle" part. The story is about Ani, an unsure and not confident princess who is being forced into an arranged marriage with a far-away prince she's never met. On the way there, her lady in waiting Celia plots with a mercenary and some of the palace guards to take Ani's place and be the princess. Ani escapes their clutches and eventually ends up as the far-away king's goose girl, and spends the rest of the story trying to regain her title. I liked that she could speak with the birds and the wind. The whole dead horse head on the wall was kind of creepy, but I understand the significance. I also liked how she treated young awkward boys who can't express themselves properly like Finn and Garrick (I find it endearing). I must say that I really wanted Ani to succeed and become princess again, if only to get rid of Celia and Ungalad.

I liked The Goose Girl so much, that I am planning on reading the entire series of four books. The next book in the series is Enna Burning, featuring several of the characters from the first book, followed by River Secrets, and Forest Born.

Jeanne Du Prau
The City of Ember:
The premise of the book is very interesting, even to a friend of mine who doesn't read YA books. Basically the world is ending and so a group of people call the Builders create an underground city called Ember and equip it for about 200-220 yrs, after which time they have left instructions for how to leave the city and come back to the real world. Only the instructions get lost and it's now between 220-250 yrs later. A girl named Lina finds them and tries to decipher (because her little sister chewed most of it up) what they mean with the help of a boy named Doon. The story totally drew me into it from the beginning and kept me there until I finished the book a day later.

Mary Hoffman
Another fantastic book from Mary Hoffman. I've been putting off reading this book for awhile, as I finished up Hoffman's Stravaganza series. I'm glad I finally did read it. It was a well-researched and well-done historical fiction set in 13th century southern France during the time of the Albigensian Crusade, or the Catholic Church's war against the Cathars, called the Believers in the book. They were seen as heretics by the church. The Pope authorized a crusade initially against the Cathars, but it later stretched into towns were in the way of what the Pope's army wanted, heretic or not. The heroine of the story is Elinor, a nobleman's daughter who runs away from her family, and becomes a joglar (male minstrel) after they try to force her into marrying a much older man. It is her struggling to survive around the war, and how she does this, that forms the basis of the story.

Eoin Colfer: His writing keeps getting better and better with every Artemis Fowl book I read, so I can't wait for #7!

Artemis Fowl #5: The Lost Colony

Artemis Fowl #6: The Time Paradox
Will have to rate this one as my favorite so far, even though all the time jumping was a tad confusing. In this book, Artemis must go back in time and battle his 10 yr old self in order to cure his mother from a deadly disease. The ending did leave you hanging and I am very curious to see what happens in Colfer's 7th book "The Atlantis Complex".

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