Saturday, December 17, 2011

Michael Bedard and Nancy Farmer

I've been rather busy with the onset of Christmas in less than 10 days, and so have not been able to read as much as I would like. I did finally finish these two books tonight, which is excellent given that I finally got my copy of Wonderstruck, Brian Selznick's new book, from the library. Ooh and I was given my mother's Kindle so I've been downloading free books like crazy onto it! I think I managed to get nearly all of L. Frank Baum's Oz books, as well as many other fantasy/steampunk titles, and I saved some of the classics that were left on there from when my mom had it. After seeing the new Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows film that was released yesterday in the theaters, I am interested again in reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's series. 

Young Adult
The Green Man by Michael Bedard
This was an ARC from Netgalley.
I did not know much about the Green Man mythology, although I had seen his image before in art. However, the story sounded interesting, so I figured I would give it a try. The book did not disappoint. It had a very intriguing storyline that grabbed my interest early on and did not let it go until the book's conclusion.

The story is about O, a teenage girl who goes to spend the summer with her reclusive Aunt Emily. Her aunt is a poet who owns the Green Man bookstore, which has seen better days. It is through O's presence that the story is revitalized and to an extent her aunt as well. However, a dark figure haunts Emily in a re-occuring dream and seems to spell out danger for the both of them. Who is the mysterious new boy who has come to town? Does he mean them harm or good?

I liked that the store was occupied by dead poets and the author's use of poetry throughout the book to better describe situations. While this wasn't a scary book, there was a touch of horror in it, just enough to make it interesting. Recommended for ages 10+, 4 stars.

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Ok I must admit that I read this book because I had seen it before in the library and also because it was a 3-time award winner. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that it will be good, as the Caldecott-winning book "The Hello,Goodbye Window" can attest to. Anyways, I enjoyed the story although I will say that I think they should've ended it after the funeral. I also am very glad that they had a family tree and introduction to the characters in the front of the book because there are so many early on, it is hard to keep track of everyone.

Matt lives in a small shack with Celia, a cook at the Alacran's main house. He lives a simple life and is content. That is until one day, he discovers some children playing outside his house and his world is turned upside down. He learns that he is a clone of El Patron, the 140+ yr old drug warlord of Opium, a small empire in Aztlan (formerly known as Mexico). The Alacran family members and all of the staff shun him once his existence is known. El Patron gives him a bodyguard named Tam Lin, who eventually becomes his family figure. What will happen to Matt? Will he survive past 14, an age when most clones die? What will happen to the Alacran family? Will they ever be punished for their evil ways? Recommended for ages 12+, 3 1/2 stars.

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