Opinion: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Cover via Goodreads

Nicole’s Rating: ★★

I’m introducing a new category to this blog, which is probably already overcategorized. Sometimes I don’t have the thought power to write an in-depth analysis (i.e., supported by textual references), so here’s a non-text-supported opinion.

In Short

Twelve enchanted princesses slip off to dance every third night, but no one knows why or how. To save them and their kingdom from a dark fae-king, a young man breaks their spell using cleverness and some magical items. There is a happy ending.

Thoughts

It was okay. I didn’t expect there to be much characterization (there wasn’t) and the plot felt unbalanced. It takes half the book to get to solving the actual mystery of the princesses’ disappearances, and then things wrap up rather neatly in the last 50 pages. Overall, it’s a solid book for its genre, but it doesn’t do anything too groundbreaking. The book also contains some knitting patterns, which is cool since knitting is important to the plot.

Recs

If you like this, you might enjoy Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

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Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer ed. Robert Swartwood

Cover via Goodreads

Nicole’s Rating: ★★★★★

Introducing the first book on this blog to get a 5/5 from me (very rare, btw–I’m difficult to please :p).

I got this book from the library on a whim since I have a short attention span, and I figured Hey, why not, 25 words or fewer? Shootz. On the same day I brought it home, I read it in an hour. The entire time, I was cringing, making sad faces, laughing, and penning emoticons in the margins. It was humbling and awing to see how much the authors managed to convey in so few words. Here’s my one-word review: fantastic. Continue reading

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Ever by Gail Carson Levine

Corinne’s Rating: ★ 

Cover from Goodreads

Cover from Goodreads

In a Nutshell

Boy meets girl and, in the most fundamental of YA fiction equations, love ensues. So, what made me want to pick up the book? Boy is actually a boy-god, and girl is promised to be a sacrifice to another all-powerful god. What’s a young wind god to do? Well…be god-like, of course.

The Couple Profile

  • Kezi: 15 years old, dark hair, loves to weave carpets, loves to dance, only child, lives outside the city of Hyte, KNOWS that Admat is the only god in the world, has a crush on Elon, well-rounded until last part of book, bit of a push-over

Quote that Corinne enjoyed: “Adders are supposed to have lips like people, and their mouths are supposed to close like a grin. Instead of ostriches, my next carpet will be of smiling adders, doing a zigzag dance.”

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Microreview: “The Elephant Vanishes” by Haruki Murakami

Elephant Close-up (Public Domain Image)

Nicole’s Rating: ★★★★★

Not to be confused with the short story collection The Elephant Vanishes—this is a review of the short story itself.

5 Second Version

A man encounters the inexplicable and is forever haunted by the way it changes his perception.

2 Minute Version

A small town welcomes an elephant into its midst, only to be surprised when the elephant and its keeper vanish some months later. The narrator is the last person to have seen the elephant before its disappearance, at which point he witnesses something odd. He calls it an imbalance of size—that is, the elephant seems to have shrunk while the keeper seems to have grown. The visual image is so overwhelming that the narrator says “‘ [. . .] to be honest, it’s practically impossible for me to go beyond it.'”

Thoughts

Murakami never explains why the elephant disappeared or how it managed to vanish without a footprint left behind. I was strangely okay with the lack of resolution in that department. I like this story because the narrator changes in a way that stays with me, even if I don’t completely understand it. “Some kind of balance inside me has broken down since the elephant affair,” the narrator writes, “and maybe that causes external phenomena to strike my eye in a strange way. It’s probably something in me.”

In a sense, the story’s surrealism gets it close to real life. “Elephant Vanishes” asks the reader to consider what it would take to completely upend someone’s view of reality. The answer, it seems, is not much at all—which is still much more than I’d like to believe.

Where to Find It

The Elephant Vanishes: Stories by Haruki Murakami

Art of the Story edited by Daniel Halpern

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The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

9780356500102

Image from Orbitbooks.net

Corinne’s Rating: ★ ★ 

The 50¢ Tour

If you’re looking for a spunky, fun fantasy read, then The Spirit Thief would be a great selection. This is the first novel in The Legend of Eli Monpress series by Rachael Aaron. Unlike many novels, Aaron does a kudos-worthy job at getting the reader into the action from the get-go. This is an entertaining, fast-moving novel that takes an interesting view on magic. If you are looking for romance, then I would recommend looking elsewhere. Aaron’s novel is a witty read with action, believable female characters, and an original look at the supernatural.

I’ll start with what I think worked:

The First Line Test—PASSED!

“In the prison under the castle Allaze, in the dark, moldy cells where the greatest criminals in Mellinor spent the remainder of the lives counting rocks to stave off madness, Eli Monpress was trying to wake up a door.”

Not only does the first line create interest, but in already tells us quite a bit about the story and the character Eli Monpress. Where are we?—A prison cell under a castle in Mellinor. Who is Eli Monpress?—A person who did something to land himself in jail, and may be slightly mental (waking up a door?). Why is this interesting?—Again, he’s trying to wake up a door. From here on out we are thrown into a world where magic isn’t quite how we’ve come to understand it.

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The Sword by Bryan Litfin

Cover from Amazon.com

Reviewed by Leesha

First Look
Bryan Litfin’s first novel in the Chiveis Trilogy reveals a land of the far distant future rebuilt after a devastating disease destroyed most of the world’s population. In the territory of Chiveis, the world is ruled by a triad of gods overseen by the sky god Astrebril. That is until a new God, an ancient God, comes to Chiveis from the Beyond. The Sword tells of the finding of an ancient sacred book called the Bible and the man and woman, Teofil and Anastasia, responsible for bringing it to Chiveis.

Opinionses, Precious
As Litfin’s first work of fiction, The Sword presents an engaging concept and premise. It manages to keep the reader flipping pages despite its weaknesses. Unfortunately, it is driven by characters who often seem to lack the depth given to Litfin’s imagined future.

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Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick Riordan

Son of Neptune

Cover via Goodreads

Nicole’s Rating: ★★★★

How I Would Explain This Book to Someone Outside the Percy Jackson Fandom

Three teens descended from Greek/Roman gods—Percy, Hazel, and Frank—go on a quest to free the death god Thanatos from his prison in Alaska, a land beyond the gods. The main quest zips through San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and the Alaskan version of quicksand; expect giants to be destroyed and some weird (but fun) relationships to form. Along the way, the questers unravel more of the Prophecy of Seven, which foretells gods and demigods uniting to defeat Gaea, the evil Earth Mother. The moral of the story is that Gaea still has contingency plans.

In Short

This is definitely a sequel that doesn’t suck.

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