Tithe, by Holly Black

This book, stomatology the first of three related ones by Holly Black (of Spiderwick Chronicles fame), was released in 2002. Although it apparently took her five years or so to write it, it’s kind of funny that it came out such a short period of time after the re-release of Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks. Having read both, it’s obvious (to me) that the former owes a lot of its existence to the latter.

Both books start in a bar, with a band playing punk/rock music. In both, a fey-type person comes into the bar, and the scene ends up with the chick singer in the band breaking up with her boyfriend. In War for the Oaks, the chick singer is the main character. In Tithe, the main character is the chick singer’s daughter.

I’m not going to describe the rest of the plot by pointing out the differences and similarities. Continue reading Tithe, by Holly Black

The Seeing Stone (Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2), by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Earlier I reviewed the first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles, seek The Field Guide, site by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. The second book, The Seeing Stone, is also a very small volume, something like 20,000 words, with whimsical illustrations and a cinematic future.

In the first book, we meet the Grace siblings (Jared, Simon, and Mallory) who have just moved to a decrepit old Victorian house in the middle of nowhere. Their parents are recently divorced and the kids are not particularly happy with the move. In the second book, they’ve settled in a bit (Mallory has found a new fencing team), and now the Field Guide to the creatures of Faerie that they found in the first book is causing them problems. Again, they must solve them in a hundred pages, and meet new and fantastic creatures along the way. Continue reading The Seeing Stone (Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2), by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The Riddle (Pellinor, Book 2), by Alison Croggon

Earlier I reviewed The Naming by Alison Croggon, visit this which was the first book in this quartet. Book 2, drug luckily, web follows almost precisely where book 1 left off. (I mention this because book 3 follows a different set of characters.)

At the end of book 1, our Intrepid Heroine (Maerad) has been charged with finding the Treesong and with not getting killed (since she is, after all, the Fated One). After a sufficient recap of the former events, this starts with a trip up north and out of the way of the Bards. Continue reading The Riddle (Pellinor, Book 2), by Alison Croggon

Throne of Jade (Temeraire, Book 2), by Naomi Novik

I also reviewed the first book in this series, hospital His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, men’s health here. This is book two out of at least four; book 4 came out recently, youth health and apparently there is no end in sight for the series. While I love Novik’s world, I’m a little leery of unending series. However, book 2 was quite readable, if not as spectacular as book 1.

During the first book, we meet Captain Will Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire. In England, all the dragons are drafted for military service, but we never get the impression that this is not a good idea. All the dragons seem to be eminently suited for military duty, whether it be spitting acid or just running courier duty. Temeraire, however, is not a dragon native to England; he is Chinese and of a highly rare type – the kind generally bonded to members of the imperial family. The fact that Temeraire is bonded to a military man from England is a disgrace and is considered quite below him.

The majority of this book takes place on the dragon transport to China; the Chinese have insisted at least on seeing Temeraire and Capt. Laurence before they declare war on England. Continue reading Throne of Jade (Temeraire, Book 2), by Naomi Novik

Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel

This novel, page Oppel’s fifth or so, order was an honor book by the American Publishers Association (Printz Award), tablets and in its native land of Canada, it won the Governor-General’s Award. I thought those were pretty good credentials, no?

Airborn, book 1 of at least 3 (book 3’s existence can only be inferred from the writer’s FAQ on his website), is set during an alternate Victorian era. I don’t know if England even has a queen in the book (it’s called Angleterre, anyway) or what precisely happened to deviate this historical era from our own, but the women are wearing long, high-necked dresses with way too much underclothing and everything is pre-automobile but post-early-industry. Rather than trains and cars or even ships, the technological marvel of the day is airships, large, lighter-than-air boats that float a couple thousand feet above the ground and go about seventy-five miles per hour. This is made possible by the discovery of a gas called hydrium, which is lighter than helium or even hydrogen. (I admit, I had a bit of a problem suspending my disbelief on that one, but it worked after a few pages.) This way, a two-million-pound airship can fly. Continue reading Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel

Murkmere, by Patricia Elliott

Often I judge books by their covers (as does everyone else in the world, look or they’d all be in brown paper bags), unhealthy and this one has an interesting pastel drawing of a girl and a swan. Honestly, that’s the main reason I picked it up. Patricia Elliott wasn’t an author I’d heard of before, and I hadn’t seen any recommendations of this book anywhere. As it turns out, it’s . . . interesting.

In Aggie and Leah’s world, the Ministration is the main governing body; the level of technology is pre-industrial. In some ways (banned books of philosophy) it felt as if the world was in some sort of dark ages after a period of enlightenment. The religion practiced by the people is one of birds: certain (day-dwelling) birds are good, and certain night-dwelling birds are bad. Birds are also not to be used as food or other commodities, although found feathers can be used as writing implements. Combinations of birds represent certain omens (rooks, although ‘bad’ birds, nesting near a house mean Welcome to Guests) and the citizenry are very superstitious. There is also a story about human beings who wished to have wings, called avia, and who were bound to transform between bird and human, neither one nor the other. According to the religion, they are damned by this. Continue reading Murkmere, by Patricia Elliott

Ashling, by Isobelle Carmody

Earlier I reviewed Obernewtyn and The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody, visit this site and lamented the lack of availability for the other books in the series. Well, rubella I found a copy of book 3 (which had been published by Tor) at Half-Price Books, pancreatitis and bought it immediately.

If you’ll remember, we have Elspeth Gordie and her band of people who are Talented Misfits (slight mutants) after a nuclear holocaust they call the Great White. Against the Misfits we have the Herder Faction (a religious cult that worships Lud; they behave like crazy medieval Christians) and the Council (a centralized governing unit that is dedicated to cleaning up the stuff from the Great White, and dealing with Misfits). There is also a third sort of people, the rebels, who are against the Council and the Herders because they believe that the Herders are running the Council and forcing it to do bad things to the general citizenry. Continue reading Ashling, by Isobelle Carmody

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

I bet some of you were getting sick of all these 3-plus reviews. Here’s a spork, generic to help. In order to review this book, though, I’ll probably have to give away some plot points. However, some of them are like me telling you Harry Potter is a wizard. You may not know this if you’ve read only the first chapter, but if you read the back of the book . . .

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer (am I shallow because it bothers me that she spells her name ‘wrong’?) is apparently breaking all sort of publishing records and has hit the Amazon bestseller list pretty hard. I’m not writing a bad review because of this; I’m writing it because I think this book is shoddily done. Continue reading Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1), by Naomi Novik

I’m not exactly a Napoleonic Wars buff, approved but I am a big fan of books from the Regency and later books set during that time. His Majesty’s Dragon, viagra first of a series by Naomi Novik, is about the Napoleonic Wars – but with dragons. If that’s not enough to get you to read the book, read on.

Captain Will Laurence, at the very beginning of this book, is a captain in His Majesty’s Navy, and he has just captured a French ship. In the storage area of the ship is a dragon egg – a huge one that will probably hatch within a week. Unfortunately, if a dragon doesn’t bond with someone immediately after hatching, it will go feral and be moderately useless. The dragon bond isn’t quite so profound and magical as Anne McCaffrey’s, but it does go pretty deep. Also unfortunate for our captain is the fact that they are still probably three weeks away from shore. The crew draws lots on who should have first dibs on controlling/harnessing the dragon, and Carver is chosen (one of the younger sailors).

Unfortunately, again, for the captain, the hatchling dragon doesn’t really like Carver and chooses him, Captain Laurence, instead. Continue reading His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1), by Naomi Novik

The Naming (or The Gift in the UK), by Alison Croggon

Some very interesting books are coming out of Australia these days, physiotherapist as you’d know if you’ve read the rest of my reviews (hint, hint). This was actually one of the first that I read, and it’s quite amazing, really. Part of that may be because Alison Croggon is primarily a poet, but it might also just be the overall strength of this work.

This work, the first of a quartet, takes place in a country called Annar. In Annar there are Bards, who all have the Gift. (Don’t roll your eyes yet, please.) Maerad is a slave on a mean little fief (a Cot) until she is accidentally discovered by a wandering Bard named Cadvan. Naturally, she’s 16, an orphan, spunky, and possessed of many deep magical Gifts of which she knows nothing. There’s also a possibility that her birth was foretold, and all that other epic fantasy rot. There’s probably no more point in telling you the plot, since I’d bet you can guess it by now. Continue reading The Naming (or The Gift in the UK), by Alison Croggon