Friday, August 27, 2010

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Well, I have to say, I enjoyed this book. I hope there is a sequel, but I can't find any information about it online, and it ended in such a way that a sequel isn't necessary.

The story is about a young girl, Elizabeth, whose life is a bit like a fairytale itself. She has a beloved, passed-on Mother, and a rather unlikeable Step-Mother and two rather unlikeable step sisters... and while you get a sense of her home life being not quite happy and a tad unfair, the author doesn't spend too much time delving into it, because that isn't what this story is about.

This story is about a repository in NYC that holds collections of things to be checked out. Among those collections there is a collection of items from Grimm fairytales... all very magical (because in this world, magic does exist)... there is also a William Gibson, H.G. Wells and H.P. Lovecraft collection... which I'd love for them to delve into more!

Elizabeth gets hired as a page, and steps into the middle of quite the conspiracy. Items from the Grimm collection are being stolen, and employees are all suspect. Everyone is walking around looking at everyone else sideways, and Elizabeth is not quite sure who to trust, because it seems everyone is acting a bit shady, except possibly Doc, the man who runs the place.

I enjoyed the interaction between the main characters, because they made decisions as children their age *would* make decisions... trying to protect the ones they love, trying to protect themselves, and being motivated by things like the promise of friendship and love.

This story wasn't quite as well crafted as some I've read before (that might be asking a lot though when I'm comparing her to the likes of Howl's Moving Castle and Ella Enchanted), but the concept was absolutely enjoyable. I feel like this author will only improve... and I fully intend on reading more when she writes it :)

(To explain the comment above... when I was reading the story, the characters would encounter problems... and it felt, to me, as if these problems were a bit too easily solved. Things happened very quickly and without a lot of explanation... issues that seemed like they were a big deal would be resolved a page after they were introduced... in fact, the whole ending of the book was a bit anti-climactic.
There were just too many things that happened that were TOO helpful and TOO glossed over. Despite that though, this really is a VERY fun and enjoyable read!!!)

Book Cover: 5/5
Book Title: 5/5 (the title is what made me pick it up)
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Ending: 2/5

Monday, August 23, 2010

Troll's-Eye View (Book of Short Stories)

This is a collection of stories that would be perfect bedtime material... each story being only about 3-4 pages long, they could easily be read from start to finish to any child while they lay all snuggled safe under their covers. Mostly the stories tell the tale of the villians of old fairytales.

I really enjoy the reimagining from the villian's perspective too, especially in the case of Jack & The Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Hansel & Gretel... in fact, the Hansel and Gretel story might be my favorite one in there... it's haunting.

I recommend picking this up for a quick, fun read... and it features some of the best in the field... Jane Yolen, Neil Gaimen, Holly Black, Peter S. Beagle, Michael Cadnum, Nancy Farmer, Wendy Froud, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Ellen Kushner, Kelly Link, Garth Nix, Delia Sherman, Midori Snyder, Joseph Stanton and Catherynne M. Valente.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Something a little different...

I mentioned that I would also be reviewing Manga on here, but I have yet to do so... so, without further ado... my first Manga review!

Honey Hunt
Story and Art done by Miki Aihara

Miki Aihara is the author and illustrator of one of my favorite manga, Hot Gimmick.
She writes something called shojo manga, which essentially are love stories for girls.

I enjoy Miki Aihara's work because often her characters do truly harsh, unpredictable things... motivated by their own twisted, and often taboo desires. Yeah, sure, it's still a love story, and there are certain formulas to be followed, but motivations aren't transparent and there is some mystery involved.

Another thing I love about Miki Aihara is her art style. I LOVE her drawing style.
This is often my main gripe about American comics... that the cover art is beautiful... and the inside art is blah. With Japanese Manga, the person who does the cover art is also the person who does the interior art... so I'm never left feeling cheated in that sense. (I will be reviewing American comics as well, especially American Graphic Novels)

Now, this particular series is only out through volume 5 in the US... so let me give you a brief summary:

Main character Yura lives in the shadow of her parents, a famous actress and a famous musician. She decides she will become a more popular actress than her mother (and her mom is a *real* work of art... serious emotional issues there...) and gets help from her father's agent (her father now lives in America with his mistress), a budding musician who wants to be with her to get closer to her father, the musician's twin brother, who is a Japanese Idol Singer as well as an actor, and a few other random characters.

My main confusion at this point is who this character will end up with. There is what would typically be the 'obvious' choice... but, knowing this author, it doesn't mean it's the choice the main character will make... so the series is still full of mystery and intrigue.

If you want a good, fun love story and AMAZING art, I suggest anything by Miki Aihara, Honey Hunt included!