Saturday, September 8, 2007

Favorites from the Summer

I meant to write more about books I've read, but unfortunately did not have time. School started today, so I'll have much less time to read. I'll post my final installment of summer reading to complete the list another time.

For now, here are some of my favorite of all the books I've read:

The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Only going back one day before the semester ended, I could include the first book in the series, The Thief. I spend the first hundred pages of The Thief wondering where the author was going with her story. For the last twenty pages, I was realizing the author's brilliance. I love the political complexity of the imagined world, and Gen is one of my all-time favorite characters. His wit and humor are great. I want to reread these again soon.

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones is one of those series that wasn't written in order, so I accidentally read it a bit out of order, though it didn't really matter. Each book stands alone well. These books, and the others I've read by the same author, suit my sense of humor. The world, or more correctly, universes imagined in these stories can be pretty complicated, but it's fun.

Austenland by Shannon Hale. Is this really the same author as The Princess Academy? I'm in awe of her ability to write such different novels so well. Austenland is about a single woman who can't seem to find true love. Why? Well, because boyfriends just don't measure up to Mr. Darcy. You know, the one played by Colin Firth in the 5-hour-long Pride and Prejudice. When her eccentric aunt sends her on vacation to Austenland, she just might be able to find true love -- or at least an actor who's willing to be Mr. Darcy for a few days. This was a really fun, quick read.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling. Though a bit boring in the beginning, I thought this was a fitting end to a fantastic series. I'm debating when I should reread the books in order.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. Probably one of the reasons I enjoyed this reimagining of Alice in Wonderland so much is because I don't really care for the original. In this version, Charles Hodgson got it wrong, and Alice Liddell is really Alyss Heart, princess of Wonderland. Inventive and fun fantasy, and I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Seeing Redd.

The Shakespeare Stealer, by Gary Blackwood is exactly the sort of historical fiction I like -- a believable premise, historical facts presented without changes to suit the story, and a good story that is not overwhelmed with historical facts. I thought this story was a great blend of facts about Shakespeare and theater. A young boy who knows a type of shorthand is sent by his master to steal the play Hamlet.

And lastly, sneaking under the wire is Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor. This is the only fantasy I've ever read about a faerie (yeah, it's spelled like that in the book) who travels with crows. Creative yet fully convincing through the details of history and legend in this imagined world, Blackbringer is one of my new favorite books, and was quite a satisfying end to my summer reading.

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