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10 Thoughts on The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doué

firethorncrown

I’m going to share 10 thoughts on The Firethorn Crown today.

I mean, maybe I should do 12, since it’s about 12 dancing princesses?

But I’m doing 10 because it’s nice and round and I want to.

Ten is a great number!

People love ten!

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Anyway… A little about the book and then my Ten Thoughts.

factoids

Title: The Firethorn Crown

Author: Lea Doué

  • Date read: February 11, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy (Fairytale retelling: The Twelve Dancing Princesses)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2015
  • Pages: 289 paperback
  • Series? Book 1 (Yesss, there will be more books about different princesses! *cheering*)
  • Fave character: Eben!
  • Source: Won a paperback from the author in a giveaway from Clean Indie Reads; but I also bought the ebook version.
  • Notes: Read for Fellowship of Fantasy‘s bookclub February 2017 read, which was sooo fun.

review

4starrating

Ten Thoughts:

1. THE COVER. It is awesome. Excuse me while I stare at it forever.

2. TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES! I’m totally here for a retelling of my favorite fairytale. (Which may mean I was pickier about how I wanted the book to be than I should have been, but oh well.) It was so fun to read this retelling and I greatly enjoyed seeing how it was done. 🙂

3. Eben the guard was awesome and my favorite. 😀 I wish we’d gotten more of him and/or some of his POV. He was epic! That is all.

4. The princesses, as usual, were a little hard to sort at first, but I did get used to which were which eventually. My favorite was Neylan (with her mini dragons!). And the princes (some of them pairing off with princesses) WERE SO FUN. Orin the goose prince, Holic the red-head prince… So funny, loyal, and helpful. 😀

5. DRAGONS. I might have liked more details about them and to see more of them, but it was really neat that there were all different kinds/sizes, as natural wildlife. The butterwings (kind of like butterfly dragons, mini ones who hang around in the flowers) were my favorites. I wish they’d been outright stated and described instead of implied, though, because sometimes it took me awhile to figure out that honeysucklers, woolies, etc. were kinds of dragons. But dragons! Looking forward to seeing more of them in the later books!

6. It took a break from other retellings in which the princesses’ king dad is a grumpy semi-antagonist for some of the story; instead, he’s away most of the book, so their mom fills in that role. 😄

7. I don’t know how I feel about the villain. There seems to be a longstanding twelve-dancing-princesses-retelling tradition in which we have a mysterious character that we don’t know if he’s good or not but I kind of WANT him to be good, but… he’s not. Or is he? Eh. I have complex feels about this character and don’t know what I think. I DON’T KNOW. MUCH CONFUSING FEELS.

8. I really enjoyed this book—a lot—but I didn’t love it for some reason, and I can’t put my finger on why. Maybe because of how attached I am to the fairytale it’s retelling, so I’m pickier? Maybe the way it constantly hinted at things but never stated stuff, as if the writing was shy of the forbidden “telling” versus showing? (But taking it too far?) Maybe I was conflicted over a certain character? Maybe there were a lot of things I wished had happened that didn’t? Anyways, there was something a little bit off which prevented it becoming an absolute favorite, BUT I did enjoy it a lot and it was overall a quite good book. 🙂

9. I quite liked the world—it was colorful and interesting. I look forward to seeing more of it! (Especially the dragons. Ahem.)

10. Overall, it was great fun reading this retelling and I can’t wait to continue the series! There are characters I’m excited to see more of, and mysteries left vaguely hanging (like True the goose. WHAT is the deal with True the goose??). If you enjoy good clean fun books and fairytale retellings, I recommend giving this one a try. 🙂

(Note: I won a copy of this book from the author in a giveaway. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are entirely my own.)

summary

From Goodreads:

firthornPrincess Lily, the eldest of twelve sisters and heir to a mighty kingdom, desperately seeks a break from her mother’s matchmaking. Tradition forbids marriage with the man Lily loves, so she would rather rule alone than marry someone who only wants the crown.

Fleeing an overzealous suitor, Lily stumbles into a secret underground kingdom where she and her sisters encounter a mysterious sorcerer-prince and become entangled in a curse that threatens the safety of her family and her people. Lily can free them, but the price for freedom may be more than she’s willing to pay.

The Firethorn Crown, a re-imagining of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” is the first in the Firethorn Chronicles, a series of stand-alone novels inspired by fairy tales and other stories. Follow the sisters on their adventures in a land where sorcery is feared, women can rule, and dragons fly.

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Thanks for reading, dear Pagelings!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones

Title: Hexwood

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Date read: April 6, 2017

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi/Contemporary/Time/Arthurian

Age: Toeing the line between YA and Adult? New Adult? Anyways, slightly darker.

Year pub: 1992

Pages: 449 (paperback)

Fave character: MORDION. Mordion Mordion Mordion

Source: Birthday present, preciousss

Find: On Goodreads here

Favorite quote:

“Can’t you treat yourself with a bit more consideration?”

“Why should I?” Mordion said, hugging the duvet round himself.

“Because you’re a person, of course!” Ann snapped at him. “One person ought to treat another person properly even if the person’s himself!”

“What a strange idea!” Mordion said.

An ordinary modern-day British girl (kind of), named Ann, stumbles into an epic fantasy world (…sort of), and meets a pigeon-hole-defying, spoiler-drenched man named Mordion, and a boy named Hume (maybe).

There are also robots. And dragons.

There’s also an inter-galactic sci-fi mess going on, some Arthurian legends sprinkled around the edges in totally unexpected ways, and oh, yeah, the entire thing is out of order in a time-bending confusing labyrinth of plot-twists.

Nobody is who they seem (or rather, they may be somebody else… or several somebody elses. I literally kept a list/diagram while I was reading).

FEATURING:

  • Dragons
  • Robots
  • King Arthur and Merlin (sort of)
  • Time which is… fluid, shall we say, and more complicated than Doctor Who
  • A tragic brainwashed assassin to rival Bucky Barnes (he’s got nothing on this guy)
  • A complex plot-within-plot that makes my head hurt and kind of makes Inception’s layers look like a children’s cartoon
  • Several hundred plot twists
  • An unexpected romance
  • One of my new favorite characters of ever (not sure how I feel about this)
  • Weirdest book I’ve ever read
  • Has more genres mashed in it than I’ve ever seen in a single book (Contemporary/Fantasy/Sci-fi/Time/Arthurian/Romance/YA/Adult/DWJ)
  • Darker than most DWJ books (except Deep Secret)
  • One of my top five-or-ten DWJ books (despite the darkness/weirdness… don’t hold it against me; I’m surprised at me too)
  • First new-to-me DWJ book since my How to Read Diana Wynne Jones blog posts (part 1) (part 2); it lined up with pretty much everything, x100000
  • I need to reread it now, please and thank you

Don’t read this as your first DWJ, and if you do read it, know you’re getting into an insanely complex, inter-genre, rather dark story, for which reason I only recommend it to older teens/adults. If I recommend it at all. I loved it to bits but have a feeling that it’s far too weird to recommend to anyone at all. I literally can’t predict who would/wouldn’t like this. You’ll either a) love it a ridiculous amount (*raises hand*), b) hate it, or c) not understand it at all. I have a feeling there’s no middle ground.

Anyone who has read it: TALK TO ME! I need somebody who understands my confused feels about this book.

If you need me, I’ll be in a corner with my mind blown, contemplating re-reading this book so that I can understand it, and generally having a massive book hangover. Because how am I going to find anything to read, after this mindbending confusing thing, that will not feel like bland cardboard? HELP. *collapses* (I’m hoping Stephen Lawhead’s The Fatal Tree might help me with this… *reaches for bookshelf*)


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Rose and the Balloon – Cover Reveal!

Today I’m VERY excited to take part in revealing the cover of a book I’m currently reading, The Rose and the Balloon by Kirsten Fichter, which is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a steampunk twist! (What is not to love?? Answer: nothing at all, naturally!)

The book is coming out on August 1st, which is sooooon, and I’ll be reviewing it sometime thereafter (so far I’m quite enjoying it!).

Meanwhile!

Cover reveal coming iiiin . . .

3 . . .

2 . . .

1 . . .

*drumroll*

. . . LAUNCH AIR-BALLOON!

(Wait, what? Where did that come from? O_O Go away, Crazy Maeva! *cough*)

Er, that is…

BEHOLD!

ITS!

BEAUTEOUSNESS!

(But not beastness? AHEM.)

Cover5_story

Summary:

Cover5_storyIn a kingdom where fauna and flora are held in higher esteem than breakfast, Dmitri is a prince who yearns for change and plans it in a single daring act that will alter his life forever. However, when his demented mother accidentally causes the destruction of a prized garden of roses, Dmitri is horrified when she proposes his hand in marriage to make up for it. Not only will a wife hamper his glorious plans, he doesn’t even want one.

Janelle has spent her whole life on her father’s rose farm, tending the roses and staying simple. But she really yearns for something greater than the flower beds. But now there’s a wrench thrown in the works – the crazy Queen Maeva wants her to marry the prince, and all for ruining her father’s beloved roses.

This is Beauty and the Beast with a twist like you’ve never seen it before.

Find the book on: Goodreads | Pinterest Board

About the author:

AuthorPic1Kirsten Fichter is a twenty-something Christian writer who is trying to find the balance between being one of six kids, a church pianist, a college student, a movie buff, a disaster in the kitchen, and a writing INFP. If you know what the secret is to balancing all of that, she’d be grateful to hear from you. Otherwise, don’t contact her unless you want to send her homemade gingerbread. Or a new piano book. Or an autographed Charles Dickens novel. In the meantime, she’ll be somewhere under a maple tree – trying very hard to finish the seventeen and half other stories she unwisely started all at once.

Find her here: Blog (Lianne Taimenlore) | Twitter (@KiriLiz) | Goodreads

So! What do you think? Isn’t it GORGEOUS??? *flails around and collapses* (Yes, I posted it in two sizes because I couldn’t decide which one to do. So you got to look at it twice. YOU’RE WELCOME.) I have a thing for roses, myself, as well as for Beauty and the Beast, so I obviously am absolutely swooning over this cover and this book. 😀 I hope it makes you want to read it, because it does me! ❤

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

5starrating

Title: The Golden Braid

Author: Melanie Dickerson

review

Another excellent read from Melanie Dickerson! *huggles book*

I think it was the least standalone-ish of her books I’ve read so far, simply because it had so many delightful tie-ins to other books in the Hagenheim series. I loved that! 🙂 It was also so so cool how it tied in with The Princess Spy and the events going on in that and even some of the things behind the scenes we hadn’t seen before! So awesome. (Though a couple times it seemed like it was summarizing a bit too much and I would have liked more details/scenes sometimes. But that may also be because I don’t remember The Princess Spy all that well since I read it awhile ago. *shrug*)

I also loved how the Christian theme was so well-woven into the plot–it was just a really strong part of it, more-so than usual in these books, and I just thought it was super lovely and incredibly well-done.

And I loved the retelling, how it had so many nods to Rapunzel (and maybe even Tangled…?). Awesome retelling! But also rearranged and different and unique enough that I never knew what was coming, which was really cool. 🙂

The romance, as always, was adorbz and awesome and I loved both the characters. Rapunzel was super likeable, and Sir Gerek was, naturally, fantastic. I loved his grouchyness. 😄 And just… yes, he was awesome.

AND THE TWIST. OH MY GOODNESS THE TWIST. Okay, so I was picking up on little subtle hints and totally guessed it before it came to light, but that only made the revelation even BETTER because I pieced clues together and came to the conclusion myself and was hoping and hoping and then it WAS and just ASLKDFJLDKJF it makes me so happyyyy! ^_^ I only wish :: SPOILER (highlight to read) :: that there could have been a scene featuring Gabe and Rapunzel. I WAS SO HOPING THERE WOULD AND THEN THERE WASN’T. *cries* That was my only disappointment though. I just… it would have been so wonderful seeing a scene like that after what Gabe was thinking in The Fairest Beauty. *sniff* But oh well, I can imagine it, so that’s okay I guess. 🙂 :: END SPOILER ::

I also got a little teary-eyed there at one point, at a certain beautiful scene, so gotta give it credit for that. 😉

Anyways, aside from a couple little things, I absolutely loved it and just THE TWIIIIST!!! *flails around* So so so awesome and automatically made it twice as wonderful as it could have been. 😀

Overall, great book! ❤

summary

From Goodreads:

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.

factoids

Genre/Category: Christian YA Romance / Historical Fiction / Fairy Tale Retelling (Rapunzel)

Age Group: YA

Published: 2015

Pages: 471 pages (Large Print Hardcover)

Series?: Book #6 of the Hagenheim/Fairy Tale Romance series

When Read: June 4 – 5, 2016

Favorite Character: Sir Gerek

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read a large print version because it was what my library had, and I for some reason really liked reading it like that. 😄 It was relaxing somehow. *shrug*

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Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

Lost Lake House by Elisabeth Grace Foley

4starrating

Title: Lost Lake House

Author: Elisabeth Grace Foley

review

You’ve got to give it to it: that is one gorgeous cover. (I may also be immensely pleased at how well it goes with my blog’s color-scheme. But that’s neither here nor there… *cough*)

This is a historical-fiction novella set in the ’20s, and is a loose retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It came out this year and when I heard about it from Shantelle, I simply had to try it out. 🙂

Because, ya know . . . Twelve Dancing Princesses. 😉

In this one there’s only one dancer, not twelve (and she’s not exactly a princess either), but there were some great nods to the fairytale which I really enjoyed… It was kind of amazing how well some of it was weaved in with the ’20s setting.

Anyways, it was a quick, sweet read, with lots of elegant description which really captured the setting and time period. (I’m not a huge fan of jazz or the ’20s, but that didn’t get in my way of enjoying it, particularly since I didn’t have to HEAR it. ;))

I liked how we got a few points of view, too. It was neat to see different sides of what was going on. It was a quiet story. A bit mysterious. Some gangster-type stuff showed up to make it a little exciting. There’s a hint at a really sweet friendship that might come out of this story… 😉 And while it’s not the main focus, it also holds a really poignant story about a father and daughter who don’t understand each other, which I thought was really well written and I liked the hope it ends with.

Anyone looking for a romance should look elsewhere, though, because there isn’t really one. That being said, I do ship the hero and heroine and hope maybe in the future they might become a thing. 😉 But I was okay with how it was. 🙂

I almost got really upset for a minute there near the end because I was so looking forward to seeing a certain scene, ::SPOILER (highlight to read):: namely when Marshall and Dorothy show up at her dad’s at the end… loved that bit. 😀 ::END SPOILER:: and then it looked like we were going to skip a week instead! D: Buuuut then I was appeased since we got it in a flashback. So that made me really happy. ^_^

While the overall plot itself wasn’t my favorite, and the heroine was just okay — at least until near the end — (not to mention how I really disliked the other girls), I did really like the hero, and I liked how it all turned out in the end. It might have been a 3-star but… I don’t know, it just ended with me feeling kinda happy and it was fun and cute and sweet and so it got an extra star. 🙂

Anyone who likes that era should definitely give it a shot, and for those obsessed with the Twelve Dancing Princesses, this one is worth reading for a few clever turns of that fairytale being put in a different setting. 🙂 And anyone else… well, it’s enjoyable in its own right as a sweet, short read, and overall I thought it was a pretty swell little story. 😉

summary

From Goodreads:

The Twelve Dancing Princesses meets the heady glamor and danger of the Jazz Age

All Dorothy Perkins wants is to have a good time. She’s wild about dancing, and can’t understand or accept her father’s strictness in forbidding it. Night after night she sneaks out to the Lost Lake House, a glamorous island nightclub rumored to be the front for more than just music and dancing…in spite of an increasingly uneasy feeling that she may be getting into something more than she can handle.

Marshall Kendrick knows the truth behind the Lost Lake House—and bitterly hates his job there. But fear and obligation have him trapped. When a twist of circumstances throws Dorothy and Marshall together one night, it may offer them both a chance at escaping the tangled web of fear and deceit each has woven…if only they are brave enough to take it.

Novella, approximately 26,000 words.

factoids

Genre/Category: Historical Fiction / Novella / Fairytale Retelling

Age Group: YA

Published: 2016

Pages: 77 (estimated; Kindle)

When Read: June 2, 2016

Favorite Character: Marshall

Source: Bought from Amazon Kindle

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Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

fireandhemlock

5starrating

Title: Fire and Hemlock

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

review

This is more like an essay than a review, I’m afraid, but it’s what I could come up with…

I’ve tried to write this review a couple times now, and I am in despair over it because Fire and Hemlock is simply too vast and… well, as Eleanor Cameron said (of a different book) in “The Green and Burning Tree“, it is “a wild, glimmering, shadowed, elusive kind of book.” That’s the best description I can find for it, and it’s not even in my own words.

I really want to review this book, but have absolutely no idea how. So I’m going to start typing and hope something comes out of it besides an incoherent ramble the size of a London train.

Fire and Hemlock is set in a modern-day England in the ’80s… both of which are slightly alien and unfamiliar to this young-ish American reader, so even though it’s “contemporary” and set in the real world, it actually felt a bit fantastical to me… Which is a good thing. (Occasionally I would go “Oh! So that’s what such-and-such is like/called in England! Fascinating!” or “Who knew that you flip records over to listen to the other side?” [I do know about tapes, but not records…])

Beneath the seemingly ordinary setting and life of the heroine, Polly, there runs a strong undercurrent of unusual happenings, rather frightening fantastical goings-on, and some snatches of wild shadowed fae stuff and magical sorts of things. The fact that the ordinary and the fantasy blend so flawlessly together in this book attests once again to Diana Wynne Jones’ brilliant skill as a writer.

As a retelling of the old folk tale/ballad about Tam Lin and also about Thomas the Rhymer, all the bits relating to both that wove into the story were fascinating, especially in said modern setting.

The book left me with a rather dizzying near-belief that it was something that had really happened. Yes, fantasy and all. It was so real that one nourishes a distinct and startlingly-firm suspicion that the whole thing must have actually happened… If not to the author herself, at least to someone she knew. It has that strong of a feeling of being real — at times painfully so. And in just the sort of elusive, mad sort of way, that is always a part of the most real yet strange dreams. I imagine that’s how it would feel like if such things happened to you or I…

There’s stuff about writing, too, which was great, and Polly’s a sort of writer. I liked her. It was fascinating and realistic as well to watch her grow up along the way in the book, from about a ten year old girl to a nineteen year old young woman. A lot of it’s her looking back and trying to remember things about when she was growing up.

Polly and Tom’s friendship — perhaps growing into something more… — is the heart of the book. I just loved it so much. They make up stories together, which in strange and sometimes terrible ways seem to come true. Their friendship is perfectly natural and beautifully written and just I can’t even explain it, but I adore that entire aspect of the book, especially the blooming but unconventional romance. It’s all just so masterfully done.

Of course, the best thing about the book is Mr. Thomas Lynn himself, yet another fabulous unpigeonholeable (that’s a word, I swear; or should be) character which this author seems to excel at. Tom plays cello and drives “like a hero” (a.k.a. like a madman; he is a horrible driver and it’s glorious; the parts with his horse I mean car were hilarious highlights of the book), has an epic abrupt startling silence which people run up against when he doesn’t want to talk about things, and a sort of yelping laugh which cuts off, and he has colorless hair and glasses which are like another character, and he will perfectly seriously discuss what most people would call “make-believe” with young Polly, since of course they’re in the business of being heroes, and sends her books all the time and you just sort of feel safe when he’s around, even if horrible fantastical things happen, and he’s part of a strange frightening mystery, entangled in it and can’t get free and you just feel awful for him but you know he wouldn’t want you to and that he’s all right, really; except that he’s really not all right at all; and he’s mysterious and also very open in a way, somehow, and you can’t really explain him at all and apparently I need to talk with people who’ve read this because otherwise I’ll just ramble on about him forever? I’m done now. Almost.

(But really, what isn’t to love about a fellow who says of books:

“…don’t do that to that book! … You’ve got it open, lying on its face,” Mr. Lynn said. “The poor thing’s in torment.”

And about fairy stories:

“Only thin, weak thinkers despise fairy stories. Each one has a true, strange fact hidden in it, you know, which you can find if you look.”)

It’s a giant of a book. At 420 very large hardback pages, it’s quite longer than the usual small-to-medium books by Diana Wynne Jones that I’ve read before (with a few exceptions) and yet I never wanted it to end. About halfway through, around when I felt like one of her other books would have been finishing, I panicked and thought, “Oh no, what if it ends soon? It needs to go on and on and on!” And then I checked and with relief and a sort of thrill of triumph, realized I had still a large amount to read. (Though my practical side threw a fit, seeing that it was after midnight and demanding that I go to bed — which I, naturally, ignored. The one strange — or not so strange — fact about Diana Wynne Jones books is that almost all of them that I’ve read, I’ve devoured in a sitting. Or at least in a single day. Which is fine for ordinarily lengths. But not so much for a 400+ page fantastic monster of a book which I started late at night to begin with… This was a stay-up-till-after-3-a.m. sort of book. I REGRET NOTHING.)

It is at once new and old. It gave me the feeling that I might have read it before, maybe, or had always known about it, while being at the same time entirely undiscovered. It reminded me of several other books that I’ve read and loved (or, considering the publication dates, I might better say they remind me of it…), while at the same time being completely unique. It’s like it somehow took snatches of a ton of books I love and weaved bits of them together into something new, but being its own thing at the same time. (The Penderwicks, The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt, as well as other books by Diana Wynne Jones… I feel like there were several others as well.) Also, all of the books it mentions, which Tom sends to Polly to read, were so fun to see listed — both the ones I’ve read and loved, and the ones I’ve not read and in some cases not even heard of (which of course makes me want to read them).

(“Polly had discovered The Lord of the Rings and was reading it for the fourth time under her desk in Maths.” was a particularly fabulous line in the book…)

In the category of complaints, it had its faults — all books do (well, except for a small handful, including a certain other book by the same author).

I will admit that I wanted much more of Tom himself in the story than he actually appeared in, but that can hardly be helped when it’s from the point of view of a girl who’s not allowed to see him and only does so from time to time.

It is also set in a modern setting, and therefore has some of the inevitable problems which are why I don’t like modern books much… (public school, so-called “friends”, split-up families etc.) but I liked this one in spite of them — like I said, it felt so real, so I can’t exactly complain about what happened as if it’s just a plot device if it happened, now can I? (I will say that poor Polly kind of has a dreadful life. …Actually, Tom does too. And yet here they are, plowing along! I suppose that’s heroism, right there…)

And the ending seemed to be rather sudden and, leading up to it, extremely vague to my mind so that I am still extremely confused and not entirely sure exactly what happened… though that could have just been the fact that by the time I reached the ending it was past 3 a.m., so that could have been the clock and/or a sleep-fogged mind talking… I also am of the opinion that many Diana Wynne Jones books require a second or perhaps third reading to fully understand it, especially some endings, so perhaps I’ll be all right if I read it again. And I don’t think it’s the author’s fault… I feel like it just went over my head or something. I do relish a thing that I don’t quite understand, when it means there’s always more to unearth in subsequent go-throughs.

It’s a book that you have to think about, which might not please some people, but definitely pleased me.

And of course, it’s the sort of book one spends most of the next day (or week… or month…) occasionally dipping back through it and rereading — preferably aloud, if any poor soul is near to be quoted at — the fabulously hilarious bits and smiling insanely over, just because you like it, even though you can’t quite understand why. That’s my experience, anyway…

I read this book on New Year’s Day (as I said, staying up till past 3, because it simply had to be finished!), which was a marvelous way to kick off my reading for the year.

And yes, it has taken me nearly an entire month to get around to writing this review. I still don’t feel as if I’ve done it justice. It’s quite simply impossible to describe.

I don’t think it’s everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it may have been mine. And quite good tea at that. Properly and gloriously British, bitter and sweet at once, and just the thing for a (long) rainy day, when one is longing for an elusive tale with a dose of ordinary mixed up with a dash of fantastic, as well as one-of-a-kind vibrant characters, a glorious love story (Tom would be berating me for that; sorry), and an enormous amount of classic Diana Wynne Jones humor.

I’ll be reading Fire and Hemlock again, I hope.

(And if you read this entire review, I quite sincerely applaud you and offer you cupcakes. Here.)

summary

From Goodreads:

Polly has two sets of memories…

One is normal: school, home, friends. The other, stranger memories begin nine years ago, when she was ten and gate-crashed an odd funeral in the mansion near her grandmother’s house. Polly’s just beginning to recall the sometimes marvelous, sometimes frightening adventures she embarked on with Tom Lynn after that. And then she did something terrible, and everything changed.

But what did she do? Why can’t she remember? Polly must uncover the secret, or her true love — and perhaps Polly herself — will be lost.

factoids

Genre/Category: Contemporary / Fantasy / Retelling (of Tam Lin)

Age Group: YA

Published: 1985

Pages: 420 hardcover

Series?: No.

When Read: January 1, 2016

Favorite Character: Tom Lynn, naturally

Other Notes: Received for Christmas. (And I now realize how ironic that is, given how many books are being recieved for Christmas within the book itself…)

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Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages…

~ The Page Dreamer

 

Prince of Demargen by E. Kaiser Writes

PoDcover

5starrating

Title: Prince of Demargen

Author: E. Kaiser Writes

review

I was struck by how unique this book is! I’ve never read anything like it. I loved the main character, Prince Hess! He was one of my very favorite things about the book. Getting to follow along with his adventures and struggles and watch him grow was awesome. He has such a distinct personality and I loved his sort of dry way of thinking and talking! 🙂 Definitely a deep character right there, with some very compelling struggles. (Also the stable and brawl scene was awesome. Just saying. It was glorious.)

It’s the sort of story you dwell deeply in… Adventure upon adventure, which you’re a part of, living in the land and traveling with Hess as you read along, instead of rushed through. It’s a book that knows how to take its time but be intriguing (I couldn’t put it down!), how to have fun but also be elegant and get at the heart things. The writing has a classic, timeless aura, peppered with fine humor. I loved it!

The book made me feel deeply: I’m not much of an emotional reader, but I cried near the beginning over Hess and his brothers, and laughed at humorous lines and great bits of dialog. (The dialog is great, especially Hess’s…)

The other characters were neat and well drawn too, though I didn’t see much of them (consequence of starting a series in the middle, I suppose…). They were really great to read about together–the relationships were fantastic, as was trying to piece them together… Looking forward to seeing how it all pans out! Hess’s horse Tompte was a great character in his own right–adorable and so loyal! Princess Girta has a long way to go before I’ll be able to like her, but Queen Ilise was cool, and I really loved what little I saw of Kai! I’m super intrigued by him and I simply can’t wait for Reindeer King to release!! *flails a little*

The series is a retelling of The Snow Queen and other such tales, and this particular book is rather like what a sequel to the movie Frozen might be like if it had been a bit different. (So if that idea intrigues you, definitely give it a go!) I love retellings and this one was great. Also fairytales are able to paint certain truths in a way that many other things can’t, and I think this one did a good job at some of that.

I did jump right into the middle of the series, as I haven’t read the first two books yet, and the fourth is not yet released. So I’m not sure if I actually have complaints about Prince of Demargen, or if they will be taken care of by the other books. Time will tell! (I’m wavering between a 4.5 star rating and a 5 star one, but I’m currently settling on 5 and assuming my problems will be swept away by the rest of the books.) A few times things felt to me like they came out of the blue or I didn’t know some characters well, but that may be fixed when I read the first ones, and several things were not wrapped up which I really want to see concluded (like the brothers!!), but hopefully those will be sorted out in the next book. 🙂

So my only complaints that may still remain after reading the other books (we’ll see) would be that a few things felt random or not explained well and I’m still wondering about, and the discussion questions at the end of the chapters dragged me out of the story. I prefer to be immersed in the story (and usually was), instead of yanked out after every chapter, but I ended up being able to skip them, mostly… But still.

Other than those minor things, and being on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book to release (not actually a bad thing. ;)), I loved it!

Overall, Prince of Demargen is a rich unique tale and is a very enjoyable read. I definitely recommend this one and look forward to reading the rest of the series!

(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review, and the opinions are entirely my own.)

factoids

Illustrator: Illustrated by the author — lovely illustrations! Though few, I adore them…

Genre/Category: Fantasy / Christian / Fairytale Retelling

Age Group: Young Adult

Published: 2015

Pages: 408

Series?: Book 3 in the Thaw series (part of The Fairytale Collection). Preceded by Winter’s Child (#1), and Winter Queen (#2); followed by Reindeer King (#4) — publishing soon.

When Read: January 20, 2016 (yes, I read it in a day, despite its length! So hooked…)

Favorite Character: Hess! And Kai.

Other Notes: Read a PDF copy from the author.

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{Goodreads} • {Amazon}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages…

~ The Page Dreamer