Tag Archive | Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge

Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee

WolfTower

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Title: Wolf Tower

Author: Tanith Lee

review

I’m a trifle mixed on this book… But on the whole, it was an enjoyable, unique fantasy adventure.

It’s the journal of the heroine, Claidi, and one of its high points is the conversational and often quite funny tone of the narrative. I really loved that!

Because of the journal setup, we get a very limited outlook on what’s going on, which makes for an interesting read. Claidi herself was an odd combination of feisty/daring and yet oddly naive about a lot of things. She starts out as a servant at a very proper House, which seems reminiscent of somewhere in Asia or India, perhaps?

This whole story, which takes place in a variety of places all different than each other, has none of the usual pseudo-English/European fantasy setting about it (which I love, incidentally, but this IS a change, I suppose). It’s very diverse in its settings/lands and peoples and cultures, so for anyone looking for a different sort of fantasy, this is definitely that!

The general feeling is like a usual semi-medieval fantasy tale, and yet it’s at times more advanced, more like Victorian? There are clocks and things, and a general touch of something almost steampunk, what with the hot air balloon near the start, and the city with clockwork soldiers later on, and some sort of surveillance thing mixed in, almost sci-fi? Near the end it even felt like a touch of dystopian. o.o Anyways, it was definitely an intriguing mix! I enjoyed the fresh, different feel of it. šŸ™‚

Okay, so now we get to what I didn’t like as much, which… um… I really can’t talk about BECAUSE SPOILERS. But let’s just say that there was a character who I wanted to like and wished something had turned out differently and it DIDN’T but it’s probably all for the best (there was a sort of almost love triangle involved; cue more squirming) and it turned out as well as could be expected I suppose. BUT GAAHH I STILL WANTED SOMETHING DIFFERENT MAYBE? I don’t even know. All of this made me drop it from a potential five-star to 4 stars, because I really DID enjoy the book and liked it, but it just… gaahh, the stress. *flails*

For those who are wondering, a certain person named Argul is fantastic, and the-other-person-we-don’t-talk-about was sometimes and I wanted said person to be… um… something else, but then… THAT HAPPENED. *pouts* …But I was suspecting it early on and worried about it and then it WAS and just sllsjkdflj. Sorry, I’m a mite bit incoherent about this whole thing. BUT SPOILERS. (It might just be me, though. Don’t mind me all curled up in a corner rocking back and forth and babbling incoherent “BUT ALKSDJLK WHAT EVEN JUST WHY” sounds.)

I’ve heard that there are three books after this one, but I don’t think I’ll read them…? I really liked the ending of this one (for the most part), and I don’t really want to go through all of that again. -_-

Not a ginormously fabulous book, but by no means a bad one, either! Definitely fun and worth a read if it sounds interesting. And I’m very much looking forward to reading more by the author (since I happen to have “Piratica” on my shelf, watching me, waiting…).

All in all, Wolf Tower was an at times quite funny (I LOVE HUMOR!), unique fantasy read, which I enjoyed a good deal, except for that-thing-about-said-person-we-don’t-talk-about. AHEM.

summary

From Goodreads:

All her life, Claidi has endured hardship in the House, where she must obey a spoiled princess. Then a golden stranger arrives, living proof of a world beyond the House walls. Claidi risks all to free the charming prisoner and accompanies him across the Waste toward his faraway home. It is a difficult yet marvelous journey, and all the while Claidi is at the side of a man she could come to love. That is, until they reach his home . . . and the Wolf Tower.

factoids

Genre/Category: Fantasy, with a touch of Steampunk?

Age Group: Young Adult

Published: 1998

Pages: 223 paperback

Series?: Book 1 of the Claidi Journals (followed by Wolf Star, Wolf Queen, Wolf Wing)

When Read: February 19, 2016

Favorite Character: Argul. And Nemian (sometimes. *squirms*)

Other Notes: Read for the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge hosted by Grace @ Fictionally.


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

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The Ordinary Princess (Fantasy Love Feb. Challenge 4)

FantasyLoveFebruaryReadingChallenge

And now for the 4th and final blog mini challenge for the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge, which is to reread or rewatch a fantasy favorite movie or book, and share in a blog post what’s so fantastic about it that made you want to re-adventure with it.

I picked . . .

The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye

“You shall be ordinary.” So proclaimed the fairy Crustacea at the christening of Her Serene Royal Highness, Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne. And ordinary she was. With mousy brown hair, a turned-up nose and freckles, Princess Amy was nothing like her six blond, beautiful princess sisters. She was so ordinary, in fact, that no prince could be found to marry her. But that didn’t bother Amy. Who wanted to marry a stuffy old prince, anyway? Amy had other ideas about how to spend her life. Like running off to the forest . . . and an enchanting adventure all her own.

–Summary from the back

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I first read The Ordinary Princess in April last year, and fell in love with it instantly. ā¤ I was so tempted to reread it the moment I finished it, but refrained… and now this was a perfect chance to pick it up again.

So last night I did, and devoured it all over again in an hour and a half. It’s a short read, but oh so lovely!

How can I even DESCRIBE it? It’s probably my favorite little fairytale-esque story ever. Yes, it’s THAT good.

It just has this perfect fairytale feel — it’s like an original fairytale with some nods to a few classic ones, such as starting out with a Sleeping Beauty-esque christening with fairy gifts etc. (The king even makes a reference to his great-great-something-grandmother, who evidently WAS Sleeping Beauty! Isn’t that perfect? <3) And something like the song Cinderella sings in the new Cinderella movie, and a few other things.

It has all the classic fairytale feel, and yet it’s a totally original fairytale, turning many of the old plot devices on their heads! To say much more would be to spoil the marvelous tale, but be assured that whether you like new or old tales, it will satisfy you either way.

In the author’s note, she says she wrote it one spring in an apple orchard in blossom in Kent, England, and that it practically wrote itself. All of this makes perfect sense. It’s exactly the sort of beautiful little tale that would be perfect to be made in a blooming apple orchard in England! It just FEELS like that.

It has this fabulous writing style, like many old fairytales and yet even better somehow, which is simultaneously beautiful and hilarious (don’t ask how. It just is). I don’t even know how the author did it, but it just has this perfect FEEL. There’s not a single thing I dislike about it.

And the illustrations!! It was also illustrated by the author, and they’re just the most darling, beautiful, yet simplistic and perfect drawings ever! ā¤ They perfectly capture these lovely medieval fairytale kingdoms and characters. (It’s just the sort of setting I love the most in books!)

ordinaryprincessillustrationMMKaye

Then the characters, all of whom are fabulous. Even the side characters have a lot of spirit to them, from the myriad councilors and ministers of two different kingdoms, to the king and queen, to the adorable animal friends of Amy, a red squirrel (one Mr Pemberthy) and a crow (Peter Aurelious), to the fairy Crustacea, the old fairy of the waters with hornrimmed spectacles who tends to drip and be somewhat cranky when she’s held up in traffic trying to reach the christening. (Seriously, the whole thing is fabulous like that.)

The heroine, (Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne; a.k.a. “Amy”), the Ordinary Princess herself, is quite fun, and then the eventual hero, Peregrine! Oh my goodness, Peregrine was so wonderful! His lines, so British and fantastic, and only he would be met eating ice cream in the middle of the night in the midst of the leftovers of a banquet! So much wonderful. And they two of them together are just perfect and sweet and funny. I love them so much. ā¤

The story itself is simply a rollick. The perfect fairytale mix of whimsical, fun, lovely, and slightly worried hoping everything will turn out all right, but being fairly sure it will, with a few twists which are absolutely perfect. (I know I keep using that word, but I will not apologize — I can’t think of a better one.)

The writing, style, setting, humor, sweetness, illustrations, characters, story, dialog — it’s just all so fantabulous, I can’t get over it!! *flails around*

I simply can’t describe how perfect it is, and the only thing for it is for you to read it yourself.

If you love fairytales new and old, fun little books, a touch of adorable sweet romance, a bit of “English” feeling and wonderful dialog and humor, and just an all around lovely read, you simply MUST read The Ordinary Princess! It’s sweet, adorable, lovely, gorgeous, hilarious, and just all-around PERFECT.

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…There is my fangirl gushing for the day. šŸ˜‰

It was just the perfect thing to read for this reading challenge, and February Fantasy Month and all! ^_^

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I must say, I’ve been very much enjoying the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge, and all the little challenges, and everything, and will be sad to see its end. But enormous thanks to Grace @ Fictionally for hosting it! I’ve been having a blast! šŸ™‚

And although I sadly did not read all of the fantasy books I’d PLANNED to read, due to acquiring some different fantasy-ish books and reading them instead, I still have a few reviews to come in the next day or two! Since I did read The Castle Corona, Wolf Tower, and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, hopefully I’ll review those soon!

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So how about you? Have you read The Ordinary Princess? What did you think? If not, then what are you waiting for, my good bookworms? Do not delay!

(But seriously though, READ THE ORDINARY PRINCESS. It’s so good. <3)

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Tales of Old (Fantasy Love Feb. Mini-Challenge 3)

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A brief post today…

The mini-challenge of the third week of the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge is to read an original fairy tale (Grimm… Hans Christian Anderson…) and then to answer the following questions. (Ooh, I like this one. :))

I’ve read most of the “classic” ones, and was at a loss as to which fairy tale to read (especially since I figured I’d be tempted to pick The Twelve Dancing Princesses, as my favorite… but I’ve already read every version of that I can find, so…), but I remembered that awhile back I’d been in the middle of reading through a collection called “The World’s Best Fairy Tales“, and hadn’t finished. So I pulled it from my shelf and opened it where I’d left off…

1. What fairy tale did you read?

The Tinderbox (Hans Christian Anderson; the book said it was from the Andrew Lang collection). It’s the one about the soldier, the tinderbox (naturally), the princess, and the three dogs with the interestingly large eyes… (Teacups, saucers, and millstones or towers were I believe the operative words…) It sort of sticks in your mind once you’ve read it!

2. Did you enjoy it?

I’d say so. It’s kind of odd, as many fairytales are, but I vaguely recall a shortened, illustrated version of it from a collection of children’s tales and verse, which I remember I loved. It has some similarities to a few other fairy tales, like perhaps Aladdin and his lamp, though obviously I — as a person rabidly mildly interested with The Twelve Dancing Princesses — ended up noticing that it has a slight resemblance to that… opening with a soldier meeting an old woman, and having an underground place with an emphasis on three areas and having copper, silver, and gold, and a princess who her parent(s) are worried about going out at night. …Okay, so maybe I’m over-thinking it. šŸ˜‰ Anyways, it’s a short tale, and interesting, with an occasional amusing turn of phrase. I’m not the biggest fan of Anderson, and some of it’s… weird… but still pretty fun. šŸ™‚

3. If there is a movie version of it, which is better? If there’s not a movie version, do you think there should be an adaption?

If there is, I haven’t seen it… šŸ˜› And I think it would make an odd movie! There’s kind of not that much to it? But I supposed all adaptions of fairy tales manage to build more on the story than was originally there…

4. Is this the first original fairy tale you’ve read?

Not at all — I’ve read many others! šŸ™‚

5. Do you want to read any more original tales now?

Yes, I hope to read many more in the future! Fairy tales are fascinating. šŸ™‚

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In case you can’t tell, I’m having a lot of fun being a part of these Fantasy Love February challenges. šŸ˜€

Fantasy Fan-Art

FantasyLoveFebruaryReadingChallenge

I’m a bit late to the party, but I’m linking up with this week’s Mini Challenge for the Fantasy Love February (hosted by Grace @ Fictionally) which is to share some Fantastic Art! šŸ™‚

(See the challenge post with the other linkers here — even join in the linkup if you like, with some fantasy art or photography or poetry or whatever! šŸ™‚ — and read about the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge here.)

I have no claims that these bits of fan-art are fantastic in any way other than that they are a) fan-art and, b) from fantasy books I love… but here you go. I am very rarely artistic with anything other than words, hence writing is my art of choice instead of drawing… But I do occasionally draw things, if I have inspiration. (Which is rare.) I’m also a perfectionist so I rarely consider something “finished” but oh well.

Here are a couple of fan art pieces that I drew once upon a time. (Once Upon A Time. Get it? šŸ˜€ Like… fairytales and fantasy and… Ahem. Nevermind… :P) (Also I hope it’s not cheating to not actually draw/make something this week? I really wanted to but had no inspiration and no time. *sadface*)

AchanChamFanart
Achan Cham from The Blood of Kings Trilogy (By Darkness Hid, To Darkness Fled, From Darkness Won) by Jill Williamson

As you can see, I sketched this from the cover of the third book, From Darkness Won, just as a sketching exercise, and didn’t spend too much effort on it. (Which is why there seems to be something wrong with his nose, in particular…? Also my scanner seemed to decide it would be a great time to act up and not scan properly… šŸ˜› My apologies.)

Achan is the hero of the Blood of Kings trilogy and just for the record he’s one of my favoritest heroes EVER.

Like… ordinarily my favorite character in a book tends to be some side character who doesn’t get much screen time page time. But I think I can honestly say that Achan is my favorite character in the trilogy. He’s just great and has this dry sense of humor and makes mistakes but keeps trying and you just gotta love him. Best main character ever! (Or one of, at least.)

I seriously need to reread those books… They’re really fabulous Medieval Fantasy! And if you haven’t read them, they’re definitely worth a read. šŸ™‚

RakketyTamFanArt

Rakkety Tam MacBurl (from Rakkety Tam by Brian Jacques in the Redwall series)

Slightly cartoonish, but I had a lot of fun with this one — not to mention it’s an oddity in that it’s one of my few drawings that actually has color!

For those who don’t know (you’re missing out!) Rakkety Tam is an awesome squirrel warrior in one of the Redwall books, and he (obviously) wears a kilt and has a Scottish accent and is basically one of my favorite Redwall characters and one of my favorite Redwall books. Though I admit I haven’t actually READ it… in that I listened to the audiobook (several times) because of the fabulous full cast and all their glorious accents. Seriously. So much awesome. Anyways he’s a fabulous warrior hero, and he’s Scottish, and he’s a squirrel, and basically what is not to love? ā¤ (For those who are curious, my top favorite Redwall books are Mossflower, Taggerung, and Rakkety Tam. And they are all overdue for a reread… or perhaps a relisten?)

So there is my foray into some fantasy fan-art.

Make sure to check out the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge (I’ve read 2 on my list so far…), and also remember that February is Fantasy Month! Jenelle Schmidt is still having some fantastic (in more ways than one) posts on her site as well. Join the fun! šŸ™‚

*happily twirls in all of the fantasy-ness*

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Fantasy Love February Nightstand Books

Today’s post is a mix of… well, of three different things, all scrumptiously rolled together into one.

Firstly: Nightstand Books, which is a fun bookish monthly meme, the first Wednesday of every month, held by Jenelle and D.J.

Secondly: Jenelle is also doing a Fantasy month thing for February… Check out her post here!

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In case you don’t know, fantasy is my FAVORITE.

Thirdly: Grace @ Fictionally is holding a Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge which I am — tentatively? — joining in on. (That is, I hope to be able to read a bunch of fantasy, but my reading goals always tend to do whatever they want instead of what I want, soo… we’ll see.)

FantasyLoveFebruaryReadingChallenge

So! Because Nightstand Books is about what we’re reading this month, and since the first part of the first mini-challenge within the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge is to post the book/books you plan/hope to read for the challenge… and since this all relates to fantasy… it’s all coming together in this post!

Apparently February is a lovely (see what I did there?) time to celebrate fantasy. Huzzah! It’s the perfect excuse for me to read some fantasy books I’ve been meaning to read.

Here’s my nightstand currently… (Not all of it’s fantasy… but that’s why this is the Nightstand Books part…)

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I’m working on going through all the Holmes stories, so right now I’m working through The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which contains three collections of short stories (one of which I read last month) as well as The Hound of the Baskervilles. I’m currently in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes; then it’s on to Hound and Return. I’m loving reading these, especially since short stories can be read fairly quickly, and I simply adore the original illustrations by Sidney Paget! They’re the essence of the Holmes tales, right there. ā¤

Also started The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (edited by Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien). I read most of this book quite some time ago, but never actually got all the way to the end, and it’s been a long time so I don’t really remember them… Hence, I’m restarting and hoping to go through the whole thing this time. It’s fascinating and I love being in the mind of my favorite author.

Similar story to above: The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones is a book I’ve read bits of but never sat down to read all the way through. Set up as an A-Z “guidebook” to Fantasyland, it’s tongue-in-cheek, making fun of cliches and just having a rollick, and it’s quite hilarious.

So those are what I’m currently in. (I’d also kind of like to read a few of the books I didn’t get to in January, like Rising Shadows and The Poisoned Cure… but we’ll see.)

But! Then I’d also like to read some fantasy for said reading challenge. So these are (tentatively) what I’m hoping to read in February.

Aaand I may end up suddenly having a bunch of other books to review, or going to the library and getting a bunch of random things, or having no time to read because I’m busy and/or writing, so this may not happen, but I’m hoping to, anyway!

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So… Nightstand round #2 (yes, Tough Guide to Fantasyland is in both. šŸ˜€ )

What’s on your nightstand? Anything fantasy-ish? šŸ˜‰

Dream away in those pages…

~The Page Dreamer