Author: Neil Gaiman
Release Date: May 2010
Publisher: Editorial Presença
Pages: 299 (paperback)
Genre: YA | Ghost | Paranormal
Read: from July 14 to 16, 2014
Source & Shelf: Bought | Own
ISBN: 9780060530921 (Portuguese) | 9780060530945 (English)
IT TAKES A GRAVEYARD TO RAISE A CHILD.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy – an ancient indigo man, a gateway to abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible fleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will be in danger from the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family . . .
This is the reason why Neil Gaiman is an author everyone should read and appreciate. He doesn’t write only one specific genre, he picks up whatever he wishes and transforms it into a tale – whether is a dark one, a children’s book or a Doctor Who short-story. Neil Gaiman transports us into a fantasy world so deep it’s quite impossible to get out.
The Graveyard Book kicked-off rather slow at first, picking up its pace towards the end. We begin the story with how Nobody ended up in the graveyard and then slowly we are introduced to some of his adventures as a kid growing up surrounded by dead people. Then it focuses on the person who wants to kill Nobody and the whole climax of trying to defeat Jack and save Nobody.
The main reason I really enjoyed this book was Nobody and his eternal turmoil of trying to belong. The story had a somewhat Harry Potter feeling to it but only briefly. We could see how Nobody grew up to become this immensely deep person who can distinguish good and bad, black and white.
I think this is a book everyone should read at least once and learn something from it. The pictures give an eerie feeling to it and makes the whole universe real and reachable. This is why Neil Gaiman will always have a place on my shelves.
Author: Shannon Hale
Release Date: April 17th, 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children
Pages: 336 (Paperback)
Genre: Middle Grade | Fantasy
Series: Princess Academy #1
Read: from July 16 to 19, 2014
Source & Shelf: Bought | Own
ISBN: 9781599900735 (Paperback)
Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.
Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.
Princess Academy was a disappointment and a relief at the same time. Contradiction? A little bit, I admit. But the truth is that I wasn’t blown away by this book – hence the disappointment bit – but at the same time it had such an amazing character it was a relief from previous books I’ve read.
Princess Academy wasn’t exactly what I initially thought when I started it but I ended up enjoying. Miri and some of the girls in her village are taken to an academy to become a princess so the Prince can choose one of them to marry. This because it was seen in his future that his future wife was from Mount Eskel. So, in a way, this book felt like a private school for girls with a fairy-tale vibe to it. Now wrap it all with a strong main character and a nice pace and you get yourself a good middle grade book.
Miri’s character was amazing and I loved her. She was strong, determined, independent and charismatic and the solemn reason I gave this book three cups. The slow pace and that bullying and the rest of the characters didn’t conquered me though the story was interesting enough to have me want to know who the Prince was going to choose.
So, even though Shannon Hale didn’t really made me gape, her writing was beautiful and her character remarkable. And this is a story with a deep lesson and that was the beauty of the book.
Author: Serena Valentino
Release Date: July 22nd, 2014
Publisher: Disney Press
Pages: 224 (Hardcover)
Genre: Fantasy | Retelling
Read: from August 21 to 23, 2014
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781423159124 (Hardcover)
A cursed prince sits alone in a secluded castle. Few have seen him, but those who claim they have say his hair is wild and nails are sharp–like a beast’s! But how did this prince, once jovial and beloved by the people, come to be a reclusive and bitter monster? And is it possible that he can ever find true love and break the curse that has been placed upon him?
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Beast Within was such a disappointment to me! But there were several elements within it that were rather interesting and the solemn reason I rated this book two cups.
First of all, don’t go into this book thinking you’ll be reading Beauty and the Beast from the Beast’s perspective. This is set slightly before the curse and then during the first stages of its development. And, let me tell, as a person who loves the original fairy-tale and the Disney version – in which this story was based – this book had a lot to give and it wasn’t given leaving me speechless and down.
The Beast is already a young man – not in his twenties yet – who only wants beautiful women and who is vain and conceited. His best friend is Gaston (SAY WHAT?!) and he was cursed by someone who loved him and he thought loved back. His supposed love was suddenly crushed when he found out she was the daughter of someone below him. But, dum dum dum, she was indeed a witch with three other sisters who were crazy – they reminded me those three witches from Hercules. Circe, the witch, curses him with the already known curse but he isn’t transformed into the beast straight away.
I enjoyed the fact that the curse is slowly set upon him with each time he does or says something foul.
Then we have a princess called Tulip Morningstar who is soon to marry the prince. He thinks that by kissing her – because he thinks he’s in love with her and that she loves him back – he will break that curse but his love for her isn’t true. He only loves her beauty and the fact that she’s, well, slightly dumb.
Truth is, I was disappointed with how the author actually portrayed the Beast and how she changed the already known story. The fact that the Beast’s best-friend was Gaston didn’t really conquer me. I found that slightly forced, just a way to have Gaston in the story-line.
However, I did enjoy the three witches. I found their characters interesting even though they try to sabotage their sister’s curse. They gave the story this sinister and fairy-tale-ish vibe that isn’t part of the original by Disney.
Still, I think this book could had been much more and better if the writing wasn’t boring and repetitive and if the author hadn’t rushed the ending.