Powered by Blogger

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Latest books

Despite being insanely busy lately, I have managed to read a few good books.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Yet another in the huge stack of book that my friend Meredith loaned to me. I just got done saying I wasn't going to read any more Young Adult novels, but the folks on the goodreads website loved this one, so I thought I'd give it a try. (Maybe I just don't like the whole fallen angel thing, which is what the last two books I tried and gave up on were about.) This is a more traditional fantasy novel, i.e., not a melding of the modern world with a mythical one (like Twilight, Impossible, The Iron King, Fallen, etc, etc). I had hesistated over this one because the main character is an assassin and I thought I wouldn't enjoy that, but the book establishes immediately that she performs these duties reluctantly, so I didn't have a problem with it. One minor note, the main character's name is Katsa, which kept putting me in mind of Katniss, from The Hunger Games, which I found quite distracting at first, but got over after a few chapters.

Anyway, I just loved this book - I inhaled it, raved about it, and can't remember enjoying a book so much in a long time. Until the last third. Then the author sends Katna off on a rather solitary quest and it's all ice and snow and making hats out of animal skins and the interesting characters and relationships disappear. When she emerges from this trek, the author takes a very dark turn and, among other things, has something terrible happen to the love interest, Prince Po, which completely changes the nature of their lively and charming romance. By the time the book ended, I was a bit stunned and quite disappointed. This could have been one of my top 10 favorites of all time, and instead it's just a good book that I enjoyed. The first half was so strong that I'm quite willing to read her other book, Fire, as well as the sequel to this story, Bitterblue, due out next year. But I wish this had been as satisfying at the end as it was during the first half.

Enter Three Witches by Caroline B Cooney (who has written scads of books for kids and teens including Black Beauty) is a retelling of the MacBeth story (apparently there's a bunch of these), told mostly from the point-of-view of a young lady who lives in Inverness Castle. They had this at the library, so I grabbed it. I'm really glad I read it. It was interesting and enjoyable and a surprisingly quick read, considering the weighty topic. I actually saw MacBeth performed when I was in high school, but I barely remember it. I'm not a huge fan of historical novels, but the author has a very interesting way of structuring the chapters (including quotes from the play), and I really liked how she presented events from more than one characters' perspective. I was a little confused by the complicated court intrigue, but I feel like I understand MacBeth a lot better now (though of course several characters in this story do not exist in Shakespeare's play). I also love the title, which is the very first stage direction in the play.

I enjoyed this enough to read another book based on the story (which I also got at my local library) - Lady MacBeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein. It's very different, but also pretty good. I felt it dragged a bit in the second half and felt a little padded (since you know where the story is going, I sorta wanted her to get there already). It's a rather more sympathetic portrayal of Lady MacBeth, who is a victim of her domineering husband in this story. But of course that eliminates the character's power, which is part of what makes her such a compelling literary creation. Anyway, it made me more anxious to read Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King, which I already have via Kindle on my cell phone.



Post a Comment

<< Home