Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

a couple of lines

from Here, There Be Dragons...

"Astraues," Aven called out. "God of the four winds and friend to sailors. Say a little prayer when you look at him, so he will give us what we need to keep on our course."
"A little prayer?" said Jack. "To a constellation?"
"To what it represents," said Aven.
"But I don't believe in what it represents," said Jack.
"Prayers aren't for the deity," said Aven. "They're for you, to recommit yourself to what you believe."
"Can't you do that without praying to a dead Greek god?"
"Sure," said Aven. "But how often would anyone do that, if not in prayer?" (p. 218)

"The Summer Country is a land greater than any in the Archipelago of Dreams, because it has within it everything to be found in the Archipelago, and more. But where someone like Ordo Maas could find it anywhere, the Winter King would never find it at all. Because to him, it is always just out of his reach--when, in truth, he had it in reach all along."
"It sounds," John said, "as if you're talking about our world."
"Yes," said Bert. "Your world is the Summer Country." (p. 310)

The Finish Line

Here's the summary of my 48-hour book challenge efforts:

I read 7 books, including all four (to date) in The Alchemyst series, and the first in "The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica," Here, There Be Dragons. I can't wait to read some more in that series! All the books I read were fantasy (not a big surprise). I'm particularly intrigued by the overlaps in the two latter series--I want to think more about that, maybe after I read the rest of the Imaginarium Geographica books.

I read a total of 2778 pages.

I put in 16.75 reading hours, and 3 hours of social networking, for a total of 19.75 hours.

Thanks, MotherReader, for putting this together again! It was a weekend well spent!

and one more...

The last book I read for the 48 hour book challenge is another series book, Here There Be Dragons, by James A. Owen. What a great way to end! It's a terrific quest story, with a similar mix of characters and motifs as the Alchemyst books has, but put to entirely different effect--more comic, and more directly intertextual. There's great pleasure to be had in trying to puzzle out the references and connections, some of which come as quite a surprise at the end--though, really, they shouldn't, now that I know what they are. And there are three more books in the series, so I have plenty of fun to come...

(Nick told me I'd enjoy this one. Why is he always right?)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

is this it?

OK, I've finished my 6th book in the challenge, and put in 2 more hours and 389 more pages. So here are the updated totals:

2454 pages
14.75 reading hours
2.5 blogging/networking hours
6 novels

And now I've caught up in The Alchemyst series and I'm seriously annoyed that The Warlock is not yet available for me to read. The little teaser at the end of The Necromancer is pretty tantalizing...

There are other books on my TBR stack so I may pick up another one, but I have to say, I'm pretty close to done. And I'm still kind of stuck in The Alchemyst's world--and liking it--so I'm not sure I'm ready to break that spell. On the other hand, there's still plenty of reading time left this evening. I don't expect to do much tomorrow morning--my time is up at 10:30 and I'm headed to church at about 8:45. So this may be it. But I'll check in again tomorrow morning to confirm the totals, one way or the other.

48 Hour Book Challenge Update

Whew! I'm surprising myself by how much I've read. The quick totals, 28 hours in:

12.75 hours of reading
let's call it 2 hours of social networking, blogging, reading updates, etc.
2065 pages
5 novels

The last three I've read are the first three books in Michael Scott's Alchemyst series; we have one more in the house and that's the next up. This is one appealing series: gods, demigods, and monsters from all kinds of mythology, a nice mix of the historical and the present-day, and all kinds of ambiguity about who's on whose side. I'm only sorry that the fifth novel isn't out yet--I'll finish the weekend without closure, but at least caught up on a series I'm enjoying.

But now I really need to get out of the house. I hit the farmer's market this morning and now it's time to get to Trader Joe's.

Friday, June 04, 2010


First in a series, Byron Davis's Starlighter gives us two planets, linked by tales that each has told of the other. Jason, our human hero, is a warrior in training who isn't sure whether to believe the stories his family tells of humans abducted by dragons, and a world beyond his own. On the other planet, children slave in mines and memorize a story that may be their salvation. Storytelling is key to this novel--Keron, the Starlighter of the title, weaves stories of amazing power that hypnotize their listeners and reveal hidden truths, even to her. The story is fast-paced and the characters--especially Jason and Keron, but also Arxad (the "most human" of the dragons)--are compelling. I'll be on the lookout for the next in this series.

[I received a copy of this book from the publicist and then handed it off to Nick and only just rediscovered it. Book 2 in the 48-hour book challenge.]

The Prophecy

Dawn Miller's The Prophecy has a great cast of characters and a complicated plot--probably not the best choice for my first read-as-fast-as-you-can entry in the 48 hour book challenge. But it was at the top of my TBR list and it's YA, so there you go.

So, there's a war between good and evil (um, angels and fallen angels) but there are some humans who are really important to that war. So far, so good--though it did take me some 100 pages to figure that much out, at least with any clarity. The characters, though, make it: Sam, the martial arts instructor/painter, and his younger brother Jonah, the screw-up; J, the criminal; Jenna, who at 19 has a 5-year-old son (as she says at one point, "you do the math"); and red-headed Carly, whose small size belies her ability to get out of a jam, and fast. They are intriguing characters, and the slow pace of the novel (there are nested flashbacks, which keeps a reader on her toes but, again, slows her down) gives us time to try to get to know them.

There's a lot going on here, and I don't want to give it all away. In a quick read, I give it about three out of five stars: the plot points all do work out, and there's a satisfying conclusion (with a hint that the story could continue without making the reader feel cheated). And, as I said, there are some intriguing characters here, though some are better developed than others. Jonah's at the center, which is fine, but I wanted more of Carly and Jenna, myself--Jenna's story, in particular, is tantalizingly hinted out but remains undeveloped. So, all in all, a fine way to start out the 48-hour book challenge. More to come.

[edited to add: I received this book from a publicist some time ago and just got around to reading it...]

48 Hr book challenge

I haven't participated in Mother Reader's 48-hour book challenge in a while, but I'm trying it this year. I'm home alone today with no car--perfect way to start out!--and I warmed up with three picture books this morning. But now I've got two novels sitting by my right hand and a bunch of other things I've been meaning to get to--so here goes!