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The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Psuedo-fairytale kid's novel about an unusual mouse who lives in a castle and prefers reading books to chewing them, a dungeon rat with a fascination for light, a servant girl with a history of being abused, and a beloved princess named Pea. The desires and backstories of the characters all entwine, leading them through the opposing worlds of the glittering castle and the horrific maze-like dungeon below. The narration (which frequently features the author directly addressing the leader) will probably seem either cloying or charming depending on who you ask. I mostly enjoyed it though, although I was kind of "Hmmm" about the way the story treated Mig and Roscuro.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Autobiographical comic book detailing Raina Telgemeier's four years at the end of middle school and the beginning of high school. I think this used to be a webcomic before Raina Telgemeier got a publishing deal?

The story starts with her horrifically damaging her front teeth and the next four years deal with her basically having to have her entire jaw reconstructed in procedure after procedure, while dealing with the usual tweenage woes of body image issues, crushes, and toxic friendships. Also a bit of a "period piece" as we get to read about Raina seeing The Little Mermaid in theaters for the first time and living through the 1989 San Francisco Earthquake. Pretty cute overall. The art style reminds me vaguely of the For Better or For Worse comics.



Mary Coin by Marisa Silver

Novel based on Dorothea Lange's famous "Migrant Mother" photograph. In this story Dorothea Lange is replaced by a woman named Vera Dare, and Florence Owen Thompson becomes Mary Coin, while the author adds in a third character, Walker Dodge, a modern day historian and university professor who has a connection to the photograph that he's unaware of. The author chronicles the lives of these three characters, popping back and forth in time to slowly reveal more information as the three characters deal with their own issues: Vera Dare tries to figure out her career while dealing with her husband and sons, Mary Coin struggles with keeping herself and her children alive during extreme poverty, and Walker Dodge deals with the death of his distant father and the issues of his troubled teenage daughter. Not a very action packed book, as you might imagine, though I liked the family drama elements.

The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi

Second book in the Amulet series. (My thoughts on the first book here.) It's a bit less frightening, for lack of a better word, than the first book: Instead of the grey and blue forests full of toothy, slimy monsters from the previous installment this book starts off in a warmer fantasy city populated by anthropomorphic animals, the protagonists gain new allies, learn more about what exactly they're doing and what the rules of this new world are, are able to fight their enemies instead of just flee from them, the toothy elf prince from the previous book is given a name (Trellis) and it looks like he's going to be an eventual ally, and at the end of the book Emily and Navin's mom is finally cured of her poison.Still plenty of danger along the way though, and it's a very action packed book. I'm intrigued as to where the story's going next.

I'm delighted that Trellis appears to be going through a redemption arc because I love that shit and am fully rooting for the Former Villain Joins The Main Party And Becomes Weird Uncle scenario. Also curious as to what's up with his parentage: His dad appears to be our Big Bad, a former stonekeeper who was corrupted by his stone's power and now just goes around being a huge asshole so he can amass more power. It also seems like the Elf King was pretty fucking young when he got corrupted, so it seems more plausible that Trellis was born after the Elf King was corrupted- in which case, I'm curious as to how Trellis is supposed to play into the Elf King's desire for power. (Also curious as to who Trellis's mother is, since it isn't mentioned- though I suspect if we get an answer, it's probably going to be kind of horrible in some way.)

Thing I'm Curious About #2: I was fully expecting Mrs. Hayes to remain in a coma for a looooong time, and I'm wondering how having her awake and around is going to affect the main party's dynamic. While Emily and Navin do interact with and are allies with adult characters, Leon and the others generally treat the kids as authority figures, or at least, people they're supposed to serve. Mrs. Hayes, however, is Emily and Navin's mom, which makes her not just an adult but theoretically a figure of authority over the kids. While she seems to quickly accept that her kids are going to be involved in this strange fantasy world and its problems and is willing to go along with them so far, I can see this being a potential source of conflict in future volumes.
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rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (Default)
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