Being just that sort of person who reads feminist critique for fun, I devoted part of my poolside reading while on vacation last week to Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a collection of essays about the author’s struggles with the label of feminism and why she claims it nonetheless. One of these essays touched on Gay’s near-fanatical love of the Hunger Games series; in it, she pointed out how downright laughable it was that, in a trilogy where children are brutally murdering each other, it’s apparently not okay to show anything but kissing. This got me to thinking: when is it good to go a little further, as it were, in media portraying teenagers or aimed at teenagers in regards to sex, and when is it weird or wrong?
Almost a year ago I reviewed The Last Dragon Slayer, written by my favorite fantasy author, Jasper Fforde. The tale of teenager Jennifer Strange and her struggle between her duties as a dragon slayer and her own moral compass, along with a colorful cast of charming characters, was a very entertaining, funny, and sometimes saddening read. I still highly recommend it. The recently released sequel to The Last Dragon Slayer is The Song of the Quarkbeast. From the minute I heard there would be a second book,
I had very high expectations, and thought of multiple possible plots for this novel, because I have that kind of free time.
Would it be primarily about people/dragon relations? Would we learn more about the new dragons? Would they cause problems for Jennifer, or would they remain peaceful? What about Jennifer being a berserker—would that be involved? Spoilers after the jump.
Since everyone in my neck of the woods has been enjoying relatively warm weather, I thought I would discuss a novel set in wintry Wales. I was hesitant at first to review this book because I found it in the teen section. Teen novels are not everyone’s cup of tea. However, I try my best not to discriminate against books based solely on their intended audience. Not every teen novel is stupid and more than a few have a good story to tell. They will often even have interesting heroines and heroes. Paula Brackston‘s The Winter Witch is a pretty cool novel. I’m always up for a book about magic, but what I got was far more than another book about a teenage witch who finds love. I don’t think it’s a stretch to call The Winter Witch a fantastic piece of fantasy fiction, and the protagonist Morgana a well-written and interesting character. Continue reading
Hello readers and literature lovers! I got a new book series for you that is full of charm and magically delightful: the Irish author Michael Scott’s 6 book series “The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.” In my eternal search for new reads I discovered this one in the teen fiction section, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is an angst filled creampuff with buff dreamboats sharpening fangs and/or flapping wings. This story is about two fifteen-year-old twins, Sophie and Josh Newman, who, while working their summer jobs, are abruptly engaged in a magical aura fight between two immortals, Dr. John Dee and bookstore owner Nick Fleming (aka Nicholas Flamel). This is all over an ancient book mainly called the Codex, which had been keeping Flamel and his kidnapped wife Perenelle alive. Turns out that the twins are possibly the “twins of legend” or at least might be, and soon they are hopping and bopping all over the globe in search of other immortals to train the twins in the elemental magics and to save the world from the Dark Elders. There is obviously more, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. The crew encounters many immortals, some from legend (Billy the Kid), those considered gods (Thor), and those who you may remember from history (Shakespeare) or even the bible (King David); the historical names and mythological characters alone would be a reason for a read, but the story is obviously interesting too. My favorite character overall is Scathatch, a Celtic warrior of legend who was the founder and instructor of all (and I mean all) types of organized fighting, such as kung fu, jujitsu, karate, etc. She is so bad ass, I’m afraid to cross her and she is a fictional character. The last book of the series, “The Enchantress” will be out May 22nd. Be enchanted! And watch out for Scathatch’s spinning kicks of death!
“The Alchemyst had discovered that the seats revolved and had been amusing himself by swinging back and forth. His chair squeaked with each turn. Finally Prometheus turned and glared at the immortal. ‘If you do that one more time, I’m going to feed you to the Lotan myself.’ ‘And I will help,’ Niten added.” ― Michael Scott, “The Warlock”