Friday, December 6, 2013

Shorter Musings: More MG Fantasy

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. When these start to pile up, I put them together in one post.

Here are some MG Fantasy books I have read recently with my thoughts.

How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle
If this book had not been nominated for a Cybils award, I probably never would have read it. It wouldn't have been on my radar. That would have been so sad, because it is an excellent book in every way. Tingle tells the tale of one young Choctow boy on The Trail of Tears and how he died. Despite the subject matter it is a hopeful story. I liked how so much historical fact and detail was included as well as details about the Choctow people. The story is fast paced with quite a lot of adventure. The harsh realities of the Trail of Tears are not glossed over, but they are not gruesomely described either. I'm so happy to have discovered this before my daughter studies this time period in history. This will certainly be a book I have her read.

The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke
The Neptune Project is an adventurous tale with a lot of action. There are countless underwater battles with soldiers, with sharks, with a sea dwelling gang, and even a giant squid. This tells the story of a group of genetically altered kids who have to make their way to a colony that has been designed to find a way to make a better life for humans trying to survive a world suffering from famine, plague, and overheating. They are accompanied by a pod of dolphins who the main character, Nere, grew up with. Even with all the action, the pacing seemed off to me. A lot of time was spent on scenes that could have been shorter, and the end was super rushed. I think this is the first in a series, but even then the end was too rushed and left too many plot threads (DAI!!!) dangling without enough closure. I also found myself distracted by minor details about how the movement worked under water (and how they were capable of laying down on anything). This certainly has enough adventure and action to appeal to kids who like plots with those things in abundance. Readers who prefer more thorough character development may find themselves frustrated.

The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors
This has a fun concept, but I couldn't help but feel it was only half of a book. True a sasquatch escapes and is found so it does have something of a plot arc, but it was mostly just set up for what I'm assuming is going to be a series of books about the kids working as apprentices for the Imaginary Vet. I didn't feel like I got to know either of the characters well and was left wanting more in the end.

Sleeping Beauty's Daughter by Diane Zahler
I enjoyed this the most of Zahler's books thus far. It is an interesting continuation of the Sleeping Beauty story, with some equally interesting twists. The story follows the fairy tale heroine's two daughters as they try to break a similar curse placed on the eldest princess. Both girls are very different and have a lovely sibling dynamic. Zahler's books are perfect for the younger reader who likes and wants novels based on fairy tales.

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