Monday, December 10, 2012

Shorter Musings: MG Fantasies

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. Those are the books that are reviewed quickly on Goodreads and then I move on. Some of those are starting to pile up so I thought I would put them all together in one post.

Here are a few MG fantasies I've read recently and my shorter musings on them.

The Graverobber's Apprentice by Allan Stratton
This is an entertaining medieval type quest fantasy story. It is very typical of the genre and predictable if you are familiar with the tropes. Young readers who are not will have a lot of fun with a story full of adventure, mystery, and just the right amount of creepy. For reasons I can not understand my library shelved this in the Teen section. It is totally going to miss its audience there. There is nothing Teen about this book. Nothing. 

Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
I really enjoyed the characters. I loved Abby, Fred, and Peter. Abby's family was great too. Each of them were so different and full of life and personality. I also very much liked the concept of the novel, a school for ordinary kids born into a magical world. Yet there were times when the ordinariness of the school was a bit dull. Like the instructions for dish washing. (Do kids really need detailed descriptions of this in their books? Do they want them?)  The biggest problem I had was buying into the world. It was incredibly modern yet had a king and what seemed to be an arcane system of justice. It was a strange melding of contemporary and medieval thinking that just never rang true for me. I also couldn't understand why on earth this society raised children to the age of 12 who couldn't do anything for themselves. They have to be followed around so someone old enough to use magic could open doors, turn on faucets, get them dishes. As a parent this is an utterly ridiculous concept to me. 

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
I expected to like this more than I did. I love historical fantasy, particularly with a Norse setting. Yet this book left me cold in many ways. I didn't feel any love for the characters who at times were inconsistent. I also felt like there was more detail than necessary. I did a lot of skimming.  It is, however, an intriguing look at Norse lore and a good Viking tale. For those who enjoy reading long fantasy with some slow sections this a good choice.
The Star Shard by Frederic S. Durbin
The Star Shard is a book with faeries, magic, and a large moving market town known as the Rake. Good stuff. The beginning is a little slow on the action front which may turn off some young readers, but there is plenty of action and excitement in the last half of the book. I enjoyed reading this one and would certainly recommend it to lovers of faerie lore and stories of orphaned children with magic.

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