The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy #2) – Sherry Thomas
Source: Balzer + Bray
Date Finished: November 11, 2015
Times Read: 2
Rating: 4.5 stars
What I Thought: I am just so thrilled with how this reread has gone. I know several people who just are not into this series, and that always makes me more nervous for a reread because maybe I missed something horrible because I was so focused on the ship. But, no, I totally still think these books are incredibly fun, albeit imperfect. They’re certainly a bit busy, but they’re a delight nonetheless.
I still find it impressive that Sherry Thomas pulled off The Perilous Sea so well. It alternates between Titus and Iolanthe wandering the Sahara, trying to avoid capture while suffering amnesia, and the past events that brought them there in that state. Generally, I loathe amnesia plots, and alternating between two times like that can be thoroughly exhausting. In this case, though, the amnesia isn’t convenient (it doesn’t come back little bits at a time as needed for the plot as it does in so much fiction) and I didn’t find myself wishing the book had been written in linear order as I usually do in such circumstances.
Though, honestly, not sure how I wasn’t more angry at this book for ending where it does. It’s a pretty mean place to leave off, but all three are out now. Just make sure you have The Immortal Heights ready to go as soon as you finish The Perilous Sea. For a more thorough review, here’s my initial review, which I totally still agree with.
The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
Source: Free from Audible at Christmas
Date Finished: November 13, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
What I Thought: Growing up, I had a VHS of the Snow Queen that I really loved. It was animated and probably not that great, but for some reason I found it totally captivating. It got a lot of “The Snow Queen” right, but left out some details, like the mirror.
Julia Whelan’s performance is great, but I can’t say I’m especially impressed with the tale as a bit of storytelling. For one thing, Gerda and Kay seem like very young children but also it’s sort of a romance which is just weird. Gerda also just stumbles through the whole journey, led around conveniently to precisely where she needs to go, sort of like a video game or something. The snow queen herself is rather puzzling and hardly engaged in the story at all.
It was a pleasant holiday listen but not what I’d hoped.
The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) – Lemony Snicket
Date Finished: November 16, 2015
Times Read: 2
Rating: 3 stars
What I Thought: Several years ago, pre-blogging, I read a few of the Lemony Snicket books, but then got distracted and moved on. Audible offered this one on sale one day, and I purchased it on a whim because Tim Curry and multi-voice performance were impossible for me to resist.
In some ways, I greatly prefer the audio to the print, but the multi-voice recording was not everything I’d dreamed it would be. The problem is that it’s not just multiple voices; the actual performances were really great. However, they added background noises: police sirens going by, crashing waves, and any other sound that can add to the setting. In theory, that’s great, but in practice sometimes I couldn’t hear the actual words of the book over the sounds of the background.
These aren’t my typical middle grade picks, and I do have some suspension of disbelief issues, but they’re fun and I do think I’ll very much enjoy going through the audiobooks.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) – J.K. Rowling
Date Finished: November 16, 2015
Rating: 5 stars
What I Thought: When I was younger, I’m pretty sure Half-Blood Prince was my least favorite HP novel. Dumbledore had never been my favorite character so it wasn’t as emotional for me, and I don’t really have any other reasons for that tbh. I don’t really remember my thought process on that one.
Rereading, Half-Blood Prince is definitely at the top of my HP list. For one thing, it’s by far the shippiest book in the series. Ron/Hermione is frustrating perfection throughout.. Harry/Ginny totally still works for me and I am all about surprise kisses yes I am. Tonks/Lupin is sweet, though I totally think I imagined a lot that’s not actually in the book.
What I did not appreciate when I was younger is that Half-Blood Prince is actually the book that deals with my Dumbledore issues. It always bothered me how he would swan in and fix things, after letting them get to a terrible and often unnecessary state. He reminded me a bit of Aslan, and it just didn’t work for me. In Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore’s weakness becomes more apparent. He’s not invincible anymore, and he has real character development here. I will forever be haunted by the scene where he’s drinking the potion.
Also, not a good idea to finish this on the plane. Not crying was such a struggle.
Da Vinci’s Tiger – L.M. Elliott
Date Finished: November 21, 2015
Rating: 2.5 stars
What I Thought: Da Vinci’s Tiger was a tough read for me. It’s one of those books that I both think is really good and also didn’t enjoy very much. I respect everything that Elliott has done here, and I love the window into some history I’m not especially familiar with. At the same time, this book was a slog for me to get through.
The pacing of Da Vinci’s Tiger moves at a crawl. It took me a while to figure out why I felt this way, but I finally put my finger on it. There’s no real plot here; it’s more of a window into what life was like at that time. There’s nothing driving the story forward or making me super curious where things are going to end. From the start, you know that Leonardo paints her and that will be her primary impact on history.
That said, I think the history is done very well and believably. If you’re looking for straight up history without the romance, look no further. Elliott handled feminism and homosexuality in ways realistic to the time without making the book infuriating.
Da Vinci’s Tiger is very good, but there wasn’t quite enough life in the characters to keep me interested without any sort of an exciting plot or romance to keep my attention.