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the books we love most passionately are often books we discover in late childhood or adolescence. Books we read at that age can have an enormous influence on us, too, can’t they? This isn’t a comprehensive list, by any means, but I’d just like to note down here a few books that influenced me.

The first couple of titles will be no surprise at all to anyone who knows me.Read more... )
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His Own Good Sword (Cymeria, #1)His Own Good Sword by Amanda McCrina

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Megan Whalen Turner fans, pounce! First-time author Amanda McCrina has written a story full of twists and turns and swift, violent action that should appeal to lovers of Turner's political intrigue. Read more... )
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Son (The Giver, #4)Son by Lois Lowry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well. I have a great deal to say about this book, and I'm afraid it won't all be spoiler free. So please stop reading after the summary if you don't want to be spoiled.

"Son" is, of course, beautifully written, and the early sections were absolutely gripping. The main character, the infant Gabe's birthmother, is a girl of fourteen when she gives birth to him. Claire, having stopped taking her pills, feels a great sense of loss when her baby is taken from her. She tries to reconnect with him, and, like Jonas before her, starts sensing the flaws in her society. Then Gabe vanishes.Read more... )
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A review of Kristin Cashore's Bitterblue

"Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Joshua, quoting (possibly misquoting?) in Madeleine L'Engle's The Arm of the Starfish

Is that true? It certainly seems to be; there is a lot of cruelty and corruption in the world - and also in Cashore's fictional world. Bitterblue, the young girl rescued by Katsa and Po in Graceling, is now 18, and a queen.Read more... )
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This is not a formal book review. It's just a few short comments on The Hunger Games , which really is a good book. But not an excellent one, and not, perhaps, as good as it could be. My sister tells me the series gets better, and I certainly intend to read the next two. But - Read more... )
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"And then I'll be married. Married! At fourteen, in the very flower of mine age! O, I know that many women my age are already married and mothers to boot, but it simply won't do for me." Goose Chase, page 6.

This may have been the first time I laughed out loud when reading this book. It wasn't the last.
Read more... )
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The Fallacy of the likeable protagonist: a review of The Demon’s Lexicon and Corbenic
Or, walk softly and carry a sharp sword

This post is inspired by a discussion we’ve been having recently, and also by two excellent books I just read. In the discussion, some people seemed to evaluate characters according to whether they liked them or not. That’s quite human, and I’d guess we readers do it all the time. I’ve done it myself. I’ve said, a few times, about books or films, “I didn’t like it because I didn’t like any of the characters”. But do you really have to like a protagonist for a story to work for you? (Or, in the case of our man Snape, to see that he really *is* the protagonist?) Read more... )


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