Well... I've been reading a whole heck of a lot and work's been pretty busy lately. So, here's to trying to catch up a bit!!!! I still haven't blogged everything I read in May, let alone so far in June! Plus, I have pages and pages of banned books to tell you about (unfortuneately...)
Anyway... here we go!
The Goose Girl Shannon Hale
You remember how much I loved and adored Princess Academy? This is just as good, if not better. Written for a slightly older audience than Academy, Goose Girl retells the not-as-well-known Grimm fairy tale. Princess Ani of Kildenree is being married off to a far-off prince as part of a diplomatic deal between the two countries. One her way, her handmaid and a faction of her escort overthrow her, instating the handmaid as the princess and forcing Ani to run for her life in the woods. Eventually, she reaches the new kingdom, but is forced into hiding. She must disguise her distinctive blond hair in a country of brunettes and change her name to Isi. She gets a job tending the king's geese as she tries and finds a way to regain her rightful position.
At the same time, she see's the injustice in this new land. She passes herself off as one of the people from the forest, but sees how the forest people are never accepted by the city people and not allowed to become full citizens. Of course, her traitorous guards know she's around and are looking for her...
In the end, in addition to an excellent fairy tale, there are also deep lessons about belonging, justice, inner strength, friendship, and discovering who you are.
More than this though, Hale's prose and her sense of place and location make this book a sheer delight and quickly making her one of my favorite authors.
Enna Burning Shannon Hale
This is a companion book to Goose Girl and is an originial tale, not a retelling. In this book, Ani's friend Enna takes the lead war as Bayern is faced with an invading army. Ani's gift of wind-speak is grown out of control to the point where it overwhelms her. Enna has learned the secret of fire-speak and uses her gift in battle but must live with the consequences of burning people alive. Her gift is also raging out of control with the war far from over, she, and Bayern need help.
This is a powerful followup to Goose Girl and perhaps my favorite of Hale's three works so far. I highly recommend.
Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile Bill Willingham
Ooooo.... a graphic novel series has finally sucked me in, big time. Here is an underground community of Fable-characters who are exiled in modern day New York. Back when it was still New Amsterdam, they fled after their various kingdoms and worlds were taken over by the unknown Adversary. Fabletown is led by Mayor King Cole, but everyone knows that Deputy Mayor Snow White is the real power behind the throne, with sheriff Bigby (Big Bad Wolf) keeping order. In this first book, which is the first 5 comic books bound into one collection,Snow's sister, Rose Red is missing, possibly murdered... fun stuff!
Fables Vol. 2: Animal Farm
Rose is paying off her community service debt up at The Farm, where Fabletowns non-human residents live. When Rose gets there, she finds herself embroiled in a communist plot to take over the farm and eventually return to the homelands. With Goldilocks as the communist revolutionary, followed in Orwellian fashion by the three little pigs, there is a battle on...
Fables Vol. 3: Storybook Love
This is great, because we have some stand-alone stories in addition to adding on to the story arc of the previous two books. There's a Civil War Era tale of Jack's, plus the history of how the Liliputians escaped and the origins of their current coming-of-age ritual of trying to steal a piece of magic barley-corn. There is also a non-story arc story in the modern fabletown community where a journalist is onto the Fables... but misreads the evidence. After confronting Bigby with the news that he knows they're all vampires, they come up with a plot involving Sleeping Beauty's special talents...
In the title story, things get down to business as we discover whose side Bluebeard is really on, as well as the return of previous villians. Bigby and Snow are targeted and forced into hiding and the end reveals a big secret that has you *dying* for the next installment!
Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers
This starts with Boy Blue's retelling of the last battle of the Homelands, descibing the battle, and the survivor's guilt faced by those on the last ship that made it to the New York.
This also sets up the main story of the return on Red Riding Hood, who wasn't on the last ship. But is she who she says she is? There's been goblin sightings and even worse, the portal has been reopened and the Advesary's forces have found them. Fabletown is once again battling for their very exsistance, but this time in the heart of fundy New York.
Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons
The early tales in this volume see Bigby's war stories and Cinderella's true nature.
In the main story, we follow a year in the life of Fabletown. Charming wins the election and there's a new adminstration. Beauty and the Beast have a hard time learning the ropes and Charming sees that not all promises can be kept. Snow gives birth relocates to the farm with Rose. Bigby dissappears and the North Wind shows up to give some pointers to his grandchildren. This volume doesn't see the amount of action as the previous ones, but it packs a true emotional punch. Very well done and probably my favorite.
Fables Vol. 6: Homelands
We start with a one-off on where Jack went to, which introduces his own new spin-off series.
In the mean time, we see Fabletown, where Blue has run off with Pinnochio and gone back to the homelands, ready to face down the advesary, whom we finally see and discover. We are also told that so far only the European worlds were taken, but the adversary is expanding, and the Asian and African worlds are set to fall as well...
Which has me really really excited for...Fables: Vol. 7 Arabian Nights (and Days) which comes out a week from today. I can't decide whether to buy it or not, because I've read all the others in the library, but they haven't even ordered it yet, so who knows when we're getting it?!
The Sisters Grimm : The Problem Child Michael Buckley
In this third installment, there is a Jabberwocky lose in Ferryport. We also have the return of a long lost relative and Granny Grimm's reluctance to take on a case, which has Sabrina and Daphne worried. There is an election for Ferryport mayor and we meet the Little Mermaid, the Blue Fairy and Baba Yaga. Puck is gravely injured and it looks like the only way to save him and deal with the Jaberwocky is the vorpal blade... which was destroyed. Sabrina also learns how addictive magic can be and the high price one pays for using it. Very good! I can't wait for the next one!