Well, the song of the day is...Cibelle's London, London. I find it fitting... also, is anyone listening to the music I post? I'd love some feedback on the new feature!
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
As Mieville primarily writes for adults, this book got a lot of buzz from places that normally wouldn't look twice at a children's book.
Sadly, as most of these reviewers haven't picked up a children's book since they were children, they might have over-hyped it a bit as best thing written for children EVER.
Now, it is really good. Really, really good and I was going to nominate for a Cybil, but someone beat me to the punch.
Zanna and Deeba are two council estate girls in London. Weird things have been happening-- graffiti praising Zanna's name and animals paying attention to her. During a sleepover, the girls see a broken umbrella hovering under the window, they follow it. There they discover UnLondon, an abcity, an underground world built out of London's junk and cast offs.
Included in the junk and cast offs is the smog-- London's pollution is not only malevolent, but it has a mind of its own. UnLondon needs the Shwazzy, the chosen one who will lead them through the tough times again. Zanna is that Shwazzy.
Except, when they come back to London, Zanna doesn't remember anything, so it's up to Deena to save the city, no matter what the prophesy says.
Mieville's world is intricate and well thought out. Deeba's accent, however, is uneven. Being an estate kid, she will often use double negatives and will say "fink" instead of "think" but, amazingly enough, she never drops her final "g"s. A reader will go for pages listening to Deeba speak in standard English, and then one word will slip in-- it jars the reader and pulls them out of the story a bit.
However, and I think this is one of the only books I will ever say this for, if you like Harry Potter, especially later, darker Potter, I would recommend this book. (Especially if you're still pondering Dumbledore's feelings on prophesy.)
I'm still having nightmares about giraffes. I promise, you'll never look at them the same way again...
Fablehaven Brandon Mull
So, I really enjoyed Miss Erin's review of Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star, but thought maybe I should start with the first book in the series. So I did.
Kendra and Seth aren't all that excited to spend the month with their Grandpa and Grandma Sorensen. They don't visit that often, Kendra and Seth have never been to their house, and, well, come to think of it, no one's seen Grandma in awhile at all.
When they get there, Grandpa has all of these weird rules that really put a dent in their fun. It doesn't take the kids long to figure out something very, very strange is going on at Grandma and Grandpa's...
What's strange is that Grandma and Grandpa are caretakers of Fablehaven-- a refugee for mythical creatures. Now that their eyes are open, Kendra and Seth can see fairies and satyr's and naiads... But even now that the rules make sense, Seth still can't follow them and the consequences are disastrous.
Overall, Fablehaven is fun adventure, but Mull has obviously spent time poring over folklore and fairytales to weave into his well thought-out world and plot.
I'm very much looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the next one!