(Cute little mouse in an Abbey)
Redwall (Book 1 of the Redwall series) by Brian Jacques
Rating : five stars
To be honest I am probably not objective at all for this review. Redwall was one of my favorite series as a child and I remember watching every episode of the animated series I even had the DVDs. Although the book series are darker and denser, it still brings back my childhood memories.
The first book of the Rewall series follows the story of a young mouse Matthias who lives in the Abbey of Redwall. The Abbey and the forest of Mossflower have to face the terrible threat of Cluny the Scrooge a war rat who destroys everything. But the Abbey is hiding a great weapon, the soul of Martin the Great a warrior mouse who had spent his last days in the Abbey. Matthias sets on a journey to reclaims Martin’s sword and save the Abbey.
Honestly the book was a lot darker than I remembered. In the animated series there were no graphic deaths whereas in the book it is a bit gorier. I seriously don’t remember reading theses passages as a child…. Perhaps a child doesn’t realise how horrible it is? Anyways, even the plot was as I remembered it and I still really loved it!
For those who have seen the animated series the plot is very similar, there are a few changes but overall there is no plot change not like A Song of Ice and Fire (Am I the only one frustrated with the changes in the TV shows?).
What I love about this series is that the characters are anthropomorphic, yeah you have talking mice, rats, sparrows, etc., but it’s not weird. In some books the whole talking animal feels not natural, but here they are behaving like humans and their animal characteristic are defining their personalities. In my opinion, the fact that they were animals were not very important except for explaining conflicts or personalities.
The book is very quick to read even for 300 something pages, chapters are very short and the story is very fast paced. There are no moments where nothing happens or like there is in some novels “filling moments” basically when a character goes from place A to place B or wants to gather information.
It is considered a Middle grade book but it can still be enjoyed by adults. It’s a good fantasy book and lighter than any epic fantasy book, it’s a good way to get back into reading to be honest. I will definitely reread the other books in the series but maybe not all of them xD
Fire Rose (Elemental Masters series volume 0) by Mercedes Lackey
Rating: four stars
Rose Hawkins is in a dire situation. Her father died leaving her with debts and family conflicts, she has no other options than to take a job as a governess. What a coincidence, Lord Jason Cameron is looking for one! But as she travels to San Francisco she discovers that her new job is more mysterious than first meets the eyes and her new boss very secretive.
This is the first book in the Elemental series by Mercedes Lackey and can be read as a standalone. I think that the entire series can be read as standalones. It is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I was disappointed because the Beast in this book lost all his “cruel, violent and beastly” characteristics and only is characterized as such because of his appearance (werewolf) but he is not treating Rose bad or anything. I can’t help but compare it with the original story (not the Disney one, the French version) and to Heart’s Blood by Juliette Marillier.
In fact there are a lot of similarities between Fire Rose and Heart’s Blood, plot wise and character wise and they are drifting apart from the original story…. It’s not a bad thing in itself but it feels like there is a subgenre in Beauty and the Beast retelling were the “Belle” is a scholar and is hired to work for the Beast. This actually softens the “Beast” part and completely ignores the fact that in the original story he kidnapped her…
Enough ranting lol. You all know by now my love for Mercedes Lackey. I do admit it I am a fan and sometimes not really objective on her works. I do admit that some of her books are greatly better than others and this one is in the middle. It is only good.
To be honest I did enjoy it because of the characters they were very deep. Paul du Mond especially he is a hateful character and the author made him so that you hate him right from the beginning.
Although it is not my favorite book from her I still fairly enjoyed it and it is a good change from the Valdemar series.
(Yep this is the drawing that held my attention for about a month because I could not get it right somehow…. It’s at the beginning of the book so if you read it you know what the scene is 😉 )
Broken Pride (Bravelands series book 1) by Erin Hunter
Rating :five stars
The newest Erin Hunter series finally!!!! I am a huge fan of Erin Hunter’s work, as a kid I was reading the warriors series and I also loved the Survivor series although I have not got my hands on Seekers yet.
This new series follows three animals from the savannah a lion, a baboon and an elephant. All three have joint destinies and have to face some changes in the savannah.
If you are familiar with her works, you probably know that they (yes Erin Hunter is in fact a group of female authors) likes to include animal mythologies in their stories. In fact religion (if you can call it as such) is always a centre part of how animals are acting. Personally I think it is a metaphor for their instincts. 😉
What did I not love in this book? Well, nothing! I was growing tired with the Warrior series and I don’t think I will read the last series (seriously I am getting a bit lost with all the new characters and such…. But I am still reading the new companion’s books) and this one is a breath of fresh air.
I couldn’t help myself but see some similarities with the Lion King, I don’t know if it is wanted or not but the lion’s story is very similar to Simba’s. Or maybe I am just a huge Disney fan who sees Disney references everywhere.
If you are new to Erin Hunter’s books you should, they are middle grade anthropomorphic books but awesome. I think you can start by whichever series you like but bear in mind that if you get hooked on the Warriors series there are loads of books to read!
The Black Cauldron (Chronicles of Prydain #2) by Lloyd Alexander
Rating : five stars
And we’re back in Prydain for the second book in the Chronicles of Prydain series. Our companions reassemble to join force once more against the dreadful Arawn. Their new quest is to destroy the black cauldron, the source of life of Arawn soldiers.
I liked this sequel even more than the first book. The characters have grown; clearly Taran has a little bit less pride than before. Not only are they faced with evils, the greatest of all is growing up and seeing that life is not peaceful even within a group.
In the first book there was no real deep trauma for the characters but in this one they face death, treason and despair a huge step up from the first book. We get more introspection within characterisation in this sequel and links between Taran and the other characters are deepened.
I was also super excited to see the three witches (Am I the only one who compared them to the ones in Macbeth?) it was the most interesting part of the book and to compare it with the Disney one (who cannot…) it had a role in the plot and gave substantial information.
I will do a full parallel between movie and books when I finish the series. I also read The Founding which is a sort of prequel before Prydain, it is not spoilery at all so if you want to read it feel free it’s super short and gives a good overview of Lloyd Alexander’s style.
(I have to admit seeing your imaginary friend with a surf board must be pretty cool)
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Rating: three stars
Jackson is an intelligent boy who wishes to be a zoologist. Jackson has a lot of questions and a lot of worries that should not be for his age. His family is facing some financial difficulties and they have to leave their home. Suddenly, the night before they depart, his old imaginary friend comes back.
Weirdly this book was called Skiddy in french and not Crenshaw, I still haven’t figured out why….
I was pleasantly surprised by this book; I originally picked it up because the cover was great, but it has a lot more feels to it than the cover let you think. The plot is a little bit disjointed because the flashbacks are mixed with the present. But once you figure out what is happening it flows.
I really liked the idea of imaginary friends coming back when children need it and also that they all wait somewhere for you. I think this book will be perfect for middle graders but as an adult it missed something. I mean it was good but it was a weird mix of children preoccupations and adult’s ones, it could have been good but I am not sure if children would get the entire psychological spectrum behind it.
(Daine and all her animals going on an adventure, I just realized that the lighting is pretty bad so sorry guys…)
Wolf Speaker(Immortal series 2) by Tamora Pierce
Rating : five stars
I have to admit I love this book more than the first one. We are back with an older Daine who is travelling with Numair. But as they cross the region of Dunlath her old pack of wolves are calling out to her. They are facing a major crisis due to humans digging holes in the ground. Terrible problems await Daine when she realizes that something fishy is going on in Dunlath.
For me the most interesting part was to see Daine interacts with animals and it was what I loved in the first book. She almost has no interaction with humans and develops her capacities. We also learn more on several creatures and their relationships to humans are getting more and more complex.
Daine’s powers are also increasing, she now can travel through an animal with their mind but she can also turn into one which is awesome!
The only thing I could say is that I didn’t care at all for the villain… Maybe it was because we didn’t really know who the actual villain is but he is not at the center of events. I don’t know if it is just me but he felt small and not that powerful.
Anyways I still love this series and I hope to get to the other books pretty soon! Also I might do a tag post before Christmas, any suggestions?
Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher
Rating : five stars
As you all can see, no art for this review. Why? Well just open this book, the art inside is just gorgeous and I didn’t want to try and do the same and fail LOL.
This book follows William a young man in a wheelchair. William leaves with his father and is being hazed at school by the new girl. Deprived of friends and very sad, William sends a Christmas letter asking for a dinosaur. In the North Pole, before Christmas, Santa’s elves find an egg in the ice and bring it back to Santa. Once hatched they discover that it contained a dinosaur.
I will stop here because honestly since it is a middle grade book you can probably tell how it’s going to go BUT it is so damn well written. I just thought that mixing Christmas and dinosaurs was a pretty darn good idea. I was at work when we opened the box containing these babies and I had to get it right after that. My first reaction was to flip through it and discover the amazing art inside!
Anyone can read this book but if you consider buying it for a child I think 8-10 years would be the smallest age for this book. Of course you can read it to smaller ones but I don’t know…
What’s your favorite Christmas book? Do you have any recommendations? Comment down below if you want and until next time !