(Sophie and her hats!)
Howl’s moving castle by Diana Wynne Jones
rating: five stars
Sophie is the eldest of three sisters. When their father dies, their step mom has to manage the hat shop alone. She dispatches the two youngest and keeps Sophie at the shop where she has always belonged. Sophie feels like it is here duty to accepted her situation and let her self be shut off the world and more and more sheltered and lonely. One day, while selling a hat, she angered the infamous Witch of the waste who turns her into an old lady. Sophie run away to find a wat to counter the spell. Desperately she goes to Wizard Howl’s moving castle even if the rumors describe him as eating maiden’s hearts.
I recently re-read this amazing book. It brought back so many memories because this is the book which got me into fantasy. It is just so well written and the characters are addictive. No wonder the great Miyazaki made it into an anime! And for once the “movie” was as good even if it did not entirely follow the plotline.
This is an excellent start into fantasy for me because it is Jane Austen vibes meets Terry Pratchet. So yes I could go on and on about how awesome this book is but it would be even better if you go read it xD
As you might have heard in July, I started to work as a librarian for a famous French library a bit like Barnes and Nobles. To be honest it was kind off a job opportunity I would not have let fly by me because seriously being surrounded by books all day how could I possibly refuse?
I do love my job although it is frustrating because so many books pass between my hands and I can’t read them! xD I also have less time to do things outside of work and since I spent my days standing up I am pretty tired at night. I also don’t have a redundant schedule, meaning I can work five to six days in a week and they vary from one week to another therefore my posts are not really schedule as well.
But! I do have some interesting anecdotes to share with you guys so that’s a plus! I thought I would talk about weird things customers ask and funny things that happened at work because let’s be honest I have quite a few things to say.
For example, yesterday, a girl (mid-twenties) came to our counter and said she needed book recommendations for her vacation. I asked what kind of books she liked and she answered, ‘A bit of everything and the last book I read was a Musso (a French author who writes poor quality contemporary fiction) and also a detective novel. But I want to try some more fantasy because I was going to read a Game of Thrones but since I watched the show I don’t want to read something I already watched.’ Girl how wrong you are! The show is nothing like the books which are immensely better! But, of course, I could not tell her that. So first I recommended a few Science Fiction books and she said she wanted more fantasy. I recommended the Hobbit and she said and I quote, ‘Wait is it the thing (YES SHE SAID THE THING) from The Lord of The Ring universe? I did not like the movies I fell asleep in front of them.’ So I took a calming breath, because who dares to disregard the master himself and pointed a French fantasy author Pierre Pevel (whose book series I started and it’s really book) I told her it was kind of like Harry Potter in terms of universes but she answered, ‘Don’t you have anything like a Game of Thrones?’ Dude you can actually READ the books but keeping my anger I pointed Robin Hobb, I know it’s not quite like it but in terms of universe there are some similitudes. She was not convinced and she actually talked about Twilight so I sighed and gave her a Mercy Thomspon novel. And she was happy.
Another day, I was dealing with a client on the phone when a lady, gray hair in tresses, round glasses and The Girl on the Train in hands came to the counter looking quite embarrassed. I finished with my client and welcomed her. ‘I am quite embarrassed to ask this, my request may seem quite odd and it might be complicated.’ When a client says that usually they don’t know the title or the author and they vaguely remember the book cover so I prepared myself for the worst. ‘I am here to buy the latest edition of Mein Kampf for a friend who is working on it for his studies.’ She was all red and seemed really embarrassed to ask this, poor her. We don’t keep these books in the library they are hidden in a room with the client’s orders. So I gave her the book and she was still looking unsure of herself. ‘Excuse me but do you have something to cover it up? I feel a bit shameful having it in my hand.” I gave her a random paper and reassured her that no one would judge her for that.
(Skanadron and also first drawing of a gryphon since I was 5… I need more practice…)
Black Gryphon (Mage Wars series #1) by Mercedes Lackey
Rating : four stars
The story is set right in a war in the country which will be then known as Valdemar. Gryphons are roaming and attacking the bad guy known as Maar. The best of them, Skanadron is wounded during an attack and is left to heal at camp under the care of human more than a healer Amberdrake. While healing, Skanadron remarks some weird things in the gryphons’ creation and their relations to their leader Urtho.
Honestly I feel that I am not very objective rating this book. I would have given it three stars but my love for Mercedes Lackey made me put another stars. That and because I loved the gryphons in this book. I honestly thing they are better characters than the companions in the main Valdemar series. Skanadron was obviously my favorite character and I can say that I liked the gryphon part better; humans were a bit boring especially Winterheart (I HATE HER!).
The plot itself was not really present until the half of the book. There were very few descriptions and much more dialogues. I have to admit that the writing was inconsistent throughout the book, I don’t know if it’s because it was written by two people but I will see with the next books (yes I will finish this series).
From what I read I can only guess that this first book is a set up to the series and the next books will be better. Well, at least I hope so.
(This scene was one of the most epic of the whole novel!!! I was not anticipating this)
Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
Rating: five stars 😀
Caitirin, a young scribe from Crosswalk, fled her home. Her house and almost all her possession were taken by her evil aunt who beat her and wanted to marry her to her as evil son. She arrives in a small town where people seem to be afraid of something lurking in the nearby forest. Soon she learns that the chieftain is looking for a scribe. Caitirin has no other solution than to hide under her job but soon she discovers that the chieftain is surrounded by a dark curse.
A lot of people have been talking about Juliet Marillier’s work recently and Heart’s Blood was the story I wanted to try out first. And ho boy I am going to join the chorus to sing her praises! It was awesome! Juliet Marillier is a great storyteller because at this point I am not going to lie and call her an author, because she is much more than that, she creates an atmosphere that sucks you in and makes you read at odds hours of the night.
Her writing is flawless as is the plot. It is reminiscent of the original Beauty and the Beast story of Madame de Villeneuve (the 1st novelisation of the tale in France which dates back to 1740) much darker than the Disney version (which I also love don’t misunderstand ^^). I did want to read more Beauty and The Beast retelling this year and I started by the most fantasy esque one ;).
The atmosphere is full of ghost and Irish folklore and the world building is excellent. I absolutely adored every second of it! I cannot wait to read more Juliet Marillier’s book if you guys have any recommendation shout them in the comments. 😉
(I really imagined Taran looking like this in the first part of the story xD)
The Book of Three (Chronicles of Prydain book 1) by Lloyd Alexander
Rating : five stars 😀
This book is a quest of chasing a white pig. Seriously it could be summarized by that xD. Okay more seriously, Taran is a want to be hero/ assistant pig-keeper. As the horned king advance on his village, Hen Wen, the oracular pig runs away in fear. Taran goes on an adventure to find her and meets a lot of peculiar characters along the way.
It is so much different than the Disney version. To be honest I was a big fan of the movie when I was a kid (and to be honest it’s quite a scary Disney when you compare it to Frozen -_-) and now I consider it to be a complete different story than the books.
I almost have nothing to say xD I liked it so much that I have no objections for once. The world building is great as is the writing. Ho and the fact that the “main animal” is a pig is definitively a plus. I love pigs! Why are they always used as meat and not as characters in more scifi books?
(for the last review of this series I wanted to draw the coats of arm of Valdemar and a horse because I need to practice my horse drawing skills)
Magic’s Price(book 3 of The Last Herald-Mage trilogy) by Mercedes Lackey
Rating : four stars
This book takes place a few years after the previous one. Vanyel is still hard working and has no life at all. He is still the one everyone run to and the one who has to take care of every problems of Valdemar. However, a new threat falls upon the heralds, an evil villain (Who has heard of a gentle villain? xDDD) is killing the herald mage of Valdemar and Vanyel has to investigate.
At this point I was really annoyed with the fact that Vanyel was a bit like the counseler of Valdemar’s court…. Only Medren seems to care really for his uncle…. By the way I love grown up Medren you can really see an evolution in his character. In fact, in this last book the characters’ evolution is way more flagrant. Of course I have to talk of Stefen, the new love of Vanyel. Honestly I would not have paired him with him because the fact that he was always described as “delicate” disturbed me. Yeah I do agree he supports Vanyel but he can’t do anything more…. I mean Tylendel could help him out and protect him, but I loved Tylendel thus why I had a hard time with Stefen…
Same as the other books the plot really takes off a third in the book and I think it is why the series as a whole will only have four stars. Mercedes Lackey takes a lot of time to explore the characters interaction with each other’s and sometimes it delays the plot and even skip important plot line. For exemple at some point Vanyel has to go somewhere for a treaty (it’s not spoiler don’t worry) and we see nothing of that episode, in the next chapter he comes back two or three months later and everything is done and went quite well. Okaaaaaaaay and? Why mention it if you’re not going to develop that point? I feel like it was slow on the plot and jump interesting parts and I had the same problems in Arrows of the Queen but I still find this series much better.
Hello everyone so after a month of job hunting/finishing university I am back with some more reviews and with a good new!!! I now work as a librarian so guess what! More books to read and more reviews to come ! I hope you will all have nice summer reads! Until next time bye!