REVIEW: The Subtle Knife

25180871Book Title: The Subtle Knife
Author: Philip Pullman
Series: His Dark Materials, Book 2
Genres: Young Adult, Children, Fantasy
Format: Audible

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Synopsis

Lyra and Will, her newfound friend, tumble separately into the strange tropical otherworld of Cittagazze, “the city of magpies,” where adults are curiously absent and children run wild. Here their lives become inextricably entwined when Lyra’s alethiometer gives her a simple command: find Will’s father. Their search is plagued with obstacles–some familiar and some horribly new and unfathomable–but it eventually brings them closer to Will’s father and to the Subtle Knife, a deadly, magical, ancient tool that cuts windows between worlds. Through it all, Will and Lyra find themselves hurtling toward the centre of a fierce battle against a force so awesome that leagues of mortals, witches, beasts, and spirits from every world are uniting in fear and anger against it. This breath taking sequel will leave readers eager for the third and final volume of “His Dark Materials.”


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I was always going to enjoy this book more than the first because I listened to it in a matter of days rather than years! (Book 1 Review).

Even taking that into account, I much prefer this story. I welcomed the addition of Will. Voice actor wise he was also much easier to listen to than Roger whose accent I found incredibly grating. Lyra’s atrocious grammar continued to wind me up (surely being schooled in Oxford would have seen to that?) but her character growth made it more tolerable.

I found Will an interesting and relatable character. I too like to blend in as a way to survive situations I don’t want to be in. I also liked his relationship with Lyra, and the way he influenced her character development. They are an interesting pair to follow and I am keen to see how things turn out for them in the next book.

I’ve actually already started listening to The Amber Spyglass which you can read about here.

I think this may be the shortest audiobook I have listened to (it is the shortest of all books in the trilogy) and I found that a real help in getting through the story. I don’t like to listen in too many pieces as it impacts my ability to follow the story.

This book left me excited to see what was coming next. It gets an extra star compared to ‘Northern Lights’.

4 Stars
Really enjoyed the story. Related to the characters. Would strongly recommend.

 

Highlights from ‘A Wrinkle In Time’

Here are my highlights from the story. That is to say, what I highlighted while I was reading. I’m not looking for any particular when I highlight, I just feel the need to do it sometimes as I am reading along and here I share those moments with you.

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1. I love this sentence structure 🙂

2. This sounds magical!

3. Now this is a mouthful. I don’t mind the dodgy sentence structures here because it speaks to the alien situation the characters are in.

4. I adore the expression “old sport” and it makes me sad that you don’t hear it anymore. I imagine this line will have been updated for the movie 😉

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5. I like this turning point here. Meg has deciding that she doesn’t need to turn to the boys for support. I don’t like the fact that she is following along behind them though. Be brave Meg! Walk out in front!

6. This is a good example of the science getting a bit too science-y for my liking.

7. Now there is a powerful image. Sometimes it is hard to think of the right word for how extreme the emotion is so the only way to describe it is “beyond”

8. This is a real pet peeve of mine with children’s literature. How did Meg manage to pull herself together that quickly? It is almost like the emotion wasn’t real before and she was fake crying or something. Granted this is a fantasy story and the highlight in question takes place while characters are on an alien planet but still, can we have some reality when it comes to human emotion please?

Want to read my full review? Click here.

 

ARC REVIEW: The Ghost, The Owl

38882281Book Title: The Ghost, The Owl
Author: Franco
Series: N/A
Genres: Fantasy, Children’s, Graphic Novels/Comics
Format: Advanced Reader Copy

Expected Publication: May 8th 2018
My e-copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Synopsis

On a cool evening on the swamp, a figure appears dancing across the water. A human figure, but far from a human form. A Ghost, a young girl spirit that seems to have lost its way. A good Samaritan owl decides to help against the wishes of his animal brethren. What mysteries does the ghost girl hold the secrets to and what will happen when she and the owl unlock them together? Will they find out what happened to her? Will she find her way to where she needs to be? What will happen to the animals in the swamp and surrounding forest? An adventure with the most unlikely of pairs, The Ghost, the Owl.


The Story In Three Words: Friendship, Hope, Integrity

As is often the case with children’s stories, what you think is a simple moral tale takes a dark and a dramatic turn. The Ghost, The Owl is no exception to this. The story is a poignant one, made all the more impactful by the beautiful illustrations. With a wistful artistic style, the fantasy plot unfolds in an easy to follow and accessible way. It is also a very quick read (still worth it).

Although I read the advance copy on an eReader, the book will be published in hardback when it is finally released in May. It would make a beautiful addition to any bookshelf. It is easy to see why the illustrator Sara Richard has won awards. The images are magical! 

The Ghost, The Owl is a beauty of a book. Definitely one I would read with my goddaughter once she is a bit older (she’s not even two yet!).

4 Stars
Really enjoyed the story. Related to the characters/issues. Would strongly recommend.

REVIEW: A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in TimeBook Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeleine L’Engle
Series: Time Quintet, Book 1
Genres: Fantasy, Classics, Science Fiction, Childrens
Format: Kindle

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Synopsis

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?


I really wanted to love this story. And while reading it there were points where I thought I was, but sadly no, overall story just left me feeling meh.

Have you ever read ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ (the first in the Chronicles of Narnia)? It was a very similar reading experience to that one for me. There were some beautiful ideas and images created, but some of it was just a little bit too out there (a mixture of philosophically and scientifically) for me. In trying to explain those bits some of the fun was taken out of it. There were points where I didn’t completely understand what was happening, or rather, what L’Engle was trying to get at.

Overall, yes the story is worth reading. I don’t think readers should avoid it, I imagine it is very different reading experience for each person (more so some other children’s books).

2 stars seems too mean, because there was more to enjoy than not. I’m going to go for a nice middle of the road 3.

3 Stars
A middle-of-the-road rating

I am excited to see what they do with the film. There is a lot for them to work with.

Highlights from ‘Murder Most Unladylike’

 

Here are my highlights from the story. That is to say, what I highlighted while I was reading.

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  1. There were many points in the story where Daisy was grating. I wondered why Hazel put up with the way she was spoken to (largely with condescension). Thankfully she did learn from her experiences and get have some emotional growth. Regardless, I’m still not entirely convinced that Hazel can’t do better.
  2. I often find myself wondering why we have different spellings of hello, even among us English. Does this imply an accent? A posh ‘ha-low’ perhaps?
  3. This speaks to number 1. The way Hazel blindly follows Daisy made me sad at times. Although, it is very true to the sort of situations children find them in!
  4. Agreed. Bourbons are the BEST!

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  1. I wonder if Hazel recognises that Daisy is flirting with the detective? Hazel is so innocent!
  2. I can relate to this very strongly. My school taught me to be an ambassador and behave in a way becoming to that position.
  3. As a #NaNoWriMoWinner2017 this made me jump with glee! I wonder if Daniel and his magical foster family will feature in a British Books Challenge one day?

Want to read my full review? Click here.