Monday, August 31, 2015
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, August 22, 2015
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Pro: Definitely wasn't weary reading this!
Con: None now. At the time the third book wasn't even close to coming out.
The Bottom Line: Fun times all around. Now go get the next book.
If you haven’t read the first book, Into the Land of the Unicorns then shhh! Don’t read this part!!
When we left off with Cara, she had finished her journey to the unicorn Queen, Arabella Skydancer. With her were Lightfoot, the Squijum, the Dimblethum, and Thomas the Tinker. She had found out that the man after her and her grandmother was actually her father, Ian Hunter, and that Cara herself was actually a Hunter by blood as well. Cara also now had the gift of tongues from the dragon Firethroat and is able to speak to anyone and anything in Luster. And now, she must start on her journey back home to find her grandmother, Ivy Morris, who is also The Wanderer, and bring her back to Luster.
Ok, you’re good to go now.
Bruce Coville has done it again in Song of the Wanderer. At twenty-six chapters and 330 pages, this book is twice as long as the first. But that is not in any way a bad thing. On the contrary – many times thicker books mean more goodies for the reader!
Cara is once more setting off on a journey through the land of Luster in order to find a way back to Earth and to her grandmother. She leaves with a small glory of unicorns (a glory is the name for a group of unicorns – like a herd of cows, that sort of thing), Moonheart, who is Lightfoot’s gruff uncle, Finder, a unicorn who can find almost anything, and Belle, one of the Queen’s personal guard who enjoys a good battle. For reasons unknown to Cara, Lightfoot did not return to Summerhaven due to ill feelings between him and the other unicorns, and the Dimblethum simply feels unwelcome there. However, she does still have the Squijum and Thomas the Tinker to join her on their trek across Luster.
They must find the one called the Geomancer, who will tell Cara the exact place she must cross between worlds with the use of the amulet. They must avoid getting lost in an enchanted forest. They must fight against nasty delvers. Cara must resist the ever-persistent Beloved, who is somehow able to reach her, even across worlds. And still, so many questions plague Cara: where is her mother? Is her grandmother okay? How could her father be a hunter of unicorns? Will she see Lightfoot and the Dimblethum again? And just how will she get back to Earth?
Their trails take them into the underground caves of Grimwold, along the shores of River Silver, and to the desolate lands of Northern Waste. New friends will meet and join them on the way, such as Medafil and Jaques, who has a secret of his own, and others who are not so friendly, such as the unpredictable dragon Ebillan.
Through all this Cara’s past is unraveled, as is her grandmother’s. Many twists and turns reveal secrets long kept – and the end is the last thing anyone would have expected.
And yet there is still room for more.
Though this book is mostly one long travel book without many sudden turns (the turns that occur are subtle and not really unexpected, aside from a couple here and there), but it is still highly enjoyable. A lot of questions are answered and as things progress, they just get more and more “whoa” as you read. I read this book in two days (which adds up to just a matter of hours, really), so as you can see, it is hard to put down. I especially like the way Coville portrayed the gryphon and the words the gryphon used ("Gadfingled" comes to mind), I thought it was great and fit wonderfully.
If you were to look for this book in the bookstore, you would find it in the "young reader" section - suggested ages are 9-12 (wow, it's been so long since I've been a young reader). But then there are always kids out there at various ages that wouldn't have a problem with it. My little sister is actually in high school, but she's had the first one for a while and someone (me) finally made the effort to finish what was started. It's a smooth read and the only words kids might have trouble with might be a couple of the names (and very few at that), or the words the gryphon uses when he's fussing about something. Let's face it - if your kid has no problem reading Harry Potter, then this is a walk in the park.
At the time I originally wrote this review the year was 2005 and there was no third book and this one was copywritten in 1999. And there had to be one given the sort of ending that this book has. Luckily Bruce either never completely stopped on this series or went back to it because in 2008 Dark Whispers came out and the series wrapped up in 2010. I still haven't finished it (because I couldn't), but now that I'm going through these reviews, I think I'll have to revisit the land of Luster and finally discover the whole story. After all, I want to know what they’re going to do about Beloved.
That chick needs to go.
Originally published on Epinions.com
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, August 15, 2015
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Pros: Want to know about pirates from the view of someone who was there?
Cons: If you were hoping for something more story-like, this isn?t it.
The Bottom Line: Find out about the true pirates of the Caribbean!
After Wicked Charms, I figured I might as well post a piratey book, and since this review never made it to this blog during my time in college in which I took a historical course about pirates (that is not a joke - I really did), now is the best time.
Some say he was French. Others say he was Dutch. However, the fact remains that Alexander O. Exquemelin provides us with a handsome dish of pirate stories, many of which might make you think twice about all that Disney stuff.
A pirate’s life for me!
Yeah, screw that.
My copy is a translation by Alexis Brown, with an introduction from Jack Beeching. As most introductions go, the reader is given an overview of piracy and a bit of history of the times in which the chronicles by Exquemelin fall into. The introduction also gives a bit of history on Exquemelin himself – or at least what can be found about him. From there the book goes right into Exquemelin’s story, which is broken up into three main parts, and from there broken into chapters. Here, as is on the page itself, is what the three parts contain:
How the French came to Hispaniola; the nature of the country and life of the inhabitants.
The origin of the buccaneers; their rules and way of life; various attacks on the Spaniards.
The burning of Panama City by the English and French buccaneers, together with an account of a further voyage by the author.
Each part tells you exactly what is listed above – only in greater detail. In Part One Exquemelin describes how he came to the Caribbean, gives the reader a quick history lesson about the French vs. the Spanish when it comes to the island of Tortuga (yes, it was real), describes the island of Hispaniola, including its trees, fruits, animals, etc. (and I do mean describe), as well as the French hunters and planters that live there. The final few chapters give you everything you ever needed to know about buccaneers – who they were, how they began, and why they turned to piracy. You even get to find out where the word “buccaneer” came from! Now isn’t this interesting?
Though the first section can get a little boring from time to time, don’t worry too much because the second section gets into the actual piracy, dealing with captains and such. The reader is introduced to a French pirate by the name of Francois l’Olannais and all of his exploits, from raiding Spanish fleets to sacking and ransoming various towns. L’Olannais wasn’t a very nice guy by the way, and neither were his men, which makes for some interesting reading. After knowing l’Olannais’s fate, the next captain, Henry Morgan comes into play. Is this where the famous Captain Morgan comes from? Haha, who knows!
However, I will say that Morgan was a lot more successful than l’Olannais ever was. He had great pirating skills and managed to attack (with great success) several places – including one that might sound familiar to you…Panama anyone? Here is where you can read of the taking of a fort without firing a single shot, escaping Spanish warships, and see lists of the booty they managed to steal. Good times to be a pirate under Morgan’s leadership – and you’d probably be surprised at the number of men and ships he had following him at one point in time. Bet it’s something you’d never guess when it comes to pirates! I was certainly surprised! Much of this is mentioned in the second and then third sections, the break right between campaigns by Morgan.
The remainder of the third section, Exquemelin has broken off from Morgan’s group and set off with some others sailing from island to island and encountering various things, such as hostile natives, friendly natives, and manatees (which apparently taste like pork). The final chapter is a short account of the governor of Tortuga, who tries his hand at piracy and barely succeeds.
And that is where the book ends. Yes, it may seem abrupt, but one must remember, this wasn’t made to be a story with a plot – it is an account of a man’s life and the things he encountered and/or heard about during his time in the Caribbean. So does that make it suck? No! This is more historical than anything, and quite all right. It’s not like it leaves you on some kind of cliffhanger.
But, interesting though it may be, it can get a little tiresome with nothing but Exquemelin’s descriptions to go by. Are you an author who is confused about showing and telling? Well, this is a perfect example of telling. There is next to no dialogue and the battles aren’t quite as exciting as they have potential for. As I said though, it is more historical, though that whole concept might put some readers off. As for myself, it was a required book for a pirate class I’m taking (yes, they do offer those), and when compared to other text books one might have to read, this rocked.
Oh, and no one ever says “Arg!” in here either.
Originally published on Epinions.com.
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, August 08, 2015
Monday, August 3, 2015
Posted by Nicole at Monday, August 03, 2015