Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

An orphan, a prince, a ball . . . you may think you've heard this story before. But did you hear about the stolen treasure? Or the mysterious otherworldly lady who is somehow connected to it all?

There is a Cinderella story underlying The Amaranth Enchantment, but this is by no means an ordinary retelling. Don't get me wrong, I love fairy tale retellings, and it doesn't bother me to have retellings follow the general form of the originals. This story absolutely amazed me. It still felt like the retelling worlds that I love to visit, but there were plenty of surprises. The most spoiler-free comment I can give is that it explores "the rest of the story," not just the main Cinderella-like heroine's tale. No story-less stepmothers here!

I checked out this book from the library. Then I bought a physical copy. And then a digital copy. And then another physical copy, because the author herself was present to sign it! So, yes, I really like this book. :)

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Ever by Gail Carson Levine

A beloved daughter is accidentally, but nevertheless irrevocably, marked for sacrifice. The god of wind loves her and wants to save her. But mortals cannot live in the home of the gods, and gods do not dwell among the dead . . .

Spoiler alert! This is a retelling of Cupid and Psyche. Those familiar with Greek mythology will have a fair idea of how that story goes. When I first read the book, I recognized the Greek aspect, despite its translation into a fictional world, but I missed the beauty of Cupid and Psyche. Thanks to C. S. Lewis's 'Til We Have Faces, I now have a greater appreciation for the story, or rather for the story within the story. It's Beauty and the Beast at heart, with impossible alliances realized through love. When I read looking for another chapter of Ella Enchanted, I was dissappointed. Now I think I should probably read it again. :)

I checked out this book from the library, and I will probably do so again.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Copied by S. M. Anderson

Xan's world is turned upside down when his community blames him for the fire that nearly killed him. Nobody believes his story about not remembering how he ended up in the fire in the first place. There were too many witnesses who saw him start the blaze. Only Lacey, the school genius, thinks Xan might be telling the truth. When Xan and Lacey catch Xan's mysterious evil twin, Beta23, they discover their troubles are far from over. Xan and his twin are clones, genetically modified copies of another person, created by a secretive corporation. The fire was only the beginning: Xan is under recall.

S. M. Anderson's debut novel is full of action, suspense, and even a hint of romance. I liked the characters well enough to want to find out what happens next (hint, hint about writing a sequel?), especially since the story ends with plenty of room for further adventures. I found the scientific aspects of the clones believable, and I also enjoyed the philosophical portions examining the nature of individuality. A solid YA read, fairly clean, but perhaps warranting a PG/PG-13 rating for thematic material and possibly a bit of language (from the perspective of someone who sometimes finds language issues in G-rated films).

I purchased this book in ebook form.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Under Construction

Just letting you know in case you were looking for something and noticed it's not up right now; stay tuned for updates, eventually. :)