Friday, 25 October 2013

Tiger Lily review

Tiger Lily
Jodi Lynn Anderson
October 3rd 2013
Orchard Books

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

Tiger Lily was amazing. I feel kind of repetitive because the last few reviews that I've written were for books that I've loved, and this is just going to be another one of those because even though I haven't read as much lately, everything I have read I have adored. 

Tiger Lily is probably one of the best, or at least one of the most interesting re-tellings that I've read. It's the story of Peter Pan and Wendy, but told from Tiger Lily and Tinkerbell's point of view. It might not sound all that interesting or different from that, but trust me, it really is. The whole book is narrated from Tink's point of view, which is weird because Tiger Lily is the main character, and I wasn't sure if I would like that or if it would affect that sort of connection you get with main characters, but I actually thought that it worked really well. I think it worked better than it would have done if Tiger Lily was the narrator. See, in this version of the story, fairies are not able to talk, but they can feel other people's emotions, and Tiger Lily isn't exactly an open person, so I feel like it was much more likely that we would get an honest portrayal of Tiger Lily's feelings and motivations from Tink's point of view rather than from Tiger Lily's. Plus, we get the benefit of finding out more about Tink, too.

I really liked both Tink and Tiger Lily, even though beforehand I had always been on Wendy's side (2003 film has a lot to answer). In this book, Tink doesn't come across as being petty and jealous in the same way that she does in the other stories, because, even if she doesn't like Wendy (and in Tiger Lily, I didn't like her much either) she isn't jealous of Tiger Lily, even though they both love Peter. In fact, she supports Tiger Lily, and feels so close to her that she would rather Tiger Lily be with Peter, because it's very unlikely that Peter would suddenly fall in love with Tink. And Tiger Lily was great and strong and flawed and I'm a little bit in love with her too. I can totally see where Tink is coming from.

I really liked Pan in this book too, actually. I was expecting to kind of hate him, but he's not the sort of boy that you can easily hate (unless it's in Once Upon a Time, in which case it's totally easy to hate that crafty little shit. *seethes*). And I think that that's because he is still a boy. He may have been around on Neverland for a long time, and he isn't innocent by any stretch of the imagination, but he still has that boyish energy and excitement. However, he also has no sense of responsibility and just thinks that he can spend his whole life being free and having fun. He's also pretty messed up. He's a boy that needs to be in a relationship with the sort of person who wants to fix him, and mother him and who panders to his boyish ego like Wendy (even if he can't really be fixed), rather than Tiger Lily, who loves him, but doesn't compromise herself or change who she is to comfort Pan, even if she maybe wants to. She never understood how to love him in the way that he wanted to be loved. He really reminded me of Char from This Song Will Save Your Life, actually. (at least, in my opinion)

The tone of the book is really kind of sad, though. Even at the more fun parts of the book, because of the fact that it's retrospective, there's always this heaviness to everything that happens. A foreboding sense that all will not being okay, and that these are all the events that lead up to everything bad that happens. And a lot of bad stuff happens. The ending itself wasn't really upsetting or anything, but I still cried a little purely because it was a beautiful story, beautifully told and I was sad to see it go, and I was sad in a way to see it end they way it did, but, you know, happy too. It was happy-sad. It was mostly Peter's letter that made me cry, really. And the whole Tik Tok situation. That was pretty devastating.

So yeah, Tiger Lily is a really great book. I loved it a lot, even if it wasn't fast paced and action-filled. It was slow and sad and beautiful, and I don't think I'll be able to look at Peter Pan in the same sort of way. Well, I don't know about that. But it's still a great book.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Fangirl review

Rainbow Rowell
September 10th 2013
St Martin's Press

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I think that it is going to be very difficult for me to put my love for this book into words. When I started writing this review, my first instinct was just to sort of keyboard smash for a few paragraphs and hope that something good came out of that, but that wouldn't be much use for anyone, so I shall try my hardest to communicate with actual words.

Fangirl is a probably one of my favourite books that I have read this year. I knew as soon as I read the description that I'd love it, and then I saw the cover which was done my one of my favourite webcomic artists and I was just like 'I NEED THIS BOOK' and so I bought and read it and it was everything that I wanted it to be. It was funny, and sweet, and emotional and it felt like the book that I needed to read right now. At the minute, I'm sorting out my uni application and sort of stressing about it more that I probably should be, and I'm just generally worried about everything to do with higher education right now, so it was kind of comforting I guess to read about some one who is kind of like me who goes off to college or uni and who does kind of okay at the end of it. So, as you may have gathered, I really liked Cath.

I also really liked Wren, actually. At the start of the book, Cath and Wren aren't really getting along all that well, and they still fight a lot during the book, but I think that their relationship was really great to read about because I haven't read that many books about twins. Also, Reagan was so much fun and I thought that Cath's and her friendship was great, too. And, obviously, Levi, who is like a golden retriever who smiles sunshine and has beautiful floppy hair and he did do some stupid stuff but I feel like the aforementioned smiley puppy qualities make up for that.

The other thing that I loved (apart from everything) was the fact that at the end of each chapter there were snippets from the Simon Snow books and from Cath's (and sometimes Cath and Wren's) fanfiction, and that was just the loveliest thing to get to read. I feel like Rainbow Rowell should just write the Simon Snow books now, but where Simon and Baz actually get together. Though the only thing that I didn't find quite believable about the whole Simon Snow thing was it existing in a world where Harry Potter also exists. And that there would be a school for Mages in Watford. Watford is not a magical place, I can tell you that. And not only that, but the times where Cath would read to Levi her fanfiction, and that time when she read him the whole of The Outsiders. It was just so sweet and Rainbow has this way of writing about simple sort of things and making them feel so intimate and special when you're reading it, like the hand-holding in Eleanor & Park, y'know?

I could write so much more about this book, but I don't want to go on and on. I want you to read it for yourself and discover all of it's brilliance. Because it is brilliant. It's been a while since I saw how close I was to end of a book and dreaded finishing it, because it would mean that I couldn't just read that one story for ever. I want to read it again. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Fearsome Dreamer review

Fearsome Dreamer
Laure Eve
October 3rd 2013
Hot Key Books

There is a world where gods you’ve never heard of have wound themselves into hearts, and choice has led its history down a different path.
This is a world where France made a small, downtrodden island called England part of its vast and bloated empire.
There are people here who can cross a thousand miles with their minds. There are rarer people still who can move between continents in the blink of an eye.
These people are dangerous.
And wanted. Desperately wanted.
Apprentice hedgewitch Vela Rue knows that she is destined for more. She knows being whisked off from a dull country life to a city full of mystery and intrigue is meant to be. She knows she has something her government wants, a talent so rare and precious and new that they will do anything to train her in it.
But she doesn’t know that she is being lied to. She doesn’t know that the man teaching her about her talent is becoming obsessed by her, and considered by some to be the most dangerous man alive ...

Fearsome Dreamer is a rich, sumptuous, half-dystopic, half-fantasy, all fantastic book. I can hardly think of a bad thing to say about it, other than that it could at times be quite slow and that it took a while to get into the nitty gritty,  but it was time well spent on character building and world building and all that good stuff.

Rue and White weren't always likeable, but I really enjoyed seeing their stories converge, and the sort of realness to them. Rue had that teenage narcissism where she believes that she is destined for something more, and that she must be special (and she is special), and this can sometimes lead her to going about with the wrong sorts of people, but I admired the fact that had a strong sense of who she was. Her heart is in the right place for a lot of the book, and I'm curious to see how her story develops after how this book ended. White made a lot of mistakes, too, though. In fact, he was kind of a dick, but I think his story was really interesting, and while it slowed down the pace a bit, I think it was important for the book to start in the place that it did so that you could really get a sense of who the characters are and how they change over the course of the book.

Also, I think I'm going to have to dedicate a whole paragraph to Laure's writing. Like, I am not doing any justice to the book in this review and I know that, but if you have to take on thing from it, it's that Fearsome Dreamer is worth the read just because it is so beautifully written (and also because the rest of it is really good, but that sort of undermines the point I'm trying to make right now). Seriously, it's like Laini Taylor standard of fabulous beautiful writing. I just really want to read more stuff by her because the language was so vivid and descriptive and was like the cherry on top of an already really great book. So please, Laure, if you're reading this, keep on writing loads of stuff forever.

The world of Angle Tar and World was something that I really loved, too. It was beautifully developed and interesting to get to sort of know what caused Angle Tar to split from World in the first place. Also, the fact that Rue is Angle Tarain and White is from World meant that we got to see both places, though from the skewed perspectives of people who didn't want to be there. Angle Tar is England/Britain, and it definitely felt like a fantasy novel when reading about Rue's life as a Hedgewitch, as Angle Tar refused to become part of World and accept their elaborate technology, leaving it in the past. World, on the other hand, felt like being in a dystopian, where technology rules the lives of the people. Most of the people who live there are connected through a virtual platform called Life, so people rarely even leave their homes anymore because they just don't have to. Both Rue and White are dissatisfied with where they live and their situations and start to long for the other place. I just hope that they can figure out where their real home is, where they feel their happiest. That would be nice.

So this has been really short, and I really wanted to write more about this book so as to convince any one who reads this to read Fearsome Dreamer because I loved it and I want you to love it too. Just know this - it is reallllly good. 
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