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review 2017-01-31 21:45
The Chocolate Touch - Patrick Skene Catling,Margot Apple

I read this tale with my daughter as part of her school assignment. We had fun analyzing each chapter and predicting the outcome. While the story is fairly simple and predictable, it's a fun twist on the Midas fable. Young John Midas learns quickly that too much of a good thing can be bad. Once the lesson is learned, everything is righted. 

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review 2016-11-11 02:59
The Chocolate Touch
The Chocolate Touch - Patrick Skene Catling,Margot Apple

This book is about a boy named John Midas who would eat nothing but chocolate all the time. Then one day, John finds a strange coin on the sidewalk and uses it to buy a box of chocolate at a mysterious new candy store. Suddenly, everything his lips touch turns to chocolate! It is a delightful story. It was actually first published in 1952. We could talk about the theme that too much of a good thing can be bad. Maybe we could do a fun thing and have chocolate goodies in class.  If money and location were not issues, we could take a trip to a candy store and let the kids get some candy. It has a 4.4 reading level.

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review 2015-10-07 00:00
The Vorrh (Vintage Original)
The Vorrh (Vintage Original) - Brian Catling I'll admit, I didn't give this book a lot of time to impress me. I made it fifty pages before bailing. But it's written by a poet, who also does performance art, so you can rest assured that the prose is lofty, prevailing, and dense. Plus, when you're writing a fantasy book where almost anything is possible, and then refer to someone turning inside out instead of just being shocked, you're going to give the impression that someone actually turned inside out. You have to rein in your language in these circumstances.

There seem to be hints of really good ideas buried beneath the prose, but I'm not willing to put in the level of work required to dig them out. I don't consider myself an anti-intellectual, but the book strikes me as being self-indulgent and overwrought.
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review 2015-09-09 22:30
The Vorrh
The Vorrh (Vintage Original) - Brian Catling

I must write this review quickly, for I have been to the Vorrh, and my memory fades further each moment since my trek into it’s dark heart.

 

The Vorrh, by B. Catling, is the story of the oldest forest in the world. Laying somewhere in the heart of Africa, it’s a forest that is mythical, mysterious and unknowable. It is home to angels and daemons, stories both true and untrue, and at it’s heart, supposedly, lies the Garden of Eden itself.

 

It’s also one of the most original fantasy novels that I’ve read. The meandering narrative follows a handful of bizarre and fascinating characters, whose strange stories and their experiences with the Vorrh cross and entwine. There’s a foppish Frenchman with cruel tastes. A mysterious hunter who wields a living bow made from the spinal column of his dead lover. A haughty and troubled photographer, a cyclops raised by artificial beings made of bakelite, an inquisitive and headstrong Heiress, and more besides.

 

Sounds weird, and it is, but The Vorrh is a book that writes it’s own rules. The method of writing and storytelling is magical and hyper-real; every word and sentence has been carefully crafted and imbued with meaning. It’s poetic, beautiful and at the risk of sounding pretentious, it’s art.

 

I’ve been steadily mulling over the ideas presented by the book, trying to unravel the various meanings and mysteries. It’s difficult to describe succinctly what the plot is actually about; a bunch of things are happening all at once, sometimes crossing over, sometimes separate, but it all feels somehow cohesive. It’s definitely a book that raises a lot of questions, but in the case of The Vorrh, this is a strength. The world it presents is one of unknown magic and strange occurrences, so it seems fitting that the book should leave me feeling somewhat mystified.

 

This isn’t to say that the book left me unsatisfied. All of the characters and plots were interesting to read about, even if they do twist about like angry weasels in a chicken coop. The book focuses on themes of colonialism, colonization and control, in a mental and physical sense as well as an historical one. However, readers who like a book to be bound by more knowable rules and structure may feel a little lost at sea with no compass. I have been informed by the internet that The Vorrh is in fact the first in a trilogy, so I’d imagine we’ll see this grand tale unfold its mysteries more in the future.


In case you can’t tell, I loved The Vorrh. It’s simply one of the most imaginative novels I’ve ever read, and it’s a beautiful example of the Fantasy genre’s potential to expand modern storytelling into brave new ground.

 

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review 2015-07-05 22:51
Nope, Done with THAT.
The Vorrh (Vintage Original) - Brian Catling

Graphic description of prepubescent boy fucking a robot with a specially designed vagina to teach him about sex on page 46.

 

 

'Nuff Said

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