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review 2014-05-21 05:18
The Witches Return
Witches in Red - Barb Hendee

This second book in the series was nearly as entertaining as the first.  I really enjoy the eastern European feel of the world and the gypsy culture that's been created for novels.  Overall, it's a quick fantasy read with a slight darkness.  It's the kind of book that flows along so well that it really just takes an afternoon to read.

 

This time the sisters are tasked with discovering what is changing soldiers into crazed, wolf-like beasts who wreak havoc on a mining camp and stop production.  It explores some of the more tragic histories of company towns and soldier camps while also maintaining a good level of excitement.  This time around the sisters powers' seem more to fill in the gaps than to be vital to solving the supernatural mystery.

 

I think one of the things I love most about the series so far is that the sisters each have different strengths and approaches to the world, but are still both very heroic.  At the same time, each sister has realistic doubts and understandable belief in their sibling's traits.  I guess I just really like that these different attributes are all very valuable, despite how the characters may feel about themselves.  You know, in a lot of fantasy the heroines seem to feel like they're too lacking in this or that, so having this polar opposite sister that can see the strengths is kind of refreshing.

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text 2013-11-11 04:12
COMEDY OF ERRORS IN EARLY 19th CENTURY EUROPE
Stolen from Gypsies - Noble Smith

"  'Stolen From Gypsies' is a Shakespeare-meets-Monty Python historical comedy by award winning playwright Noble Smith. A bedridden English lord narrates a magical tale to his story-loving servanta tale involving a kidnapped Gypsy babe, a tongue-tied accountant, a rich merchant, the merchant's ravishing daughter; magicians, spells, contracts in blood; pirates, rubes, fops, purloined estates; demons, transformations, duels, carnal temptations, imprisonment and redemption. It is illustrated with twenty beautiful pen and ink drawings. A fascinating glossary of words and personages from the era is also included."

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review 2013-09-12 00:00
Gypsies - Robert Charles Wilson Gypsies - Robert Charles Wilson What is it about Gypsies that fell short of the mark for me? I think, in many ways, it isn't that there's anything wrong with it, there's just not enough right. It is a perfectly fine entry in a blended sf/fantasy genre, but that hook that reached out and grabbed me and held me close, the way the story did in Spin just wasn't here. Early book syndrome, perhaps? It's only my second Robert Charles Wilson, so it's hard to be sure.

First, genre. It's sort of science fiction, as the ability to travel between worlds seems to have been bred into humans through experimentation, but experimentation with magic as well as science. So, fantasy? There are few other fantasy trappings, however. No dragons. No quest for a heroic band to set forth upon, thankfully. No feudal politics.

Just our world, a slightly better one, and a grey dismal world where the church still rules Europe with an iron fist, Muslim armies are on the doorstep, and the Novus Ordo in the U.S. is bent on making the world even greyer and more bleak. In the name of world order, anyway. And to do so, it had bred three people who can walk between worlds. But two escaped, were tracked down by the third, but left children. Those children now have children (one does, anyway.) The three children were raised by a father who was terrified of their power (and something else?) and tried to beat it out of them. The grandchild has been raised in absolute unawareness of what he can do.

As a meditation on better worlds and the power of imagining them, well, this is a little slight. As much as bleakness is not really my preferred setting, this might have been more powerful if it had been set more in Novus Ordo - those were the sections that gave the book oomph, and they are so slightly discussed. Whether or not the Vatican would endorse the horrible experiments being done, how it could do so, what arguments they would use, those were all the considerations I was most interested in.

The dilemma of the priest, caught between exigency and morality, was by far the most acute, and frankly, interested me more than main characters.

But this is an interesting twist on alternate worlds, and it's well written. It just wasn't quite my cup of tea.
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review 2013-08-15 00:00
Hallo brugklas! - Olga Rodriguez

Het was een leuk boek, alleen liepen de POVs af en toe door elkaar.

Ik vond het einde een beetje jammer. Zo nu weet hij je geheim (waarom je daar niet mee naar de politie gaat, ze gaan je heus niet in de cel gooien of zo hoor) en dan ben je best buddies en is het alsof er niks is gebeurd (oke misschien telde ook het hele: Jouw pa heeft mijn oom gered ding, maar dan nog, een beetje jammer).
Ook het feit dat het maar als los hoofdstuk was gemaakt, alsof de schrijver opeens erachter kwam dat ze natuurlijk ook die 2 personages had.

Ok een ding dat ik vreemd vond, Wesly is 16 en zit in vmbo-2. Is dat niet normaal voor mensen van 14, misschien 15? Maar 2x zakken, en de school laat hem gewoon daar, en kijkt niet of er misschien iets anders is voor hem?

Ik vond het verhaal van Yalima nog het leukst om te lezen, en ook het meest echt.

Over het algemeen dus een redelijk leuk boek. :)

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review 2013-07-25 15:33
The Harvest Gypsies
The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

In 1936, John Steinbeck toured the migrant camps and government camps of California. He wrote seven articles about the plight of the migrant workers that were published in The San Francisco NewsThe Harvest Gypsies is the compilation of those articles.

 

Having read The Grapes of Wrath there's not much to say about The Harvest Gypsies. It's clear Steinbeck was greatly moved by his experience in 1936, and it was this series of encounters that was the catalyst for his 1938 Pulitzer-winning novel. Elements of many of the stories Steinbeck tells in The Grapes of Wrath are first seen here. Told in a concise, largely journalistic voice, The Harvest Gypsies doesn't leave too much room for the Steinbeck we love, but he does make brief appearances.

 

The Harvest Gypsies is a very thin book primarily for Steinbeck fans. It also serves as a great companion to The Grapes of Wrath. It's not one I'd recommend to readers who have not read and loved The Grapes of Wrath.

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