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Search tags: meg-maguire
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review 2017-12-04 02:15
What-the-Dickens by Gregory Macguire
What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy - Sarah Coleman,Gregory Maguire

Synopsis: When a lone, lost, and dangerously naive fairy named What-the-Dickens,
is born out in the world, he must survive and find a home and become the tooth
fairy he was born to be.

Review: What-the-Dickens is actually two stories. One story is of some kids and
their older cousin alone in an empty house in the middle of a dangerous
thunderstorm, who tells them the other story of a rogue tooth fairy lost in the
world. Its a lighthearted story, although I wouldn't call it funny necessarily.

What-the-Dickens is an endearing character who spends most of the first half of
the book trying to make friends with everyone he meets. A large, hungry cat, a
larger bengal tiger, and a motherly bird. Eventually he meets Pepper, another
fairy who reluctantly introduces him to Northwest Sector, Division B, less
formerly known as Undertree Commons.

 

I liked the character development in this book. Everyone has a lot of
personality (the mama grisset who thinks What-the-Dickens is her child was particularly
endearing), and there are a host of others as well. Including a mouse riding
fairy aristocrat, his butt kissing assistant, and a flighty fairy celebrity.

My gripe with it is, though, it didn't really know where to go with the plot. Or
maybe it did, it just didn't go very far. I'd love to see a sequel where What-
the-Dickens and friends take on some bigger challenges and expand the plot, but
sadly it doesn't look like a sequel is forthcoming anytime soon. Its a shame
because I really liked many of the characters. The other story with the kids is barely even worth mentioning; it's dull, to say the least.


Next up is Ursala le Guin's 'The Tombs of Atuan' a fantasy classic from her
Earthsea Cycle (the 2nd of 4). Its short and I'm trying to get through some of
those before the year's end.

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review 2017-10-22 14:42
Book 69/100: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister - Gregory Maguire
This is one of the best Maguire books I've read, right up there with the first couple Oz retellings (I only read the first two but heard the later ones weren't as good.)

Similar to "Mirror, Mirror," Maguire places the story of Cinderella within a firm historical time and place -- Holland at the start of the tulip trade. But unlike "Mirror, Mirror," it doesn't have the strange conflagration of fantasy and historical realism that didn't quite work for me. "Confessions" could be read as a straight historical retelling with the characters holding onto some "magical" belief systems, or it could be read as a very subtle fantasy rooted in a historical setting. This ambiguity worked for me.

The stepmother and stepsisters, as well as the "Cinderella" character, are all vividly drawn. The stepmother comes across as both wicked and sympathetic -- surely not an easy feat to accomplish. As soon as I got over my hangup that it felt as if this story should be told first-person (it's CONFESSIONS, after all!), I enjoyed the masterful and detailed writing -- although the level of detail and the change the characters underwent in the course of the story made it feel as though it should have taken place over a longer span of time than it actually did. Still, that was a minor quibble -- and the minor "twist" at the end really worked for me.

The retelling genre teems with Cinderella stories, but this one moves to the front of the line for me.
 
 
 
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text 2017-09-27 14:53
Halloween Bingo: Serial/spree killer
White Bones (Katie Maguire) - Graham Masterton

 

13 special women boned out alive (ack!) to raise the witch Morgana who will grant you whatever you request.

 

It took them 80 years, and they came so close.

 

I thought it was one of the officers working with the America woman - who it actually was turned out to be almost a surprise.  I only had it half right.

 

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text 2017-09-13 16:05
Halloween Bingo - Witches - One of my bargain books
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West - Gregory Maguire

 

This was one of those bargain books I picked up at the library.  Though not as big a bargain as those 10-cent beauties, I couldn't complain about plunking out 75 cents for this one.

 

I set it aside just waiting for Halloween Bingo.  But it's going to be a longer read than some of the others, so I'm hoping for break by having one of my opted-out squares called soon.

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review 2017-07-10 00:00
Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker
Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker - Gregory Maguire Our protagonist does what a lot of Maguire protagonists do, they walk through life and occasionally react to events. Maguire has a shtick, which is fine. I love a good reinvention of a story, but I noticed as the sequels to Wicked went on the gas ran out of them until Out of Oz managed to patch everything up. Hiddensee never gathers enough energy to have a spark.

This story is about the backstory of Drosselmayer, the eye-patched godfather who gives Clara the nutcracker at the beginning of the story. The novel begins near the end of the Napoleonic wars, but young Dirk is raised in isolation by a woodcutter and his wife until an incident propels him into the wider world. The wider world propels him to go from place to place until the book ends.

Very little happens in the novel. Its not unusual that Dirk keeps many thoughts to himself - in fact some of the most fantastical elements of the story he completely forgets about for years - but the introverted child/young man doesn't often include the reader either, which is unusual. Instead we have narration of events happening, time passing, and just about when the story starts to get going, our guy has a purpose, we're winding up for the finish. Was there a solution? Who can say?

I missed something. I know I did. If I didn't miss something, some important psychological depth or metaphor or whatever, then there is nothing here. I finished it, which is something. The story is inoffensive. Hiddensee works history and myth and the Nutcracker story together to little purpose.
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