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review 2018-11-13 02:52
Review: The Child Thief
The Child Thief - Brom

There are a whole host of mythologies and faerie tales at play here.  My first thought was that this was a dark retelling of Peter Pan, which is not all that far off the mark.  This is a twisted gory ode to Peter Pan and Avalon and other faerie stories.  If you really think about Peter Pan, even the Disney version, he's basically I child predator--a kidnapper.  Then if you think on the original, non-watered down version, Peter is pretty cruel, he kidnaps children and sends them to war against his enemies.  His lost boys are frequently killed in battle, or put out to pasture if they begin to "grow up".  That's really messed up!

 

All that being said, Peter, is a child thief who tricks runaways, or kids from bad situations into following him into the mists of Avalon.  And if they manage to make it through the mist, they're trained as soldiers in his personal army.  Everything Peter does is for the Lady Modron and to protect Avalon, but it all comes at a cost.  The child thief has lead countless children to the deaths.  

 

This story had loads of deaths, battles, magic and just general craziness.  All-in-all I really enjoyed it.

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text 2018-11-12 20:28
Reading progress update: I've read 480 out of 480 pages.
Heart of Iron - Ashley Poston

Possibly one of the best most exciting books I have ever read.

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review 2018-11-12 19:52
The Return of the Water Spirit by Pepetela
The Return of the Water Spirit - Pepetela

This is a brief novella that takes aim at the hypocrisy and arrogance of Angola’s ruling classes. The political situation is symbolized by a couple: Carmina, a communist youth leader who later embraces exploitative capitalism when political winds shift; and her husband João, a well-meaning but ineffective man who retreats into computer games as the capital city of Luanda crumbles around him – quite literally, as buildings mysteriously collapse, leaving their occupants unharmed.

Knowing nothing about the country going in, I found this a fairly engaging read, and the story is well-translated, but it would likely work better for readers familiar with recent Angolan history. Magical realist and absurdist elements – like the dispossessed protesting by going nude in public – obscure the actual history, leaving the foreign reader wondering what really happened. And while it is difficult to separate the personal from the political in such a short and pointed story, there is this recurring notion that all is right in the home when the husband takes the reins and publicly chastises his wife; I wasn’t sure how much Pepetela finds Carmina’s ruling the roost objectionable simply because she’s a woman, and how much because this specific woman is morally bankrupt.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting book from which I did learn a bit about Angola, and at 100 pages it’s a very quick read.

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review 2018-11-12 17:22
Review: “The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton

 

~ 5 STARS ~

 

 

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review 2018-11-12 03:26
The Rules of Magic
The Rules of Magic: A Novel - Alice Hoffman

I am pretty sure that I read Hoffman's Practical Magic since I've read several of her books, but it was probably in the 90s, long before I started keeping track on Goodreads. I once heard Anna Quindlen speak, and she said something I never forgot regarding certain female authors, "You can't go wrong with a book written by an Alice." This is terrific advice, and, I've found, completely accurate.

 

When I saw The Rules of Magic offered on NetGalley, I requested it right away, especially since the author considers this the first in the series, just in case I forgot the plot of the first one. (Yes, here I go with a series again, right after I said I never read them...) The family legacy of witchcraft haunts the Owens family, and you can bet that Susannah Owens' three children are not about to escape unscathed. Charged with a myriad of rules, their mother offers one that is just too compelling to ignore, "Don't fall in love." So you see where this is going — witches, spells, secret powers, and love — what's not to like? Trust me and Anna Quindlen, you can't go wrong with a book written by an Alice.

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