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Sunday, 25 July 2010

Princess Ben by Catherine Murdock


A girl is transformed, through instruction in life at court, determination, and magic, from sullen, pudgy, graceless Ben into Crown Princess Benevolence, a fit ruler of the kingdom of Montagne as it faces war with neighboring Drachensbett.


There are a lot of things about Princess Ben that make it stand out from your usual fantasy/fairy-tale-esque novel. For one thing, no single character is defined as 'good' or 'bad'. All the characters, including Ben, have weak and strong aspects to their personalities. Ben's aunt, who you presume to be an evil stepmother type character is discovered to have some loving characteristics. Our main protagonist herself has her faults as well being immature and stubborn.

Another thing: the book is written in an old-fashioned, first person style. Whilst some may find this aggravating, it was extremely appealing to me because the sentences were beautifully structured and it related to the medieval setting of the fantasy world. It also emphasised Ben's position in court, making her character more believable.

The third thing: the magical element. In a lot of books, the character who possesses magical abilities seems to have a strong grasp of them straightaway, performing such powerful spells that shock her mentors/family/etc. This is not the case in Princess Ben. Ben has to work hard to perform even the simplest of spells.

However, the book does have its faults. I didn't feel the romance was fully developed as it should have been. While Florian was an amusing character,
he didn't have much depth. He is initially extremely rude to Ben and this continues for most of the book until one scene where suddenly he becomes a sensitive romantic as he confesses some of his 'innermost secrets.' This change in personality is not believable. Then a few pages later, he is back to his usual self and threatening to send Ben-as-a-boy to prison for an extremely petty thing. Furthermore, I did love how the aunt was not, well, what we initally though of her, I didn't understand how Ben could so easily forgive someone who locked her up and denied her food.

A fun read with an extremely likeable character.

Rating: 4/5

In My Mailbox (trece)

In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. It is hosted by The Story Siren. Go HERE to participate.

For review

Glee: The Beginning: An Original Novel (thanks to Headline for this!)
Strange Angels, Betrayals and Jealousy by Lili St. Crow (thanks to Quercus for these!)


Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han


Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer -- they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.



Having read many reviews lavishing endless praise on Han's sophomore novel, I went into this with extremely high expectations. And were they fulfilled? In a way they were, but in other ways they weren't.

The prose was lovely, each single phrase was beautiful to read. Han is an extremely talented writer so I'm now very eager to read the second novel in the trilogy. Her writing really did leave an impact.

Characterisation was near perfect- most characters were very realistically written, especially the protagonist, Belly. Whilst she was maybe a bit dull, all her actions and emotions were realistic apart from perhaps some regarding a particular character.

Everything the characters said, their actions, made them seem like real people. After reading the book I was just lying there, thinking about Belly and Conrad and Jeremiah and what would happen next. I don't remember the last time I thought about a group of characters as if they existed out of novels.

The setting was perfect and made the novel a true summer read. I loved the use of flashbacks and being able to see former interactions between Belly and the brothers, why she was so enamoured with Conrad.

To be honest, I didn't really understand Belly's attraction for Conrad. He was such a jerk to her for most of the book and even in the flashbacks, the things he did weren't particularly amazing. I don't think we were given a big enough insight into his character. A few more scenes between Conrad and Belly would have really helped to understand why she liked him so much.

All in all, it was a very quick, easy read with some realistically formed characters and beautiful prose.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

In my Mailbox (doce)

In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. It is hosted by The Story Siren. Go HERE to participate.

The last few weeks were amazing weeks for receiving books. My parents let me order quite a few off the Book Depository and it was so, so awesome to open the door to the postman and see all the packages waiting to be opened. Each book came with a cute bookmark as well so I will try to use them instead of folding down the corners of pages which is a terrible habit of mine.


Bright Lights, Big City by
Jay McInerney

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Master and Margarita by
Mikhail Bulgakov

Dead Souls by Gogol
The Agency: Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
On Writing by Stephen King
Princess Ben by Catherine Murdock
One Day by David Nicholls
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchettta
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Paper Towns by John Green
The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson
The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
The Season by Sarah Maclean
Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

So what did everyone else get? :D.

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Once again, I must apologise for being so inactive. The last week has been so busy with returning textbooks, prom, friend's birthday, movie-making endeavours- and then I have work experience from Monday.

Anyway, on with the review :D.


Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.


This was even better than The Iron King, if that's even possible. Action scenes abundant, descriptions of the Neverever were exquisitely written and Ash, Puck and the rest of the characters were as lovable as ever.

A particular new favourite character of mine was Leannesidhe, over-dramatic and humorous. Regarding favourite returning characters, well luckily Grimalkin made a return appearance although I would have liked to read more of him and his witty comments. Ironhorse- well I won't give too much away (although I fear I already have) but my perception of him definitely changed.

There was plenty of beautiful imagery. I really loved the prose, the detailed- but not overly so- descriptions of their surroundings that made it so easy to picture the world of the Neverever. Sometimes whilst reading novels, I just skip over the lengthy descriptive paragraphs- but not this time.

All the references to the real world put a smile on my face for example a character mentioned Kurt Cobain at one point. They reminded us that Megan really was just a high-school student, albeit a half-fey one. The homecoming dance was just plain awesome and this brings me to...

Ash. Ah, Ash, the faerie prince who has captured my heart. Or rather, Megan's heart. Megan is one lucky lady, I can tell you that. There was heartbreak, but there was also happiness. Megan's reactions were all very realistic and understandable and when she felt sad, you, the reader, were upset for her.

Furthermore, the mythology surrounding the Iron Fey was expanded upon. Kagawa's imagination seems boundless. We were introduced to many new concepts and creatures. The traditional fairy lore was also expanded upon as well. I enjoyed all the references to Puck's pranking ways, reminding us of the Shakespearean character he is based on. It was also entertaining to encounter so many different types of Faery- redcaps, goblins, satyrs, the list is endless!

All in all, a thoroughly engaging, lovely novel which has made me extremely impatient to read the final one in the trilogy.