Being laid up for a while has me stocking up on books. (And knitting projects. And DVDs.) And since I’m thinking about books, I thought I’d pass on to you some good ones I’ve recently read.
My favorite books are those in the genre of young adult fiction. You know, books written for teens. I know, I’m not a teenager anymore (haven’t even been carded in several years!) but I still like the books aimed at teens. They tend to be engaging, quick-moving, and easy to read. I especially enjoy fantasy books.
Recently, I was in my local library and picked up a book called Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.
George’s book is based on a fairy tale called “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” I don’t recall ever hearing that particular fairy tale, and you should know that you won’t feel at all lost when reading the book if you aren’t familiar with the tale. The story follows a nameless girl as she lives with her family in the Nordic north and discovers her unusual talent to communicate with animals. This gift becomes very important when a frightening snow bear comes to her home, and the girl agrees to go away with him in exchange for wealth that her family so needs. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is so well-written, that I had an extremely hard time putting it down. I always take a book to work with me to read at lunch, but this time, I would sneak in little reads during work — like when I had to wait on a program to load, or some papers to print. I think it would be pretty accurate (metaphorically, of course) to say that I devoured this book. The author has several other books which are not at my library, but which I’d like to find through inter-library loan in the hopes that they are as wonderful as this one.
Another great book is Graceling by Kristin Cashore. (Sorry, you can’t actually click to look inside unless you go to the Amazon page for this book.)
This book is about a land, set roughly in medieval times, where there are individuals who have “graces,” or special powers that others don’t have. Graces can range from being extraordinarily good at math or a fantastic swimmer to having the ability to read minds. The story focuses on one young woman, Katsa, who finds that her grace is killing. Katsa must come to terms with her grace and how the King of her country wishes to use her. The story follows Katsa as she develops strength of character and learns to love and trust others. Another very good book.
Fire is a companion book to Graceling.
The author contends that you don’t have to have read Graceling in order to understand Fire. While I agree with that, I do think that if you read Fire first, there is a surprise in Graceling that will be ruined for you. Maybe it’s not something that is critical to the plot, but I think that Graceling would be a little less enjoyable to read if you already know the story of one of the characters in Fire. When I read Fire, I was expecting and hoping for a book as engaging as Graceling. I admit I was a little bit disappointed. Fire is still a good book, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d liked the first book. The title character is a “monster” in her land. A monster in this book is something that looks for the most part like others in its species, but with very vibrant colors. A gray kitten is a kitten. A cobalt blue kitten is a monster kitten. Fire is a human woman, but a monster. Part of her monster power is that she can read and control thoughts. The story follows Fire as she learns to use her power on behalf of her King and other leaders, and yet not be manipulated into doing things she doesn’t believe in. Fire seemed more complicated to me than Graceling, to the point where I sometimes had to think really hard about which character was which. Also, while I liked the characters, I didn’t find them quite as engaging as those in Graceling. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the book. The author has another book, Bitterblue, coming out soon, and I intend to find it and read it when it arrives at my library.
Now tell me: What books can you recommend for me?