May 10, 2008

The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper

A novel of predestination. So, so, so contrived. Hardly a chapter goes by without a deus ex machina. The only character who actually gets to make a decision does so out of our viewing, and even that decision is pretty much portrayed as being inevitable. And let's not get into the us vs. them moral code...

About the only saving grace is the book's strong sense of place, being rooted very firmly in England. And maybe the language, though frankly that's just a bit overdone.

Posted by Shmuel at 4:26 PM

April 24, 2003

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

[I never got around to writing this entry. In a nutshell, I liked the book.]

Posted by Shmuel at 11:38 PM

February 12, 2003

Star Trek: Mission to Horatius, by Mack Reynolds

Originally published in 1968, republished in 1999, and bought new at a dollar store for one buck, this is about as good as one would expect, which is to say, "not very." But amusing at times, for wholly unintended reasons.

Posted by Shmuel at 1:21 AM

February 2, 2003

Enchanted Forest 2-4: Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede

These are by no means bad, but they're not as good as the first book in the series. The author never really earns the right to use the soapsuds trick as extensively as she does in these books; when it comes in at the end of the first book, it works on a temporary basis, but for it to be used this much, I'd expect some stronger limitations, or at least a better explanation, neither of which happen. More importantly, I was frustrated by the way Cimorene's character is dumbed down in the middle two books, apparently in order to give the newer characters a chance to shine. That said, book 4 is the second-best of the series, so it does end on an upswing.

Posted by Shmuel at 1:14 AM

January 26, 2003

Enchanted Forest 1: Dealing With Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede

Very charming and delightful. I love books that take on fairy tales with a feminist sensibility, and this is a very good example of that genre. The writing style is reminiscent of Mary Anne's at times, or perhaps vice-versa.

As an aside, if I were the author, I'd want the head of whoever wrote the cover blurb on the edition I borrowed. It's an entirely inaccurate misrepresentation of what's inside.

Posted by Shmuel at 1:08 AM