Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sidekicks, by Jack D. Ferraiolo (Written Review)

Fans of hard-hitting super hero action should check out the highly enjoyable and very humorous novel "Sidekicks" by Jack D. Ferraiolo.  Part Batman & Robin, part high school Romeo and Juliet, "Sidekicks" tells the story of teen hero Bright Boy, whose mentor, Phantom Justice, is the city's foremost champion of good.  After a highly embarrassing "wardrobe malfunction," Bright Boy realizes that big changes are in order, and his actions lead to the most unexpected, senses-shattering discovery of all!  So, take a break from all the heroes-in-tights at movie theaters this summer and read "Sidekicks."  You won't be disappointed.
Submitted by Dana Perkins, Children's Librarian

Rating: Terrific

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales by Patrick K. Ford (Written Review)



Of all the books I've ever had to read for a class, The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales is my favorite. This book is not only full of wonderful and extremely interesting stories, but also full of information about the culture of the Celts.  I loved every page of this book, the tales themselves of course, but also the introduction and prefaces to the stories written by Professor Ford. Even without studying the mythology in the class itself, I found the book incredibly readable and I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone, whether or not you are personally interested in Celtic Mythology. 

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Odyssey by Homer (Written Review)



If you think trying to get home on a Friday at five takes a long time, then you should read The Odyssey. It took ten years for Odysseus to get home from work. The Odyssey chronicles these adventures and then some. While this tale is very long, and some think it boring, for me the adventures are too enthralling to pass up. Odysseus certainly has a hamartia, he is proud, boastful, and arrogant- but that is part of what makes this story so interesting. Like many people, I read The Odyssey in freshman year of high school, and analyzed it to death. So trust me when I say that this book is not half bad. I would say terrific; however, there is a fair amount of misogyny and double standards and general ridiculousness so I'm detracting points for that.

Rating: Not half Bad

-Talia Franks

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson (Written Review)

From east bum nowhere, Vermont to New York's thriving East Village comes a roller coaster tale of lost souls and tattoo ink, AIDS and the straight-edge music scene, reckless abandon and meticulous religious soul searching. Henderson's writing is as fierce and vital as the cultural backdrop of her narration.
The story follows Jude, a formerly disillusioned, turpentine huffing pot smoker who finds himself thrust into and clinging fast to a lifestyle that demands rigorous self-restraint of its disciples. Nestled deep in a web of characters connected by love, mutual dependency, and very very loud music, Jude is launched into a tumultuous odyssey of arduous self discovery. Henderson's debut novel doesn't spare a detail, forcing her readers to feel, question, ache and crave along with her characters.

Rating: Terrific

-Christine O'Connor

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crewel by Gennifer Albin


As far as futuristic dystopias go, I thought I had seen them all. Reading Crewel changed my mind about that. Adelice lives in Arras, a world ruled by the Spinsters, or so it seems. Spinsters shape the world, deciding when, where and how the people of Arras function. Every small bit of people's lives in Arras is controlled by the Spinsters. Adelice has the power to weave the world, but she doesn't want it. Ever since she was small, her parents trained her to fail, to hide her powers. However they fail, and she passes the test. Now her whole life is changed. Adelice's story is crazy, thrilling and beyond brilliant. I love reading books, I wouldn't be writing this review if I didn't, and Crewel is a book I loved reading especially. It's the sort of book where when you finish, you almost can't believe it's over. And once you accept that, you go looking for more. I know that Altered (the sequel) is at the top of my reading list.

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine (Written Review)

 
Dragons and ogres aren't exactly the most approachable of beings. However, when the alternative is living on the streets in an unfamiliar city living in a dragon's lair is a very attractive option indeed. For young Elodie, this is an option she takes. She is soon working as a spy in the castle of her new friend, an ogre who happens to be a count. This novel is geared towards a younger audience, but is incredibly approachable for someone of any age. Full of adventure, Elodie's journey is one that I enjoyed, and I think you will as well. Picking up a copy of The Two Castles is a terrific decision, and you won't regret it. 

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (Written Review)


Sometimes when life gets crazy, you just want to forget yours and dive into someone else's. The best way to do this is with a mystery novel, and the best mystery novel for the job is The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling). The protagonist is Cormoran Strike, private investigator who lost his leg in the Afghan War. Cormoran is recently out of a relationship, heavy in debt, and living out of his office. He has been hired to investigate the murder of Lula Landry, a model who was considered to have committed suicide. He is assisted by his temporary assistant, Robin, who he can't actually afford. This thrilling mystery is filled with twists and turns, this book will have your head spinning, and leave you wondering how you could be so completely turned around. Then, of course, you realize that this is just the way things were meant to be. 

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls by Katherine Larsen and Lynn S. Zubernis (Written Review)


Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls by Katherine Larsen and Lynn S. Zubernis is a nonfiction piece that provides the story of two college professors and their descent into the Supernatural fandom.  The book also provides psychological analysis on fandom.  Katherine and Lynn started to watch the TV show starring Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki in 2005. Since then they have been to enough Creation Supernatural conventions that they hold a permanent key to to green room. Fangasm depicts how diving into fandom is a wonderful experience that places stress on peoples families and irl (in real life) relationships. Lynn and Katherine end up lying to their families to sneak off to Supernatural conventions. Together they document the fandom and the reactions to major events that break fandom norms. The duo eventually start to gain access to cast and crew to collect interviews.  They write about how this access causes a split to form their convention-going selves. Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls is a perfect book for every Supernatural fan. The newer fans get to read first hand accounts of the fandom during the time of classic Supernatural. Even those that are not members of fandom will enjoy watching these two successful women dive into an obsession and join the fandom.  Maybe you'll join the fandom too.

-Emma Trujillo

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee (Written Review)

If your looking for a thrilling mystery, or historical fiction, or both, check out The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee. The story starts with a twelve year old girl named Mary, who has been sentenced to death. On her way to the gallows she is taken and given the option to attend a school for young women. At age seventeen she discovers the truth about the school, and that it hides the Agency, an elite network of women spies. Mary is soon included in their ranks and goes on her first assignment. Everyone in the Thorold household has a secret, and Mary's is far down on the list if them. This story will keep you guessing until the very end, and if you reread it you will still barely notice all the signs. The Agency: A Spy in the House is one of the most intense books I have ever read, and putting it down was almost impossible. I expect it will be extremely difficult for anyone who comes across this terrific book to be capable of setting is aside for but a moment. 


-Talia Franks

Friday, March 21, 2014

After the Witch Hunt by Megan Falley ( Written Review)



Megan Falley’s After the Witch Hunt hits like a lightning bolt. In one poem, Beginning in in Ice Cream Truck and Ending in a Court Room, she writes, “ When our breasts arrived/ as a kind of currency, we’d tug/ our camisoles low, use/ our newfangled bodies to haggle/ with the ice cream man… We’d let the boys bite/ the beads off our candy/ necklaces until the chokers/ resembled punched out teeth./ From their slobber, blue and violet dye/ stained my throat where the sweetness/ had once been. So I suppose,/ Your Honor, I was preparing/ for him.” She has many scathing poems about her abusive ex that make you want to stand up and shout them out loud. She has beautiful and sharp poems about her mother and brother. After the Witch Hunt is a book you will want to buy, read, and carry in your backpack or handbag to read again and again.

Rating: Terrific

-Aleph

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (Written Review)

You can't go wrong with a high class sitcom, and that's exactly what Oscar Wilde gives us in his drama The Importance of Being Earnest. From the play on words (characters are named Ernest, but seldom act in earnest), to the Wildean truisms (“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.”), this play laughs at the elite stuck-up culture of Victorian England, as well as itself. It also helps us view today through a critical lens by relating it to our own social customs.
The Importance of Being Earnest features mistaken identities, secret forbidden love, a little bit of mystery, and the fight between social perception and personal expectations. There are so many quips and sarcastic lines in this play that it's hard to take it at anything other than face value, and that's what makes Oscar Wilde a great writer. If you haven't come across it in your school reading lists yet, you should eventually, but if you don't, read it yourself! And remember: “One must be serious about something, if one wants to have any amusement in life.”

Rating: Terrific

-Deanna


Monday, March 17, 2014

White Oleander by Janet Fitch (Written Review)



Recommended for women ages fourteen and up
This is, hands down, the most beautifully written piece of literature I've ever read. Raw and powerful and rife with passion and complicated truths, Fitch's first novel reads like poetry.
The story takes place in southern California, from the deserts of Santa Ana to the suburbs of Los Angeles. Astrid, an etherial prepubescent girl lives with her beautiful and narcissistic mother, Ingrid. When Ingrid kills her boyfriend and is sent to prison, Astrid is placed at the mercy of the California foster care system. With each of her assigned families, Astrid attempts to fill the void of her mother's absence, while simultaneously prying herself free of Ingrid's selfish and controlling clutches.

Rating? Terrific

-Christine O'Connor

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (Written Review)

You know, I'm not so sure why so many people put Romeo and Juliet up on a pedestal, like it's the ultimate love story. Because it's not. It's a wonderful tale, don't get me wrong, but it's not exactly a path that two young lovers should attempt to follow. Romeo is a Montague, Juliet is a Capulet. Let's just say that those families don't get along. Romeo and Juliet fall in love, before being cruelly separated. It's an age-old tale, repeated over and over. And this is the (sort of) original pairing of the star-crossed lovers. Despite my misgivings about this tale, Romeo and Juliet is something I think every person should read in their life time. At the very least so that they can understand quotes such as "Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow / That I shall say good night till it be morrow" (II.ii.197-8). "A fool's paradise" (II.iv.159). "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?" (II.ii.2) and "What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet" (II.i.85–6). So go pick up a copy, or at the very least go onto Spark Notes, they have pretty much every Shakespeare play ever on the website. 


Rating: Not Half Bad

-Talia Franks

Note: If you are wary about understanding the language, 1. It's a good learning experience for learning the intricacies of the English Language, and 2. The No Fear Shakespeare has a more modern translation. However, make sure that you read the original Shakepeare as well , because the flow really is gorgeous, and just reading the modern translation takes a good amount of it away. My personal favorite for Shakespeare is the Folger Editions because they provide definitions for key words or phrases, but do not give it all away.

Note 2: Once you have finished reading, check out part I of John Green's take on Romeo and Juliet on the YouTube channel Crash Course here. (John Green is the New York Times best seller of books such as The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (Written Review)

You may have heard of The Princess Bride, most likely the movie. How it is also a book, and that book, like the movie, is a story within a story. In the book, Goldman talks of how it is an abridged version of S. Morgenstern's novel. However, this is not the case. The character of S. Morgaestern, and the fictionalized version of William Goldman are just that, fiction. This adds another layer to the story of action, adventure and romance. The main focus is, of course, Westley and Buttercup, two young lovers torn apart and reunited. Dangers and delights are abound in this novel, along with a fair share of humor. It is a timeless tale, and one told very well by Mr. Goldman, who happens to be a fabulous author. I fell in love with this story as a child, and I have continued to love it all my life. Read this story, and you may just fall in love too.

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Note: This is a movie, and the movie is just as good as the book, so watch it. But don't forget that the movie is told by a grandfather READING A BOOK to his grandson. Read this book please, it's one of the best ever written.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey

There are that many books that I truly love without question. So many books are great, but many of them leave you empty inside- like something is lost because you no longer have anymore pages to read. Arrows of the Queen is not like that. It left me feeling whole, and better about the state of the universe. That book didn't take anything away from me, it gave me something. Exhilaration, happiness, and pure joy. This book is the story of a young girl Talia who lives in a strict and constricted holding. A town where a man has eleven wives and these women and their children and often abused. A town where that is quite accepted. However Talia is saved, and runs away to become a Herald, one of the elite messengers and fighters that serve the Queen. She discovers a new world, and finds herself. There are so many wonderful things about this coming of age story that I can't even count. Least of which that the protagonist shares my name. So I'll just leave you with one more sentence. This book is to terrific to miss- so go find one for yourself.

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

THE BOOK of General Ignorance by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson

Think you know your history? Your music? Your geography? Your science?  Maybe, maybe not. THE BOOK of General Ignorance may change your mind about that. How many wives did Henry VIII have? What was Mozart's middle name? What's the world's largest city? When did the most recent ice age end? What color is the universe? What's a vomitorium for? All these questions and more are answered in THE BOOK of General Ignorance. The cover says "everything you think you know is wrong." Well. Obviously not everything. However there are many things in this world that we are ignorant of, and this book will cure some of that ignorance. Well 230 different questions worth anyway. Even if you're convinced that you're the smartest person ever and there's nothing you don't know, do me a favor and read this. You may be surprised at what you find.


Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (Written Review)



As a young child, Hoot was one of my favorite novels. Now that I am older, I feel that I can appreciate it more. It seems to me that truly good children's novels resonate with us as adults as well. The novel centers around Roy Eberhardt, who has lived all over the place, his family relocating fairly often. They move to Florida, much to Roy's displeasure. His mother caught him climbing out of his Montana bedroom with his snowboard and a plastic tackle box in which he had only underwear, socks, a fleece ski jacket and $100 in birthday money from his grandfather. Needless to say- he didn't want to go to Florida.In his opinion, there was nothing interesting there. However soon Roy gets caught up in a mystery, and joins in the fight to save some little friends who hoot. 
Now, there are several reasons while I like this book. First, the nostalgia- this was a book I read over and over. Secondly, one of its main themes is loyalty to friends and family, with another important one being standing up and fighting for those that can't do it themselves. I like books with those themes. Thirdly, it doesn't try to present a perfect picture of life that so many books for younger people do. There are many other reasons, but honestly, you should read the book and find out about them for yourself.
The writing style is very refreshing, the words seem to pop out of the page, but with an easy tone to them. If, like me, you are a student who reads textbooks and dry adult novels, then you will appreciate the simplicity of the language. If you're an adult, then you most certainly have even more responsibilities than I do, and so this will be a good quick read. If you're a kid, well than this book was written for you wasn't it?

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha (Written Review)



The Book of Awesome is a quite awesome book indeed. It is not a novel, but rather a series of anecdotes surrounding the little things in life that are completely awesome. Things such as When you're really tired and about to fall asleep and someone throws a blanket on you or Finding the last item of your size at the store or Snow falling on Christmas Eve. The whole book is awesome as it reminds all who read it to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. There is a quote I really like by Hank Green that says "We often just accept the things that we like and complain a lot about the things that we don't like. But if we could, like, intensely dwell on the really great things in life the way we intensely dwell on the negative things in life. I think that would be fantastic." Within this book, Neil Pasricha takes all the awesome things we often put in the background and brings them forward so that we can really appreciate them. And that is wonderful.

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Note: Neil Pasricha has a blog with a thousand more awesome things here.

Note 2: The quote is from this video. As a warning, there are lots of references at the end that you probably won't understand if you don't watch the vlogbrothers on YouTube.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Written Review)

The Secret Garden is not a fantasy book. However, there is something magical about it just the same. Spoiled Mary Lennox cares not for anyone or anything other than her personal comfort. Her parents and entire household died of a cholera outbreak, so she was left and forgotten until soldiers find her. After a time she is sent away from what she has known in India to her family's native land of Britain. Now living with her uncle in Misselthwaite Manor, Mary makes friends and learns to become a better person, helping other to do so as well.
The Secret Garden is a wonderful story filled with a different kind of magic than most stories these days have. The timeless classic is timeless because despite being dated, its story is quite approachable to many people. Persons young and old alike will love this story of friendship and family, as the narrative is irresistibly brilliant.

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (Written Review)



When I first picked up a copy of The Tao of Pooh, I was told it was an excellent book that would help my worldview. Well, considering how young I was, it's no surprise that I rushed through it, marked it mildly interesting, and forgot about it on a shelf. More recently I picked it up again and was astonished. The Tao of Pooh is simply so real. Taking the world of Winnie the Pooh and combining it with the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism, Hoff actually shows how they are one and the same. The elegant simplicity of the novel is key in explaining Taoism and Winnie the Pooh, as well as key in showing what life is and how easy it is to perceive it. I cannot overstate how wonderful this book is, and how much it means to me. Every person ever should read this book, because within it are valuable life lessons. Even I don't understand the whole of it. But perhaps that is the point after all. I recommend picking up a copy as soon as you can. Read it and keep it to read again, because you may not be at the point in your life when you need it, but you'll have one. Everybody does. 

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (Written Review)

It is a classic story, that many know at least in passing. Peter Pan- the boy who never wanted to grow up. However, with so many misleading movies and abridged versions of the book itself, the true meaning is sometimes lost. Many times the true desperation that drives Peter's reluctance to grow up is glossed over. It is startling, but the fact of the matter is that Peter is a young boy in all of the best and the worst ways. He is cheerful and adventurous, and yet his unrestricted mischief and desperation prevent him from being a true child. In some ways he has done what he always refused to do- grow up. Peter is caught up in his own dream and therefore has delusions that everything is always the same. The strange dreamlike reality that is the land of Neverland draws you in, and doesn't want to let you out. This is part of the charm that Peter Pan presents I suppose. Either way, this book is terrific. The terrifying and mysterious tale that is Peter Pan is magical, wonderful, and yet a tad bit frightening in its ferocity. Either way, you won't want to miss out on revisiting this fantastic children's story. 

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Written Review)

Books that are translated from other languages into English often seem to be a little off. Small details here and there make the story subtlety uncomfortable to read. However, this trend most certainly does not apply to Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.
Gwen Shephard is, by all appearances, a normal girl. She hangs out with her best friend Lesley, they talk about movies, boys, school and everything in between. Charlotte, Gwen's cousin, is the family favorite. This is because Charlotte has the time traveling gene, and she is part of a greater secret society. Except there was a mistake, because Charlotte is not the one with the gene, Gwen is. All of Charlotte's skills are useless, and Gwen doesn't have any skills that would prepare her for going back in time.
Filled with ancient mysteries and conspiracies new and old, Ruby Red is a brilliant and complex novel. Between the tangled time lines and the family secrets, the book can't help but be confusing. The way the story goes makes it irresistible nonetheless, because the unveiling of this world is beyond rewarding. Hold onto your seat and set aside some time, because Ruby Red is a crazy ride that you won't want to stop.


Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Note: This is the first book in a trilogy. There is also a film version (admittedly one I haven't seen) but read the book first anyway. Books are almost always better.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli (Written Review)

Have you ever wondered what made Harry Potter so magical? Why the idea of a little boy wizard could spawn a whole generation of fans? Well I can't tell you, no one really knows. But Melissa Anelli's Harry, A History tells the story of that generation, and how the Harry Potter movement really started rolling. As the webmistress of The Leaky Cauldron,  Anelli was right in the thick of the years when Harry Potter was an unfinished series, and that is about the time when the magic started. 
With an excellently written forward by J. K. Rowling herself, Harry, A History is the ultimate book on the Harry Potter fandom as a whole. With an explanation of all the intricacies that make up Harry Potter fans, Harry, A History is a fantastic piece on the evolution of a culture, and far too fantastic to even think about passing it up.


Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Monday, February 3, 2014

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (Written Review)



It's not unheard of for a girl to pretend to be of the other gender, but it sure leads to some complications. When the aristocratic Viola is stranded in Illyria due to a ruined ship she decides to make a name for herself. In doing so she becomes a page under the name Cesario. Her superior is Duke Orsino and she soon falls in love with him. However, he loves a woman named Olivia who in turn falls in love with 'Cesario,' thus creating a very strange love triangle. Meanwhile her twin brother Sebastian also comes to Illyria and is confused when people think they know who he is. This is of course due to the similarities he shares with his sister.
A wild and hilarious tale, Twelfth Night is an terrific example of Shakespeare's wonderful writing and excellency as a playwright. A fantastic read and when done well undoubtedly a fabulous thing to watch, Twelfth Night is not something you want to miss out on.

-Talia Franks

Thursday, January 30, 2014

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane (Written Review)

Juanita "Nita" Callahan was in the library hiding from bullies and found a book called So You Want to Be a Wizard. That is where her whole life changed. Despite her disbelief in regards to magic, that night Nita takes the Wizard Oath, and the next day she goes off to do her first spell, retrieving her space pen, which had been stolen by the bullies. She meets Kit, a fellow new wizard who wants to be fearless. They join their spells together, and the resulting adventure is one they would never have expected. A blend of Science Fiction and Fantasy, So You Want to Be a Wizard is one heck of a book. The characters seem to jump off the page, and the humor is wonderful. The best part of the book is the way it shows that kindness is better than hate. Many books talk about the difference between good and evil. So You Want to Be a Wizard puts this into perspective, because it shows how being a kind and generous person can benefit the characters in ways that those on the other side could never understand. That, more than anything, is what makes this such a terrific book. 

-Talia Franks

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Written Review)


"By the pricking of my thumbs, / something wicked this way comes" (IV.i.44-45).

The above are some of the most famous lines from the Shakespearean play Macbeth. Known to those in theatre as The Scottish Play, quoting the above line or even saying the title Macbeth can invoke the malicious spirits of the witches portrayed. Macbeth (the character) is a man with his own power, as thane of Glamis, but when he hears a prophecy by the three witches and parts come true, he takes it to heart and commits terrible crimes to fulfill the prophecy and become king. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth has no intention of becoming a villian, but when the words of the witches come true, they corrupt him. 
A thrilling and riveting tale, Macbeth is a classic and well known today. I particularly enjoyed reading it, and will gladly do so again. But do take caution speaking of it around theatres. The ghosts of the witches just might come back to haunt you. 

Rating: Terrific

-Talia Franks

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Time Travelers/Gideon the Cutpurse by Linda Buckley-Archer (Written Review)

The Time Travelers certainly has an interesting concept- kids in the 21st century brought back to 1763 by an experimental device. The book is undoubtedly fascinating in regards to the story line. However, the story lacks the spark that makes you keep reading. There are parts with action and adventure, but they are close to the end of the book. Most of the first half is simply boring. Once one gets into the book, it gets a tad more riveting, but not much. I definitely struggled to get to the end. The characters fell rather flat, and while there was some development it was not nearly sufficient. The novel was not half bad, but I wouldn't say it was good either. 

-Intern T

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri (Written Review)

Have you ever considered making a deal with the devil? Running away from your home and all you know? To be smart, beautiful, or athletic? Of course, deals with the devil come with a cost. Five children disappeared from cities across Europe in one night, and years later they are at an exclusive school in New York. There they are brought higher and higher due to their gifts. But at what cost? Another Faust is certainly an intriguing book, and the plot is rather unique and refreshing in comparison to many teen novels. However the novel still has the achingly lovesick tone of many teen novels. As is almost always true, the story has a fair bit of sappy romance that drives the story. I concede that as a novel dealing with the consequences of greed and treachery some romance is required, but there is far too much focus on it. Another Faust is somewhat lacking as a novel. I definitely wouldn't read it again, but it isn't a complete loss if you're looking for something in that rather stereotypical genre. 

Rating: Not Half Bad

-Talia Franks

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke (Written Review)

Venezia! La Serenissima! Venice, The Floating City of many names. The City of Masks, of Bridges of Canals. The City within which The Thief Lord takes place. Prosper and Bo are brothers, Prosper being the elder, and Boniface being the younger. They were raised by their mother alone, and she would often tell them stories of Venice. When their mother died, Prosper and Bo were sent to live with their aunt and uncle, Esther and Max Hartlieb. Except not exactly, because Mr. and Mrs. Hartlieb didn't want Prosper, only Bo. Desperate not to be separated, the boys ran away. From Hamburg all the way to a city of islands came the brothers. To the city with which their late mother filled their dreams. The brothers find adventure in the Venetian underworld and are lead on a strange new journey with their mysterious new friend and a leader of a young band of miscreants. They call him The Thief Lord
While The Thief Lord is a good novel it is not exactly approachable. Those who read it should be warned that several of the names will be hard to pronounce. Also, the book is slightly off. It is a translation from the original German and so there are small details that seem out of place or strange. The book is in English and is very understandable, yet slightly askew. As though it were a painting that was slightly off center. Beautiful, yet somehow wrong. Other than those small faults, the book is quite well done. 

Rating: Not Half Bad

-Talia Franks