Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

The third book in the "Inheritance Trilogy" (or as most people will identify with it, the Eragon books), was mostly satisfying. I very much enjoyed the story-lines, and the deepening of the characters. I could have done with several less long and detailed fight scenes though. Especially the ones between Roran and the empire. You can go with Eragon not being killed because he has magic, but come on...193 soldiers, with a hammer? I suppose if I am suspending belief for dragons and magic, I can suspend disbelief for Roran and his hammer. But it's a little to convenient for Paolini I think. It's like an easy out for him to say, "Wow...Roran lived...again!" But oh well, that's really a minor quibble.

I'm impressed with Paolini's devotion to the world of Alagesia. It echoes of the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars how he devotes an entire section of the end of the book to the analysis of the language and how he encourages one who is interested to further study the originating languages (dwarf, elvish, urgal, etc.) I can't believe that the book was supposed to be longer. For one thing, what the heck else could he have added to the story?! And for another, it could not have handled anything else.

I hope there is some restraint in the fourth book with regards to the battles, but I'm sure there will be a few good detailed ones as Eragon and his companions must march on toward killing "King" Galbatorix. We'll see how long it takes Paolini to craft the next story.

On a side note, I can't wait to pick up the third Corneila Funke book, Inkdeath. (I can't think of the name of the series right's not her third book, just the third in the series). I might just have to ask for it on CD for Christmas!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Missing Book 1: Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Wow. This book was pretty good. I wasn't really expecting anything when I opened this. The book fair rep sent it to me so that I could preview it and book talk it before the fair. I'm still trying to figure out a good way to book talk it without giving anything away! At the end of the first 10 pages, there's quite a kicker. I immediately took the book to another teacher and said, "Read the page ten." She shook herself after she read it and said, "Creepy."

The descriptions that jump into my head right away are "Lost" and "Quantum Leap". (Remember that show?) So I can definitely say this is Science Fiction. But I was a tad surprised with the direction the book took at the end. I expected more of the "backstory" to the mystery to be dragged out and have that be the focus of the series. Clearly, the series is going to continue with the backstory still there intact, but the main characters having varied adventures.

I'm not describing this book very well, but I don't want to give anything away! It was very good, but I felt the writing was a little forced at the end of the book. Haddix was trying too hard to wrap up the backstory before the end of the book. Since this is a series, she could have left a few of the questions unanswered in this book and come up with better explanations for them in the second book. But all in all, this was a great read and the kids will really enjoy it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn

Although this is on our State Children's Choice Awards for next year, I read this because one of my friends said, "You have to read this. It's creepy." She's now reading it at recess time with her fourth graders who want to and they are loving it.

Seriously. I met Mary Downing Hahn briefly at the autograph session when she won our state award for The Old Willis Place. She is this little petite older lady with gorgeous flowing script. How can these creepy stories come out of a sweet person like that?! I think this story is scarier than the Old Willis Place. I might have to make it an optional book with my 4th and 5th graders next year, as I can see some being too scared when reading it. It's a pretty typical ghost story, and fairly obvious to us adults what's going on, but it might be too much for some students. Still, the voice Downing gives her characters strikes a chord, even with us adults.

I also got a few new books in the mail. They are going to be on the book fair, so I got some to preview and book talk before the fair. I picked up Margaret Peterson Haddix's new book "Found: The Missing - Book 1". I didn't get very far yet, but dang...I didn't need to. The first ten pages made me think the kids are going to gobble this one up. I'll tell you more about it when I finish.

Other than that, I've been terribly busy. Most of my reading has been magazine and scrapbooking things. Although, I did leisurely read some books from an older series called Myth-O-Mania. Very light-hearted reading, but I had one from the series and never read anymore. I found them at the public library a few weeks ago.

I will check back later when I've read more of "Found"!