Reading Update: Today is Monday, May 12. As of today I have read 45 books in 2014 and am, accordingly, 87% of the way toward my goal. I definitely think I am going to be changing that goal here pretty soon! Since last time, I finished the following books:
The One is the finale of the Selection trilogy. There are a lot of YA trilogies out there, and most of them seem to be dystopian yarns; the Selection is no exception in that regard, but it is exceptional in that it was entirely satisfying and devoid of most of the darkness and angst that characterize most of its cohort. Yes, bad and dark things happen, and there are bad and dark characters — but I never felt like this trilogy was going to give me an ulcer, and it never made me cry. Instead, it made me want more time to read, and then it made me want more story to read when I was done. No one is going to claim that this trilogy is a Great Masterpiece of Youth Literature, but I will happily claim that it is one of my favorite things I’ve read this year.
The Princess Test is a long-form retelling of “The Princess and the Pea,” although long may be stretching things a bit — it’s really just a short story, typeset in such a way that it makes up an entire (small) book. In order to flesh out the story beyond its usual parameters, Gail Carson Levine adds extra challenges beyond the expected pea-under-mattresses and afflicts her monarchs with a predilection for excessive synonyms. It was a cute, quick little tale.
The Princess and the Pea is a graphic novel adaptation of the more traditional tale that I remembered from my childhood. Nothing too exciting here, including the artwork (which seemed a bit like that of a high school manga fan), but a nice introduction to the fairy tale for the visually oriented.
Red, White, and Blood is the third in the Nathaniel Cade/President’s Vampire series. The concept here is that there is a vampire in the President’s Secret Service, sworn by an old voodoo oath to protect the President and the United States at the cost of his own vampiric nature. That vampiric nature, of course, is at the cost of Cade’s morality, and so even as the vampire fights the forces of darkness (both supernatural and human) he also fights a battle within himself: is he worse than a beast, or is he redeemable? Farnsworth is a local guy, a heck of a researcher, and a fellow who spins a fine suspense novel. It’s not overly vampy, isn’t weighed down with historical tidbits, and walks that lovely line between scary and exciting. I love these books and, even though they’re (again) no great masterpieces, I highly recommend them.
Currently Reading: I have Possession (book 5 in the Fallen Angels series, a dreadful guilty pleasure of mine) for on-the-road, and a MASSIVE copy of the first volume of The Absolute Sandman at home. It stays safely at home because it’s the public library’s, and I don’t want anything to happen to it (as it’s rather wildly expensive) and it seems like it might be somewhat safer there.
Looking Ahead: I hope I can get hold of Volume 2 of Sandman. Beyond that, there are several YA titles on my radar, and the kids are almost done using the library, so soon I’ll have my pick of the litter. I think the first one there is Daughter of Smoke and Bone; I checked it out and was going to read it next, but a kiddo just put it on hold, and they only have the next week to get and read books, so I’ll probably bring it back for her and get it again this summer.