Friday, June 27, 2008


Title: Triskellion
Author: Will Peterson
Amazon Link
Publication: May 2008

Copy owned: Advanced Reading copy
My opinion: 2/5

Product Details:
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763639710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763639716

Product Description:

A sense of foreboding sets in the moment fourteen-year-old twins Rachel and Adam arrive from New York to visit their English grandmother. The station is empty, village streets are deserted, locals are hostile, and even their frail Granny Root is oddly distant. And what about the bees that appear to follow a mysterious force? It all seems tied up with the Triskellion — an intertwining symbol etched in chalk on the moors. With a growing sense of danger and white-knuckle suspense, the twins are compelled to unearth a secret that has protected the village for centuries, one that reveals a shocking truth about their ancestors — and themselves.

My review: This is one of those books that is written in that well-written British style, with great vocabulary and wonderful descriptions of scenes, places and people. When I read the description of this book, I was a bit hesitant, because usually when a story says it contains "a deep dark village secret" that usually means it is a lottery story - and I hate lottery stories. I absolutely refuse to watch or read them (a lottery story is when the village holds a lottery to either stone a person, kill a person, cast a person out, or eat a person to preserve the good will of the gods) and you will see this theme every now and then when someone has run out of good storylines. Thankfully, this is not a lottery story. However, throughout the entire book, I could not guess the mystery, and days after finishing the book, after contemplating it some more, I still can not figure out the mystery. This book leaves me flabbergasted. Its really good, but its overall question of "why" is never really answered, at least not to my satisfaction. I don't understand the overall point/theme to this book. Its explained in a rudimentary way, but not in a obvious "end of the book" here is the solution to the mystery kind of way. I don't know, I just know that I was a bit frustrated at the end, which is a real shame because it really is a good story, I just didn't understand why it all happened in the first place. It just needs a clearer ending.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Swan Kingdom

Title: The Swan Kingdom
Author: Zoe Marriot
Publication Date: March 2008
Amazon Link
My copy: Advanced Reading Copy
My opinion: 4/5

Product Details:
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763634816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763634810

Product Description:
Shadows fall across the beautiful, lush kingdom after the queen is attacked by an unnatural beast, and the healing skills of her daughter, Alexandra, cannot save her. Too soon the widowed king is spellbound by a frightening stranger, a woman whose eyes reflect no light. In a terrifying moment, all Alexandra knows disappears, including her beloved brothers, leaving her banished to a barren land. But Alexandra has more gifts than she realizes as she confronts magic, murder, and the strongest of evil forces, and is unflinchingly brave as she struggles to reclaim what is rightfully hers. Fantasy lovers will be held in thrall by this tale full of visual detail, peppered with a formidable destructive force and sweetened with familial and romantic love.

My review: I have always loved the retellings of fairy tales. Like Cinderella, Han's Christian Anderson's stories are often retold. This story is a retelling of the Wild Swans. I've always liked this particular story, ever since I read a chapter book in my teens about the brother who had one wing because she couldn't finish the shirt in time (if anyone remembers the title of this story, please leave a comment). Zoe Marriot's version is told in the first person, and reminds me of other quest-related fantasy stories - in other words, it has a really good rhythm and a great descriptive narrative. I would compare it to Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days and Robin McKinley's Beauty. The ending has a twist that was unexpected and quite pleasing. The magic within the story is the type that is a give and take of the land, reminescent of fey lines. So the magic just doesn't come out of nowhere, like a fairy tale, if you are concerned about such things. This is more about a story of a daughter and sister and how she copes with adversity and loss. The love story within is also sweet and is based upon realistic friendship. If you love fairy tales as much as I do, you will love this story.