Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Crewel World

In the miasma of dystopian young adult fiction out there today, I admit I've become somewhat jaded. I was pretty sure I'd read it all and there weren't any new ways to take us eerily into the future. And then I read the blurb for Crewel and thought, that's different. And it certainly was in lots of ways, even if a little hard to follow at times. Set in the futuristic society of Arras, the country is run by the Guild--and everything is orchestrated by Spinsters who see the "weave" of everything. Much like the Fates of the myths, these Spinsters have control of all life in Arras--but the Guild has control of them.

In this society, children are given assignments (as well as marriage plans!) at age sixteen. All her life, Adelice's parents have striven to hide the fact that the she is special: she can see the weave without the aid of a loom. This means that Adelice will be taken away after her official testing, never to see her family again, so they work to help her learn to hide her talents. Of course it all goes badly and Adelice's family is torn asunder; she finds herself taken by the Guild, set up in a fancy room, given lots of things including a stylist, and told she will weave for the rest of her life. But Adelice is no shrinking violet, and she finds herself in trouble right off the bat--as well as the center of attention between two young men, Josten and Erik.

There's a lot to like in Crewel, including Adelice's rather ascerbic wit and the fast pace of the action. I do wish we hadn't found ourselves stuck between two gorgeous suitors because it's a little been there, done that. I also had some trouble figuring out just what was going on towards the end--I won't give it away here, but it is confusing as to how the main characters...did what they did. But I loved the idea of Crewel; its originality is a definite plus, and I'm eager to find out where we are going. I just hope we're not left hanging too long until the next installment.


Sunday, December 09, 2012

A Graphic Novel For a Change of Pace

Resistance is a graphic novel about three children in France during World War II who join the Resistance against the Nazis occupying their country. I say three children, but the eldest is a teen girl who is interested in local boys and is able to lead her brother and sister to Paris with a Jewish boy whose parents have escaped Nazi custody there. The youngest is Marie, a rather loud bossy youngster, and then there is Paul, her slightly older brother whose good friend Henri escapes being taken with his parents when he is away from home during the day. The two decide to hide Henri in a cave but also find out their sister and mother are helping the Resistance. With a rather scary train ride, the siblings must escort Henri to his parents.

I had high hopes for this novel but ultimately I was let down. While I could see it perhaps appealing to a younger reading set, I didn't find the story especially intriguing and Marie was downright annoying (as little sisters can often be). The graphics themselves are all right but not really anything special; I did find some of the scenes drawn by young Paul to be enlightening. I suppose I was expecting to be drawn into this world completely, and I did not feel the story was realistic in how easily the children became involved in the Resistance. However, if the goal was to expose readers to the role of children during the French Resistance, its mission was accomplished, albeit in a light manner. Could be read by an adult in a very short sitting, and might possibly bring younger readers to want to learn more about France's World War II history.


Saturday, December 08, 2012

Reached brings us to the end of Cassia's issues with the Society and her potential Matches, Ky and Xander. Now a member of the Rising, Cassia works undercover as a Trader while she waits to see if the Pilot will come to power. She knows both Ky and Xander are taking risks for the Rising so they cannot be together, but when a Plague epidemic strikes, she knows the time has come. Problem is, those who unleashed the Plague did not anticipation it mutating and placing those they love in great danger. This is where the trio become reunited and a race against time for the cure begins.

While Reached does not give on the edge of your seat excitement, it does move everything along to its ultimate conclusion well. There are lots of scenes where Cassia must interact with those she's either known in the past or has feelings for, and lots of mysteries are explained, though some take a while to get there. What I liked most is that Cassia's feelings for her family were never left out, nor did she put her feelings for Ky ahead of those for family. It's nice to see a heroine acknowledging her longing for her grandfather and the debt she owes to those who have gone before. There are some coincidences in the book, such as the identity of Lei, which probably stretched my imagination more than they should have, and a few times I felt as though some action was thrown in simply to pad the story. I did feel Indie got shortchanged, and I would have liked to have read more about upcoming changes to the communities and if the Otherlands existed. Perhaps that will all be answered in another book or two.

My biggest gripe with Reached, which I found interesting and intriguing overall, was the Pilot himself. He just was. That's it--I did not feel much about him one way or the other. What was the big attraction? How did he personally come into power? He seemed threatening at times and just bewildered at others. Though I could see him as figurehead for the Rising, I was ultimately let down by everything about him, including how he came to know about our trio. I really didn't understand why those three made an impact on him out of thousands, and I felt he treated them shabbily in expecting so much.

Reached isn't without its issues, but it definitely is deep on meaning and relationships, and those components alone kept me involved in the story. I felt Reached was a big improvement over Crossed, and I liked the ultimate resolution. I loved the idea that Cassia could have been part of something she didn't know about for so long, and I loved that these three relied mostly on brains rather than luck. A good solid ending to the trilogy.


Saturday, December 01, 2012

I've Said This For Years!

I am. not. a. jazz. fan.  I do like big band, but jazz?  Ugh, ugh, ugh. 
So when I heard Dwight and Angela's conversation on The Office the other night, I felt like someone had been channeling my thoughts. I think Angela replies something to the effect of:  "Yes, jazz is stupid. Just pick a note and play it."  


~taminator *not a jazz fan*  40