January 26, 2015

1/26/15 - A Book With Magic / A Book That Scared Me

I've been slacking pretty horribly, haven't I? Last week, I did not actually meet my goal; I had other reading assignments that crowded A World Without Princes from my schedule.

Fortunately, I have rectified that mistake, and I also just crossed off another challenge from my list!

Title: A World Without Princes
Author: Soman Chainani
Challenge: A Book With Magic
Date: January 25, 2015

I read The School for Good and Evil back at the tail end of 2014 and I absolutely adored it. The friendship between the two main characters are truly at the center of the story, which is something I have a huge soft spot for; the world, while not wholly original, was neither wholly derivative, and the blend of originality and familiarity made it a lot of fun.

AWWP shakes things up a little bit more. It's not as good as the first book - when are second books? - but it's still pure fun... with added emotional trauma! Yay! Suffice it to say that the book doesn't end on a happy note, and that I anxiously await the third book. Hopefully that'll set everything straight.

Sophie and Agatha are some of the strongest female characters I've encountered in middle-grade fiction, and I don't say that lightly. They're complex and multifaceted, and they screw up. A lot. And they pay for it. Poor things. I anxiously await the third book.

If you love fractured fairytales, friendship, and fun(ereal levels of pain), I highly recommend the School for Good and Evil books.

Title: The Island of Dr. Moreau
Author: H.G. Wells
Challenge: A Book That Scares Me
Date: January 26, 2015

I read this book for my 400-level Secondary Worlds course, as an example of early science fiction. H.G. Wells was familiar to me, of course (we also read The Time Machine), but I'd never heard of Dr. Moreau. I wasn't expecting much, to be honest.

And instead I got the absolute crap scared out of me. It's always the ones that I don't expect.

I can't really reveal anything about what's so scary about it - I have a strict ethical law that prevents me from spoiling key story elements - but... wow. It's not a horror story or even a thriller, really, but it examines the absolute darkest side of human nature. And what happens when that human nature is distorted... through various means.


It's dated writing, but there's something about Wells's way with words that makes the story feel immediate and very personal. That's what makes some of it so horrible, to me - it's so real and clearly-described that you can't help but feel an overwhelming nausea of wrongness. It's terrifying, really. Or maybe it's just me.

Anyway, I also recommend this book if you need to be kept awake at night by nightmarish images and unanswerable moral questions.

That's it for me, for both this week and last week. I'll chime in on Thursday for next week's reading lineup. Joyous Reading!

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