These books are AWESOME! Of course I read Twilight too but these are so much better. The best part about the Saga of Darren Shan (better known as the Cirque du Freak series) is that Shan really wrote them with pre-teen children in mind. In fact, they seem to be for pre-teen boys. I really like the voice and how Shan ever-so-surreptitiously sneaks in little vocabulary lessons just to make sure it’s a didactic experience. I also really liked Shan’s vampire mythology, and how it’s presented somewhat meta-humorously: he constantly refers to what traditional vampire lore and tells you “No, that’s not really how we vampire folk are… those are just stories” and it all kind of made me giggle.
There are twelve books in the series but I swear it didn’t feel like it. I think I read about two or three books of the series per day, depending on how much time I had to read. But yes, I bought all 12 books in the span of about a week. Yikes.
Read it! Give it to your children/siblings/cousins to read!
I’ve already read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince but it was before 2006 when I first started keeping track so I’m counting it now. Mainly I wanted to re-read it before the movie came out to refresh my memory and I ended up reading it all in a day. I swear I can never put down a Harry Potter book once I pick it up.
Anyway I really liked Half-Blood Prince. It seemed, more than any other book, to take time out to explain a lot of the past which was still a mystery, and I liked that. I think that’s some of my favourite parts of the series, when there are flashbacks and explanations of the past, whether it’s about Voldemort, or James and Lily, or any of the Marauders. I think my favourite part of this whole book was Slughorn. Such a well-written character! It’s like he ought to be detestable, but you can’t quite hate him because he’s just so jolly.
Why did no one tell me?!!! Tolkien is finally1 available in Kindle format! They have the three separate books as well as Lord of the Rings trilogy in one volume, at a bargain price. The Hobbit and The Children of Hurin are also available. I really want Silmarillion to come out though, as I’ve never read it.
Now I’m afraid I’m asking too much for Ayn Rand (besides Anthem) to become available, and in some alternate universe, Harry Potter.
1 Is it bad that we want books to magically appear on the Kindle Store overnight? Because I kind of do. And we know most books are already typed up in some sort of digital format before they go to print, so the delays must be mainly legal and administrative issues. Frustrating!
I’ve finally finished the His Dark Materials trilogy with The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. I can’t really say much without giving away a lot, but I think it’s great. I don’t mind much that it’s a story that questions the authority of the Church; in fact I don’t think it necessarily means that Pullman is trying to disassemble the entire structure of society or anything of the sort. I think it’s more the idea of questioning authority just because it SAYS it’s authority, whether it’s religion or government or some other sort, and this surprisingly comes into play on more levels than we expect in the series.
Anyway, the idea is that this is the last of the battle that Lord Asriel wages against the Authority, with armoured bears and witches and humans and angels and little people taking sides. There’s this prophecy about Lyra that tells that she’s at the centre of all of it, but I can’t tell you why! All I can say is that I could not have imagined this on my own.
So I’ve moved on to the second book of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, The Subtle Knife. So far I really like it! It’s quite different from the first one, especially as it starts out with a boy named William who seems to come from a separate universe which is much more similar to ours. But some strange men are after this green leather writing pad that supposedly belongs to his long-lost adventurer-father, and his mother’s somewhat batty, so he escapes to another universe, where he randomly runs into Lyra! But it switches back to the Golden Compass storyline too, which I like because obviously there was no neat ending to that, and in fact, there are new plot twists that still have to be addressed. I want to see Iorek again!
I’m excited! I started The Golden Compass (AKA The Northern Lights), the first in the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. Now I’ve seen the movie and wasn’t totally impressed, but I think part of it was that I didn’t have anything invested in any of the characters. I think that’s one of the failures of the movie, that it doesn’t make you feel terribly connected to any of the characters, especially for someone who’s never read the books. The book is great though; I love Lyra and Pan so much and the gyptians are just cool.
The Golden Compass is about a young girl of unknown origins who grows up at Jordan College. In this world, one’s soul exists outside the body and accompanies one everywhere in the form of an animal. As a child one’s “daemon” can change forms but when one becomes an adult it can no longer change. Lyra hears some mention of this thing called “Dust” and becomes involved in a government plot to steal children, which horrifies her. She escapes, but she’s also concerned about her friends who have been captured, and her Uncle Asriel who is being held captive by armoured bears in the North?! There’s a lot going on, all of which is totally exciting, and some unexpected twists too!
It’s really great, highly recommended. I don’t want to get involved in the controversy over its alleged anti-religion sentiments which flared up because of the movie, because in general, I don’t think that the opinion expressed by an author in a body of work is necessarily an indicator of how good it is.