I’m working on this. I try to fit books into a category or tab already established, but some books just don’t want to fit. Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis is one such remarkable book. I’ll write a bit about it later. Part legend, part adventure, part romance. All in all an incredible novel, the way the two stories weave in and out. I’m reminded of The Neverending Story. Michaelis is an author that I follow. I liked Dragons of Darkness too, but there is something amazing with Tiger Moon. I didn’t want the story to be over, but I did want to know what was going to happen so I wanted it to be over, but no, not yet. Longish novel for middle school. I’ve recommended it to certain students, the ones who consume stories with their mind and their soul, and they have been as enthralled as I.
Nick Lake – In Darkness
This book still lingers with me and will for some time. More than lingers, it haunts me. In Darkness weaves together two time periods in Haiti’s tumultuous history and is told through two voices. The story opens with the Haitian earthquake of 2010. Shorty is a young gang member living in the Cite’ Soleil, a shanty town/refugee town under the control of the United Nations, but ruled by rival gangs. He is hospitalized with a gunshot wound when the earthquake reduces the hospital to rubble. As he clings to life, he recounts his life’s events and as his mind wanders, the story shifts to Haiti’s past. The second voice is that of Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the successful slave rebellion of 1790 against the French. The time shift writing mechanism succeeds – brilliantly. The writing is intense, the pacing fast, and the characters are very complex and genuine. Both time periods are violent, bleak, gritty and horrific. Because of the language and many acts of violence, the best audience is high school and adult. Also, background knowledge of not just Haitian history but of the many revolutions during the 1700s helps the reader to better absorb the story. My background knowledge of Haitian history is sparse. When I finished the novel, I immediately read several articles about Haiti and Toussaint L’Ouverture. I went about this backwards. I recommend reading a quick encyclopedia article about Haiti’s history and then start the book. The story of Toussaint L’Ouverture could be told by itself and be as engrossing and dynamic alone as it is when entwined with Shorty’s. It is a story that needs to be told and Nick Lake has done an outstanding job. After telling the story of hundreds of years of oppression and violence, the author ends it on a note of hope.
As a fan of the author’s Blood Ninja books, I was eager to read In Darkness because it is quite different from vampire ninjas and I wanted to see what else the author can produce. I am in awe and will eagerly read whatever he writes next – Somali pirates? This will be after the third in the Blood Ninja trilogy.
David Leviathan – Every Day
A wakes up each morning in a different body. It has been this way since A’s infancy. This is the only life A has known. A is a soul, an entity, a person without a body or a permanency in this world, who is determined to selflessly do the right thing. A strives to cause no harm to the person whose body has been hijacked and to go through the day without causing disruption in the person’s life. Until he meets Rhiannon, A’s soulmate. Any attempt to further summarize the book will ruin the pleasures for the next reader. This is easily one of the best books of 2012 that I have read! Brilliant premise, flowing writing, incredible insight. (i.e. – the mind of the girl who is succumbing to depression) Extremely difficult to put down, this book will linger with me for quite some time.
Terry Pratchett – Dodger
Dodger is interrupted from his work in the sewers of Victorian London when he hears the screams of a lady being beaten. Rescuing the lady, who has escaped from a horrible marriage to a German prince, is the first of many heroic deeds by the cunning streetwise Dodger. Dodger sets plans in motion to save this damsel in distress. Dust off your Oliver Twist with this salute to Charles Dickens. Coincidence that Dodger’s mentor is named Solomon?
The author calls this work a historical fantasy. He succeeded in encouraging me to learn more about Victorian London, Mayhew, Bazalgette, and other famous people woven into the story so that’s the educational part of a historical fantasy. The rest is pure wonderment at the author’s genius. It took me longer than usual to read this book because I savored every word. Dodger is someone I’d very much want to know – after my valuables were safely stowed away.