Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Three Novel Cure

Over the weekend I broke down and took the three novel cure. That is, I did not much besides read three novels and drink hot sweet herbal tisanes (so as not to offend R by calling them "tea"). The cure worked wonders, and today I am feeling ever so much better. There is really something great about just feeling normal after being sick. The one good part was that I got a chunk into my omnipresent reading pile. I always have my stack of YA books so I can keep up with the kids, and also my stack of just plain good reads. I stuck with the light and humorous for the cure.

Novel #1 The College Of Magics by Caroline Stevermer

What a sweet little fantasy story! Nothing big-brained or deep here, but an interesting twist on alternative history. The short description would be that an heir to the duchy of Galazon (not very imaginative I admit) is sent to a finishing school that also happens to teach witchcraft. Much adventure ensues. There seem to be a growing number of fantasy books set in either the Regency, Victorian, or Edwardian periods in Europe. They try to preserve the feel of the era, but then weave in magic as just another skills that proper young ladies might learn. There is supposed to be a sequel called Scholar of Magics as well.

Novel #2 The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones

Jones is such a strong author that I read pretty much anything she puts out. Her adult attempts (A Sudden Wild Magic and Deep Secret) are great if you like fantasy, and her childrens' books are edgy and fun. Her Chrestomanci series is quite popular. This is the 8th installment. The world of the Chrestomanci is quite complicated, but it is based in the idea that there are many alternate realities and they are all slightly different. A person with the right combination of circumstances can travel between these worlds, and can even collect the unused lives and magic of people who died at birth. One of Jones' greatest strengths is the way she makes the young characters seem very round and real in a way that really appeals to young readers.

Novel #3: A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore is one of those very unusual authors. He has such an off-beat sense of humor that he sometimes puts people off. However, he really is very funny, and his books have a wonderful unexpected quality. Short version: Charlie Asher is the ultimate beta-male, so he is very disturbed to suddenly discover that he is a "Soul Merchant" for the dead. Add to that the huge crows yelling insults from the sewer and the four hundred pound hellhounds protecting his infant daughter, and you have one very unusual book. A rollicking good time as they say. Minty Fresh, a character from some of Moore's other novels, also appears in this book.

1 comment:

julie:) said...

Love Caroline Stevermer's College of Magics. Scholar isn't quite as good as College, but it's good too.

Stevermer collaborated with Patricia Wrede in the magical regency trilogy that starts with Sorcery & Cecelia. The sequels to S&C aren't quite as good, but all of them are fun. I like epistolary novels in general, though.