Saturday, January 25, 2014

Finished Reading 1/25/2014 - The Crown of Embers, and The Dinosaur Feather

The Crown of Embers (Girl of Fire and Thorns book 2) by Rae Carson

This was an enjoyable read.  The characters are mostly well developed, the plot is interesting and engaging, and the danger to the characters feels real.  I was reminded on occasion that I was reading a young adult book with a female heroine, which might be just what some readers are looking for, but for the most part this read simply as a good book, without any needless classification of a good YA book, or a good fantasy book.  I had a few quibbles about minor plot points--my wife and I disagreed on them--and how a lack of realism in simple matters undermines when readers are asked to follow along with the more magical, less possible things.  But overall, this is leaps and bounds above most of the books being written for the same audience, and I'm looking forward to both the prequel novellas and the third book.



The Dinosaur Feather by S. J. Gazan

This book is in many ways, mostly good ways, odd.  Is it literary fiction? a myster? a thriller? a detective novel?  It defies genres and categorization with a refreshing blend of intrigue, character development, suspense, and backstory.  Some reviews I read found fault with how much we learn about the pasts of the characters, but for me this was a welcome departure from the typical plot of the murder mystery.  And the scientific conflict around which most of the characters' lives revolve was very interesting.  I became aware of this book because I saw it billed as the "best Danish novel of the decade."  While I wouldn't rank it so high as that--even having not read, to my knowledge, other Danish fiction, I hope for their sakes there is more and better--it is nevertheless a very rewarding book for readers who enjoy falling deep into their characters.  While readers who are more interested in plot may find themselves bored or frustrated, there are still pleasures to be had for them as well.


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