Tag Archives: mythology

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

30 Apr

I have pushed Patrick Ness‘ bleak dystopian Chaos Walking trilogy on just about every reader I know for the past couple of years. You don’t like science fiction? I don’t give a damn, and why are we even friends, anyways? Whereas the Chaos Walking books read like 1,000 pages of tears and anxiety attacks (and I mean that in the very best way), his newest offering, A Monster Calls is a sombre, graphic exploration of guilt and loss adapted from Siobhan Dowd‘s final offering, unable to be completed due to her death.

The first time the monster visits thirteen-year-old Conor at seven minutes past midnight he is not frightened, but relieved that it is not the same monster he has been dreaming (nightmaring?) of since his mother first started her cancer treatments. This monster is a manifestation of the ancient mythological Green Man, and it has come to tell Conor three stories. In exchange, the monster wants one thing: the truth. As the monster’s visits continue, its stories of destruction and rage become indistinguishable from Conor’s own violent outbursts in reaction to his mother’s rapidly deteriorating condition, so that the reader is left to wonder whether the monster is real or if it is just a fevered imagining of Conor’s disturbed and grief-stricken mind.

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

2 Apr

I like to read, a lot. Obviously. However, sometimes I come across a book that sinks its claws so deeply into my imagination that I am transported beyond the average realm of simply enjoying the reading of it, to a place where literally all I can think and talk about is the BOOK. I simultaneously always want to be reading it but don’t want it to end, ever, because there really is nothing quite like the experience of meeting one of your literary soul mates for the first time, is there? Well, Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races (Scholastic Press) was one of those books for me.

This book first landed on my radar when my friend/teen librarian goddess/Printz panel…wizard?, Sarah Couri, reviewed it for the School Library Journal blog “Someday My Printz Will Come.” I will admit that I was surprised to see that Stiefvater’s newest was a contender for the American Library Association’s Printz Medal for teen fiction; I read her novel Shiver a couple years ago, and while I enjoyed it she didn’t really strike me as the the kind of heavy-weight teen writer that normally wins the prize. However, I have a lot of faith in Sarah’s taste in books, so I put it on my to-read list. It catapaulted itself even higher when it was named as a Printz Honor book and even higher when I had several friends approach me and tell me that if ever there was a book for me, this book was it. Sold.

The Scorpio Races takes place in an alternate reality where every year tourists flock to the island of Thisby for the deadly Scorpio Races, in which the island men race the mythical capall uisce on a narrow stretch of beach, fighting each other to reach the finish line before the sea calls the predatory water horses and their jockeys into its depths. The narrative focuses on two young characters: Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly. Sean Kendrick, who lost his father to the Scorpio Races when he was ten, has won four times on the monstrous and beautiful Corr. Puck Connolly and her two brothers were orphaned when a water horse attack claimed both her parents in one fell swoop, and after years of trying to hold their family together, her older brother, Gabe, announces he’s leaving for the mainland. Puck, desperate not to lose what little family she has left, declares that she is riding in this year’s Scorpio Races. As the two young contenders train for the race their strong yet strikingly different personalities draw them together, but their growing feelings for each other are threatened by one sad fact: only one person can win the Scorpio Races, and it is very likely one of them will die in the trying.

How amazing is this book trailer?

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Everneath by Brodi Ashton

18 Mar

I know, I know. There are approximately 2.5 million billion trillion teen paranormal romances out there, so why should anyone give a damn about another one, namely Brodi Ashton’s debut novel, Everneath? Well, because it’s good and different and because I say so.

Six months ago Nikki Beckett, driven by all-consuming grief of mysterious origin, disappeared with Cole, a charismatic indie rock star. Six months ago in Earth years, that is; for Nikki it was more like one hundred years cocooned with Cole, who is an “Everliving,” a being who feasts on human emotions and energy in exchange for immortality. When the century-long energy Feed ends with Nikki still alive and notably unhaggard, Cole offers to let her rule the underworld, or Everneath, with him, but instead she chooses to return to the surface even though she has little to no memory of her human life. Despite spending the past hundred years being fed upon via energetic osmosis, Nikki is driven by the need to seek redemption, to make things right between herself and her loved ones after her disappearance. The catch? She only has six months on the surface before the Everneath claims her again, this time forever.

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