Monday, June 6, 2011

Carrie Vaughn & N.D. Wilson

Title subject to change if I come up with something a bit more clever.

I only recently read my first Kitty Norville book and it was, like, number eight in the series or something. I decided I'd give it a go because I thought Carrie Vaughn's 'Discord's Apple' was one of the best books I read last year and I also really enjoyed 'After the Golden Age'. Plus, the upcoming Kitty book is titled 'Kitty's Big Trouble' and I gotta respect anyone who references John Carpenter when coming up with a title. So, when I found myself in the mood for something entertaining and a bit lighter than my last two reads, I decided to dig in to  'Kitty's Greatest Hits', which is a collection of Vaughn's short fiction that will be published in August. Some of the stories I'd already read in various anthologies, but, unlike some short pieces, I found they held up to a second reading pretty well. Although the title would lead you to believe that these are all Kitty Norville stories, they aren't. They are, however, all set in what appears to be Kitty's world, though some are set in the historical past of that world. The last story in the collection is actually a novella that talks about Cormac's time in prison, which will be more meaningful for followers of the series than for casual readers, but the story itself stands fairly well on its own. This collection is probably a must-read for fans of the series, but would also serve quite nicely as an introduction to the world Vaughn has created for her heroine.

As soon as I'd finished the Vaughn stories, I picked up N.D. Wilson's 'Dragon's Tooth', which is the start of a new series for the author. I had loved Wilson's "100 Cupboards" trilogy and felt a little wary of this new venture. I had hopes that it would be good, but it's hard to know if a new premise and set of characters will be as interesting. Well, any fears I had were quickly laid to rest. I had only planned to read half of this book before I went to bed, but stayed up later than I planned so that I could finish the whole thing. And, at nearly 500 pages, that was no mean feat. Okay, yeah, they're 500 Middle Reader pages, but still... This book has it all: magic, supernatural creatures, a hidden world, sharks, dirigibles, a supremely creepy villain, spiders, and oh-so-much more. Though the protagonist of this volume is ostensibly Cyrus Smith, he's surrounded by a couple of awesome female characters, so this series should appeal to both boys and girls. I have to say this series is starting out even stronger than "100 Cupboards" did. I only hope it can maintain the momentum.

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