Since my last post was so very many days ago (I promise to try to be better), I got through quite a few books. To keep from boring anyone who's bothering to read this, I'll keep my thoughts short, though not necessarily sweet.
'Girl of Fire and Thorns' by Rae Carson is a very interesting YA fantasy novel set in a world that seems to be inspired by Spain and her colonies. There are tantalizing hints that the inhabitants of this world are refugees from Earth, but nothing concrete. Unfortunately, this book punched a whole lot of my buttons when the author KILLED OFF THE MALE LOVE INTEREST. And, also, the protagonist is supposed to be fat in the beginning of the book and always remains curvy, but the model on the cover is thin. I could have loved this book, but those two issues are major sticking points.
'The Lantern' by Deborah Lawrenson is an "homage" to Daphne duMaurier's classic 'Rebecca'. It's not bad and has some astonishingly lovely prose, but there's no real suspense or sense of dread, which are vital to a good Gothic.
'Down the Mysterly River' by Bill Willingham is a Middle Reader fantasy novel about books and characters and creativity. Although its target audience will find a good adventure story, complete with talking animals, unfathomable villains, and magic, adult readers, especially those familiar with Mr. Willingham's other work will find a lot being said on the nature of creativity and the creative process. Plus, the pictures are quite nice.
'Wonderstruck' by Brian Selznick is, quite simply, amazing. Two intertwining narratives, one set in 1927 and told completely in Mr. Selznick's beautiful illustrations, and the other set in 1977 and told in prose, finally come together in a final section that combines both prose and illustration. It's a book worth going back to over and over, because you'll see something new every time.
'The Art of Fielding' by Chad Harbach is a novel I expected to dislike because it's about baseball, which I dislike. However, the characters and the narrative sucked me in right from page one. I never thought I'd stay up past my bedtime to read a "baseball" novel, but I couldn't stop until I knew how it all turned out for everyone.
'Every You Every Me' by David Levithan was a disappointment. I hate to even type those words, because I generally love Mr. Levithan's work, but there you have it. For me, this was a novel where the concept (it's a "photographic novel" wherein the story was inspired by a series of photographs) seemed more important than the content. I didn't actually care for any of the characters (which is not something that has ever before happened with Mr. Levithan's work) and the story, especially the ending, just felt way too stream-of-conciousness and not well-developed.
I'm currently finishing up another piece of "women's fiction" and plan on spending my weekend with a nice stack of mass markets before digging back in to my September galleys.