Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Round-up of Recent Reads

No, I didn't disappear off the face of the earth. I actually had things to do in the late afternoon and evening last week. And yesterday.

But I don't today, so I'm back.

Okay, a few weeks ago I read The Wish List by everyone's favorite Eoin Colfer. This was a pleasant book, and, as the review I link to puts it, it has a redemption theme. I am totally into redemption themes, needing, as I do, redemption myself. I think I would have liked this book a great deal more, however, if I were a teenager and wasn't familiar with the "come back from the dead to earn your place in Paradise" storyline. The afterlife figures are funny, but I've read about funny afterlife folks before. So, as I said, the teens this book is written for should like it better than I did. Teen Gail would have loved it.

Now, this next part I jotted down in my little notebook while I was waiting for Batman Begins to begin. I wasn't being rude. The rest of my family was sitting in the next theater waiting for Star Wars to start. I find the Star Wars movies so tedious, I'm not even going to bother with a link.

Anyway, as I was writing while waiting for Batman Begins to begin: One day I was going through the notebook I carry in my purse looking for something I can no longer recall, when I stumbled upon a page with Midnight for Charlie Bone written at the top. Nothing else. Couldn't remember why I wrote it down in the first place. But I stopped at the library on my way home and picked it up.

Charlie Bone is part of a series called The Children of the Red King by Jenny Nimmo. It's often compared to the Harry P. books, though I actually think the basic premise for Charlie Bone is more interesting.

Once, generations ago,there was a red king who was a magician. He had ten chilren who had each inherited some aspect of his talents. Five of them were good and five of them were bad. And to this day the descendants of the Red King are "endowed" with magical talents, and some of them are good and some of them are evil. A bunch of them end up at a boarding school where the good students hope to provide balance against the evil students.

I like this jumping off point, but I didn't think the book was all that well done. The first half reminded me of Chasing Vermeer in that there was no causal relationship between the plot elements. The plot was more a list of things that happened rather than one thing leading to another. The bad-guy student is a stereotypical Malfoy-type. And we know barely anything about the students who come through for Charlie in a clinch.

And yet...and yet...I became quite interested in the second half of the book. This particular volume ended up reading very much like an intro. Okay, not the world's greatest intro, either. But I became interested enough that if I have time and the second book drops into my lap, I just may read it.

I know that's not a rave, but remember where it's coming from.

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