Books

recountings: hook, captain of respawning

*** Avast ye! LOTS OF MANDATORY PIRATE TALK. There be slight spoilers ahead. Arrgh***

As time as gone by, I’ve found my feelings about the book become more ‘meh-ish’. One of the plot lines left me feeling vaguely disappointed – as if someone had promised me a huge heaping of ice cream and I’d been given a block of cheese instead.

Now I like cheese (Not blue cheese. Blue cheese is evil), but when you’re anticipating ice cream … it isn’t quite the same thing.

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THE PLOT

I’ve always liked Peter Pan because there’s something swashbuckling about him, and also he wears the Lincoln green of Robin Hood. So there’s that. However, what if Peter Pan was the villain? What if Captain Hook has been cursed to play the villain in an eternal, pointless war for a group of malicious little boys?

HOOKED ON RESPAWNING

(did you see what I did there? *wink wink wink*)

Hook cannot die. Well, he can. But he can’t die die. (There is a difference.) Like a video game character, he respawns. He has been slain by Peter Pan and his lovely group of boys countless times. I liked this (I assure you, I am no sadist.) It makes for a truly interesting character; a character who has died over and over, who knows the part he has to play, who has the lines all rehearsed, and who is utterly sick and Very Done with it all.

No one has ever cried for me before, not the Wendys, nor generations of Lost Boys, nor any of the children to whom the story is so often told.

They always cheer when Hook dies.

THE PAN IS A PAIN

Peter Pan is evil. There. I said it. And Peter Pan does not receive the comeuppance I wanted for him. In fact, his actions – thoughtless and lacking in knowledge of this is bad don’t do it – are hideous. It’s the very lack of awareness of the wrongness of his actions that is so chilling.

And he doesn’t get what’s coming to him. It’s sort of brushed off. This did not please me. I was the opposite of pleased.

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HOOK, STUCK IN A GROOVE

Hook has been stuck in Neverland for two centuries – he’s tried everything in an attempt to leave, with no success. But oh wait, he hasn’t. It takes the arrival of Stella Parrish (GASP SHE IS A WOMAN GROWN!!!) to send events into a new direction. What I couldn’t understand was this: if you have two hundred years to think of plots and plans to leave SURELY YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF NEW AND VARIED PLOTS!!

Now granted, if it was me stuck in Neverland (PLEASE NO) for centuries, yes – this would be a likely scenario. My brother says (to paraphrase) that I’m not lacking in intelligence – it’s just that I don’t use it. The obvious questions are never obvious to me. I have ‘The Blindingly Obvious Blinders’ on. It’s tragic.

But this is Captain James Benjamin Hook who actually is a pirate. Who has sailed the world. Surely, surely he would not have such blinders on. Surely he would ask more questions and not just settle into a groove that is LITERALLY KILLING HIM.

But he isn’t, and he is.

And this frustrates me.

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TO SUM UP BADLY

In short, Alias Hook is a new, extremely intriguing take on the world of Peter Pan. Jensen has woven a terrible mythos into Neverland, and formed Captain Hook into a character you can truly sympathise with.

The book is definitely not Young Adult – there is language (well, of course there is. But y’know what I mean) and the Fairy Revels are … ah-hem … are not Young Adult. At all.

I liked the ending and the idea of Hook having to play the part of a villain. However, I found Neverland to be claustrophobic (as I’m sure Hook did) and Peter Pan should have been flayed alive by malicious pineapples probably.

Thank you and goodnight.

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Books, Recountings

recountings: no love triangle, me happy

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The Rose & The Dagger

by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath & The Dawn wasn’t my favourite book to read; it had too many elements of the kind of YA I didn’t like. But I bought its sequel, because I needed to have the complete duology on my bookshelf. They’d look pretty.

Priorities. I have them.

And … I’ve just read it. And I liked it. Like what, you ask? Let me enlighten you …

writing. words. that kinda thing

The writing is rich and lush. It’s got a certain poetry to it. I have to admit though, if a line reads ‘he smelt of sandalwood’ I’m going to draw a blank. I … have smelled sandalwood (?) in the past. Probably. I can’t recall its scent. I assume ‘sandalwood’ is code for ‘very, very manly. in fact, the manliest thing ever. beyond manly, basically’.

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behold, the powers of ‘sandalwood’

they’ve grown up!

My problem with YA is that I don’t always connect with the characters. They don’t act sensibly. However, whatever frustrations I had with the characters in the first book, had practically disappeared in the second.

They were more mature! The love triangle … was dissolved. Deceased. It had popped its clogs. Kicked the bucket. Was no more. Shahrzad kept to who she loved and thank you. It’s nice to see a character fall in love and be true to that love. Because love triangles? Yeah, no.

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da sistah

For me, one of the most compelling plot lines was that of the younger sister. She transformed from mouse to a strong young woman. I can admire that; I could see it happening.

But I was a little tired of everybody lauding Shahrzad as the cleverest, bravest, strongest person to ever clever, brave, and strong. (Wud’up grammar?) I don’t want to be told this stuff; I want more evidence, man. More. Evidence!

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to wrap up. to conclude. to sum up etc

The book felt more mature. If the first one was about planning to kill a murderer, and falling in love with said murderer (okay. The situation was a little more nuanced than that, but still …) the second book was about the characters having to face the consequences of their actions.

I felt like the plot was a tiny bit jittery – like it contained spread out speed bumps, and wasn’t smooth like a fresh pat of butter (?) It is YA, and YA and I don’t always get along … but sometimes we share a pleasant afternoon, holding amiable conversation about flying carpets, and really fast healing arrow wounds.

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well done, guys.
Books

in celebration of unbroken bones

As I (somehow. Miraculously, I suspect) have arrived home merely bruised and with all limbs intact. I’ve decided to place all my novellas for free. Right here. Right now. For five days. If you want to describe the amazing way my books have changed the way you tie your shoe laces, the goodreads link will be placed here too.

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Our Intrepid Heroine [aka, Where It All Started]

There are three things that you really ought to know about our Intrepid Heroine: Firstly, she cannot pronounce ‘felicitations’. Secondly, a unicorn is following her about. Thirdly, she’s on her way to kill a dragon.

A dragon that has killed an entire flock of her father’s sheep, three goats and one pig.

And a frog.

Throw in a command from a King, a knight (or two), and a mysterious Hooded Person of Unknown Gender and this dragon had better watch his scales.

Kindle // Goodreads

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The Curse of Cackling Meadows

All she really wanted was to return home. A curse, a carrot and a unicorn later and our Intrepid Heroine is on her way to finding out just why Cackling Meadows has been beset by so strange a curse.

Accompanied by a unicorn with sensitive nostrils and a Songster whose name isn’t Hector, she will discover that princes, curses and even dragons aren’t always quite what they seem.

Kindle // Goodreads

Our Accidental Adventureouraccidentaladventureaqua

One moment they are sailing across a sheltered bay for a camping trip, the next they are surrounded by fog and end up in the Caribbean.

Or are they?

A highly improbable adventure, in which fishermen wear suits, English gentlemen aren’t quite what they seem and three siblings can’t tell friend from foe.

Kindle // Goodreads

Books

How To Acquire Books Without Becoming Penniless

Every so often, I find an author I really like and I go on a bit of a splurge. Last time it was Georgette Heyer and her detective novels:

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Can you hear that? It’s the sound of my bank account. Groaning.

I really enjoyed reading them, not for the murder mysteries – but rather for the wit and the characters (I even did two Quotable posts on them).

Murder begets murder,’ said Jim. ‘You didn’t murder Clement, Adrian. His murder just put the idea of murdering me into your head.’

Sir Adrian wrinkled his brow. ‘I never take my ideas at second-hand,’ he complained.

– They Found Him Dead.

How To Buy Books Without Becoming Penniless

While Sir Adrian may not take his ideas second-hand, I most certainly buy my books second-hand. Now, there are two options open to me:

  1. Buy a book for one penny off Amazon (plus £2.80 postage and packaging)
  2. Go to a charity shop

The first I would heartily recommend. Though just today a hard cover book came and I opened it to find that it smelt er, powerfully bookish (the sort that makes you take a deep breath at the faintest whiff and then realise that it is actually quite difficult to breath in its general vicinity).

Also a previous owner may or may not have written in another of my purchases (and for the first couple pages written suggestions as to the relationships of the characters – someone’s lover? This person’s cousin? Oh, and also underlined words which perhaps the definitions were unknown. But I’m not being snobbish – I didn’t understand certain words either and the underlined words prompted me to look ’em up).

But these happenings (smellings and underlinings) do not occur often in my experience. Out of the second-hand Heyer’s that I bought, only one was written in. If you don’t mind having a used book on your shelf then go ahead and venture onto Amazon.

(And if a book does come with an overwhelming smell of musk, then there is always the option of putting a peg on one’s nose.)

However, if I am buying a book for someone else, I would buy it brand-new. Other people may not appreciate worn books like me.

Going to a charity shop for books is definitely the cheaper option out of the two. BUT … it is a lot like fishing – you simply haven’t got a clue what you will ‘catch’. (And here’s a tip which you may or may not already know: paperbacks are generally quite a bit cheaper than hardcovers.)

How to Read Books Without Becoming Penniless

No, no – I don’t mean ‘How to Steal Books and Read Them Without Becoming Penniless’. This way is very much sticking to the straight and narrow. There are of course, plenty of ways to read books which are in the public domain for free (Project Gutenberg, for one) but what about the more modern books?

Have no fear! If you don’t want to visit your local library and don’t mind peering at a screen to go on an adventure … then click on these two little words:

Open Library

With a lending library of over 200,000 books, the Open Library is my number one call when I want to read a book but don’t necessarily wish to hand over some dough for it (fine, fine – I won’t use film noir lingo anymore. Punk). All you have to do is sign up – don’tpanicdon’tpanic – for FREE and then – voila, the books are yours to borrow.

Yes, sometimes a book is already taken (by very mean and cruel people other lovely readers) but you can hop on the waiting list and you’ll get an email when it’s free.

And you don’t need to read online – you can download the Abode Reader and read the books offline (with no worries about the loss of internet connection). However, I find this way a little difficult to read as the scrolling system is rather slow, but this may be just my computer and the exception rather than the rule.

Happy Reading!