Hello, everyone! Short post today but I wanted to catch you guys up on what’s been on my bookshelf this month. I’ll be writing a long review/critique of the news Star Wars film later, so if you’ve been missing my snark, you won’t have to wait very long. So, let’s get to it. Here’s what’s been on my shelf this month:
The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson
Quick Summary: Princess Tessa of Pfaffenstein wants nothing more than to live an ordinary life as a lowly stage hand for Vienna’s second rate opera company. Every one else in Tessa’s life, including her destined fiancé Prince Maximilian of Spittau, can’t understand why she refuses to act like a princess. The only man who sees her as she truly is is Guy, a wealthy merchant who has purchased Pfaffenstein for his new fiancée Nerine. When Guy commissions Tessa’s opera company for his fiancee’s society debut, chaos ensues as the two realize that their romantic feelings can’t be denied.
My thoughts: This novel was a quirky, light-hearted romance with little substance but a lot of heartfelt sentiment. I had issues with the Guy-Tessa love story, as I detailed in my full review here, but nevertheless I enjoyed how easily Eva Ibbotson crafted an entertaining and often hilarious “will they or won’t they” story. If you’re in the need of an old-fashioned, kind-hearted romance, then Heiress will do the trick. Just don’t read it expecting to find any groundbreaking ideas on romance.
To read or not to read? It’s worth a read, if only because Ibbotson is such a legend.
Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson
Quick Summary: Arriman the Awful, the most fearsome wizard in the north, needs an heir. Determined to find a worthy bride, he sets up a contest for all of the witches of Todcaster, hoping to find the blackest witch of all. Enter Belladonna, a witch so white that even the familiars of her neighborhood black witches fall in love with her. At first she’s reluctant to enter the contest, knowing she can never compete with the other witches’ black magic, but one look at Arriman sends her head over heels in love. Can Belladonna, the whitest witch in Todcaster, win the contest and marry Arriman?
My thoughts: Yes, this book is as silly as the crazy cover makes it out to be. It’s a whimsical love story about a dark wizard who isn’t that dark and a white witch who’s so kind, lovely, and bubbly that even earthworms are enamored with her. Which Witch? is purely a children’s book, which means the baddies are bad and the goodies are good, nuance be damned. But since it’s a children’s book, and a cute, funny, imaginative one at that, I’ll let that slide. The “witch contest” is a romp from start to finish, and the supporting characters of the kooky black magic witches all display Ibbotson’s quirky sense of humor. If you’re a fast reader, you’ll probably blow through Which Witch? during a long lunch and forget about it a few minutes after. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have a laugh reading it.
To read or not to read? Read it.
The Amber Spyglass: His Dark Materials Book III by Philip Pullman
Quick Summary: How to even summarize the final book in a trilogy as epic as Pullman’s His Dark Materials? Let’s just say The Amber Spyglass finds Lyra and Will attempting to find the source of Dust and moving ever closer to fulfilling the foretold “temptation” that will forever change the universe as they know it.
My thoughts: I haven’t been so devastated reading a book since I read the Harry Potter series. I’m not going to go into details about my devastation, but let’s just say it’s NOT OKAY to develop a beautiful, realistic love story and then DESTROY it in a matter of ten pages and then just end.your.book. Okay, mini-rant over. His Dark Materials is one of the most original and compelling fantasy-adventure trilogies I’ve ever read. The world is intricate, fully-realized, and fantastic. The characters are truly unique, the plot is break-neck and never less than enthralling. My only critique would be that the massive ideas and themes in the book seem to take over as the end draws near, and not all of them get the resolution they deserve. But no epic is perfect, though His Dark Materials comes damn close.
To read or not to read? Read the hell out of it.