Last catch-up post from 2010!

  • The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn, John Bellairs: A fun, rompy story with hidden treasure, old buildings, floods, and a great librarian.  Recommended if you want a light mystery.
  • Incarceron, Catherine Fisher (audio): I wanted to refresh my memory of the book before the Mock Printz and before getting my hands on Sapphique.  It was a bit harder to follow on audio than on the page, and the narration was competent but not amazing, so I’d recommend reading over listening.  But it served its purpose.
  • A Tale Dark and Grimm, Adam Gidwitz: Fans of fairy tales, rejoice!  And when I say fairy tales, I mean the creepy and bloody versions in Grimm, the ones with grotesque illustrations and wicked parents.  Gidwitz puts a marvelous twist on things, starting with Hansel and Gretel and throwing in a handful of less famous stories, with a very obtrusive narrator and plenty of false endings.  Things do get dark and grim (and very Grimm), but there’s a fair amount of humor to balance things out, along with a brisk pace and the fun of comparing his versions to the originals (well, at least what the Brothers Grimm recorded).
  • Guardian of the Dead, Karen Healey: What fun to find a fantasy story that incorporates unfamiliar mythology and landscapes.  Add in a prickly but likeable protagonist and several characters who refuse to be defined as “good guys” or “bad guys” and you’ve got a winner.  The set-up was my favorite part, as Ellie tries to figure out what on earth is going on and who to trust.  The second half didn’t have quite the same suspense for me, but I still enjoyed the story.  Healey has an interesting author’s note about using a culture’s mythology as an outsider, which I thought was a nice touch, and she explains where she deviated from the authentic Maori stories.
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