Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

For fans of Code Name Verity, The Pearl Thief will feel like visiting with an old friend. The Pearl Thief takes us back to the summer of 1938, well before the events of Code Name Verity. That summer, Julia Beaufort-Stuart goes back her maternal grandparent's ancestral home Strathfearn for one last time to help her grandmother finish moving out of the house that had been sold and is being converted into a boarding school.

Julie arrives earlier than expected and is enjoying exploring her family's grounds and the village, seeing just how much is changing under construction and visiting her grandfather's collection of artifacts in the local library (but what happened to the pearls she remembers being part of the collection?). When she stops by the river and falls asleep, she doesn't expect to wake up several days later in the hospital with a concussion. She also didn't expect to have been rescued by a brother and sister from the Traveler family staying on her family lands or to return to Strathfearn to learn the same day she was injured that one of her family's employees, the one in charge of cataloging her grandfather's collection, has disappeared.

In the young woman who makes fierce friends with the young Travelers who found her and took her to the hospital and searches for answers to the mystery of the missing historian, there are clear signs of the young woman who is so captivating in Code Name Verity. And it is a welcome chance to see her, and a couple other familiar faces, again.

The Pearl Thief does not rely on having read Code Name Verity. The atmosphere of the time and place is captured so well and was a fascinating glimpse into Scotland just before World War II broke out. The friendship between Julie, her brother Jamie, and the Travelers that their summer adventures unfolded with warm familiarity.

*I was given an eARC of this book by the publisher through NetGalley, but all thoughts about the book are my own.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

This retelling of A Tale of Two Cities takes place in a world of magic and danger and a divided New York. There’s the glittering Light New York, home to marvels as the Light Magicians, but just a short ride away is the walled off Dark New York, where Dark magicians or their descendants are kept in ever increasing poverty looked down on by those in Light New York and inching toward rebellion with the increasing restrictions. It is a world of magic and wonders, dangers and Doppelgangers. Lucie grew up in the dark, but escaped with her father when she was still a child, and has become famous in doing so. But she and Ethan, son of the leading family in the Light, both have secrets that are about to come spilling out when Carwyn walks into their lives, saving Ethan’s. Carwyn, a reviled Doppelgänger, is Ethan’s duplicate.

Sarah Rees Brennan has taken the fires of the French Revolution and reset it in a magical and divided New York. And her teenaged Lucie, Ethan, and Carwyn each have difficult and important decisions to make as their secrets come to light.

Lucie has made mistakes and has regrets, but she is determined to fight for those she loves, whatever the cost. Ethan is determined to do what is right, to help the people of both New Yorks, whatever the cost. Carwyn, is determined not to trust anyone else or let them stand in the way of what he wants, but he may not have been accounting for what he’d get tangled up in when he risked his life to save Ethan. And none of them will be safe in the rising revolution.

The interactions between Lucie, Ethan, and Carwyn as their secrets are revealed, as they try to navigate the rising tensions between the two cities, and their varied families pulled me in. As did Carwyn who quickly became a favorite of mine. Lucie’s determination, Carwyn’s snark and preemptive cynicism, and Ethan’s idealism made the three characters dynamic and each of their decisions clearly drive the plot to the breathtaking finale.

*I was given an eARC of this book by the publisher through NetGalley, but all thoughts about the book are my own.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity is one of my favorite reads of the year. It is also one of the ones I find most difficult to talk about what I liked without spoiling the book. It was an amazing journey, told mostly in the form of a type of report, starting as one written in a desperate bid by a prisoner to buy time after she has been caught behind enemy lines by the Gestapo.

Watching the story unfold, learning how the prisoner became an operative and came to be behind enemy lines is amazing. Especially as the threads of the story start to pull together. Because of the way the book is written, quite a bit won't really start to make complete sense until about half-way through but the way that each element fits makes it a pleasure.

I adored Maddie, Queenie, and Jamie. The addition of the World War II female ferry pilot and Special Operations Executive made this book even more special and memorable. The drive and intelligence of Maddie and Queenie inspires me. The decisions Maddie, Queenie, and Jamie face and the way they try to find their way through war and terror with honor is a large part of why Code Name Verity keeps coming back to mind.

*I received a digital ARC of Code Name Verity from the publisher through NetGalley.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind, following in the footsteps of a long line of Fowls before him. He is 12 in the first book Artemis Fowl and he is putting all of his considerable intellect into a plan to rescue his family. His mother has gone nearly catatonic after his father disappeared and Artemis has stepped up to take care of his family, return the Fowls to their rightful place in the criminal underworld, and find his father. Artemis may be young, but he's a genius and he has Butler, a bodyguard who is as good at his job as Artemis is, to do any heavy lifting. So, when he sets his sights on leveraging fairy magic to give him even more of an edge LEPrecon Captain Holly Short has her hands full trying to keep the fairy world secret from the humans.

The Artemis Fowl series is one of my favorites, perhaps even more so than the Harry Potter series, because of how much Artemis grows over the course of the seven books in the series so far. The twelve year old criminal mastermind who is introduced in the first book is very different in a completely consistent way from the fifteen year old young man that we leave at the end of Artemis Fowl: The Atlantic Complex. Along the way, we see Artemis, Holly, and Butler face enormous challenges, struggle against odds that challenge them, and problems that boggle even Artemis's intellect. They make alliances and break them. They grow and suffer set backs. Watching as they struggle and flourish has been one of the joys of the series. So, even if the first one book is a little slow to start, it quickly picks up, and the series is well worth it.

The eighth and final book in the series will be coming out in the beginning of July, 2012.