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As of May 9th, 2007.
- denotes unfinished.


1. Wolfcry by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
2. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
3. Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife by Linda Berdoll
4. A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
5. The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl by Ma Yan
6. Fruits Basket vol. 15 by Natsuki Takaya
7. Readings on the Sonnets (William Shakespeare) by The Greenhaven Press Literary Companion to British Literature (ed.)
8. Vellum by Hal Duncan
9. Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner
10. Fruits Basket vol. 16 by Natsuki Takaya
- Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
11. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
12. Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe
13. Fiction Writer's Workshop by Josip Novakovich
14. Virgin: The Untouched History by Hanne Blank
15. A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories by Robin McKinley
16. A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer
17. The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket
18. The Final Key: Part Two of Triad by Catherine Asaro
19. Ascendant Sun by Catherine Asaro
20. Dzur by Steven Brust
21. The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
22. The Charmed Sphere by Catherine Asaro
23. Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
24. The Last Hawk by Catherine Asaro
25. Skyfall by Catherine Asaro
26. Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio
27. Schism: Part One of Triad by Catherine Asaro
28. Spherical Harmonic by Catherine Asaro
29. The Moon's Shadow by Catherine Asaro
30. Peony in Love by Lisa See
31. Catch the Lightning by Catherine Asaro
32. Maledicte by Lane Robins
33. Odalisque by Fiona McIntosh
34. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
- Writing the Short Story: A Hands-On Program by Jack M. Bickham
35. Irresistible Forces by Catherine Asaro (ed.)
36. The Quantum Rose by Catherine Asaro
37. Magic Lessons by Justine Larbalestier
38. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
- The Prodigal Troll by Charles Coleman Finlay
39. Tinker by Wen Spencer
- Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck
40. Women in the Material World by Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel
41. The Art and Craft of Poetry by Michael J. Bugeja
42. How to Seduce a Duke by Kathryn Caskie
43. Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah
44. Emissary: Book Two of the Percheron Saga by Fiona McIntosh
45. A Witch for the Minutemen by Charles Coleman Finlay (ms.)
46. Magic's Child by Justine Larbalestier
47. The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton
48. Devilish by Maureen Johnson
49. Fruits Basket vol. 17 by Natsuki Takaya
50. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
51. A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer (reread)
52. Material World by Peter Menzel
53. Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton
54. Making Money by Terry Pratchett
55. The Annotated Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and David M. Shapard
- River of Gods by Ian McDonald
56. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
57. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
58. Grendel by John Gardner
59. A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton
60. The Vampire Queen's Servant by Joey W. Hill
61. The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld
62. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
63. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
64. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
65. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
- The Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet by Colin Lawson (ed.)
66. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
67. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
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The Crystal Cave
by Mary Stewart
494 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

Before I begin commentary, I'd like to preface this review with the disclaimer that in general, I dislike Arthurian fantasy. Much in the same way that I dislike epic quest fantasy--unless it's really really really well-done, I feel like the core of the story is unoriginal. (This bias does not extend to fairy tale or mythological retellings,  which I often adore. Go figure.) The major exceptions being Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry trilogy and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, respectively; GGK and GRRM are actually  #1 and #3 on my list of all-time favorite authors.

But even amongst the ranks of Arthurian fantasy, I feel that Stewart's Arthurian Saga (A.K.A. the Merlin trilogy) cannot hold its own. In fact, despite its flaws I would place Marion Zimmer Bradley's much-acclaimed and much-criticized The Mists of Avalon above The Crystal Cave. If this weren't required reading for class, I would have stopped at around page 150. Bradley's book, I at least willingly read to the end.

I wrote an essay around one essential flaw in The Crystal Cave, and that is unoriginality. By all indications, this is a fantasy novel. Fantasy. I am a huge fan of fantasy of manners, which often does not employ direct magic, so lack of magic in and of itself is not condemning. But furthermore, this is an epic fantasy novel. Arthurian, to be even more specific. For this particular subgenre, explicit fantastical elements is--in my opinion--a necessity. Unfortunately, Stewart's interpretation reads more like historical fiction in which too many liberties have been taken.

The prose is elegant and glides smoothly for the most part, though a bit overboard on landscape descriptions for my taste. Character is not outstanding, perhaps slightly above mediocre--I cared about Merlin at dangerous moments but the connection was often cut by some jolt or other. Regarding plot, Stewart chooses to follow a mostly realistic interpretation--the white and red dragons are merely a banner and a comet, the king's stone is raised through simple engineering, etc. Merlin's Sight is the only magical element, and a cliche one at that. The Crystal Cave feels like an attempt by Stewart at original deviation by staying true to realism; however, it muddles about too much to succeed.

Not recommended except to die-hard Mary Stewart or Arthurian legend fans. I don't think I know anyone who falls into either catagory, but please correct my impression in comments if necessary.
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I read the first two volumes of this trilogy a long time ago, but wanted to review all three at once. Really, many comments apply to all three. For instance, not exactly cheap suspense but not exactly valuable suspense either; everything hangs on the plot, and if that is circumvented all real curiosity disappears. The plotline is beautifully done, of course, but ultimately Westerfeld's books tend to the read-once-and-forget-about-it catagory. The vital question is how to get from Point A to Point B--not the journey of actually getting from A to B. I don't regret having invested the time to read these books, and will gladly continue reading Westerfeld (albeit strictly from the library), but they rank as solidly YA and simplistic enough that a second read would bore me tremendously.

The other major issue I have is with internal logic. Specifically, they are discussed below in the individual entries.


Uglies

by Scott Westerfeld
425 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Fiction/SF/YA

Tally's voice grabbed me right from the beginning and carried me through like hoverboarding on the old roller coaster. I did predict several of the plot twists and revelations--especially Shay's riddle, which was way too obvious to confuse Tally, in my opinion. (I.e. "the side you despise," which made me think of a certain scene immediately and about 50 pages before Tally did.) Also, how come Special Circumstances hasn't figured out where the Smoke is from returning runaways? It's specifically stated that some uglies can't take the lifestyle and return to the city; there is no evidence of any memory-control device/procedure, so wouldn't this be a huge security breach?


Pretties
by Scott Westerfeld
370 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Fiction/SF/YA

Still occasionally predictable, but I didn't mind as much. Major snag here was the love triangle, which made me groan almost as soon as Zane was introduced. They can be done well, I admit, but Westerfeld just doesn't have the knack of it. Also, the ending was weaker than I expected (perhaps an inevitable failure of the second book in a trilogy).


Specials
by Scott Westerfeld
372 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/SF/YA

I made the mistake of skimming ahead while only about a third of the way through this final volume, and then struggled for weeks to finish it. The reading is still fast, but tendency to skim increases exponentially and I had no urge to pick it back up after putting it down. The plotlines--including multi-book arcs--are tied up neatly and the ending is satisfying. I still didn't care much about either Zane or David, and the resolving of the love triangle worked for me about as well as the general principle did. That is, not much. But that may be very much a personal pet peeve; I can't think of any way that the love triangle could have been resolved to my satisfaction, and Westerfeld's way is efficient and practical.


A solid series for YA, and something I'd recommend to teens who read solidly in YA. For those who have experimented successfully in adult SF/F, though, it may well end up as a one-hit wonder. Not necessarily a negative attribute, but just something to keep in mind.
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Book of a Thousand Days
by Shannon Hale
306 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/YA

Under normal circumstances, this book would have been a thumbs-up for me; Hale is an established author in my books and has yet to disappoint. But this new novel is--take note, [personal profile] oyceter!--set in medieval Mongolia. And all of the characters are Mongolian (complete with in-text illustrations that portray these characters as clearly Asian). Hell, the research even seems thorough and authentic. It's almost too good to be true. For this alone, you should read Book of a Thousand Days.

Even if you aren't particularly interested in Mongolia, it's a worthwhile read. Breezy, like most YA, but also lyrical and touching. I cried at a one point even though I knew that this was a young adult fairy tale with certain ending constraints. Two of Hale's major themes are freedom and classism, both of which I heartily support. It was fascinating to observe Dashti's slow personal transformation. I felt sorry for her at first, but as time passed I found myself pitying Saren much more.

Nitpicks: The ending was a little too neat, although plausible. Lady Vachir's characterization is flat. And how did Tegus accept Dashti's last lie so easily? She's a proven mucker, after all.

But those are extremely minor. I can't recommend this novel enough, and not only because of MONGOLIA. (What does it say about the majority of fantasy/young adult books today, that I feel the need to shout?)
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End of my booklog-spam; let all rejoice!

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
412 pages (paperback)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

This has been on my to-read list, but it probably would have languished there for a while longer if I hadn't happened to spot it on A.'s bookshelf (due also to, I'll be reading A Great and Terrible Beauty soon). Bias calibration: out of Gaiman's works, I've only read Stardust; I adore Pratchett. That said, I'll be seeking out Gaiman's other novels that I've previously avoided because their descriptions didn't interest me.

The plot of Good Omens is extremely scatterbrained, but everything clicks together in the end. Be prepared to do some rifling (or better yet, rereading) for full understanding of the authors' genius. Some books are made to read only once; this one can and ought to be read hundreds of times. There are some absolutely hilarious lines, which I won't spoil by quoting out of context. I love Aziraphale and Crowley equally--fitting, isn't it? Death here, named Azrael, is similar to but different from Pratchett's Discworld Death.

I'm sure one can find fanatical fans; I'm not quite to that level, but I do wish they had made this into a movie instead of Stardust. Like Douglas Adams's A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, this is a true cult classic and deserves the visual interpretation. (For the record, I haven't seen the film versions of either and could not finish the complete Hitchhiker's Guide without skimming.)
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The Last Days
by Scott Westerfeld
286 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/SF/YA

A nice light YA that captured my attention fully on the first reading, but not really something I'd reread. Interesting concepts--I love Alana Ray's synesthesia!--and a decent follow-up to Peeps. Complaints: The Astor Michaels subplot sort of just petered out. I still don't understand how/where Moz found the money to pay Alana Ray. And, um, [profile] ww2b's name is Pearl so I spent the first fifty pages squeeing whenever she  was mentioned. But that's hardly the book's fault.

Westerfeld's earlier space opera novels are still on my to-read list; I do like his style, so I'm looking forward to them. I find that both Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier (married YA authors) hit about the same chord for me--i.e. breezy and excellent, but not special.
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The Vampire Queen's Servant
by Joey W. Hill
373 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Fantasy

I've been hedging about this book for a while now. I had two reliable recs, but it went out-of-stock at my local Borders so I used that as an excuse to delay purchasing. It was in-stock at the King of Prussia Borders though, and I had a 30% coupon; so I finally bought it, and I'm so glad I did.

First, I will give the same warning I was given: this romance is intense and BDSM-heavy. Someone said that Lyssa and Jacob's relationship resembles the classic abuse cycle, and in several ways it does. The plot is essentially dom vs. dom conflict with vampires and submission thrown in. But explicitness aside, it really hit home with me. In a way, this is the fucked-up relationship that I've been trying to write, except through gender politics as a fantasy of manners instead of a BDSM romance. The romance is absolutely the main plot, but the world is also well-developed and the emotional aspect is never neglected. Lyssa is truly mecurial, simultaneously brutal and loving, and her interactions with Jacob are fascinating. Hill's vampires are uniquely twisted.

I'm not so fond of the cover, though it's representative. Just seems like the targeted demographic underscores the Hill's tremendous talent. Her prose could use a little more polish (overuse of the word "cognizant," for instance), but POV slides smoothly even mid-scene. And have I mentioned how much I adore her characters? This novel kept me riveted and neglecting everything else until I'd read the last page. The ending is perfect--open for the direct sequel (The Mark of the Vampire Queen, which I will be buying as soon as it comes out), but tying up enough plotlines that I was satisfied.

It's been a while since I found a new author who captured my attention so fully, and I'm ecstatic. If you've kept with Laurell K. Hamilton despite her numerous flaws, and you don't mind BDSM, this is the book for you.
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A Lick of Frost
by Laurell K. Hamilton
274 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Romance

Question: why does the library catalog label this as MYSTERY on the spine? This isn't even Anita Blake, which is pseudo-mystery. Speaking of which, I'm seeing a curious parallel between Merry Gentry et. al. and Anita Blake et. al.--Doyle = John-Claude, Kitto = Nathaniel, Frost = Micah... The cover of Merry's latest story is (appreciably) less risque. This implies less sex and more plot, which is (thankfully) a promise followed up on. There is an important revelation that patient fans won't want to miss--finally, some progress!

Character comments: I heart Veducci. He was awesome and amazing in a non-Mary-Sue way, a rarity in these books. And, as I discovered while reading, I love Doyle more than Frost.

The Wiki entry on LKH is interesting; for one, she's straight-out described as "an American supernatural erotica writer." But then again, later the article praises her style; frankly, I hate it and always will. I read her purely for escapism and characters.

Elements of deus ex machina are still present--slight SPOILER alert--Doyle's healing was rather abrupt, almost a cop-out. I do hope Frost's change is permanent, because I love the bittersweetness, but I don't think Hamilton has the guts for it.


And that's all. I've decided to keep this public, like all of my bookposts since I started logging them in one linkpost (i.e. the Guestbook, for layoug coding convenience). It'll take this journal's "rating" up to a solid PG-13, but I can live with that.
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Both of these were read for English class. Just some notes and thoughts.


Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
by Seamus Heaney (trans.)
213 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Poetry/Literary/Historical

I really like Heaney's translation, though Kennedy's strict adherence to the poetic structure is attractive. Here though, Heaney's voice shines through as he becomes the unnamed poet and writer of Beowulf.  (It was amusing when we did the scansion exercise and people were tapping or clapping out the rhythm and still getting it wrong.) I'm rarely in a poetry-reading mood, and it was a pain to read this as assigned for class when I yearned for some decent action prose, but that reflects not at all on the actual merits. The version I read had side-by-side Old English and modern translation, which was nice for linguistic curiosity.

For the record, I still think that Grendel was a real monster, not a metaphorical fear; he was probably a human outcast from the community, and exaggerated in the tale. Which brings me to...


Grendel
by John Gardner
174 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/Literary/Historical/Post-Modern

In this novel, the idea of the Shaper really resonated with me. The Shaper makes Grendel more monstrous and the Danes more heroic; yet, he is the sole recorder of their society's history, as keeper of their oral tradition. His words change the meaning of the world for Grendel. And personally, I believe that words create (not only express, but create) meaning. The nihilism lesson was also mildly interesting, if sometimes only skim-worthy. It's a short novel and plays with intriguing ideas of structure and metastructure.
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Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
by Ally Carter
236 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/YA/Romance

I started this book last night and finished it second period in class today--beautifully written with a strong voice, and gripping. This is the sequel to I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, but it also works as a standalone. It made the NYT-bestseller list recently, and the publicity is deserved 100%. A speedy read that left me yearning for more.

I would compare this novel to the Clique or Gossip Girls series, only less petty and snotty. Cammie Morgan is a sophomore at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, ostensibly a rich private school--but really a spy school for geniuses. The foursome of Cammie, Bex, Liz, and Macey are well-drawn, both collectively and individually. My favorite character was Liz, but I have a weakness for book-smarts. Anyway, in this second volume an exchange group of students from the Blackthorne Institute for Boys arrives--including a cute and mysterious boy named Josh. I won't ruin the story any further, but the ending was a beautiful twist.

Highly recommended.
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River of Gods
by Ian McDonald
583 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Fiction/SF

Okay, so I didn't actually read this book--I skimmed through several sections and read the first page, but the story doesn't grab me at all. Still, I'm recording it for posterity so that I don't accidentally pick it up again next year or in the future. Perhaps if I gave this an extended chance, it might prove itself--the prose is gritty and slightly jolting but promising--but there are so many other books to be read in the world, and I have so little time to read them.

So a pass on River of Gods; that's two strikes against Pat's Fantasy Hotlist as a reliable rec source (Pat called TPOTS "fantasy chick lit," which it is most certainly not). No recommendation either way, unless you know that your tastes coincide perfectly with mine on SF.
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The Annotated Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen and David M. Shapard
739 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Fiction/Nonfiction/Literary/Romance

This was my second reading of Pride and Prejudice; obviously it is significantly longer. It took me ~2 months to finish reading--I've renewed it at the library three times. But nevertheless, I do think it's worthwhile for Austen fans. The annotations are interesting and point out things that I would have never thought to consider on my own--the period meaning of "afternoon," for instance. The flow, however, is slowed by these asides; I would definitely not recommend this book for a first-time reader of Austen's most famous work. Shapard is a serious Austen scholar--the effort in determining chronology alone is beyond admirable.

Reading it so slowly, I am reminded of how characteristic the romance really is of Regency archetypes. Although Darcy and Elizabeth are depicted as developing a rational (versus passionate) love, they are in each other's company very little. Not much time passes from first meeting to engagement, if one considers that Shapard frequently discusses the novel as a model of realistic love. Well, not really.

It's still lovely and loveable, though.
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Making Money
by Terry Pratchett
394 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Humor

Slowly, ever so slowly, I am making my way through Terry Pratchett. The plot in this newest tale is highly tangential, but Pratchett's characteristic style kept me sufficiently amused throughout. My favorite parts were the Cabinet of Curiosities, the golems, and Vetinari (of course). On page 353, there is one line about Mr. Slant that has me confused: "Death had not diminished his encyclopedic memory, his guile, his talent for corkscrew reasoning, and the vitriol of his stare." How is Mr. Slant dead in any way, shape, or form?

The plot is supposedly about Moist von Lipwig's adventures as the master of the mint; this is true, but it's also the story of a rich madman, the Golem Trust, and the overarching character throughlines of Vetinari and Moist (with hints of Adora Belle Dearheart, whom I adore). In short, the plot falls all over the place, and that's fine for me--whether you're okay with it, determines whether this counts as a rec or not.
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Narcissus in Chains
by Laurell K. Hamilton
424 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Romance

Didn't live up to my expectations; I wanted more Nathaniel, less Micah. I'm still yearning to read The Vampire Queen's Servant. Chronologically, time in this volume moves too slowly--a perpetual LKH issue. It's rather strange reading the Anita Blake series backwards and out-of-order.

Other than that, I haven't much else to say. Pure fluff reading.
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Material World
by Peter Menzel
255 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Photojournalism

Not much to say about this; Menzel's photojournalism is always profound, but after reading both What We Eat and Women in the Material World, his first work in the series feels outdated. Especially the date references; 1994 was a long time ago. This wasn't really meant to be read straight through. It would make a wonderful coffee-table book, though. The concept of comparing material possessions from families all over the world seems like common sense now, but 13 years ago it was quite an innovation.

On the very last page is a wonderful quote, which I'd like to share.
"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."

--Albert Einstein
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A Brother's Price
by Wen Spencer
310 pages (paperback)
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Fantasy

The first time I read this novel, I sped through and couldn't stop raving about it. I'm still kicking myself for forgetting to nominate it for Yuletide this year, but on a reread, I was able to pick out a few of its flaws. While I love the polyamory and gender reversal, both are a bit implausible. Society develops along many of the same lines, though one would think that with such a gender imbalance, there would be more differences. And could Jerin really fall in love with Ren in a week, or with her four sisters after meeting them briefly a few times?

Regardless, however, the romance is compelling and an original twist on Regency archetypes. Ignore the utterly sexist and unrepresentative cover.
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A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini
~372 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/Literary

It took me a while to get through this, but it was worth it. I don't, however, have any desire to read The Kite Runner; a large part of what made the novel succeed for me was the focus on female protagonists and the place of feminism in Islam.

Miriam is an illegitimate daughter who ends up married to Rasheed, a cruel but chillingly typical man. The secondary storyline, which gradually becomes the primary focus, is a younger woman named Laila who loves Tariq but also marries Rasheed after a tragic accident of war. The story is set in Afghanistan during its various wars--I would give more detail, but my knowledge of the area's history is woefully sparse--amid bombings and maimings. That infamous group called the Taliban also plays a part later on, and 9/11 is depicted from a very different viewpoint.

The prose here is for the most part smooth, but nothing special. Hosseini's real strength is characterization. The children are utterly realistic--I adore Aziza, and Zalmai is a spoiled little boy in a time of prejudice and war. Hosseini's depiction of women in the Islamic world is heartbreaking, yet you get the feeling that he's only brushing the surface of their suffering.

On a completely different note, Laila's Babi is strikingly similar to Jane Austen's Mr. Bennet of Pride and Prejudice.
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Fruits Basket vol. 17
by Natsuki Takaya
~200 pages, ch. 96-101 (graphic novel)
Genre: Fiction/Manga

Furuba is always lovely for me, but some volumes resonate more than others. Volume 16, for instance, with the Cinderella play, gave me hysterics. This one was touching in a completely different way--the Akito/Kureno/Shigure relationship is absolutely gorgeous. The paneling, too. And of course, this volume contains the reveal of Akito's big secret.

I do wonder about gender roles in Fruits Basket. The zodiac is predominantly male, but the Sohma females in general have very little power. Even Ren.

More later, perhaps. I need to think about it some more.
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Devilish
by Maureen Johnson
263 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/YA

The flist was right--more YA novels should be like this. (Though I don't think anyone actually said this, I think it's the general sentiment.) This wasn't an amazing book--it doesn't cater enough to my tastes for that--but for what it is, I loved it. I loved the engaging voice, all the characters, the twist ending. And the cover--flirty and ominous at the same time, which is fitting. My only caveat is that I didn't understand the toe symbolism, but that's such a trival thing that it doesn't matter.

Now that I'm done raving, a more coherent summary: Jane Jarvis, a highly intelligent senior at St. Teresa's Preparatory School for Girls, makes a deal with the devil to save the soul of her best friend Allison. A strange freshman boy from St. Sebastian's, Owen, appears to help--but so does the mysterious Mr. Fields and a host of other interesting characters from both sides. Much is left unexplained, but the story is definitely complete. And I'm pretty sure that every single bit character appears at least twice--do correct me if I'm wrong on that. I especially liked the nuns of St. Teresa's; no collective, vague mobs here!

Highly recommended to anyone willing to try YA.
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The Harlequin
by Laurell K. Hamilton
422 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Romance

Although I've read all of Hamilton's Meredith Gentry series, I've only tried the latest two of Anita Blake. I haven't read the debut novel yet, but The Harlequin is certainly a far cry better than Danse Macabre. About ten times more plot, for one. And her characterization, which is always satisfying, hooked me well. I love Nathaniel, Micah, Jean-Claude, Claudia, almost all the characters (though not Richard, who annoys me). The cast is quite large, but Hamilton makes everyone rounded and vivid.

I still dislike her signature summary chapter at the end, though.

ETA: I liked The Harlequin enough to stay up two hours past my usual bedtime to finish it. I really hope that Nathaniel gets his fair share of the next book, after all the Richard-and-his-issues in this one. Can anyone point me to the volume where Nathaniel makes his debut?

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January 2011

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