Princess of the Midnight Ball
by Jessica Day George
This is a cute story. It's my first exposure to the story of the twelve dancing princesses, and it has pretty writing and likeable main characters. It definitely has a middle grade, fairy tale type feel, with some heavy foreshadowing and a conveniently wrapped up story line. I wished the pacing had been a bit different, though. The beginning moved slower than I expected it to, and the most interesting part of the book (the midnight ball, and twelve princes) didn't get as much time as I wanted. This particular book probably won't stick out to me for very long, but it's a nice middle grade story. And I liked the plot enough that I wouldn't mind reading another retelling of the dancing princesses.
Wolves, Boys, & Other Things that might Kill Me
by Kristen Chandler
This was an interesting book. It definitely has some roughness about it, but I liked it. KJ finds herself in the middle of a wildlife rights battle in her small town, and it has far bigger repercussions than she ever expected. I don't really know anything about wildlife, or ranching, or life in a rural town, but I appreciated the way Chandler wrote that aspect of the story. It could have been very easy for her to resolve things simplisticly, or make the ranchers out to be bad guys. But the book is more complex than that. It took a bit, but I enjoyed watching KJ eventually try to see things from a different perspective. And I liked that there weren't easy answers.
That said, this seems very much like a first novel. Everything just felt a little loose, and not quite developed, and occasionally sloppy. But there's humor and complexity, and that was enough for me to mostly enjoy the book. I would definitely give another of Chandler's books a look. I think she's got a lot of potential.
And my husband, Rusty, stops in to review The Wheel of Time series, which was finished up by Utah author Brandon Sanderson.
The Wheel of Time series
by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
The Wheel of Time keeps turning, and the wheel weaves as the wheel wills. This story is one of the best character development series…because there are 14 books! Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson does a great job of getting you to love or hate each character intimately. I love how the three main characters grow in their complicated lives while still retaining a lighter side to make you laugh. Every good book has treachery. One of my favorite mysteries to solve with each volume is who is the traitor. Some villains are clearly marked but the best ones will surprise you. I am sad to say that many series of books have a clunk for an ending… well this is not one of them.
If you are looking for adventure, treachery, love, intrigue, warriors, monsters, inner demons, more warriors, crazy names and amazing character development then this series is for you. Certainly the enormous time investment may look daunting but you will not be disappointed. I am sad that the adventures to laugh, gasp in disbelief, marvel in, and maybe once… almost tear up, are now over.
Have you read any of these?