I don’t really know where to begin with “The Adventures of Warren Steadmill”, which isn’t a bad thing, but rating a book that’s written as a type of parody to classic folktales is just hard! Rosenberg has a distinct style of witty and sarcastic writing that reminds me a great deal of the late Sir Terry Pratchett, even down to the occasional footnote. Everything is whimsical, and silly, and also vaguely serious with some rather dark undertones. But Warren’s tale is a simple one: one of a family growing closer, finding purpose in life, and growing up. Warren falls for a girl and to impress her, he gives up his life of unproductive luxury to become a table maker and win his fair lady’s adoration. But, of course, none of that really works out for him and Warren, poor, sweet, innocent and often dumb, Warren, is left to bumble through an adventure he barely understands that will eventually leave him a hero. Kind of?
“The Gorgon Bride” is a whimsical story about a whirlwind romance and trying to discover if that romance is the real deal, or just a passing fling. As someone who adores Greek Mythology, I was instantly intrigued by this book, and for the most part, the author does a nice job of touching upon a great number of myths and portrays the Greek gods well enough to where you don’t necessarily need to know all the stories for the various people who make cameo’s in the book, but it certainly does help. The reader follows Alex, though, a modern day man who finds himself suddenly dead, the Greek gods are suddenly back from their centuries long hiatus, and that Athena has taken an interest in Alex in particular. Why Alex? That’s never really explained….
“The Pariah Child and the Ever-Giving Stone” is the tale of young Sarafina (or Sarah to her friends) whose imaginary fairy friends aren’t all that imaginary, despite her strict mother’s best wishes. Threatened by her mother to abandon her fantasies of mythical talking friends or she’d be sent to an asylum, Sarah does her best to comply, until she is attacked by a not so ordinary pack of wolves. The “imaginary” friends she thought she banished have returned, begging for Sarah to help them save their world by returning something vital to it, or more nasty creatures will come to Sarah’s world, and destroy the magical place known as Lyrica. Sarah doesn’t fit in back home, and yet these magical creatures immediately offer her acceptance. Spurned by her small town, Sarah agrees to the task they have placed at her feet (she’s thirteen, it’s a lot of pressure for a young kid) and travels to Lyrica, not knowing anything about the place, its inhabitants, how it’s dying, or what she can do about it. She’s not entirely alone though, with the help of a few friends (not all magical), Sarah decides she’s not going to be afraid anymore, that she wants to help, at any cost. Oh man, there is so much in this book! Magical creatures of every kind, a dying world, a child of prophecy, a sweet coming-of-age story, an epic quest, and lots of action and adventure. This story was quite the roller-coaster, and I loved parts of it, but I think it was also trying to pack too much into just under 300 hundred pages of book.
Let me start by saying that I don’t typically read middle-grade books, but my niece and nephews are getting to that age where they can start reading “real” books, and being the awesome aunt I am, I’m going to shower those ragamuffins with literature. So, I read this in preparation for that. While this book says it’s about the issues First Daughter Audrey faces when she is uprooted from her comfortable life and whisked away to the White House, and then plopped into a school that felt like “Mean Girls” meets “Cruel Intentions” but for children, none of that really mattered for the story. You can take away the whole living in the White House thing and this story stays pretty much the same: a young girl whose parents aren’t giving her enough attention or freedom, acts out in an attempt to be treated as “not a child”. Which, as “not a child” anymore, sounds silly because rebelling in that way has the opposite effect, but I guess this is what sounds good to kids these days…
***I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***
I’m going to do something a little new with my reviews—starting with “The Lyons Orphanage”. Normally, I give a little synopsis of the book, but you can read that on your own. My reviews are always long, and ultimately, I want to get to the meat of the review faster. We’ll see how it goes. Anyway, in King’s novel, we follow around Sam the orphan as he goes about his day, and I mean really, we see every detail of his day and it makes you feel kind of bad for the orphans, because their days sound so mundane and boring. Unfortunately, it’s also not great for the reader, as the book falls into the same trap on many occasions. The synopsis sounds so cool, though! A kid who can read the minds of everyone but a select few? Who’s also stuck in an orphanage with a nefarious power struggle? Sign me up! Right? Yes well, the synopsis made it sound a lot more like the page-turner I wanted, but never really got.
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