Staff Musings

November 24, 2006

The Valley of the Wolves – Laura Gallego Garcia

Filed under: Children's Literature — carricee @ 8:28 pm

Garcia spins a mesmerizing coming-of-age fantasy with The Valley of the Wolves. Dana is a young outcast in her isolated farm community when she meets a young boy named Kai. They become quick friends, soon spending all of their time together. Dana moves farther and farther away from the normal society of young girls as she and Kai become closer, and she realizes that she is the only one who can see him, until she meets a stranger passing through town. The stranger persuades her family to allow Dana to leave with him to learn magic, and she is whisked away to a castle in a valley even more isolated than the community she grew up in. As Dana grows and learns, she confronts the mystery of Kai’s existence, the strangly aggressive wolves in the valley, and her confidence in her sense of rght and wrong and her ability to think for herself.

The Valley of the Wolves is aimed at children 9-12 years old, however as a tale of redemption, love, and hope it is appropriate for all ages. Garcia wrenches conflicting emotions from the reader masterfully –  as in other similarly heartbreaking and hopeful children’s books like Charlotte’s Web or Where the Red Fern Grows. This book is a perfect gift for the child who enjoys Harry Potter and similar titles – it’s a bit deeper, a bit sadder, but a whole lot more satisfying*.

*The author of this post is not in any way suggesting that she dislikes the Harry Potter books, or that she doesn’t read them the day they come out in one sitting in a chair in the kitchen between the fridge and the coffeepot. The author is merely stating that she likes THIS novel in a different way than the Harry Potter novels. Which she likes. Differently.

November 2, 2006

The Android’s Dream

Filed under: Sci Fi & Fantasy — hazeltine @ 8:05 pm

scalzi-dream-2.jpgThe Android’s Dream

By: John Scalzi

John Scalzi is back with another great Science Fiction romp. This time out, however, is significantly different than the last two ventures. Where his first two Tor novels were in a military scifi vein. This novel has a more of a espionage/thriller feel to it. Scalzi starts with great humor and twists in complex plot and character lines which keep the reader turning pages and guessing.

Another difference from his earlier books is that this one gets a bit courser. Cursing and graphic violence are much more common place in this outing, although it is still presented in a humorous context.

All in all, another strong showing from a great writer.

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