Sunday, November 7, 2010

My October Shannon Hale kick

I had read a couple books by Shannon Hale before now (Princess Academy and Austenland) and enjoyed them both, but didn't really think too much more about them. This month (party inspired by reading Shannon's amazing blog here), I went on a real Shannon Hale kick.

First, I reread Princess Academy.

Princess AcademyPrincess Academy by Shannon Hale

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Really liked the main character and enjoyed the book, but didn't find it to be life-changing.

Rereading 9/10--enjoying it more after reading some of the author's blog/online information about the writing of the book (and other books!)

10/8/10--Liked it a lot more this time--especially the idea of quarry speech, Miri learning her place in the village, and the relationship between Miri and Katar.


Then, I read The Actor and the Housewife.

The Actor and the HousewifeThe Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I went into The Actor and the Housewife expecting a fluffy read, and it took me a little while to connect with the characters (I've never been good at the kind of breezy banter that Becky and Felix excel at, so I was a little taken aback at first), but I was surprised by the depth of the book. I spent several days afterwards thinking about friendships, family, and how the two interplay. An excellent read, even if it's more likely to appeal to women than men.


Next up, Enna Burning. (Which should really be preceded by The Goose Girl, but this one was in at the library, and the other was not, c'est la vie.)

Enna Burning (The Books of Bayern #2)Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great book, but it took me awhile to get into. I didn't like Enna's brother from the first, so I had a hard time sympathizing with Enna when he started acting weird and then put himself in danger (yes, I know it was her brother, but still), plus I haven't yet read The Goose Girl, so I didn't have the background on Enna's friendship with Isi. I also found Isi's behavior vis-a-vis the wind a little strange and disturbing (wasn't she supposed to have been "happily-ever-after'd in the first book?). I was also prey to the outsider's trap where I could see danger that Enna could not (of COURSE you shouldn't read that parchment that tells you how to make fire, what are you THINKING?), so I was getting pretty annoyed with her by midway through the book.

Then she got captured by enemy forces and I really felt like the book picked up and got more interesting--and I could feel for Enna more. I am happy to say that the ending was more than satisfying and that it is well worth getting through the first part of the book. I also think the first part of the book would feel a little less slow if I had read the first book in the series first!


Now, I'm reading Calamity Jack, a graphic novel co-written by Hale's husband, Dean, and illustrated by Nathan Hale, who is of no relation, but it's fun to see "Hale - Hale - Hale" on the book spine. This one should actually be preceded by Rapunzel's Revenge, but I had the same issue at the library. (I should mention that libraries allow you to put books on hold so you can avoid this and read books in the correct order, but it didn't bother me too much in this case, and I was reveling in the spontaneity of finding something I wanted to read and taking it home then and there.)

Calamity Jack (Rapunzel's Revenge, #2)Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale

If you like YA books and fantasy (although Actor and the Housewife does not fall into this category), consider getting on your own Shannon Hale kick this month!

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