Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera / Bronn’s The Child Thief

It’s been pointed out that I haven’t blogged in forever, and it is because of WORK. Which is SO BAD. I apologise, invisible readers, of which WordPress informs me there are some. I have been playing with bubbles and glitter and things, and that takes up a LOT more time than you’d expect.

What I’ve mainly been reading since my last update is – with a few blips – mainly Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. I am something close to obsessed by it; the characters are charming with distinct and varied voices, the plot turns and twists wonderfully, and it’s wonderfully funny one minute and heartbreaking the next. I have to highlight Amara as a favourite character as she’s strong (character-wise) and powerful (literally, power-wise) without being unfeminine about it; she’s smart and selfless and someone I truly feel I can relate to, or aspire to be like. Also a favourite – rather unusually for me – is the main character, Tavi, who I assumed at first would be the typical naive-young-shepherd-boy-thrust-into-dangerous-fantastical-milieu that I find very tiresome. In fact, that is totally what happens, but Butcher has given him a fine reason to be unique (in a world where everyone has powers, he, alone, does not) and it works! He’s canny and convincing and an absolute joy to read.

I’m about to start the last book, but I’m holding back, merely because I don’t want to finish and leave this utterly wonderful world behind. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s read The Dresden Files and enjoyed them, anyone new to fantasy in general as it’s a spirited, quick read with easily discernable plot arcs, and anyone who’s bridging the gap between YA fiction and the general Sci Fi/Fantasy bookshelves in their local shop.

In fact, I’d recommend it to everyone with a pulse. It is just that awesome.

Another book that I’ve read and loved was Bronn’s The Child Thief; a wonderfully disturbing revision of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan, with murder and darkness all over it. There are gorgeous illustrations inside that really bring the atmosphere of a dying Neverland (Avalon in the book) to life, with trees that bleed and tiny, mischeivous fairies and zombie-like “pirates”. I won’t give too much away, aside from the fact that Nick, who at the start is brought to Avalon by the anarchic Peter Pan to escape a horrible real world situation, is a fantastic character. We see him grow up in one, terrible way, and then we see him mature in quite another. The book pulls no punches. There is a lot of death and dismemberment and there was one scene in particular that made me put the book down because it was just horrible – not just because of the violence (make no mistake, this is absolutely full of violence) but because of the ramifications of it. The accusation and blame.

I would recommend this book to horror readers and those who love dark re-imaginings of popular fairy tales and myths. It’s a great book, but definitely not fun or light-hearted; it is difficult to get through in places but certainly worth the effort. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to devoted fans of the original JM Barrie or Disney movie though, unless you want to give yourselves a sleepless night, watching the shadows.

I really have to blog more. I have read several books since I last posted but I can’t remember what; I am currently on Tim Powers‘ The Anubis Gates, but having gone on a bit of a shopping spree with some lively book bloggers from Twitter recently, I have lots of new YA books to be getting into. Also, Lankhmar. 😀

Meanwhile, I must direct everyone over to a fantastic giveaway of one of my favourite YA titles this year – My Favourite Books are running a competition to win copies of Rebecca Maizel’s Infinite Days! Go! Go! For it is the fabulousness!

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