Rick’s recent reads 3/3/06

A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray.
Okay, so I was a little slow discovering this, but since Rebel Angels just came out, I figured I would read the first in the series first. The novel can best be described as Gothic fantasy. Lots of Victorian atmosphere and ruminations about the claustrophic restrictions on women in that time period, combined with a good portion of magic and mystery. I loved Bray’s sense of humor. It saved the novel from becoming top-heavy or melodramatic. The ending didn’t quite work as well for me as the rest of the book, but perhaps I was simply reading too fast by that point. I would recommend it to teen girls, say 13+. Be aware, there was a definite erotic edge to the book. No more so than Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, but it’s worth mentioning.

The Skull of Truth, by Bruce Coville.
The Magic Shop books by Coville are some of my son’s favorites. (He’s eleven.) This volume was one of the best. Great sense of humor, a good lesson about lying versus truth-telling, but it wasn’t at all preachy. A quick easy read, great for reluctant boy readers like my son!

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, by Terry Pratchett.
Another author I was slow in finding, Pratchett has a wicked and beautifully twisted sense of humor. I would call this book a recrafting of the Pied Piper story, but that really doesn’t even begin to describe it. All the characters, human or otherwise, are wonderfully drawn, and the story is well worth your time. Sheesh, this guy is prolific, too. I need to get back to work now!

Rick Riordan