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I love that my 7th grader was assigned Treasure Island for English Class.
In school my English teachers did their very best to kill my love for reading. Grapes of Wrath? Snooze. Thank goodness for Cliffs Notes.
Treasure Island, though? Winner.
I hadn't read it myself, though it'd been holding up the bottom of my Mount TBR for several years. A school assignment for a kiddo was perfect excuse to dig it out and get caught up.
Here's what I found:
It's pirates and buried treasure from a 12-year-old boy's perspective--the perfect adventure book.
One unexpected bit of fun was discovering Treasure Island is the original source for everything we associate with pirates. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, 15 men on a dead man's chest, a squawking parrot riding on a shoulder, "X" marks the spot, Jolly Roger, shiver my timbers, land ho, buried treasure, Long John Silver, one-legged men, sea-dog, scars on faces...these are just the ones off the top of my head.
In Treasure Island, there is much fun to be had.
As Sir Mix-A-Lot would say, there is one big but...
The book was written in 1883, and reads like it. I love escaping into the past through words, but my 12-year-old doesn't have the patience to translate all the "foreign English." We're reading it together, and he's enjoying it. Left to himself, he'd never get through it.
Other than that watch-out, give Treasure Island a try. It's only about 170-ish pages and well worth your time. Maybe the perfect chance to give your kiddo's a taste of "the classics."
It's so hard to find really good middle grade books.
In an effort to write a story that is "on their level," most of them are poorly written, have overly simplistic plots, and canned, characterless characters.
At last, I've found one that dares to assume our kids aren't stupid!
The Mysterious Benedict Society is what I think middle grade lit should be. The plot is smart. The characters have depth and show growth. The dialogue is fun and snappy. All that, yet the jokes remain appropriate, the challenges relatable, and the themes applicable.
A great find. Perfect for all ages.
I've been waiting for both of these series-enders for YEARS--and they're both released on the same day.
It might as well be Christmas!
The only question...which one do I read first?
This one was disappointing.
Boring plot. Unlikable characters. Awkward 1st person. The magic system was weird, abstract, and random. It's almost like there wasn't a story being told...things just happened.
The title of the book doesn't even have anything to do with what happens in the story.
There are a few things the author did very well. For example, I can tell you exactly the body type and attractiveness of each female character. I can tell you what, how much, and how often the main character ate. And--most importantly--I can tell you the color of eyes, hair, and definition of the jawline of each male character. Oh, also...apparently, when it comes to male eye color, cinnamon is a valid color choice.
I wonder what the abbreviation for cinnamon is on a driver's license?
If the author had spent as much time on the details of the story as she did on the details of how everyone looked, this might have worked.
But she didn't. So it doesn't.
Content appropriate for 12+.
Revised rating from 4 stars to 2 stars on 8/30/16...
Never mind. I just re-read the original series, and HP and the Cursed Child pales badly in comparison. What a disappointment.
I'd forgotten the magic. Cursed Child has none.
The haters have it right...there's no way these words were written by J.K. Rowling.
The Harry, Ron, and Hermione in this story are NOT the same Harry, Ron, and Hermione I was expecting. It's not a bad thing, I suppose. Just different.
I enjoyed reading the story in this format. That was different too, and it forced my imagination muscles to work a little harder than usual.
While the characters were not Jo's, the story definitely was. It's magical and emotional and I loved it. Of course, it 100% relies on nostalgia for it to work. Anyone not familiar with Harry's story won't find much here to hold their attention. But for us Harry lovers, get ready to smile as the memories of your first Harry experience come back to you!
That's how it happened for me anyway. Now I have to start a Harry Potter re-read!
Because of the format and the oddly written characters that should be familiar but aren't, I suspect there will be some who don't like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It's different enough that some might be turned off.
But, if you can look past whats different and focus on what's the same, you might just find yourself needing to re-read Harry again too.
Done! All 9 Temeraire books in 5 weeks.
I'm all for binge reading a series...but I don't think I've ever done 9 back to back. Phew.
It was worth it, of course. Dragons are to books as bacon is to food.
They turn ordinary to awesome. Try this out:
Napoleon is attacking England and terrorizing Europe...
...while riding dragons.
See? Cool, right?
There's lots to love. The dragons, obviously, are the stars of this show. Acid spitters, fire breathers, big and slow, fast and small, scholars, fighters, lazy, industrious, smart, dumb, leaders, followers, good, bad. Dragons of every size, breed, colors, skill, personality, nationality, and allegiance are here. Have you ever considered aerial combat strategy via dragon back before? Now you can become an expert.
Yep, you read that right.
This is revisionist history at it's best. The Temeraire books tell the story of the Napoleonic Wars from the point of view of William Laurence, Captain in England's Royal Navy. When his ship captures a French vessel carrying a dragon egg, Laurence and his crew set sail for England to get the egg off the ship and into the hands of the Royal Air Corp before it hatches...because once it hatches the dragon chooses a companion for life. Good if you're into that sort of thing. A life sentence to a ball and chain if you not. Of course they don't make it. The egg hatches, and Captain Laurence becomes Captain of a dragon named Temeraire instead of Captain of a ship. Together, Laurence and Temeraire travel the world in defense of King and Crown, battling Napoleon and Tyranny in the air, at sea, on the ground, and in the most dangerous battlefield of all...politics.
Oh, man. There is so much here. Sea travel. Air travel. Sea battles. Air battles. Political battles. World travel...visits to England, Russia, Prussia, Australia, Japan, China, Brazil, several African countries, Spain, France. Sea storms, sea serpents, spys, smugglers, culture clashes, betrayal, conspiracy, assassination attempts, mystery, shipwrecks, marooning, death, prisoners, escapes. Uphill diplomacy, politics, war, treason, blurred lines of right and wrong. Honor, commitment, friendship, choosing others over yourself. Seriously, it's all there and more.
You want it all? You can have it...
The prose is unique. It isn't just a book about people living in Napoleons world. It's as if it were actually written during that time...picture what Jane Austen might sound like if Mr. Darcy rode a dragon to call on the Bennet sisters. This is an author to knows how to write.
Recommended for all. If your the type who likes a little less talk and a lot more action you might get bored in some places, particularly around book 6. While the dragon fights are cool, this is a character and relationship driven story. I loved it...you may not.