Ready for the Read-a-Thon!

It’s that special time of year again. Time to drop everything and for 24 hours do nothing but read, read, read. What I want, whatever I want. I’m really looking forward to it! I’m also planning things out a lot more this year than I normally do. Here are my plans for the day:

For short stories I have Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, which I hope to be able to finish tomorrow, with Kisses From Hell waiting in the wings. For graphic novels I plan to finish reading the sequel to Persepolis and then dive into the manga series Battle Angel Alita. For fiction I was recently turned on to the idea of The Knife of Never Letting Go thanks to Aarti from Booklust. I also have some short stories related to The Forest of Hands and Teeth I would love to read before diving into the sequel The Dead Tossed Waves. I’m planning on starting with a sort of rigid rotation, short story, graphic novel and then 50 or so pages of straight fiction but I give myself permission to break those rules wantonly if a book drags me under.

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The Fiddler of Bayou Teche

by Delia Sherman

[rating:5/5]

The great thing about new original fairy tales is the way they take old motifs, old themes and older tales and remix them in a new way to create a new story. “The Fiddler of Bayou Teche” by Delia Sherman combines several motifs of trickster tales along with myths and legends featuring musical instruments. The story that unfolds is a wonderful down to earth tale surrounding a trickster fiddler set in a deep south bayou.

The main character is a young albino girl named Cadence who lives in the swamp with the woman that adopted her, Tante Eulalie. Her mother serves the local loup-garou community as a medicine woman and plays the fiddle. Her mother cautions her against tricksters by sharing with her tales of warning. When her mother passes one winter Cadence ends up getting into trouble and being confronted by the very trickster her mother warned her against. Are the warnings and tales her mother armed her with enough to help protect her and allow her to survive?

There is a podcast of this fairy tale on the website Podcastle that features a fantastic reader, Elizabeth Green Musselman, and I really recommend hearing this fairy tale orally in this way almost more than reading it. It definitely adds to the experience.

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From Far Away Volume 5

[openbook booknumber=”159116835X”] [rating:4/5]

Transported into a fantastical world of high adventure, a confused and frightened teenager discovers she holds prophetic power that will awaken a new epoch of staggering uncertainty.

But even with such infinite power, Noriko still relies on the help of her faithful companion Izark to protect her. There are enemies lurking everywhere and Noriko needs all the help she can get.

Izark, however, may be the biggest threat of all. Within him lies an evil most unimaginable. When that evil finally reveals itself, Noriko’s spontaneous reaction surprises everyone… including herself!

As if being dumped down into a completely fantastical and strange world that doesn’t speak her language or play by her rules wasn’t bad enough. Noriko faces bigger enemies in this volume and feels more powerless than ever. She can’t help her friends or fight the bad guys, all she can do is be herself. But will that prove to be enough?

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Castle of Wizardry

[openbook booknumber=”9780345335708″][rating:5/5]

It had all begun with the theft of the Orb that had so long protected the West from the evil God Torak. Before that, Garion had been a simple farm boy. Afterward, he discovered that his aunt was really the Sorceress Polgara and his grandfather was Belgarath, the Eternal Man. Then, on the long quest to recover the Orb, Garion found to his dismay that he, too, was a sorcerer.

Now, at last, the Orb was regained and the quest was nearing its end. Of course, the questors still had to escape from this crumbling enemy fortress and flee across a desert filled with Murgo soldiers searching for them, while Grolim Hierarchs strove to destroy them with dark magic. Then, somehow, they must manage to be in Riva with the Orb by Erastide. After that, however, Garion was sure that his part in these great events would be finished.

But the Prophecy still held future surprises for Garion–and for the little princess Ce’Nedra.

This continues the magnificent epic of The Belgariad, begun in Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, and Magician’s Gambit–a fantasy set against a background of the war of men, Kings, and Gods that had spanned seven thousand years–a novel of fate, strange lands, and a prophecy that must be fulfilled!

In the fourth book of the Belgariad, The Castle of Wizardry, all the set up from the series so far finally come to fruition and the stage is set for the final book. Picking up where the story left off Garion finds himself leading the small group as Belgarath is out of it after the last show down and Polgara is maintaining a shield to protect Errand. What follows is Garion not just making the journey into adult hood but also stepping up into a position of responsibility and authority. Garion finally grows up and it is wonderful to see.

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Across the Universe

[openbook booknumber=”9781595143976″][rating:3/5]

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

When young adults leave their hometown and go off to college it can feel like they have left the planet. All of a sudden they are in a whole new town with all new people, there are new rules of engagement and you are suddenly expected to act and think very differently. Worst of all many if not all their friends and family, most importantly the ever-present parents, are now gone and they are on their own. In Beth Revis’ science fiction debut Across the Universe she manages to capture all of this perfectly as we follow Amy and her journey aboard the spaceship Godspeed. Unfortunately it is captured too well and that along with a few other hiccups resulted in this book not turning out as well as I hoped it would.

Let me start this off on a positive note, Revis can write really, really detailed and realistic scenes. The book opens with Amy watching her parents be cryogenically frozen and then experience it herself. I have extreme needle phobia, it took forever to get through those pages. Even people who don’t have needle phobia squirm through that first chapter, it is intense and present and real and that kind of talent in a writer is extremely promising. She captures the small ship, the feeling of being trapped, the abandonment all very well and you experience it along with Amy and that is very powerful.

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