Melanie's Musings
September 21, 2012

Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy by Sara Angelini

The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy is just as cheeky as the cover makes it look. In fact, its content is quite a bit spicier than I expected.

Elizabeth Bennet is a prosecuting attorney in this modern Pride and Prejudice, with Darcy as the judge she constantly has to appear before. They irritate and attract each other in equal doses, but when they find themselves together in England and therefore out of their jurisdiction, all bets are off.

The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy is exceedingly clever in its weaving of the classic tale. Parallels are easily drawn, a retelling must-have for me. There’s also a strong inclusion of family in this modernization, which is something that’s always nice to see. No matter what century Mrs. Bennet is in, she can always be counted on to bring the crazy.

My favorite moment of the book happens when Elizabeth sees Darcy and Georgie together and thinks that Darcy is Georgie’s father. Talk about a blow to the ego.

The book does begin to drag for a bit after its version of Rosings, though. Emotions run so high throughout the novel that they begin to get tiresome. Thankfully, there is eventually a bit of relief, so even when they do start running the gamut again, it can once again be enjoyed.

Overall, The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy is a hot modernization of Pride and Prejudice. Lizzie retains her spunk and stubbornness while getting a 21st century strong woman makeover. And Darcy? Well, you warm up to him, as always.

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Posted by Melanie at 8:33 am – Comments (3)
August 31, 2012

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Christopher Paolini’s blurb of Seraphina had me in fits to read it. He said:

“Beautifully written. Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.”

The Inheritance Cycle was my true introduction to fantasy and dragons, so Paoilini’s blurb meant a lot.

Thankfully, his recommendation didn’t let me down.

Seraphina, a fantasy coming of age novel with a dash of romance, is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read this year.

In a few ways, it reminds me of Fire by Kristin Cashore. Other than the obvious fact they’re both fantasy novels, each boast of a bastard prince and have heroines whose abilities are often more a curse than a blessing, in their beginnings.

Rachel Hartman takes her time in setting up her tale*, but as the novel progresses, it picks up to quite a quick speed. Soon, there’s banging and crashing all over the place.

My love of music in books is far from a secret and Seraphina brings it out full force. She works in the castle as assistant to the court composer and is the type of musician that can make you feel the music and move her audience to a sense of awe. She’s that good. In the novel, there’s a description of music so vivid: “…screaming musical obscenities at the dawn.” How’s that for imagery?

My favorite part of reading fantasy novels is enjoying their detailed settings and Seraphina in no way let me down. It’s told in such a memorable way that I could easily go for paragraphs telling you about how to find Orma’s office, what kind of celebrations were occurring during Seraphina‘s version of New Year, and that fascinating room in Quighole, but believe me, you want to read it for yourself.

*Dragon pun- I couldn’t help it.

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Posted by Melanie at 8:12 am – Comments (3)
Categories: book review
August 29, 2012

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev

As this is the second book in a series, beware of spoilers. You may wish to read my review for Eyes Like Stars instead.

~
Are you paying attention?

To read Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev, you’d better be.

Book two in the Théâtre Illuminata series, Perchance to Dream follows Bertie and her unlikely troupe of fairies and Ariel out into the world on a mission.

Eyes Like Stars drew me in with its inventiveness. If possible, the world in Perchance to Dream is even more so. Lisa Mantchev mentions Cirque de Soliel in her acknowledgements as inspiration for part of the book and it makes perfect sense. The world is colorful, artistic, and somewhat strange.

As for the love triangle, it really heats up in Perchance to Dream, with both men tugging at Bertie. Triangles can be tiring but this one is surprisingly fresh.  While there’s a definite Team Ariel and Team Nate, there’s also a Team Bertie. She’s self-aware enough to realize she needs her own identity outside of a romantic relationship. I appreciate Mantchev writing a female lead who, at her core, belongs to herself.

If I had to choose between Nate and Ariel for Bertie, though, I’d go with Nate. Both men have flaws. Nate is somewhat chauvinistic (more apparent in ELS than PTD) and Ariel is spiteful when hurt and lashes out in mean, cruel ways. However, Nate seems to be a gentle soul at heart while Ariel, well, I don’t really know. He’s so secretive, it’s hard to see who he is, fundamentally. That makes him awfully difficult to trust.

Unfortunately for me, I can easily see So Silver Bright going in the opposite direction. Ariel and Bertie do have more fire together and man, their dance in Perchance to Dream was my favorite part of the book. Plus, I have a feeling that Nate would be more gentlemanly and step aside if Bertie were to ultimately choose Ariel but still stick around, whereas Ariel would probably get enraged and try to disappear (again).

I’ve heard some sad rumblings over the final book in the trilogy, though, so I’m trying to not get too hyped up over the romance aspect.  Just a little.

Published by Feiwel & Friends, Perchance to Dream has a plot that moves fast and in many directions. As I mentioned at the beginning, readers should stay on their toes. Once, I found myself getting lost, so caught up in the writing that I had no idea what was going on. Within a page things can drastically change, a new character introduced, people separated, or someone plunged to near-death. PTD is a lovely follow-up to the amazing Eyes Like Stars, and I definitely plan to finish the series with book 3.

My hopes for So Silver Bright? Well, I really, really want to see another Ariel/Bertie dance. That man may not be trustworthy, but he can move.

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Posted by Melanie at 8:59 am – Comments (1)
Categories: book review