Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Take: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The circus arrives without notice."

What an exciting and curious opening line to a book!

I heard many people talking about this book, and was quickly interested in knowing more myself.

It instantly pulled me from that first line.

Celia, the daughter of Prospero the Enchanter, a great magician, with very real powers that captivate audiences across Europe. Meeting her father for the first time at age 6 when her mother commits suicide, she finds herself thrust into a world of magic and relentless hours of study at the hands of her overbearing father.

Marco is a young orphan who is taken in by Alexander. Another powerful, but more private magician. His, study is less interactive and more secluded consisting mainly of research and book work.

Both are unwittingly forced into a powerful bond in a game that the two caregivers have created. They spend their youth practicing and studying, not knowing who they will be in competition with. Or even how the competition will play out or where or when it will end.

That is, until a rich proprietor by the name of Chandresh Christophe Lefevre comes up with a brilliant idea for a circus. A wondrous magical circus, filled not with clowns or elephants, but wonderously mysterious and talented acrobats, contortionist, illusionists and many others. Not realizing that he is setting the stage for the two young competitors to compete in.

And so, The Night Circus is born.

Erin Morgenstern is able to capture the imagination in a wondrous and beautiful way. The imagery in her descriptions is vivid.

"The towering tents are striped in white and black, no golds and crimsons to be seen. No color at all, save for the neighboring trees and the grass of the surrounding fields. Black-and-white stripes on grey skies; countless tents of varying shapes and sizes, with an elaborate wrought-iron fence encasing them in a colorless world. Even what little ground is visible from outside is black or white, painted or powered, or treated with some other circus trick."

The characters she populates this world with are so interesting and colorful and mysterious. They all added to the overall ambiance and reading experience. I found myself fascinated by each new person I was introduced to.

I did enjoy reading this book, and found it quite poetic at times.

However, I did find the pace of the book in places a bit slow. Not that I didn't enjoy every page, just that I could spend 40 minutes reading, but find I only read a couple of chapters. Which for me, in most other books, I would normally read three or four chapters in the same amount of time.

I suppose I underestimated the density of the book. It is a very descriptive book, with many things going on. Different stories being told. They flowed nicely, but it did cause me to feel slowed down somewhat.

Now, I find this book to be one that you should approach with that in mind. Don't expect to pick this book up and fly through it. Take your time and savor it. You will find a much more enjoyable reading experience. I feel that if I had been able to have that insight when I started this book, I wouldn't have felt the slowness as a downside.

Overall I enjoyed this book and felt the magical wonderment throughout the story.

It is a beautiful story of mystery, love, magic and fun.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Take: Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

Tin StarTin Star by Cecil Castellucci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sci-fi duology by Cecil Castellucci that centers around Tula Bane. A young girl who, along with her mother and sister, leave Earth and head towards the possibility of colonizing a new planet.
Under the guidance of the leader of this endeavor, Brother Blue, they stop at the space station Yertina Feray that lays 6 light years from Earth.

However, he finds Tula's inquisitiveness a flaw that needs to be eliminated. He calls her away from her family and the rest of the people and beats her to death...Or so he thought. He leaves her lifeless body with the supplies her families ship needs for survival, on the docking station.

She luckily lives, and is able to care on with life on Yertina Feray when an alien, Heckleck, shows her how to do survive. An unlikely alliance forms between the two and throughout the months and years, a solid friendship is formed.

Tula is stuck on this space station and longs for not only her family, but to be able to be free on a planet again. And she strives to make this happen. And this desire is strengthen when three humans crash on the station over after over a year later. Being the only human all this time, seeing these humans, brings up struggles and fear and hope in her. And reminds her that she too, is human.

She is also set on revenge against Brother Blue for what he did to her, but she discovers just how low he has and will go to achieve his goals. This only further fuels her desire to get to him and make him pay.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I knew I was interested in the story, but I didn't expect to feel so invested in the characters as I ended up being. I felt emotions when things happened to them, or anxiety when newcomers came in that I felt she shouldn't trust. And that makes for a good read.

I enjoyed reading a sci-fi book, complete with aliens. A genre that has been lacking in my book collection.

I read through this book quickly, and now left patiently waiting for the sequel to this story.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Take: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the DeadLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"There are a lot of human experiences that challenge the limits of our Language."

I was unsure of this book when I first read up on it. I felt it would probably be a bit too juvenile.

But shortly after midnight of April 1st. (Its official release date.) I opened up my Nook and found the free sample and thought why not check it out.

Those free pages flew by and I knew I had to own this book.

It is set up entirely in the form of letters written by Laurel, to famous people, who happen to be dead. It started off as an assignment for English class, that ended up being the very thing that allowed her to finally open up and express all the emotions and thoughts she never felt she could share before. Or more importantly, didn't know how to share.

She writes to a varied group of famous people. Each one allowing her to express a different perspective or outlook. From Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse to E.E Cummings and Amelia Earhart. As the book goes on, you can see Laurel discover herself, her sister and the experiences she had. And how she grew and was learning from being able to truly think about all of it. And how it helped her to finally open up to her friends and ultimately her family.

This book is sad, tragic, filled with hope, love and is just beautiful.

I didn't cry throughout the book, but I felt the tears sting my eyes several times and felt so many emotions. But finally towards the end, I had to get tissues as I thought of those I loved who are no longer with me. And realized that I was Blessed to have had members of my family who knew it was ok for us all to fall apart together and still be able to support each other in our loss. That it was ok. That we will be ok in time.

This book touched my heart. I just loved every page.

"I carry your heart(I carry it in my heart)."

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