January 4th, 2007


Finally wrapping up 2006 books

59, 60. The Secret Books of Venus, I&II -- Faces Under Water and Saint Fire (Tanith Lee)
Sometimes Tanith Lee writes brilliant, chilling things. This was not one of those times, unfortunately. Both books in this volume started out with plenty of promise, but neither was as good as the evocative early images seemed to promise. Particularly annoying were the heroines -- in both stories, they were beautiful, unusual, handicapped, gifted, and frustratingly passive. I wanted to smack some sense into both of them. Which is not the reaction I generally hope to have to characters in a book. **

61. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (Gregory Maguire)
Like Wicked, this is a reimagining of a well-known story (Cinderella in this case). Unlike Wicked, this one purports to take place in a (quasi-)historical setting. I don't think the historical novel element works as well as the fantasy world did. The new light on the familiar story is interesting, and fun, and the twist at the end was a nice touch, although it stretched credibility a tad. The writing was clear and transparent, although not particularly beautiful in itself. A light read. ***

62. Seventh Heaven (Alice Hoffman)
This book had all the lovely writing and engaging characters you would expect, but the plot was somewhat lacking. It felt unfocused and unfinished. A bunch of marriages and relationships break up, people have personal growth, and there's a ghost. Who doesn't seem to want anything. It was a very enjoyable read, but ultimately unsatisfying. It almost felt like half of the book was missing. Truly lovely writing, though. ***

63. The Dream Hunters (Neil Gaiman)
I finally got this book for Christmas (although I had read it previously). I really do love it. Neil's writing is perfectly evocative of a fairy tale, and the pictures are gorgeous. Plus, it's all romantic and sad, which of course appeals to me. :) *****

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