Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Coraline - Neil Gaiman

Author: Neil Gaiman
Reviewer: Joseph

As people who are familiar with his Sandman books will know Neil Gaiman has a twisted sense of reality. Gaiman takes the old theme of a child stepping into a wonderland through a parallel dimension and horribly distorts it. Coraline is a modern fairytale where nothing is as it seems and reality is distorted. In Coraline the young protagonist is drawn to adventure the area around her house because of boredom. The weather is horrible, it constantly rains and is foggy, there are no other children in her neighbourhood, and her parents completely ignore her. She is drawn to a mysterious door in her house that supposedly leads to no where. It is locked and has a brick walll on the other side as she finds out. But when her parents are gone and she finds the key it turns out to be a sort of mirror world where her mother is loving and a brilliant cook, her neighbours are beautiful entertainers, and she plays with friendly rats from the man upstairs. This world seems perfect until she realizes that she is a pawn in a game this other mother has played for years. Coraline is at once a fairy tale, an adventure story, a mystery, and a cautionary tale. It features some extremely interesting characters including a talking cat who guides Coraline, two neighbours who give Coraline the key to her victory against the other mother, a man upstairs who has a band of musical rats (mirrored by the evil rats in the alternate reality), and a father who can’t cook. This book quickly became one of my favourites. And Neil Gaiman also plans to release this book as a graphic novel later this year even though the illustrations by Dave Mckean in the regular version are fantastic.

Coraline is coming out as a film in 2009

And here is a sneak peek we found on YouTube:

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Cry of the Icemark - Stuart Hill

The Cry of the Icemark
Author: Stuart Hill,%20Stuart&btype=fiction711
Reviewer: David

"The Cry of the Icemark" is an epic story about a thirteen-year-old girl that has to fulfill her destiny as the Queen of Icemark. Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-Arm Lindenshield is a beautiful girl and is destined to rule the small kingdom of Icemark. Her father, King Redrought, has been killed defending Icemark from the powerful Polypontians. The Polypontians have never lost a war, are more advanced technologically, and will stop at nothing to destroy Icemark. They also have a general that's never lost a battle. In the process of destroying the first army of the Polypontians (there are many Polypontian armies), Icemark's army has been destroyed. Now, Thirrin Strong-in-the-Arm Lindenshield has retreated to the neighboring allies, the Hypolitan, and must form a collaboration of allies to even hope to have a chance in the upcoming war. Thirrin will forge an alliance with the vicious Wolf-folk, the Dark Vampires from the Lands of the Ghosts, and the courageous Snow Leopards from the Hub of the World. Thirrin won’t do this alone, and will find help from Oskan, a young Warlock who had extraordinary powers and is brave in the face of great danger.

Parts of "The Cry of the Icemark" were catchy, and I enjoyed reading those parts, because there were action-filled battle scenes and heroics. You would like these parts of the book if you’re into books about King Arthur,” “Lord of the Rings,” and the “Inheritance” series by Christopher Paolini. The only bad thing about this book was that it dragged at some times, and it seemed as if there were a few too many chapters about Thirrin finding good allies. I would have liked the climax battle scenes to be longer. This book is the first book in the Icemark Chronicles. The author has created a world that reminds me of Paolini's world with lots of interesting characters, creatures, and conflicts. Lots of readers will have fun hanging out in that world.

What some other fans think found on YouTube:

Chronicles of Icemark

1. The Cry of the Icemark (2005)
2. Blade of Fire (2006)
3. The Last Battle of the Icemark (2008)