The Lady Lamorna wants a beautifully hideous new dress. A dress with skulls all along the hem and a motif of poison ivy with blood-red petticoats. There is only one problem: her supply of gold is running a bit low. So she conceives of a wonderfully awful plan to turn the princes of the neighboring kingdoms into frogs and then charge their parents for her potions to return them to their royal selves. But people keep messing up her perfect plan: trueheart Gracie Gillypot, Gracie's evil stepsister, a fast-talking bat, and even one of the princes. Lamorna will make them regret interfering.
I love the dark humour of this book and its fairy tale feel. Fans of Lemony Snicket will love this funny, fantastic series
Ghosts stories gather in areas filled with sadness. Perhaps that is why there are so many tales of the supernatural in Calcutta. Siraj knows all of them. He researches them for the other members of the Chowbar society: Isobel the fearless actress, Roshan who used to live on the streets, Michael the quiet artist, Seth the scholar, Ben the mercurial leader of the group, and Ian the one destined to escape and tell the tale. The group is bound together by misery, all residents of the local orphanage, and in the absence of family they swore to protect each other. But they never imagined how much those loyalties would be tested or that one of Siraj's ghost stories would came to life and stalk them.
Zafon has a wonderful way with words and does an excellent job creating a spooky atmosphere and establishing a good sense of place. The characters and the relationships among them are fascinating. I'd give this to fans of supernatural tales and books about close groups of friends and secret societies.
The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Erica's Picks 7th - 8th Grade Tags: Fast-Paced, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, People of Color, Supernatural
Victor was determined to discover all the secret passages in the Frankenstein estate, but some secrets are best left in darkness. When he stumbled across the Dark Library it almost killed him. Yet Victor felt its strange allure as he scanned the forbidden titles. Even as he promised his father he'd never return, he doubted he'd be able to resist them. Now his twin brother is sick and all the doctors and science that his parents enlist cannot cure him. But there is a recipe for an elixir in one of the alchemical titles that might. Gathering the ingredients will be dangerous and there's no guarantee the potion will work. Would you stand by and hope for the best--or would you risk it all on a long shot? For Victor, the answer is clear.
The atmosphere is deliciously gothic and the pacing relentless. The cast woks wonderfully together and has individual voices that are allowed to shine. Henry had me cracking up with his various phobias and his poetic spirit while I admired Elizabeth's strong will, wit, and courage. Polidori is an excellent creepy alchemist with a great feline familiar. Konrad is the ultimate hero: intelligent, athletic, level-headed, kind. But the story is really about his twin: the infamous Victor Frankenstein. It was interesting to read about how this famous horror character might have been as a teenager. I'd give this to readers looking for a good gothic tale or just a fast-paced story with supernatural undercurrents.
Sabriel was dead when she was baptized. But there are benefits to being the Abhorsen's daughter. Her father followed her into the land of the dead and brought her back with him. Soon she was a living, screaming baby in his arms. Sabriel attended a private boarding school near the border, where the magic runs stronger. In addition to the classes all the other young ladies were expected to take she had private lessons from her father about how to deal with the dead who refuse to stay that way. While other children shied away from death, Sabriel kept death close around her like a cloak. Sabriel does not frighten easily, but when her father disappears she knows enough to be very, very afraid.
I absolutely loved the world-building of the novel. The book is naturally rather dark, but there's a lot of hope to be found in it as well. Sabriel is relatable as she tries to cope with a difficult situation the best that she can. Plus there's a sassy talking cat character! I'd give this to teens looking for a dark fantasy novel. Sabriel is more or less a zombie hunter.
Every house on Henrietta's street is identical: each one newly made of vinyl and glue with flat roofs sitting behind plastic lawns in their own soundproof and airtight cocoon. Every house, except Henrietta's. Henrietta's house is made of wood, with a sloping roof and an old-fashioned attic. Henrietta's mother thinks that it must be some contaminant in their old house that is causing Henrietta's blinding headaches. But Henrietta knows it isn't the house at all. It's the Wikkeling. Most people can't see the Wikkeling and Henrietta knows that if she tries to explain it she'll only sound crazy. Luckily she's found some allies who can see it as well, but will the neighbor boy, a kindergartener, and a Wild Housecat be enough to defeat the mysterious creature or will they all end up Finished?
I read this book at the end of long day, but from the very start Arntson made me forget all my troubles and took me away to a frightening and thought-provoking dystopia that nevertheless left me feeling far better than when I picked up the novel. First off it started with a poem about a cat, which instantly wins it points in my book. Secondly it established the atmosphere and setting with wonderfully creative details. Thirdly it introduces us to the main character Henrietta who, the narrator warns us, "will not find out that she's actually a princess, and she won't become happy forever when a prince marries her. Those books are out there, and your school librarian can help you find one. This isn't it." The novel is at times a dystopian commentary on society, at times a horror novel, at times a coming of age novel, and there's plenty of humor infused throughout.