Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
The Bunker Diary
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
The Hired Girl
An Ember in the Ashes
The Porcupine of Truth
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Goodbye Stranger
Beautiful Blue World
The Blackthorn Key
All American Boys

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Night Gardener vs the Other Book I have already blocked from memory.

Poor Glory O'Brien wins no awards from me.

I found her character draining, the plot ridiculous, and story, as reflected by my title, absolutely forgettable.  Like many a tale, I wanted to enjoy the story: after all, the girl drinks bat juice and sees the future.  But she has the vision, alongside her co-bat-juice-imbiber, repeats the same listings of tragic/miraculous events that just happen to occur to a kid living just this side of Hicksville, and then has  the visions no more.  Really?  That's all you can do when the world of speculative fiction flaps its bat-wings so promisingly in front of you.  Sigh.

Splice these chapters between her self-indulgent whining about her friend, her mother, her life - oh please, now you could lose your property because it just happens to be nearing year 21 since Jasmine was allowed to hold onto her commune, and she could, in essence, claim squatter's rights - and I couldn't wait fast enough to make this nightmare of a book end.  This novel gives YA books a bad name.

My other read, The Night Gardener, was the better of the two by far.  It was an enjoyable read for its nod to fairy tales of yore that were Grimm, and not filled with singing animals and glass slippers.
I still found the main characters voices rather uneven in places, as there were feeble attempts to create an Irish accent - dinna you know - that mainly fell flat.  But the magical tree that gives you what your heart desires (better than Potter's Mirror of Erised), was a great metaphor for the novel, and basis of a cautionary moral tale about falling prey to your insecurities.

I think young readers will enjoy Molly's and Kip's experience, and Auxier leaves the door open for a sequel so that the kids who bought into this magical world, will be happy to see where Galileo and the wagon takes them next.

Onward and upward with the Gardener.