Saturday, August 06, 2005

New Books

As a confirmed bibliophile, I get a big kick out of reading new books - be they books by a favourite author or books by an author whom I've never read. Right now, I have three new books to read: the first is Drowned Wednesday, the third of seven in The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. The series features a young lad by the name of Arthur Penhaligon - and when I first learned of it, I was disinclined to read the series as I thought, from the protagonist's name, that it was going to be yet another Arthurian re-working, and I'm not a big fan of the Arthurian legends. Fortunately, a Child_Lit acquaintance persuaded me that they had little to do with the Arthur legend and I borrowed both Mister Monday and Grim Tuesday from the library, and read them with some enjoyment. Arthur Penhaligon was destined to die, but then Fate stepped in, and instead he found himself caught up in a bizarre series of adventures that left him Master of the Lower House and the Far Reaches, working with Dame Primus, who was once parts one and two of a Will that was broken into seven pieces and scattered throughout the multiverse. There are seven keys which relate to the seven parts of the Will, and each is guarded by one of the Morrow Days (named after the seven days of the week). In each book Arthur meets a different Morrow Day, and on past form, defeats him or her in order to gain control of their part of the Will (I'm making a large assumption here, but since the first two books worked out this way, I'm guessing the remaining five books will too). This series is not as "High Fantasy", as Nix's The Old Kingdom series, and I imagine it will appeal to younger readers who are fans of Harry Potter, but have yet to progress to Tolkien or Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.

The next new book is Troll Fell by Katherine Langrish, of which I have read the first chapter - HarperCollins have published the first chatper in the form of a booklet which I picked up free in the local cinema last week when I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I think this is an intriguing marketing idea and one that could be imitated effectively by other publishers. I doubt that I would have picked up Troll Fell if I had seen it on the shelves of the library or a bookshop, but the first chapter booklet sold me on the idea of reading the rest of the book.

Finally, there is Cornelia Funke's Inkheart. This book has been much raved about and much criticised. It was avidly discussed by many of the Child_Lit members in a group read last summer, but I was deep in Middle-earth and didn't get around to picking up a copy until now. This is what the Editorial Review has to say about it:

Meggie’s father, Mo, has an wonderful and sometimes terrible ability. When he reads aloud from books, he brings the characters to life--literally. Mo discovered his power when Maggie was just a baby. He read so lyrically from the the book Inkheart, that several of the book’s wicked characters ended up blinking and cursing on his cottage floor. Then Mo discovered something even worse--when he read Capricorn and his henchmen out of Inkheart, he accidentally read Meggie’s mother in.

Meggie, now a young lady, knows nothing of her father's bizarre and powerful talent, only that Mo still refuses to read to her. Capricorn, a being so evil he would "feed a bird to a cat on purpose, just to watch it being torn apart," has searched for Meggie's father for years, wanting to twist Mo's powerful talent to his own dark means. Finally, Capricorn realizes that the best way to lure Mo to his remote mountain hideaway is to use his beloved, oblivious daughter Meggie as bait!

From the reviews I've read this is one of those books that readers either love or hate - I've yet to see anyone express actual indifference for it, so I shall be interested to see how I get on with it - and you can be sure that I will report back here.


Camille said...

I felt like the story sort of bogged down midway, maybe it was a translation issue, but I LOVE the premise which makes me fall in the "Love It" column.

Michele said...

I'm guessing you're referring to Inkheart, since you mentioned translation, and I know that it was translated into English ? I'm looking forward to reading it and finding out what all the hoopla is about !

Anonymous said...

I couldn't get into Inkheart - I liked the premise, so I kept plugging through, but I finally gave up after 100 pages of nothing much happening.

But I loved The Thief Lord, and often recommend it as a family readaloud - it's something kids and adults can both enjoy, possibly on different levels.

Michele said...

Oh no ! Please don't tell me that... I want to enjoy this book, and people keep telling me that they didn't enjoy it ! :-(