Author Archives: Robbie

Review: Railsea by China Miéville

Railsea

Railsea by China Miéville Recommended Ages: 12+ I’m just going to come out and say this. It’s Moby-Dick, only without the boring bits. Well, no. What I just described would be an 80-page novelette. This is a full-size book, filled wall-to-wall with thrilling action, squirm-worthy tension, weird discoveries, and warm, appealing characters. Also, instead of water, the ocean in this version of Moby-Dick is a seemingly endless landmass filled with merging, splitting, tangling, and criss-crossing ... Read More »

Book Review: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Memoirs

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle Recommended Ages: 12+ Already in the Table of Contents of this book, we encounter a mystery. The Kindle edition that I read includes eleven Sherlock Holmes Adventures in this book, as do most American editions and some British editions of this book. The very first edition, however, contained twelve stories. Fear not; “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” will eventually turn up, most likely in His ... Read More »

Book Review: Empire of Bones by N. D. Wilson

EmpireBones

Empire of Bones by N. D. Wilson Recommended Ages: 12+ The third and final book of “The Ashtown Burials” features so many characters, doing so many things at once, in so many places, that even quite close to the end I couldn’t believe it was going to conclude the trilogy. I fully expected another cliffhanger, hooking us for a surprise fourth book, à la Brisingr. The good news—if you’ll pardon my relief—it really does end ... Read More »

Book Review: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

DashnerJournal

The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner Recommended Ages: 11+ Atticus Higginbottom, Tick to his friends, is a 13-year-old science geek who gets bullied at school, trips over his own feet, and plays champion-level chess. Few people would guess that such a boy would have the makings of a hero who might one day save the world. Somebody seems to have guessed, however. Somebody calling himself M. G. (short for Master George) begins sending ... Read More »

Book Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

AdventuresHolmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle Recommended Ages: 12+ Sherlock Holmes had already appeared in two novels, but his popularity did not really take off until the brief “adventures” collected in this book began to appear in monthly issues of The Strand Magazine, from 1891 to -92. And though there are two novels and three volumes of short stories still to come, these twelve mysteries include some of Holmes’ most memorable and ... Read More »

Book Review: The Idiot by Dostoevsky

Idiot

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky Recommended Ages: 14+ Published in a series of magazine issues in 1868-69, this is one of the masterpieces by the author of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. It made me laugh a great deal, but it is not a comedy. Its climax is mysterious and chilling, but it is not a thriller. Dickensian in its large cast of vividly colorful characters and in its satire on the society ... Read More »

Book Review: Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

froioftheexiles

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta Recommended Ages: 14+ An “Adult Content Advisory” remains in effect for the second book of the Lumatere Chronicles, in which the fate of kingdoms depend on the actions of highly sexed Young Adults. Even more so than in Finnikin of the Rock, in which the figurative and literal rape of a kingdom is involved in the tale of a nation divided 50/50 between captives and refugees. But now ... Read More »

Book Review: The Sign of (the) Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

SignFour

The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle Recommended Ages: 12+ The second book of the Sherlock Holmes canon was first published in 1890 under the five-word title The Sign of the Four. Since then, it has often been republished under the four-word title The Sign of Four. The confusion actually originates in the book itself, in which both phrases are used interchangeably. Although Holmes did not really become a hit until Conan Doyle ... Read More »

Book Review: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

throneoffire

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan Recommended Ages: 12+ In Book 2 of the “Kane Chronicles,” the Texas-based author of the “Tres Navarre” mysteries cleverly uses hilarious, romantic, magical, and thrill-packed entertainment to educate young adults about ancient Egyptian mythology. He’s very sneaky that way. But we’re not surprised, since he did the same thing with Greek mythology in the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series. Ditto Roman mythology in the “Heroes of Olympus” ... Read More »

Book Review: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

StudyScarlet

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle Recommended Ages: 12+ When detective fiction was still in its infancy, in the year 1887, this novel first appeared in an issue of Beeton’s Christmas Annual. Just imagine: it was the first anyone had ever heard of Sherlock Holmes! Then a young physician, just starting to stretch his literary muscles, Arthur Conan Doyle here created a character who has become one of the most enduring figures in ... Read More »