Book Reviews

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: Ila’s Story by Susan Korman

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Although the novel is only short, the world that the story takes place in is richly imagined, and well established. Events of the story, such as the building of the ark, are familiar they feel fresh, and the novel is easy to read and engaging. There could have been more attention to detail, and exploration into events and Ila’s thoughts, but for younger readers (14+), it is a well told tale. Read More »

Book Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

HouseIvySorrow

House of Ivy & Sorrow, by Natalie Whipple, is a dark magickal tale about love and sacrifice. Josephine Hemlock, like her mother, grandmother, and all female relatives before her, is a witch. She lives in a world where all magick is considered... 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

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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 »

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Peregrine

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs Recommended Ages: 13+ What happens when a filmmaker, vintage photograph collector, and author of a reference work on Sherlock Holmes decides to write a YA novel? What happens is this creepy, funny, weird fantasy involving monsters, time travel, and children with super powers, all accompanied by an atmospheric selection of black-and-white photos. Our narrator on this journey is sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman, a smart-mouthed rich kid from ... Read More »

Book Review: The Ballad of Sir Dinadan by Gerald Morris

SirDinadan

The Ballad of Sir Dinadan by Gerald Morris Recommended Ages: 12+ The fifth book of the “Squire’s Tales” series continues this Wisconsin-based author’s retelling of Arthurian legends for younger readers with a combination of two knightly love stories with the point of view of a minstrel knight who has fallen out of love with romantic love. Forced into knighthood, though he would rather be a rebec-playing troubadour, Sir Dinadan rides out into the English countryside ... Read More »

Book Review: Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Rotters

Rotters by Daniel Kraus Recommended Ages: 14+ This book is a thriller and chiller of the sort that probably would have turned stomachs a generation ago. But if you’ve been watching CSI and its spinoffs, you may already have an idea what decaying corpses look like—though, mercifuly, not so much how they smell and feel. So this may be the perfect time to read a book featuring ripening bodies, graveyard dirt, and the last days ... Read More »