Friday, February 5, 2010

Princesses, faeries, and debutantes

I'm in a serious girlie rut right now. I have been steadily gravitating toward the more feminine type of book (I'm not in the mood for this debate - but yes, I do gender stereotype. I am a product of society, what can I say?), and I'm just about sick of it. I haven't seen a male protagonist in who knows how long. ::checks GoodReads:: Okay, I read the graphic novel of Fahrenheit 451 last week, and there were a couple others last month, but it certainly feels like a lot longer. It's all princesses and faeries and debutantes these days.

Be warned - these are not reviews of books but reflections on my reading experiences. Sometimes, that's just more interesting (to me, at least).

Princess of the Midnight BallPrincess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
published January 2009 by Bloomsbury
288 pages (hardcover), YA

Well, I really enjoyed this book. It's a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, and we all know how much I love my retold fairy tales. Even though I was not all too familiar with this one. I just appreciate Jessica Day George's writing so much. It's the kind that's effortless to read, like it would just flow off your tongue if you read it aloud. It's not too flowery, but it's still beautiful. She has a gift of setting a scene without using too much description. I have quite a few mental images of the castle and the garden and even the town outside the castle, but I never felt like I was trying to get through detailed passages to move on to the action (coughHobbitcoughcough). I can't speak much to the originality of the story because it's a retelling, and I don't know the original tale that well. I liked it well enough and will be happy to read the companion Princess of Glass (a Cinderella retelling!) when it comes out in May.

DarklightDarklight by Lesley Livingston
published December 2009  by HarperCollins
312 pages (hardcover), YA

I read the first book Wondrous Strange sometime last year or maybe earlier upon the recommendation of a student. She thrust the book into my hands (an ARC, I believe) and said, "You have to read this!" So, I did. I will always read a student recommendation - a professional courtesy, I think. Anyhow, I liked it okay, but I knew that she loved it, so I let her gush until her heart's content. Why did I read the sequel if I only liked the first so-so? Let me tell you, I have very little self-control when it comes to faeries and series - and this one hit them both! It was action-packed (and mildly confusing - who's whose parent?) for a cover like this (which is also another weakness of mine, ack), which definitely intrigued me. But I found myself sighing in exasperation and putting the book down a few too many times. I needed more character development. I needed to remember better what happened in the first book. And I needed to just plow through it instead of reading it in short spurts. An average read for me, but I'm not a fan of average. I would prefer to be wowed.

SplendorSplendor by Anna Godbersen
published October 2009 by HarperCollins
391 pages (hardcover), YA

Am I the only one hooked on these books? And am I the only one wondering if Gossip Girl will ever come back to the television screen? While I wait for a new GG episode, I have a Luxe novel to hold me over - over what, I don't know. I suppose I should explain the connection between the two - high society New York, Luxe set in the early 1900s, GG present day. This is the fourth and final book in the series, where I'm told much is wrapped up nicely. I've only just begun reading it, but I don't anticipate writing a review, so I thought I'd share it now. I can't explain the draw to these books - not much more than "they're pretty." They're the kind of books I imagine Melissa de la Cruz would like reading (among many others, of course). The writing is grand, in tune with the lifestyles of the rich and proper girls it describes. It's a pleasure to read, really, but I think it may be an acquired taste. I need to find a day to spend curled up with this book because I don't like having to break it up.

My goal in the sometime near future is to re-evaluate the books I have currently checked out of the library. Unfortunately, some of them will have to be returned unread. There are only so many hours, so many days. And the real goal - the challenge - is to find books that are out of my comfort zone, that are "boy" books, and that I wouldn't normally pick up or give a second glance at. Because I know that I can read more broadly and enjoy it. I just have to remember to do it more often.



Lenore said...

I really liked Princess of the Midnight Ball too!

Jan von Harz said...

Natalie, I just finished Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George, which a retelling of the Norwegian fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon. It was enchanting. I didn't know she had written more re-tellings. Thanks for enlightening me. I will definitely be looking of more by George.

NatalieSap said...

Jan - That's the last book of hers that I have yet to read. Her Dragon books are what got me hooked. :)

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