I felt like there should be a theme for these mini review posts, and I couldn’t come up with a better one, so it is what it is. When looking at the covers of these two books, they are both pretty Tim Burton Style in my personal opinion (I hope that’s not copyright because mea culpa if it is and I didn’t mean to break all the rules…or at lest that one?). Moving on, I’m going to have a few mini-reviews up for you here and I hope you enjoy!! Let me know if you’ve read these before!!
Books: The Last of the Spirits, The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places
Title: The Last of the Spirits Author: Chris Priestley Date of Publication: June 16, 2015 Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Genre: fiction, middle grade, fantasy, retelling Pages: 180 Source: hardback bought Rating: 4.5/5
Sam and Lizzie are freezing and hungry on the streets of Victorian London. When Sam asks a wealthy man for some coins, he is rudely turned away. Months of struggle suddenly find their focus, and Sam resolves to kill the man. Huddling in a graveyard for warmth, Sam and Lizzie are horrified to see the earth around one of the tombs begin to shift, shortly followed by the wraithlike figure of a ghostly man. He warns Sam about the future which awaits such a bitter heart, and so begins Sam’s journey led by terrifying spirits through the past, present and future, after which Sam must decide whether to take the man, Scrooge’s, life or not.
A perfectly layered, tense and supremely satisfying twist on one of Dickens’ most popular books, cleverly reinvented to entice a younger readership.
This book stuck to the original story much more than I had thought it would. It matches up with the story very well. So often with reinventions/retellings, the story is changed and not in a way that works. But this one, really matched up well! The story was well thought out and well told in response, it connected characters who may not have had huge parts in the original story and for the most part made sense.
I felt the connection was a bit far fetched, but I really enjoyed the writing. Was it dark? Yes. Was it good? YES! I’ve heard some people say it’s not a children’s book, and it is dark, I will not deny that, but it’s still a children’s book in my opinion. 4.5 beans out of five from me!
Title: The Fearless Traveler's Guide to Wicked Places Author: Pete Begler Date of Publication: March 2017 Publisher: Capstone Young Readers Genre: fiction, middle grade, fantasy Pages: 384 Source: NetGalley Rating: 5/5
Twelve-year-old Nell Perkins knows there is magic at work that she can’t yet understand. Her mother has been taken by witches and turned into a bird. Nell must journey to get her mother back, even if it takes her deep into the Wicked Places — the frightening realm where Nightmares resides. There she must break the spell and stop the witches from turning our world into a living nightmare.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review and this has not changed my opinion of it.
Such a unique look at dreams and where dreams come from and what happens when we sleep. Now throw in Nightmares and Dreamers and skeletons and evil clowns and leprechauns, seriously, this book has basically everything you could ever imagine in it. I loved the magicalness of basically everything in the world. It was a true work of fantasy for middle grade readers. We follow Nell Perkins and her two brothers as they go on a search to help their mother who has been changed back into a bird. There’s also a talking cat and a disembodied left hand. All in all, it’s really a brilliant work of imagination.
Our characters are fun, witty, and quite real despite what they are going through. Speedy is my favorite most likely simply because he is so optimistic and also a protector of the family. I give this book five out of five beans and HIGHLY recommend this for anyone who loves the fantastical and all things highly imaginative in far away lands!