Thorn by Intisar Khanani

In a different mood, I perhaps wouldn’t have been so absorbed in this retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s story of the Goose Girl. However, I was in need of a thick slice of escapism when I picked this up and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The main character, Alyrra, is something a bit different from the usual YA heroine and her story has got more depth than I was expecting. Better than that, it wasn’t clear until very near the end that things would work out in her favour and the world in which her story takes place feels promisingly large … Continue reading Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

Before I begin, can I just say that it’s a complete fluke that there are fairy-tale-retelling elements in Heart’s Blood, after last week’s Kingdom of Sleep, and that this parallel in my reading was in no way deliberate. Just one of those happy accidents. I picked this up having been inspired by both Maddalena of Space and Sorcery and Karina of Karina Reads to try Juliet Marillier’s books (hearty thanks are due!). I have Daughter of the Forest on the book pile at home, but I got caught short at work without a book to read (drama!) and Heart’s Blood … Continue reading Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

Kingdom of Sleep by E K Johnston

After really loving E K Johnston’s A Thousand Nights I shouldn’t be surprised that I was a little bit disappointed with her next offering. To be fair though, that’s on me more than on Johnston – I was never going to love a retelling of Sleeping Beauty (the title character does nothing/ heroic prince and damsel-in-distress princess/ true love’s kiss – bleurgh!) anywhere near as much as a retelling of Scheherazade’s story. And while Kingdom of Sleep lacks some of the cleverness and sheer beauty of A Thousand Nights, frankly, if all YA fiction was to this standard it would … Continue reading Kingdom of Sleep by E K Johnston

A Thousand Nights by E K Johnston

The best books have their own smell. I’m not talking here about the smell of the book itself – although book-smell is one of the best scents on the planet – but the story’s setting, it’s place. When something is really well written it has a tangibility and a smell, like something remembered rather than something read. I didn’t expect A Thousand Nights to be that kind of book, and was delighted when I found that it was. It’s a book marketed as young adult fiction, but it has none of the teen angst and pining lovelorn-ness that you’d find … Continue reading A Thousand Nights by E K Johnston