Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Few Good Middle Grade Fantasy Reads

It's been a while since I posted any book reviews on here and since I've been reading like a champ as of late, I figured it was about time to catch up. Recently I have been attracted to Middle Grade books with a fantasy element. I've been including more and more fantasy elements into my own work, not as a way of escaping realism but as a way of adding to the depth of reality. I've also been centering a lot of my writing energy on Middle Grade fiction. I like the age of the characters and the wide-open possibility the genre gives for the range of story that can be told. Plus, with everybody and their cousin writing uninspired YA novels these days, I feel like Middle Grade is where the next big boom in publishing will happen. Here are two books that I enjoyed during my studies.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

A delightful fantasy whose real joy comes from an exceptional cast of characters. The interactions between Sophie, Howl, Calcifer, and Michael are truly such a pleasure to read that the action almost becomes secondary to the novel. However, the action is certainly entertaining from beginning to end as the team tries to outwit the clever Witch of the Waste. The relationships between the characters builds slowly and carefully with Diana Wynne Jones's uncanny ability to place the reader within the enchanting world of a moving castle.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

It took me a few chapters to really get swept up in this book, but once I did, the story become completely immersive. The book has an old storybook quality that I've been really appreciative of lately, both in my reading and my writing. Much like Gaiman's other books (most notable Coraline), he has the ability to create whole new worlds contained within our own. Some of my favorite scenes in this book were the brief glimpses into those worlds. I was left feeling those glimpses were all too brief, but perhaps that's what makes them so memorable. Likewise, characters come and go so often in the story, characters that I hoped would stick around throughout the rest of the pages as soon as they made their debut only to be disappointed by their departure. However, the strength of the main narrative and main characters is so intriguing that I never doubted that I would be taken to equally interesting places at the turn of the page. I also enjoyed Bod's growth through the book and that it was an imperfect one.

No comments:

Post a Comment