Monday, October 25, 2010

BR: A Certain Slant of Light

A Certain Slant of Light
by Lauren Whitcomb

"Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead. Though I could not feel paper between my fingers, smell ink, or taste the tip of a pencil, I could see and hear the world with all the clarity of the Living. They, on the other hand, did not see me as a shadow or a floating vapor. To the Quick, I was empty air.Or so I thought. In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: For the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen terrified, but intrigued is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess."
-A Certain SLant of Light back cover

I really enjoyed this book, but the whole time, I kept thinking, "Did I really pick this up in the YA section? It must have been shelved wrong." The characters are late-twenty-somethings spirits who steal teenage bodies, and therefore have adult relationships, and obviously just think like adults (which, again, made me think it was an adult novel--- the characters were adults, and had more maturity and wisdom than most of the characters in YA novels). I've read in other reviews that a lot of other people recommended this book to older women... I think it just got catergorized wrong at the publishing level.

That said, I really, really enjoyed this book. First off, Helen spent like 130 years as ghost, but during those years she served as a muse to five different humans who all sought out a lifestyle of writing. Her "Saint" as she refers to the first one who penned her own verses; a writer of children's bed stories; a poet; a playwright; and a modern English teacher working on his own novel.

Um, yes please: I'd devore any story with that premise. I wish the story had continued in that angle, but unfortunately, it fizzled out pretty early in the story.

The plot visited many different sort of life-styles and sometimes seemed to almost skip into different genres (is it a gothic romantic piece? Is it a edgy young adult book? Is it a teenage Christian novel?), but strangely, it worked. The writing was rich and very skilled, and the storyline, while sometimes a little flat, dealed with the sort of paranormal genre that is popular right now, but it was in a fresh, creative take. I definitely look forward to reading more from Laura Whitcomb.

BR: Tithe

Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale
by Holly Black

"Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms — a struggle that could very well mean her death." -Backcover of Tithe

I almost didn't make it through this one. It wasn't until I was halfway through that I really developed some sort of interest in this story, I'm sorry to say. I know it's a super popular book, or at least Holly Black is a very well-known author, but I really just didn't connect with Tithe.

I have to say, I did enjoy the main character, Kaye, a edgy, kick-butt changeling who's roamed around with her human "mother" for the last sixteen years. Kaye is freespirited but brave and sometimes borderline kind.

The other characters, I had a hard time getting into. Kaye's best friend is a jealous human who she doesn't see much of, and the faeries she's know since her childhood are strange and hard to pin down in your mind. Black also throws in random obscure, ten-point vocab words into her story that her audience frankly aren't going to understand, which I think would be a big turn-off. Also, Black's writing style is strange and often times is hard to follow, at least in my mind. Some of the dialouge was ambiguous, and it took me a few moments sometimes to figure out what a character was meaning to say.

Overall, Tithe wasn't my favorite depiction of the fae. Sorry, Ms. Black.

Although, I read an excerpt from White Cat from Holly Black, and I found it rather intriguing. Seeing how popular Holly Black is (and how much I hate not-liking someone), I'd be willing to give her another shot with White Cat.