17: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente
18: Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi
19: Ten Rules for Living With My Sister, Ann M. Martin
20: Incarnate, Jodi Meadows
21: The Kitemaster and Other Stories, Jim C. Hines
22: Goblin Tales, Jim C. Hines
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is similar to Coraline, Arabat, and The Wizard of Oz -- a girl leaves her humdrum life to jump dimensions into a world where she must make an arduous journey with strange companions to find the thing that will same the world and let her go home again.The back cover compares it to Alice in Wonderland and The Golden Compass. I can easily understand Wonderland, where nonsense ruled physics, but not Compass. Regardless, Girl is a beautiful story with charming non-human allies and refreshingly wicked villians.
Shatter Me reminds me of The Handmaid's Tale -- the reader is given a very narrow glimpse of a post-apocolyptic world, and the apocolyspe is never quite explained. In this case, the protagonist was a preteen when the revolution came, and thus ill-equipped to provide any socio-political observation, although the reference to "when the price of everything went up so high no one could afford to live anymore" does ring familiar. The protagonist has a killing touch that is never quite explained, except to say that she grew up never being touched or being allowed to touch before accidentally killing a toddler. The story is gripping, but the lack of world-building makes it rather bare. The title makes no sense at all.
Ten Rules for Living With My Sister is about an 8-year-old figuring out how to avoid getting the silent treatment from her 14-year-old sister, with a backdrop of a grandfather staying with her family until an apartment becomes available in an assisted living facility. I liked Pearl, and I enjoyed watching her reason things out. Lexie is obviously a moody teenager, and occasionally unlikeable until she displays a compassionate streak.
Incarnate has much better world-building than Shatter. In a world where everyone is reincarnated and remembers who they are from life to life, Ana is new. She has no memory of past lives, and the technology available can't identify who she was before. Her mother insists she is a no-soul, incapable of compassion or love, and treats her like the court-mandated burden that she is. Meadows created an extremely believable survivor of emotional neglect without burdening her with a crippled, shellshocked psyche. Ana is wary, and makes it clear that she expects to kicked to the curb at any moment, but she learns to trust and fall in love before the end of the book.
The Kitemaster and Other Stories and Goblin Tales are two short story collections that jimhines put out as e-books. When I got a Kindle for Yule, these were the first books I bought. I adore Jim's work.
Fifty Books in 2011
- Books 17-22