Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Secret of the Haunted Mirror (The Three Investigators)

This was one of my favorite series when I was a kid - I liked it way better than the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. I remember feeling wistful that there wasn't a female main character, but I did like the three boys, and I loved the California setting. It seemed so totally cool to me that the boys could take a bus into Hollywood when they were on a case.  And that they sometimes had a limousine and driver at their disposal! They were so independent and clever, and the mysteries were interesting and evocative.

This one is about a woman who collects mirrors, and when a friend gives her an antique mirror that used to belong to a stage magician, strange and dangerous things start to happen.

It's been ages since I've ready any of the books in this series, and I was a little worried they wouldn't hold up to my fond memories of them. But this one certainly did. They are not big on characterization, but the plot is action-packed and the setting was as fun as I remembered.

The Secret of the Haunted Mirror (#21 in the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series) by M. V. Carey (Random House, 1974)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Finnikin of the Rock by Marlena Marchetta

This is the best fantasy novel I have ready since Graceling.  I have read so much traditional/high fantasy in my life that it really takes something different, something gripping that is well written withe complex, sympathetic characters to hold my attention. Finnikin of the Rock has all that and more. While the main character is male, the female characters, particularly that of the mysterious Evanjalin, are strong, inspiring and admirable. This is a gripping tale that pulls no punches, and explores the best and worst of humankind the way only exceptional fantasy novels can.  Highly recommended.

Books in the Lumatere Chronicles:
1. Finnikin of the Rock
2. Froi of the Exiles
3. Quintana of Charyn

Finnikin of the Rock (#1 in the Lumatere Chronicles) by Melina Marchetta (Candlewick Press, 2008)

Also by Melina Marchetta: Jellicoe Road