Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Valiant by Holly Black


Val had a regular life – she did well in school and in sports, she had a good boyfriend, and they were making plans to go to college together. But it all changes when she comes home to find him in a compromising situation. She leaves home, her brain entering in auto-pilot, doing what she had planed to – go to New York and watch the hockey game. But when the night is over she meets Lolli and Dave, who show her a different world than she is used to.

Valiant is not exactly a continuation to Tithe – there are some cameos of previous characters, and slight nods to the story, but this book is pretty much about Val, and could be read independently of Tithe. But the theme is the same; there are faeries and a certain darkness and grittiness to it.

I liked this book, even more than Tithe. I was actually surprised by this – Tithe had been a good book, but not exactly mindblowing. But Valiant benefited from me not being so easily shocked now – when I read Tithe I certainly wasn’t expecting some attitudes and ideas to be present in a YA book, but this time I knew better than to assume anything.

To Holly Black, just because it’s YA it doesn’t mean it has to be sugarcoated. Valiant shows kids in a place no parent would like to see them in, but the truth is it happens (sans faeries, I suppose). There is despair, there is anger, there passiveness. But it isn’t overly angsty – there are quite a few funny parts, and they are not just for comic relief.

Midway through the book it seemed to me it would turn into a Beauty and the Beast kind of story, and while there are some elements of it, it is not important. The story is devoted to Val, her new-found friends and the faeries.

The pages flew by, and no matter how sleepy I was, I wanted more. I really liked how it wasn’t about the romance; it was about Val and the other kids, and about the mystery. Sure, it was easy to figure out who the culprit was, but it was not so blatant that it would make my eyes rolls at the characters for not figuring it out.

I really liked the characters, and especially Val – I didn’t feel she was the typical kickass heroine, but she wasn’t meek or weak either. She had her own strength, but was pretty much a normal kid.

Valiant is a very good book, and now I really want to read Ironside, and everything else by Holly Black. What sold it to me might not appeal to all readers – dark fairytales and alternative lifestyles are something that I enjoy; but if it doesn’t squick you, do give this book a try.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Other Reviews: Everything To Do With Books | Fyrefly's Book Blog

This book on: LibraryThing | Goodreads | Bookdepository UK | Bookdepository US | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Gam.co

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Sr. Bentley, O Enraba Passarinhos de Ágata Ramos Simões

This post is in Portuguese (I seem to be writing a lot in Portuguese these days). It is a Portuguese satire of the Portuguese society, so I figured it wouldn't make much sense doing this in English.

Sr. Bentley, o Enraba Passarinhos
Com um título destes, claro que o teria de ler. Sr. Bentley, o Enraba Passarinhos é uma sátira portuguesa, à Portuguesa, e aos portugueses, composta por vários episódios centrados em Sr. Bentley, irreverente e sem papas na língua.

Já o tinha para ler há algum tempo, estava ali na estante. Peguei nele só para ver como começava, para lhe tomar o gostinho – e quando dei por mim, um terço do livro já tinha ido. Assim, pode-se dizer que é um livro de leitura rápida, o que não significa que seja fácil.

Não é recomendado a pessoas facilmente impressionáveis, nem tão pouco a quem não consiga ler nas entrelinhas. É um livro que ofende sensibilidades, e com algumas piadas de pouco graça (no sentido de graciosidade, porque para gargalhadas, lá isso dá). Mas como dizia o ditado, a brincar, a brincar é que se dizem as verdades, e o Sr. Bentley é sem dúvida um dos melhores exemplos do que mais tuga há. Impressionante que no meio de tanto palavrão, insulto e piropo de mau gosto, o que ressaltava era a autenticidade com o povo a satirizar, e conseguir identificar esta personagem (e outras) não com uma pessoa em concreto, mas com o agregado que faz a nossa cultura.

Este foi um livro que li num dia (*happy dance porque consegui voltar a um ritmo mais ou menos decente, nem que seja por um dia*), mas no entanto nas últimas páginas já me parecia longo de mais. Não sei exactamente porquê, pois a história continuava interessante, e se me perguntassem o que cortar seria incapaz de o dizer.

Gostei deste livro, foi uma leitura diferente do que estou acostumada. Recomenda-lo ou não dependerá dos gostos de cada potencial leitor, pois claramente não é um livro para todos.

Rating: 4 em 5

Outras Reviews: A Bibliófila | Floresta de Livros

Este livro no: LibraryThing | Goodreads | Saída de Emergência | Wook 

Thursday, 24 March 2011

King's Wrath by Fiona McIntosh

This review was written for The David Gemmell Legend Award for Fantasy

King's Wrath
It was with some trepidation and apprehension that I approached the final instalment of the Valisar Trilogy. In the year that has passed since I read the second book of the series, I managed to read the Percheron Trilogy, and found it lacking in the ending department.

Much had happened already in last 2 books, and I was expecting another action filled story. There was a sense of finality to this book - all the players were known, they were all getting into position, showing their cards, all converging to the same point.

It took me a bit to get (re)used to this world, to remember some of the minor characters and what had happened. But once I was fully reacquainted with it, the pages flew by, and I kept wanting to know what would happen next.

Like the previous two books, this one also is not for those who are easily squicked, as it provides a good example of the darkness of the human mind, and what people are willing to do to get what they think is rightly theirs. Mind you, it isn't all dark and evilness; there is a balance, with some great characters that are the reverse of that coin.

As an ending to the series, King's Wrath fills it purpose. Yet there are still some questions left unanswered (albeit only minor ones), and there is a thread left hanging in case the author ever decides to revisit this world.

I'm of two minds regarding this book. On the one hand, I really liked how my favourite character turned out, something that I was kind of expecting (since book 1), but it was quite nice to see it come to fruition. On the other hand, it all seemed a tad too easy. I was expecting a bit more struggle and uncertainty to the difficult decisions that some of the characters were facing.

I also liked that the problems and ideas I had while reading certain parts, were properly answered a few pages after - seeming like the author thought of other possibilities besides the obvious.

All in all, I enjoyed reading King's Wrath. It didn't disappoint - there was a lot action, and good characterization. Also, it didn't confirm my fears - it was a good ending to the characters' story, there is a resolution to the biggest problems, even if at points it might not be the one we wished for.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews: Ray Gun Reviews

This book on: LibraryThing | Goodreads | Bookdepository UK | Bookdepository US | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Gam.co

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Meme Literário

This post is in Portuguese - it is a literary meme. But don't despair, a review is on the way.

1 - Possivelmente o Bons Augúrios, de Neil Gaiman e Terry Prattchett

2 - Que pergunta difícil. Acho que vou fazer um pouco de batota: The complete Grimm's Fairy Tales. Ou então As 1001 Noites. Ou algum livro que seja um compêndio gigante de historias.

3 - Earthsea series de Ursula K. Le Guin, em português, Contos de Terramar. Comecem pelo O Feiticeiro e a Sombra (A Wizard of Earthsea) e continuem :)

4 - Bem, acho que todos os blogues tugas que sigo já foram desafiados - se mais algum quiser tomar parte deste meme - força!

5 - Fui desafiada pela p7 do blog Bookeater/Booklover

Friday, 18 March 2011

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre
*this review is sure to have some spoilers*

Jane Eyre, is one of the classics that I’ve been meaning to read for ages, but it took a pretty cover to (finally) buy it, and a hangover to start reading it. (Basically I was too hungover to manage all the drama on The Cathedral of the Sea, and decided to pick something else to read. Since my options were very limited, Jane Eyre seemed like the lightest and easiest thing to read. Silly me.)

Jane Eyre is indeed the story of Jane, from her miserable childhood, through her slightly less miserable adolescence and to her adulthood. Orphan of both parents, she lives with her aunt and cousins, but it is a life without affection. When she is sent to a school far from home she believes that her conditions can only improve, but it isn't without trouble that she finishes her education and is ready to seek employment.

This story was not new to me, but I had only watched the TV series, and some time ago, so the details were a bit hazy. I knew there would be a happy ending, but then, there always is (I had quite forgotten everything else about the ending). I was actually expecting a lot more drama in the beginning (I think I got the order of some events wrong), so the more I read, the more I dreaded what was (I thought) sure to come.

There is a very strong Beauty and the Beast feel to it. Yes, I know both the love birds are as ugly as they come, making it Beast and the Beast, but to me it is about their personalities. Jane very nice and proper (even if a little blunt), Mr. Rochester quite the devil (and drama queen), teasing and insulting. I liked Mr. Rochester’s wild personality, even if sometimes it is a bit too flamboyant. Jane’s uptightness got to my nerves sometimes, but I liked her bluntness and honesty. But most of all, it was the bickering between these too: the intelligent semi-arguments were really fun to read.

My biggest problem with the classics (and I say problem is the very loosest of senses) is that I have to adapt to the values of the times when they were written. It is most likely that a modern day Jane would take the easier route, by running away WITH her beloved and not running away FROM him (I know I would, along with taking more conventional measures to deal with the problem in the attic). That made some parts in the book a bit harder to enjoy (or should I say, not to scream at the characters), but that choice was also in tune with the character's personality and way of being.

But to me, the strongest point of this book is how it is written. The use of the first person takes away the distance I could have felt due to Jane’s personality. And the descriptions are absolutely vivid. I was constantly lost on 19th century England, taking walks through the moors, sitting by the fireplace, studying people… Making the drama all the more, well, dramatic, because it felt like it was happening to me.

I really liked this book, even though it took me quite awhile to finish. It's very well written, and it's not only about romance, it portrays a society that is slightly different from ours - one that not so long ago was the norm. The down side was that there was a bit more drama that I felt was necessary, and all the religious babble, that started to really get on my nerves by the end of the book (courtesy of a late comer character). Still, it definitely deserves it's place among the classics.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Other Reviews: Page Turners

This book on: LibraryThing | Goodreads | Bookdepository UK | Bookdepository US | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Gam.co | Project Gutenberg

Thursday, 17 March 2011

February Ins And Outs

Happy St. Patrick’s Day y’all!

I know it’s closer to April than to February, but I still hadn’t made my post of the books read and bought in February, so here it is!.

On the reading side, it is deeply embarrassing, but I think I found my rhythm – a book a month :(

In February (and in the beginning of the month) I finished The Ill-Made Mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton. Together with Jen of Cuidado com o Dalmata, I’ve posted a rant about it. I still refuse to call it review – but it did portray my feelings about the book.

On the acquisitions side it is embarrassing for other reasons: Now that I know how many books I’m able to read each month, it would make sense to try to reduce the buying. Yeah, right – I like getting more books.

From Bookmooch:
The vision of Escaflowne by Aki Katsu (LT GR)

I loved the Anime (both series and movie). I want to give the manga a try, even though I know the story will be different – same characters, same general idea, different situations.

Cuentos y microcuentos: una antología de la narrativa breve by Guillermo I. Castillo-Feliú (LT GR)
Another book in Spanish, so that I can improve it. Let’s hope that by being of short stories I can read it faster.

The book thief by Markus Zusak (LT GR)
A book that has been for some time in my wishlist.

Bought New:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (LT GR)
A pretty cover was the push needed to buy this one. I’ve been meaning to read it for quite awhile, and was going to do it on ebook (with it being in public domain and all). I ended up buying it (and I’ve also read it, just haven’t finished writing the review – soon, I promise)

The thief by Megan Whalen Turner (LT GR)
Long wishlisted book, especially after a friend sending me this (Character face off) – and seeing that Howl (Howl’s moving castle) lost to some character in this series. I had to check it out.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (LT GR)
This one was getting some great reviews some time ago, and I do have also another book from this author to read. Besides, it was at a great price and I had a -10% off voucher to use.

Bought Used:
Valiant: a modern tale of faerie by Holly Black (LT GR)
The second in the Tithe series, I wanted to get this one, but my OCD-ish side wanted to have the same cover of the first one (also because it is pretty :D).

Malafrena by Ursula K. Le Guin (LT GR)
Long in my wishlist, very hard to find. So yeah, I had to get this one.

The dark mirror by Juliet Marillier (LT GR)
I already have this one in Portuguese, but since the translation really sucks, I’ve been meaning to buy this in English. But I also wanted the versions with pretty covers.

Snow white, blood red by Ellen Datlow (LT GR)
Yet another one that has been on my wishlist for ages, I now I finally was able to get it.

Received for Review (Yay!)
The King's Wrath by Fiona McIntosh (LT GR)
I’ve been waiting for The David Gemmell Legend Award call for reviewers, so that I could get this one. I reviewed the second in the series last year, and want to know how it is going to end.

I’m more than halfway done with this one and will post the review ASAP.

TBR list change: from 179 books to read to 188 :(

Thursday, 10 March 2011

ANIGA MIX '11 - de 31 de Março a 3 de Abril

This post is in Portuguese

Olá olá leitores tugas!

Um pequeno update para informar sobre o ANIGA MIX '11, que se vai realizar entre os dias 31 de Março e 3 de Abril, na Exponor, no Porto. O ANIGA MIX combina Banda Desenhada, Animação, Videojogos e Entretenimento, bem como a Cultura Japonesa, que ganha cada vez mais adeptos em Portugal.

Serão 4 dias de actividades e com alguns autores convidados. Por acaso vou estar em Portugal neste fim de semana (realmente por acaso), e como é uma visita um pouco relâmpago, não sei se terei oportunidade de dar um saltito à Exponor. Mas havendo tempo, decerto que vou aparecer por lá.

Autores Convidados
Filipe Melo 
I.A Dog Mendonça e Pizzaboy, I'll See You In My Dreams, Mundo Catita 

Filipe Pina 
BRK, Under Siege

João Mascarenhas
Menino Triste, Butterfly Chronicles

Rui Ricardo
Sonho Sem Fim, Superfuzz

Expositores presentes

O Lobo Mau
Oblivion Shop
Invicta Indie 9 Arts
Kuri Kuri Shop
Anjos Urbanos
Ekstra Shop
Warner Bros

Oficina de Artes Marciais Japonesas | Lohan Tao Kempo Chinês, por Koji Azevedo | 31 de Março

Apresentação de Visual Novel | Por Luís Ferreira | 31 de Março

Cerimónia de entrega dos VIII Troféus Central Comics
| Por Hugo Jesus e Daniel Maia | 2 de Abril

Concerto J-Rock com Yoshi O Puto Dragão | 2 de Abril às 15h30

Oficina de Língua Japonesa | por Inês Rocha | 2 e 3 de Abril

Oficina de Guionismo para TV e Cinema | Por Filipe Melo | 3 de Abril

Oficina de Balonagem e Legendagem Digital
| Por Hugo Jesus | 3 de Abril

Oficina de Fotografia | Por Vânia Santos | 3 e 4 de Abril

Apresentação e exposição dos álbuns «As Incríveis Aventuras de Dog Mendonça» e «Pizzaboy 2» | De Filipe Melo e Juan Cavia

Apresentação e exposição de «Butterfly Chronicles»
| De João Mascarenhas

Exposição de BD «O Sonho Sem Fim» | De Hugo Jesus e Rui Ricardo

Exposição dde Ilustração | De Pedro Pires

Prémios PressPlay - Produção Nacional de Jogos 2011 | Por Diogo Stuart | 3 de Abril

Karaoke Japonês
| 2 e 3 de Abril

Salão de Visual Japonês - Hairstyling | Por Anjos Urbanos | de 31 de Março a 3 de Abril

Concurso de Cosplay | 3 de Abril

Outras Actividades
Oficina de BD e Ilustração
Concurso de Desenho/Ilustração
Oficinas de Origami
Projecção de Filmes de Animação
Zona Comercial
Concerto de 8 Bits
Música de animação, videojogos, cinema e televisão
Torneio de Videojogos
Oficina de Pintura Digital
Workshop de Cinema
Quiz Geek
Oficina de videojogos
Restaurante Japonês

Podem ficar a saber mais em www.anigamix.exponor.pt