not a review

My Canadian Obsession

Many years ago I started developing a major crush on Canada. I grew up in the mid-west and Canada seemed just a exotic and far away as Mexico. Also, as a cold-weather lover, Canada seemed more suited for me. Basically, Canada is my tall dark and handsome Jacob and everything south is the Edward everyone else is into. In the past two years it has blossomed into a bit of an obsession.

Finally I had the opportunity to visit! For the last ten days I have been traveling through Canada – mostly Quebec. While I may have arrived home to my own bed last night completely exhausted and swearing to never travel again, this morning my crush continues. While I travelled I had a ton of time to read and listen to books and I burned through so many! And, I was “lucky” in that almost all of the book stores in Quebec were French only books so I only came home with two new books. I cleared five off my massive TBR and started a sixth so I am ahead (which is highly unusual for me). Wait, do the two French/English dictionaries I bought count? Er, I also purchased some on my Kindle – do they count if I already read them? Darn it. Hold on while I just climb right off my high horse.

Many reviews are coming and I cannot wait to catch up on what everyone else is reading!


Tell me, please!

Do you have any Canadian related reading recommendations?


 

fiction · YA

Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Trollhunters is written by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus. Most people have heard of Guillermo del Toro either for Pan’s Labyrinth or the more recent Academy Award willing film, The Shape of Water. Less have heard of his co-author Daniel Kraus who, along with del Toro co-authored The Shape of Water. But, before The Shape of Water they wrote Trollhunters. Together, their blend of everyday life overlapped with the unusual and monsterous always capture my attention.

trollhunterTrollhunters begins during The Milk Carton Epidemic of 1969. Almost 200 children have gone missing without a trace all summer and brothers Jack and Jim Sturgess know they are supposed to be in before dark. But on September 21, 1969 it was Jack’s thirteenth birthday and they lost track of time. In a single moment, Jack was gone. Jim tried to find him but all he found was a monster.

45 years later Jim is all grown up with a son his own – James Sturgess Jr. Jim is fifteen, in love with Claire and desperately trying not to fail math. He has spent his life coming home before dark to a house with ten locks and security redundancies that would shame an embassy. But one night, in the safety of his own home, Jim is pulled under his bed by two massive furred paws.

Trollhunters is a fast paced novel that straddles the position somewhere between middle grade and YA. If you have seen Pan’s Labyrinth or The Shape of Water then you are familiar with del Toro and Kraus’ unique perspective on some darker themes. If not, I can safely tell you that there are numerous ways to describe the intestines and innards of trolls and the authors used them all.

In fact, the language in this book is flowery and has an almost tangible quality. Even when describing revolting scenes the word selection is elevated in a way that paints a vivid picture of the grotesque. These revolting creatures are described in such intimate details that you are left with a clear, albeit oozing, picture.

The only hiccup in this whole book for me was one of the main character’s name. ARRRGH!!! is a troll that is aiding humans. I’m not sure about your reading style but when things are in all caps I tend to shout them out in my head. So, I was lulled along by the gorgeous language superimposed on clashing action and then I kept shouting “ARRRGH!!!” like a small child. Perhaps this was a purposeful interruption by the authors but it broke the pace of the story for me in an awkward manner.

Still, this is a tiny issue with a completely enjoyable book. I was surprised to find Jim’s best friend Tub and his crush Claire to be well formed and delightful characters in their own way. I am always excited by the best-friend character. The trolls that come to human’s aid are more unique than expected in a genre that occasionally feels full.

trollhuntershowThere is also a Netflix show based on the book which I watched binge-style for the whole first season. There are some differences – aren’t there always? – but overall I enjoyed the show and the book for completely different reasons and recommend them for a fun early-high school and onward reader.

 

 

 

 


Tell me, please!

Have you read this book or others by these authors? What are your thoughts?


nonfiction

Grit by Angela Duckworth

gritAngela Duckworth is fascinated by the unique quality in human beings that separate the successful from the unsuccessful. Her theory? It is “Grit.” In fact, she attributes her own grit for carrying her through life and changing her from the child her own father described as “…no genius.” to a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award.

Grit, The Power of Passion and Perseverance is the culmination of years of her studies and collaborations. If you want a small taste of her theory you can see her six minute Ted Talk here. She spent significant time studying children and adults in high stress situations and attempted to predict which person would be successful and why. In the end, she has determined that talent and intelligence matter less than grit.

Dr. Duckworth defines grit as passion and perseverance focused on one thing over a long period of time. Her whole first section is entitled, “What Grit is and Why it Matters.” This first section had numerous anecdotal stories that all boil down to two things: try harder and don’t quit. My parents would call this “winners never quit, quitters never win.” Additionally, there is a proverb, “fall down seven, get up eight.” Or, my own personal mantra taken from the fantastic Galaxy Quest movie, “Never give up, Never surrender.” Perhaps you can tell, this was not new information for me. So, the first section, while enjoyable to read, was unsurprising.

The second section, “Growing Grit from the Inside Out,” was far more interesting. Similarly, the third section, “Growing Grit from the Outside In.” In the two sections of the book Dr. Duckworth goes into the idea of how to grow grit should you not be blessed with an abundance of natural go-get-em attitude. She addresses both the internal methods of enhancing and building grit in yourself and how to encourage grit in others (or find someone to aid you in your quest for grit.)

I simply do not know enough about statistics to tell you whether her studies are reliable or not, but I do know that there have been complaints about her misrepresenting her numbers. I also know that her response to this criticism has been to accept the critics point of view and clarify her own. This style makes her more reliable in my opinion because, as she states repeatedly, this is an ongoing research topic.

There were a few things I disagreed with in the book. First, many of her individual examples are paragons of passion and perseverance in one area of their life. Olympic swimmers, spelling bee champions, and professional potters are all attempting to master one goal. Several times the point is made – pick something and stick to it.  Being a renaissance learner is frowned upon – grit means sticking to limited goals. I will admit, I completely disagree.

I do agree with her that quitting gets you no closer to a goal. But quitting one thing to focus on a new goal isn’t always a personality flaw. Take Dr. Duckworth as an example – she quit her high-stress consulting job to become a seventh grade teacher. Then, she quit her teaching job to pursue her Ph.D in psychology and research grit. What if she had not had the personal strength to quit her consulting job?

Disagreeing with a the author did not make me enjoy the book any less. Grit got me thinking and that is what non-fiction books, especially those that are self-help, are made to do. If you don’t have the support system I have enjoyed in my life, Grit would be even more informative and encouraging because the first section would be eye-opening.

Grit is an informative and easy to read book on the power of passion and perseverance. I would love the opportunity to question the author on some of her points but overall her positive belief that anyone, with the right attitude and support system, can do anything won me over.


Tell me, please!

Have you read Grit? Do you think attitude is more important than IQ?


 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday July 4, 2018

WWW

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Beyond helping me stay organized and introducing me to other wonderful blogs, this meme is becoming more and more about giving me the longest to be read list ever. But, when you love books this is more blessing than curse, am I right? So, here goes!


What Did I Just Finish Reading?

I finished Grit by Angela Duckworth and I have a lot of positive thoughts about this book. The review will be up on Friday for Non-Fiction Fridays.

I also finished Just One Damned Thing After Another which is book one in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s by Jodi Taylor. Hello time traveling historians! Fantastic characters, loads of historical references, drama, subterfuge so very British come together for a fast paced ride. I am over the moon that there are at least eight more in the series for me to enjoy.

I also purchased and read Cock Tales, the Cocky Collective by various romance writers. If you haven’t heard already, a self-published romance writer trademarked the word “cocky” and began sending cease and desist letters to any authors using the word “cocky” in the title of their books. She also contacted Amazon and had them take down books with cocky in the title and they did. Her aggressive tactics lead to massive backlash from authors, Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Authors Guild, and the public. If you want more information you can start here and here. And, if you think this is limited to romance there is another author trying to copywriter “dragon slayer” so this is an issue that affects publishing in general.

Then, romance writers came together to sell an un-edited collection of “cocky” stories to raise money to fund their fight against the trademark. It is only available until August 26th and it is approximately 1000 pages of short stories from an enormous variety of romance authors. Some I loved and quickly added the author to my TBR list. Some were too much for my taste (I can be a little prudish when it comes to sex scenes.) In the end, I cannot overstate my disgust with this author’s attempt to use the law to manipulate herself into a position of power enough. I consider the $7.99 a donation well spent. Just two weeks ago a judge called it a “weak trademark” and denied the author an injunction. I will be watching curiously to see if the author attempts to continue on the merits of her ridiculous case.


What am I Currently Reading?

I am almost finished with Trollhunters. I put it down somewhere super safe in my house and I lost it for about a week. It has been found and I should finish it today or tomorrow.

The Fellowship of the Ring is coming along nicely. I am half way through the book and I am going to have to immediately launch into the second book if I am to finish all three by the end of summer.

I am listening to Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer as an audiobook. I am only a few chapter in but the narrator does such a lovely Irish accent I have already found myself twice just sitting and listening in the parking lot.


What do I Plan on Reading Next?

twotowers

The only book I have absolutely on my next shelf is The Two Towers. I need to add more audiobooks but I struggle with finding one that I don’t just tune out. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!


Tell me, please!

How was your reading week? Have you read any of these books?


YA

When Dimple Met Rishi and From Twinkle with Love by Sandy Menon

These two books are in the same genre of lovely YA summer reads as the Love books by Jenna Evans Welch. Both When Dimple Met Rishi and From Twinkle with Love are written by a new author, Sandha Menon, who weaves her own Indian culture and traditions through these delightful young adult stories. I read When Dimple met Rishi in the Spring to fulfill a 2018 reading challenge and I have been looking forward since then to reading From Twinkle with Love. I was elated to find it nestled inside my June OwlCrate.

When Dimple Met Rishi is an arranged marriage meet cute. Dimple and Rishi have both grown up in traditional Indian homes with the idea of arranged marriage as the norm. Rishi is a hopeless romantic ready to marry the woman his parents choose for him because he wants to believe in something larger than himself and his own desires. Dimple cannot get away from her parents quickly enough and their antiquated notions of “the perfect Indian husband.” When both Dimple and Rishi meet at the same summer program – through some machinations of their parents – Rishi is elated to finally begin his grown up life with Dimple. Dimple is furious to find this guy interrupting the program of her dreams. But, when opposites attract and clash both Dimple and Rishi will learn and grow with each other.

From Twinkle with Love is the story of Twinkle Mehra, a high school student, aspiring filmmaker and shy-girl. Recently, Twinkle’s best friend has found a new group of popular girls leaving Twinkle alone. All she has to keep her company is her unrequited long term crush on Neil Roy. But, when she is asked by Neil’s twin bother Sahil to film a movie for the school’s festival she sees this as a dual opportunity – get closer to Neil and flex her filming skills. While filming, Twinkle’s life becomes astronomically more complicated. Anonymous love notes, feelings for Sahil, fights with her best friends – all of these things are too much for the former wallflower.

On the surface Sandhya Menon’s stories feature strong young women and romance. But bolstering the simplistic sweetness of these stories are elements of culture, family struggles, life as a young adult and the struggle to live your dream. Ms. Menon expertly introduces Indian language and culture through the story without pandering or over simplifying the elements. I appreciated that the Indian family in Dimple’s story was vastly different than Twinkle’s even though they had many of the same root beliefs. These are not boilerplate Indian people or two dimensional characters but fully fleshed out and real individuals with stories of their own. Even arranged marriage is presented in a positive way and as an option for Dimple.

I will admit, I was initially thrown by the main character’s names – Dimple and Twinkle. In fact, there were parts of both books where I didn’t like Dimple and Twinkle at all. But, as a woman, I am quite confident that there were moments in my young adulthood where no one liked me. In the end, Ms. Menon has created characters that felt real to me and lifelike characters occasionally do things that are unlikeable because they are growing and changing. I think my largest problem with both books was the romance.

Which brings me to my argument: these books aren’t really romances. Instead, I argue that these are stories of two people falling a little more in love with themselves, their future, their families and their culture. Assuredly, there was some kissing but I wouldn’t recommend this book if you are looking for heart thumping romance alone. Still, in the end, it was these non-romantic elements that resonated with me and made me fall in love with these books.


Tell me, please!

Have you read these books? What were your thoughts?


not a review

Mid-Year Freak Out

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag!

I was tagged by the fabulous Maddie from Munch Reviews. I stumbled across her blog just recently but formed an instant connection – she has the heart of a true blue beautiful nerd and I have found more than a few fantastic reads on her blog. If you haven’t been to her site yet – take a moment and check it out. Thanks for the tag Maddie!

This is such a fortuitous tag because I really need to stay organized with my reading, challenges, logging my books, and reviewing for the year. This tag was such a swift kick in the butt to make sure I was staying on top of the organization part of my love of reading.

Below are responses to the mid-year freak out tag but if you are interested in how my 2018 Challenges are going feel free to check out my Challenges page.


Best Book So Far This Year

I have read a LOT of children’s fiction in the first half of the year but these two have been my favorites so far. The Seventh Most Important Thing and Bob are sweet and true like fantastic books need to be.


Best Sequel So Far in 2018

Penny Reid is my go-to recommendation for contemporary romance. Her books are smart, funny, and filled to the brim with women I would gladly pay money to be my friends. I have been waiting for Dan the Security Man’s story since her very first book. Scenes from the Hallway are short stories between Dan and Cat and Marriage of Inconvenience is their whole story finally told. I read Scenes several times and Marriage twice because Ms. Reid’s writing is just that good.


The New Release I Haven’t Read Yet but Want To

Madeline Miller’s first book remains as one of my


Most Anticipated Release for 2018

Are you sensing a theme here? Penny Reid has another book in a different series of hers coming out at the end of July. I cannot wait to read Roscoe’s story! And, Kill the Farm Boy debuts mid-July and I feel like I have been waiting for this book for a year.


Biggest Disappointment of This Year

HeartofIron

Ashley Poston’s Geekerella was one of my favorite books of 2017. I was beyond excited about her new re-telling of Anastasia but I think I out-hyped myself. This is the first in the series and I am really hoping that the second and third book will bolster this first book. It was far from bad but I was disappointed.


Biggest Surprise

Tim Peake’s Ask an Astronaut is so far outside of my comfort zone but it is such a fantastic non-fiction space read that I had a really hard time returning it to the library. I have also been reading a lot of graphic novels and The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang came out of no where (for me) and really affected me. It is such a gorgeous and heartfelt story that I cannot stop talking about it.


Favorite New to You or Debut Author

I first picked up Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple met Rishi to fulfill a challenge choice and just adored her first novel. I have been looking forward to reading her second novel From Twinkle, with Love but the book buying ban (and the wagon I’m back on) has kept me from picking it up. Thankfully, my June OwlCrate just arrived – with Twinkle inside! I’m finished it quickly and the review is coming soon. Both books are quick cute reads (perfect for summer) but I deeply appreciated the cultural references that gave the tried and true romance genre a lovely kick.


Newest Fictional Crush

While I love reading romantic interactions, typically what works for a romance story would make me insane in reality. The drama!!!  I just don’t have the energy.

Instead of fictional crushes I experience a third-wheel excitement for the couple itself. So, I can only give you all my favorite couple from this year:

Melanie Summers’ Crown Jewels trilogy is adorable and I really enjoyed watching Arthur and Tessa’s relationship develop. Similarly, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne had a swoon-worthy male and female character relationship but I wouldn’t have been able to handle that much drama and upset in real life. This book though is a must read for all romantic hearts.


New Favorite Character

This category has another tie between Keita Mori from The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and Amari from Children of Blood and Bone.


Book That Made Me Cry

All three of these made me happy cry.


Books That Made Me Happy

Every single book I review on SilverButtonBooks is a book that makes me happy because I don’t do negative reviews. But, here are two that surprised me by making me happy.

My Lady’s Choosing is an interactive romance book that took me right back to the choose your own adventure books of my childhood. Brazen is a graphic novel that highlights rebel ladies. Both books struck an unusual chord with me – My Lady’s Choosing for reminding me why I loved those crazy adventure books and Brazen for inspiring me to read more biographies.


Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

I don’t have a new one from this year! I have Simon on my shelf to read and I suspect that it will be high up there and Crazy Rich Asians was such a fun book but I haven’t seen the film yet.


Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

This would be my favorite post of the year. The Watchmaker is such a special book and the review flowed and I felt, for once, that my review actually encapsulated my love for this story.


The Most Beautiful Book You Bought This Year?

These two books I held and wandered around the store promising myself I would put them back. But, in the end, I just couldn’t. And, like any art form, I can’t really explain why these books appeal to me so much but they are my favorite from the first half of 2018.


Books to Read By The End of the Year?

Oh Lord, so many books! And they just keep publishing new wonderful books that I am desperately excited to read. And then I head over to the library to escape this wretched heat and I find more books to read.  I direct you again to my challenges page where I see that I really need to start on more historical fiction.


And there is it! My mid-year freak out. Sincere thanks to Maddie for tagging me and getting me to organize my thoughts with this tag. In return, I tag

Ryan,

Cathy (my favorite blog for historical fiction) and

Molly!


Tell me, please!

How is your 2018 reading going? Are you rock steady or freaking out?


WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday June 20, 2018

WWW

It’s Wednesday!!!! Which means it is time for WWW Wednesday. This has always been a helpful post for me because it keeps me organized but lately it has also become dangerous. As I check out all of the participants I keep adding to my to be read shelf. It’s brimming now! Still, it’s never a bad thing to have too many books. So, a big thanks to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for hosting – make sure and head over to her site to check out everyone’s WWW for today!


What Did I Just Finish Reading?

I had a big week (sort of). I finished A Problematic Paradox by Eliot Sappingfield and I have firmly placed Stiff by Mary Roach on the did not finish shelf. A Problematic Paradox is not a book that will get a review and Stiff, while well written and researched, has taken my brain to a worry-drenched state. This is the second time I have tried to read it and I think that the subject matter of cadavers just might not be for me. However, I am excited to read other books my Mary Roach because I do enjoy her style.

The book buying ban continues but the delightful OwlCrate came with From Twinkle with Love inside! Since I loved Sandhya Menon’s other book, When Dimple met Rishi, I wanted to read this book desperately. How happy was I when OwlCrate sent it to me?!? I consumed it in one sitting. Review coming soon!

L.H. Cosway & Penny Reid have written four books together and the most recent was just released this past week. The Varlet and the Voyeur is another contemporary romance and I have been looking forward to its release all summer. It did not disappoint! I also read this gem in one sitting.


What am I Currently Reading?

I just started Trollhunters yesterday and I have been sucked entirely into the story. I cannot wait to finish this post so I can get back to this book. I started Grit last week and I am almost halfway finished. It is a fascinating look at how passion and perseverance can change your life.


What Will I Read Next?

Ryan at Muse with Me has recently finished all three LOTR books and has inspired me to just get going on the series already. I hope to read Fellowship in June so that I can finish the trilogy by the end of summer. I also cannot wait read Circe.


Tell me, please!

How did your reading week go? What are your plans for next week?

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday June 13, 2018

WWW

It is Wednesday! I have not participated in a WWW Wednesday for a while but it is always a great way to jump start my reading organization. And, as I head into the end of June and start thinking of my 2018 challenges, I know I need to be more organized! So, thanks as always goes to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for hosting this so I can have some semblance of organization. Here we go!


What did I just finish reading?

Well, since I haven’t participated in a WWW for a month I’m not sure what qualifies as “just” finished so I just update you all! Here are the books I read in the past month. I hit the jackpot in that almost every book I read I loved enough to review.

For non-fiction I started reading a chapter a day (at least) and that took me through Ask an Astronaut by Tim Peake, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by W. Kamau Bell and The Book of Joy by The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams. I finally finished The Book of Joy! It has been featured on my WWW list for far too long.

I also enjoyed a bunch of graphic novels including BrazenAmerican Born Chinese, The Prince and the Dressmaker and Be Prepared. I am loving the graphic novels and how incredibly diverse they are.

I also read Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyumi, Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner and both Love books by Jenna Evans Welch. Whew!


What am I currently reading?

I am still using my one chapter a day tactic to work through non-fiction. I am currently really enjoying Grit by Angela Duckworth. It is a fascinating examination of a facet of our personality that I never really thought about before. I started Stiff by Mary Roach at least a year ago and never finished it so I am determined to get to the end of the interesting look at how we use human cadavers. Since I am also knee deep in iZombie on Netflix it feels like a natural connection. I just started A Problematic Paradox this week because I am determined to work through my physical TBR!


What do I plan to read next?

Speaking of that physical TBR….it is still in a shameful state. I have made a summer challenge for myself to help reinvigorate my 2018 beat the backlist challenge. Both Stiff and A Problematic Paradox are books I purchased and then stuck on my shelf. It is a bad habit. I do have a collection of Captain Marvel books from the library that I am working through but my next reads will definitely be off my home library shelf. If you want head on over to see my big (alphabetized) TBR list and let me know what you think I should crack into next!


Tell me, please!

What is on your WWW for this week / month / summer?


nonfiction

The Book of Joy by his Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams

thebookofjouyThis book has taken me quite some time to consume. It has been described as a three layer cake with the personal stories and teachings of joy from these two remarkable religious leaders, current studies on joy and the daily practices to root yourself in joy. But I found it to be more like a deliciously well rounded meal. There were parts I struggled to read – healthy bites I knew I needed but didn’t completely enjoy. Then there was the bulk of the book – the lovely meat and potatoes if you will. The background information about these two fascinating leaders and how they have continued to find peace and joy despite their personal difficulties and challenges is nothing short of remarkable. Finally, there was the decadant dessert. These two men may be some of the most well respected religious leaders in our world but they are naughty and hilariously engaging!

At times, I didn’t enjoy the application the author, Douglas Abrams, made of the teaching to his own life. However, there were moments when his astute explanations bolstered and clarified the messages. I also appreciated that, as a Jewish person, Abrams brought a fresh and neutral perspective to the discussions. At times, he made several comments which indicated that he was better acquainted with the Dalai Lama than the Archbishop and that may be why there was more information about Buddhism than Christianity woven into the book. Or, perhaps it was because the Archbishop had travelled to Dharamsala and therefore the meeting took place surrounded by Monks.

Regardless of the reasons, I was deeply humbled by the teachings of the Dalai Lama. While my religious background alines me more naturally with Archbishop Tutu, my fascination with other religions created a greater interest in the Buddhist teachings of this magnificently humble leader. The history of the Dalai Lama and his exile were vaguely in my brain but hearing of his isolation from family and country brought me greater understanding of the trials and tribulations of the Dalai Lama and his people.

Similarly, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a well known figure. However, his experiences in Africa during a tumultuous time coupled with his fascinating personal history made for such an interesting read.

Both men seem to almost casually mention death, fear, anxiety, depression and struggle only to use that experience to show the impact of choosing joy. Next to their experiences I felt unworthy of any unhappiness. Yet, just when I started to believe that perhaps this was a spiritual quest outside of my own abilities, the authors acknowledged that they have not always felt this deep sense of control over their joy. This allowed me to feel that I am still on my path.

I am a spiritual and religious person. There were parts of this book that seemed to be religious dogma and that did not bother me because religion is woven into my life. However, if you are searching for a message of hope without religious entanglement this book may not be for you. I believe that these amazing men are using their religion to explain how they choose joy. But, by comparing and contrasting their religious applications to life to support choosing joy they open the discussion to a more secular approach.

This book is full of solid advice, anecdotal stories and current scientific information about how joy can be found and held onto. The last section of the book includes options for daily practice to find joy in your own life should you want some specific direction. If you are struggling with finding joy I encourage you to read this book. It is far and beyond the best of all the books I have read regarding happiness, gratitude and finding joy.


Tell me, please!

Do you read self-help books? If so, what are you searching for in them?


Fantasy · YA

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

“We are all children of blood and bone.”

bloodandboneTomi Adeyemi’s debut novel Children of Blood and Bone came into my hands riding a tidal wave of hype. It has been fraught with comparisons bent on convincing readers that this book is similar to something else they enjoyed. Truthfully, you will see some themes that are familiar to other books in the fantasy realm. But, as a whole, this book is uniquely its own and as I closed the back cover the word that sprang to mind was “necessary.”

So many book lovers speak of Harry Potter with reverence. Some readers love the series because they were able to step outside of their lives and revel in the idea of magic. Others found kindred spirits in the fantastic set of characters. For me, Harry Potter, was and always will be essential because it created a whole generation of readers and launched an entire genre of books.

To be clear, Children of Blood and Bone may contain magic and a fascinatingly unique culture and history but it is absolutely not Harry Potter. It is very well written with just a small slump in the middle. It has characters that you will love, characters that will question your initial allegiance and ones you will abhor. There are struggles against tyranny, the rising to the promise of one’s fate, and personal sacrifice. But where Harry Potter inspired hope and allowed escapism, this book ignites questions and spurns investigation. We want to travel to Hogwarts to experience the magic. I want to go to Orisha to fight.

That is because Children of Blood and Bone is predicated on the notion that a whole class of people is less simply because of abilities obtained at birth. The King sees them as a threat and therefore they must be suppressed. At the onset of the story the suppression is in full swing. The older generation of magi has been killed en mass and the children are referred to as “maggots” and taxed heavily until they or their families end up in the stocks.

Many reviews have remarked on the representation in this book. Representation is essential. And this book is fantastic in that regard. However, I believe that to say this book is good or important solely because of representation is an overly simplistic viewpoint. Rather, this is an essential book on what happens when one group seeks to dominate another. How do you live your life when you are afraid everyday? And what happens when you have an opportunity to overcome that fear and fight back?

The Children of Blood and Bone is a well written multi-viewpoint fantasy story. I have characters that I have already let into my heart. And after the heart-stopping ending I can hardly wait to read more. But more than anything else, I cannot wait to talk about this book and the issues it confronts.


Tell me, please!

What are your thoughts? What issues do you see in representation in books?