Two books read recently . . . one very good, the other not (in my humble opinion).
The not so good, I’m afraid to say, was.
“The Ickabog” by J. K. Rowling. I read the French translation because 11 year old Cléo lent me her copy. I don’t think, the fact I read it in translation, had anything to do with the way I felt about this book because the translation seemed to flow well. I am not ashamed to say, I loved the entire HP saga, which I have read several times both in French and English, never tiring of those adventures. It was with high expectations, therefore, that I began this book. The only positive things I can find to say about this are: it’s keeping children reading (which is always a good thing) and the author gave all royalities to a charity she has set up. Other than that, it was a complete let-down. Aimed at children aged 7-11 (from what I gather) I found the style to be too childish for an 11 year old and too grown up for a 7 year old. As for story content: too much Grimm fairytale for my liking. People dying, or being murdered, left right & centre. Young children being orphaned and then dropping like flies in the over-populated orphanage. The story extends over a period of 10 years (with main characters being only 5 years old at the start, and 15 years old towards the end). It just went on and on until the last couple of chapters when the author suddenly seemed to remember she was writing a children’s book and needed to find a “happy” end.
Cléo, my 11 year old neighbour thought it was “quite good” and, when I had a chat with her after reading it myself, she didn’t seem terribly phased by all the deaths & murders that had shocked me. However, she did also think it went on and on, and agreed it probably wasn’t suitable bed-time reading matter for a 7 year old!
On a brighter note . . . I’ve been making use of my tablet for bed-time reading. I usually prefer to read paper versions of books, simply because I like the feel of a real book on my lap, but I went browsing in the google store. There are hundreds of books to download for free (usually the “first” in a series) most of which seem to be the “cosy mystery” sort. The first free download that tempted me was this one.
“The Confectioner’s Guild” by Claire Luana.
This is teen fiction, and there are 4 in the series: “The Confectioner Chronicles”. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and am seriously considering buying the other three in the series. The heroine in “The Confectioner’s Guild” is a 16-year old girl called Wren. I’d say the author is therefore targetting 14-16 year olds with this series, and even though I’m more than 4 decades outside of that age group, I found it to be a very enjoyable read. Lots of intrigue, magic, action, suspense and, only one murder! Very funny in places too.
If you want to know more: here’s the blurb from the back cover.
“Wren knew her sweet treats could work wonders, but she never knew they could work magic. She barely has time to wrap her head around the stunning revelation when the head of the prestigious Confectioner’s Guild falls down dead before her. Poisoned by her cupcake.
Now facing murder charges in a magical world she doesn’t understand, Wren must discover the true killer or face the headsman’s axe. With the help of a handsome inspector and several new friends, Wren just might manage to learn the ropes, master her new powers, and find out who framed her. But when their search for clues leads to a deep-rooted conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, she realizes that the Guild Master isn’t the only one at risk of death by chocolate.
If Wren can’t bring the powerful culprit to justice, she and her friends will meet a bittersweet end.”