Saturday, August 15, 2009

Four reviews

I got my copy of Catherine J. Gardner's chapbook "The Sour Aftertaste of Olive Lemon" yesterday and read it today. It's brilliant! Her writing is surreal and full of amazing imagery and wordplay; her brain must be full of interesting thoughts. I can't tell too much about it without giving away some of the plot, so I'll just say that Olive Lemon lives in a town without a name. If you haven't already ordered your copy, I highly recommend it!

I saw Ponyo today at the theater. There's another surreal story, but in this case it's also charming, sweet, and gentle. It's about a little boy who lives at the top of a cliff above the sea, and a goldfish whose father is a strange sort of magician who used to be human. After the fish gets stuck in a jar and is saved by the little boy, she wants to become human herself. I haven't seen such gorgeous animation in years--it's old-fashioned hand-drawn animation, and I'd forgotten how organic and alive that feels. The story itself reminds me a lot of My Neighbor Totoro.

Yesterday I had to have a tire repaired, with a ridiculous two and a half hour wait. I didn't have a book with me so I bought one, Kat Richardson's Greywalker, and ended up staying up till 1am this morning to finish it. I liked the main character, Harper Blaine, who after a terrible accident discovers she can see and interact with a realm of spirits that she calls the Grey. The plot was solid and interesting, although I was disappointed that the romantic subplot was given so little emphasis. I liked the way Harper's relationship with the Interesting Guy was progressing, and then boom, it was the morning after with no transition. I really thought my copy of the book was missing a chapter or something. Other than that, I liked the book pretty well.

I also read Maria Lima's Matters of the Blood this week, another urban fantasy. This one was good too, if a little too dependent on coincidences to move the plot forward. I kept wondering when the main character, Keira Kelly, was going to open up and whoop some ass. This book was published by Juno Books, which focuses on urban fantasy with strong female main characters, but Keira basically never whoops anything. She just gets hit in the head a lot and has to be rescued. I liked her, but she needed to stop telling us she's been trained in kicking butt and just show us.


Cate Gardner said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. :)

Ponyo sounds delightful, and a little bit heartbreaking.

K.C. Shaw said...

Actually, I was surprised at how cozy and comforting Ponyo was. It's for very small children, and even the scary parts aren't very scary. At the same time it manages to be fascinating to impatient-adult-me.

Richard said...

After your evisceration of ferret fanciers a few posts back, I was wondering how you'd take Greywalker. I enjoyed the book while I was reading it, but with the distance of about a month the only thing that really sticks in my memory is how much the main character *whined* about *everything*. Who wants a whiner for a main character?

At one point I went so far as to track down the sequel, but when I cracked the cover and saw the dedication was to "everyone who is trying to legalize ferrets in California," I snorted, shoved the book roughly back into the shelves (far back) and walked away. Like MC, like author.

K.C. Shaw said...

I did actually think of the ferret fanciers while I was reading it, but fortunately the ferret didn't take over or do anything cute. In fact, I'd forgotten about it until you mentioned it.

I may pick up the sequel, although it's not high on my list. I liked the book, but it seemed a bit uneven. I did occasionally want to snap at the MC, "Just deal with it and stop complaining." Which considering I complain constantly, isn't really fair. :)