Favorites February: The Amber Spyglass

Hey all! Welcome to my last installment of Favorites February 2020! I’ve really enjoyed reading one of my favorites series from my teen years, His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. I’m a little bit sad to say that the series on the whole didn’t quite live up to my memory of it, but I still love and will always love it. Thanks for reading, those of you who have, and now on I go!

Synopsis

Will is the bearer of the knife. Now, accompanied by angels, his task is to deliver that powerful, dangerous weapon to Lord Asriel – by the command of his dying father. But how can he go looking for Lord Asriel when Lyra is gone? Only with her help can he fathom the myriad plots and intrigues that beset him.

The two great powers of the many worlds are lining up for war, and Will must find Lyra, for together they are on their way to battle, an inevitable journey that will even take them to the world of the dead…

Why I Love This Book

  • The allusions to Greek mythology.
  • Seeing Will and Lyra’s relationship grow.
  • The way spirituality is so essential to the functioning of the universe.
  • When Pan settles. *sigh*
  • The mulefa are so effing interesting!
  • The moment when Lyra re-names “No-Name” as “Gracious Wings.” I teared up, no joke.
  • I’m a sucker for bittersweet endings. This book is FULL of them.
Continue reading “Favorites February: The Amber Spyglass”

Favorites February: The Subtle Knife

Thanks for dropping in for week two of Favorites February! This week I re-read my least favorite book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, The Subtle Knife. I say least favorite, but obviously I enjoy this series to have read and re-read it, lol.

Synopsis

Lyra finds herself in a shimmering, haunted otherworld – Cittàgazze, where soul-eating Spectres stalk the streets and wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. But she is not without allies: twelve-year-old Will Parry, fleeing for his life after taking another’s, has also stumbled into this strange new realm. On a perilous journey from world to world, Lyra and Will uncover a deadly secret: an object of extraordinary and devastating power. And with every step, they move closer to an even greater threat – and the shattering truth of their own destiny.

Why I Love This Book

  • The multiple-worlds are expanded upon and finally explained in this book, and I love it. More please!
  • Will. He is so troubled and confused and INTERESTING!
  • I love how Will and Lyra become joint-protagonists.
  • Lyra finally gets called out for being childish.
  • More witches!
  • New ways to communicate with Dust.
  • The waiting and build-up surrounding Dust in the first book has BIG payoff in this one.
Continue reading “Favorites February: The Subtle Knife”

Favorites February: The Golden Compass

Hello everybody, and welcome to the THIRD annual Favorites February! Huzzah!

What is Favorites February? I’m so glad you asked! Each winter I take a beloved book or series, give it a good re-read, and blog about my thoughts. This is one of my favorite bits on my blog each year, partly because it’s a good excuse to re-read several books, and partly because the posts are really fun to write.

The year I was inspired by the recent HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials to re-read the book series by Phillip Pullman. The adaptation was good, much better than the 2007 film, but it didn’t *quite* capture the tone of the books, for me. I feel like modern interpretations of this series tend to focus on the anti-religious themes, and forget that it was a book intended for children. So the series had me itching to have a go at the books again. So, here we are with book 1, The Golden Compass.

Synopsis

Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford’s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title.

Continue reading “Favorites February: The Golden Compass”

Favorites February: Emma Volume 3

Synopsis

Emma and Frank Churchill plan an outing for the Highbury group to scenic Box Hill for a picnic. Tensions between Emma, Frank, Jane Fairfax, and the Eltons come to a head as a result of this party, and Emma is finally forced to confront the shortcomings of her character. And Harriet’s new love interest helps Emma to recognize her own feelings…

Why I Love This Book: Volume 3

  • Ah, the love story. I was so invested this time through, so able to catch on to the little details, I was practically swooning.
  • Jane Fairfax is a very interesting character, and I love seeing her fleshed out in this volume.
  • Seeing everyone, even Mr. Knightly, thoroughly abuse Mrs. Elton is so satisfying.
  • In some ways Volume 3 in soooo cringy, because all of Emma’s flaws come to their climax. But seeing her learn and grow is one of literature’s great character arcs.
  • I just adore how Mr. Knightly loves Emma so much that he’s willing to move to Hartfield, something unheard of in that day and age. ALL THE FEELS!
Continue reading “Favorites February: Emma Volume 3”

Sorting Hat Sunday: Emma

Emma laughed gaily. She was surrounded by friends and family, and she was the queen of the carriage. Though she was only a first year, see how they flocked to her? Frank, Jane, Isabella, John, George, they were drawn to her like a moth to the flame.

The Hogwarts Express zipped along at a marvelous speed. What a wonderful way trains were to travel! Emma made note to send her father an owl that evening so that he too could delight in the wonder of the train. Besides, it would be a comfort to him to know that they had been so comfortable on their journey. Nobody was foolish enough to open the windows at this speed, so there was not a draft to be found on the whole train.

“Isabella, John, what are you whispering about over there?” Emma called, delighting to see her sister blush. She had teased her to no end about John this summer, though Isabella had admitted nothing.

Her best friend, Anne, elbowed her hard. “Be nice, Emma!” she whispered. Emma rolled her eyes. Anne was just afraid to rock the boat. Emma had nothing to fear. She could do no wrong.


Emma

I don’t think there can be much doubt here. Emma is extremely dedicated to keeping the status quo and making sure that the upper classes of Highbury stay upper class, and that the lower classes know their place. She sees herself as the center of the Highbury social circle and is willing to be not very nice to keep herself there. In particular, her wish that the Coles would send her a party invitation just so she could refuse it is very telling.

Sorting Hat Says: SLYTHERIN!

Continue reading “Sorting Hat Sunday: Emma”

Favorites February: Emma, Volume 2

Back again with another Favorites February! This week I’m taking a look at the second volume of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Emma. Emma is considered by some book critics and historians as the “perfect novel”, and a lot of the things that make the novel so great come into play during volume 2. I hope you enjoy, and as always, play along in the comments!

Synopsis

Frank Churchill finally comes to Highbury, meeting all of Emma’s expectations for an amiable young man. Could she be falling in love after all? The only way to find out: a ball! Mr. Elton also returns with his new bride, both ready to spite Emma at any chance.

Why I Love This Book: Volume 2

  • The real actual problems with Emma’s character are more deeply explored and less superficial.
  • Mr. Knightly starts to really come in to his own as character with a personality.
  • The satire is sooooo biting.
  • Especially on the re-read, catching the sub-text about Jane Fairfax.
  • Maybe this makes me a snob, but I feel like a lot of the finer points of this volume hinge on a working knowledge of society of that era, and I feel like such a smarty-pants for catching it all!
Continue reading “Favorites February: Emma, Volume 2”

Favorites February: The Battle of the Labyrinth

Favorites February

Hello friends! Welcome back to Favorites February! This week I’m looking at book #4 in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Battle of the Labyrinth. I had a great time re-reading this one, although the books are getting a little longer, and finishing this one in a week was a bit more work! However, there was a LOT more that I’d forgotten in this book than the others. It was good for a re-read.

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Synopsis

Camp Half-Blood is in trouble. Again. The evil Titan lord, Kronos, and his army have found a way into camp using the ancient Labyrinth, if only they can find a way to navigate it. Percy, Annabeth, Tyson, and Grover head into the deadly maze in hopes of finding its creator, Daedalus, and convincing him to help them before their enemies do. But on the way there will be monsters, traps, indecision, and the danger of getting lost. Assuming they don’t lose their minds first… Continue reading “Favorites February: The Battle of the Labyrinth”

Favorites February: The Titan’s Curse

Favorites February

Welcome back to Favorites February! This week I will be looking at the third book in the Percy Jackson series, The Titan’s Curse. This might be my favorite book in the original Percy Jackson series. There’s just so much to love about this book.

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Synopsis

Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Thalia are making a special winter trip to rescue some half-bloods and bring them to camp. But when the monster proves tougher than they expected, Annabeth goes missing. Percy and Thalia join forces with the Hunters of Artemis to rescue Annabeth and save Olympus from a mysterious monster with the power to destroy the Gods. Continue reading “Favorites February: The Titan’s Curse”

Favorites February: The Sea of Monsters

Favorites February

Hi friends! Welcome back to Favorites February, where I am re-reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and discussing it along the way. Up this week, The Sea of Monsters, #2 in the series. Honestly, I completely forgot how much I enjoyed this book, and had a great time re-discovering it’s awesomeness. Please feel free to join in the discussion in the comments! ❤

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Synopsis

Camp Half-Blood is in trouble. The magical tree that protects the borders from monsters has been poisoned, and the demigods are barely managing to stay alive. But Percy and Annabeth think they might just have a solution: the legendary Golden Fleece. Their journey to find it will take them through the perilous Sea of Monsters, on a route that very closely mirrors that of Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey. Yet all the while a bigger trouble is brewing… Continue reading “Favorites February: The Sea of Monsters”

Favorites February: The Lightning Thief

Favorites February

Hello friends, and welcome to the first annual Favorites February! This month I will be re-reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and blogging about it as I go. This is one of my favorite middle-grade series, and I wish it had been around when I was a kid. I’ve really been enjoying the re-read. I got the box set for Christmas about three years ago and have never had the chance to read them, so I’m cracking these lovely books open for the first time and trying desperately not to ruin them!

First up, The Lightning Thief! 

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Synopsis

Percy didn’t ask to be a half-blood. It’s bad enough that he’s ADHD and dyslexic, and he’s been kicked out of six schools in six years, but he just found out his dad is a Greek god. That’s right, those Greek gods. Also, his best friend is half-goat, which is totally weird, his mom is missing, and his step-dad is a smelly jerk-face who is blaming him for his mom’s disappearance. Still, he gets to go to this cool summer camp where he learns sword fighting and archery and Ancient Greek, so life isn’t ALL bad. Until the gods issue a warning, and Percy only has until the summer solstice to prevent World War III. Three pre-teens trying to save the world. What could go wrong? Continue reading “Favorites February: The Lightning Thief”