Mini-Reviews: Mimus, Malice, Scat

150. Mimus by Lilli Thal
Publication: Annick Press (September 3, 2005), Hardcover, 398pp / ISBN 1550379259
Genre: (Historical?) Fiction, YA
Rating:
Read: July 2010
Source: Library

Review

I was really surprised by how much I liked this book, because a) it’s slow and b) there’s very little action. However, the utter richness of Mimus offsets everything else. The characters are complex, even the villains. Everyone has layers, and there’s loads of character development which you know I love. The story is slow, yeah, but the pacing is great and the story is powerful besides, more about the internal than the external. There’s lots of interesting things in it like what made a jester important and why they were still treated like crap.

Plus the ending! Oh, the ending. It wasn’t a good vs. evil battle of skill and honor and the baddies are defeated forever and are either dead or exiled. This isn’t a Grimm Bros. fairytale– it’s actually a pretty freakin’ historically accurate ending for a story set vaguely in the medieval times, and that’s all I’ll say about it. I want you to read the book for yourself and experience the ending alone (and then you can come back here and we’ll squee about it together.) If you like stories that go away from the more typical stories, stories that have a fantastic insight into how people tick, stories that punch you in the heart but still leave you hoping for happy endings, then you’ll like Mimus.

151. Malice by Chris Wooding
Publication: Scholastic Press (October 1, 2009), Hardcover, 384pp / ISBN 054516043X
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, MG
Rating:
Read: July 2010
Source: Library

Review

On the hardcover version of Malice there are 3D elements which I thought was very cool, and that’s really the only reason I picked it up. I’ve read another of Chris Wooding’s books before but wasn’t overly wowed; I’m still not really wowed with Malice but I do appreciated how scary it actually was. It reminded me of a slightly more adult R.L. Stine book. The action sequences and the horror bits were very well-done, and I liked the comic book art mixed in with the text (although…it’s not the best art).

I do wish the characters had had more depth to them, and that whatever depth they did have had been shown rather than told to me. I also do want to read the sequel to Malice which is coming out in October. It ended on a cliffhanger– that always riles me into wanting to read the next book– but also I think it’d be fun to spend a Saturday evening reading it.

152. Scat by Carl Hiassen
Publication: Knopf Books for Young Readers (January 27, 2009), Hardcover, 384pp / ISBN 0375834869
Genre: Fiction, MG
Rating:
Read: July 2010
Source: Library

Review

Okay, so I didn’t really like this book. It sort of reminded me of an E.L. Konigsburg book, how she’s always trying to get her readers to think more deeply about what makes up a person and how what we see on the outside isn’t always what someone’s like on the inside. Scat has that in spades, with a mean teacher and a bully and an environmentalist that looks like a thug. They’re actually all nice people, who want to help the wetlands and do good things (like make sure students actually take something away from a class); it’s just that they don’t exactly come off as good people right at the start.

But Scat falls short in extending that same not-what-they-seem line to the baddies in the book. The baddies are all stupid, greedy, and reckless, with an edge of malice to them that was surprising in a MG book. But there’s no more to them than that. They’re just baddies (with helicopters!), and that’s all there is.I suppose I was just disappointed that there wasn’t more to them. And anyway, it’s not as well-written as a Konigsburg book (usually) is, and by the end I was kinda bored.

Or maybe I was just annoyed it wasn’t an E.L. Konigsburg book. Possibly that’s it.

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0 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: Mimus, Malice, Scat”

  1. I am frequently annoyed that books aren’t E.L. Konigsburg books. Why can’t everything just be From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? :p

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