Mini Reviews: Fire and Hemlock, Behind the Curtain, Curse of the Bane, The Ink Drinker (+ CONTEST)

Fire and HemlockFire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
Publication: Harper Teen, Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages / ISBN 9780064473521
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: ?
Find @ Alibris or AbeBooks
First sentence: Polly sighed and laid her book face down on the bed.

In one sentence: Cute story, interesting characters, but slightly squick-y.

I love Diana Wynne Jones, but sometimes she has some things in her books that squick me. In Fire and Hemlock it’s Polly’s crush on Tom. Nothing happens, and he doesn’t reciprocate (thank goodness) until the end when she’s grown up, but it still squicked me way out. I finished the book of course, and I liked it once I shoved that part of the plot away from my mind, but. Uh. I dunno. What’s everyone else’s thoughts on this? Am I the only one that was weirded out?

Echo Falls #2Behind the Curtain (Echo Falls #2) by Peter Abrahams
Publication: HarperCollins e-books (March 31, 2009), ebook, 400 pages (print)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, YA
Find ebook @ Amazon or Fictionwise (note: I have one 10% coupon I can send to someone if you’d like to buy this book from Fictionwise)
First sentence: Ingrid Levin-Hill sat in math class, her mind wandering pleasantly.

In one sentence: Excellent addition to one of my favorite series!

Like the first Echo Falls book, Behind the Curtain is less focused on the mystery and more focused on Ingrid’s life and her relationships with the people around her. It’s maybe less thrilling than the first book, but it was a real treat to see what Ingrid’s been up to since the events of that book. Poor thing’s still all messed up and naive, but at least she had more backup this time to keep herself from getting killed. Yay!

Last Apprentice #2Curse of the Bane (The Last Apprentice #2) by Joseph Delaney
Publication: HarperCollins (July 24, 2007), Paperback, 496 pages / ISBN 0060766239
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Find @ Amazon or IndieBound
First sentence: When I heard the first scream, I turned away and covered my ears with my hands, pressing hard until my head hurt.

Series: Book #1 | Book #2 (you’re here!)

In one sentence: Less scary than the first book, and maybe a little less impressive, too.

There’s not much to this second book except some (okay, a lot) thrills. The “chills” part of the equation isn’t in full force like it was in the first book, and the characters go nowhere except maybe deeper into stupidity (I’m talking about you, . We do learn more about the Spook, which is nice, and more about the kind of place Tom and his cohorts live in (which is mostly England-but-not), but I was waiting for something to impress me like the first book had done, and it never came. Second books tend to be like that, though, and series normally get back in their stride in book three (which The Last Apprentice does, thankfully).

Ink DrinkerThe Ink Drinker by Eric Sanvoisin & Martin Matje
Publication: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (October 13, 1998), Hardback, 37 pages / ISBN 0385325916
Genre: Horror, Children’s
Find @ Amazon or IndieBound
First sentence: My father owns a bookstore.

In one sentence: Interesting story idea, but slightly boring.

I’ve been curious about the Ink Drinker series ever since I first heard about it, which must have been around five or so years ago. Then I finally found a copy– at the last library book sale, actually– and, uh, it’s not what I expected. It’s cute (especially the illustrations, but I was thinking it was more spooky? (Like Edward Gorey?) Maybe I’m just too old for these kinds of books. I do think it’d be a good book for parents to read to their (very young) children. Almost like the Bunnicula books? Except shorter. 😀

Win my copy of The Ink Drinker!

I’m giving away my ex-library copy of The Ink Drinker (obviously). It’s in pretty good condition, with some ex-library paraphernalia on it and a few, er, fingerprints on the pages.

To enter, leave a comment on this post stating you’d like to be entered. Don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win! People that don’t leave me a way to contact them will be disqualified from the giveaway.

It’s a small book, so this giveaway is open worldwide. Yay!

I’ll use to determine the winner. Contest ends June 26, 2009. Good luck!

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17 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Fire and Hemlock, Behind the Curtain, Curse of the Bane, The Ink Drinker (+ CONTEST)”

  1. (Don’t enter me! I’m trying not to acquire more books. :P)

    My friend had the same response to Fire and Hemlock as you did – it didn’t bother me that much. I am too distracted by how cool it would be to be a kid and have a grown-up friend that was always sending you new and wonderful books to read in the post.

  2. Please enter me! I have twins who like the book very much. We are reading it with our second grade book clubs!

  3. I checked some ilustrations online.
    Seems really nice!
    Count me for the draw, please!

    Best wishes!

    catarina.magoito [at]

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