Tag Archives: Cornelia Funke

Weekend of Reading: Warrior Heir, Devil’s Kiss, The Forever King and Inkheart

For the first time in a long while, this past weekend I found myself without a deadline to complete for Monday; I also wasn’t fresh from a deadline completed on the previous Friday (an event which usually requires a day of do-nothing downtime).

Which is why this past weekend turned into a weekend of reading for me. I had a glorious time!

The Warrior Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima

The Warrior HeirI started with The Warrior Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima. I would love to give credit to the blogger who originally added this book to my TBR list, but unfortunately I must have stumbled on this book before I started using Diigo to bookmark TBRs.

I know that I discovered this title as a result of another blog, because when I picked it up from the library (I had put in a request for it) I didn’t even recognize the title! It wasn’t until I read the jacket copy that I vaguely remembered reading something about it online.

So, whoever you are – thank you very much! I started my reading spree this weekend with The Warrior Heir, and I enjoyed the book immensely. I ended up putting in requests at the library for the two sequels (both of which were checked out) and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will come in (1) in the proper order for reading and (2) during a period where I am not flooded with deadlines.

Set initially in the small town of Trinity, Ohio, the novel tells the story of Jack, a bright high school kid who one day forgets to take the medicine he’s taken every day of his life, and discovers he’s not who he’s always thought himself to be. Soon he’s immersed in an astonishing world of magical beings, with a tie-in to the War of the Roses.

I really enjoyed the world-building in The Warrior Heir; urban fantasy remains a favorite of mine, but I’ve read enough in the genre to know that building a realistic world that fits snugly within our own modern world can be challenging. Chima pulls it off with aplomb, and offers up a great cast of characters and a gripping storyline as well.

Devil’s Kiss, by Sarwat Chadda

Devil's KissFresh from finishing The Warrior Heir, I plunged into Devil’s Kiss, by Sarwat Chadda.  In this darker novel, the order of the Knights Templar still exists, headquartered in Middle Temple in contemporary London, and its latest member is 16-year-old Billi SanGreal, the only female in the order – and Billi’s not at all certain she wants to live the harsh, violent life of a Templar.

This was another exciting read, although I did enjoy The Warrior Heir more. At times I found Billi to be just a little too full of angst for my taste – her desire for a normal teenage life is certainly understandable but she sometimes got too whiny and obstinate about it. After all, a small dose of angst goes a long way when there are terrible creatures to be fought and you and your fellow Knights are the only thing standing between humanity and the evil that seeks to plague them.  For the most part, though, I enjoyed her character, the storyline and the alternate world of the Knights Templar, filled as it is with mysticism, conflict and evil creatures.

Not to mention, Devil’s Kiss has one of the most compelling first lines I’ve read in a while:

Killing him should be easy; he’s only six.

What an irresistible opening line!

The Forever King, by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy

After finishing Devil’s Kiss, I found myself still hungry for urban fantasy, so I decided to go for a reread next.

The Forever KingThe Forever King, by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy is an old favorite of mine. The book begins in New York City, where we meet Hal Woczniak, an alcoholic ex-FBI agent, Arthur Blessing, a ten-year-old orphan who lives with his Aunt Emily and a mysterious older gentleman by the name of Mr. Taliesin. Meanwhile, in a psychiatric hospital in England, a serial killer with no name who had entombed his victims in sculptures puts into motion a plan of escape.

The action moves quickly from the very start, and the storyline goes back and forth from contemporary to historical times. It is, as the title implies, a retelling of the Arthurian legend, with both a historical and a contemporary twist. At its core is the age-old fight for the Grail, a cup made of an unknown substance with miraculous healing powers.

Unfortunately, the book is no longer in print, but if you enjoy novels that involve Arthurian legend and a contemporary setting, this is a book to grab if you ever see a used copy floating around.

Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke

InkheartAnd finally, at long last, I started Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. This book has been in my TBR pile for a long time now, and it seemed like a natural book to reach for this weekend, since I was immersing myself in urban fantasy.

I’m in the middle of the book right now; it’s a good read, although I do find my interest flagging a little. I suspect, though, that things are just about to get exciting again, as Mo, Meggie’s father, has a certain plan up his sleeve and while I do have a good inkling what it involves, it will be interesting to see how it all works out.

This weekend of reading has also proved to be very educational too in terms of my writing – but I’ll save those thoughts for another post!

Reading: Spiderwick, The Art of Gratitude and Hamish Macbeth

Despite being so busy this month, I was sitting back the other day, thinking about what I’ve been reading, and am quite amazed to realize that I have actually been reading!

Reading: Spiderwick Chronicles

Spiderwick Chronicles, Boxed SetOver the weekend, I finished reading the Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. I’d seen a review of the books at Brizmus Blogs Books, where Audrey thought the Chronicles would be a much better read if you read all the books back to back. It was a rather serendipitous moment for me, as I’d just seen an omnibus volume of all the books in the series at Costco that day, and as I’d been intending to give the series a try, I ended up going back to purchase the omnibus collection.

I’m very glad I did. Audrey was right – Spiderwick is a great read if you read all the books in the series straight through. I polished the omnibus collection off in one sitting, and enjoyed it as a result. After I finished the first book in the series, I could see how it would have been quite a letdown if I didn’t have the next books in the series on hand.

And the illustrations are absolutely wonderful, of course!

Reading: The Lost Art of Gratitude

The Lost Art of GratitudeI’m also in the middle of The Lost Art of Gratitude, the latest Isabel Dalhousie book by Alexander McCall Smith.

I’ve been taking this one slowly – it’s just so enjoyable getting back into Isabel’s head. I find that it really doesn’t matter very much what the plots of the Dalhousie books are; they’re sometimes dubbed mysteries but they’re not really that mysterious. And even though I love mysteries, a good strong plot, the riveting nature of a story of good against evil, I don’t really care that the Isabel Dalhousie series has none of this.

For me the beauty of this series is the pure enjoyment of being in Isabel Dalhousie’s world once again. I fell in love with Isabel and her Edinburgh very early on, in the first book in this series, The Sunday Philosophy Club, and have looked forward to, and enjoyed, every new book in the series ever since. I love the way she thinks, and the way she goes about her world. I love the gentleness of the books, and the way they make me feel every time I dip in.

Listening: Hamish Macbeth

And finally, on the audiobook front – because I simply can’t get by without having at least one good audiobook on the go.

I had the tough task of choosing an audiobook to follow the last Harry Potter book. I’d just finished listening to the entire Harry Potter series in audio and was really feeling quite sad. It had been quite lovely listening to Harry and his friends every night before bed, and I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to pick something equally enthralling.

Death of a Poison PenI decided to choose a completely different genre, and ended up listening to M.C. Beaton’s Death of a Poison Pen. This was my very first Hamish Macbeth mystery, and I was in for a surprise. For some reason, I’d always thought these stories were older, set in the 30s and 40s, much like much of Agatha Christie’s mysteries. Well, they’re not. And they are such fun, light reads.

So I’ve been enjoying getting to know Hamish and the village and villagers of Lochdubh. After finishing Death of a Poison Pen, I moved onto Death of a Gentle Lady, which I should be finishing up tonight. There’ve been quite a handful of laugh-out-loud moments, too, which also surprised me.

What’s Up Next

Mary PoppinsAll in all, I’ve been quite enjoying the Hamish Macbeth series. I’m not sure if I’ll go for another Hamish Macbeth novel when I’ve finished up with Death of a Gentle Lady. I recently discovered the audio version of Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, one of my favorite childhood stories (all the books in the series are so magical, and while the Disney movie version is very sweet, it doesn’t really quite capture this magic); I suspect I might dip into that for a listen when I’m finished with the current Hamish.

And I think I will start Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series. I have Book One of the trilogy, and since I’m eager to dive into another children’s fantasy series, this seemed like a good bet.

What Are You Reading?

So that’s what I’ve been up to, reading-wise. What have you been reading/listening to lately?