Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Wrong Train and Vanguard

33605564de Quidt, Jeremy. The Wrong Train
July 25th 2017 by David Fickling Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

A boy realizes that he is on the wrong train to get home late at night, so he gets off. Unfortunately, the station is all but abandoned. When an old man with a small dog approaches him and offers to wait with him until another train arrives, the boy reluctantly agrees. The old man suggests that he tell stories to make the time pass quickly. The stories are all rather creepy-- a girl alone in the house with the electricity out, but the light in the yard turning on and off, a vintage care with a sordid past, a girl who goes to babysit children who turn out to be extra creepy. The boy starts to wonder if another train will ever come as the man tells one story after another and finally makes the boy choose his favorite. Eventually, the boy manages to call his father, who treks through the night to retrieve him. In the light of the next day, will the boy's experience seem like a dream... or a terrifying reality?
Strengths: Just about the only short story collections that do well in my library are scary stories, and this one is a good addition to books like Fleming's The Day I Died, San Souci's Haunted Houses, Kerr's The Most Frightening Story Ever Told, Priestly's Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror, and Schwartz's venerable Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Weaknesses: This had a distinctly British feel, and US readers might not understand the way trains and train stations work.
What I really think: Will buy a copy to have on hand for Halloween and readers who like a bit of a scare. I'm not really frightened of the dark, but taking the dog out for a walk at night after reading this give me a little bit of a pause!

25740472Aguirre, Ann. Vanguard (Razorland #4)
July 25th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Before Teagan's mentor dies, he mentions something about Catalina, and she feels compelled to find out what he meant. She, Millie, and James Morrow decide to take off for other parts to escape their reputations and to see more of the post-apocalyptic world of Enclave. They end up getting work on a ship in various capacities. When Teagan meets Szarok, an Uroch who is trying to find his people a new land, she is intrigued by him, but also afraid. When the two get washed overboard, they bond while surviving on an island. They are eventually rescued, managed to outwit the captain of the ship, and end up in a much more affluent and pleasant community and try to make a life there. Szarok must leave and return to his people, and Teagan tries to make a place for herself as the apprentice to another healer. In the end, all three friends are settled in comfortable ways.
Strengths: Fans of the Enclave trilogy will be glad of this new installment that wraps up the stories of a couple of other characters. This read more like Turner's Thick as Thieves or some John Flanagan than Hunger Games to me; it's been awhile since I have picked up the series, but I didn't remember the quasi-medieval feel. Lots of romance, well written, and Szarok's experiences among humans, whom he has been taught to hate, are interesting.
Weaknesses: There's a lot of, um, kissing and ... touching in this one. Szarok has a heightened sense of smell that allows him to gauge people's emotions by the odor they give off, and he and Teagan... breath mark each other a lot. Honestly, it skeeved me out quite a bit. It was sort of like reading about dogs sniffing each other... from the dog's perspective. It's not really instructional, but fairly lengthy and detailed enough that it made me uncomfortable. It slowed the story down as well.
What I really think: I'm not sure that the readers of the other books are going to like this one as much (although Young Adult readers will probably adore this aspect of it), and since the other three books are billed as a trilogy, I might not buy this one.
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure either of these are a fit for me, though I'd consider both. I appreciate your review, which will make for an easier decision if I ever come across them!