Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Touch of Gold

36575823Sullivan, Annie. A Touch of Gold
August 14th 2018 by Blink
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Kora is the daughter of King Midas who was famously turned into gold. Dionysus took a little bit of pity on her father and allowed him to reverse the curse and bring Kora back to life, but he promised to wash ALL of the items he turned into gold with water from the sea, but he missed 12 items. In return, Dionysus left Kora with skin and hair of gold. Fearing for her safety, her father has kept her hidden in the palace with only her cousin Hettie for a companion, and her uncle has removed all of the gold from the palace. Because she is 17, her father is entertaining suitors for her, but they have all been put off by her appearance as well as by the rumor that she can turn people to gold. One suitor is different; Duke Aris Wystlinos is not frightened by her appearance, and even has a pleasant conversation with her about shared interests. When her father's gold objects (which seem to keep him energized) are stolen, Kora knows that she must use her powers of detection to hunt them down to save her father's life. Aris volunteers a ship at his disposal, and the group takes off. The captain of the ship, Royce, isn't too thrilled, especially when Hettie appears as a stowaway. The most likely culprit to have stolen the items is the dastardly pirate Skulls, with whom both Aris and Royce have crossed paths. Life on the high seas is fraught with danger, but there is some romance as well, even for Hettie. As Kora closes in on the gold and becomes closer with Aris, there is a lot of double dealing that goes on, and she is unsure whom to trust, how to proceed and whether or not she will be able to retrieve the gold and save her father.
Strengths: This was a great, epic adventure for fans of Cooney's Goddess of Yesterday, Friesner's princess tales, or Yolen's Young Heroes sagas. The twist on the Midas tale was very well done, and my inner 16-year-old swooned at Aris's attention to Kora and his willingness to undertake the adventure with her. This is quite a swashbuckling, bloody tale, and I appreciated that the cover isn't overly feminine, since this would also be good for readers who enjoy sea faring tales like Blacklock's Pankration, Cadnum's Ship of Fire or Dowsell's Powder Monkey.
Weaknesses: There are very few authentic details about ancient Greek life and culture in this. They aren't really necessary, but I was hoping for them. Even the names and clothing don't seem Greek.
What I really think: My school used to have a teacher who would assign 7th grade language arts classes book set in ancient Greece and Rome to go along with the social studies units, and I owuld have loved to buy this book for that, but it's no longer done. The Friesner books have been gathering dust for the last two years, so unless I can drum up more interest, this may book I don't purchase but recommend that students get from the public library.

Johnson, Jaleigh. The Door to the Lost
July 3rd 2018 by Delacorte Press
Copy provided by the publisher

It's not that I don't like fantasy books. The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart? A Crooked Sixpence? Yes, please! But there are just certain elements that make me hang over the edge of the chair and obsess about my toenails in a very 12-year-old way. Is there a map of the world? Is the setting vaguely but not concretely medieval? Is magic illegal/endangered? Are the children the only ones who can save the world? Are there shape shifters or talking animals? It doesn't matter how good the book is: if it's not what I want to read, it can be a challenge to get through the book and remember details.

As a new school year gets underway, I think it's good to remember this. Teachers, if you're a huge fan of Wonder and don't understand why Joey doesn't like it, look at what he normally reads. Is it all football books? When was the last time YOU read a football book? Joey may feel the same way about Wonder as you feel about Tim Green. It's not Joey's fault, it's not the book's fault, it's just the wrong combination.

Did I read The Door to the Lost. I really did, because I want to put it in my library, and I read ALL the fiction books before doing that. Do I remember what Rook and Drift and Fox did when Rook was making doors to try to get to ... Vrona from... Threlkhaven? No. But my toenails look fabulous!

So here's a much better review from someone whose first love is fantasy books:


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