Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A Talent for Trouble

Farrant, Natasha. A Talent for Trouble
November 19th 2019 by Clarion Books
E ARC from Netgalley

Alice lives in the English countryside in Cherry Grange, a house that has been in the family for a hundred years. After her mother's death, he father and aunt are unable to afford the house, so it is sold. The adults move to London, but Alice is sent to Stormy Loch, a Scottish boarding school, so she can stop obsessing about the past. This is fairly successful; she makes friends with Jesse (although they have a misunderstanding) and Fergus, and settles in fairly well, occasionally getting herself into scrapes. When she gets a mysterious message from her father Barney, she thinks she is supposed to meet him on the island of Nish at a castle there. She takes off with Jesse and Fergus, and has a fair amount of adventures on the way, some involving international jewel thieves, but things are a bit fraught when Fergus gets food poisoning. She comes to some realizations about her father, but realizes that good friends can make up for family.
Strengths: I'm glad to see that British children are still free to have adventures, and didn't need to get permission from the head master and be accompanied by a junior member of staff to run off across the countryside. The way that Jesse and Alice got off on the wrong foot was realistic. In my opinion, you can't really go wrong with setting a story in a boarding school in Scotland.
Weaknesses: Cherry Grange was delightful, and I would have liked to spend much more time there.
What I really think: Debating. The cover doesn't seem to go with the story; the castle needs to be in there somewhere. A good story, but perhaps a bit too British for my readers.

Colfer, Eoin. The Fowl Twins.
November 5th 2019 by Disney-Hyperion
Public library copy

Frequent Readers will know of my Fantasy Amnesia, a condition which renders me unable to remember plots of fantasy books. I struggle with it, and certainly the original series is a blur to me, since I read them so long ago (exception:  The Atlantis Complex 2010) My only memories are that things blew up at the beginning of The Arcti Incident, and I was never sure who the good guys and the bad guys were. Apparently, there is a movie on the way, so it's interesting to see a new book featuring Artemis' younger BROTHERS. (For a while I thought they were Artemis' sons, which had me looking up whether or not Geritol still exists. It does.)

This is certainly a worthy successor to the original series, and man, can Colfer write. I do have to say that the writing in this, while exquisite, is not easy to read. Vocabulary, as well as amazing sentence structure, makes this challenging. There was one paragraph that was one sentence. I'll have to wait and see if interest in the original series picks up before ordering this, but I did have a student ASK for The Supernaturalists (2004) yesterday!
Ms. Yingling

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