Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Book Reviews: Middle Grade Round Up
The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh
Received: ARC from publisher
Chalk this up to a case of good book, wrong reader. The story seems great and definitely my kind of book, but the characters just weren't doing it for me. Mary was too "typical spunky orphan" but without anything to make her stand out from the crowd for me and we never clicked.
Goodreads reviewers have spoiled the plot pretty well (thanks!), so any tension or mystery that might have otherwise been there wasn't there for me. I felt bored and couldn't get into the story, mostly because of those spoilers. So, if you're at all interested in The Door by the Staircase, don't read Goodreads reviews!
It's hard to describe, but the book has a similar vibe as The Wolf Princess, which was another book that didn't work for me but should have. I kept wanting to enjoy myself, and kept trying to convince myself that I was enjoying myself, but, really, I wasn't having a good time. I couldn't even say why, exactly, except that the book just wasn't a good fit for me.
Still, it might be a good fit for middle grade readers and fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak.
A Question of Magic by E. D. Baker
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
E.D. Baker and I have a hit and miss relationship. I love her Wide-Aware Princess, but couldn't get into the Frog Princess series. A Question of Magic falls somewhere between the two for me, settle on a solid "like."
I don't think the characters and plot would sustain me through a series, but as a standalone book, which this is, everything kept me happily entertained. I liked how the author interpreted the Baba Yaga story (especially the "you only get one question" thing—LOVE that! Makes me wonder what I would ask...), and you can't ever go wrong with a talking cat. The main character was nice but forgettable (see, I can't even remember her name now), but that didn't take anything away from my enjoyment.
Definitely not a bad way to spend an afternoon if you're a fan of fairy tale retellings. Recommended.