Thursday, January 28, 2016

What we're reading: The end of a series (and an era)

Nac Mac Feegles, what hae?

In book club a few years ago, we read The Wee Free Men, the first book in Terry Pratchett's delightful series about the  adventures of the young witch Tiffany Aching and her tiny blue-skinned Pict friends, the argumentative and slightly profane Nac Mac Feegle. Although the series falls within his massive, career-encompassing Discworld series (which he began in 1983 and which includes about 40 books!), you can read this series within a series while knowing absolutely nothing about the bigger picture, which I have (a couple of times). The books, in order, are:

The Wee Free Men

A Hat Full of Sky


I Shall Wear Midnight

Right around the time he wrote the third book in this miniseries, Sir Terry (he was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1998 and knighted by the Queen in 2009) announced that he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Sadly, the disease moved quickly, and Pratchett passed away in March of last year, at the age of 67.

Before he passed, however, he got a good ways into a fifth and final book in the Tiffany Aching series, and that book was published posthumously in September 2015. It's called The Shepherd's Crown, and shows us Tiffany Aching coming into her own as a young but powerful leader of the witches of her world. The wall between her land and that of the Faerie has weakened, and the death of a powerful witch has emboldened the fairies to once again cross over to wreak havoc. Tiffany and her allies must unite to repel them and re-seal the wall.

Even though some reviewers feel that The Shepherd's Crown is not up to Pratchett's usual standards (because someone else finished the book), I thought that it was lovely, and that it followed through with and expressed the personalities and story lines from the rest of the series. I'm happy to have a resolution to Tiffany's story--although there is potential here for so many more books, so I'm sad there will be no more.

If you haven't read this series, my personal opinion is that if you're a fan of fantasy (and enjoy good writing, with characters who could step off the page), it's a must.

Members of 10-12 Book Club who are currently reading Good Omens (co-written by Pratchett with Neil Gaiman), if you like that, you could try this before embarking on the optimistic project of reading Discworld from the beginning.

I hope Terry Pratchett is wandering somewhere on the Chalk with Grannies Aching and Weatherwax, Thunder and Lightning at his heels, listening for the faint cry of "Crivens!" on the morning breeze.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Teen review: Another book in the series

Editor's note: We don't usually publish reviews of sequels, but we have published SO many reviews of the book Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld, that I asked George if he would send a review of one of the other books instead. Here it is!


by Scott Westerfield
Second in a series of four books
Science fiction / dystopian

Reviewed by George S., grade 8

In the 384-page novel Pretties, by Scott Westerfield, Tally Youngblood finally becomes pretty. She joins a clique called the Crims, who are Pretties that focus on doing tricks just like the Uglies do. However, their party gets crashed by Uglies, and Croy, an old friend from the smoke, arrives. He says he will leave something for Tally at Valentino 17. When Tally and her new boyfriend Zane go to Valentino 17, they discover he has left them a cure. Tally and Zane become cured of the lesions that make them so-called “pretty-heads,” and they find they want to leave behind their home and take along the Crims to complete the impossible: Escape!

I enjoyed the other books of the series more than I did Pretties, my least favorite. Tally and Zane get cured, and then what do they do for the next 150 pages? They just sit around thinking about their love, and then all of a sudden Tally says, “Hey, Zane, I’m tired of this old dump, let’s escape.” That summarizes basically the entire book. Scott Westerfield made this book very slow; there is almost no action! And half of the time Tally and Zane will kiss each other, or Shay will get angry at Tally. I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars just for this extremely disappointing lack of action. I would recommend that you get through this book so you can read Specials, because in Specials Scott Westerfield redeems himself.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

This week at the library...


Teens: Are you bored with life? We have the solution: Bored Board Games Night! Join us on Thursday night, January 28, at 6:30 p.m., at the Buena Vista Branch in the auditorium.

We have DIXIT. We have World of Warcraft and Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit Games! Plus all the regular stuff: Burbankopoly, Mystery Date, Scrabble, and more! Or bring your OWN games if you want to, and bring your friends too! Snacks will be served. For TEENS in grades 6-12 only.