April 24, 2010

A Conspiracy of Kings

By Megan Whalen Turner
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

Fans of The Thief, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia will be thrilled to see those familiar characters and settings back in action.  This time the focus is not on Gen but on Sophos, who we first met as the magus' apprentice back in The Thief.  Very quickly we discover Sophos is now on the threshold of adulthood, but still an intellectual and one who considers himself more a poet and never as an actual possible candidate to be king of Sounis.  But all that changes when his remote island villa where he and his mother and sisters were secreted away is attacked by people aiming to kidnap the family.  For the first time ever, Sophos has to spring into action and finds himself actually equal to the task.  Unfortunately, he is still taken captive, discovering that there is a plot to kill his uncle and replace him with Sophos as a puppet king, taking orders from the rebellious dukes.  But it is in his captivity that Sophos begins to realize that maybe, just maybe, he has the right stuff to be a king after all.  Filled with politic intrigue and battles, fans of the earlier books will be eager to see how everything turns out as plans turn on a dime and the plots are thick with betrayals from all different corners.  Some readers will miss not seeing more of Eugenides, but all in all, a very welcome addition to the Queen's Thief series.

April 06, 2010

Falling In

By France O'Roark Dowell
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Isabelle Bean is that kid you all know--the awkward girl who doesn't really have any friends, who doesn't quite fit in.  Not a troublemaker really, but even the teachers don't know how to reach her.  But Isabelle knows she is different.  That her imagination is bigger than everyone else's.  In fact, her imagination is big enough that on the day she helps Charley Bender in the nurse's office and opens up the closet door, Isabelle...falls in.  Into another world, as a matter of fact.  And Isabelle is not surprised--in fact, she's suspected all along that perhaps she was a changeling.  That maybe at last she's come to the world she belongs in.  When she finds out that this world has a notorious witch, famous for eating children, Isabelle isn't scared.  In fact, she goes out to meet this witch face-to-face.  But how Isabelle gets there, and who comes along, and what she discovers about the witch?  None of it is what Isabelle expected it to be.  Readers will fall into this story as quickly as Isabelle falls into that other world, and will spend their time there quite happily.  An unusual and wonderful tale that will make many fans.  A surefire hit!