Monday, February 24, 2014

Plain Kate, by Erin Bow

Plain Kate is a novel by writer Erin Bow. Plain Kate is about a young orphan girl who is accused of being a witch because of her talent in wood carving. Plain Kate takes up with a man who claims to be a witch and wants to take her shadow from her. When Plain Kate finds herself forced to move on, she agrees to trade her shadow for some food and other items she needs in order to travel safely. Plain Kate then learns that the witch plans to use her shadow to seek revenge for his sister's death and bring the sister back to life. Plain Kate is a story of strength, of love, and of loneliness that will leave the reader in tears by the final page.

Let me start by saying, this story was exceptional. The writing is beautiful. I wasn't shocked to find out Erin Bow is also a poet, because her writing is amazing! I truly loved every moment, it held my attention from start to finish. I was never bored. In fact, I savored it, actually finding myself a bit disappointed when I had to put it down and be done. I wasn't ready to leave the characters. Every town Plain Kate travelled to, no matter how evil it appeared, there was always someone good, always someone there worth saving. Plus, everyone in this story was selfless, giving themselves to help others. It was amazing how the author ties it all together in the end. This is a sad story, a story about survival and also one about giving up the things we love. I can't rave enough about how wonderful I thought this book was. It also illustrates the value the companionship a pet can provide, since I love animals, this set well with me. I do have to warn readers, this was a very sad story, a fairy tale with less than a "happily ever after" ending. I respect the way it ended, though. The conclusion made sense. Its all about doing what is right, even though it's painful and leaves the reader feeling badly. I commend the author for making the story feel real and creating something powerful enough to make me cry. It comes to show that in reality, not every fairytale story gets a happy ending.

Reviewed by: Pamela F., grade 12
Central Library

Clockwork Prince, by Cassandra Clare

In the book Clockwork Prince, by  Cassandra Clare, Tessa Gray is torn between choosing Will Herondale and James a.k.a. Jem Carstairs. As they continue to try to convince Council to let Charlotte and Henry keep running the Institute, they also have to fight the Magister, Nate Gray, Jessamine, and Benedict and Gabriel Lightwood. Many problems arise as they discover more and more disturbing events that have occured. Will goes to Magnus Bane to try to get rid of his curse only to find out that it had no effect on him because of the circumstances in which it was placed on him. After he finds out he rushes to try to tell Tessa only to find out that she is already with someone else. They continue to try to solve their problems with their friends by their sides.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I really want to read the next one in the series. It had lots of twists and turns and the characters' interactions added lots of depth to the book. I liked the fact that it takes place in Victorian times and that there are small details that make it seem more real. The magical elements in the book are also very intriguing and they keep you interested. I would recommend this book to teenagers who like books about magic or adventures in general. As I was reading the book, I had to think back to events that happened before and I also had to use my imagination to visualize the scenes in my head. I thought that it was a really exciting book and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good book to read.

Reviewed by Kaylee, grade 9
Montrose Branch Library