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Reynwood’s Reviews: A Stack of Books, Part 3

Hello! I’m here with an update of a different sort today, checking in with a list of the books I’ve been reading over the past month or so. This list is full of wacky wonders, for sure!

Freaks ─ I’ll be honest, the chief reason I picked this book up was because the author’s surname is the same as my grandfather’s. It was the first time I’d come across the name and wanted to read the book because of it. But it also looked fun and interesting. The story paints a vivid picture of Victorian London, a picture that’s not hazed in romantic images of castle-manors, fancy clothes, and cleanliness. It’s a romp of a tale, with a collection freak show children (and some adults) stepping out to help a friend and stop a crime, but as I was reading it I realized that if you stopped and thought for a moment about what was going on . . . it was actually pretty deep and rather dark. The scariest part is that stuff similar to that actually happened. But for however dicey and dangerous and muddy it got, the moral of the story is doing what is right, valuing friendship, and finding a family in those who love you ─ no matter what  you happen to look like.

Striking Out ─ This is a short story, a prequel to a series of books by the author. It also happens to be the first ebook under my belt! I still can’t say I enjoy reading books on a screen ─ hard copies will always be my default ─ but sometimes books don’t have hard copies (a shame). Anywho, the intent of the author was a fast-paced narrative, and I dare say he accomplished that. Too well, I think. Events took place and escalated a bit too fast, and I never really got a sense of the characters before it was suddenly over. Neither could I appreciate the foul language (which makes me think it’s in the rest of the series, which makes me not want to read it). On the upside, the first paragraph was awesome. I loved that opening.

Destined for Greatness ─ This is a short story by the author of the King’s Warrior series, Jenelle Schmidt. It was a quick and quirky read, super fun! I laughed so much. It’s a story about a young man who believes that he is made for more than apprenticing at an inn, and soon finds the opportunity to change his fate ─ but the twist at the end is what really made it all stand out to me. It was pretty great.

Durarara!! Vol. 1 ─ This was something a little different, a light novel (which, as I understand it, is basically a small novel/novella with illustrations). It’s Japanese in origin, and since I enjoyed the show that was based off the novels, I decided to try the original. I don’t read a lot of translated works, so it was an interesting experience with the language and formatting of the story. It’s unique and quirky, a little dark, and pretty funny, too. Definitely something different!

Jack Frost, the End becomes the Beginning ─ I have been awaiting this book for several years. Does anyone remember the movie Rise of the Guardians from way back in . . . 2012, was it? A good few years ago. Anywho, the movie was based off the masterpiece creation of William Joyce known as The Guardians of Childhood. I read those books because I fell in love with the characters and their concept from the movie ─ and it was so much fun! The story is so quirky and seemingly silly, what with space ships and Moonbots and yetis and wizards and warrior eggs and so many other great and wonderful things. But it’s also profound while exploring the concepts of darkness, hate, sorrow, and fear, combating them with light and courage, justice and love. This book was the conclusion of the epic tale, focusing mainly on the character of Jack Frost, and is a story of the magic and power of childhood, of believing and imagination and stories, reminding us of the wonder of being a child and how mysterious and amazing the world is. It’s genius.

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