Monthly Archives: July 2012
TITLE: The Night Circus
AUTHOR: Erin Morgenstern
LENGTH: 528 pages
SUMMARY: (via amazon.com) The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
BRIDGE: I think the most obvious bridge for this title is Dickens. The first book that springs to mind is Great Expectations. Elements of Pip and Estella’s relationship linger over Marco and Celia and the adults who influence them are similar to Pip’s benefactor and Miss Havisham. These characters are on a quest and so one could also draw parallels to any classic quest story as well. Morgenstern’s Victorian England and its New World counterparts are impeccably crafted and the magical elements are subtly unbelievable and awing, as good magic should be. By studying the speech, customs and settings of the story, one could draw comparisons to any of Dickens’ work or other Victorian authors. There are even subtle nods to Grimm stories that one could map throughout the book. The intricate braid of plotlines would also be an interesting point of discussion. Students could map the different plots and physically draw them on timelines to have them intersect at the crucial points. This would also be an excellent book with which to study character development and relationships. The complexity of the characters and their relationships would also require some charting.
READERS: Not for the faint of heart, I would recommend this book more for high schoolers and adults. I do not think many middle school readers would have the maturity to understand the complexity of Celia and Marco’s world. Readers who enjoy magical stories will devour this book and those with a taste for the strange and imaginative will be enthralled. **A note on the audiobooks: Jim Dale’s narration is impeccable, as usual. I thoroughly enjoyed the formal and appropriately creepy reading of the entire thing. Definitely will be on my list of re-listens.
OTHER TITLES: Readers who enjoy this book will also like any of the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, or Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
TITLE: The Shadow of Black Wings, Book One of The Year of the Dragon
AUTHOR: James Calbraith
PUBLISHER: Flying Squid (July 2012-ebook & paperback)
LENGTH: 338 pages
SUMMARY: (adapted from amazon.com)
An ancient empire stands on the brink of a civil war. His arrival may push it over the edge.
It is the sixteenth year of Queen Victoria’s enlightened rule and the world trembles before the might of her ironclad navy and the dreaded Dragon Corps. The largest ship ever built sails from the Brigstow Harbour on a journey to the mysterious lands of the Orient. Its load: a regiment of the Royal Marines and Bran ap Dylan – freshly graduated in Dracology from the Llambed Academy of Mystic Arts.
Lena Headey, Jared Harris and More Join The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Source: Screen Gems
July 19, 2012
Lena Headey (300, “Game of Thrones”), Jared Harris (“Mad Men,” Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) and Godfrey Gao (All About Women) have joined the cast of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which has also added that subtitle to its official production name.
Headey will play Jocelyn Fray, Harris will play Hodge Starkweather, and Gao is set to portray Magnus Bane. They join the previously-announced Lily Collins as Clary Fray, Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland, Robert Sheehan as Simon Lewis, Jemima West as Isabelle Lightwood, Kevin Durand as Emil Pangborn and Robert Maillet as Samuel Blackwell.
“The Mortal Instruments” is a series of six young adult fantasy books written by Cassandra Clare and published by Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books. In the series’ first book, the #1 New York Times bestseller “City of Bones,” set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray, discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother, Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie is targeting an August 23, 2013 release.