Book Review – The Nixie’s Song

Title: Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles.  Book 1 The Nixie’s Song
Authors/Illustrators: Holly Black, Tony DiTerlizzi
Format: Hardback
Published: 2007

 

So I feel that I need to start this with a preface that I know absolutely nothing about the series.  I saw this book when I was walking down a row in the library and grabbed it in a hurry because I recalled that the series was popular and I wanted to see what the hype was.  It wasn’t until after I got the book home that I realized that it was a second series about the same thing (sort of?  Apparently?)  So I don’t know if you needed to read the other series first, but it said it was book one so I dove in.

In this series, Nick’s dad is a developer on a project in Florida so he moves his sons down there, along with their new stepmother and stepsister Laurie.  Laurie is obsessed with a book and she’s determined that it’s real and the odd creatures she’s reading all about are really just outside her window, only she can only hear them and not see them.  Nick, bored and in need of something to do, begrudgingly humors her on a walk and realizes that she may be able to hear the creatures, but he actually has the sight.

The two end up with a Nixie on a quest.  Her sisters are missing and she’s got to find them.  They agree to help.

 

So, for a children’s chapter book, the thing isn’t bad.  It’s written well enough that I didn’t mind that I was 25 years beyond the target age group (at least) and it was cute enough that I see no issue with a kid picking it up.  

The Nixie is really an unhappy camper when she finds out that two of her sisters are dead, but the group soldier on to find the others and instead find a giant.  

Which appears to everyone around them as just a mound of mud.  They’re trying to get people to leave the thing alone while they try to kill it, and everyone else wants to move what they think is a dirt pile to somewhere a little more slightly.

Oh, and along the way the group picks up a few more people.  For starters, Laurie’s book is supposedly written by information from Jared and Simon Grace, so they track the twins down for help.  They also find a guy named Noseeum Jack – or more accurately, Jack finds them – who gives them a lot of information that they will need as they continue on.

Just as the book got interesting, the chapter was over and with it went the book.  Dang it.

 

So my review.  Again, I’m a bit *ahem* beyond its target age group, but I found that I didn’t care.  The story was pretty quick and I blamed most of that on the genre.  I hadn’t intended on reading more of the series, but the action stopped mid way through the friggin end of the book.  Like, a creature was on the move and then BOOM and we’re expected to pick up the next one to see where it goes.  

I hate that.  It’s like the worst thing ever.  I mean, I’ll have to read another book or something.  (Ha!  I’ve already asked for it from the library.)   

 

Bottom line, it was decent enough.  I think that a kid in the right age group would really like this, and I’m guessing that whatever happened in the main series connects to the book that Laurie carries everywhere with her (she even says she does) and people who haven’t read the other could read this.  I know I followed it around just fine.   I think this would be a great book for “what do I give to a eight-year-old interested in fantasy…? “ and because of that I’ll give it a 4/5 page rating.

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Book Review – Geektastic by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
Edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Hardback
2009

What happens when you put two nerds in a food line at Comic-Con? They start to talk about what would happen if “you were a Jedi and you woke up with a Klingon in your bed?”
So they pulled together their friends (hello, their friends include people like Scott Westerfield and Garth Nix), and did an anthology of geektastic stories.

The format is pretty simple; after the prologue, there’s a format of story followed by one page comic, then story, one page comic, etc.

And right away, in the very first story, we have the best line ever written, (even though it’s by a Klingon):
No. I couldn’t have. Not with an Ewok-cuddling, Force-feeling, Padawan-braid-wearing, lightsaber-rammed-up-his-ass Jedi.

And because no line could ever be that awesome… every story I read had a line that great.

So, I was going to tell something about all the stories, but I noticed something as I read the book. After a while I sort of didn’t care about the stories themselves, but I just was happy that there was a collection of stories about people who could very well be my friends…

Yes, some stories were better than others – I particularly liked Once You’re a Jedi, You’re a Jedi All the Way, by Black and Castellucci and Quiz Bowl Antichrist by David Levithan were really good, but Definitional Chaos by Scott Westerfield just left me with a headache and a couple others fell a little flat. And the comics weren’t exactly breathtaking, although they were cute.

But the thing is that even though I’d give most stories 3/5 ratings, the overall of the book left me with an overwhelming warm and happy feeling – like the kind you get when you get a new video game or the leather-bound copy of the Hobbit or a new Avengers movie is announced.

And for that, I’ll give it a 4/5 pages.

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