Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks

I loved many things about this tone perfect book, the characters, smart but human, the action, always exciting, the dialog and narration, but maybe it was the actual setting which gave me the element which launched this book into must-read status for me.  Set in a slightly parallel late nineteenth century slum, the city itself, with its poverty, sewers, and human villains, took on the character of the ultimate dystopia, all the more so because it could have been real.  The bogles themselves, dangerous though they are, are taken care of with an exciting but almost reassuring certainty by Alfred, the bogle slayer; it's the humans you have to watch out for, but there are also plenty of human helpers in this community at every turn.  This is a very rich and a very rewarding read. Certainly recommended for fantasy lovers; even young historians and realistic readers might be beguiled by the strong history behind Jinks' work.

Lemony Snicket, "Who Could That Be At This Hour" from the All the Wrong Questions series

A mash up of Lemony Snicket style and Dashiell Hammett plot, Travis Sherman says, "Not to my taste." All the ingredients are here: humor, action, smart young heroes, but no human beings.  What genre is this? Not really mystery -- too droll.  Lots of action -- but not quite believable.  Humor? Yes, very dry.  Like a martini.  These are fun books, I just don't know who I would recommend them to.  

I have to agree with Travis on this one, I'm just not quite who I would feel inclined to recommend this to. There are so many other books that take the cake for those at this reading level who like Lemony Snicket and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Yes, it is a different and original book, but to me it stops there. It is just a weird and quirky story about Lemony Snicket, a mysterious organization, and a bunch of strange people in a strange town. What it really reminded me of (adult reference point here) is a Wes Anderson movie. It is art? It is satire? Is it supposed to be just so unbelievable that you can't stop watching to see how far the joke is taken? Or, do I just not get it?