Sunday, 27 July 2008

I've Moved!

Because of the pointlessly long URL of my blog, which I can't change, I have decided to make a new blog and import everything from here into the new one.
So enjoy my new blog; Dragonfly Book Reviews!!!!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
Adapted by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
Art by Giovanni Rigano and Colour by Paolo Lamanna

The original Artemis Fowl was boring. The overall story was cool, and the ideas seemed original, but it read badly. It took me three attempts before I actually read more than halfway, and a further 2 before I actually managed to complete the book.

The next books in the series were a bit better, but I try to stay away from Eoin Colfer's books because I tend to find them dull, when in actual fact they are meant to be exciting. But it's a matter of taste; I have a friend who loves all Eoin Colfer's work, and this is why I was forced into reading the whole Artemis Fowl series, and also how I obtained this book.

Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel is not boring. It's action packed, because it has been shortened. Reading it, it felt like I was watching a film.

They should make a film of Artemis Fowl. It'd be great.

Anyway. The art in this book is great, and there are some things in the pictures that you see that you never picked up on in the original novel (probably because you were too busy concentrating on trying to stay awake). Rigano has drawn the characters just like you would expect them to look like, but maybe there is slight exaggeration on Butler's features. His neck looks like it is about to swallow his face (see the first picture on page 3 of the story) and, although in the book it stresses that Butler is bald, he has blond hair in this adaptation.

I won't tell you any of the story, as I know it would ruin it. All I will say is; buy this instead of the original, unless you have trouble getting to sleep.

'Reads like the fastest, punchiest comic strip you've ever come across'


Title: Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

Author: Adapted by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

First Published: 2007, by Puffin Books


Our story begins several years ago at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

Young Artemis Fowl is a criminal genius and the mastermind behind some of the most devious and technologically advanced crimes of this century. What is he after this time? Gold of course. And not just any old gold. Fairy gold. The only thing is, these are not just any old fairies...

Artemis is plotting to hold a fairy to ransom and restore his family's fortune. But he soon discovers that there is a world below ground where the fairies are armed and dangerous, the gadgetry is mind-blowing and paranoid centaurs and LEPrecon officers await him.

Seeing is believing, So strap in, adventurers - you've never experienced anything like this.

Buy It From: Amazon

Rating: 3/5

Monday, 7 July 2008

Ophelia, by Lisa Klein

by Lisa Klein

Ophelia is a novel which tells the story of a character from Shakespeare's Hamlet. This character is Ophelia, a beatiful young woman who lives in in Elsinore Castle, home to the rulers of Denmark; King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude.

Ophelia's mother died giving birth to her, leaving Ophelia in the care of her father Polonius and her brother, Laertes.

She grew up in a small village just outside of Elsinore, but her father wanted nothing more than to work for King Hamlet, so he could become wealthy.

So Ophelia and her brother were moved from their happy village home to a dull, two-roomed apartment in Elsinore Castle. Her father would be working for the King as a spy, to make sure the Queen wasn't having an affair.

Her father was gradually becoming closer to the king, striking up acquaintances with dangerous men, and also befriending Claudius, the King's uncle, drunk all the time and greatly disliked.

Ophelia didn't notice this, because she was too busy running around in the castle grounds with Laertes and his friend Edmund.

As Ophelia grew up, she started to notice the King's son, Hamlet. He was becoming friendly with Laertes, and Ophelia longed for the afternoons where she, Laertes, Hamlet and Horatio, Hamlet's best friend, would play catch, or swim in the river. She was falling for Prince Hamlet.

Soon after realising she loved the Prince, Ophelia was told she would have to move to the courts of Elsinore, so she could work for the Queen and become a young lady. Ophelia did as she was told, and became Qeen Gertrude's favourite.

But soon after Ophelia felt that her life was perfect, Prince Hamlet came along, and Ophelia was reminded of her love for him.

It turned out that Hamlet loved Ophelia too, and so they meet in secret, with Horatio guarding them. They sneak out in disguises of poor farm people so they can finally talk in the open air, and their love for one another grows.

But then something terrible happens at Elsinore. King Hamlet has been found dead. No-one has confirmed this, but everyone suspects he was murdered by his brother Claudius, who everyone knows wants the throne of Denmark for himself.

But, although grieved, Prince Hamlet continues to act merry for he has Ophelia, his beloved.

After sneaking out yet again in their guises, Ophelia and Hamlet decide to get married in the village church, to prove their everlasting love for one another.

But Ophelia's secret is becoming harder to keep as her father and Queen Gertrude both suspect she is having an affair, though neither suspect Hamlet.

All is well at Elsinore Castle, but then Claudius, the evil brother of the late King Hamlet, is elected as King of Denmark.

The court of Elsinore goes mad after this. Queen Gertrude, who formerly despised Claudius, marries him just days after King Hamlet's death.

This saddens Prince Hamlet, and he will not accept that Claudius is King, and is sure that he planned the murder of King Hamlet. He wants revenge for his father's death, and the madness of his mother, and plots to kill Claudius.

But Claudius knows that Hamlet will try to overpower him, and however strong Claudius's hold on the throne may be, he will not let anyone who could expose him as a cheat or murderer live.

So Claudius, too, plots to kill. He wants Hamlet dead.

The entire court of Elsinore has been engulfed by darkness and despair. Everyone is suffering in some way.

The madness goes on for a while, with Ophelia's cheat of a father getting murdered in the process, until, finally, Ophelia has had enough.

Her life is threatened because of her apparent closeness to Prince Hamlet and the fact she is Polonius's daughter, so Ophelia knows she must escape from this madland before it is too late.

So she and Horatio devise a plan, which involves faking Ophelia's death so she can escape to France.

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia becomes mad, and dies. But in this tale, it says she faked her death in order to escape to a French convent. For this is Hamlet told through Ophelia's own eyes.

So Ophelia escapes, and she is accepted at the convent, but many find her suspicious because she will not tell her identity or anything of her past. She learns that she is pregnant, and the child is Hamlet's, but she does no longer care for him, because he has turned mad and twisted with revenge.

So, Ophelia becomes a doctor at the convent, and all is well.

A great story, and one that is different. It was extremely hard to put down at times, and it is written so well.

Lisa Klein is a great author, I hope she writes another novel.

Ophelia is Hamlet told by Ophelia herself, yet it bears hardly any resemblance to Shakespeare's work. The characters are the same, with some new ones added, and the main events occur in Lisa Klein's novel as well as Shakespeare's play, but because Ophelia is telling the story this time, it is completely different.

Also, about a quarter of the book is a brand new story, because in Hamlet Ophelia dies, but in Ophelia, her death is faked so she can go to a convent, and a large part of the book tells of her life there.

And it has a really happy ending.

I would recommend it to any female, except the language is confusing at times, so maybe just 12+.

Ophelia Author: Lisa Klein
First Published: 2006, by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Ophelia is young, vivacious and falling in love with a prince who cannot return her affections without arousing suspicion. And so they meet in secret - embracing in stairwells and castle turrets, reaching passionately for each othe under the cover of darkness.
But when bloody deeds turn the court of Elsinore into a place of madness and revenge, Ophelia alone must find the means to escape. In desperation, she will flee from her home forever... with one very dangerous secret.
In a dramatic and heart-rending tale of murder and intrigue, love and loss, Ophelia will tell her own story - one you will have never heard before, but one you will never forget.
Buy It From:

Sunday, 6 July 2008

St. Trinian's, by Pippa La Quesne

St Trinian's
Adapted by Pippa La Quesne
Based on the screenplay by Piers Ashworth & Nick Moorcroft

The 2007 movie St Trinian's was, and still is, one of my favourites, so that is why I bought the book.
It is quite short, with only 148 pages including screenshots from the movie, but I read the first chapter online and felt that it was like the film; brilliant.
I wasn't let down, but because this is a book for all ages, some of my favourite, or the funniest, lines were taken out because they had swears or weren't suitable for children under 12, etc., etc.
It didn't ruin the book though. Pippa La Quesne described the settings wonderfully, all the words she chose to put down to describe St Trinian's and it's pupils and staff did the job well.
A few scenes were missed out, but I know that is because it wouldn't work very well if you were to try and write them down, such as the Annabelle on YouTube scene. If you haven't watched the film, you would be none the wiser, but if you have then it is slightly annoying, skipping a scene, but nothing can be done about it.
It is better to read the book of the film, then watch the movie, because sometimes you can't decipher what some characters are saying, or you don't get what the scene is about, but then you read the book and you're like 'so that's what they said/were doing!', and it would be better if you didn't have to watch the scene over and over to hear the line correctly, which is what I sometimes do, you could just read the book and then know the lines and the added scenes would be a bonus, and a surprise.
In case you haven't seen St. Trinian's, in which case I suggest that you go out and buy the dvd now (!), then here is a quick summary of the story;
Annabelle Fritton has been dumped at the notorious St Trinian's School For Young 'Ladies', in the middle of one of their financial crisises.
The St Trinian's headmistress owes the bank £500,000, and needs to pay up quick or St Trinian's will be shut down.
So the pupils plan to steal the most valuable painting ever in order to pay the bills. It will be the heist of the century; and St Trinian's is game on.
They have to take part in School Challenge and get to the finals in order to get a chance to steal the Lady With The Pearl Earring, or as Chelsea calls it, Scarlett Johansson.
But St Trinian's isn't known for brains, they are known for cunning, so they have to cheat.
We follow the unruly pupils and teachers as they plan to cheat and seduce their way through School Challenge, and also try and stop the school inspector Geoffrey Thwaites from shutting the school down too.
I would recommend this book to anyone, as, I have already explained, any reference to bad language has been removed from this book.

Title: St Trinian's
Author: Adapted by Pippa La Quesne
First Published: 2007, by The Penguin Group
St Trinian's is in crisis.
The notorious school for young 'ladies' has been threatened with closure and needs to find funds, fast. A whole host of ungovernable and downright unruly pranksters (and that includes the teachers) are game on to pull off the heist of the century.
Their plan? Steal an extremely famous painting from the National Gallery. Right under the noses of the authorities, of course. But can their combined cunning and total lack of shame save the day before school is out - for good?
Buy It Now From: Amazon

Rating: 3.5/5

Finding Cassie Crazy, by Jaclyn Moriarty

Finding Cassie Crazy
by Jaclyn Moriarty

Jaclyn Moriarty's works are among my favourites. They are always written in a style that is different. For example; Becoming Bindy Mackenzie told a story through emails, notecards and school reports, and Finding Cassie Crazy is also written differently, which helps to make the book as good as it is.
The story is expressed first through Lydia Jaackson-Obermann's notebook which was a birthday present from her dad, then through emails written to Emily Thompson by her dad, and then through diary entries in Cassie Aganovic's diary. These methods of writing the story mean we get to know a little about the character's personality straight off. The book is full of humour, especially when Lydia gets involved.
This is the main plot of the book;
The three girls mentioned above, Lyd, Cass and Em, go to Ashbury High (this is the same school as in Jaclyn Moriarty's other two books, and some of the main characters from the other books feature in this one, which I think is a great, unique idea, seeing as the books aren't in a series or anything). They enjoy skipping school, smoking, parties and dope.
Their English teacher, Mr Botherit, wants to set up a pen-pal project between private school Ashbury and psychopath-drug-dealer school Brookfield High. Of course, everyone is against that idea because all the 'Brooker Kids' are psychos, criminals, bunny-killers, etc.
Even though everyone frowns upon it, Mr Botherit wants to continue with his 'Joy of the Envelope' scheme.
So best friends Emily, Lydia and Cassie have to write letters to three unknown Brooker Boys. The girls are pleasantly surprised when they get nice replies, and strike up a friendship.
But Cassie is having trouble with her pen-pal; he keeps threatening to harm Cass if she talks to him again, but her therapist (who is helping her get over her father's death) tells her to talk to a perfect stranger, so she continues to tell all to a violent Brooker kid called Matthew Dunlop.
Finally, he starts to reply nicely and thanks Cassie for tips on playing his trumpet, which is 'his whole life'.
Meanwhile, Emily and Lydia are going on 'nearly dates' with their boys. Emily is helping to train her boy Charlie up so he can ask out hot Christina, and Lydia and her pen-pal Seb are daring each other to steal exam papers, etc. from teachers in the other schools!
When Matthew tells Cassie the school banned him from trumpet lessons, and confiscated his trumpet, Cassie wants to help. She arranges to meet Matthew so she can help him to argue his case and get his lessons and trumpet back.
But it doesn't go so well, and Matthew, who isn't really Matthew at all, leaves Cassie crazy, and she thinks she is literally going mad/wrong in the head/crazy.
And so begins an all-out war between the two schools, and the five (Lyd, Seb, Charlie, Cass, Em) do their best to track down the mysterious 'Matthew Dunlop'.
An excellent and funny book from the writer of Feeling Sorry For Celia and Becoming Bindy Mackenzie.

Title: Finding Cassie Crazy
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
First Published: 2003, by Young Picador
For Sale: SLAVE
I have a Year Seven student in my possesion who owes me his life. He will do library research for you, clean out your locker, impersonate you at roll-call, etc., etc. Very stupid but works like a Trojan.
Form Mistress: The student who posted this notice should report to my office immediately. Slavery will not be tolerated in this school.
The Year Ten notice board at Ashbury High is full of crazy messages. One of them is Mr Botherit's 'Joy of the Envelope' Pen-Pal Project. Best friends Cassie, Em and Lydia are forced to write letter to three unknown boys at downtown Brookfield High - where the kids are all psychopaths, drg-dealers, tattooed bunny-killers, etc.
Naturally, this leads to an all-out war between the schools, plus secret meeting and some surprising snogging.
Buy It From: Amazon

Rating 4.5/5

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The Luxe, by Anna Godbersen

The Luxe
By Anna Godbersen

As you can see from my current Book of the Week, I thoroughly enjoyed The Luxe. It tells the story of rich families living in New York, in 1899. It mainly centres around the Holland, Hayes and Schoonmaker families; society's elite, if you will.
Before each chapter is a cutting from a newspaper, extract from a book or diary, or even a private letter, and the chapter will be centered around what was in that extract/cutting/letter. I liked that idea, and made the book even better, I think.
The prologue tells of the death of an Elizabeth Holland, loved by all who knew her, and thought perfect and beautiful by everyone. The book tells of the events leading up to her death, but on the very last page there is a sudden twist.
The book is set in New York, and nearly all the chapters/scenes take place in a mansion or a ballroom, or the frequently visited Lord and Taylor, the dressmaker.
There are plenty of 'scandals' in the book, such as the love that Elizabeth Holland and her coachman, Will, share, even though she is engaged to Henry Schoonmaker because her family is losing their fortune because of their dead father's debts that are slowly emerging, one by one, and Henry Schoonmaker is the richest there is.
And how Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth's greatest rival, and therefore her best friend, was sure to marry the young Schoonmaker, were it not for his father forcing him to cruelly abandon her and propose to Elizabeth so the elder Schoonmaker could run for mayor of 1900, then president.
Also the schemes that Penelope thinks up so she can try and win Henry back.
Lina, Elizabeth's childhood friend and maid, loves Will, who Elizabeth is having a secret affair with, so becomes 'evil' and seeks out Penelope so she can reveal all Elizabeth's secrets when she is fired from her position as Elizabeth's maid because she spills hot tea over Miss Holland.
Also, Will, Lina's crush, and Elizabeth's lover, wants to move to California because seeing Liz marry Henry would break his heart. He is trying to get Elizabeth to elope with him.
And how Diana Holland, Elizabeth's younger sister, loves Henry Schoonmaker, even though his sister is engaged to marry him, and he loves her back, but cannot say as he will lose his inheritance if he doesn't marry Elizabeth.
There is so much going on in this book, but it all ties together. It is a mix between a love story, and a murder mystery, but as I said, there is a big plot twist at the end.

Title: The Luxe
Author: Anna Godbersen
First Published: In the USA 2007, by Harper Collins Children's Books
Be seen with the most sumptuous book of the season.
Every girl must own one.
Imagine, if you will, New Y0rk City, 1899...
Society's elite; the glamour, the grandeur, the glittering parties, the most handsome beaux, the most beautiful debutantes... the rich girl, the humble boy, the forbidden love, the stolen glances, the whispers, the scandal, the mystery, the revenge.
You are cordially invited to step into
where the secrets are dark and the sins are delicious...
Buy It Now From: Amazon

Rating 5/5

The Secret Countess, by Eva Ibbotson

The Secret Countess
By Eva Ibbotson

One thing about Eva Ibbotson is; all her books seem to include connections to the Amazon or Russia. Though not a flaw of Ms. Ibbotson's, it might be nice if the hero/heroine of the book wasn't Russian or living in the Amazon, or in a war.
The main character is a 18-20 year old girl called Anna (or 'Anoushka') Gravinzky from Russia. In her home country she was a Countess and owned palaces and land all over Russia, but with the revolution starting she and her family has had to flee and work for British aristocrats.
Anna is working as a housemaid for the Westerholmes, and quickly becomes a great friend to all the staff and the Westerholmes. She has to be careful to keep her identity secret, but Anna is, in a way, careless. Sooner or later the residents of Mersham (the Westerholmes estate) suss that she is of 'gentle birth' and all is revealed when the young Earl of Westerholme talks to a jeweller who tells him about the Gravinzky sapphires and other jewels, and about the Gravinzky's place in Russian society.
It is a love story, because Anna finds herself falling for the Earl (Rupert) who is engaged to be married to a beautiful, yet snobbish, young woman named Muriel, who is obsessed with eugenics, and will not befriend or marry anyone with any illness, mental or physical, in their family history.
This was an extremely good read, even if it was hard to get into.
When I first started the book I didn't like the style of writing or the language, and after trying to get into it for a few days, I set it aside. But, for lack of anything else to read, I picked the book up again and found it quite hard to put down, and so read past my 'bedtime'.
Even though I had read The Secret Countess for at least 2 hours last night, I was only about 5 or 6 chapters through it, but as I started to read it this morning I found myself getting well past the middle, reading on and on as I literally could not put the book down.
I finished The Secret Countess about half and hour ago, and I was extremely satisfied with the ending. Although it was a cliffhanger and left much to wonder about, I feel that no other ending would really have suited the book as well.
I would recommend this book to primary 7 or older girls, because I think the language is a little old-fashioned and complicated at times, which makes the book more suitable for early teens, and all the talk about love and dresses means that females would appreciate this book more.

I would say 'buy it now' because it truly is a great book and the story is lovely. It is hard to get into, but after you are about a quarter of the way through it gets really addictive and becomes one of those great books that you just can't put down!
'Another stunner from Ms. Ibbotson...'

Title: The Secret Countess (previously published as A Countess Below Stairs)
Eva Ibbotson
First Published: 1981, by MacDonald Futura as A Countess Below Stairs
Blurb: St Petersburg, 1917; Anna's world is under threat. The eighteen-year-old countess has lived in luxury all her life, but revolution is tearing Russia apart - and her family must escape...

London, 1919; Now penniless, Anna is working as a servant for the aristocratic Westerholmes. But as she falls in love with the young earl it becomes harder to keep her identity a secret...
An enchanting older novel from the award-winning author of Journey To The River Sea and The Star of Kazan.

Rating: 4/5