Monday, February 18, 2008

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Edge and The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray

Once again, I'm reading faster than I'm blogging (a day spent driving to JFK helped get me behind as well) so I'm doing 2 books in one entry today.
First was Chris Wooding's The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray. This one takes place in an alternate London, where wych-kin, an assortment of nasty supernatural creatures, have taken over parts of the city, particularly at night. Our hero, 17-year-old Thaniel, is a wych hunter, a sort of "gun for hire" to get rid of wych-kin. One night he happens upon a young woman, in the dangerous part of town, who appears to be either in shock or insane. He takes her home with him to try to at least keep her safe while he figures out who she is and what's going on. She alternates between periods of being very calm, shy and withdrawn, but not knowing who she is, and periods of being downright dangerously wacko. Turns out that a nasty spirit has been put in her, and there is a struggle going on for control of her body. Add to the mix, a massive political conspiracy, a serial killer, and a budding love interest and you've got a pretty darn good book with lots of twists and turns. Highly recommended, with nothing I can remember that would make it inappropriate for older middle schoolers as well as high school students.
I followed that one with Diane Tullson's Edge. This was a real sharp turn. Edge is the story of high school freshman, Marlie, a bit of an outcast and loner thanks to being set up a few times by Keely, who had been her best friend. When, Ravin, a goth type loner, approaches her, takes her to a party, and introduces her to some other loners, she thinks that she might at least have some friends. Mike, one of the loners, seems to be trying to control the group, and Marlie starts to fear that he might be planning something violent at the school. There are a gazillion sub-plots going in this one including, Marlie's little brother's abduction by their estranged father, Marlie's mother's host of problems, and Marlie's friendship with Chuck, a local undertaker who works with Marlie's mom (and has a crush on her) and had been friends with her dad. Chuck reminded me of the guy who runs the restaurant in Eureka on the Sci-Fi channel, but I digress. One of Chuck's stories from his youth reminds us that, although it seems like we have a lot more wackos these days, we probably don't. A few decades ago, we just hid them better, rather than glorifying them. A good book in this era of school bullying and violence, that could be a real good discussion starter. Probably not for most middle schoolers, though.
Check 'em out!
For some strange reason, I'm having trouble adding pictures of the book covers at the moment. I'll either add 'em later, or just skip them this time.

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