Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda Wormwood is no ordinary girl – at the age of three she taught herself to read. Since then, she has been devouring books just as other children devour candy. Books fascinate the little girl since she delights in discovering new worlds and meeting new and amazing characters. However, her parents don’t seem to appreciate Matilda’s vocation as they are too preoccupied with watching TV and scamming other people. Thus, when the little girl finally attends school, she is happy to have found a friend in her kind teacher, Miss Honey, who immediately recognizes that Matilda is a special child. But when Miss Honey tries to speak to the headmistress regarding Matilda’s outstanding learning abilities, the cruel and frightening Miss Trunchbull doesn’t believe Miss Honey, since she despises children. As Matilda discovers that she possesses even greater abilities, the little girl is determined to use her extraordinary tricks in order to defend the helpless and to fight for justice.

Matilda is such a wonderful and delightful book about a young girl with amazing abilities and a great sense of justice. This lovely book is packed with charm, intelligence, warmth and magic and I loved everything about it as Matilda delivers some very important messages to everyone out there! Matilda is a brave young girl who is ready to fight for justice at all cost; she is not afraid of anyone and is willing to do everything in order to help those who are weak and who cannot stand up for themselves. That just shows how great this little girl is and others really can learn a lot from her. I loved Matilda’s courage, her enthusiasm for books and her drive for knowledge and I think that she sets a perfect example for other children.

I must admit that I have watched the movie Matilda quite a few times without even knowing that the book existed. But when I checked out Roald Dahl’s books, I discovered Matilda and I was eager to read it, as I love the movie. And I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this beautiful book, as I think that it’s even better than the movie. Matilda is now one of my favorite books and I can’t wait for my daughter to grow up so we can read this book together.

When I finished reading this book, I was very sad, as I wanted to read more about this little girl and her adventures. Actually, I was so sad that I had to hug this book a few times! Luckily, Roald Dahl has written many books, and I plan to read some of them in the future.

Matilda is a charming story about friendship, courage and justice, and I highly recommend it to everyone book lover out there and to everyone who wants to read a book with a positive and conscious theme.

Note: I would like to thank Puffin Books for giving me the opportunity to read such an amazing book!

Andreea

The Queen Must Die by K.A.S. Quinn

Katie is a lonely N.Y.C. girl who doesn’t have any friends since nobody seems to be interested in her, not even her mother Mimi. Katie can’t confide in her mother as Mimi is too preoccupied with getting married – every time she meets a new man, Katie’s mother feels the need to marry him. Thus, having no one to talk to, Katie likes to spend her time reading books. However, one day, when the young girl reads a book about Queen Victoria’s daughters, a peculiar thing happens – she finds herself lying under a sofa in Buckingham Palace, at the height of Queen Victoria’s reign.

Together with her new friends – Princess Alice, the young daughter of Queen Victoria, and James O’Reilly, the son of the royal doctor – Katie tries to find out why she has been sent back in time. However, there are other mysteries that need to be solved as well. For example, there are Katie’s strange visions and the frightening creatures that keep following her everywhere. As the young girl tries to discover the truth behind these strange happenings, she finds out something even more disturbing – dark forces have constructed a plot to assassinate the Queen. Thus, Katie and her friends must find a way to stop this unthinkable thing from happening. However, the young heroine must pay heed, as these supernatural creatures are out to get her. Will Katie be able to save the Queen and save herself? And will she be able to return to N.Y.C.?

The Queen Must Die is the first of The Chronicles of the Tempus trilogy and it’s an engaging children’s book packed with suspense, mysteries, secrets and many adventures. Filled with both fact and fiction, this novel narrates the exciting story of a young girl who feels alone and who is looking for distraction. Katie takes comfort in books; reading is her passion since she can embark on journeys and travel all over the world while sitting in her N.Y.C. bedroom. Books transport her into new worlds and she can meet new and interesting people that way. However, Katie didn’t expect that one day, she would literally be transported to another time and place. The young girl starts the most intriguing adventure of her life, but in the end, she gains more than just a thrilling experience – she learns so many things about life and furthermore, she gains new friends that appreciate and support her.

The Queen Must Die is a wonderful book about family, friendship and courage. It was a delight to read this book, as I love the Victorian Period, and thus I really enjoyed reading about Queen Victoria, the Royal Family and Buckingham Palace. I liked to read about Katie’s adventures in London and I especially liked the theme of time travel and the supernatural elements in this novel. As I mentioned before, I normally don’t read series, but I will read this one since it’s refreshing, captivating and fascinating. I am looking forward to reading the second instalment, The Queen At War, which will be published in 2011.

I recommend this book to everyone who is interested in the Victorian Period and to everyone who likes to read books about time travel.

Note: I would like to thank Atlantic Books for sending me a copy of this great book!

Andreea

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Since I found Nymeth’s blog last year, I have learned about so many books and authors that were new to me and I am really grateful for that, because otherwise, I would have never discovered such wonderful fantasy books or authors like Susanna Clarke and Neil Gaiman. Often, Nymeth would mention Neil Gaiman’s books and how much she loved them and I must admit that she made me curious. Thus, I decided that it was time to read my first Neil Gaiman book and I have chosen to read The Graveyard Book.

Here are my thoughts on this amazing book:

Nobody Owens’ family was murdered when he was just a toddler and since then, he has been living in a graveyard. Raised and educated by ghosts and a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the dead nor of the living, Nobody (called ‘Bod’ for short), has learned a great deal of things and he has embarked on many engaging adventures in the graveyard. From an ancient Indigo Man and ghouls to the terrible Sleer, Bod has encountered many dangers in the graveyard, but he has also made many friends who have protected him and guided him through the years.

As Bod grows from a toddler into a young man, he befriends people from both the world of the dead and of the living, but he doesn’t quite fit in with either of these worlds. Since the young boy yearns to learn more about the world of the living, he is determined to explore the world outside the graveyard. However, there are many dangers that await him there, including the man Jack, who murdered his family and who still looks for Bod. As he explores both the world of the living and of the dead, the reader witnesses how Bod matures and how in the end, this brave young man learns what it means to be alive.

Inspired by Kipling’s The Jungle Book, The Graveyard Book narrates the story of an orphaned boy who, over the course of time, learns so many things about life and ultimately, about himself. As the story evolves, the reader witnesses how Bod changes and matures, and while Bod discovers new things and starts many adventures, we see how he always thirsts for more knowledge and how he becomes more courageous as the story progresses. I really cared deeply about Bod and the other characters and I loved to accompany Bod on his many journeys, including the journey of growing up. Overall, The Graveyard Book is a bittersweet coming-of-age story that is full of kindness, intelligence and surprises! You cannot help but feel touched by this book and you will treasure it like a precious jewel because The Graveyard Book is such a wonderful story that deals with important themes such as courage, risks, change and childhood. Yes, Bod’s story may be a little dark, but Neil Gaiman has accomplished so much with this book! He has narrated a tale that is inventive, warm, suspenseful and educative. The Graveyard Book is one of those books that everybody could read, no matter how old one is as it delivers some strong and important messages to everyone out there. The Graveyard Book teaches the readers that people should dare to take risks and live life to the fullest, as life is too short and we never know when it might come to an end. If we don’t step out of our comfort zone and don’t take certain risks, we might miss out on many wonderful things! Life is hard and there are many dangers out there, but this book teaches us that we have to be brave and believe in ourselves, because in the end, it’s all worth it. Bod sets a perfect example and people can learn so many things from him. Now that he has learned what it means to be alive, Bod is ready to embrace life and enjoy it, with both its good and bad sides. He will make mistakes, meet new people, experience pain, but also joy, as all these things are part of our lives. And if one has not explored the world with all its different facets, one has not lived at all!

Like other readers, I have only one negative thing to say about this book – it’s too short. While reading it, I wanted to learn more about the protagonists, especially Bod’s guardian Silas, Scarlett and Miss Lupescu (I am Romanian / German and although my German is better than my Romanian, I still immediately noticed Miss Lupescu’s name – it’s Romanian and it’s derived from the word ‘wolf’. Also, ‘Lupus’ is Latin for ‘wolf’ and the Romanian language is a Romance language, derived from Latin with 80 % of the Romanian vocabulary being Latin. In addition, on page 211, we find a reference to Miss Lupescu, and we learn that she calls Bod ‘nimeni’, which is again Romanian and means ‘nobody’ in English). Although the book was too short, I found it perfect for me, as it drew me in from page one and it made me think about its themes after I finished reading it. And I love books that make you think and that linger in your mind for a long time! Although I longed for more, I think I know how to satisfy my thirst – I will read more Neil Gaiman books in the future because I just loved The Graveyard Book. If I were to rate it, I would give this book five stars out of five!

Note: I would like to thank Danielle Bartlett from Harper Collins for giving me the opportunity to read and review such a great book!

Other reviews:

Things Mean A Lot

Booklust

Andreea