Some kind words from a literary hero of mine, Marita Conlon-McKenna.
Sunday 19 June 2016
The real strength of this book is in the characters. Each is especially well developed, flawed and believable. Liv herself is kind-hearted but fiery in temperament, stubborn, and appropriately immature. The other characters that populate the book are equally flawed which made me empathise with them - even the bully, Mad Dog. I particularly liked the fragile and fuel-soaked relationship she has with Liv. There is one particular gruelling bully scene, but the other encounters between the two are equally as frightening, and painfully real.
Because Murray's characters are so well-rounded and complex, the relationships between them feel very real to the reader. In fact, everything about this book feels REAL, which is why I loved it. The events and characters are so realistic, one wonders if there's quite a bit of autobiographical detail in here?
I thought the way the novel was structured around a recipe book was inspired and original. Indeed, I loved the title of Liv's recipe book so much I thought it would make a great title for the actual novel - Recipes to Make Happiness Bloom. But I like Caramel Hearts too!
This book is immensely readable, written in a language to reflect Li'v's life - simple, but underscored with emotion and complexity. A most enjoyable read!
Posted by Kieran at 01:48
Monday 6 June 2016
The Black Lotus Quiz
Test your knowledge of The Black Lotus. Only smart ninjas need apply.
Which of these is NOT one of the Swords of Sarumara?The Blood Sword
The Moon Sword
The Butterfly Sword
Which of these characters has a scar?Ghost
On what part of the body do Kyatapira police officers (Kats) wear a tattoo?Wrists
Renkondo is......the underground headquarters of the Black Lotus.
...a historical Japanese coming-of-age ceremony.
...a traditional Japanese food.
What superhero does Cormac have on his boxer shorts?Superman
What superpower does the Jonin have?Bioluminescence
Master of machines
How many horses do Cormac, Kate and Ghost steal from Yosa Castle?2
Which of these creatures does NOT appear in the story?A bat
What colour is Kate's hair?Blonde
The final part of the book is set in which US city?New York City
Your Ninja Rank: Novice
This ninja must try harder.
Your Ninja Rank: Average
You have performed well in your test but could have scored higher. As punishment, please adopt the above pose for 2-3 hours.
Your Ninja Rank: Expert
Congratulations! You have excelled in your test and are now eligible to join FUYU - a group of elite ninja warriors.
Posted by Kieran at 13:36
As a lover of fashion, my daughter was very much drawn to this book because it's full of decadence and style. The descriptions of the luxurious department store are particularly evocative of a different era and the reader is immediately drawn into this world.
Well written and researched, the tale keeps its readers on their toes with constant twists, double-crossings, surprises and danger by the bucketful. The ending in particular is extremely pacey and action-packed.
I particular loved the bit where Sophie escapes a locked room using the newspaper under the door trick because this was a trick (in games only!) we used to do as kids. I also liked the fleeting villain, the Baron, and how his identity is not revealed. I'm guessing he reappears in later books. I for one, have a sneaking suspicion that he is... Better not say!
Great story, full of wonderful characters. Kids (especially girls) will love it!
Posted by Kieran at 11:53