Thursday, July 26, 2018

MIddle Grade Mini-Reviews: The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente & The Language of Spells by Garrety Weyr

The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2017
Hardcover. 544 pages.

The Glass Town Game is one hundred percent pure Catherynne Valente imagination, and that basically just means that this is an incredibly creative, magical, and exceptionally fun story. This book is about Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell Bronte as they accidentally end up in a fantasy world where things take some unexpected turns. The weird part about this fantasy world? It's based entirely off of the pretend game they themselves invented called Glass Town.

This is a truly stunning piece of fiction with a vibrant, completely unpredictable world and plot. Valente's prose, as always, is so gorgeous that it's almost as if you can feel the magic coming out of the pages. In addition to the writing itself being so wonderful, the content is also just as fun, with dazzling characters and plot points as well as tiny little tidbits/easter eggs littered throughout regarding various elements of the book and the history it is related to. There were so many little details and ideas that I just loved. There are Willy Wonka-esque food experiences and personified luggage that are adorable. Plus, we get some awesome cameos and characters based off of other historical figures, such as Jane Austen and Lord Byron. This book is a blast.

I will say that this if you're looking at this book for a young reader in life and not yourself, I'd recommend it to the older side of middle grade simply because of the size and prose. It's not that it's not kid-friendly, but it is pretty dense and Valente loves her creative wordplay, so a younger reader might not enjoy all aspects of that. Things also did start to feel slightly excessive and convoluted near the end, which is what took this away from being a five-star read for me, but I still really enjoyed it and can absolutely see myself re-reading it in the future. Overall, I've given The Glass Town Game four-and-a-half stars!

Buy the book: Amazon Book Depository

The Language of Spells by Garrett Weyr, illustrated by Katie Harnett
Chronicle Books, 2018
Hardcover. 256 pages. 

The Language of Spells is one of the sweetest, most heartwarming stories I have ever read. I truly fell in love with our two main protagonists: Grisha the dragon & Maggie, a young girl, and I guarantee that you will too. This is a historical-based story in a world in which dragons once existed alongside humans, but during World War II their freedom was taken away and now there only a few still around. This story follows both Maggie and Grisha through a small variety of topics, but the main issue that Maggie sets out to solve is what happened to all the missing dragons.

This is a very calm sort of story without much action or fast-moving plot, but it's still one that really gripped me. I thought the writing was so carefully done and has a lovely magical narration that almost borders on what I would call a sense of melancholy that simply envelopes you and sucks you in. The start of this book is a bit on the slower side, but once you get into it it really does start to pick up.

I really can't recommend this one enough. If you ever just want a break from the stress of your own life or from high conflict books, then this is the perfect book to read through. It's fairly short and it's also middle grade, so it's an easy read. I don't have any kids and I haven't spoken to any kids that have read this, but I do personally feel that this would be a good one. A bit of warning that it has the most bittersweet ending, and I was not at all prepared for it, so it felt like punch to the stomach... but it also felt so wonderful? Overall, I've given The Language of Spells five stars!

Buy the book: Amazon

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I need to read The Glass Town Game!! Thanks for the reviews!