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Month in review

Reviews
Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
And Then You Dye by Monica Ferris
Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
Avenging the Owl by Melissa Hart
Bigmama's by Donald Crews
Cat With a Clue by Laurie Cass
Clarice Bean, Guess Who's Babysitting? by Lauren Child
Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet
Cy Whittaker's Place by Joseph C. Lincoln
Empty Places by Kathy Cannon Wiechman
The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Honey by Sarah Weeks
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton
The Last Monster by Ginger Garrett
Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban
Pretty in Ink by Karen E. Olson
Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
Sea Change by Frank Viva
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Slacker by Gordon Korman
Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
This is San Francisco by Miroslav Sasek
Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales
Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson

Miscellaneous
October Reading Summary

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard: 10/04/16

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier is a stand alone meta-fantasy that's billed as a sequel to Peter Nimble. If anything, it's more of a special guest appearance by Peter as this book is in no way his story, even if Auxier attempts sometimes to make it so.

Sophie Quire lives with her father in their bookshop. She has taken over for her mother as the store's book mender. She lives in a village where yearly there's a bonfire to burn the ridiculous things that the town magistrate has decided are keeping the townsfolk back. This year he's settled on fiction — story books.

On the eve of the bonfire, Sophie's approached by Peter and Sir Tode about repairing an old book. The blurb has us believe that the book is told from Peter's point of view — that this is his adventure. It isn't. The majority of the scenes including the reintroduction of him and Sir Tode is done from Sophie's point of view.

Interestingly, Peter doesn't come off as sympathetic or noble or tragic as he did in his book. He's petty, moody, selfish, and all around annoying. As a master thief, though, he is a means to and end for Sophie to complete her quest — namely rescuing the Book of Who (the book Peter gave her) and the other three: What, Where and Why. She basically tolerates him to get to her goal.

Sophie Quire we find out pretty quickly is a storyguard. She is a keeper of the Book of Who, one of a four volume encyclopedia that updates in real time. Being one gives her the ability to interact with books in a way similar to fans of Die unendliche Geschichte (The Neverending Story) by Michael Ende. If Sophie fails at her quest, her world, namely the fictional one imagined by Auxier, will be obliterated in the pyre.

Sophie's adventures though aren't entirely through a reimagined Fantasia. There are nods as well to Narnia (of the earliest ones in publication order, rather than the abysmal Revelations inspired ending), to the Disc (specifically The Light Fantastic), and Howl's Moving Castle (the film more so than the novel).

For the most part I enjoyed following along with Sophie. Near the end though her adventures get interrupted by chapters with the villains or with chapters focusing on Peter. One chapter in particular annoyed me to no end as it's from Peter's point of view during one of the last big epic battles where everything is at stake. Instead on focusing on how good Sophie is at outwitting her opponents and how she uses brains over brawn, we're privy to lengthy scenes where Peter is doubting himself and needs to be cheered along. Apparently, just like Tinkerbell, Peter is only a good thief if we truly believe in him. BARF.

So I'm taking one star off of an otherwise delightful read because of Peter. He's just there to sell the book. He's there because the men involved in this creation didn't think a fantasy novel could sell with a girl as the hero. Peter is irrelevant and distracting. Anyone could have delivered the book to Sophie to get the plot rolling. Frankly, given the book's magical nature, it could have delivered itself to her.

Four stars

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