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Month in review

Reviews
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Before There Was Mozart by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
A Castle On Viola Street by Dyanne Disalvo
Charlie Anderson by Barbara Abercrombie
City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
Clover's Luck by Kallie George
Demon Volume 2 by Jason Shiga
Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings
Felix the Railway Cat by Kate Moore
Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
Giant Days, Volume 2 by John Allison
Happy Birthday, Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm
In the Beginning... by Arnaud Plumeri
The James: From Iron Gate to the Sea by Blair Niles
Just Us Women by Jeannette Franklin Caines
Knit Your Own Murder by Monica Ferris
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint
My Secret Guide to Paris by Lisa Schroeder
No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe
On Mother's Lap by Ann Herbert Scott
Peril in Paperback by Kate Carlisle
The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation by Shannon Hale
The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George
The Specific Ocean by Kyo Maclear
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Voltron: Legendary Defender, Volume 1 by Tim Hedrick
We Found A Hat by Jon Klassen
Zinnia: How the Corn Was Saved by Patricia Hruby Powell

Miscellaneous
Books about cats written by women
February 2017 ROOB and other news
Inclusive reading in February 2017
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (March 20)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (March 27)

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



Saturdays at Sea: 03/21/17

Saturdays at Sea by by Jessica Day George

Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George, the fifth (and final, per the author's post on GoodReads) of the Castle Glower series sees the royal family on a visit to the Kingdom of Grath for the upcoming wedding on Lilah and Lulath.

They are also there to build the ship from the pieces scrounged from the Castle because the Castle wants it! Since the very beginning, the royal family have been at the beck and call of their Castle — to the point that it picks the next king. So when the Castle tells you to go build the Ship — you do it! (Even if you're not sure how to)

In comparison, the Grathian royal family lives in a more traditional castle — a non-magical one called the Sanctuary. They are instead obsessed with flowers and dogs. Although the Munians of Star vs the Forces of Evil do in fact have magic (the seat of power being held in the form of the wand that the Queen inherits), I couldn't help but picture the Grathian dogs as Star's horde of laser-eye puppies.

And maybe that's part of my on-going slight irritation with this series. My own goofy imagination gets in the way of unusual (in a good way) world building of these books. I still find Grathian as understood through the Sleynian language off putting. With an entire kingdom, and therefore maybe a dozen different Grathians with dialog, it was like taking a tour in the Land of the Boov — if they were people living in a seaside community that looks like something out of a painting by Sir John Everett Millais.

Both "languages" are written in English. There is never any sort of snippets of either language as they would be spoken if either were real languages and we could listen in. The Castle Glower family is usually given very down to earth dialog — highlighting their commoner roots, and perhaps to make the book more accessible for the intended audience (middle grade readers).

The Grath, though, are presented as flowery — they like things to excess. Why have one dog, when you can have a hundred? Why have a single flower garden when your entire capital can be covered in flowers? Their language too is "very, O so very". It's both poetical and ungrammatical.

What's never made clear is why they speak this way — or at least, why their language is rendered this way. At first I thought it was because Lulath was trying to hard to impress his future in-laws. Then I thought it was just to make him sound foreign. Now I think it's supposed to be a hint at how Grathian language works.

Rather than giving a good sense of the different kingdoms and their cultures. I would say that of the two, Grath is actually the more fully realized kingdom in that it has a sense of place with a surrounding city, a sense of the people who live there, their artistic sense, their livelihood, etc. For Sleyne, the emphasis has always been on the magical Castle to the point that it's not always clear that there is anyone outside its walls.

So far my long winded review has only covered the first third of the book. The thing that really makes this series tick is the sentient Castle and how it seems to have roots into all manner of things beyond it's apparent foundation. In this regard, the Castle is like a happy, non-malevolent version of the house in House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Now the Castle is expanding its reach through the building of a Ship.

The second act of this book is the maiden voyage for the Ship. Through the ship we get the largest glimpse of the world beyond. We also see just how much (or how little) control Celie and her family have over the Castle and now the Ship. We also see how frightening a sentient, magical structure can be, especially when it has the ability to move.

The final act is indescribable without giving away spoilers. It though fits well with my recent "cornfield" research for the road narrative project. That, though, I will leave for a separate article, looking at the idea of dessert island as cornfield.

As I mentioned at the very beginning, the author posted in her "review" on GoodReads that Saturdays at Sea is the final book. There are still two more days in the week and Lulath and Lilah still aren't married. I think it should end with Matrimony on Monday, but I can't think of what Sunday would be. Regardless, this book is enough of a wrap up to be an ending but there's enough wiggle room left if the author ever wants to revisit the world and these characters.

Four stars

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