Vacation reading

Headed out this vacation with a pile of books, determined to put in some quality fluff-reading time. 🙂

The Voices of a Distant Star, adapted by Mizu Sahara
Threw this manga into the bag at the last minute after catching lnhammer watching a bit of the anime it’s based on. Not really fluff after all: the story of the relationship between a girl and boy (woman and man by the end) dealing with the increasing time lag between their messages when she heads off into space and he stays behind. Moving and sweet at once.

Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
Because what better time to read a 500-page tome than on vacation? Emminently readable in a girl-meets-vampire fluff sort of way, but the subtext bothered me more the longer I read. Bella may be the ultimate spirited-instead-of-strong female character, because she doesn’t even try to rescue herself or influence events. That she spends the whole book throwing herself at her vampire love interest without even a twinge of self-preservation is bad enough (she figures if he kills her, he kills her, there’s nothing she can do because she Loves Him); but the only non-passive action Bella manages to take, in the end, is to throw herself at the story’s villain in a poorly-thought-out-effort to save those she loves. Surely there are more worthy girls out there falling in love with vampires? (Well, in Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, for one–which I never did post about, come to think of it.)

Fairest, Gail Carson Levine
Fairy tale about a girl who is ugly but has the kingdom’s best voice and can project that voice to elsewhere in the room; a new foreign queen who is beautiful but can’t sing in a kingdom full of singers; and a prince who loves his dog and dislikes lying. What I love most about Levine’s writing, here and elsewhere, is how good-hearted her storytelling is: no one, whether a villain or a heroine with unworthy desires, gets punished for their mistakes, and happily ever after happens without the shadow of fairy-tale-harsh retribution. Which could lead to an insipid sort of story, but somehow never does.

The Titan’s Curse, Rick Riordan
Third of the young Olympian books about the present-day half blood children of the Greek gods. In which Artemis’ boy-spurning archers and Artemis and Apollo’s sibling dynamics form a backdrop for the human middle school relationships among the characters. Plus, the book is funny. My favorite of the young Olympians books so far.

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