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This is a companion book to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and is very similar to the previous book in terms of retold tales and storytelling as a conceit within the book. I don't remember Where the Mountain Meets the Moon well enough to figure out if there are any direct connections, although given the retold stories, I wouldn't be surprised if there were mythological figures in common.

Rendi is running away from home, and he ends up working at an inn in the Village of Clear Sky. There are several interesting guests whose true identities are slowly revealed, local grudges, and the mystery of why the moon has disappeared from the sky.

I was less interested in this in the beginning compared to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, probably because I wasn't as sympathetic to Rendi, but I was still charmed as all the story threads started to merge and fold in on each other. I guessed most of the twists well beforehand, partly due to the book being aimed at a much younger audience and partly due to being familiar with the mythologies in question. As with the previous book, I'd love some sort of DVD-style commentary on specific changes Lin made to various stories; I caught a few, but probably nowhere near all of them.

Slight spoilers )

As previously mentioned, I wish I had the physical book for this; the ebook has all the illustrations, but Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was so gorgeous that I would like this one for my shelves as well.

I am also tempted to reread Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to see how that book's mountain and moon mystery compares to this one.

And as a minor note, once I realized one character's identity, I wondered if it should be obvious to the people in the book due to his name (as opposed to the reader, who can't see the hanzi used). I will handwave and say that he used a character that sounds the same but is written differently.

Anyway, this is charming and relaxing.

Reading Wednesday

Wed, Jul. 10th, 2013 10:58 am
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Yay, I actually read something this week, even if I didn't finish anything!

What I've read: As noted, haven't finished anything =(.

What I'm reading: Wendy Christensen's Outsmarting Cats, for the obvious reasons. I probably won't finish, as there doesn't seem to be much in there that I can't already find on the Internets. I was, however, very amused at the introduction and the whole "cats have been domesticated for much less time than dogs, so inside your cat lurks a wild and ferocious predator!"

And I started Grace Lin's Starry River of the Sky, which is a companion to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, which I loved. So far, there aren't any direct connections between the books, but the structure of stories within the main story is the same. It is so nice having a book that plays to my love of retold tales where said tales are not only not Eurocentric, but also ones I grew up with. Like the previous book, I'm enjoying the little changes Lin makes as she weaves them all together. I'm reading this as an ebook, though I feel I should get it (and the previous book) in paper so I can look more closely at the illustrations and the typesetting and etc.

What I'm reading next: Er, if I actually keep reading, hopefully finishing the Lin? Also, I have had Cold Steel for a while now and still haven't started, despite my anticipation. Cecilia Grant's new romance has also been out for a few weeks, and I vaguely intend to read, but haven't been in much of a romance mood. Instead, I want to get my hands on Spillover to read about pandemics or My Beloved Brontosaurus to read about the latest in paleontology. The latter is sparked by a rewatch of Jurassic Park a few months back, and as for the former... no idea, except that I like reading about diseases and parasites? I have several books about plague and disease and hospitals on my ereader, but am of course hankering after the one I don't have.
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Minli is a vivacious girl living in village on drab Fruitless Mountain. Her family has never had the best of luck, and in order to change that, she sets out to find the Old Man of the Moon.

This is an incredibly charming book that includes tales and stories from everyone Minli encounters along the way. I am partial to this, as I love getting additional stories, and I love the way Lin remixes and retells Chinese folktales. I had a lot of fun hunting through for the bits and pieces of story that I remember, or trying to guess at where Lin had gotten the original inspiration from. She does include a bibliography at the end, though I really want a DVD commentary type thing that goes into exactly what changes she made. I was very familiar with all the stories she used, although I don't know if other people will be? Comments?

I was a bit put off by "brown" equating drab in the beginning description of the book, but I suspect that may be a personal thing.

I also love how Lin gradually includes more and more characters, and although some of twists and turns were easy to guess for an older reader (I think the target audience is 8-12), I think Lin's playing around with tropes and stories is enough to capture the attention of readers of most ages.

Also, this is a bit of a minor detail, but the book production is gorgeous. Each chapter is headed by a painting by Lin, all done in the style of paper cutting. The tales and stories within the tale have a fancier font, and the book is printed in color, not just black and white. It's really gorgeous, and now I want a copy for my own shelf.

Really fun, and entertained me beyond expectation for a book targeted for 8-12 year olds.

- [personal profile] starlady's review


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