November 20, 2013

Mini Reviews: Some Cybils Reading

Anton and Cecil Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea
By Lisa Martin and Valerie Martin
Illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Available now from Algonquin BFYR (Workman)
Review copy

Written by veteran adult author Valerie Martin and her niece Lisa Martin, ANTON AND CECIL: CATS AT SEA is a charming tale of two brothers who both end up traversing the sea.  Cecil is an avid sailor, but Anton is press ganged to catch rats, and Cecil must find him.

Animal fantasy can be done in several ways, and I liked how it was employed in ANTON AND CECIL.  The cats are sentient and can talk amongst themselves and with other animals, but can't actually talk to humans.  I thought this one was a fun little read, and given that there is a subtitle, suspect that it might be the beginning of a series.  I'd welcome more books about these brothers.

Last Enchanter The Last Enchanter
Book Two of the Celestine Chronicles
By Laurisa White Reyes
Available now from Tanglewood Press
Review copy

THE LAST ENCHANTER is the sequel to THE ROCK OF IVANORE, and I definitely wished that I had read that first.  I picked up most of the details, but I was confused about some bits, like why Marcus wasn't invited to court with his brother Kelvin, since he should be in line for the throne as well.

However, I still enjoyed THE LAST ENCHANTER.  I wish the storyline about Lael, a childhood friend who tags along with Marcus when he sets out to warn his brother about an assassination threat, was better incorporated.  It seemed like an attempt to shoehorn in a female character and a romance.  I'm always up for more female characters, but it could've been a touch smoother.

THE LAST ENCHANTER is a good pick for young fans of traditional fantasy, with the caveat that the series should be read in order.

Mickey Price Mickey Price: Journey to Oblivion
By John P. Stanley
Available now from Tanglewood Press
Review copy

Mickey Price and several kids under thirteen, each with their own talent, are suddenly recruited for a space camp.  There is, of course, something else going on - the reader will enjoy being suspicious with Jonah, one of Mickey's fellow campers.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in MICKEY PRICE: JOURNEY TO OBLIVION is the unnecessary frame story, where a grown-up Mickey tells the book to his kids.  It's awkward when the book switches back to the frame, and makes little sense, because the story changes point of view fairly frequently.

 Kids into space will probably enjoy this one.  There's lots of information about the space program, somewhat outdated since the book is set in 1977.

The Alchemist War The Alchemist War
Book One of the Time-Tripping Faradays
By John Seven
Illustrated by Craig Phillips
Available now from Capstone
Review copy

I'll admit to being very disappointed that there wasn't an actual war between alchemists in THE ALCHEMIST WAR.  The title and cover promise more action than the book delivers.  The beginning, with Dawk and Hype causing accidental mayhem, is fairly lively.  Then it settles into a simple mystery about alchemy, with several time jumps that don't last long enough to actually add interest.

THE ALCHEMIST WAR isn't terrible, but it's very much aimed at beginning readers.  I think the subject would've been better served with a bit more depth.  Author John Seven does set up a villain for future entries in the series, which might add more conflict to the story.

(Side note: I found it very out that the chat-type communication the future people engage in has identifying names at the end.)


  1. The Alchemist War does sound like it would be more adventurous!

  2. I actually have a copy of The Rock of Ivanore and I'm impressed that you were able to enjoy the sequel without reading it. I should give it a try now! Lovely reviews :-)

    1. Well, with the Cybils, I don't really have time to go back and read the earlier books. Plus, shortlisted books should be able to standalone.

  3. Dang, I haven't heard of any of these! Anton and Cecil sounds the most immediately interesting to me since you shared positive thoughts and I adore cats-will need to add that to the list.


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