So, a few weeks ago, I got an audio book from the library, one that I expected to be great. Why did I expect it to be great? Because the movie the book inspired was fantastic, one of my favorites, in fact. It’s Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!
Surely, we’ve all seen the two Disney Princess Diaries movies starring Anne Hathaway, yes? I love these movies, and pretty much anything starring Anne Hathaway, so at my best friend’s insisting, I decided to read the first book in the series by Meg Cabot. Man, was I in for a surprise? My best friend had told me that the movies and books were different, but I hadn’t foreseen another Ella Enchanted (yes, another Anne Hathaway movie) style adaption, that is to say that the books and movies happen to have the same name and a few similarities.
As much as I love the movies, I also loved this book.
As always, I’ll begin with a kind of “who-would-love-this” section. This book is really, obviously, aimed for the teenage, female population, as most of Meg Cabot’s YA books are. Honestly, I think anyone who likes the books about the life of off-beat girls would enjoy this one. I would, personally, classify this as a YA Chick-Lit book. Despite the fact that I mostly dislike Chick-Lit, I love YA and really enjoyed this book. I really like the character of Tina (removed from the movie) and I hope to see much more of her throughout the rest of the series. I also really liked Grandmere, even though she’s kind of horrible. One character I really dislike, not as a character but as a person, is Lily. I kind of like that the character exists, but I dislike her as a person.
If you didn’t already know this, Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries is a book about a young girl named Mia. It is her diary as she goes through her life of mediocrity. She goes to a private school in New York (Not San Francisco), has a cat names Louis, a best friend named Lily, and a mom who is dating her teacher. She also has a dad who is a diplomat in a small principality called Genovia. Here’s the kicker, not too far into the book Mia’s dad finds out that he will have no more children and he now has to tell Mia she will inherit the throne of Genova, because by diplomat he means Prince. The rest of the book follows Mia’s understanding and experiences as she discovers her heritage, the world discovers her secret, friends betray her, and her Grandmere tortures her with “Princess Lessons.”
As I said before, I really enjoyed this book. I liked coming into it having seen the movie and knowing the story, then having everything I thought I knew turned on its head. I like Mia’s outlook on things and her writing is certainly, I think, true to a 15 year old’s journal. I really enjoyed reading it and thinking back to being 15, though I’m not a princess, and remembering the horrors of being 15 and imaging placing being a princess on top of that! I also really liked how she reacted to the news in the book verses in the movie. It’s hard to explain without spoiling the differences, but if you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about.
– Sherrilyn Kenyon – The Dream-Hunter
― Michael Scott, The Alchemyst
“Nothing is as it seems. You must learn to question everything.”
― Michael Scott, The Alchemyst
This book is fantastic, in every sense of the word! Mr. Scott obviously spent a large amount of time on this. His use of mythology is amazing and the “truths” he creates are wonderful. He does an excellent job at creating his world and his history within our own.
When twins Josh and Sophie move to San Francisco for the summer, they think getting jobs to buy a car is a great idea. Little did they know that their jobs would lead them into a world they’d always known to be fiction.
Nicholas Flamel died in the 1400s. Nick Fleming owns the book shop where Josh works. When a man storms in and magic begins, Josh is caught in the middle. Sophie runs to help her brother and ends up learning more than she wanted to know about the store owners, Nick and Perry Fleming.
From that moment on, the twins are wound tight into a story of magic, immortals, and prophecy.
Absolutely fantastic. Scott pulls in mythology from all over the world to create a web both complex and easy to follow. He creates characters with good and bad sides, selfless and selfish motives. He creates a world within our own that the reader can almost imagine is real.
My personal favorite character is Perenelle Flamel, Nicholas’s wife. We see little of her in comparison to the other characters, but in that little bit you glimpse so many strong emotions and so much strong will that it’s hard for me not to adore her.
I also love Scatty, a Warrior. She’s spunky and makes even the tensest of moments easy to read.
Nicholas is a well developed character, while still keeping the bit of mystery that teaches you to love him but you’re never sure if you fully trust him.
Dee makes a wonderful villain.
Sophie and Josh make the story. They are the center point of the story. Since they are two 15 year old kids, never having stepped into the world they’re pulled into, the stories, the histories, etc. are all told to the reader naturally by their explanation to Sophie and Josh. They’re also very different, which makes the story all the more interesting.
I really like that it is NOT a love story. Most YA books now, even in the face of apocalypse,are coated with a thick layer of love drama. Though you do see a bit of Nicholas and Perenelle’s love, it’s not a major part, but makes both characters very likeable.
I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy tales. Alchemy is, obviously, a major part of this story, as is magic. It is a YA fiction, but it’s not one that reads slowly or like a story told to children. I highly suggest it.
“Oh, sure. Duncan’s father is supposed to be one.”
“That’s what Melissa told me. But you shouldn’t call them that. Just say they’re gay.”
–Charles de Lint
–Charles de Lint