Friday, January 29, 2016
Mini-reviews: The Wrath and the Dawn & Kitchens of the Great Midwest
I picked up The Wrath and the Dawn because I am a huge fan of all things Sheherazade and One Thousand and One Nights related. This book was perfect because it was similar to the original tale, but Renee Ahdieh really takes it in a different direction. It hooked me in early and soon I was ignoring my responsibilities in order to finish the story. There is magic and romance and Ahdieh beautifully conveys the beauty of the palace, the surrounding village, and the desert that lies beyond both. The characters are really interesting and while I plan to read the second story, I would even pick up additional books that feature the supporting characters. The Wrath and the Dawn is the perfect book to lose yourself in for a weekend.
The Wrath and the Dawn
By Renee Ahdieh
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers May 2015
From the library
I promise I haven't ruined the plot for you with the above description - it's on the book jacket. But what I am about to write may spoil some things for you if you like to go into a book with no knowledge of it. [Spoilers ahead] You have been warned.
The charm of Kitchens of the Great Midwest is threefold. First, J. Ryan Stradel has crafted characters you will adore. They don't always do the right things, and they make stupid decisions. But they have heart and good intent and such big dreams to fulfill. Secondly, Stradel goes ahead and makes the state of Minnesota a character. It's not by taking readers through sweeping vistas or over rolling plains. Instead, Eva discovers her home state through food. She learns to love and cook the dishes that the people around her adore and, in doing so, we learn about the people who live in Minnesota. Lastly, Stradel has conceived a really fascinating and brilliant scheme for telling a story. Each section is from the point of view of a different character. While this initially threw me off, I soon found myself wishing for more time with Eva's dad, a high school boyfriend, a jealous rival and of course, Eva herself. I am utterly impressed by an author doing something new in fiction and doing it so wonderfully.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
By J. Ryan Stradel
Pamela Dorman Books/Viking July 2015
Read via Netgalley