Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede

Cheater post.

This is, verbatim, a review I did for the Between Books blog.  Sadly, it only received 13 page views on that blog, and The Thirteenth Child is a REALLY good book.  Therefore, I'm giving you all a second chance to read what I have to say about it.  I hope you'll thank me for it.

(You can read it there, or you can read it here.  But you should check out the Between Books blog.  I hear some really cool women post there.  Cough, cough.)

I fully admit that I read The Thirteenth Child because Nalini Singh recommended it.  I <3 Ms. Singh.  As I said in this review, I'm a fan.

(Probably more like a fangirl, and I'm probably too old for that.  But I digress.)

Like any good fangirl at a loss for YA books to try, I picked up one that came recommended by one of my favorite non-YA authors.  Holla.  Good choice.

I fully recommend Ms. Singh's recommendation.

(See, total fangirl.)

Anyway, The Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede is little bit like a magical version of Little House on the Prairie.  It's got the pioneer, forging new territories piece of Little House (both the book and the eponymous television series) and the coming-of-age elements of the entire Little House book series.  The coming-of-age elements are bit accelerated in The Thirteenth Child because we see our main character, Eff, grow from the five to eighteen in just one book.  Sometimes I find those meandering "and when I turned 12" types of stories a little trying because they lack a definitive focus other than "I grew up", but this one is well done.  I really liked Eff, and I wanted to know more about her.

This is Little House on the
 all grown up.
Or, Melissa Gilbert on
Dancing With The Stars.
Eff, you see, is the thirteenth child of her family, and in this magical version of Little House, there are those that believe strongly in the importance of birth order and numerology.  The thirteenth child is destined to turn out wrong, according to Eff's detractors.  She's a witch.  She has magic, and she's going to be bad.  Very, very bad--simply because twelve sibling were born before her.  Her twin brother, Lan, though, is the fourteenth child and the seventh son of a seventh son, so the very same people that labeled Eff as cursed when she was as young as four believe that Lan will do great and powerful magical things.  Part of this tale is a fascinating look at how we grow up believing what we've been told.
This is a magical
Little House on the Prairie.

Anyone reading along can clearly see that Eff is a good kid.  Her parents know that.  Her siblings understand, and her teachers do as well.  None of that stops Eff from doubting herself.  In fact, as she grows up she tries to bind her own magic so that it can't hurt anyone when she "inevitably" turns bad. Eff's determination to avoid her "fate" leads her to study some magical ways that aren't exactly mainstream, and that knowledge eventually allows Eff to be the hero of our story.  But that moment, when Eff figures out what the others failed to see, is Eff's coming-of-age moment.  It's the culmination of The Thirteenth Child.  Before you get there, you'll take another fascinating look at what America could have been if magic was an every day and if the American West had been full of dragons and mirrored beetles instead of bison.

This is the first book of a trilogy.  The second, Across the Great Barrier, is on my to-read list.  The third is yet to be released.  I look forward to those two installments, and you should, too.

(I'm assigning this a PG rating because of the good vs. evil themes and the elopement of one of Eff's sister's.  There's nothing graphic here (sex or violence), but there some big picture issues.)

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