Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Review: The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman

Goodreads review: Sally is sixteen and uncommonly pretty. Her knowledge of English literature, French, history, art and music is non-existent, but she has a thorough grounding in military tactics, can run a business, ride like a Cossack and shoot straight with a pistol.

When her dear father is drowned in suspicious circumstances in the South China Sea, Sally is left to fend for herself, an orphan and alone in the smoky fog of Victorian London. Though she doesn't know it, Sally is already in terrible danger. Soon the mystery and the danger will deepen - and at the rotten heart of it all lies the deadly secret of the ruby in the smoke...

My Review: Let me get it off my chest right now. I love this book. I love the writing style, I love Philip Pullman and I love the plot. Right from the beginning, this book captures you and takes you into the world of Sally Lockhart in Victorian London. Her dead father, her new friends, and that scary old lady add to the richness of text and depth of setting.

Whenever Jim talks, I smile on the inside. Ok, you got me. And out. Most of the time when I read books set in a different time and place, there's something amiss. Like, the characters in 16th century England don't say 'like'. At least, I don't think they do. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, back to the story at hand. I'm a huge fan of Philip Pullman and his writing. He always manages to capture emotions in such an artistic and poetic way, it makes me pause and reread his writing. There's also an abundance of rich text in the story as well, so even though it's a children's book, the vocabulary doesn't feel that way.

Do yourself a favor and read this book now. I know it's older and not on one of the Reading Challenges, but please go get it. Philip Pullman is a wonderful writer, and his writing shows just how wonderful reading a good book can be. 5/5

a renewed morning

She spread her arms wide, the sun’s warmth

embracing her lithe body like reuniting

with an old friend at a favorite little bookstore

over freshly brewed coffee, chatting about

pursuing dreams once forgotten and

finding love in unexpected places. Finally,

finally, cracks once too deep and thought

unbearable filled with inspiration. The sun’s

rays burn brighter with each passing second

and night disappears behind her back,

fading from observable thought and tucked

in like a long-awaited good night’s rest

and she hugs herself, tightly, and even

places quarters into expired parking meters

before dancing into the rising sun.

-Madeline Wahl

I need to read more of his books.

Memories and thoughts age, just as people do. But certain thoughts can never age, and certain memories can never fade.
- Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle


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