Recently, I’ve been reading much more. And I did mean to blog more about my renewed reading habits, but there just hasn’t been any time. I’ll try to remedy that a little with this post. While I’ve been reading all sorts of things (including a LOT of manga) on this post I’m going to concentrate on two things: the book I am reading right now, and the series I just finished.
🦖 Ultimate Dinopedia By National Geographic Kids 🦖
I’ve started reading this beautiful National Geographic Kids “Ultimate Dinopedia” and it is AMAZING:
When I picked it up some months ago, I was impressed at a quick glance –especially by the illustrations. But I did not expect it would be so informative or so respectful of its audience. If you are a dinosaur fan who actually knows little about dinosaurs, you will love this book, even if its intended audience is children.
Scientific books for kids do not usually (in my experience) give so much “we suppose”, or “it is believed” or “we imagine, but can’t actually know”. At least growing up, I saw much more “this is how it was” and now why or how we “knew” it was so. This book, however, tells you of specific paleontologist’s theories, and whether most other paleontologists agree with them or not. Even on the slightest illustrated detail, like a bit of flesh on a dinosaur’s face, it will tell you: “we think it might have had this thing –we have no way to know”. It is a book of suppositions and generally agreed upon ideas about these wonderful creatures.
For all my love of dinosaurs, I do not know much about them. I hope as I read this book I can at least learn to identify basic species as well as the time periods they lived in.
📚 The Hagwood Trilogy 📚
Over the past few months (starting at the time of the ill-fated New England trip that didn’t happen as planned) I’ve been reading The Hagwood Trilogy. It is comprised of Thorn Ogres of Hagwood, Dark Waters Of Hagwood, and War In Hagwood. It is written by Robin Jarvis. Without a doubt, it has been an unforgettable journey, the sort of dark fantasy series that will stick with me for a while, and I do not come across often.
The protagonist is a little werling boy called Gamaliel Tumpin. Werlings are a species that can shapeshift (AKA “wergle”) into animals of approximate size of their own or smaller –think hedgehogs, birds, squirrels, mice. They can also wergle into insects or other things, with potentially grave consequences, which definitely plays into the story.
I was familiar with Robin Jarvis’ writing from The Deptford Mice Trilogy. Much like in the Deptford Mice books, the Hagwood series is a pretty gruesome affair involving tiny cuddly critters, none of whom (and I do mean NONE) can you afford to get too emotionally attached to, because Jarvis has zero hesitation about giving major protagonists (including very likable ones) quite grisly ends, often completely out of nowhere. Once you are familiar with his work, you basically hold your breath through any book of his, praying that your favorite character doesn’t die.
Jarvis also has an uncanny knack for generating villains that not only do you love to hate, but you can actually be afraid of. Every time Rhiannon, The Queen Of Faerie, appears in the Hagwood books, you are very glad that you are safely on the other side of the page, and you half wonder if she can still reach you with some of that horrendous dark magic.
WARNING: I’m gonna get extremely spoilery below, so do not proceed unless you’ve read this whole series or don’t care if it’s spoiled for you.