The Enchantment Emporium was my first introduction to Tanya Huff, and it was a great one! I love the setup of the Gale family: their mysterious magic and rituals, their seeming obsession over pies. This is one of those books that manages to strike the delicate balance between the absurd and the serious, between the characters' magic and their lives. On the one hand, many of the sections are laugh-out-loud funny, surprising us with clever turns of phrase and amusing characters and situations, while on the other hand, we feel the characters' heartbreak and longings as if they were our own. The Gale family is the perfect example of a large, over-bearing, supportive family: run by the powerful and spirited Aunties, it's the sort of family that might drive its members crazy, but will be there for them no matter what.
Teri Clark Linden's narration sparkles through the text. This is a book I've never seen in print form, and I can't imagine it any other way. To me, Linden's version of Alysha, Charlie, and the rest will always be the real thing.
I should have kept track of the number of strange looks I attracted as I listened to this story and this performance and laughed out loud while walking or cleaning with earbuds in. I'm sure the count would have gotten pretty high.
The Teen Wizard books have been among my yearly reads since I was the ages of the charactes. In this first installment, Diane Duane introduces us to the world of her Wizards -- people of every species who are given the power to join the ultimate battle against entropy and death. From the first moment that Nita's hand gets caught by a strange book in the library, we readers want everything for Nita that she wants for herself: the small desires that drive the plot, and the large desires that pull her and her friends into the fight in Life's name.
So You Want to be A Wizard is one of my favorites of this series. The beginning draws you in almost immediately, the characters are likeable, the premise is fascinating and surprising. There is a section in the middle that has a few too many consecutive action scenes for my taste, but the heart of the story comes back quickly. The ending is satisfying and poingant, the sort for which the clues have been laid all along, so you get to it and know that it couldn't have gone any other way.
I read this series before I listened to it, and I remember the shock when I first heard Christina Moore's voice -- it didn't match the voice in my head, and it was strange to hear it saying the same words I'd read so many times. But now, I always listen to these books rather than read them. Moore's narration brings the story to life. The main characters' personalities shine through their voices, and the skill with which she reads the climax makes it much more powerful than when I've read it silently.
One of the basic premises of the whole universe in these books is that words -- particularly spoken words -- have enormous power. The books themselves become the magic they contain when read aloud and heard.
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