Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dare Me, Meg Abbot, Fiction.  High school cheerleaders are beautiful creatures.  We have all been brought up to know the legend of the head cheerleader and quarterback of the football team as the king and queen of the school.  More recently, with ready access to all different cultures and people, the legend has started to fade, but it still shines when the cheerleaders wear their uniforms on Fridays, and the fans follow their every move under the lights on the field or court between, and probably even during, the plays.  What about the person who is coaching these girls?  According to Abbot in Dare Me, she is the one to fear and follow.  She has moved past the littleness of high school and is out there - in life.  However, is it really any better than what these young, pretty girls have at this point?  Abbott certainly highlights some of the scariness of cheerleading - eating disorders, big falls, and rivalry between girls, but this story is about so much more than cheerleading.  How far would you go to follow your leader, your mentor?  When does a high school student draw the line at innapporopriate behavior?  How do they even know?  There is where the heard of Abbott's book lies - and it almost becomes a horror story as the main character, lost at home and in the shift of the relationship with her best friend, starts to idolize her coach.
Shadow of Night, Deborah Harkness, Historical Fantasy/Fiction.  The second in the All Souls Trilogy (see A Discovery of Witches, from the 2011 post) takes us to England in the late 1600's as we follow Diana and Matthew, now married, on their quest through time to find a book which they, and all of the other supernatural creatures who populate the world, believe hold the story of their creation.  Harkness sets the scene with no detail unexplored, which can get a bit off track of the story, but adds to the tapestry of the tale.  In Harkness's rendering of the past, Shakespeare, Kit Marlowe, Sir Walter Raliegh and other historical figures of the period are in on, if not part of, the supernatural community by supporting and learning from these creatures and their histories.  Diana is slowly coming to grips with the scope of her power while Matthew is working to right the wrongs he has caused in the past.  How much change will the present world support?  Diana's family anxiously awaits the return of the couple from the past and tracks the changes that crop up unexpectedly in forms of new cameos found in auctions, new journal entries found in old libraries, and shifts in family history.  Harkness's history background shines through the fiction and makes a fascinating and entertaining read.  Can't wait for the third book!