It’s the end of February, and much like the short, but dreary, month, we have a short but dreary jacket flap-a-thon. Nothing seemed to jump out at me this month, and though the following were adequate, they weren’t stellar.
Pay the Piper (Starscape): “A rock ‘n’ roll band to die for…. When fourteen year old Callie McCallan scores a backstage pass to interview the lead singer of the famous band Brass Rat, she’s thrilled. Peter Gringras is so cool. When he plays his flute, it’s as if he has some kind of hypnotic power. But there is something strange about him, something Callie can’t quite put her finger on. Then, on Halloween night, Callie’s little brother Nicky disappears, along with all the other children in town. It’s crazy, but Callie thinks she knows where the children have gone–and who took them. To prove it, and to rescue Nicky and the other children, Callie must journey to a mythical world filled with fantastical creatures. A world from which there may be no return….”
The writers did something amazing: made the book sound a lot more interesting than it really was. There’s something about those three little dots…
Daughter of the Forest (Tor Books): “Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment. But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever. When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all…”
Good; it gives you the basic plot, enough to know it’s a fairy tale adaptation, without coming out and saying so. And yet, doesn’t give you so much that you’ve basically got the whole plot, which leaves you wondering why read the book.
The Disappearing Spoon (Little, Brown and Company): “The Periodic Table is one of man’s crowning scientific achievements. But it’s also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in THE DISAPPEARING SPOON follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. We learn that Marie Curie used to provoke jealousy in colleagues’ wives when she’d invite them into closets to see her glow-in-the-dark experiments. And that Lewis and Clark swallowed mercury capsules across the country and their campsites are still detectable by the poison in the ground. Why did Gandhi hate iodine? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium? And why did tellurium lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history? From the Big Bang to the end of time, it’s all in THE DISAPPEARING SPOON.”
This is the best of the lot. It says “Look, fascinating science facts, but written in such a way that’s not for just science geeks.” Total win.