Saturday, June 8, 2013

Book Review: Where Mountain Meets the Moon

And now to mooch off of family wifi to see if I can get this review up on time. This is another book that I grabbed in desperation towards the end of the school year yet I wasn't able to read it until I got home and checked it out from my local library (silly school had me return the books a few days before graduation). Once I started reading I got a little nervous since it became clear that it was middle grade not young adult, and well, middle grade books just engage me less these days (considering I'm about ten years too old for them this shouldn't be a surprise). But, since I am still in a slump, plus this was on my list, and I was enjoying it, I decided to perserve and finished it rather quickly regardless.

Where Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Summary: Minli lives with her family on the Fruitless Mountain and, even though she knows why the stories say the mountain is so barren, after hearing another story from her father and on the advice of a goldfish she goes off to see the Old Man on the Moon and ask him herself.

The Good: I liked how the story was able to incorporate a half dozen other stories told by the characters into itself and create a history and a precedence for what Minli is doing that way. I have no idea how closely any of these stories resemble real Chinese fairy tales but they have the same feeling, the same kind of stories and storytelling, that “real” fairy tales I’ve read had and that’s not the easiest style of story to recreate.

The Bad: Since the story is middle grade it was a little too simplistic for my taste, that combined with the fact that it’s a quest means that Minli rarely faced true adversary or hardship and I do wish the story had thrown in a little more of that (even though I do prefer quest type stories to "defeat the evil lord" kinds of stories and liked how no villain suddenly appeared at the end for Minli to vanquish). But, since a middle grade book doesn’t need to be the most complex thing out there, nothing really does and when your readers are 11 this is doubly true, this isn’t a terrible thing and with the story’s quick pacing this also would have been hard to pull off.

I’m giving this one a 3.5 out of 5 for being a rather solid book, even if it wasn’t precisely what I wanted, and would easily recommend it to any middle grade reader who wanted something fantasy to read. 

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