Tag Archive | spiderwick

Review: Lucinda’s Secret

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Lucinda’s Secret by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The more you know, the more danger you’re in.

And trust me, you don’t want to meddle with the Little People.”

This is the third book of the Spiderwick Chronicles.

Grace siblings have a heated argument over Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide. Since Jared finds and gets engrossed in the book, many weird and freakish things happen around them: a bunch of hostile Goblins kidnapping Simon, a griffin staying on their carriage house, a berserk house boggart making mischiefs, and God knows what else.

Maybe it is time for them to destroy the book and the danger it entails. Or maybe it is time for them to learn it more from someone who knows the book and the writer: the daughter of the said writer, their own great aunt, Lucinda Spiderwick, who resides in an asylum.

They learn much more from the visit: that their aunt may not be a lunatic at all, that Arthur Spiderwick may be still alive somewhere, that there is a particular being who wants the book for the information inside, and that they must be smarter than any fairies to survive.

What I do like from this book:

  • It is good to find out that Lucinda isn’t a mere mentioned name in the whole story, but rather an important character in the plot. But I truly pity her. When she is still a little girl, her father’s gone missing without telling her and the rest of the family where he will go and whether he will ever come back. Then the faeries keep abusing her up to the point where she should leave her house to stay in an asylum with a hunched back forever. She can’t tell anybody the truth and she even can’t enjoy human food anymore. If Arthur is still alive, I hope the three Grace children will tell him some words about how he is being a bad father to the innocent Lucinda and that he owes the biggest apology ever to his daughter.
  • The elves make their appearance!! From all kinds of Faeries in fairy tales, I love the elves the most. It is always said that they are the only kind with the closest appearance to human kind, except their slightly pointed ears and wings. And usually, they are far more beautiful than human kind, even the male ones.

What I don’t like from this book:

  • The cliffhanger. Lucinda, the elves, and the Phooka seems to hint that Arthur Spiderwick is indeed still alive and somehow is held captive in Faeries’ world, in the same manner the elves want to keep Jared forever with them in exchange of the guide. And I’m dying to know the truth.
  • It is clearly said in the first book that Lucinda has let the Grace stay in the house. Helen even clearly tells the children, “If your great-aunt Lucinda hadn’t let us stay, I don’t know where we would have gone.” So, I find it a bit strange that Lucinda seems horrified to know that Helen and her children have been staying in her house, as if she never knows about it and never allows them to stay there.

Review: The Seeing Stone

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The Seeing Stone by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“We said no still you looked

Now instead

Someone gets cooked.”

This is the second book of the Spiderwick Chronicles.

Every action has its own consequences. Ignoring Thimbletack’s warning to destroy the field guide by Arthur Spiderwick, now Jared must deal with the problems caused by his stubbornness.

They begin with Simon, his twin, losing his cat and asking him to help him find the pet. Refusing, Jared goes to the library to look through the pages of Arthur’s journal when he witnesses an invisible force drags Simon to the woods. An awful understanding dawns on him: his twin is held captive by magical creatures that have mistaken Simon for him. Thimbletack’s warning comes true.

With the help of their older sister, Mallory, and the Seeing Stone that enables them to see what can’t be seen before, Jared goes into the woods to save his twin and catches sight of many magical creatures from the field guide in flesh, living in the vicinity unnoticeably.

What I do like from this book:

  • Though Mallory seems to be a bad older sister who loves to make unpleasant remarks to her twin brothers, she actually cares for them. Well, I’m not sure whether it’s her character or just because it’s an urgent and unusual matter, but I like her decision to turns around and saves Jared from the goblins trying to drag him when she almost reaches the safety.
  • Listen! Listen! You can see the magical creatures by having one spits to your eyes! I know it’s gross to have spit on your eyes, but you only need to have it once to be able to see the magic around you for the rest of your life. Isn’t that fascinating? Well, I know, the Seeing Stone is much more compromising, but it seems that the thing is only one-of-a-kind, meaning, we need to get back to the spit.
  • This book also includes a clipping from Pennsylvania newspaper reporting the “disappearance” of Arthur Spiderwick’s older brother, Theodore, in 1885, found among his papers (I do believe that the authors mean the real Arthur Spiderwick). It said that the local police believed that the boy was another victim of the bear attacks that had claimed the lives of other three children. It also included how Arthur, who was 8 at that time and apparently the witness of the attack, claimed that the bear was at least seven feet tall, with huge fangs, and looked like a troll. The police deemed Arthur to be severely affected and distressed and that his imagination must be running wild with all of the confusion and speculation surrounding the disappearance. I wonder which one says the truth. It is not uncommon that adults tend to not truly listen to or believe in what a child says, particularly if it doesn’t make sense. They will always blame it to a child’s imagination. Have a child witnesses a murdering scene and reports it to a policeman, the first thing comes to mind will be, “does this child just pull a prank on me?”. Whether the policeman will believe in the child or not is another matter. Have a child and an adult witnesses the similar crime, I bet the police will prefer the adult’s words rather than the child’s. So, imagine what adults will say when a child telling them that a troll lives in this world. The child must be imagining things. The child is unwell. And so on. It’s not that I’m on his side or anything. Maybe the adults are right, that the child was too shocked he couldn’t entirely understand what he did see. Maybe the child had a spectacular imagination that he could even see a normal man growing horns and wings. I am just curious whether somewhere at some time a child just reveals that there are other things beside humans living in the same planet and people just diminish the possibility of discovering a new world. It is too bad that the clipping doesn’t mention whether the disappearance is caused by something that can be explained by common sense.
  • I need to give a big hug and pat for Simon. Lose a cat, bring a griffin home. Well done, Simon.

What I don’t like from this book:

  • To be honest, I am a cat person. And it’s totally a big no for me to have a cat suffers in any way, let alone dies. So, I’m not particularly happy to find out the fate of Tibbs the cat, to be cooked and feasted by a bunch of Goblins. It’s not that I prefer it to happen to Simon instead, but still, isn’t this book for children? Am I wrong to have a child’s innocent wish to have Jared manages to rescue the cat and takes him back safely to their home?

Review: The Field Guide

The Field Guide

The Field Guide by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“In a man’s torso you will find
My secret to all mankind
It false and true can be the same
You will soon know of my fame
Up and up and up again
Good luck dear friend.”

Spiderwick Estate is not a grand place to move in to. But their mother and father have just divorced, so 13-year-old Mallory Grace and 9-year-old identical twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace should be grateful that their great-aunt Lucinda Spiderwick let them live in that house.

However, Spiderwick Estate is not mysterious in appearance and name only. The old house holds greatest secret of humankind. Starting from their curiousity to find what they suspect a rabbit moving inside the wall, they stumble upon secret ways leading to a secret library where Jared finds a hidden old dusty book titled: Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. There begins their adventure in a dark and fascinating world of Faeries.

What I do like from this book:
• What’s not to like about the world of Faeries? For young readers, particularly children, a world of Faeries is a world to be liked or attracted to? Am I right?
• I always love the idea of an old and big house with many secrets. You don’t need to find your adventure somewhere else.
• Up to this point, I still wonder about the truth of this series. In the first pages of the book, the authors put a letter from the Grace kids, implying that the three kids along with the book and the Faeries and the misfortunes they encounter are real deal. To what extent that the story is real? Is the entire story real? If the book does exist, I truly want to have it.
• This is the perfect book for quick reading. Of course, it is meant for young readers, but still, I still enjoy reading it even though I read it when I was a teenager. The illustrations are terrifically well done, making the book more enjoyable to read.

What I don’t like from this book:
• Jared seems the most troublesome kid in the family. Even so, I truly pity him that everyone else in the family keep blaming him for all the misfortunes happened at that house. I mean, is he really that troublesome that he dares to put such a cruel prank to his own sister no matter how he might be angry at her after the argument they had last night? Indeed, there is nobody (human) else in that house, but is it too much to blame him just because he’s the most likely culprit? Scratching your sister’s arm, tying your sister’s hair to her bed end, pouring chocolate syrup and orange juice down the floor, throwing eggs at the windows, throwing plates and glasses over the floor, and laying food leftovers everywhere are much too cruel and nasty for pranks by a 9-year-old boy.

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