Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“this was the dream she had given him when all seemed lost during one of their first great battles with Pitch!” (Joyce, 55).

Chapter Five – Chapter Eight

In the morning, the entire village of Santoff Claussen boards Bunnymund’s egg-train and journeys to the Lunar Lamadary. There’s another hint at the time frame of the story as “[t]rains were still not invented yet (Bunnymund would secretly help the credited inventors some decades later)” (31). This indicates that the story occurs prior to major, widespread modern industrialization, and additionally that it takes place a couple decades prior it. To me that would be three to four decades, so still probably in the 1700s.

This chapter prominently serves to re-introduce the Lamas, the yetis, and what exactly the Lunar Lamadary is. This is conveyed through Katherine answering the other children’s questions. But near the end, Katherine is suddenly uneasy. She no longer feels quite right with her old friends. Specifically, “[s]he didn’t really know where she wanted to be — with the children or with North and the other grown-ups. Even Kailash didn’t comfort her. She was betwixt and between” (37). It has become about Katherine’s change and growth.

Katherine eventually joins the other Guardians, ruminating on why Nightlight seems distant. She speculates it’s because he misses the battles. She also wonders the same about North, but in contrast to Nightlight the former bandit has changed a lot. And while it isn’t what Katherine notices about North’s change, I loved how he

“still loved conjuring up new toys for the children. (Just that morning he’d brought the youngest William a funny sort of toy–a round biscuit-shaped piece of wood with a string attached to it’s middle. When jerked, it would go up and down almost magically. North call it “yo-yo-ho”) (43-4).

And that’s just adorable! I love it. North created a yo-yo, and I just–I really like Santa Claus, okay?

Additionally, Katherine notes that, unlike Nightlight, North “didn’t seem sad or melancholy or lonely” but instead “[h]is face was alive with excitement” (44). Even with all the danger he’s lived through, he can still invigorated by new projects and ideas and it’s just… Yeah, keep being an awesome inspiration, North!

They arrive at the Himalayas and the Lamadary and it’s beautiful: “the cool , serene, creamy glow of  its moonstone and opal mosaics” (47). It’s short, direct, but visually sumptuous.

Another pretty description is for the horn Yaloo blows; it was “a silver horn forged from ancient meteors” (48). I like it not only for its visual spark, but the underlining story — ancient meteors used to make beautiful objects. There’s a sense of mystery to it that I find appealing.

They contact the Man in the Moon and he, after saying that none of his moonbeams have spotted any signs of Pitch, tells that he believes “the world is on the cusp of a new Golden Age” (52). And I want to know if this is linked to the Enlightenment. I hope not. The Enlightenment was a fine time, but I’ve never been a big fan of it. For reasons. Which I may go into. Sometime.

Either way, with the coming Golden Age, the Man in the Moon tells the Guardians that it will be their responsibility to guide this new age. Upon hearing that North steps forward and – remember that dream Katherine gave him? About a wondrous center of learning and protection? He presents the blueprints of this new city, saying that how it “‘was a gift, one that I now pass on'” (53). And I’m just so emotional and flailing with happiness. Yes, you share that dream, and just, yes~

Using Ombric’s mantra of believe, he conjures up a model of the dream city. It’s incredibly sweet that he acknowledges Katherine’s role in its creation; without her belief in him, seeing the goodness she felt he had, he never would have had this dream in the first place.

North tells the Man in the Moon that he has

“‘a plan for building new centers of magic… One village like Santoff Claussen is not enough, and to expand it would be to change it. What we need instead is are more places where all those kind hearts and inquiring minds–inventors, scientists, artists, visionaries–will be welcomed and encouraged. Where children will always be safe and protected and grow to become their finest selves'” (55).

Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! Notice how it doesn’t have to just be artists, but it’s not just scientists either. It’s people with imagination, who want to learn, investigate, change things. And place for children to grow and not be hindered — I am a hundred percent okay with this idea. It’s such a beautiful vision. I love it.

After North’s explanation, we get a glimpse of his vision:

“There was a great castlelike structure in its center, surrounded by workshops and cottages. A tiny Nicholas St. North could be seen striding through the village center, with his elves and Petrov, his horse, by his side. And a herd of mighty reindeer. The Yetis too were there” (56).

And it’s a visual of what it will be like but also a visual with traces of Santa Claus’ mythos – workshops, elves, and reindeer. Yeah, I can’t wait for this to become a thing in the story.

 

 

Words:

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no words

Quote:

Bunnymund: “‘I mean to say, I’ve met them, I’ve talked to them, I’ve read their minds and they’ve read mine, but do I know what they’ll say or do next at any given moment or what underwear they wear on Tuesdays and why? Do I? Do I really know?'” (40).

Works Cited:

Joyce, William. Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. New York: Atheneum Books, 2012. Print.

Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“So Nightlight felt most perfectly at peace when watching over Katherine as she slept” (Joyce, 17).

Chapter Two – Chapter Four

Although Santoff Claussen is in spring and a rewarding sense of peace has descended on the characters, the Guardians have enough sense not to take it for granted that Pitch has truly been defeated. They all continue to be on the look out for Pitch:

“Nightlight…scoured the night sky for signs of Pitch’s army” and “Bunnymund kept his rabbit ears tuned for ominous signs while burrowing his system of tunnels, and Ombric cast his mind about for bits of dark magic that might be creeping into the world” (13-4).

The chapter revisits the mental/emotional connection the guardians formed in Book 2:

“Their bond of friendship was so strong that it now connected them in heart and mind. Each could often sense what the others felt, and when it felt like time to gather, they would just somehow know (15-6).

For some reason here it seems less nonsensical as it did originally. It’s sweet now. The kind of comradeship that comes from understanding and being in sync with others. Also, I’m also a sucker for friendship. In particular, it makes a point to remind us that “[Nightlight] and Katherine’s bond was the greatest” (16). After what happened at the Earth’s core, I can believe it.

The chapter expands a bit on how it feels to them and I wanted to share:

“The two never tired of the other’s company and felt a pang of sadness when apart. But even that ache was somehow exquisite, for they knew that they would never be separated for long” (17).

Unfortunately, or so Nightlight feels, the one time he cannot join her is when she is sleeping or dreaming. Since he never sleeps, the whole experience is foreign to him. But the part that worries him is that, while asleep, “Katherine was there but entirely. Her mind traveled to Dreamlands where he could not follow” (17).

This strikes me as an interesting way to interpret dreaming; it’s like being somewhere. Not necessarily a dangerous place, but being asleep is not the same as being awake. When you dream/sleep there is a part of you that isn’t quite there. It’s a different state.

Also, literal dreams — not simply dreams of what one wants or wishes — take root in the story.

While watching Katherine sleep, Nightlight spies a tear on her cheek. He can’t understanding why she would be crying. Everything  is good now; what is there to be sad about? Additionally,

“[h]e knew about the power of tears. It was from tears that his diamond dagger was forged. But those were tears from wakeful times. He had never touched a Dream Tear. But before he could think better of it, he reached down and gently plucked it up.

Dream Tears are very powerful, and when Nightlight first tried to look  into it, he was nearly knocked from the tree” (18-9).

Dream Tears are strong stuff. Which makes sense. Sleep is when we rejuvenate from our lives and dreams can be inspirational, therapeutic, frightening — so it’s easy to imagine they would pull a powerful punch. Here, they are undiluted windows into the sleeper’s self.

And what does Nightlight see in Katherine’s Dream Tear? Something that “[f]or the first time in all his strange and dazzling life,” made Nightlight feel “a deep, unsettling fear” (19)? Pitch himself, “haunting her dreams” (19).

At the guardians current meeting to discuss any news of Pitch, Nightlight remains silent on what he saw in Katherine’s Dream Tear. Every other guardian says there has still been no sign of Pitch. But “[i]t was the first time Nightlight had ever lied” (22). Will that effect him? Being a lighthearted spectral boy of laughter, will doing something that can create weight (via guilt or worry) create any changes?

This detail being unknown to others, Ombric declares that “‘It’s now been eight months since we last saw Pitch. I think before we declare a victory, it would be best to consult the Man in the Moon” (22). Which means a a visit to the Lunar Lamadary in the Himalayas.

But this time, the whole village joins the guardians. They turn it into a big pre-visit party. celebration.

Before the story gets to that, the text reminds us of the five relics and how, if Pitch really is defeated, might there no longer be a need to retrieve them. My question: When will the rest show up? And further more, how do they get or decide they need them?

I do want to say that I think (so far) Book 3 has the strongest emotional throughline of growing up vs. Nightlight and Katherine.

Now the party! It full of wonderful treats and decorates and is just ♥! To list some of the delicious and delightful parts that I loved:

“eggbots whipped up frothy confections…[f]ireflies circled their heads, making halos of green-tinged light…Bunnymund’s newest chocolates–a delectable blend of Aztec cacao and purple plum…[and] [e]ven the crickets came out into the moonlight to play a sort of insect symphony to the delight of everyone” (26-8)

It’s the best.

Afterwards when everyone has gone to bed, Katherine cannot sleep. She is worried about Nightlight. He was the “only one who had not joined the party that night. And it bothered her” (28). But aside from Nightlight’s odd behavior, Katherine has found that at quiet times, her mind will wander to Pitch.

Katherine muses on Pitch’s relationship with his daughter, and how “Ombric and North were like a father and brother to her. But that wasn’t the same as a real family, was it? (29). That’s a significant question. How will it be answered? In this book (if it will be) and in The Guardians Series at large. Where does the family line exist? How significant is blood in the definition of family?

She also decides that “[s]he would find out what” was wrong with Nightlight. In doing so, “[s]he would make him happy once more. And then maybe she’d be happy too” (30). And this right here — this is why  said this book has such a beautiful plot. Katherine is working through her own feelings: what family means, what Pitch means as a father and an enemy, and why Nightlight is unhappy. But he’s unhappy because of her preoccupation with Pitch. Their feelings are a cause and effect of each other. Katherine’s decision is motivated by what Nightlight has learned but won’t tell. Everything is stacked so beautifully to make sense. I utterly love.

Finally, Katherine drifts to sleep but if she had been awake she would have “felt uneasy, as though she were being watched by a force nearly as ancient as Pitch” (30). I won’t say anything except: It’s HER. It’s striking in a re-read since Katherine was just thinking about Pitch and his daughter. I also, as I recall, believe this detail is relevant to the plot. I will wait and see.

Words:

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no words

Book Quote:

“Bunnymund’s ears twitched. These humans and their emotions, he thought. They are so odd. They are more interested in feelings than chocolate” (21).

Works Cited:

Joyce, William. Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. New York: Atheneum Books, 2012. Print.

Fairest: Levana’s Story

by Marissa Meyer

Welp, I read this in four hours. I think I was looking forward to reading this one a lot more than the others, even Cress.

What held me in the story was the tease of what had happened to Levana to cause her to be disfigured and what exactly she looked like. I knew at some point the story had to let me know the details, so I kept reading.

Spoilers below

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Cress

The Lunar Chronicles

by Marissa Meyer

I read this back in March 2016 right after finishing Scarlet. I had been waiting to read Cress since I first read Cinder way back when. In Cress there was a lot of progression in the plot, a lot of moments that made me cringe (Scarlet…), and a lot of tense moments (oh my god, Meyer is really good at building tension).

Unfortunately, a lot of the Rapunzel aspects of the books were a little lackluster to me.

Spoilers below

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Scarlet

The Lunar Chronicles

by Marissa Meyer

I started reading this and then stopped because I wasn’t compelled by Wolf as representation of the wolf from “Little Red Riding Hood.” This was mostly because he felt like a cliché: dangerous but still alluring. Plus, his status as part of a group with outdated wolf terminology turned me out of the story. (e.g. alpha, beta, etc.)

But once Wolf and Scarlet finally started on their way to Paris…the story picked up.

Spoilers below

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Cinder

The Lunar Chronicles

by Marissa Meyer

Back when I started reading Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, my initial impression of Book 1 boiled down to: the action is very impelling; so much happens in the first few chapters that I was hard-pressed to put it down.

Now what does that mean to me as a writer?

Spoilers below

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Ash

by Malinda Lo

Today’s the 67th Anniversary of Disney’s animated Cinderella. While not one of my favorites renditions, this post seemed appropriate.

🌳

I finished this book a couple years ago and I’ve been meaning to reflect on it.

First it was simply good, and second it was very much a retelling of Cinderella. 

That is, I could tell where there were little twinges of the original Grimm tale, such as the presence of the mother’s grave being important and the symbolism of trees. It made me want to read more novel length reinterpretations of fairy tales (which I have done) and write a more fairy-tale focused story myself (which is still gestating).

At the same time, now that I’m beginning my foray into novel-length reinterpretation on fairy tales (yay!), I have to admit that Ash also appealed to my artistic writer sensibilities.

Spoilers below

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Beauty

A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

by Robin McKinley

“I finished rereading the Iliad and started the Odyssey; I still loved Homer, but Cicero, whom I read in a spirit of penance, I liked no better  than I had several years ago” (McKinley, 157).

I’ve read some of her books before and I had always meant to read her retellings of “Beauty and the Beast.” So when I couldn’t find Watership Down at a local library, I happened to see this one and thought: Hey, why not?

I really liked Beauty. Or more precisely, I could relate to her, which isn’t common among characters, book or otherwise. I’m not nearly as outdoorsy as she is while she’s living in the country, nor am I as fond of horses as she is. But her ordinary looks coupled with her love of reading and the Classics felt like someone reflecting my own interests.

This relatability also made me realize that living in an enchanted castle like the Beast’s would be wondrously grand. No worries about money, endless books and the free time to study and read and write, and a beautiful garden that doesn’t need any pruning or watering.

The plot was pretty basic. Although it did make me realize that the certain plot points of “Beauty and the Beast” are a bit odd.

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