Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Carnegie Longlist - final update!

At last, I've finished!  See this post for my previous update.

The official shortlist is announced on Tuesday so I shall be sharing my personal shortlist at some point this weekend...but here are my feelings about the Carnegie books I've read since the end of January.  This year there hasn't been a single story that didn't have something going for it, although I think I might have been less critical this year than last year!  orange means it was alright, red means I love it:

Soldier Dog by Sam Angus - a great tale, I really felt for Stanley, but it reminded me too much of War Horse
The Traitors by Tom Becker - a rough diamond of an idea but not very well polished...
The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne - cute but irritating - if he'd just held on sometimes instead of relying on people grabbing him then it would make his life much easier!
Scramasax by Kevin Crossley-Holland - I really struggle to enjoy his stories, even though some very excitng things happen his style dulls it down for me.
Call Down Thunder by Daniel Finn - brilliant scene setting, I can see it as a film, but didn't grab me as much as Two Good Thieves
To Be A Cat by Matt Haig - a lovely Dahl-esque tale, with evil characters getting comeuppance, best friends and comedy moments!
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - well written fantasy, great idea but mostly predictable
The Girl in the Mask by Marie-Louise Jensen - exciting story but too contrived, the plot relied a lot on coincidence or luck.
Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer by Derek Landy - I love the Skulduggery books, the humour is perfect, but I don't think it could end up on the short list.
At Yellow Lake by Jane McLoughlin - the three voices worked well but occasionally I forgot who was 'speaking' as they weren't quite different enough.
The Apothecary by Maile Meloy - exciting adventure but a little too far fetched in places
The Treasure House by Linda Newbery - I couldn't believe the premise of the disappeared Mum (the resolution was very unsatisfying) but it was nicely told.
Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver - I thought this was great, I was worried that it would just be Wolf Brother but with a dolphin but the story was engaging and there were some moments of real suspense.
Burn Mark by Laura Powell - great idea but nothing unexpected happened and the resolution came too easily
The Flask by Nicky Singer - didn't think I'd enjoy it at all but I was actually gripped by the story, really well told!A Waste of Good Paper by Sean Taylor - pretty good but I was disappointed by the 'happy ending' because up to a point it was a quite realistic story.  Life isn't like that!

This is likely to replace something I'd thought of for my shortlist:
After by Morris Gleitzman
So beautifully written. I thought it might be less emotional than Once and Then (I didn't really like Now much), because it was about fighting back in the Resistance, but it was heart wrenching.
Keep your eyes peeled for my shortlist.  What's on your's?