The Last Stitch Goes Through the Nose by Moses Norton – Review & Analysis

Title: The Last Stitch Goes Through the Nose
Author: Moses Norton
Date Added: May 28, 2019
Date Started: June 13, 2019
Date Finished: July 5, 2019
Reading Duration: 22 Days
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult (YA), Novella

The Last Stitch Goes Through the Nose by Moses NortonPages: 104
Publisher: Self
Publication Date: May 27, 2019
Media: eBook/Kindle & Physical Copy


Who is the Scissor-man? Nobody cares, nobody sees, except for one little boy. This debut literary fantasy novella takes a hard look at society and its outcasts through the eyes of innocent youth. In a world where death is ignored, Orasi becomes fascinated with the Scissor-man, the homeless mortician. After he finds a black thread in the snow, Orasi begins to unravel the legends surrounding this horrifying figure, and his journey of discovery brings him closer than ever to the father he barely knew. But the world is a place that has already decided its rules. His is just one beating heart among millions who are already dead, and Orasi may not like what he finds in the end…The Last Stitch Goes Through The Nose tests its characters to see if they are still breathing, and it might reach out to see if you are, too. The Last Stitch is perfect for the Young Adult reader who isn’t too grown up yet, or the adult reader who suspects they can still see through the eyes of a child.


Note: I’ll be breaking this up into Review and Analysis where the Review section will contain no spoilers, but the Analysis will.


Review


Only this kind of a memory remained: a makeshift history such as pleased those who had yet to suffer their own encounter with the end. The dead man was glorified, made new in memory.

This is not a happy story.  It’s a story that makes an important point that should lead to better outcomes, but it won’t.  It gives us a child protagonist we hope will bolster change in the tradition that children defy adults as well as adult expectations and prejudices.

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The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis (A Dance of Dragons #1) (DNF)

Title: The Shadow Soul
Series Title: A Dance of Dragons
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Date Added: June 15, 2016
Date Started: May 14, 2018
Date DNF: May 15, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult (YA), Paranormal

The Shadow Soul coverPages: 292
Publication Date: January 22, 2014
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Media: eBook/Kindle


When Jinji’s home is destroyed, she is left with nowhere to run and no one to run to–until she meets Rhen, a prince chasing rumors that foreign enemies have landed on his shores. Masquerading as a boy, Jinji joins Rhen with vengeance in her heart. But traveling together doesn’t mean trusting one another, and both are keeping a deep secret–magic. Jinji can weave the elements to create master illusions and Rhen can pull burning flames into his flesh.

But while they struggle to hide the truth, a shadow lurks in the night. An ancient evil has reawakened, and unbeknownst to them, these two unlikely companions hold the key to its defeat. Because their meeting was not coincidence–it was fate. And their story has played out before, in a long forgotten time, an age of myth that is about to be reborn…


This is one of those books that initially seems like I’d tear through with alacrity based on the blurb, but I was extremely meh about the opening.  It’s your typical destroyed people/vengeance fare, but I didn’t garner much deep emotion from it because I didn’t invest much in the characters due to that cataclysm being present in the blurb.  Even so I liked what the author was setting up with Jinji’s story arc, an indigenous young woman whose home and culture is destroyed.  I was here for that revenge story, but then…the male character is introduced.

Rhen is unlikable for a variety of reasons.  He’s arrogant as fuck with an unearned know-it-all attitude.  Davis tells us how smart he is through his own ruminations, which may be her way of disputing it, but it just comes off as pompous.  I could forgive this slight, but I was pretty much done when he revealed he might be an unabashed rapist per the very act that introduces him.

He did however feel slightly uneasy.  It really wasn’t the girl’s fault that he had slipped into her room just before dawn.

I won’t say it’s blatant, but it gave me an icky feeling.  Pairing that with a lukewarm beginning sealed the deal.  If Rhen had been interesting or reputable, I might have continued, but I had no interest in seeing a fairly decent character like Jinji paired with what can’t even be considered a mediocre man.  Maybe he matures; maybe she “fixes” him (ugh), but she deserves better.

Strange Luck by Amie Irene Winters (Strange Luck #1) (DNF)

Title: Strange Luck
Series Title: Strange Luck
Author: Amie Irene Winters
Date Added: February 26, 2016
Date Started: March 13, 2018
Date DNF: March 21, 2018
Reading Duration: 7 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Young Adult (YA), Romance

Strange LuckPages: 296
Publication Date: June 2015
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle


A Mysterious Letter.
A Deadly Discovery.
A World Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen.

All Daisy Darling wanted was to be a writer. What she got was more than she bargained for. As it turns out, the quaint little town of Sea Salt, California houses more than adorable cottages and huge redwood trees. Beneath the coastal charm rests a strange world where wizards, fairies, time-altering portals, and dark magic looms.

A world where memories can be your greatest currency–and weapon.

A world where you can never reclaim what’s been taken from you.

After stumbling into the mysterious world, Daisy’s memories begin to rapidly disintegrate, but she doesn’t even know she’s losing them. As if things couldn’t get any worse, Daisy learns she is the only one who can save herself.

Daisy’s very identity is at stake, but the odds aren’t in her favor. Can she discover the secret to win back her freedom before it’s too late?


I added this to my TBR list because the main character’s sole dream was to be a writer, and that was something I could relate to.  I initially liked Daisy, and I think she deserved better supporting characters (I did like her until she shit-talked cats grrrr).  Her father is supposed to be sympathetic, but he comes off as a selfish dick wanting her to take over the shop so that he can hunt for Utopia while she puts her dreams of going to London on a hold.  What kind of parent would do that to their child?  It’s bad enough he tries to guilt her into staying in order to continue the family business when that’s not what she wants, but then he decides he’s going to foist the shop off on her while he goes on an adventure.

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Opal by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #4.5)

The Raven Cycle

<–The Raven King (TRC #4)

Title: Opal
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: February 28, 2018
Date Started: March 13, 2018
Date Finished: March 14, 2018
Reading Duration: 1 day
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Young Adult (YA),  Romance, LGBTQ+

Opal coverPages: 38
Publication Date: March 1, 2018
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Media: eBook/Kindle


An enchanting story from Maggie Stiefvater featuring Opal, Ronan, and Adam from her bestselling Raven Cycle, taking place after the events of The Raven King.


Dreamers have to dream just like writers have to write.  Not doing so is killing Ronan inside, putting a strain on the dreaming place he created, where the titular Opal resides, as well as his and Adam’s relationship.  This short showcases Stiefvater’s exquisite and eloquent writing style, which made up for the fact I barely remembered who Opal even was in the larger story.  She wasn’t one of my favorite characters, though her way of thinking and speaking was not only quaint, it forced you to figure out what was going on due to its simplicity and misunderstanding all the details of the “animal world” (the one the human characters reside in).  The story was quick enough that my minor issues with it didn’t have enough time to mature and irritate me.

4 stars.

James & the Dragon by Theresa Snyder (The Farloft Chronicles #1)

Title: James & the Dragon
Series Title: The Farloft Chronicles
Author: Theresa Snyder
Date Added: February 23, 2016
Date Started: February 15, 2018
Date Finished: February 19, 2018
Reading Duration: 4 days
Genre: Fantasy, Mid-Grade/Young Adult (YA), Short Story

James & the Dragon coverPages: 61
Publication Date: June 21, 2013
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle


What would you do if you were adopted by a dragon? When ten-year-old orphan James nearly drowns in a bog, he finds himself rescued by Farloft, a centuries old dragon with a glittering collection of treasures and an even richer collection of stories. But, dragons and boys are not meant to live together – or are they? When Laval – a wizard harboring a secret hatred for Farloft finds out about James, he sees his chance for revenge.


Farloft the dragon in instantly likable with his sound arguments and fascinating stories, although it’s unfair to ignore his nemesis, Laval’s, point of view.  The wizard has very sound reasons for hating the dragon, though Farloft’s prior actions were based on even more past experience, nor could he have known the unfortunate outcome.

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The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau (Book of Ember #4)

Book of Ember

<–The Prophet of Yonwood (BOE #3)

Note: Since this is a sequel there are spoilers for the prior book even in the blurb.  Something to keep in mind if you haven’t read the prior books and don’t want to be spoiled.

Second Note:  TSN gets (US) political for comparison.


Title: The Diamond of Darkhold
Series Title: Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Date Added: September 17, 2017
Date Started: January 14, 2018
Date Finished: February 19, 2018
Reading Duration: 36 days
Genre: Mid-grade/Young Adult (YA), Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian

The Diamond of Darkhold coverPages: 285
Publication Date: August 26, 2008
Publisher: Yearling Adventure
Media: Paperback


It’s been several months since Lina and Doon escaped the dying city of Ember and, along with the rest of their people, joined the town of Sparks. Lina knows they are lucky to be there, but life aboveground is hard. Instead of opening a can for dinner, they must plant and harvest their food. And while there was no sun or moon in Ember’s sky, neither was there rain, sleet, or wind. Now, in the middle of their first winter, Lin finds herself feeling homesick for her old city.

It’s during this dark time that Doon finds an unusual book. Torn up and missing most of its pages, it alludes to a mysterious device, a piece of technology from before the Disaster. Doon becomes convinced that the Builders of Ember meant for them to find the device when they left the city, to help them in their new lives. Together, Lina and Doon must go back underground to retrieve what was lost and bring light to a dark world.

In the fourth Book of Ember, bestselling author Jeanne DuPrau juxtaposes yet another action-packed adventure with powerful themes of hope, learning, and the search for truth. 


The final installment to the series finds Lina, Doon, and the other Emberites fully integrated into Sparks so they all live as one people, but times are hard, and Lina finds herself longing for the warm familiarity of her underground home.  Doon’s discovery of the blurb’s mentioned book gives them a reason to return to the now dark and dying Ember where things don’t go quite according to plan.  There are people living there, but if squatting were still a thing in this post-Disaster world then the Trogg family would be squatters.

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The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau (Book of Ember #3) (DNF)

<–The People of Sparks (BOE #2)                              The Diamond of Darkhold (BOE #4)–>

Title: The Prophet of Yonwood
Series Title: Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Date Added: September 17, 2017
Date Started: December 23, 2017
Date DNF: December 27, 2017
Reading Duration: 4 days
Genre: Mid-grade/Young Adult (YA), Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian

The Prophet of Yonwood cover

Pages: 289
Publication Date: April 1, 2006
Publisher: Yearling Edition
Media: Paperback


Nickie will grow up to be one of the first citizens of the city of Ember. But for now, she’s an eleven-year-old girl whose father was sent away on some mysterious government project.

So when the opportunity to move presents itself, Nickie seizes it. But her new town of Yonwood, North Carolina, isn’t what she’d anticipated. It’s a place full of suspicion and mistrust, where one person’s visions of fire and destruction have turned the town’s citizens against each other. Nickie explores the oddities around her–her great-grandfather’s peculiar journals, a reclusive neighbor who studies the heavens, a strange boy who is fascinated with snakes–all while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?


There seems to be some disagreement with whether or not this is the 3rd or 4th book.  Goodreads has it marked as the 3rd, but in my set The Diamond of Darkhold is the third installment and Yonwood doesn’t even have a number.  I can kind of understanding putting the prequel in the midst of the series to have readers reflect on how the world arrived at this point while the resolution to the narrative is still up in the air, but I see better advantages of reflecting when the original story is full told.

Regardless, The Prophet of Yonwood wasn’t nearly as engaging as the other books.  This is disappointing since the lead up to what caused the conditions prompting Ember’s construction could’ve been a gripping tale.  While I didn’t finish it, it seems like the author’s focus was on prophesy and proselytizing instead.

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