Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

Hoffman outdoes herself yet again in The Ice Queen. It's story about a girl, whose name is never revealed. She loses her mother in a fatal car crash when she is barely 8 years old. Said girl grows up to be a narcissistic, invisible librarian who physically and emotionally detaches herself from everyone as punishment for wishing her mother dead. Upon her grandmother's death, our narrator is moved from New Jersey to Florida via her brother Ned. Though Ned's intentions are good, his sister again makes a disastrous wish, this one for herself. She wishes to get struck by lightening, and does so. From here on out, things start to get interesting. Our narrator sets out on a quest to meet "Lazarus Jones," best known to have been fatally struck by lightening, only to rise from the dead 45 minutes later. Her mission is to find the one person that she can not destroy.

I will be honest, the beginning of this story is downright depressing. Hoffman's theme is "it can't get any worse," and then it does. The appropriately self-titled "ice queen" makes a remarkable journey from one end of the spectrum to the other. The majority of the novel is centered around death, but the story is anything but morbid. I highly enjoyed reading this book, and look forward to reading many more of Hoffman's novels. I loved this book just as much as The Probable Future, though they were very different. It is rare to find an author that is versatile, while drawing in the same audience into each and every novel.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman

My head is stiiiill spinning from this book! The story is about the Sparrow family. Each girl in the family awakens on her thirteenth birthday with a gift. Such gifts include the ability to dream other people's dreams, detect lies, feel no pain... For Stella Sparrow, her gift is the ability to see how people are going to die. The story starts out with Stella and her mother Jenny, who have a typical mother-rebellious teenager relationship. Over the past thirteen years, Jenny has worked extremely hard to keep her daughter safe from the secrets and past of the Sparrow family. However, Stella receives her gift non-the-less and turns to father for help. During this revelation to her father, Stella reveals that a woman is going to be brutally murdered and wants her father to help. Instead, her father becomes the lead suspect and puts both of Stella's and Jenny's lives at risk. Therefore, Jenny has no where else to turn and ends up relocating Stella and herself back to life she desperately tried to leave behind.

This book is amazing! I was so sad to see it end! There are various elements besides the plot. There is the love-hate relationship of mother and daughter. There is a magical element. There is death and there is life. It's about first loves and true love. About the struggle to find your place in life. Hoffman definitely writes for an audience of women, but goes above and beyond your general chick lit. I would highly recommend this book to any woman looking to fall into a magical world, that is not unlike the world we live in everyday. I look forward to reading more of Hoffman's novels. Some of her other works include, but are not limited too Practical Magic, Turtle Moon, and The River King.