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  • By October Prynne
    Sep 8, 2011
    (I meant to submit this review for the hardcover version, which isn't any different, but the one I purchased). I am very happy to finally finish a very enjoyable and enthralling book by XuanSon Nguyen, Twice Under a Blue Moon, the sequel to Once Upon a Dream. Though the story takes place during the Christmas season, I still found it to be a pleasant summer read nonetheless. There is a very different feel of the tone of the book overall, darker than the last, albeit sometimes morose, but still maintaining a fresh take on fantasy well. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed at first to see it lacking in the fantastical elements, but soon found it to be a trade-off for a more important focus—character development. In Twice Under a Blue Moon, once again we are taken on a tumultuous journey to save the land from eternal destruction, this time both Applewood and Everett, by following the book’s beloved trademark—riddles. The most fascinating thing about this adventure is that it involves... More > plenty of internal conflicts, a battle of emotions, some scuffles between Charlotte and Lucas, and an even touch on the books’ frank philosophy. Charlotte is a very realistic heroine, who I have always found enjoyable to follow. She is intelligent, pragmatic, and brave, all qualities any girl could look up to. Her actions in the story are justifiable, and her feelings, authentic and captivating. Though most of the character development stemmed and grew from Charlotte, I did see a few notable character flaws and growth potential coming from Lucas—another fantastic protagonist—so it might be expected that Charlotte’s newly learned lessons will later empower her to influence Lucas positively when he comes of age to be king. In addition, some of the methodically planned situations and arguments in the book were convincing and cleverly thought out. I was very impressed by the poise in the delivery. I have a few gripes though. Some bits of the dialogue were lacking, skimming the surface, mainly exchanges between antagonists, but not all (a few of them were satisfactory and offered valid points). Though I could do a little less with some of the more adolescent exchanges and contrived remarks, there are allowances for it, as it is a very suitable young-adult read. But I wasn’t quite sure of the overall rating. The book comes off as fairly lighthearted at first, but there were a couple of morbidly graphic scenes and a few innuendos, making it appreciably more adult than its predecessor. I found it relatively fine taken as a whole, but it is something to note before giving to a young teenager to read. Lastly, there was this one bit where the story briefly changed its point of view—already written in first person—from Charlotte to Lucas, which I thought to be potentially interesting, but mostly out of place. Had the scene been longer and contained some significant details stemming from Lucas’ vantage point, it could have worked well. But overall, at barely two pages long, it felt unnecessary, and removing it would have made no changes in the book. Still, it’s a very good book, and a worthy “side” sequel, something hard to deliver had it not been planned out before. But Ms. Nguyen definitely did it, and I certainly don’t regret all the time I spent going through it. I found every bit of the story worth reading rather than glossing over, which made reading the book take twice as long! There wasn’t an excessive amount of detailing over any one aspect; most of it was appropriate, a sign of a more confident writer. Although I do prefer Once Upon a Dream more—which deserves 5 stars and had set the bar high—unlike some books with undue sequels, I am absolutely not ashamed of adding this one to my collection. The beginning started slow, as most books do, the middle became an undeniable page-turner, and the ending, charming and worthwhile. My rating down here (different from the one above) is not just based on personal preference, but the overall feeling I got from it as well. Devoid from any pity points, I give this book a 4.5/5. Thank you Ms. Nguyen for such a wonderful sequel to an equally fantastic book. I am looking forward to reading more of your work, as they all seem to get better and better!< Less
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Product Details

Published
October 23, 2011
Language
English
Pages
490
Binding
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
Weight
3.09 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
5.5 wide x 8.5 tall
Product ID
14327450
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