Welcome to my Inner World. I am a French self-taught artist, and these past twenty years I have made Norway my home. Moving to the Lofoten islands was the greatest present I ever made to myself and the Arctic landscapes are indeed a true treat for any artist’s eyes. I live with my British soulmate,… Continue Reading

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Category Archives: Kundry’s Favourite Stuff

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle

From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9-Kate and her younger sister, Emily, are orphans, sent to live with great aunts at remote and mysterious Hallow Hill. Hugh Roberts, their guardian, is a surly and somewhat sinister cousin. One afternoon, the girls come upon some strange people and an abnormally huge cat in a clearing. One of these folk, Marak, is a goblin king. He needs Kate to be his human bride, for goblins may not marry their own kind. When Emily disappears, Kate assumes that he is responsible and agrees to marry him in exchange for her sister’s freedom. Once in the goblins’ vast underground kingdom, Kate is sure she will die from not being able to see the stars. But she does marry Marak and assumes her life as a queen. At this point the plot takes an unexpected turn. A sorcerer attacks Marak, and Kate discovers some surprising things about herself and her relationship with her husband. This is an interesting fantasy world with well-realized characters. Hugh Roberts is a true villain and Kate is a feisty heroine. Marak is frequently described as an ugly monster, and he definitely comes across as something other than human. However, he has a good nature and a sense of humor as well as a great love for his chosen wife. The goblin kingdom itself is beautifully described, as are the strange creatures that inhabit it. The story moves a bit slowly in places, but overall it should attract readers who like magic and adventure. Kate is surely a heroine to be reckoned with, and girls will relate to her predicament.

The Sight by David Clement-Davies

 

From Publishers Weekly
As in his Fire Bringer, Clement-Davies’s new fantasy novel features talking animals (Vargs, or wolves, instead of deer), a militant pack with a power-hungry leader, a prophecy involving a newborn that proves gifted (a white wolf who has the Sight, which can be used to see the future, heal and even control others) and the author creates imaginative mythologies (here drawing on everything from Christianity to Little Red Riding Hood). Also, both prophecies speak of a marked one (this time it turns out to be a stolen human child) and the revelation of a secret. But readers may find the creative plotting here even more compelling than in the author’s first novel and the cryptic prophecy’s meaning will keep them guessing. Larka, a white wolf, and her family are hunted, initially by Morgra, who strives to become the powerful Man Varg (also foretold in the prophecy); a rebel pack also hunts them (Slavka, its leader, seeks to destroy all that claim to have the Sight). After Larka loses members of her pack, she embarks on a solo journey and finds teachers who help her master the Sight, using it to heal the “human cub” and to prepare to face Morgra. Despite sophisticated language and some complex concepts, such as the origins of evil, the author’s clever plot twists (such as which wolf eventually claims to be Wolfbane) make the thick novel well worth the commitment. Strong female characters also provide a refreshing change to the often male-dominated science-fiction/fantasy field.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

 

Amazon.com
At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery, trying to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ve ever read.

Gail Carson Levine’s examination of traditional female roles in fairy tales takes some satisfying twists and deviations from the original. Ella is bound by obedience against her will, and takes matters in her own hands with ambition and verve. Her relationship with the prince is balanced and based on humor and mutual respect; in fact, it is she who ultimately rescues him.

The Merchant of Marvels and the Peddler of Dreams by Frederic Clement and Emma Cole

 

Book Description
What to give the person who has everything? This is the dilemma of Frederick Knick-Knack, who surely must have, somewhere in his bags and boxes, his chests and cases, his collection of collections, the ideal gift for his friend Alice. Published in France to considerable acclaim in 1997, and translated into English with more than 30,000 copies sold, The Merchant of Marvels is now available in a new format for readers to rediscover this world of wonders. How will Frederick convey his most perfect love with just one gift? A ticket for a thousand and one flights on a thousand and one nights? Perhaps a marble made by Merlin the Enchanter? Somehow, somewhere he will find the gift like no other, the perfect present. The Merchant of Marvels is an exuberant marriage of word and illustration, its pages rich with finely crafted objets d’art, line drawings, and breathtaking watercolors. Imbued with magic, mystery, and enchant ment, this emerging classic is the quintessential gift book a wonderful story filled with unimaginably beautiful allegory, and a true expression of love and friendship.