Special: Top Three Reviews of the Year 2013 (Joe)

Starting this site has been a new experience for me since I’m not really used to doing a regular blog (or any blog, for that matter). I’ve had to learn how to plan out a publishing schedule, learn to accept others’ voices, work hard to not rewrite everything, and I’ve experienced for the first time how much work goes into producing a regular publication. I really appreciate my fellow reviewers Douglas, Heather, and Megan for putting up with me as I learned this process.

Looking back on the year 2013, I thought I’d share my favorite three reviews (not by me) of those reviewed here on MySF Short Short Reviews. You may even see a review for something you didn’t notice before. I’ve listed them in reverse alphabetical order by reviewer name.


Poster for Shane Acker's animated film "9".I remember watching 9 in theaters back in the day (only 2009, so not that long ago, actually). I thought the visuals were amazing, and the world was intriguing and needing more exploration. I agree with Megan, however, that the story fell kinda flat.

I think Megan nailed the issues this film had in its translation from a short film to feature film. The film left me with far more questions than it answered, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there were just too many questions in this case. I could see this film being expanded into a short series which would give it more time flesh-out the world and answer some of those questions.

That said, I agree with Megan that 9 is still a good film. I might have been less generous and given it 3 or 3.5 stars instead because of all those questions it left unanswered. I will need to remember to pick it up one of these days.
>> Read the review

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

Cover of "Princess Academy: Palace of Stone" by Shannon Hale.Heather reviewed Princess Academy: Palace of Stone, the followup to Hale’s 2005 novel, Princess Academy. It tells the continuing story of Miri, the protagonist in the first book, as she begins a new life in the bustling city. She has to adjust to new friends (though she still has some of her friends from the academy with her), going from a small town to a much larger city, and learning to play the politics of life at court.

I really liked Heather’s review because of how she was so passionate about the book. She did a great job describing why she enjoyed the book (despite the minor drawbacks she also mentioned), and used words which evoked vivid imagery (“The text practically sings, yet does so in a subtle symphony that does not detract from the story.”)

If you haven’t read the Princess Academy books (there are only two right now), I strongly encourage you to do so. The Books of Bayern series is quite good, as well. Shannon Hale tells a great story, and I’ve never been disappointed when I read her works.
>> Read the review

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Cover of "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell" by Susanna Clarke.I started reading this book once, but I never got into it. Perhaps it was the less-common wording used in the book, or maybe something else, but I never finished reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clark. After reading this review by Douglas, however, I’ll be adding it back to my “to read” list.

The description of the book reminds me a little of Deep Magic by Diana Wynne Jones (though the stories themselves are not really similar at all) with the magic being all around but not noticed by everyday people. I tend to like fantasy books and films where magic is used the way normal people would use it: practical things like washing dishes, doing other chores, or doing for the military (of course that would happen!).

I know Douglas has also read Clarke’s short story collection, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, for which I hope he will eventually write a review. I’ve heard good things about it, as well.
>> Read the review

I encourage you to share your thoughts here on the site. We love getting feedback even (and maybe especially) if you disagree with us. Reviewing is one of the more subjective things out there as everyone will interpret a book, television series, or film differently, and it’s fun to hear different perspectives.

So, please, tell us what you think. We look forward to another year with you! Thanks for reading!


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