Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MORE Books That You Will Like (This Time Featuring The New Fictional Love of My Life)

First off, let me apologize for the length of this blog post. It's ridiculous. BUT. I figure if one only tends to blog every few weeks, one ought to at least be pretty thorough when one DOES blog. Also, one should stop saying "one" now.

Moving on!

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a major thing for All Things Victorian. Well, you know, except for the whole wearing corsets thing. And also the covering of table legs because said legs might make men think ESCANDALO thoughts about ladies' legs.

Sexxxay! Am I right, fellas?

And the giving of heroin to babies. No, seriously. That happened.

But other than all that BS, the Victorian period is boss as far as this gal is concerned. Also boss? Books about Kick-Ass Ladies Kicking Ass in Victorian times. Which leads us to today's book (well, books, really):

Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart Mysteries!

I'm a big fan of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, but I have to say, the Sally Lockhart books rock my face off even more, mostly because they push more Rachel Buttons (Victorians! Awesome Ladies Carrying Guns! Sexy-Times!)

One of the fun things about these books is the way they basically defy categorizing. You can usually find them shelved with YA, but I've also seen them in the children's section. This is hilarious to me, because...well, see above RE: Guns and Sexy-Times. In the first book, Sally is 16, so yeah, that definitely makes it YA, but by the 2nd book, she's already 22, and shacking up with her boyfriend, and fighting crime, and having illegitimate babies and what have you.

And now let's move on the Oversimplification Theatre, shall we? (Although, I should warn you. My overwhelming love for the character of Jim Taylor may have slightly, um, colored my views on these books. Read on and see for yourself.)


SALLY: I'm Sally Lockhart. I'm 16, I was born in India, my dad just died in a mysterious shipwreck, and I am awesome at math and shooting stuff. Basically, Victorian England is in NO WAY ready for my jelly. I got this weird note, so I'm gonna go by my dad's shipping office, and see if anyone there knows what it means.

FAT DUDE AT SHIPPING OFFICE: Whatcha got there, little lady?

SALLY: Just this note. Here let me read it to you: "Beware the seven veils." Huh. Wonder what that-


SALLY: Holy crap. I think I just killed someone with my Awesome.

JIM TAYLOR, OFFICE BOY, AKA THE FICTIONAL LOVE OF MY LIFE: Ha! You totes killed that dude! Let me read the note. I won't die, as I have plenty of Awesome of my own.


JIM: Um...chill, lady. I'm only 13 in this book. You don't fall in love with me until halfway through Book 2, when I'm nearly 20.

RACHEL: Oh. Right. Carry on then.

JIM: Okay, so as I was saying, even though I'm only 13 and all Cockney and po and stuff, I will help you solve the mystery of your dad's death. I have a hunch it will involve cursed rubies, opium, smuggling, a scary old lady who wears her dead husband's false teeth, a Maharajah, and Seeekrit Baaaabies.

SALLY: Score!


FREDERICK GARLAND, PHOTOGRAPHER: Hello, Miss Lockhart. I would also like to help you solve this mystery. Also, your hair is very pretty, and I would really like to kiss you in your face, and you can live here with me and my sister, and WHY WON'T YOU LET ME LOVE YOU?

SALLY: No time, dude! Mysteries to solve, finances to work out, and guns to fire!


JIM: *works out the entire mystery in like 2 seconds because he is so very fabulous*

RACHEL: *dreamy sigh*


SALLY: *still awesome* I'm 22 and run my own finance business now! YAY!

JIM: I'm 19 or so, and I'm still smart and kind of snarky! I'm also still super-Cockney, and call people, "gal" and "guv'nr!" These days, I'm both a detective AND a writer! Basically, I am now the Swooniest Swoony Thing Ever To Cause Swooniness!

RACHEL *swoons*

FREDERICK: I'm kind of bad-ass in my own right in this book. Probably because I'm working as a detective with Jim, and some of his amazingness has rubbed off. Hey, Sally, wanna get married?

SALLY: Nope!


SALLY: But we can do Sexy-Times!

FREDERICK: Well...okay, then.

*Sexy-Times Commence*

RACHEL: Um...did I honestly find this book shelved with the Magic Tree House series?

PLOT: *involves mediums, and seances, and ginormous machine guns, and Evil Swedish People, and Surprise!Deaths, and various other things that rule*

SALLY: *does something amazing*

JIM: *wins at life*



SALLY: *still awesome, still likes guns, has a baby thanks to Sexy-Times in Book 2*

SARAH-JANE: I'm the baby's nanny. I'm totes in love with Jim.

RACHEL: Preach it, sister.

SARAH-JANE: I'm also super-sad because Jim is off being awesome in South America as Europe could not contain all his amazingness.

RACHEL: Wait, what? Jim's not in this book? *lies down in a forest like Bella, covers self with leaves*

SALLY: But...but...this book involves my baby getting kidnapped! And anarchists! And sexy journalists wooing me!

RACHEL: *stares out window as camera circles and months go by*

PLOT: *gets very dire*

JIM: *shows up in the last 50 pages of the book*


JIM: Back from South America! What's that? Oh, everything's gone to total crap since I've been gone? Lemme fix that. *saves the day, is more awesome than you*



ADELAIDE: 'Sup? I'm Adelaide, and I was in THE RUBY IN THE SMOKE as a sad little Victorian orphan-waif. Sally and Jim saved me from this really heinous old lady, but then I disappeared, and they swore to spend the rest of their lives trying to find me. I was kind of a big deal, but for some reason, Rachel forgot to mention me in her recap of that book. *glares*

RACHEL: Right, sorry about that. Look, a LOT happened in that book. And hey, you end up a princess in this one! Not only that, you also turn out to be Jim's One True Luv, and y'all have Illicit Sexy-Times on a Train, so DO NOT EVEN start complaining.


SALLY: Even those this book has my name on it, I'm hardly in it. Oh, well! I have to go to America with my new husband to handle more finances, and shoot more guns, and bring my brand of bad-assery to the Colonies. Later!

RACHEL: Aw, sad! I <3 Sally! But...hold up. Is this book all about Jim having illicit sexy-times with a married princess?! DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT, SALLY!

JIM: I'm gonna help out the Prince of Razkavia because even royal dudes have heard tales of my Awesome. And- ZOMG! Adelaide! Who I've been looking for since we were little kids! You are...not a little kid anymore. How YOU doin'? *smolders, thinks sexxxy thoughts*

ADELAIDE: I'm married to the Prince of Razkavia now.

JIM: Well, damn.

ADELAIDE: He married me because I was his "special lady friend of the night" back at the brothel where I used to work.


PRINCE RUDOLPH OF RAZKAVIA: Jim, I'd like to hire you to come to Razkavia with me and Adelaide, and keep us safe from political assassinations. Something tells me your general Winning at Life will be very useful. Also, I'm kind of stupid, so I'm totally not picking up on all the Sexy-Eyes you and my wife keep throwing at each other.

JIM: *looks at Adelaide, smolders, but is honorable and stuff*

ADELAIDE: You could maybe not be that honorable. I am seriously okay with that. Just throwing it out there.

JIM: No, I musn't! Instead, I'll run around Razkavia, which is basically like an even MORE twee Bavaria, and work hard to save your husband's life, even though I love you like burning and want to make out with you hardcore.

RACHEL: Before you, Jim, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. And then you shot across my sky like a meteor,-

JIM: Stop quoting TWILIGHT at me.

PLOT: *Multiple!Assassinations,conspiracies, Some German Stuff I'll Admit I Didn't Quite Get Because I was Too Focused on the Train!Sexy-Times*

So there you have it. The Sally Lockhart books and my Beloved Jim Taylor. If the promise of cursed jewels, opium, Evil Swedish people, anarchists, illegitimate/seeeeekrit babies, Fictional Twee Countries, and Sexy Times On A Train doesn't make you want to read these books...well, then you and I just don't understand one another.

And now I have to go doodle, "Mrs. Rachel Hawkins-Taylor" onto my Trapper Keeper.


Heather said...

Rachel, you are amazing.

I've had these books on my TBR forEVer...ever since Will and Lyra wiggled into my heart and refused to budge no matter how much I poked them with a blunt object. But this made of win review/synopsis just catapulted them to the top of my list.

Chantel said...

Frankly, opium was ruined for me by sweaty, angsty Albert Ingalls.

But I'm down for the rest of it!

Julie-Ann said...

After laughing so hard I nearly had an accident in the car, I NEED to read this if not for the mystery then for falling for yet another fictional guy (I have a REALLY long list includes anime...yeah sad).

Anne said...

Love the twilight refs. Too funny! Did I mention how awesome you are? lol you are always cracking me up!

Ally said...

That was amazingly funny :) I'm sitting in the library laughing to muself and the librarian looks none too pleased...
But I have to read the books now! :)

Anonymous said...

Just snorted coffee all over myself while REREADING this - yes, I read it yesterday and felt the need to read it again. I think, in your spare time, you should start reviewing for the NY Times Review of Books. They would be lucky to have you.

Anne said...

I read these books and they are amazing! I love how you summarize them, so funny.

Kylie said...

Haha. This is so funny. I love reading your blog. I just read Hex Hall, and it was amazing! I can't wait for the second one! :)

Leigh said...


I read the first three books when I was in middle school and loved them for their scandalous kick-assed-ness. In fact, TO THIS DAY, when I think of Love vs. Convention, I think of the fact that Sally did the deed BEFORE he could ask her to marry him so he didn't think she was doing it out of duty. Back then I didn't even know you could HAVE sex out of a sense of duty. I mean, it's SEX!!! ;)

But now you tell me there's a 4th book THAT I NEVER KNEW ABOUT?? *runs to read* *sighs happily* You are my hero.

katarinas mama said...

I'm in the middle of the first one and already ordered the other three. So good. Great rec's!

LJK said...

Twenty years later, I am still destroyed by the end of book 2. I just can't bring myself to reread it, but I did love your summary. The books are great, and preteen me is still crying.

The Compulsive Reader said...

HA! I read these books when I was 11 because they were in the children's section in my library and I adored them! You have summed up my feelings for them quite well.

The Compulsive Reader said...

LJK: I KNOW, RIGHT?? It killed my tender eleven-year-old heart.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this comment will go through, what with my luck (it's actually quite nonexistant), but here goes:
Rachel Hawkins is a legend of epic proportions. You are as you yourself might say, amazeballs.
You bring the awesome in kicks and punches, derived from a ye-old kick-ass attitude and it RULES.
Now I'mma shut up, because I'm starting to scare myself and the monsters under my bed with my nonsensical ramblings.

YA Yeah Yeah said...

Wow, fantastic summaries! I loved the first two but wasn't so keen on 3 and 4 (partly due to the lack of Jim for most of book 3, as you pointed out!) Great stuff.

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