Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review: Curse "Terrifying showdown" but "Recognized...similarities [with Lewis]"

Book review: The Curse of the Blue Figurine

As you have probably noticed, I am on a John Bellairs readathon. After reading a few Lewis Barnavelts, I thought that I should make a switch. If you look back at some of my comments about Lewis, his wishy-washy, crybaby antics can get on my nerves. I hope that Lewis grows a pair and starts to stand up for himself a bit more. A good change seemed to be the Johnny Dixon mysteries, and the first in that series is The Curse of the Blue Figurine. As with Lewis, Johnny is sort of an orphan. I say sort of because Johnny’s mom recently died from cancer, and his father has gone off to be a fighter pilot in the Korean War. As Bellairs comments at the beginning of the story, Johnny’s dad could have had a compassionate release from the war, but he really wanted to fly a fighter jet. Well, that’s just wonderful for him, but how about his poor son? So that part obviously rubbed me the wrong way.

Maybe because I so recently finished The Figure in the Shadows, I recognized all the similarities. Both Lewis and Johnny have problems with bullies. Both wind up wearing something (Lewis wears a necklace, and Johnny wear a ring) that negatively controls their behavior and that fights removal. Both of the evil characters are nebulous, hovering, dark forms. Even with all the similarities, I found myself liking Johnny. Also, the professor is a much more realistic and interesting character than Uncle Jonathan. The Figure in the Shadows came first in 1975, while The Curse of the Blue Figurine was published in 1983. The other books in the Johnny Dixon series sound fun, so I’ll continue reading them.

Bongo Reader

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