Monday, November 21, 2016

the jolly regina: stardust arc reviews

The Jolly Regina (The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters #1)

Kara LaReau

Pub date: January 10 2017 by Amulet Books



This new series features the blandest sisters who ever embarked on a rollicking, swashbuckling, and entirely unintentional adventure

In the spirit of A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters will captivate middle-grade readers looking for humor, hijinks, and a swashbuckling good time. Meet Jaundice and Kale Bland, two sisters who avoid excitement at any cost. Together, they patiently await the return of their parents, who left on an errand years ago and have never returned.

One day, the Bland sisters are kidnapped by an all-female band of pirates. They’re unwillingly swept into a high-seas romp that might just lead to solving the mystery of what happened to their parents. With whimsical illustrations and Roald Dahl–esque wit, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters is the visually stunning, laugh-out-loud funny start to a new series for readers who are looking for an anything-but-bland adventure.

full review under the cut!

I received a copy of this book on netgalley from ABRAMS and Amulet books, so thanks to them for letting me read this little gem. I had a total blast reading this book, even in my 20's, so I can only imagine the glee of middle grade readers when they get their hands on this one.

This story follows the incredibly dull bland sisters, Jaundice and Kale, from Dullsville. They are quite content with their small lives. They darn socks, they eat oatmeal, they read their illustrated dictionary, and they watch grass grow. They have never hungered for adventure, never even thought of leaving their nice little world. Their parents left on an errand a while ago and have never returned, but the Bland sisters don't trouble themselves with that too much. They have routine, and that is all that matters. Until one day, something else matters a great deal.

Until one day, when they are kidnapped by a pirate named Deadeye Delilah and her band of all female pirates. Through this, Jaundice and Kale are introduced to a world that is unlike anything they've every imagined. Something so far outside the realm of sock-darning and dictionary reading that they have never been able to fathom it. Deadeye Delilah and her first mate Lefty put the girls to work immediately, and Kale and Jaundice find out that their parents were captives on the very ship they're scrubbing, The Jolly Regina. Suddenly, reuniting with their parents is within their grasp, and the Bland sisters will need every inch of planning and scheming that they posses to find them.

The characters in this one are so fun. I loved Fatima the most, she is just great. I also loved Peg a lot too though! I loved that there were good pirates and there were bad pirates, and the distinction between the two was easy. I loved that Kale and Jaundice helped Fatima realize how awesome she was, and helped her get back at some bullies. I love that Peg was a librarian before she became a pirate. I thought that was hilarious! Just all around great characters, I hope that Fatima and Peg would show up in subsequent additions to this series.

I loved the sharp, witty humor in this book. The dialogue was hilarious, the Bland sisters have the driest humors, and everything that is happening is so ridiculous that it is right. This book truly reminded me of the first couple Series of Unfortunate Events, which I think is the vibe that Lareau was going for. It was definitely achieved, especially in the obsession that the girls have with the dictionary and with knowing the precise meanings to things. I love the tone that this book took on, and I would definitely read a ton more of these if it becomes a series. It was such a quick read, I finished it in one sitting, and I also think it would lend itself well to being read aloud. Definitely something that I would recommend to parents with upper-elementary or middle school age kids, or even to someone who just wants a quick and easy read for an afternoon.

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