‘Drift House – The First Voyage’ by Dale Peck

I’m currently swept up in this children’s fantasy titled Drift House: The First Voyage by Dale Peck, who’s a reviewer and critic apart from an author. And can I just say that he’s definitely qualified to critic other books, given how well he writes. There is, to coin a cliche, never a dull moment in Drift House (I apologise for that cliche!). It’s packed with plot and it’s just a rollicking ride.

In Drift House, three children (Susan, 12, and her two younger brothers, Charles and Murray) who are sent to live with their Uncle Farley. But one day (oh, gosh. “One day” – narration at its poorest. Another apology!) his house is swept away onto the Sea of Time. The children find out that the House is actually a transtemporal vessel that can travel through time. But the plot thickens when they find out that the House is headed for the Great Drain, a huge vortex in which there is no way out for one if he should be sucked into it. A mermaid called Diaphone appeals to Susan to help save her sister, who has been caught by the Time Pirates. But little did they know (really, I’m truly sorry for the cliche-laden post today) that making Susan rescue Ula lu la lu was part of their grand plan to stop Time by locking the doors to the Great Drain. The mermaids hold one of the three keys to the Drain, the Time Pirates another, and the other by Pierre Marin, an explorer and a scientist (he studies the effects of Time and is a human representative on the Island of the Past, where one of each and every species that ever lived resides).

Yes, so basically, the inhabitants of the Drift House were tricked by the mermaids to obtain the key from the Time Pirates and then the one belonging to Pierre Marin (which is in Uncle Farley’s possession), so that they can lock the Drain and cease the flow of Time.

Like I said, rich in plot. And I love the setting and his writing style. Some children’s authors tend to talk down in their stories – they think that just because they’re writing for children they’d have to employ child-speak. Or teen-speak if they’re writing YA. It annoys the hell out of me. But like Trenton Lee-Stewart, the author of The Mysterious Benedict Society series, Dale Peck doesn’t see the need to talk like a child to appeal to his audience. His writing style is upbeat, like Eva Ibbotson (author of Island of the Aunts, Which Witch?, The Secret of Platform 13, Dial-a-ghost, and many others), and rational, like Lee-Stewart’s. And the setting – it’s out at sea! Who doesn’t like a story set out at sea? Even for The Mysterious Benedict Society, my favourite so far is the second one, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, because it takes place aboard a ship. There’s just something about the sea that makes for a good setting for a story. Maybe it’s the novelty of it, or the immense potential for drama and adventure. Either way, I’m thoroughly enjoying Drift House, so much so that I’ve borrowed the sequel to it.

Other Books I’m Dying to Read:
1. The Six Rules of Maybe – Deb Caletti. I love every one of her books. ‘Nuff said.
2. Linger – Maggie Stiefvater. The sequel to Shiver will be out in June this year. Can’t wait! Shiver was so awesome (curious? read my post about it, if it helps) it made Stiefvater one of my favourite authors alread.

By the way, I am so enjoying Down With Love (every Saturday, 9pm, on Channel U). It just gets better and better with every episode, if that’s even possible, since the first episode was already so fantastic. This drama totally shows the other side of Jerry, the cute funny side, and I’m loving him all the more (if, again, that is even possible). Everything about him puts me in a good mood.

Spent yesterday with my dad. We took a pretty long spin around town, with the rain pouring outside and the radio on (oldies). Another memory that I’ll treasure. Dad told me about his childhood, among other things. He said the reason why he felt the need to take a picture everywhere he goes is because when one day, I’m not by his side, at least he’ll have the photos to keep him company. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling eventually.

I’m working on my New Year’s Resolution now. I don’t usually put much stock in it, because I end up breaking every one on the list anyway. But this time, I will become a vegetarian.

I know. It’s laughable. Me, a vegetarian? I can’t go a day without meat. But eating less meat brings about two benefits:

a) Less demand for meat – although this is rather insignificant, because I’m just one person. But if everyone ate less meat, less land needs to be cleared to rear cattle or other animals that provide meat. That means less forested areas need to be cleared. That means more trees and more wildlife!

b) Meat contains lots of carcinogens, which increases one’s risk of getting cancer. Enough said.

So, yes. Vegetarian. I’ll still eat fish and all that, of course. But no more chicken or pork or mutton or duck (I don’t eat beef).

Anyway, I had a desperate desire to go to the Marina South Pier yesterday, so I dragged my butt all the way there. Had to take two buses to get there, one of which made me wait for half an hour. But I was dying for some sea air. Plus, it would be good inspiration for my work-in-progress, Red December Skies. I’m at page 120 now, still as excited about it as when I first started it. That feeling so reminds me of working on When the Lilies Turn Orange.

Just finished rewatching Mars yesterday. Am feeling empty now, because there are no other dramas that can match up to it. It’s like reading a really good book, one of the best, and then not being able to find another that can quite match up to it. Ugh. Don’t like this feeling. Can anyone recommend any other drama or book that has madness and romance in it? See why my first standalone novel (Lilies) is about madness and romance? There’s not enough of such stories, which is why I’m writing them, if only to satisfy my own craving.