The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint

bluegirl-alt_viking.jpgI’m beginning to put Charles de Lint right up there with Orson Scott Card and Neil Gaiman as one of my favorite authors after reading The Blue Girl. I’ve read two other books by him (Greenmantle and Moonheart) and loved both of those so much that I’ve bought about ten of his books since reading them. After reading The Blue Girl, I’m convinced that I’ll enjoy each and every one of them. Like Card and Gaiman, he has a style of writing that just works perfectly for me. He tells a true story that entertains throughout with never a dull moment, never a page wasted. His subject matter is always interesting to me, often delving into the realms of fairy lore, and he’s basically the inventor of the Urban Fantasy genre which I’ve come to love.

The Blue Girl is the first book that I’ve read of his that takes place in his fictional city of Newford, and I can’t wait to meet more of it’s residents in other books. The two main characters of this book are Imogene and Maxine. Imogene has just moved to Newford from her old town, Tyson, where she’s left behind a bad reputation for running with a bad crowd and everything that goes along with that. But she wants to leave that in Tyson. She still carries her punky look and her tattoos and her take no lip attitude, but she realizes that it’s time for a change. At her new school, she meets Maxine – a girl who has few if any friends and dresses very conservatively…how her mother tells her to dress. But the two take to each other quickly, both able to learn from the other.

Things quickly get strange in Newford. First of all, Imogene’s “imaginary friend” Pelly from her childhood is back and has appeared to her in what she first thought was a dream and he seems to be giving her a warning. Secondly, Imogene seems to be being stalked by a ghost named Adrian at school. But Adrian is basically harmless. In fact, they soon become friends and Imogene learns that Adrian actually died young while playing with fairies at school (not the cute pixie like fairies that we think of). But Imogene doesn’t believe in fairies. So Adrian (as a ghost) goes to the fairies and asks them to make Imogene be able to see them. What he doesn’t bargain for is how out of hand things will get. Unbeknown even to the fairies, there are other spirits that come to Imogene when her eyes are awakened to the faerie world…and they want her soul. Once their eyes are on here they’ll stop at nothing to get it and now her and Maxine must find a way to stop them…and she may even change colors in the process.

One of the things that I love about de Lint’s work is the amount of knowledge that he pours into them. I learned quite a bit about faerie lore while reading this book and it’s obviously something that he has researched quite a bit and that he is very passionate about. In Moonheart, I learned things of the native american culture. The point is, he puts his passions into his books. His books are meant to be an experience. I can read a de Lint book for 4 hours and completely lose track of time. In fact, I was almost late to work today finishing this book.

I could just keep reading more Charles de Lint for the rest of the Once Upon a Time Challenge, but I won’t :p However, I’ll probably add an extra book of his off of my TBR shelf to the stack. I think I have Someplace to be Flying on another challenge list so maybe I’ll read that one. Anyone read that? If you haven’t read The Blue Girl yet, do yourself a favor and read it…I can’t wait to go back to Newford!

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31 Responses

  1. I’ve just started on the Newford books too – Dreams Underfoot being my first anthology of short stories in that universe. I was blown away by the beauty of the writing and the way De Lint hooks you in the very first paragraph. Like you I felt I could just keep reading him forever. I have another Newford anthology, The Ivory and the Horn, on my list for the Once Upon a Time challenge and will keep an eye out for The Blue Girl as it sounds excellent.

  2. I felt exatly like you about De Lint never wasting a page, always keeping my interest up and putting so much knowledge into it. I’ve studied fairy lore before for college and almost everything that was in the book I remember reading about it somewhere else, in essays and books about fairies. I can’t wait to read more of his work!

  3. Wow. Wow. Wow…this sounds sooooo good! I’m probably the only person out here that’s never read de Lint…sounds like I’m in for a real treat! I actually bought The Blue Girl a few months ago, so I don’t even need to add this one to the wish list 🙂

  4. I read my first Charles de Lint this weekend. I read Dingo, his 2008 release. I was very impressed. I couldn’t find anything at all to critique. I’ll definitely be keeping him in mind whenever I head to the library. And if you like him as much as Card, I’m almost guaranteed not to be disappointed 🙂

  5. I told you this was a good book. 🙂 I am reading The Onion Girl right now. Very good so far!

  6. Sounds like I’ll be adding a new author to check out. The book sounds terrific – thanks for the great review.

    cjh

  7. Cath, Oooh, I have Dreams Underfoot in my TBR pile too…now I just want to go start that one right away! Really enjoyed this one, I’m sure that you would too!

    Valentina, Same here…I can’t wait to read more de Lint…and the great thing about him is that he’s published so much! He honestly doesn’t waste a page…this is the first book I’ve read this year where I wasn’t bored at all. Normally, it’s expected that there will at least be a page or two where you’ll just have a lull, but not with him! That’s great!

    Debi, You’re in for a real treat with this one! I kept having a good feeling about this one. It had been on my shelf for awhile and I knew it would be good when I got to it. Well it was great! You’re gonna fall in love with de Lint when you get to him, I just know it!

    Becky, I’m very curious about Dingo! I’d like to get my hands on a copy of that one. Sounds like another great one. The first book I read by de Lint was Greenmantle and I knew right away that I’d love him because his main character is a 12 year old girl who loves Orson Scott Card. So he obviously appreciates Mr. Card’s work!

    Kailana, It was great! Can’t wait to read more Newford. I have the Onion Girl sitting on my shelf. I almost picked that one to read for the challenge, but decided for The Blue Girl instead because it was on so many other challenge lists :/ I’ll definitely read it though! I love the Palencar cover to The Onion Girl!

    CJ, I hope you do! He’s an amazing author and I think that you’d really enjoy him!

  8. I read this last year for the OUAT Challenge and it was my first CDL book and it got me hooked! Like you I went out and got lots more of his books and am really enjoying slowly working my way through them. I hope to read Yarrow later this year and whatever else I can fit in (ideally Widdershins as it follows on from The Onion Girl).

  9. This sounds great and has now gone on my wish list. I’m about a quarter of the way through Forests of the Heart which I’m reading for the Once Upon a Time II challenge and can really recommend it; another Newford book this time with lots of Celtic folklore.

  10. This one sounds so good. I know what you mean about the knowledge and passion he pours into his books. Well, I’ve only read one, but it was very visible there. He really is an amazing author.

  11. Rhinoa, I can’t believe I let this one sit on my shelf for so long! I have both Widdershins and The Onion Girl sitting on my shelf…I bought them both :/ He must be a pretty good author for one to go buying that many books after only reading 2! I’ve even bought signed editions.

    Bride, I’m so glad you put it on your wishlist 🙂 Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I absolutely love Celtic folklore, so I’m looking forward to your thoughts on Forests of the Heart. That’s actually one that I hadn’t heard of!

    Nymeth, It’s beyond good! I think all you need to read is one book by him to realize how good of an author he is. I was sold after reading Greenmantle. Which book did you read again of his?

  12. Glad to hear this is another good de Lint. I am feeling similar feelings about him that you are. He is an amazing author. After reading The Wood Wife I had a real desire to read something similar and so I went and picked up Moonlight and Vines. I’m really enjoying the short stories, I think even more because I read Widdershins last year and that helped introduce me to Newford and to some of his characters. Great stories in there so far.

  13. Thanks for introducing me to a new author. Well, not new to everyone, just me. I saw that our library has Charles de Lint on their new author shelf as well, so he must be quite sought after. Plus, after looking at the cover, I’m reminded of what I looked like in my 20’s. 😛 Thanks for the great review!

  14. Chris, it was Waifs and Strays, a short story collection that Rhinoa picked for our mutual challenge. I have The Onion Girl here to read soon, and after that I suspect I’ll have to pick up The Blue Girl.

  15. Chris – I’m so excited that you are enjoying de Lint’s books – aren’t they fun? I have one of the few I haven’t read yet on my list for the Once Upon a Time Challenge, and I’m really looking forward to it. You will probably enjoy another YA (I think the first he wrote for younger readers) called The Dreaming Place. And, of course, all his other books! 😀 I’ll be looking forward to hearing what you think of them.

  16. Darla, Oooh, exciting! I haven’t even heard of The Dreaming Place! I’ll have to add that one to the list 🙂 The Blue Girl was fantastic. Still thinking about it!

  17. I have Widdershins on my shelf but I had no idea
    de Lint had written so many other books. I really need to read the one I have then move quickly to more.

  18. I actually read this one for Carl’s challenge last year and I really enjoyed it. I think I have an unread de Lint on my shelves, maybe I’ll take that out for this year’s challenge

  19. Hey Fence! I love de Lint! Wasn’t this one great? I’m still thinking about it…I’d highly recommend finding that de lint for this years challenge 😉 I’m thinking of pulling out some more for the challenge. I have at least 10 of his books on the TBR pile here!

  20. […] The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint 2. Gifts by Ursula le Guin 3. The Book of Flying by Keith Miller 4. Tamsin by Peter Beagle 5. The […]

  21. […] Somewhere in all the whimsy of that combination is always a story about people. From Novels like The Blue Girl to The Onion Girl to his collected short stories in many books such Dreams Underfoot or Waifs and […]

  22. […] is not a book I would have picked for myself. Chris’ (Stuff As Dreams) Irresistible Review made me curious enough to check it out. I must be getting old because angsty, dark teenagers […]

  23. I’m on a de Lint binge at the moment, having read The Onion Girl, Widdershins and Promises to Keep for the OUaT challenge. I’m tempted to revisit Dreams Underfoot soon too, and I just bought several hardback editions on Amazon, including The Blue Girl which I have yet to read.

    Can’t wait to get to this one, it sounds fab. I adore the Newford stories so much…

    “The point is, he puts his passions into his books. His books are meant to be an experience. I can read a de Lint book for 4 hours and completely lose track of time.”

    Definitely, I wholeheartedly agree.

  24. […] 1. The Blue Girl by Charles deLint 2. Gifts by Ursula LeGuin 3. The Book of Flying by Keith Miller 4. Here, There be Dragons by James Owen 5. The Wood Wife by Terri Windling 6. The Book of Ballads by Charles Vess 7. The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling 8. Tamsin by Peter Beagle 9. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis 10. Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham 11. The Raven by John Lawson 12. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis 13. Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic ed. by F. Brett Cox and Andy Duncan […]

  25. […] of six year old Izzy, together into a joint operation directed by Monty. 54. Orson Scott Card http://stuffasdreamsaremadeon.com/2008/03/29/the-blue-girl-by-charles-de-lint/ I’m beginning to put Charles de Lint right up there with Orson Scott Card and Neil Gaiman as one […]

  26. […] 1. A Book with a color in it’s title: The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint 2. A Book with an animal in it’s title: Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest 3. A Book with a first name in it’s title: Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser 4. A Book with a place in it’s tile: The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia 5. A Book with a weather event in it’s title: Dream Homes: From Cairo to Katrina, an Exile’s Journey 6. A Book with a plant in it’s title: Madapple by Christina Meldrum […]

  27. […] Somewhere in all the whimsy of that combination is always a story about people. From Novels like The Blue Girl to The Onion Girl to his collected short stories in many books such Dreams Underfoot or Waifs and […]

  28. I absolutely LOVED THIS BOOK…I called myself trying to read it while i was in the tub so that it could be a little relaxing and I found myself not even acaring that I was in the tub. I didnt even pick up a towel while I was in the tub…THAT IT HOW GOOD THIS BOOK IS. Iam in high school and we had to read the hobbit so i figured i would fix some fun reading in with the boring and i did and what i got was this amazxing book that i didnt want to put down! I stopped reading the hobbit completely and now i cant seem to get my self interested in it again after reading the blue girl!

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