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This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
I received a copy of this book through the member's giveaway, and found it to be a quick, enjoyable read. I particularly enjoyed the interaction between Ella and the panther, in particular that she turns out to be the heroine he needed, rather than the hero he wanted. Footstool is a great sidekick, and although the storyline was somewhat predictable to me, I'm sure that won;t be as much of an issue for younger readers.
The only thing that jarred a little was the ending, which seemed a little rushed perhaps, not quite as polished as the rest of the story. I would certainly recommend this book to young fantasy readers and anyone else looking for a fun way to pass a couple of hours.
Tropical-Library | 3 other reviews | May 20, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
"Ella and the Panther's Quest" is an interesting blend of a Beauty and the Beast and Quest driven fantasy novel. Ella is a young substitute teacher who enjoys hanging out at the library from where she is transported magically into an alternate universe to help a caged panther. Ella thinks of an innovative way to secure the panthers freedom and subsequently joins him on his quest to destroy the evil magician. I found the character interplay quite charming and it helped to keep me interested in the story. I also really liked the underlying theme that though Ella seems like an unlikely hero (and is actively resented as one by the panther), she is the one who is able to help him.

Although the book is meant for younger readers, I found it quite engaging. While there aren't a lot of plot twists the constant movement as Ella progresses through the kingdom helps to draw your attention. I did find the authors attention to knitting patterns somewhat jarring and not altogether harmonious with the flow of the narrative.

In all, I did enjoy reading the book and would like to thank Lisa Anne Nisula for giving me the opportunity. I think it would be appealing to younger girls. The copy of the book that I am reviewing is an ebook and I received it through the members giveaway program.
anatwork.k | 3 other reviews | Dec 3, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
This is one of the first complimentary e-books I've received through the early reviewers program of Librarything. Being new to this, I clearly had no idea what would be received. As it is, I've enjoyed reading this book. Though being more of a science fiction reader than fantasy, this fairy tell was a very easy and entertaining read. At some point I started wondering whether I was reading a children's book or actual adult fantasy. Being a non-native English reader, I had absolutely no problem at all reading the book.

The book felt quite similar to Alice in Wonderland at points but whether that is a negative is up to the reader. The plot is somewhat predictable, but the interaction between the characters and most importantly the question of whom the 'footstool' is, keeps the suspension going. I finished the book in just a few hours of almost continous reading, which says something for the plot and readability!

I there is anything negative to be said about this book, it would be on one hand the sometimes irritating typos causing a non-native reader to re-read a sentence in a plot that develops very fast. The other downside is the constant referral to knitting in the book. I is obvious, even without referring to her website, that Lisa Anne is a knitting fanatic. At points this gives the plot an unforeseen direction, but overall I felt it to be layed on to thickley to be amusing or a consistent (or expected) part of a fairy tale like this.½
hydrografie | 3 other reviews | Nov 28, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
Ella's adventure begins while trying to reach for the public library's copy of the works of Lewis Carroll, which turns out to be prophetic as she is propelled through an enchanted mirror into a magical world by an animated footstool. There she meets the panther of the book's title. This being a magical world, the panther explains that he has a quest to rescue a cursed castle, but has been imprisoned in a locked cage and so must wait for a champion who can free him and then accompany him on this mission.

Unsurprisingly enough, Ella succeeds in freeing the panther, and joins the big cat and walking, but not talking, footstool in their journey (think Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast). Panther reluctantly agrees to Ella's presence, being firmly convinced that they will meet the true hero along the way. The plot moves quickly along (despite the near 300 page count) as the unlikely trio successfully negotiate a succession of obstacles and adversaries. At times the plot development felt very Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass, at others I was reminded of C. S. Lewis's Silver Chair.

Ella and the Panther's Quest is self-published, so it is not as polished as it could be. There are occasional typos and sometimes the dialog can be stilted. It is however a "ripping yarn"; an enjoyable page-turner of a fairy tale with a suprisingly satisfying ending.

I was provided with a complimentary e-book of this title by the author. I have received no remuneration for this review.
HappieAnnie | 3 other reviews | Oct 18, 2010 |
As a veteran gamer, I find that this novel plays out very much like your standard RPG. There is the hapless hero, the female fighter, the alpha male, the "fool", and a magical creature; all that is missing is the damsel in distress. The plot involves a series of tasks, with each one prompting the next as the protagonist attempts to reach his ultimate goal. He accomplishes that which is laid before him through a combination of skill and serendipity, along with the guidance from his party. In short, this is what a video game would look like if it were written out.

With that being said, Nisula manages to sidestep the temptation of making her characters one-dimensional. What I liked about them was that they each had distinct personalities outside of their official roles. For instance, as a pixie, Bobble was flighty and fretted a great deal, but he was also brave and rose to the occasion as necessary. Another example can be found in the knight and the bard. The internal conflicts in Amertious and Phichorian become evident over time, making them feel like actual people and not human tools for Charles to utilize in his quest.

Unfortunately, by matching the speed in which RPG story lines develop, the book loses some of its credibility. Events that should take days, weeks, or months to occur are over and done with in a matter of hours. The short travel distances and easy resolution of complications take away from that sense of a long journey; from what I can tell, the entire novel occurs over the span of two weeks, which is far too short for all of the things that the characters have to do. The book would benefit from slowing down and letting internal and external conflicts gradually develop and reveal themselves during the large amount of time spent on the road.

This book is written at the level of young adult fiction, however, so the speed might appeal to a generation that is notorious for its short attention span. There are several passages that are rather well written, allowing me to get lost in the story as it unfurled. What typically brought me back to reality was the overuse of the characters' names. There are many instances in which the use of a pronoun or an epithet would add some variety, as the reader is already aware of the subject of the sentence. Also distracting was the abundance of run-on sentences, misused semicolons, and sentences that were confusing because they shifted subjects halfway through or attempted to address too many things at once.

As an added aside, the formatting for this e-book is fantastic! The text flowed smoothly with proper indentation, there was a functional table of contents, the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter kept with the feel of the overall product, and the centered asterisks alleviated one of my major pet peeves.

In the end, my inner gamer had a good time with this story. My inner reader wishes that it had all been more spread out.
hideandread | Oct 16, 2010 |
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