I originally requested this book for my 15 year old daughter to read and review,but she couldn't get into it so I decided to try to read it. I have to admit that I started the book with a negative bias, but I soon found myself pulled into the story and ended up enjoying it quite a bit.
The storyline and characters are somewhat timeless and mystical, but the characters interactions make for a very compelling read. I especially liked the dynamics between the young adults and their elders. The author's method of interweaving the courtroom scene into the story kept the book grounded in the present. The main story was very surreal.
The author has an impressive knowledge of ancient religions and medicinal plants and I found a lot of the material fascinating. But, it is precisely these subjects that would keep me from recommending this book to anyone under the age of 18.
Rated of 5
by Kathy (Richmond VA)
Hmmm...well, i found this book to be very well written, with beautiful descriptions and haunting images. the author has clearly done her research, and i was fascinated by the botanical aspects. i also liked the trial sequences interspersed between flashbacks. i wanted to keep reading to find out what happened, but i certainly didn't enjoy it. I found the characters sophomoric, and not very well developed. while I don't consider myself to be a puritan, or even overly religious, one or two of the plot points were very offensive, inappropriate and disturbing, even. Some ending threads tie together a bit too neatly (for example, one character who comes off as very negative in the beginning becomes a grandfather figure, with no explanation or development). I gather the book will be marketed towards teens, and perhaps if I were a teen, the book would've worked for me; on the other hand, having children myself, I'd definitely want to discuss the book with any young readers before, during and after!
Rated of 5
by Ginger (Chandler AZ)
This was an average read with an unusual and provocative kind of plot. Much of the time I was disturbed by the subject matter. If this is meant for teen readers I am surprised. It was definitely geared toward a mature audience. I thought switching from the courtroom scenes to the story was clever. In fact, the courtroom scenes were what kept me reading. The character development was not up to what I would call "in depth" and the conversations between characters did not add clarity to the plot.
Rated of 5
by Maryanne (Spanaway WA)
Although Madapple is a compelling read, I just can’t give it more than a 3 rating. Parts of it are beautifully written. The research is extensive and impressive. The structure of the book adds to its appeal – present day court scenes alternated with past-tense narrative. But there is very little, or unexplained, character development. I found I just didn’t care much for any of the characters. Some of the themes of the book are very interesting (i.e. the botanical), others are pretty extreme, especially for a teen audience. Parents should be aware of the radical religious content before recommending this book to their teens. Better yet, parents would be well-advised to read Madapple before or with their teens. I didn't really enjoy this book. The premise was interesting, but the book itself was somewhat disappointing.
Rated of 5
by Judy (Marysville OH)
I liked the structure of this book--alternating between (1) a present day murder trial with Aslaug, the main character, as the defendant, and (2) the unfolding story of what really happened leading up to the trial. And I liked the plantlore in the first part of the book when Aslaug and her mother gather and subsist on plants and herbs alone. We learn a lot about the properties of wild plants. Truly fascinating. But ultimately I didn't care about any of the characters. Their actions and dialogue are stiff and opaque. They are like game pieces being moved around a very rich and intriguing gameboard. I hope the writer can bring her characters to life in her next book.
Rated of 5
by Michelle (Orlando FL)
Unique concept Madapple provided an interesting read. I haven’t read anything else quite like it so the uniqueness of it kept me going. I looked forward to the trial sequences which proved to be the most entertaining and enlightening portions of the book. The trial sequences kept me reading though the other chapters just to get to them. However, I frequently felt bogged down with all the plant descriptions, and found I skimmed them. I also didn’t connect with the characters until the second half of the book. Despite these issues, I’d recommend it as a unique and thought-provoking read.
Rated of 5
by Margaret (Springfield VA)
I eagerly began this book looking forward to a mystery built around a mystical premise of birth as well as a trial. The author deftly moves from Asslang's life to her trial for murder and arson. However, as a reader, I soon became bogged down in the details of the medicinal plants, the history and uses of them. I doubt that would maintain the interest of many of our young readers.
U.S. ebook sales up in 2012, but rate of growth is slowing(May 16 2013) In 2012, trade book sales (i.e. non academic book sales) rose 6.9%, to $15.049 billion, and e-book sales continued to grow, although the rate of growth...