I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
I, Coriander is a real fairy-tale. And by fairy-tale I don't mean Disney, but a classic fairy-tale with all its aspects. It has the simple way of telling a story, even though it touches quite complex and big things. At times it is very dark and cruel. There is the evil witch with her scary companion. There is the handsome prince who is about to marry the spoiled and unkind princess. And of course, there is the poor little girl who has to face all the troubles her fate brought her. Her mother suddenly died under weird circumstances, and shortly after her father had to leave England, because he was a Royalist and the story is set in London during the Oliver Cromwell period (bloody bastard if you ask me). While trying to cope with her problems Coriander finds out who her mother really was and with that she discovers the world of fairies and her own heritage.
I really enjoyed this story, it was simple, yet very intelligent and sophisticated. What I appreciated most was the emphasis on the importance of thinking for yourself rather than following blindly and zealously an idea and/or a self-appointed ruler. Oh, and when someone mentioned "the feeble mind of women", I suddenly felt the urge to show them that neither my mind, nor my fist is feeble!
Also, it nicely connected two parallel worlds and brought them together in a real fairy-tale style happy ending. So once again, good defeated evil. At least for some time.