Friday, 10 August 2012
Thursday, 14 June 2012
This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...." Summary from GoodReads
Anyone who's read more than a couple of my reviews can tell that I'm a tough critic, BUT I'm trying to be better about that. In keeping that in mind, I will tell you the plus and minus of this book (and try not to dwell on the minus).
The Plus: It truly is a young adult book. No sex, very little violence, no swearing. If you're going to label a book YA, I prefer it really be PG to PG-13 rated. In keeping in line with the YA label, the characters seem like authentic teenagers, especially the protagonist, Clary. She's unsure of her feelings, she's stubborn, she's kinda whinny, she's your typical 15 year old. It's easy to imagine being a teenager and going through what Clary does. The biggest plus? The ending, finally something original. Really made me want to read on in the series.
The Minus: Some of the characters are pretty two dimensional, I don't need a super amount of detain about every characters, but it might be nice to know something about the more prominent characters, like Isabel and Alec and their family, maybe that's coming in the other books in the series? But really, its not that big of a deal. The biggest deal was that I didn't really like Jace, and he's the main male character. He's arrogant, sarcastic, rebellious, and kind of a jerk. So, typical teenage boy, but it's not really like he's even nice to Clary (so why she likes him is a bit of a mystery, guess he must be cute). It was kinda funny at first, but got old really fast. It's hard to love a book when the one of the two main characters is annoying.
Bottom Line: It's a good book. It's age appropriate with an interesting story. The complains I had are minor and despite them I really enjoyed the book. Grade: B+.
-Written June 26, 2011
Monday, 14 May 2012
A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
Good fairy tales take time to build. Good fairy tales are passed down generation to generation. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children builds a world, characters, plot and, best of all, provides pictures. This twisted Alice in Wonderland starts off with a murder. A peculiar murder that plays with the mind of our 16-year-old protagonist, Jacob Portman. Jacob witnesses the last bizarre moments of the life of his beloved grandfather, Abe Portman.
Friday, 13 April 2012
4 Things you should know about John Dies at the End
Friday, 9 March 2012
"When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.
Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.
Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.
A secret Kale will kill to protect" Description from GoodReads
I just reread this description... I'm not sure I know what this "secret" is Kale will kill to protect, the description basically spills all the "secrets" right there. Nothing shocking happens. Oh, on with my review (sorry to spoil it for you).
Deznee Cross is a rebellious teenager to the nth degree. She will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING in an attempt to make her emotionless father upset, which he never is, so it's all just a ridiculous waste of time. As is most everything else about this book. The characters in general aren't at all believable as humans, with or without abilities. From Deznee's willingness to follow a guy she's just met to an unknown destination, to her fathers complete lack of emotion about anything, especially when it comes to his own child, to Kale, who I had a whole laundry list of issues with.
Dez's "badass" boyfriend Kale was the worst part for me. From the moment she meets Kale she blindly follows him, running away into the night with a guy she just saw kill someone not 10 minutes before, oh and who just tried to kill HER, (yes, I saw the explanation that it was to rebel against her father, I'm not buying it, no one would do this). And speaking of stuff that's not believable, the inconsistencies in what Kale knows and doesn't know were ridiculous. Basically the only things he doesn't know pertain to sexual activity, he's the world's best dancer, but he has no idea why a cute girl would want to touch him. This was just an excuse on the author's part to explain in excruciating detail hand holding and kissing. I guess it's supposed to be tantalizing, but I found it awkward and ridiculous. It further led to the feeling that Kale was bland, boring and sort of an idiot. An example of further idiocy? Sure! If Kale is deathly afraid of Deznee's father, why would he go into her house after he knows that Cross lives there? This kid can kill with a single touch and the one thing that scares him is this dude, logic tells you he'd avoid that dude's house like the plague and go off being a "badass killer" somewhere else, but no. I guess he wants to get it on with Deznee SO BADLY that he repeatedly goes to the house of the guy trying to kill him. We're supposed to believe that teenage hormones conquer all fear and danger, how romantic. I found myself wishing Deznee would ditch Kale and get back together with Alex, at least he sounded interesting and the brief back story we got on he and Dez was far more interesting and believable then anything we learned about Kale.
I should also mention the bad sentence structure, forced teenage language and occasional misspelled word too. These things usually are not a huge deal for me of the story is good, but in this case, nothing is good, so those of you who are sticklers for good writing skills, look elsewhere (there's even a part where they call Alex by a different name, as if his name used to be Fred and they replaced it with Alex and forgot to change one of the names, oops).
Bottom line: The book was predicable and forgettable, not to mention the unbelievable characters. Not the worst book ever, but still a waste of time. Grade: C-.
Monday, 20 February 2012
Review -I read this book more than a month ago, and originally someone else was going to write the review, so I haven't thought about the book since finishing it, and unfortunately until sitting down to write this review, I had mostly forgotten it. I guess that says something about how engaging the book was for me. This review will be pretty basic, as I've forgotten most of the details.
The beginning of the book is spent watching our heroes wandering though the wasteland that used to be Los Angeles, salvaging supplies and killing zombies. This is cool, at first, but it drags on for pages and pages of description of blowing up body parts and occasional celebrity zombies. Once we do get to the plot the book is half over and we find out much of the information we got in the beginning was irrelevant to the point of the story anyway. This was my biggest complaint, so much of the book (and my time) was wasted on vivid descriptions of zombie destruction, which sounds great, but in actuality, it got old really fast.
The book alternated between telling the back story of the individual heroes and what's happening in present day. I'm usually not a huge fan of flashbacks, but in this book the flashbacks were some of the most interesting parts of the story. It's the only time the characters seem at all real. Unfortunately, the author included too many characters and provided very little back story for each one. We are left interested, but ultimately unsatisfied in our curiosity about them. The book could have been greatly improved by giving us twice as much history on half as many characters.
These things being said, I get that character development and emotion were not what the author was going for when writing this book. The book reads like a script to an action movie, which is most of what the book was, action of some sort or another. Sometimes all action with very little substance can be appealing, but it's tough to do this well. As an author, if you're going to make your book all action, you should bring some originality, this book isn't original, it isn't particularly well written either. This left me skimming pages with only a mild interest on how the story ended. The most disappointing part is that it COULD have been so much better. The idea and the set up are great, it just fell flat quickly after getting started.
Bottom Line: Ex-Heroes is basically zombies vs. superheroes, without bringing anything new to the table. There's a lot of action, a lot of description of zombie destruction, but not a lot of character development, which is okay if unoriginal action is all you're looking for. Grade: C-.
Monday, 9 January 2012
Review: As a fan of the dystopian genre, I had high expectations for Michael Grant’s GONE, the titular novel in his current 6-book series. However, if you’ve already read a stellar dystopian series like Hunger Games, it’s hard not to draw comparisons and determine where Mr. Grant has fallen short: a dragging plot, poor character development, unauthentic dialogue and – most annoying - key thematic elements that are left unaddressed . In general, reactions to this book in our group ranged from absolutely boring to mildly entertained, but proof’s in the pudding when most of our members didn’t bother to finish the book (or even get past the halfway mark).
As outlined in the summary above, the story follows what happens when everyone above the age of 15 disappears and the kids of Perdido Beach are left to fend for themselves. Surrounded by an impenetrable force-field, the older kids - comprised of main characters Sam, Astrid, Quinn and Edilio - do their best to ration food and maintain order in the post-Phase world, struggling against animals that have developed advanced predatory mutations while some of the kids themselves have evolved newly-developed superpowers. Add to the mix a climactic power struggle when the super-powered and morally-flawed prep-schoolers of Coates Academy –led by Caine, their equally charismatic and masochistic leader - descend on the survivors at Perdido Beach, and you’ve got a pretty interesting story (at least on the surface). But then again….
Perhaps my biggest disappointment is the author’s negligence to address two of the most prevalent questions posed throughout the book: 1) Why do kids disappear when they turn 15? What’s so special about that particular age? & 2) What is the sinister creature that lives in the cave and what are its motives? If Mr. Grant had given more development to those two subjects, especially in the last few chapters to build up some semblance of suspense, then maybe I’d have some interest in the following books. In fact, it’s as if the last few chapters lose all the steam the book has worked to build. Mr. Grant has the perfect opportunity to set up a classic cliffhanger ending, one that ideally SHOULD make you want to go and devour the next book (aptly named “Hunger”) immediately; instead, the final scene of the book shows Caine, tired and beaten, shuffling off into the desert with the retreating coyote pack. Bad guys defeated. A decidedly tired and predictable ending.
Whether it was the lack of plot resolution, uninteresting characters, terribly-written dialogue – or a combination of all three - I had only *just* enough interest to finish the book and no particular craving to continue the series.
Bottom Line: Having finished the book three weeks prior to writing this review, I can only say it’ll keep your attention long enough (for most readers) to reach the last page, but there won’t be many moments worth remembering when you’re done. Grade: Solid “C”.
Wednesday, 4 January 2012
Everything changes when Quentin finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the practice of modern sorcery. He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. But something is still missing. Magic doesn't bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he though it would.
Then, after graduation, he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. "
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
"Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything? "-GoodReads
No one recommended this book to me, I found it at the library. I read on the back it took place in Austin and was about a vampire themed restaurant. I though, "eh, how bad can it be?". Oh. I had no idea. There's a damned good reason no recommended this book. First off, it's about a teenage girl named Quincie Morris, yup, like the one from Dracula, but a 17 year old girl. Who, at 17 is left in charge of her families restaurant following the death of her parents, even though she has an older late 20-something uncle who helps her and who SHOULD be in charge. But really, that's no reason to complain. And this book has many.
Quincie hires this new chef for her restaurant and spends most of the book sitting around with this really boring guy talking about boring stuff and drinking wine. LOTS of wine. Now I'm not a prude, I'm not going to hate a book because there's some underage drinking in it, BUT this was excessive. It was very much highlighted every time it happened. There was an eventual explanation, but it was just stupid.
Throughout the book Quincie talks about her BFF Kieren, the back of the book calls him her "first love", that's not true. Quincie is in love with him, he treats her like one of the guys, until the very end where everything is SUDDENLY different. Which brings me to the end...
The end tumbles out quickly and messily, like ripping a bag of potato chips down the middle, though I'd rather clean that up then read another sentence of this book. The "villain" is revealed in the last 20 pages, then the whole "big bad situation" we've been reading about for 300 pages is defused and the villain voluntarily leaves town in 2 sentences and the book is over. The "romance" resolved in a sentence. Seriously. It is literally the worst ending I have ever read. This book makes "Dead Witch Walking" look complex (remember the rodent fighting ring? More interesting than this). The only thing that prevents this book from getting an F rating is the fact that I could finish it, and it wasn't offensive (unless extreme ridiculousness is considered an offense...).
Bottom Line: Started out less the average and devolved into terrible and ridiculous. Don't waste your time. Grade: D-.
Friday, 4 November 2011
Review: Though I very much enjoyed it, Divergent did remind me of a couple of other book I've read in the past few years, the first is, of course, The Hunger Games, the second, to my surprise was Vampire Academy. Similarities between Vampire Academy and Divergent kept coming up as I was reading this. The young prodigy falling in love with her instructor, the mother who holds a mysterious secret, the young couple going on the run to avoid authority. It's not exactly the same, but it's certainly similar, though in the case of Divergent, it's better. I found Tris to be a far more likable character than Rose from Vampire Academy, and thankfully the supporting characters were better as well, no weak characters to protect, no one holding Tris back.
The comparison between Divergent and the Hunger Games are far more obvious, but the details are certainly different. They're both young adult, dystopian novels, they're both about 17 year-old girls training to be strong and fight. Katniss is however, nothing like Tris as a character. Tris is more relate-able and for me and therefore, easier to like. Their upbringing and families are totally different as well, which leads to the difference in their characters.
Saying that either Vampire Academy or The Hunger Games is the same as Divergent, however is like saying Harry Potter is like Harry Dresden because they're both wizards, named Harry, who do magic. They aren't the same, and in the case of Divergent, it's a better spin on the similar ideas.
The book is not perfect, there are a few scenes and situations that could have been better. As with any dytopian novel, if you think too hard about the "world" they live in, it's easy to poke holes and find unanswered questions. It's told through the eyes of a teenager, who doesn't question the way the world works, or how it got that way, therefore as the reader, we're left wondering how our world devolved into theirs. Another complaint was the description of the "test" that determines the factions. It was the determining factor for the rest of the book, and an event much referenced. It was far too simple. As a reader I found it hard to believe that this test could determine anything much less how these teenagers will spend the rest of their lives. That being said, it was easy to overlook these things and as you get caught up in the action and adventure of rest of the story.
Bottom Line: A blend between Vampire Academy and The Hunger Games, but easier to read and better. Grade: A-.