Saturday, September 18, 2010

Beginning of Fall Book Reviews

So this summer/fall has been big for me and I read a lot of really good Children/YA series, including Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments, Philip Reeve's Larklight trilogy and Fever Crumb, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series. This summer I was also looking forward to reading the last book of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, and the second book of the Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Shiver. However, they were not all that I expected them to be, but luckily I found another book that I enjoyed. Summaries taken from unless otherwise noted.

Suzanne Collins

"My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead."
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss. The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

My Review: 
I had really high hopes for this book, especially since I waited 8 months to read it. And maybe the author cracked under the strain to produce the final book, I don't know. But this book just didn't have the, how to phrase this, same vibe of the first two books in the trilogy (it felt thrown together). I had to wait two days to review this book to get together what I really thought of it because it left me really conflicted.

The book was exciting all the way to the end, and definitely kept me guessing. That part I liked. I get that it's supposed to be about the gruesomeness and pointlessness of war, hence the insane detail about torture which was really hard for me to read. I guess I kept thinking about all the 12 year olds that would be reading this and thinking, geez if it is hard for me to read (especially the ending scene with her sister)and gave me nightmares, it's surely got to be impossible for them, right? I understand why Katniss did what she did in the end and I'm glad that she managed to find some manner of happiness, even though she had to get completely messed up to find it.

Maggie Stiefvater
Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)

In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past…and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves…and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love–the light and the dark, the warm and the cold–in a way you will never forget. 

My Review:
Now I enjoyed the first book despite the mixed reviews from a lot of readers. The second book I was not as much a fan of, and would give it 3 1/2 - 4 stars out of 5. The storyline was just too slow and nothing much happened. Basically it's just Sam and Grace pining after each other even though they are practically living together under her parent's roof (of course without their knowledge). Sam is still wonderful being ultra-caring, reading Rilke and writing beautiful songs about Grace. Cole and Victor are two of the new wolves that Beck (the wolf pack's leader) turned before he forever changed back into a wolf. Cole was a willing change because he hated his life and wanted to kill himself, but he convinced Victor to do it. Cole changes from wolf to human and back again in front of Isabel and they can't stop snogging each other. She wants to go all the way with him, but he doesn't want to hurt her. Then there's Grace being ill for most of the book and "no one knows what it is" but if you paid attention in the first book you should know and it's not going to end pretty. But then there is this twist ending so the author surprises you a little and leaves it wide open for a third book. This book made me think of the fourth book of the Twilight series, only with werewolves, better writing and no babies. 

Garth Nix
Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #1)

I can't even begin to explain the storyline of this book, so I will refer to this review instead, from Melissa's Bookshelf blog ( Her synopsis is "Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock. Arthur is safe--but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back--even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him. Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house--a house that only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key--and discover his true fate." This is a very basic description, the actual book is much more complicated. As Melissa says in her review, the book is "quite bizarre actually, though also very intriguing and ultimately difficult to put down," which was how I felt about the book once I got into the storyline. I'm curious to see what his next book is about, though I know it will be awhile before I will have time to read it.

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