Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"The Throne of Fire" (Kane Chronicles #2) by Rick Riordan

*As usual with sequel reviews, this review may contain minor spoilers. I did not include the summary for the aforementioned reason. You are warned.*
Sad. I am sad. This book is by Rick Riordan. I LOVE his books. I LOVE the Percy Jackson series. I loved “The Lost Hero“, and less so but still mostly, I really liked “The Red Pyramid“. So I had pretty high expectations for “The Throne of Fire”.

This is that part where I tell you why, even though I love Rick Riordan’s stuff so much, a few MONTHS passed between the release date and when I read his new book. Well, here’s a timeline:
1 Week Before the Release Date: HEY. “The Throne of Fire” comes out in a week. I need to get that, I’m SO psyched!
Release Date: I don’t think I went anywhere, so I didn’t buy it on the release date.
1 Week Later: I should really buy/put on hold at the library “The Throne of Fire”.  Didn’t I mean to do that last week?!?
A week ago: *at the library* OHMYGOSHIFORGOTABOUTTHISBOOK.

Maybe it’s good that I didn’t read it right away when I was really excited for it, because then I would have probably been more disappointed. Yes, I said disappointed. Yes, I checked, I was reading the correct “Throne of Fire” by the one and only Rick Riordan, author of many (seemingly always best-selling) novels loved by children, teens, and adults alike.

Sadly, it just didn’t click with me. I felt the same problem I had with “The Red Pyramid” even more than I did before, sometimes having trouble distinguishing Carter and Sadie’s voices. Obviously I could tell, their words are different, Sadie has a huge crush on Anubis, there’s their names at the beginning of the chapters, yadayadayada… but other than that I wouldn’t have been able to tell. Additionally, at times (partially because of the perspective thing, probably) I found the actions confusing and not immediately clear who was doing what and why; at other times, I thought everything was so overly obvious that it was occasionally boring or slow moving.

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Five Flavors of Dumb" by Antony John

“The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig. 
The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits. 
The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?  Piper can't hear Dumb's music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb”-goodreads

“Five Flavors of Dumb” was NOT dumb. I didn’t know what to expect when picking up this book at the library, all I knew was that the cover was cool and the concept sounded really interesting-- rather musically themed book in which there’s an upcoming band, named Dumb, managed by a deaf girl.

Well. Let me set expectations for you, reader, then: It was fabulous.

The voice was different, sarcastic at times, emotional at others, real and raw the whole time. I adored main character Piper. Her dry humor, cleverness, and mostly matter-of-fact attitude made her likable, interesting, and unique. She was emotional, she went through a lot, and she was deaf and wishing to hear the music, really hear it, but she never gave up. I loved Piper’s brother, too. The whole premise of the band and the group of mis-matched misfits labeled as Dumb for the purpose of their rockstar dreams was a little bit cliché, as was the ending, but it didn’t hinder the whole book. I liked it because it wasn’t sugar coated; there were struggles, complicated family relationships, problems outside of being deaf, the problem of being deaf and living anyway (living MUSIC for that matter) and none of that was ignored. It all melded together for an epic book.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Twelfth Grade Kills" (Vladimir Tod, #5) by Heather Brewer

(If you haven't read the previous ones in the Vladimir Tod series, I suggest you visit my reviews for 1, 2, & 4. Not a spoiler-y review. But seriously, check out the other books, at least, they're pretty awesome.)

I have waited a while to read the last installment of the Vladimir Tod series. I think this is just because I’ve been a bad minion and was forgetting about it, but maybe my subconscious just didn’t want to see the series end. After all, endings can be disappointing. Sometimes they can ruin your impression of the series all. And sometimes they’re just sad. Have you ever noticed, in the last book, people always die? Usually important people? (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and “Alex Rider: Scorpia Rising” are examples that come to mind.)

But, all good things come to an end and The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod with “Twelfth Grade Kills”  is no exception. Fortunately, the good things came to an end but continued to be good, I was not disappointed with it. Although, at the end, I did not feel it was necessary for a certain beloved character to die (I keep you guessing, right?), it was still a great ending to the series. The series was wrapped up nicely-- not everything resolved, but all the important things, so that one can kind of imagine how everything else will pan out, the ‘happy-ending’ and what not. Otherwise, like the others in the Vladimir Tod series, the action was bloody, the emotions strong, and the writing epic.

I look forward to “The Slayer Chronicles”, and the first book to those, “First Kill” which features Joss as a lead character rather than Vlad. I’ve had mixed feelings about Joss throughout the series, but in the end I really liked him as a character. The Slayer Chronicles will also be a five book series, and the first comes out September 20th!  (For more information, I suggest you visit Heather Brewer’s website, here!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Lock and Key" by Sarah Dessen

“What happens when your past is not just past, but wiped clean entirely? How do you figure out where you’re going when you can’t even claim where you’ve been? These were the questions that inspired Lock and Key. It’s the story of a girl named Ruby who is abandoned by her mother and determined to make it on her own, even—and especially—when she is sent to live with her long-lost sister in a whole new world of privilege, family, and relationships. As Ruby learns, there’s a big difference between being given help and being able to accept it. And sometimes, it takes reaching out to someone else to save yourself.” - Sarah Dessen's website

This is the second Sarah Dessen book I’ve read, the first being The Truth About Forever. I guess everyone’s right, she’s amazing! Her writing is so gorgeous. It’s very descriptive and emotionally charged, she makes you FEEL the characters, everything seeming so real. I might have felt kind of disconnected from Ruby if it weren’t for that, but I didn’t. The whole story is full of Ruby (and sometimes Nate’s) raw emotions and that made the whole thing more enjoyable. I felt so bad and so confused for Ruby, after her mom’s disappearance. I had a feeling of what Cora would tell her, and that Ruby’s impressions weren’t necessarily true, and I was right. (What am I talking about? I’ll give you my usual answer: read the book.)

My favorite character was probably Jamie, he tried to hard for Cora and Ruby to give them what they never had and be there for them. He was hilarious, too. The whole UMe thing was quite funny too. I liked all of the characters, actually (well, all the good characters, anyway). Olivia was great and I could really appreciate her helping Ruby… and Gervais was just amusing. The only qualm I have with the characters (and really, this is my qualm with the book in general, though not that bad) was Nate. I liked Nate, I liked how Ruby and him got along and could relate, they kind of needed each other, BUT I never really got to like him that much… despite his emotions showing through sometimes and his action, I never felt a connection to him as a character, and I missed that, I think that might’ve helped me love the book rather than just quite liking it, though I’m not sure why it effected me so.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Repossessed" by A.M. Jenkins

"Shaun... did something happen today? Anything out of the ordinary?"
Well, Shaun died, but other than that...
"Nope," I told Shaun's mom. "It' s just been a normal, regular day."

Kiriel doesn't like the term "demon". It's far too negative. He prefers "Fallen Angel", which is the proper technical term, anyway.
Though he doesn't really enjoy his job, either.
Kiriel isn't an "important" demon... His job is simply to reflect misery back onto the souls in hell. That's all. Nothing more important.
The big guy hasn't even paid any attention to him. Only important fallen angels get attention from God.
And trouble makers.

When Kiriel discovers that hell doesn't blow up when he doesn't do his job, he decides to take a vacation. It's not like he's ever had one before... Who cares if it's technically against the rules? Maybe it'll get him some notice in the end.

So he steals a body. The boy who it used to belong to was barely using it anyway, so what does it matter that he takes over for a few days?

Through the body of Shaun, a typical slacker highschooler, Kiriel discovers what it's like to be a human. And he likes it.
But how long does he have before the body is "repossessed"?

Whatever the reason, they punish themselves. I merely oversee; I don't actually do anything about anything.
Mine is a useless occupation.

I really liked this book. It was a very interesting point of view, reading from the head of a demon. Surprisingly, although Kiriel decides to see what's so enjoyable about sinning, he seemed to be one of the more innocent characters in the book. He had a very interesting outlook on the life he leads in Shaun's body, and I actually ended up agreeing with his points.
So, I think the author did very well making him a relatable character.

Besides that, it was just a very interesting book. Some of the themes can be carried over and related to our own lives... Especially us teens. You know, the whole, "my place isn't important," "my job isn't important" "no one notices me", and all that crap.

I also liked how it made fun of teenagers, and our lives.

You have to be warned however, that there are quite a few mentions of sex in this book, and some swearing. So if those sorts of things concern you, I wouldn't read this book.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Tighter" by Adele Griffin

“When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.” -goodreads

I picked up Tighter right before going to bed. I continued reading Tighter until it was over. I couldn’t put it down! I had to see how the story would conclude. It’s also only 216 pages, so I wasn’t up all night finishing it or anything (although I probably would have been, had it been longer), but it was 216 pages of brain-twisting, mind-numbing, mystery and suspense. I had to know what Jamie was actually seeing, and what was real, what wasn’t.

Jamie is not (or at least doesn't start out) a likable main character. She’s depressed, she stole pills from her parents, and she doesn’t generally seem very smart at all in the beginning. As the story goes on, especially toward the end, she’s a bit more likable. But she’s not the ONLY character. While Isa (the troubled girl Jamie is an au pair for) was withdrawn in her own world, in her imagination where she could hide, I found her really likable. Everything she said I felt she said in earnest. Part murder mystery, part thriller, and many other elements, Tighter had variety.

I loved the writing, it was poetic and nice, with some really raw emotion displayed through it. The conclusion was shocking and a burst of action at the end, I did NOT expect what Jamie ended up doing. I’ve never read any others of Adele Griffin’s many novels, but I’ll be sure to look them up now!
Extra note: The cover. I love it. Sets the creepy level for the book!

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Plague" (Gone, #4) by Michael Grant

*As usual with sequel reviews, the description is spoiler-y, so I haven’t included it. The below review may reveal minor spoilers about the previous two books. YOU ARE WARNED.*

I love this series, I do.  I can’t wait for Fear (April 2012) and Light to come out so I can finally find out the fate of our beloved characters… but (sadly, there‘s a ‘but‘)… Plague. Oh dear. It still had action, it still had different perspectives, and there was still unexpected twists and turns with the punch of a broad cast of characters-- my favorite parts of the series so far, but Plague was a bit of a let down. It wasn’t *bad*. It just wasn’t what I expected, either. At some point in Plague, I’m not sure how far in I was, I started feeling like I was reading about a soap-opera or some other sometimes overly dramatic situation set in a dystopian/post-apocalyptic world (inside a dome!)… Too dramatic at times. And Sam’s self-pity and erratic behavior plus a very selfish attitude kept propping up all over the place and I can’t say I like Sam much anymore which is disappointing as I loved him in Gone and Hunger and somewhat in Lies (by the way, I don’t mean loved like, OMG SWOON IT’S EDWARD CULLEN, which I’m seriously not like, by the way, but I thought Sam was a fantastic character). It didn’t feel like a filler book for me or anything like that, there were still new developments and few things resolved, which is fortunate because I would have absolutely hated that.

ALSO, major warning: KILLER CLIFF-HANGER. Fear doesn’t come out until April. That kills me. I think I’m traumatized by the wait, because I was able to read the first four so close together as they’ve been released for a while. Seriously, the cliff-hanger has launched me into a (hopefully short) stand-alone/completed series only kind of mood so I don’t have to see one of those for a while. But the point of a cliffhanger is to make you want more and be excited for the next book, which I definitely am, so I guess it’s effective!

Bottom line: This book in the Gone series just didn‘t resonate with me, but I still can’t wait for the next one, which I hope I like more.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Lies" (Gone, #3) by Michael Grant

*As usual with sequel reviews, the description is spoiler-y, so I haven’t included it. The below review may reveal minor spoilers about the previous two books. YOU ARE WARNED.*

Lies is my favorite book in the Gone series so far. Not only did it continue all of the good things from the other two books, but there was MORE (if that’s possible)! The slight problems I had with Hunger were even less in their severity. THERE WERE ANSWERS. Those capital letters were entirely necessary. Now, there weren’t big answers like how to magically get outside of the dome (there’s three more books, it doesn’t work that way, folks), but we found out… oh I’m itching to tell you guys, but I can’t. We found out something that’s kind of a big deal. No one is sure whether their relatives still exist or know they’re gone. You’ll find THAT out if you read Lies. Sam is still quite angst-y but I could deal with it. My favorite character in this one was probably Astrid just because of the end, and her progression throughout the books of getting stronger and all, although I admittedly wasn’t her biggest fan for parts of the book. Lies was shorter (only a bit) than Hunger but I felt it packed an even bigger punch. Another element that was present in all of the books, but I felt strongest in Lies is the multiple view points. The story switches view points all the time and that keeps everything going and fresh while helping you get the whole story; it’s not in first person, so it’s not in another person’s mind per say, but just not everything from the location of the main character.

As the third book in the Gone series, Lies continues the awesome. These books aren’t just good, they’re explosive. I was hooked (as usual) from the beginning and could hardly put it down. As much as Gone and more than Hunger, it’s one of those books that you’d rather read than sleep because you have to know what happens and you’ll probably bring it everywhere with you. Simply amazing.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Vanish" (Firelight, #2) by Sophie Jordan

September 6th, 2011 - HarperTeen
(The description is a bit spoiler-y to the first book. If you’d like to check it out and find tons more info on the book, visit Sophie Jordan’s website here.)

I really appreciate book series where each new book exceeds your expectations and there’s never a dull ‘middle book’. After reading Firelight, and then seeing the cover and summary for Vanish, I had really high expectations for it. I had a theory about who was on the cover, and surprisingly I was right. (Do you have a theory? Maybe you’re right like me. But you’ll have to read it to find out whether you’re also correct or not!) I liked Vanish even more than Firelight!! (Which I liked a lotttt!!)

As the story continues, it just gets better. There was never a dull moment. Vanish is an emotional roller coaster, but in a good way. The ending of Vanish leaves you craving more (as with Firelight). I also found the characters interesting, as they developed a lot more. They fooled me. People I strongly disliked in the first one, I found liking more in Vanish as they developed more. Also, I was firmly Team Will at the end of the first, and not only am I team Cassian now, I think he’s my new favorite character as we saw more of him. (You’ll probably find yourself at least swaying towards his side!) Almost all of the characters changed for me though, and I found myself feeling even more connected to our heroine Jacinda-- her narrative is awesome.

Same as Firelight, I found the draki element very interesting and unique. It continues to develop and we learn more about how that works. And there’s a new draki in town-- you’ll be surprised who it is. Overall, a great sequel that I doubt will disappoint!! Be sure to look for it when it comes out (meantime, read Firelight if you haven't!)
Thank you HarperTeen for giving me the opportunity to review this exciting sequel.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Hunger" (Gone, #2) by Michael Grant

(The summary for this book is spoiler-y for the first book in the series, "Gone". If you'd like to view it anyway and find out more information about the book, here's the goodreads page for it. As usual with sequel reviews, though I try to keep them spoiler free, it's possible there will be minor spoilers for the first book. YOU ARE WARNED.)

With the same gripping plot style and breakneck fast pace as "Gone", "Hunger" is a really great sequel. It met my expectations, which "Gone" set very high. A lot of the best aspects of the first book were continued in the second, besides the incredible plot and pacing. However, I didn't enjoy Hunger QUITE as much as its predecessor. For example, Sam's humility left me feeling conflicted. While I was glad that he was humble, he was feeling pressures, and he wasn't perfect, like I felt in the first book, too much is well... too much. His tendency throughout the book for self pity got kind of annoying after a while. Then, at the same time, it made sense-- he was grasping for solutions to really difficult problems and searching for answers where there seemed to be none, and that was frustrating for him. Then all these kids have adopted him as their leader and when he starts not being able to fix everything, obviously he felt a little lost. Another thing that left me feeling that way is that a lot of questions were asked, more sub-plots started, which is all fine but then nothing seemed to be getting answered and at times that was just really frustrating to deal with. HOWEVER, these two problems did not really damage my overall impression of the book.

The characters continue to be great for the most part. The setting is so developed, so clear I can imagine the whole FAYZ, and I love that about these books. The continuing developments and the worsening of the situation in the FAYZ were both fascinating and horrifying. Then the problem of 'Freaks' vs. 'Normals', as they started to conflict was obviously intense but also interesting because of the psychology of it all, for me.

Overall, a good sequel! Continued awesome pace, plot, and characters; even if a few elements left me feeling a tad conflicted at times.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Supernaturally" (Paranormalcy, #2) by Kiersten White

(The description for this book is spoiler-y for the first book. If you wish to view it anyway and find out more information, check out the goodreads page here. This review might also contain spoilers for the first book, "Paranormalcy". I suggest you read that review (linked) instead if you haven't yet read it. YOU ARE WARNED.)

"Paranormalcy" was SO fun and awesome-mazing (that is not a word, that is my, er... creative license?). Obviously, any book that practically makes fun of the paranormal creatures and their stereotypes that we love (and love to hate) and has a main character that dreams of having a locker rather than paranormal butt-kicking, with a pink taser affectionately named Tasey as a side-kick MUST be awesome, and so Paranormalcy was.

Needless to say (but bam, I just did) I was VERY EXCITED for the sequel, "Supernaturally". It was also awesome. Ohhhh and remember that time I thought there were only going to be two books in this series and then Supernaturally ended and I was like 'WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? THIS IS THE END? NOOOOO.' Fortunately, I looked it up, and I must have been miss-informed. There's another! Endlessly (due out 2012). Anyway, back to the reviewing thing. I was surprised that it didn't start right after Paranormalcy left off but a few months later, however, I didn't mind. It was nice to see how Evie was doing, more acclimated in the 'normal' life that she wanted so badly ('How IS she taking to that?', you ask. Read and find out, why don't you?!?). All of the characters we love are back. Evie and Lend are still all awwwww (with maybe a few bumps in the road...). Emotions ARE running high and there are difficult decisions all over and standing in Evie and other's path. We're also introduced to a hyper-crazy new character, Jack. All I can say is my first impression of him was RIGHT. (Not saying whether that impression was good or bad.) But I was still pretty surprised, well, when I turned out to actually BE right. Very importantly, the sarcasm and sparkles in the epic writing is back-- my favorite part. :)

The bottom line: An epic, shiny, surprising sequel! Readdd ittttt (or Paranormalcy, if you haven't)!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mini Review: "Summer's Crossing" (Iron Fey, 3.5) by Julie Kagawa

(This review is of the 3.5th book in a series, its predecessors are The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, Winter's Passage (2.5) and The Iron Queen. My reviews for those are linked. As always with sequel reviews, minor spoilers might be revealed. YOU ARE WARNED.)
"A Midsummer's Nightmare? Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Summer Court prankster, King Oberon's right hand, bane of many a faery queen's existence—and secret friend to Prince Ash of the Winter Court. Until one girl's death came between them, and another girl stole both their hearts.
Now Ash has granted one favor too many and someone's come to collect, forcing the prince to a place he cannot go without Puck's help—into the heart of the Summer Court. And Puck faces the ultimate choice—betray Ash and possibly win the girl they both love, or help his former friend turned bitter enemy pull off a deception that no true faery prankster could possibly resist.
An ebook exclusive novella from Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series."-goodreads

I love these mini-adventures between books. As in "Winter's Passage" the adventure isn't necessary to understand the next book (I imagine, I mean, the Iron Knight isn't out yet, so I don't know for sure) but is a little extra bit for anyone who really likes the series. In this one, rather than spending time with Meghan and Ash, we're with Puck and Ash. That was really interesting because although it's been getting better over the course of the books, they kind of hated each other (for understandable reasons, once we know the story). It's from Puck's point of view, which was different. I enjoy Puck's sense of humor and wit, although I'm still firmly Team Ash. Yes, the ice prince. This novella was really good, but at the same time a bit too much of a tease! I can't wait for the Iron Knight to come out, especially now that I've been back to the world of the Iron Fey for a bit. I love Julie Kagawa's writing!
If you've read the rest of the Iron Fey and want to read Summer's Crossing it's a free novella (like was done with Winter's Passage). You can download it for your respective E-Reader or read it online a the website here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Gone" by Michael Grant

"In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.
Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else..."-goodreads

There are some books that just suck you into the pages, make you want to find the whole story, figure it out NOW, but at the same time, never have it end. They keep you turning the pages and the suspense can become almost unbearable. If you had a day where you didn't have to do anything else those are the type of books that you'd want to just tear through and not WANT to do anything else. "Gone" is most definitely one of those. I mean, just read the description. CAN YOU FLIPPING IMAGINE THAT? Everyone 15&over suddenly disappearing. *Something* cutting you off completely from the outside world?! Kids and teenagers running the town, trying to prevent chaos as all kinds of it presses in on them? (Has anyone read Lord of the Flies? Hello!? Yeah, I think we all know the whole situation is going to turn to heck eventually.) And each of the characters are still battling their own problems, too. Sometimes in post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, it seems like the characters are all perfectly content people living in their perfect little world until disaster strikes, but in "Gone", much more realistically, the characters were never living perfect lives and they deal with that as well.

Michael Grant's storytelling is amazing. There was never a dull moment and constantly questions were raised, and surprises thrown in. It's filled with action and suspense, and I could see everything vividly in my mind. The characters were great too, a grand cast of them ranging from likable, and hatred like the type everyone has toward Voldemort. I really liked Sam. While still seeming like how a teenager (albeit a natural born leader type of person) would deal with a crisis, he was complex, thoughtful, and dealt with the situation admirably. Astrid was very cool too, the brains of the situation, but not overly so. All of the characters were realistic in that none of them were able to stay strong ALL the time. They all had their emotional moments that they needed to make them seem human, and not magically immune to their surroundings and conditions.

An awesome book all-together. I see there are four more out in the series and a sixth due next year. I must say, these books are kind of long and I'm not quite sure how the story to span six books, but I could be wrong about that, it is pretty complicated. Looking forward to seeing how the story continues!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld

"Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever"-goodreads

Leviathan is the first steampunk book I've read. (Note: I still wouldn't understand what steampunk IS if it weren't for: a) Angela who is awesome and kind of a steampunk specialist, b) to some extent, google, and c) this book.) I now understand the appeal. It's also the first novel by Scott Westerfeld that I've read besides Uglies, Pretties, and Specials (which was ages ago and I REALLY need to re-read them as I hardly remember anything except that they were amazing). If they hadn't proved his genius-- Leviathan would have!

First off, oh my gosh I need to talk about the illustrations. There are these really intricate, awesome, brilliant full page and half page illustrations throughout the book. These were both great to look at and good at explaining things. The 'clanker' machinery and the 'Darwinist' creatures were so bizarre that I couldn't quite picture them, but then the illustrations had me seeing them perfectly. So cool. Then another favorite bit for me was how it's both historical fiction and futuristic fiction seamlessly put together, which is the steampunk element, but it was so interesting to read about a World War II world in an alternate society and universe sort of way. I can't wait for those things to be explored more in Behemouth and Goliath, the other two books in the series (although Goliath hasn't come out yet). 

The only negative thing I have to say about this book is while Alek and Deryn are obviously different characters, genders, and very different personalities their thought processes seemed TOO similar sometimes. Also, something to note, although Leviathan seems to have been marketed as a YA book I'd say it could just as easily be enjoyed by a more middle-grade and younger audience-- it has something for pretty much everyone in a broad age range!

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

"The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden.
Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires. And he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs or the joy of watching pages consumed by flames, never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then Guy met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do..."-goodreads

Sure, largely thanks to The Hunger Games, dystopian novels are the craze right now. However, there were many novels that depicted dystopian/utopian societies long before Suzanne Collins put her (albeit brilliant) trilogy out into the world.  Classic literature such as "1984" by George Orwell, "A Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, and this one, "Fahrenheit 451" were some of the original books with that sort of theme. I enjoy classic literature and I dig dystopias so I knew I should try these out.

Fahrenheit 451 was a great book. It was a little hard to get into at first, at the beginning of the book, you're kind of plunged into the story with no warning and you just have to get used to the odd developments and practices of the Bradbury's world as you go on. Once you start getting accustomed to his writing style and the unusual and grim future world, it's excellent. Guy Montag is an average (almost to the point of dull) seeming character but as it goes on he gets more complex, as he questions his job as a fireman and whether books are so bad (or are they even good, possibly important!?). His relationship with his wife is peculiar and unfortunate, as is their relationship with their 'family' aka, characters on a some kind of high-tech television screen that interacts in their everyday lives as though they're living in the house. Clarisse was an interesting character.. and then, you know, if you've read the book: the way her character disappeared from the story was... sudden. I wasn't a fan of that. It just didn't seem... right. I mean, obviously it didn't seem right, but it just seemed unfitting, so I guess I had a problem with that. Regardless, as the story develops, the plot twists in interesting and unexpecting ways, with an end I didn't particularly see coming. A lot of times there's more obvious-see-it-from-a-mile-away sort of foreshadowing in classic novels but that wasn't necessarily the case. 

Bottom line: An important book that should be on your reading list (and probably is on your required list if you're in school) that's more complex than it seems at first and well-worth the read.