I didn't know that much about this book when I started reading, so I was in for a surprise when I found out who Aidan really was and what family he caI didn't know that much about this book when I started reading, so I was in for a surprise when I found out who Aidan really was and what family he came from.
Charity Jones is not your typical teenager girl - she's a science genius and popular target for bullying at her school. However, when her mother brings home Aidan, a homeless boy, everything changes. The self-conscious girl can't believe there's actually someone interested in her, and soon she experiences her first true love. However, a happy end is not meant to be. First, there's Charity's brother, a drug dealer and overall mean character, who blames Charity and Aidan for his failures. But even more dangerous is the evil father Aidan fled from - and who is determined to bring his son home. Also, Aidan seems to have some secrets of his own, and when a monster starts terrorizing the neighborhood which shares the same startling blue eyes as Aidan, Charity doesn't know whom to trust any longer. With the help of her equally misfit friends, she is determined to solve the puzzle, unaware of the deadly danger they get themselves in.
* the following may contain spoilers * I really really loved the outcome of the plot, as I had no idea about Aidan's origin, which features one of my favorite evil creatures. I also liked the concept of the 'split personality' of Aidan's father, making him the perfect yin and yang of Christmas.
The one thing I would criticize about this book was the writing style. While it seems to fit the way teenagers think and talk perfectly (I guess), it slightly got on my nerves sometimes. However, I hope this will not label the book as YA only, as the plot itself should please older readers as well.
The ending - clever idea to stop when it was the most exciting and only add a final, more comforting chapter after the epilogue - may hint at a sequel, but not necessarily so. I'd definitely appreciate to read more about Charity and Aidan. However, a kind of prequel explaining the details of Aidan's background and the reasons for his father's turn to evil would be even better.
A somewhat different and therefore recommended read for the season...
(I chose to read this book - all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased)...more
The book's description sounded very fascinating, but it promised way more than the book held. Let's see:
"Dark things. Things that should only live inThe book's description sounded very fascinating, but it promised way more than the book held. Let's see:
"Dark things. Things that should only live in fantasy. The Nain Rouge was recently sighted in Detroit and a Loupe Garou is rumored to hunt the woods near Mackinaw. A suicide cluster haunts Washtenaw County." Sounds great? Definitely, but these two sentenced are all there is about those sightings in the book, and that's it.
"Angela is a changeling, fostered by the Fae and recently returned from the Twilight Realm. Raised to fight dragons and still healing from the passage to the human world, she struggles to catch up to the life she never lived." I have to admit, that part was the best - too follow Angela as she struggles to fit in with the human world, slowly making sense of all the curious things that are new and unknown to her. But dragons? Nope, not in this one.
"Lydia is underestimated by many because of her deformity. Determined and intelligent, her innate skepticism cannot prevent her hobby of stage magic evolving into something more real." I thought Lydia, or Barnum, as she prefers to call herself, was too whiny. Ok, so she has a deformity of the hand, but that's just no reason to complain all the time about everything. That girl really got on my nerves.
"Bailey is a transgender teen impatient to transition, doing his best to keep a low profile until he can. He is haunted by dreams and premonitions of a menacing evil." I don't know why the author brought in the transgender subject, it was hinted at several times but otherwise had no meaning for the story at all. I just didn't get it.
"They are drawn together by the collective realization that the apparent suicide of a classmate has a far more paranormal origin than simply being part of a cluster." Aha! So here is where the action begins, right?
"Hunted by supernatural predators that want to end them before they reach their heroic potential, these teenagers will have to travel to Fairy and back if they want to survive long enough to save the world." The supernatural predators are a pair of creepy kids with black eyes - OK that really was a scary scene. To escape them, our heroes travel to the Fairy Realm, stay there for some time and then come back at a different place. Only to be faced with those kids again - that didn't quite work out, did it? However, it did fill some chapters with a completely irrelevant and useless detour to Fairy land.
"Skeptical mage, queer seer, and brain injured warrior. They'll save us." Good to know - because they sure don't save us in this book. After returning from the Fairy Realm, they have to face the creepy kids one more time. They do manage to destroy the kids, but only with the help of their history teacher, who is kind of a guardian for them and comes to their rescue. After that, they go home and maybe live on happily ever after...
The book ended so abruptly, I was sure I missed the announcement that this is the pilot story to a series. I checked again and found that it is not - or not yet? There were so many questions left open, so many explanations missing, so many connections not made. The book combined a lot of different subjects, but missed to connect them thoroughly. E.g. I expected the creepy kids where related to or maybe originated in the Fairy world and that our heroes would find some explanations there which would have given their travel there meaning, but that was not the case. While Lydia and Bailey were perfect specimens of troubled, vulnerable teenagers and thus may be easy to identify with, I found the author overdid it with their problems.
There are so many interesting concepts in this book which are not followed through or appear unconnected that I wonder why they were added at all. Though I enjoyed reading several single chapters I felt disappointed by the book as a whole.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)
This book offered a nice variety of the zombie theme where the infected are called 'Skins' because of their sagging, yellowing skin.
We follow thirteenThis book offered a nice variety of the zombie theme where the infected are called 'Skins' because of their sagging, yellowing skin.
We follow thirteen-year old Cherie, who went out shopping with her best friend only to experience a day of horror and nightmares. After her friend touches part of a Skin, they run to the hospital - only to discover that the epidemic has already spread. Cherie has to witness the death not only of her friend, but her mother as well. Only barely is she able to escape the danger and find safety, and her father, behind the sturdy walls of a nearby old castle.
The story is told from Cherie's POV, but while the typical teen chatter about clothes and whatnot especially at the beginning seemed believable, it was not very interesting, at least for me. Later on, Cherie keeps repeating a phrase along the lines of "if only I would have known what awaited me back then". Almost every chapter seemed to end with such a comment, which was getting old pretty soon.
As for the plot, it was your typical trapped-by-the-invasion-escape-survival scenario like in countless other z-books. It was routinely written, which is not a bad thing. While I appreciated the otherness of the Skins, I would have liked to know more about their origin which was not explained, but maybe the author saved that part for the novel this is the prequel to.
All in all, 'The Day The World Ended' does a fine job whetting your appetite, making you want to pick up the full-length novel and continue reading about Cherie's fate.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)...more
The sequel starts right where the first book finished: Charley, Grigor, Sandy and the others have left Meritropolis. They are on their way to MeritoriThe sequel starts right where the first book finished: Charley, Grigor, Sandy and the others have left Meritropolis. They are on their way to Meritorium to find and kill Orson's father, the founder of the scoring System.
The first third or so of the book went slow - too slow. Honestly, several times I was tempted to skim through the pages to get to some action. While the animal hybrids were still fascinating (and still made me grin) they were not new anymore, so the author delivered something fresh: the Bramble, a forest of all kinds of carnivorous and other scary plant mutations. Of course, our heroes had to cross the Bramble in order to reach their destination. But while the walk through the Bramble is a dangerous task, it is nothing compared to what awaits them on the other side: they reach Meritorium, but only in chains - captured and sold as slaves. As if that was not enough, they are destined to fight in gladiator-like fashion in a large arena, just to please the crowds. Who will be able to survive the orchestrated attacks of bestial animal hybrids and warriors?! This is where the story picks up pace and the action begins, with lots of fights and several new surprising and fascinating animal hybrids.
While in the first book I complained about the super-hero like main character, I appreciated that Charley did not always look and act like a hero in this sequel. His ever-present struggle against his temper and rage made him look human, even vulnerable. I also liked that Sandy and Sven had a more important role than before. The too black and white presentation of the characters from part one definitely became blurry.
The end offered a stunning revelation, rising the hybrid concept to its next level. And there is the promise that Charley and the others will return.
Meritorium is a worthy sequel in many ways, expanding and deeper exploring the fantastic universe the author created with Meritropolis. To repeat myself: recommended to YA readers (of all age...).
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review)...more
This story is about a boy visiting an old abandoned mission at night for a dare to fit in with his new schoolmates. But while the mission at night seeThis story is about a boy visiting an old abandoned mission at night for a dare to fit in with his new schoolmates. But while the mission at night seems creepy, the creature he encounters there is a nightmare far worse. Will he and his friend get out of there alive?
'The Mission' is a well-written fast-paced little tale which you can devour like an expertly prepared tasty morsel. More experienced (or should I say old?) fans of the horror genre might consider this story a bit generic, but will enjoy it nonetheless, though maybe in a more nostalgic way, remembering their first encounters with the genre at a younger age. However, I would recommend 'The Mission' primarily to younger readers who will easily identify with the also young main character and who will still get a good scare out of this story.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)...more