Teagan Wylltson leads a busy life. She has an exciting job at a primate house, a supportive best friend, and a fantastic and supportive family. One daTeagan Wylltson leads a busy life. She has an exciting job at a primate house, a supportive best friend, and a fantastic and supportive family. One day she comes home from work to find a cousin she didn't know existed would be moving in with them. But Finn brings more with him than just a troubled foster family history, he brings an entire fantasy world and attendant monstrous creatures. Hamilton has based her elaborate mythology on Irish faery lore, and she does a great job with integrating the mythology into the story. The sidhe that terrorize Teagan's family and wreak havoc on her life are terrifying and the tension doesn't let up often in this tale. When their father is kidnapped by the faeries, Teagan and her little brother Aidan must go with Finn into the evil faeries lair to save him. In the midst of turmoil we see a budding relationship between Teagan and Finn (who are not actually related) and a rekindled relationship with Finn's biological (and their mother's adoptive) grandmother Mamieo. This book has a little bit of everything, and while it doesn't focus as much on the romance as Wicked Lovely, is a great read-alike for people who like that brand of urban fantasy. The book suffers from a few lapses in timing/pacing and locale. People who don't live in the Chicagoland area would probably never notice how strange the covering of ground by this family seems. Chicago is a place of many diverse and distinct neighborhoods, and this book doesn't acknowledge that at all. The pacing also seemed off, this story takes place over the course of months maybe? But it feels like a day with disproportionate amounts of time spent on Teagan's time in the ape house. It was a great way to get to know Teagan and be introduced the the story, but then important parts of the actual story felt rushed and told more than shown. All in all this book is a promising beginning to another urban fantasy YA series. It's set apart by being lighter on the romance and heavier on the lore than many of the other series that seem to focus too much on eternal love and finding The One in a post-Twilight world. ...more
It took me a few discs to get into this story, but once I was in, I was hooked and didn't want to get out of my car to go into the Library...or into mIt took me a few discs to get into this story, but once I was in, I was hooked and didn't want to get out of my car to go into the Library...or into my house. The full cast audio recording of "Graceling" is wonderful. Katsa is graced--she has two different colored eyes and special powers--she is rare, a girl graced with killing. Her uncle Randa, king of the Midlands, uses her as his own personal attack dog. She hurts people so they obey him. She hates him, and herself for doing his bidding and so together with her cousin and some guards of Randa's, she starts a council to do good around the seven kingdoms. When she rescues the father of the king of one of the far away peaceful kingdoms she doesn't know what a can of worms she is opening. Nor does she realize she'll be opening her heart to the old man's grandson. ...more
**spoiler alert** Astrid hates unicorns. She's grown up with her mom's fanatical stories of conquering ancestors. All those ancestors were women, virg**spoiler alert** Astrid hates unicorns. She's grown up with her mom's fanatical stories of conquering ancestors. All those ancestors were women, virgins, and they were all descended from Alexander The Great who rode an elephant-sized unicorn into battle. Astrid shies away from her mom's stories and the legacy she wants for Astrid, and since all the unicorns are supposed to have been killed by one of Astrid's ancestors a few hundred years ago. When Astrid's boyfriend gets gored by a goat-sized unicorn, and her entire world flips upside down as she realizes that her mom's crazy stories aren't just stories after all. The unicorns are back and it is up to Astrid and other unicorn hunters, all virginal female decedents of Alexander, to save the world from the six kinds of bloodthirsty mythical beasts...and the evil people trying to bring them back at all costs.
While there are some places where this story falls apart and becomes hard to follow (mainly I think it just needed to be pared down some, but I'm hoping some of the extra means Sequel!), there are a lot more places where bad-ass teen girls fight like hell and barely escape with their lives. Best of all it isn't Astrid and her backup dancers fighting, these girls have personalities, some of them very strong, all of them developed more than you'd expect. A must read for fans of Buffy, Gemma Doyle, and even Katniss Everdeen....more
Even though this book is a completely engrossing and resplendent read it didn't get more stars because I have no idea what an airtrack, suicide, 6-steEven though this book is a completely engrossing and resplendent read it didn't get more stars because I have no idea what an airtrack, suicide, 6-steps or any of the rest of these terms mean in relationship to breakdancing. Since these and other breakdancing terms are liberally sprinkled throughout the book without any explanation of what they mean or how the moves look I had a hard time staying in the story at times. While this technique sped up the action of the breakdancing scenes, it made it impossible for me to envision what they were doing.
OTHERWISE. I totally loved this book. It was a fast paced read with a engrossing main character, Nicole (Raven), who doesn't sound like anyone else in YA ficion that I can think of...and her New York doesn't sound like any other New York that I've read. She has this group of friends that is not bound by anything except maybe age range and love of breakdancing. I like that in a novel (And if you do as well then you should maybe also take part in this book challenge.
Of course, this book is about more than breakdancing. It is about love and friendship and family and living forever vs living as a human. The immortals (Jiang Shi) in the book are conflicted by their immortality and how they attained and keep it. Though none of them, even the leader/mastermind who is hiding things, comes off as evil; their enemies don't come off as evil either. Overzealous yes, evil no. I think that might be my favorite thing about the book, the characters, even those without a lot of "screen time" feel totally realistic and multi-dimensional without a lot of random crap thrown in to make them that way. It is a good story, mostly well told....more
In Nya's world pain is a product to be bought and sold. Many people, including Nya, can take pain and heal. Unlike most people though, Nya can't transIn Nya's world pain is a product to be bought and sold. Many people, including Nya, can take pain and heal. Unlike most people though, Nya can't transfer the pain into the Pynvium stone that is later shaped into pain-dealing weapons. Nya is instead, a Shifter, she can act as a conduit, shifting pain from one person to another, sometimes holding the pain to herself for a time. She's unusual and dangerous and valuable to those who lack scruples enough to use her when the Pynvium supply runs low.
The premise alone really sucked me into this intricate novel. Nya is spunky and determined, realistic about the bad things that will probably happen, but willing to go through them anyway to save those she cares about. She's such a likable character that some of the slower moments of the book are made quite a bit more tolerable by extension. And the ending (part of a planned series it seems, being that it is the Healing Wars #1) is very snap, bang, whizzle! The beginning draws the reader in with instant action and excitement. But then in the middle there's a lot of tension but also a lot of: "and then I went here and did this thing and then I went here and did this other thing and over here I was doing this stuff and really it is all totally relevant I swear and have I mentioned that I hate this race of people who invaded our land and treat us like crap? Let me reflect with you for a moment on how evil imperialism is and how happy I was before it darkened my doorstep...Nevermind that I am very young to remember life before the invasion so very well! Or at least, those three memories I keep telling you about over and over." So what I'm saying here is that it is good that the ending suddenly speeds it all up again. And, good characters can definitely redeem indulgent editing. ...more
**spoiler alert** A very long time ago on a Livejournal Community called Gothic Babes I saw a post by a writer calling herself WickedWish. She had w**spoiler alert** A very long time ago on a Livejournal Community called Gothic Babes I saw a post by a writer calling herself WickedWish. She had written and published a book called Four and Twenty Blackbirds. I thought she was interesting and so I paid attention to her journal for a while, because even though her book wasn't a national bestseller and she still worked a dayjob I thought her writing style was interesting enough that she was going to publish something worth national attention. I was, of course, quite right and she's become quite the popular fantasy author. Good on Cherie. Now that I've regaled you with my tale of discovering her so long before you did, let me tell you about this book. It is dark and quick and epic and slippery. The point of view switches pick you up and drop you down into the important parts, there is not a lot of fat in this book. There is also no mercy. Characters you like will die; characters you hate will live. I took away one star because I felt like there was more to this story, that there were some blank pages waiting to be filled in. But there were pirates, and sea monsters, and stone girls and gods and monsters, and murder and mayhem and what more could you as for really? Not much, if you ask me....more
Do you love greek mythology? Do you wish you could get apathetic youngins interesetd in it as well? The "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series is peDo you love greek mythology? Do you wish you could get apathetic youngins interesetd in it as well? The "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series is perfect for all your Epic Mythological needs! The second book in the series follows Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and a new addition; the homeless outcast Tyson, befriended by Percy at his new school. On Percy's last day of an otherwise uneventful school year his gym class is attacked by monsters, and Tyson proves invaluable in the world's deadliest dodgeball game. Then when they get to Camp Half-blood, there is more trouble as an enchanted tree protecting the camp has been poisoned. Questing must ensue! And, with a little help from his powerful Dad, Percy starts to understand his powers as a half-blooded hero. These books have the Harry Potter perfection of well mixed characters (I just can't get over Percy, Annabeth, and Grover as Harry, Hermoine, and Ron, but in truth the formula works.) The adventure, the cleverness, the harrowing escapes works so well to bring the actual greek myths to life for kids, and updates the stories for modern kids perfectly. My favorite example is the Circe story (remember her from the Odyssey? Oh, and the cyclops Polyphemus)runs a health spa where she shows men their true selves (guinea pigs, because regular pigs were too problematic and guinea pigs are, let's face it, cuter.)
Anyway, quite generally this sequel makes me happy. There is no floundering, no running out of steam. It is obvious that Riordan planned this series out well, and he knows his stuff, and best of all he knows how to make it appeal to kids (and, well, adults.) I will admit that I like the more subtle or maybe just more obscure mythology in Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Anansi Boy's (both of which are for an older reader anyhoozle.) And, for bloodpounding nonstop adventure and acton, Percy Jackson will take on anyone in the arena. ...more