"Lord Of The Flies In Space" continues, now with more torture!
Less "90210" than Glow and with less time spent on the Empyrean's sister ship the New Ho...more"Lord Of The Flies In Space" continues, now with more torture!
Less "90210" than Glow and with less time spent on the Empyrean's sister ship the New Horizon, less antagonizing from the cult of Anne Mather. The majority of the action here is concerned with internal strife between the born-again Keiran and ova-harvesting survivor Waverly, who have more important problems to worry about than their stupid rich-kid names.
Ryan's writing is sharp and sparse, rarely descending into the sentiment and puppy-love that often bogs down YA SF and fantasy; but she also writes dialogue that is difficult to believe would come out of a pre-teen's mouth. Even Keiran and Waverly, who are supposed to only be fifteen years old each, banter like Ripley and Hicks.
The wild card Seth is a favorite; after recovering from a mild case of Hitler Youth in Glow, he escapes the brig at the beginning of Spark and quickly becomes both cat and mouse as a hidden terrorist wreaks havoc onboard the Empyrean. His character is no less dark, but has a lot more to do; kind of like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, he spends most of his time in the shadows.
Makes you wonder what the third book will be called: Flare? Flash? Fart?(less)
Die Hard with fairies? Well, pretty much the latter, maybe not so much the former. Closer to The Thomas Crown Affair, only the criminal mastermind is...moreDie Hard with fairies? Well, pretty much the latter, maybe not so much the former. Closer to The Thomas Crown Affair, only the criminal mastermind is a twelve-year-old prodigy and the mark is a good chunk of leprechaun gold.
Despite having his name in the title, Artemis Fowl isn't the most well-developed character in the cast when compared to the members of the fairy task force assembled against him, or even his bodyguard, the ubiquitous master-of-arms. Perhaps it's the fact that technically being a villain, giving Artemis a dearth of personality helps to balance out the good vs. evil storyline, which would otherwise be unfairly skewed towards the fairyfolk's crusade, a sometimes not-so-subtle parallel to the environmental movement.
Colfer writes with speed and wit, interspersing by-the-book military sequences with Michael-Bay-esque wisecracks from supporting characters. He excels in meshing the disparate elements of the human and fairy worlds; both mapping out magic-rich sites on the Earth's surface as well as decking the underground denizens with space-age technology.
Harmless and fun enough for kids, but with enough substance for grown-ups to tolerate as well.(less)
While not nearly made of the same stuff that made the His Dark Materials books so fresh and memorable, Pullman's young adult series featuring perpetua...moreWhile not nearly made of the same stuff that made the His Dark Materials books so fresh and memorable, Pullman's young adult series featuring perpetual victim of circumstance Sally Lockhart are agreeable to maturing and mature readers.
A quick and jaunty read, although it's colored by the drab and depressing air that characterizes almost every single other book based in Victorian England. The Quincunx, The Anubis Gates, Harm's Way; all these books had exciting storylines, but the constant parade of scenes in drippy back alleys and squalid opium dens and soggy boarding houses just helps to drag down the mood of an otherwise colorful era.
It's also hard to tell what kind of audience Pullman is ultimately writing for. The "smoke" in The Ruby In The Smoke refers to opium smoke, which ultimately claims the life of one character and compels Sally to reach a hidden revelation in order to solve the mystery of the ruby and the people hounding her. I found this book in the young adult section of the bookstore, right alongside the The Amber Spyglass, which is essentially a kid's guide to atheism and denying God.
Opium, the British's rule over India, and free will in choosing one's belief are all things children have to learn about sooner or later as they become young adults, I guess. Here's hoping not too many parent blame the authors of such tales for their own bad judgement if the stories don't always have happy endings for their kids.(less)
Not a terrible book, but also certainly not deserving of the majority of the blithering lauds it's received, either. Even if you haven't seen the movi...moreNot a terrible book, but also certainly not deserving of the majority of the blithering lauds it's received, either. Even if you haven't seen the movie, you probably already know what it's about, which is part of the problem; the first half of the book is a slow, slogging, interminable run-up to Bella's realization of what we already knew from page one. The second reel isn't much better; after a flash of plot, there's a brief interstate game of cat-and-mouse, an anticlimactic climax, and then...prom?
To be fair, there are moments of genuine desire that benefit the otherwise toneless characters with welcome change to their essences. The fact that Edward acts like a dick for the first half, but learns to rein in the monster that he is for the sake of his feelings towards Bella.
Meyer seems to be a capable storyteller and an inoffensive writer. But, seriously: Baseball? Sparkly vampires? Prom?(less)
More of the same; that is, future-cool colloquialisms, hover technology, trouble-making teens, all set against a vaguely optimistic post-holocaust Ear...moreMore of the same; that is, future-cool colloquialisms, hover technology, trouble-making teens, all set against a vaguely optimistic post-holocaust Earth. Then again, that's what makes Westerfeld's books so much fun to read. Extras may even be a lesson in what not to do, as in don't make your theme-park sci-fi too serious (as in the dark Specials) lest you risk alienating your audience and straying too far from true, a la J.K. Rowling or Robert Jordan.
To be fair, Extras is hardly a fourth volume in the Uglies trilogy, as it takes place in a completely different locale with completely different characters under completely different circumstances; but the connection is made anyway. Sharply written as always, with likably flawed characters and more than one relevant, hidden message.(less)