**spoiler alert** The Hunger Games was such a fast-paced, immensely enjoyable, action-filled book that I wonder if any follow-up would have not felt l...more**spoiler alert** The Hunger Games was such a fast-paced, immensely enjoyable, action-filled book that I wonder if any follow-up would have not felt like a disappointment. What do you do for a sequel? Throw Katniss in the arena again? Hint at more love triangles? Establish a lazy overarching uprising to lead into book three? Yes yes and yes, it would seem.
Katniss tries on pretty dresses again. She wonders what boy she really wants to be with again. Lots of people die, but not usually at the hands of other competitors or "off screen" again. When all of this is retread, I have a hard time feeling that a sequel was justified. The world that Collins built is plenty interesting and there would have been plenty of other avenues to explore, but this just feels like a stop-gap measure to appease the fans and write that third book so it's a trilogy. At this point, I want to read the controversial third book not out of the urge for completeness, but to read what I hear is a change of pace at the very least. (less)
Clearly, Weyn's book is a thinly veiled attempt at showing the young adult audience the possible future if the world's dependence on oil does not ceas...moreClearly, Weyn's book is a thinly veiled attempt at showing the young adult audience the possible future if the world's dependence on oil does not cease. The problem is, Weyn seems to have forgotten to inject an interesting story along with this respectable environmental message. The characters are flat. The story mostly involves Gwen and company trying to do normal teenager things, then running out of gas on the way. Weyn's teenagers are not ones that I would have wanted to hang out with now or back when I was their age. They often bring up lectures they remember from Social Studies and ask dumb open ended questions about why the world did not catch on to its oil dependence earlier. Stilted dialogue like this really detracts from the believability of the story and blows all chances of the reader's immersion into the world.
Despite it being a post-apocalyptic novel, Weyn never made an oil shortage seem any worse than a series of minor inconveniences. Niki doesn't have lip gloss, Tom can't drive his cheerleader girlfriend to the lake to make out. Are these really the first things that come to mind in a worldwide oil shortage? All of this naivete leads to a tacked on revelation that we do indeed need an environment full of bicycles, self-sustaining farms, and hard work. This is all well and good, but I did not believe for a second that these characters who were most concerned about themselves forty pages ago all of a sudden have decided that they need to contribute to Weyn's ultimately weak environmental message. I have nothing against the message, just the way that Weyn delivered it.(less)
I've been reading piles and piles of young adult books this semester for a young adult materials class. It has mostly been painful because most of the...moreI've been reading piles and piles of young adult books this semester for a young adult materials class. It has mostly been painful because most of the books I have chosen are trashy drivel written at a level that's insulting for young adults. Thankfully, I came upon Little Brother by Cory Doctorow or I might have given up on the genre altogether.
I have a bad habit of reading books with Neil Gaiman quotes on the cover and this is no exception. To his credit, though, the man is usually right. Doctorow's book paints a post 9/11 esque paranoid society in which the Department of Homeland Security has created esssentially a police state in San Francisco. Marcus or M1K3Y and his group of friends are hackers who want to take the system down from the inside via their invisible-to-the-government server Xnet.
I applaud Doctorow for writing a political YA book, and a cool one at that. He is also not afraid to portray teenage sex. 17 year olds have sex, Doctorow chooses not to ignore it. In a sea of tepid, no-risk, easy young adult books, Little Brother takes chances and results in a much more thought-provoking and compelling novel.(less)
I don't know if I can really fault I Am Number Four for, well, its faults. This is the first YA book I've read in quite a while and most of my complai...moreI don't know if I can really fault I Am Number Four for, well, its faults. This is the first YA book I've read in quite a while and most of my complaints are criticisms prevalent in all YA books. The protagonist is a token sort-of-nerdy-but-soon-to-be-popular teenager. There is super awkward sexual tension. The book censors itself from being too controversial. And wouldn't you know it, this teenager has to save the world with superpowers.
Despite all of this criticism, I do have to say I Am Number Four is a well-written and compelling book. For all of the pitfalls, "Pittacus Lore" wrote a fun book. For as many safe plot decisions are made, a few unexpected and unsafe decisions are made the end of the book, which I appreciated.
Unfortunately, it would seem that this book a) is going to be something like an eight book series and likely lose appeal and steam and b) be turned into another Harry Potter knockoff Hollywood film cash-in. However, before the book is tainted by these spinoffs and continuations, I can say this part of the saga was enjoyable.(less)