Beauty Queens by Libba Bray was the perfect book to read as a follow up to City of Fallen Angels... not too hard, not too soft... wait, strike that, v...moreBeauty Queens by Libba Bray was the perfect book to read as a follow up to City of Fallen Angels... not too hard, not too soft... wait, strike that, very soft. Very fun...it's satire after all.
A plane of contestants from the Miss Teen Dream Beauty Pageant has gone down in the ocean, the inhabitants washing up on an island paradise. They are all determined to maintain the pageant perfection, spurred on by the spunky Taylor Renee Krystal Hawkins...from Texas, of course! Adina Greenberg, the pageant hopeful who joined to take the organization down, is dubious with this course of action. She thinks they need to prioritize things like food gathering, hut building, and finding fresh sources of water... not Taylor's platform of perfecting dance moves, the elbow-arm-smile wave, and imminent body hair removal. Elsewhere on the island there is a fortress built by The Corporation, a commercial giant responsible for...well, damn near everything in this book... and they are determined to kill the girls for financial gain. Trouble in paradise has become more than a mere turn of phrase.
Libba Bray clearly had fun writing this one... it shows. The narrative is set up in a steeplechase format with story interspersed. Bray also adds profiles, commercial scripted dialogues, notations, product placement, classified files, applications, and other various sillies. Bray pretty much spends the whole book making fun of...well, damn near everything... from Fabio to boybands to international terrorism to female socialization to James Bond to Supervillians to...yeah, pretty much everything. It's Parody! It's Lord of the Flies meets glamazons! It's silly as all hell, and it's so much fun.
Shades of Earth is the final book in the Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis. I was geeked when I received an advanced copy of the book last wee...more Shades of Earth is the final book in the Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis. I was geeked when I received an advanced copy of the book last week from the publisher. I'm not sure if anyone else will feel these, but I was pleasantly surprised by my read of the first and second book... and that feeling is only amplified by this, the final book.
It doesn't happen very often that I say this about a series, but I'm going to - Beth Revis has written a perfect trilogy.
Yep, I said it. Perfect.
*** Spoilers ahead for those who have not read Across the Universe or A Million Suns ***
In Shades of Earth Elder and Amy find themselves, and Elder's supporters, touching down on the new planet, Centauri-Earth. What Elder didn't account for was the one hundred newly unfrozen military members, including Amy's parents. Between bruised egos and command complications the people find themselves under a new threat from the planet and they must band together to survive, though betrayal lurks around every corner.
Elder and Amy's journey is beautiful and heartbreaking, particularly in this book. Revis has brought these two full circle. Seeing what happens to them, and between them, in this book is a treat. I felt the growth and I watched the struggle, and it's perfect, even with all the curveballs Revis throws at them.
The other interesting thing about this book is the survival elements. Revis manages to write a survival novel in the vein of Robinson Crusoe and Mysterious Island... and then she tossed it into a far distant planet in space! Brilliant! It works, and it works so well. Add in the complexities from the previous two books and you have yourself an ending that will have readers on the edge of their teeth. Or by the edge of their seats. Both cliches work.
Revis has cemented herself firmly into the pantheon of autobuy YA authors. I will pretty much read everything she writes from here on out. As for Shades of Earth it's an obvious 5 star read. I loved it.
Wild is an upcoming novel by Alex Mallory, a pen name for Saundra Mitchell. The book is a retelling of the classic Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Bu...more Wild is an upcoming novel by Alex Mallory, a pen name for Saundra Mitchell. The book is a retelling of the classic Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Retellings can be done very well or fail miserably. A good author pays attention to the original themes of the source book and treats the material with respect. Alex Mallory has done just that with Wild. This is a brilliant retelling.
Cade has lived in the forest for most of his life. When he was thirteen he buried his Father, and his mother a few years before. His parents instilled in him the skills to survive off the land. They also taught him to fear the outside world. Cade believes that he is one of the last humans alive and he has little to contradict that thought until the outside world shows up on his doorstep.
Dara and Josh are spending their spring break in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. They lied to their parents, deciding to camp outdoors rather than travel to Orlando with their friends. Ideally, the trip was supposed to be relaxing and romantic. However, inept camping skills on Josh’s part leads to a few critter invasions and tempers become frayed with little food. Dara is content to take photos until she senses another presence in the woods; a feeling that she never shakes. When a disaster forces Cade to return to the world his parents fled the book becomes one of the best fish-out-of-water stories that I have read in a long time.
Mallory nailed the themes from Tarzan. What she has done to modernize it in a contemporary setting is fantastic. Tarzan’s curiosity has always been his downfall. His obsession with outsiders when they enter his midst is a turning point. Throwing in electronic devices and shopping malls and instant food and convenience… all of these things work in a way that makes the classic tale come alive. The base elements are there and the characters match the pace.
Cade is the perfect reinvention of Tarzan, quick to temper and all. His intense loyalty, his direct and truthful personality, all of it rings true. There’s not an ounce of guile in his entire body. He is precisely who he needs to be. Dara is a great counterpart to him as well as a fresh take on Jane Porter. Jane was always a damsel in distress whereas Dara holds her own in any (and all) argument(s). Some of the best moments from the book come from Dara. She has more spunk than the original heroine but I’m not mad about it. Jane needed the revamp to appeal to today’s woman and Dara hits the note perfectly.
There are a few minor plot details that I am sketchy about but they’re minor quibbles. Overall the book is superb and I am really happy that Mallory chose to write it. It’s really, bloody good.