I found Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, an older Eileen Cook novel, to be a bit more enjoyable. Although I couldn’t understand why Helen would still h...moreI found Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, an older Eileen Cook novel, to be a bit more enjoyable. Although I couldn’t understand why Helen would still hold a grudge against Lauren years after having moved away, I’m always game for a story involving revenge. Unfortunately, Helen’s revenge tactics turned out to be pretty petty.
I did like Helen’s voice though and the fact that Cook showed that getting revenge may not actually make you happier. Sometimes it’s better to concentrate your energy on yourself rather than on others. I just wish the story could have concluded differently because you never find out what type of consequences – other than the fact that her friends sure got over being used quite fast – Helen faced due to her actions. This was one novel where I could have used an epilogue!(less)
Solid by Shelley Workinger was a quick read with a good cast of characters and an interesting plot.
As someone who is in the science stream, Workinger’...moreSolid by Shelley Workinger was a quick read with a good cast of characters and an interesting plot.
As someone who is in the science stream, Workinger’s explanation for her characters’ superpowers made sense without making me annoyed for being too simplistic. At the same time, those who know absolutely nothing about genetics will still be able to understand what has transpired without feeling like they’re being overloaded with scientific information.
Workinger’s characters – even Miranda once you get to know her – were likeable enough, but I never got fully attached to them. I think part of the reason may be because as a reader, you don’t know exactly what they’re capable of since Clio, the main character, and her friends are still trying to figure it out themselves. So, they pretty much acted like typical teens (except sometimes the dialogue made them seem older) when I was expecting them to do amazing things.
This also led to the expectation that there would be a lot of action. However, Solid focused more on character development, with Clio discovering things about herself and making new friends with whom she felt comfortable with. Even when there could have been the potential for some action, the conflict was resolved a little too easily.
Despite its issues, I still liked Solid. I think if it had been longer, some of my expectations could have been met; and hopefully that’s going to be the case in Settling, the sequel to Solid. (less)
My Sparkling Misfortune is a humorous middle grade novel written by Laura Lond that will appeal to anyone looking for a lighter fantasy read. The stor...moreMy Sparkling Misfortune is a humorous middle grade novel written by Laura Lond that will appeal to anyone looking for a lighter fantasy read. The story is narrated by Lord Arkus, a villain, who at the beginning of the book is being haunted by a monster and has been betrayed by Prince Kellemar, a man who wants to become a hero. Determined to get revenge on the prince, Arkus decides to try and catch a gormack (an evil spirit). Unfortunately, he manages to capture a sparkling (a good spirit) named Tulip instead. With no use for a sparkling, Arkus releases Tulip from his servitude. But when Tulip proves his usefulness, Arkus changes his mind and chooses to keep Tulip (whom he calls Jarvi because no servant of Arkus would have a name like Tulip).
Jarvi is so mischievous and made me want my own sparkling! I loved the way he would trick Arkus into doing heroic things or send Arkus into bursts of anger that made Arkus throw things at him.
Even though Arkus proclaims he’s a villain, it’s impossible not to fall in love with him. One can’t help but chuckle as Arkus keeps trying to convince himself, Jarvi and the reader that he really is a villain and not a hero.
In spite of its light tone, My Sparkling Misfortune does manage to convey an important lesson about how easy it can be to categorize people and expect them to act a certain way without knowing them very well. Just like the world isn’t divided into “good” and “bad” people, sometimes a hero may do something non-heroic or a villain may turn out to have some scruples. (less)
The Karma Club by Jessica Brody was a light and engaging read with an original plot and a message that tells you to beware of messing with karma.
Brody...moreThe Karma Club by Jessica Brody was a light and engaging read with an original plot and a message that tells you to beware of messing with karma.
Brody did a great job with characterization because not only was Maddy a relatable protagonist but her two best friends, Angie and Jade, were solidly developed as well, and therefore each of the girls had their own distinct personality.
I also really liked the emphasis on friendship in The Karma Club. Maddy, Angie and Jade, are constantly there to support each other and when Maddy comes up with the idea of the Karma Club, she makes sure that justice isn’t only exacted on the people who have humiliated her but also on those who have hurt her friends.
It’s easy to understand why Maddy starts the Karma Club. I mean, who wants to wait around for the universe to give the person that screws you what they deserve when you could restore the balance by yourself right away? The schemes that the girls originally come up with are funny (although a little childish) but it soon felt to me as if Maddy, Angie and Jade didn’t care about what they had to do to get revenge or how their actions would affect other people’s lives.
The other thing that bothered me was that things were wrapped up a little too neatly at the end. However, Maddy is finally able to comprehend how karma works and learns that you don’t want to use karma to get back at others but to spread good in whatever way possible. (less)
The Rise of Renegade X begins with its protagonist, Damien, waiting to become sixteen and get the V on his thumb that signals he will become a supervi...moreThe Rise of Renegade X begins with its protagonist, Damien, waiting to become sixteen and get the V on his thumb that signals he will become a supervillain. With his supervillain mother - the Mistress of Mayhem (aka Marianna Locke), - his friends and a bunch of strangers on hand at his birthday party to witness this milestone in his life, Damien eagerly waits for the clock to turn to midnight. Unfortunately, when the clock does strike twelve, Damien’s thumbprint forms a horrifying X, which basically means the inconceivable: his father is a superhero (with an H on his thumb)! Determined to find out the truth about how this could have happened, Damien asks his mother for details but she refuses to divulge anything. So, he resorts to snooping through his mother’s diary and then creates a list of potential superheroes that may be his father.
When Damien does finally meet his father, his dad manages to convince Marianna to let Damien stay with him for a while so that Damien can see what it’s like to be a superhero. Much to Damien’s shock, Marianna agrees because it’s a great opportunity for Damien to learn about the enemy (and it allows her to not have Damien underfoot as she works on her super secret nefarious project). With an X on his thumb, Damien better be prepared to work extremely hard to have it changed to a V or risk having the X become an H!
The Rise of Renegade X does a great job of looking at the power of choices. Normally those born with the “super” gene are fated to either go to Vilmore and become a supervillain or go to Heroesworth Academy and become a superhero. However, Damien has the luxury of being able to choose who he becomes because it’s ultimately his actions that will determine whether he becomes a supervillain or a superhero.
Speaking of Damien, I absolutely adored his character! He had such a snarky voice and I loved all the high jinks he got up to. For example, the girl Damien is interested in thinks he’s a supervillain and the girl who is sort of interested in him thinks he’s a superhero, and Damien doesn’t hesitate to use the situation to his advantage. Naturally, it backfires.
I also really loved the ending which was surprising (but in a good way). Sometimes tough decisions need to be made and you have to do what you consider to be right despite the fact that not everybody will be happy with your choices.
One of the things that was unclear in The Rise of Renegade X though was the genetics behind how superpowers were inherited and what triggered the H, V or X to show up on one’s thumb specifically on their sixteenth birthday. Since I’m in the science stream, that stood out for me right away but I’m not sure if most people would be putting as much thought into that. (less)
For fans of fairytales, Dust City by Robert Paul Weston is a highly creative story that’s full of mystery and suspense. From the dream Henry has invol...moreFor fans of fairytales, Dust City by Robert Paul Weston is a highly creative story that’s full of mystery and suspense. From the dream Henry has involving Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother to Henry finding out why the fairies abandoned them, the dark atmosphere suffused throughout the novel made Dust City an enjoyable read.
I also really liked how Weston made fairydust a drug that people crave because it can help you achieve your destiny. However, it became even more unique in his book because it had the potential to not only just have good effects but also bad ones. What happens when fairydust brings out your most animalistic instincts?
On the lighter side, it was fun seeing the many characters from fairytales scattered throughout Dust City. Although Weston puts his own spin on them and provides them with their own narratives, they were still identifiable. The character based on Rumpelstiltskin gave me a little trouble but I finally realized it was him at the end and felt like an idiot. For some reason, I kept wondering if the story of King Midas was a fairytale.
The only problem I really had with Dust City was that it was hard at the beginning to imagine how Henry looked. I assumed he was a wolf on all fours until it was mentioned that another wolf at St. Remus was over six feet when he stood up. Luckily, Weston (through Henry) explains a little later on that evolution has caused the animalia to evolve bigger brains for speech and features like thumbs so that they resemble hominids in some ways. Nevertheless, the animalia also retain properties like feathers and fur. (less)