The Sea of Monsters, second book in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, seemed to be an even better story than the first. Maybe this is because the w...moreThe Sea of Monsters, second book in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, seemed to be an even better story than the first. Maybe this is because the whole "world" of the Olympians, Half-bloods, and all their mythical monsters has already been established and the reader already knows the characters. At any rate, I didn't feel like I had to take time suspending my disbelief at the whole enterprise...; I felt like I was able to start right in and accepted this world for what it is.
I also was able to get a stronger sense of where the storyline for the series was going. This isn't just a one-book "boy-learns-he's-son-of-the gods- and comes-to-terms-with-himself- during-great-quest". We see now the conflict with Kronos’ attempt to regain power and destroy civilization as we know it. Additionally, this book helps to further develop the characters met in the first book. I find that there is some really nice character development in this series, and the reader comes to appreciate and care about the characters.
This series is extremely popular with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders I teach. It's easy to appreciate the action and humor, but I'm also glad for the exposure the series gives to mythology and well-developed characters.(less)
Gregor the Overlander is the first book in the Underland Chronicles, a 5 book series by Suzanne Collins. This series is a fantasy series about an elev...moreGregor the Overlander is the first book in the Underland Chronicles, a 5 book series by Suzanne Collins. This series is a fantasy series about an eleven year old boy, Gregor, who plays into prophesies of the people who live in Regalia- an underground world way below the depths of New York City.
I originally chose to read this book because of its author-- Suzanne Collins, also the author of the wildly popular Hunger Games series. I read The Hunger Games books and enjoyed them. I also happen to be the language arts teacher for 40+ 3rd and 4th grade students who think they want to read The Hunger Games. These books are obviously not ideal reading material for 8, 9, and 10 year-olds, but the Underland Chronicles were actually written for kids in the 8 - 12 year range.
Gregor the Overlander is filled with vivid descriptions of a fictional land, rich and complex characters, and a lot of action and adventure. The book was a quick read, and I can imagine it being popular with both my boys and my girls. The first book has a satisfying ending, but teases you with hints of "more to come", and makes you want to go ahead and pick up the next book. I will be able to heartily recommend this book to my students, and may just have to go get the second book myself!(less)
The Arctic Incident, the second book in the Artemis Fowl series, picks up a couple of years after the first book ends. Artemis' father has been found...more
The Arctic Incident, the second book in the Artemis Fowl series, picks up a couple of years after the first book ends. Artemis' father has been found, and is being held for ransom by the Russian "mafiya". Artemis and Butler are beginning to plot a rescue, but at the same time, The People below have a goblin revolution on their hands that is being aided by Mudman (human) technology. Artemis is the LEP's primary suspect, and Commander Root and Captain Holly Short are only too glad to go escort him in for questioning.
This book continues to develop the characters I came to love from the first book, and sets a new relationship between Artemis and Holly. We see more empathy and respect ( a little more!) from Artemis, particularly in his concern for his father and his realization that he may not be able to rescue his father without help. A new character is introduced in this book, Opal Koboi. Opal is a very bright, very cunning pixie who has recently contracted with the Council and LEP to create wing sets and reoutfit all the LEP's vehicles and weapons with lighter and more efficient fuel sources. She also is not exactly as she appears....
I thoroughly enjoyed the action, humor, and characterization in this second book of the Artemis Fowl series. I feel certain I'll read more of these books in time!(less)
Midnight for Charlie Bone was described to me as "a bit like a Harry Potter" for younger children. As a huge HP geek, this kind of put me off of the...more
Midnight for Charlie Bone was described to me as "a bit like a Harry Potter" for younger children. As a huge HP geek, this kind of put me off of the series, And it was only when my students started reading it that I grudgingly decided to give it a go.
What I found is that Charlie Bone is a very good book about a boy who finds out he has an exceptional gift, is sent to a special school to have the gift "monitored", and in the meantime becomes embroiled in a mystery that -- if he solve it-- may save some innocent lives. The characters in Charlie Bone are well developed. One finishes this first book in the series feeling as if they really know Charlie, his neighbor and best friend Benjamin, Charlie's mother, grandmother Maisie, Grandma Bone, and curious Uncle Peyton. We meet and come to love Fidelio Gunn, Olivia Vertigo, and Julia Engledew. The setting is a jumble of modern day and past-like customs and curiosities. Regular humans live among the "endowed" (the ones with magic), but don't seem aware of their special powers. The plot takes the reader on a whirlwind ride that, for the most part, is interesting and makes sense. Many of the first book's conflicts are solved by the end of the book, but there are plenty of other topics and problems that are not resolved, and leave the reader interested to pick up book 2.
I enjoyed the book, and feel certain I will continue reading the series as there are unanswered questions I want to find the answers for. Is it "another Harry Potter series"? I wouldn't say that,...not at this point anyway, but it is a good book that I feel I can eAsily recommend to my students.(less)
Excellent second book-- it flew by for me, and I honestly didn't see many of the plot twists coming. I have to admit that the end baffled me.... I was...moreExcellent second book-- it flew by for me, and I honestly didn't see many of the plot twists coming. I have to admit that the end baffled me.... I was there before I realized it-- and with so many questions (as I'm sure Collins would have hoped!). All I can say is that I'm really glad I'm reading these AFTER all three have been published. If I had to wait for Mockingjay to be released, I would be ticked off!
Having said all this... let me address it from my "teacher hat" standpoint. I began reading these books because I teach some 10 year-olds who were reading them. After The Hunger Games, I could honestly say that I felt some of those kids could handle the book IF they had an adult to discuss it with. I don't keep the books in my classroom library, because I believe they honestly need to be something a parent makes a decision about for kids the ages I teach. I would have to say that this second book was darker, more violent, and harder to stomach-- and I really would NOT recommend it for the kids in my school. Middle school age seems to be about right for these books, and if a parent of one of my 4th or 5th graders asked my opinion, I think I'd suggest they try to hold out for at least another year....(less)
I completely expected to NOT like this book, but found that it was very good AND very funny! Lots of great wordplay, and the characters have some very...moreI completely expected to NOT like this book, but found that it was very good AND very funny! Lots of great wordplay, and the characters have some very humorous lines. I listened to this as an audiobook, and highly recommend it that way-- the performer was great!(less)
Let me just say that, after finishing this book, I am pretty overwhelmed by it and can't really say WHAT I think. The book was funny, thought-provokin...moreLet me just say that, after finishing this book, I am pretty overwhelmed by it and can't really say WHAT I think. The book was funny, thought-provoking, "far-out", touching, and even had some really important life messages. For the most part I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. I'm still conflicted over the ending... not sure what I think of it yet.
I will say that the characters are well developed-- I felt like I knew Cameron, Gonzo, Balder, and Dulcie well by the end of the book, and hated to say "goodbye" to them when the book was over. (less)
Knowing that this book was written to give some of the "back story"-- a prequel of sorts-- to Peter Pan, I was intrigued, and I must admit also a bit...moreKnowing that this book was written to give some of the "back story"-- a prequel of sorts-- to Peter Pan, I was intrigued, and I must admit also a bit skeptical. I had high expectations for what I expected would play into the plot of this story. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. This book was well-written with well-developed characters and a plot that kept things moving. The ways that the authors wove in story elements that would eventually help to explain how Peter Pan came into being we're consistent with the plot and made sense in the bigger scheme of both books to come in this series and the Peter Pan story itself. I can heartily recommend this book for those who love adventure stories, J.M. Barrie's original work, and/or readers of fantasy. Very enjoyable!(less)
I've avoided this book for over a year. So many times, things that come "highly recommended" end up being disappointing. That was not the case with th...moreI've avoided this book for over a year. So many times, things that come "highly recommended" end up being disappointing. That was not the case with this book!
I really enjoyed Collins' style of writing. I felt that I got just the right balance of character development, action, and description so that the book came alive for me. Since I've seen tons of advertising for the movie, I don't expect that the movie characters will clash with my "vision" of them in the books. The events and relationships, on the other hand, are a completely different issue. I hope the movie won't be a letdown.
A book I can highly recommend; I gave it only 4 stars at this time-- may change that to 5 in time. I find that I don't rate a book a "5" until I've "lived" with it for awhile. Looking forward to reading Catching Fire!(less)