After coming off a book that sucked the soul out of me, I was rather pleased by how enjoyable it was to read The Ruins of Gorlan. It's a fun, light re...moreAfter coming off a book that sucked the soul out of me, I was rather pleased by how enjoyable it was to read The Ruins of Gorlan. It's a fun, light read following the story of a teenage boy who has been taken on as an apprentice to one of the most mysterious figures he's ever known, Halt, to learn to ways of the Ranger and train to protect the Kingdom. I've always liked stories like this because the allure of the Ranger really pulls me in. Warriors who uses the bow and stealth to obtain the upper hand on their enemies before they even know to react. So, naturally I'd be all over this kind of story.
As for the story itself I enjoyed it quite a bit, even though it may be a tad unoriginal. There are several books in this series, and it's obvious when you read the first one because it's feels like a big introduction to the characters and the way of life in the world the author has created. But it's written in such a way that it's still exciting and has its fine moments to admire. I found the main character, Will, to be pretty generic as protagonists go, but the other characters such as Old Bob, who made me laugh, Horace, with his struggles and growing maturity, and I even found Halt to be somewhat fascinating. So, the story may be a little unoriginal but that's not always a bad thing, because sometimes it's exactly what you want to read. And the Ranger's Apprentice doesn't disappoint when what you're looking for is a fun, medieval adventure filled with knights, monsters and mayhem.
The Ruins of Gorlan is a worthy beginning to the Ranger's Apprentice series, and it's so good that I won't be hesitating to read more of the adventure in the following books. (less)
The thing about Brandon Mull is that after I have read a book of his, I wish I could erase my memory of ever having read it just so that I can read it...moreThe thing about Brandon Mull is that after I have read a book of his, I wish I could erase my memory of ever having read it just so that I can read it all over again for the first time. I have never read anything of Brandon Mull's and not absolutely loved it! And the same goes for The Candy Shop War.
I've read the Fablehaven series, read the first Beyonders and am excitedly awaiting the second book, but have always sort of put off reading The Candy Shop War because I personally don't care for candy. I've never been a person who's liked a lot of sweets of any kind, so I figured that this book wouldn't interest me because of the subject matter. Boy was I wrong! The magical candy in this story brought out my inner child and I relished in this tasty treat. I honestly believe that if Brandon Mull picked up a piece of trash off the street and decided to write a story about it he could make it a best seller. As with all of his other books, Mull brings his characters to life in such a great way and really knows how to weave together a great a story. He adds just the right hint of mystery, suspense, action, wonder, magic and always comes out with something amazing. I was really surprised by how much I loved The Candy Shop War but I should have expected as much.
The dialogue was witty, clever and really funny. Nate, Summer, Trevor and Pigeon were all believable characters and had their own spark, and all of the other supporting characters and villains were also enjoyable to read about. Some favorite characters of mine were John Dart and Pigeon. Nearly every character has something unique about them and it really adds to the life of the world. I LOVED John Dart's background and the fact that he couldn't bring harm to others without feeling the pain that they also felt. Considering all the characters of the book, the plot was so well thought out that a lot of the time all I could do was inwardly squeal with joy because of all the shocking, surprising and wondrous moments this story dished out. I never felt once during this book a moment of boredom or that some things were thrown in there for the sake of filler.
The Candy Shop War is a triumph in the genre of Children/YA fantasy and even though it's directed more toward a younger audience, I believe adults can enjoy it as well. The book may be about kids and candy but it's also much more than that - it's a fast paced, page turning tale of magic and adventure that leaves off with a sweet aftertaste.(less)
In the second installment of the Hunger Games, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the plot thickens and blood still pours. In certain aspects this sequ...moreIn the second installment of the Hunger Games, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the plot thickens and blood still pours. In certain aspects this sequel somewhat resembled its predecessor in terms of how the story played out, but in my opinion that's not a bad thing. Suzanna Collins adds just the right touch of everything to make this one just as engaging as the first.
In Catching Fire things become real serious, real fast. Threats are issued, fear becomes overwhelming, romance becomes complicated and the battle for survival is ever present. The number one thing I loved the most about this book was the political struggle. I eat that stuff up. In The Hunger Games there was a hint of this, especially near the end, but in this one it's more apparent as the idea of rebellion are catching fire. Katniss has not lived long in her victors home with her family, before her stunt in the arena brings on consequences from the Capitol. She realizes that even though she has left the arena, the games are not yet truly finished. Dun.. dun.. DUNNNN!
The plot becomes a lot more intricate in this one, mainly because, as I said before, politics are involved. When politics are involved nothing is ever simple and no one can ever be trusted. I really liked the story and the struggles each character went through. And there were quite a few new characters added and all were pretty believable. There were some really nice twists and the whole way through it kept me wondering if there is something else going on than what Katniss believes is happening. As in the previous book, the dialogue is spot on and so convincing, a lot of the time I was even laughing out loud, and so I'm not disappointed there because I love dialogue.
As sequels go this one did not let me down. Everything I loved from The Hunger Games was brought back and just as convincing and exciting as ever. I could really feel for these characters and shared in their fear, sorrow and joy. Catching Fire is a delight to read.(less)
I find it really hard to review a book that I couldn't keep my eyes off of or my mind from replaying the scenarios I've just read. This is the case fo...moreI find it really hard to review a book that I couldn't keep my eyes off of or my mind from replaying the scenarios I've just read. This is the case for The Hunger Games. Not because I don't want to write a detailed review, but because all I can really do is shower praise and go on about how amazing the book was. So, without further ado...
WOW! What a treat! I went into this book without any sort of expectations and came out bursting at the seam raving my excitement about it. From the very beginning the story had be hooked with an intriguing setting that had be feeling for the people who lived in it. To be honest though, I was sort of put off by the writing perspective because it felt awkward to me. Although, halfway through the book I realized that it couldn't have been written any other way because the emotional connection you feel for the narrator, who is the main character, wouldn't be as strong and it would have lessened the suspense of the plot because the mystery of the narrators ultimate fate wouldn't have that *oomph* to it.
This book is a real page turner. Every time I finished a chapter, if I had to put the book down it was with great reluctance because the need to know what happens next was almost too much. The story is full of suspense and moments that I shock you and moments that move you, either into sadness, joy, anger or worry. I was pulled in by the narrator and also by all the dialogue that went down because I found it believable and engaging. The whole premise of the story was just so inviting because it's about what we people strive to do in life - to survive.
I am glad that I read this book. Some books I read and I am satisfied but that doesn't always feels like it was enough. The Hunger Games went beyond that and thrilled me so I have no regrets investing my time into this book. This is a story I will remember.(less)
The first I've ever heard of Howl's Moving Castle was of the film version directed by Hayao Miyazak and loved it! Later I learned that it was original...moreThe first I've ever heard of Howl's Moving Castle was of the film version directed by Hayao Miyazak and loved it! Later I learned that it was originally written as a book by Diana Wynne Jones and I immediately wanted to jump on it. Normally I find the book better than the movie but in this case even though the film was based on the book it was still very different from it, resulting in not being able to choose which was better because they are both really great. Now onto the book because this is not a movie review.
From the very beginning I was really into this book. It's full of charm, wonderful magic and has a fairly decent plot. The plot itself was rather slow in my opinion but in the end it all comes together nicely. I really liked all of the characters, especially Calcifer and Michael, and found the dialogue enjoyable as well, although admittedly, I became annoyed with Sophie after a while. I liked her... but poor Howl! She never gave the guy a break! I guess I would be negative too if I had a curse thrown on me to make me seem decades older, and perhaps her moods were also fueled by jealousy, but her constant nagging and complaining about Howl was a bit tiresome... because all she really had to do was TALK to him. That is basically the only thing I didn't like about this book. Howl himself was an intriguing character but I think in real life I'm not sure if I would like him. Reading about him in this story is great because he's mysterious, and deep down has a kind heart, but he is a bit of a player and really knows how to throw a tantrum.
The magic was great! In this alternate reality where wizards and witches really exist there is a ton of magic to be had. A fire demon who maintains a moving castle, spells that harm and spells that aid, a door that opens to different areas and towns, and unfortunate souls who have been cursed with altered shapes and appearances. I really love magic so the variety here was nice. But the magic wasn't the only good thing about the story because the characters also brought lots of life to it with some funny and witty dialogue.
Although Diana Wynne Jone's book Howl's Moving Castle has its shortcomings, the pure charm and its lovable characters makes this a really enjoyable YA/Children's fantasy story.(less)
I believe Brandon Mull could not write a bad story even if he tried. Being a tremendous fan of the Fablehaven series, I went into this book with very...moreI believe Brandon Mull could not write a bad story even if he tried. Being a tremendous fan of the Fablehaven series, I went into this book with very high expectations and I wasn't left disappointed. Mull has a way of bringing life to his stories and characters that I have come to enjoy immensely as I love his style of writing and his storytelling. With all of his books, and especially Beyonders, I did not want to put it down for even a moment. If I had the time I would have read it all in one sitting because I just needed to know what happened next.
During the story there was a certain thing tugging at my mind which I couldn't really make sense of because it seemed silly to me, then I was pleased to realize it was all part of his master plan to create the story that way because in the end it blew my mind. It introduces a lot of great characters who I came to care about and I experienced joy and sorrow for them. All of the characters are believable and handle themselves perfectly to really make the book shine. The places in the story are really interesting as well and makes the world a lot of fun to explore.
Beyonders - A World Without Heroes is definitely now one of my favorite books. It's exciting, engaging, perilous, funny, sad and overall spectacular. I may just be showering praise onto this book but honestly it's all I can do. I liked it that much. I wish I were a time traveler so I could read the next one immediately.