Slightly better than the first, but still not quite as gripping as the Fablehaven Series. Still, I'm really looking forward to the third and final boo...moreSlightly better than the first, but still not quite as gripping as the Fablehaven Series. Still, I'm really looking forward to the third and final book coming Spring 2013.(less)
I enjoyed reading this book even more the second time. The kids enjoyed the adventure just as much, Anna especially. One of my top recommendations to...moreI enjoyed reading this book even more the second time. The kids enjoyed the adventure just as much, Anna especially. One of my top recommendations to read with your kids.(less)
Fun and light. As with the Twilight series, Stephenie Meyer is a great storyteller but still lacks a certain polish to her writing. I enjoyed the scie...moreFun and light. As with the Twilight series, Stephenie Meyer is a great storyteller but still lacks a certain polish to her writing. I enjoyed the science fiction aspect of the novel, which she pulls off quite well without getting into too much detail.
This aspect's purpose was more to set up and play background to the romances/relationships. This setup allowed for some delving into what it means to be sentient, the relationship between our "soul" and our body, and the nature of man, but didn't explore this ground much, in lieu of more kissing.
I'd be interested in a sequel that explored how the "superior, benevolent race" comes to grips with how its pride led it to great acts of evil. But with such a deep theme and without the romance, it would no longer be Meyer's book to write.(less)
My father-in-law gave us a signed copy of this book; I guess he used to work with James Dashner. I wasn't terribly excited to read it, but enjoyed re...moreMy father-in-law gave us a signed copy of this book; I guess he used to work with James Dashner. I wasn't terribly excited to read it, but enjoyed reading it with my wife more than I thought I would.
Dashner still needs a lot of polish, but the storyline was fairly novel, and had some nice twists. There were a lot of plot holes and illogical motives, which annoyed me as an adult, but probably wouldn't faze young boys.
My favorite book of the series. Yes, it barely edges out the first.
The whole section from Jacob's perspective, however, is the worst of the series. We...moreMy favorite book of the series. Yes, it barely edges out the first.
The whole section from Jacob's perspective, however, is the worst of the series. We could do without it. I was sorely disappointed, the book was dragging, and I was worried this book would flop.
Then we hit the last section.
I've maintained that Emily likes the romance and I like the fantasy. Well, the last section is pure fantasy. And very good fantasy at that. We get to explore the special abilities of many vampires, especially those we care about. And then we get to see how these abilities play out in a wonderful climax.
I have always loved the concept of the Volturi throughout the series. And here we get to confront them up close and personal.
Meyer still has a lot of polishing to do. I didn't appreciate how used some of her characters to fit her own needs rather than let them be true to themselves. It's like being lied to. Sam's behavior in this book in no way fits with what we've learned about him in past books, and no explanation is given.
Still, a wonderful dessert read. Exciting, but not terrible filling.
A few of the many typos (a new editor might be in order):
69 "I took deep breath and smiled" 208 "It wasn't hard to imaging attacking" 290 "I took deep breath" (same typo?!? or is this now considered correct?)(less)
Brandon delivers again in book four of this five book series. His polish as a writer has progressed through the series. I love the progress Seth makes...moreBrandon delivers again in book four of this five book series. His polish as a writer has progressed through the series. I love the progress Seth makes as a character, even if he seems a little too able for his age. We begin to see some of his special abilities as we already have for Kendra. Stan Sorenson still seems lame to me. Is he ever going to step up? What brought him to where he's at?
Fast moving, imaginative and true to characters and world, along with solid, uplifting absolute principles. Can't wait for the fifth and final book.(less)
Brandon Mull has delivered more of the same with book three of this series, which is just what we wanted.
The plot moved along at a good clip, keeping...moreBrandon Mull has delivered more of the same with book three of this series, which is just what we wanted.
The plot moved along at a good clip, keeping us involved and engaged.
The characters were real and true to their previous actions. It was a lot of fun to discover along with the kids their unique talents and abilities.
Reading aloud to Emily, I had to pause and laugh quite a few times at the interplay between Seth and Kendra, and between them and the adults.
I loved picking out and following the threads of true principles sprinkled throughout, as in this explanation by Grandpa Sorenson to the kids:
"We humans are conflicted beings. Our beliefs don't always harmonize with our instincts, and our behavior doesn't always reflect our beliefs. We constantly struggle with right and wrong. We wage war between the person we are and the person we hope to become. We have a lot of practice wrestling with ourselves. As a result, compared to magical creatures, we humans are much more able to suppress our natural inclinations in order to deliberately choose our identities."
I love how real the effects of difficult events are pounded on the kids. The consequences of evil in the world are not shielded. Happy endings are not always happy.
I can't want till my kids are old enough for me to reread this series with them.
Typo on page 349: "...it was plain there was more much going on..."
*** Second Review ***
After reading it a second time, book three stands out as one of my favorites in the series. Although Patton Burgess only figures in a few chapters, he is my favorite character of the series. I wish Brandon Mull would write a book just about him.(less)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first two Fablehaven books with Emily, so we thought we'd go for another book by Brandon Mull. We read most of it dri...moreI thoroughly enjoyed reading the first two Fablehaven books with Emily, so we thought we'd go for another book by Brandon Mull. We read most of it driving back and forth visiting family, and it helped the hour commute go by quickly and enjoyably.
I didn't gel as well with the characters; Nate and Trevor seemed pretty much the same and Summer was flat as well. Pidge had some roundness to him, but there wasn't much character development.
The plot was a little slow at times; most of the book lacked an overarching motivation. The end, however, came off perfectly.
I most enjoyed his exploration into the magic that the candy provided. My favorite scene is in the graveyard when Pigeon is sucking a "Sweet Tooth":
"Am I Hawaiian?" Summer said. Pigeon nodded. "You should do the hula right now," he urged. Summer started waving her arms and shaking her hips. A moment later she quit the dance and swatted him on the arm. "I know what you were doing and it still sort of caught me off guard," she said. "Spit that thing out." "I don't want to waste it," he said. "I should probably keep it in." You're right," Summer said. "You ought to hurry back to your post," Pigeon suggested. "Okay," Summer said. "Good job." Crouching, she dashed up the slope. Pigeon grinned. (May 4, 2008)
Some books aren't as good the second time through, some get better. This one got better. Somewhat remembering what is coming somehow made everything better. I felt I had a better handle on a plot that turns out to be fairly complicated. We're looking forward to reading the sequel.
Having read most of Brandon Sanderson's fantasy books geared for adults, I expected a lot of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians for young adults. He...moreHaving read most of Brandon Sanderson's fantasy books geared for adults, I expected a lot of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians for young adults. He mostly delivers. I read this to Emily, and really wanted her to like it so she could understand why I liked his other books so much. But I found myself cringing a fair bit as Sanderson tried too hard. I can get behind his style of speaking directly to the reader at the beginning of each chapter, especially for young adults, but it takes him a while to find his groove.
I can't quite put my finger on it, but the world framing seems to be a bit off. I was halfway into the book before I had a handle on the world Alcatraz was living in and what the bounds of the story were.
On the positive side, I found myself laughing quite a bit at the clever quips and intelligent humor. For example, the situation of Alcatraz and Bastille being locked in a dungeon cell together was extremely ironic.
The depth of character allows you to better feel what Alcatraz is going through. I think a lot of young adults will easily relate to him.
The first half of the book is the story most of us know (from Disney) about Mowgli, Baloo and gang while the latter half contains four or five short s...moreThe first half of the book is the story most of us know (from Disney) about Mowgli, Baloo and gang while the latter half contains four or five short stories. It was nice to get the real story, but didn't find a whole lot to rave about. Some of the short stories were good, the last one took some pushing to get through. Glad it's under my belt, but don't plan on ever reading it again (even to the kids).(less)
We polished this one off, reading aloud, in two days. Emily was more the driving force, but I wasn't doing too much complaining.
This book is pretty mu...moreWe polished this one off, reading aloud, in two days. Emily was more the driving force, but I wasn't doing too much complaining.
This book is pretty much the same story, be that good or bad. It turned out to be a bit exhausting, emotionally, but I think that just shows we were involved with and cared about the characters.
I enjoyed the further exploration of vampires and werewolves. I loved meeting the Volturi. Fascinating group.
Again, good while it lasted, but not that filling.
Typos: 208 "But if you'd rather to stay behind" 343 "I do spent" 434 "beamed at up at him" 443 "she tried soothe me" 486 "It was only then that I realize I was" 548 "were in better to shape to graduate"
Emily and I read this aloud together. It had elements for both of us to enjoy. I liked the sci-fi aspects of vampires, while Emily focused more on the...moreEmily and I read this aloud together. It had elements for both of us to enjoy. I liked the sci-fi aspects of vampires, while Emily focused more on the romance and, sigh, Edward.
Stephenie Meyer lays the romance on pretty thick, but keeps it fairly clean. We both liked the character development, sharp and witty dialog, and laugh-out-loud situations.
Having a group of vampires who go against their inclinations and natural way of life is quite imaginative and opens plenty of ground for thought, development and discussion.
Alice is by far my favorite character, although you quickly come to know and, for the most part, like the main characters.
More of a dessert than a main course as far as literature goes, but well worth the time. I'm afraid the kids watched more than their share of Disney movies as we had a hard time putting it down.
One outstanding question I have is this. James is described as having "light brown hair and regular features both nondescript." Does that mean nondescript for a vampire or that he's really not inhumanly beautiful like the Cullens? If he's not gorgeous, why not? Is it because he's not a "vegetarian"?(less)