Dear all fans of the Hunger Games (both the book and the movie),
Don't you just love the Hunger Games? Let's look back at a great parts. Remember that...moreDear all fans of the Hunger Games (both the book and the movie),
Don't you just love the Hunger Games? Let's look back at a great parts. Remember that time when Katniss and Peeta got attacked by a tribute that had gone insane? Yeah, and then Katniss and the tribute went tumbling down the hill. But when they made it to the bottom of the hill the tribute had his hatchet lodged in his head. Then Rue saw Katnis standing over the dead body, and thought that Katniss was a brutal killer. Remember that? No? That's probably because that didn't happen in the Hunger Games. It happened in Battle Royale (with different characters, of course).
It pains me to say I picked up Battle Royale because of the whole BR-HG dispute. I'd already read HG, and I wanted to see how it stacked up with Battle Royale, and after reading it, I have something to say to all of you HG fans...
You lose! You get nothing!
Sorry guys, but HG can't hold a candle to Battle Royale. BR does so much more with the fight-to-the-death premise than Hunger Games did. Don't get me wrong, I love the Hunger Games! But Battle Royale succeeds at such higher levels in every category. Let me explain in more detail...
Characters Author Koushun Takami somehow manages to create 40+ vivid characters with their own hopes, beliefs, traits, physical qualities, and fears. It's also interesting to see how these things affect how the novel goes on. One person might turn into the ultimate killing machine while another may try to form a group to escape the island. From the fearful Megumi Eto to the psychopathic Mitsuko Souma, (who might be one of the saddest characters in literature) everyone is compelling in their own way. All 42 students, the program instructor, and some parents of the students, are mentioned and most have backstories. This is a change from the Hunger Games, where Suzanne Collins chooses to focus on about 10 characters, and Katniss narrates the whole story.
Plot After reading Battle Royale, I probably looked something like a baby who had just tasted chocolate for the first time. I was in awe.
Then, as the chocolate taste registered into my tiny baby mind, I was shocked by the chocolate's awesomeness.
That's right. There was action. There was betreyal. There was romance. There were tragic deaths. There were lucky breaks. There were unlucky life-ending mistakes. There was a bunch of other stuff that makes you wan to throw up and cry and jump up and down at the same time. That's the kind of effect Battle Royale had on me, and will have on you.
Complaints I do some small problems with BR. 1. The translation wasn't as great as it could have been. It doesn't hinder the plot, but a "him" is called a "her" every once in a while and some helpful adjectives are left out. 2. I'd have appreciated a little more world building before we got into the action. 3. I feel like there wasn't enough about Yukie's group and about Mizuho Inada. These characters weren't killed off in the beginning of the novel but weren't talked about much there either.
Other If you're looking for gore, Battle Royale is your kind of book. There's lots of blood, people lose their insides, and necks get snapped. No, it's not for those with light stomachs, but the rest of us will be satisfied with the action. One of the strong points about BR is that it's not all action and death. There's also a psychological element to it. Part of the novel is describing how some characters descend into madness, while others keep their cool.
So Hunger Games fans, in case I haven't been clear enough, you must read Battle Royale. As great as Hunger Games is, it's just not as good as Battle Royale. Read BR, and you're eyes will be opened to a new kind of death match.
Okay for Now is part of a unique group of books that get by without having a climax. These books do this by engrossing the reader in the lives of the...more Okay for Now is part of a unique group of books that get by without having a climax. These books do this by engrossing the reader in the lives of the main character and making you feel like you are living with them and that they are your friends. It's a difficult art form to master, but Gary D. Schmidt has now accomplished it twice, with The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now.
The characters in this book are vivid and realistic, and the plot is believable the throughout the entire story. There is excellent character development, and Doug's quest to complete the book of birds comes to a satisfying conclusion. There are dark parts and there are light parts, and they are weaved together nicely to create an engrossing experience. Well done, Mr. Schmidt. Well done.
Another good thing about this book is that it will please fans of The Wednesday Wars (Such as myself) while no prior knowledge about Doug is needed for the story to make sense. It's just as fresh and original as its predecessor.
Although this didn't bother me, Doug had a very unique way of talking. He uses lots of run on sentences and repeats phrases such as "You know how that feels?" or "I'm not lying." plenty of times throughout the novel. This may annoy some readers. Also at risk of alienation are Red Sox fans, as Doug is a die hard Yankee fan and looks up to Yankee great Joe Pepitone. There is also a trivia contest in the middle of the novel about Yankee baseball that some Red Sox fans might want to skip over.
In conclusion, if you are bothered by little things like catch phrases or purposeful run-on sentences, this book is not for you. This book may be hard to read sometimes if you hate the Yankees. But if you can look past all that, you will find a wonderful story underneath, filled with adventure, feeling, and a great morale.
The Fault in our Stars is one of those books that you shouldn't read in public.
It's one of those books that will cause certain involuntary actions tha...moreThe Fault in our Stars is one of those books that you shouldn't read in public.
It's one of those books that will cause certain involuntary actions that will result in loss of respect from peers.
So if you do decide to read it, read it in your bedroom behind a locked door. Don't come out until all traces of crying face have been eradicated. Respect is hard to earn, but easy to lose.
The Fault in our Stars is a very unique book. It's not your typical cancer story. The majority of it is not moping and crying and mourning, although there's some of that in there, and this novel has direction, which is more than you can say for a lot of cancer books out there.
The characters have interesting and deep personalities, making you care about them.They're the kind of people you want to read about, which is a key factor to having when writing a cancer story such as this. It's not predictable like most cancer novels, and it carries positive message that the reader will remember for a long time. It's also chock-full of memorable quotes, (I highlighted plenty of sentences while reading on this on my Kindle) and Augustus and Hazel speak in such a way that is unique to them. The characters also had refreshing sense of that keeps the story light and innocent.
However deep and unique the wonderful cancer-surviving Augustus Waters is, his dialogue sounds scripted at times. He sounds like a sensi master that lives high in the mountains of Japan. He always knows exactly what to say and how to say it. I understand that he's smart, but he should've sounded more down to earth then he did.
If you're the kind of reader who loves to be moved by books, give The Fault in our Stars a fighting chance. You'll be pleased by the end result.
In my review of the first book in the series, Eighth Grade Bites, I prai...more There will be spoilers in this review
Let's go back to Vladimir Tod, shall we?
In my review of the first book in the series, Eighth Grade Bites, I praised author Heather Brewer for balancing Vlad's vampire life and social life. I also praised her for creating vivid characters that are likable and relatable. However, I hoped for more explanation about Vlad's world, and to do more with Uncle Otis to make him more trustworthy and fatherly. (He is Vlad's only father figure) Let's start by talking about the world-building.
Heather Brewer tried to expand the vampire world in this book, but only succeeds in creating more questions. She once again settles for a half real and half fake vampire world when compared to vampires in mythology. For instance, vampires can't stand garlic powder but holy water has no effect on them. This can really frustrate a reader that's trying to get this world straightened out inside their head. [image error] I just don't get it. Why doesn't the sun make him sparkle?
Throughout Ninth Grade Slays, I constantly had to wonder what a vampire could do and what he couldn't. Sometimes I just had to guess.
Now to the characters. Vlad, who was a great character in the first book, is becoming less and less likable as the book goes on. He refuses to be awesome and start eating people. And every time he thinks about his dead parents, who died four years ago, he cries. He cries a lot, and the more he cries, the more I stop caring. He has the mind-blowing (sorry for the pun) power to read people's minds, yet he refuses to use it because he thinks it's an invasion of privacy.
I was not amused with you, Vlad.
Uncle Otis, however, is a much better character than he was in the the first book. He is more trustworthy, takes Vlad on impressive "study" trips, and is someone that is not afraid to use his vampire powers to be epic. [image error] I approve, Otis. I approve.
Another problem I had with this book was Vlad's new friend, Joss. He seems too nice and happy-go-lucky to last for too long. (Vlad and Joss become friends in a couple of minutes) Then, when Otis tells Vlad that there is a vampire hunter in town, who else would you suspect but nice, innocent, Joss?
And guess what?
I was right in suspecting him!
Joss was the evil guy. Who saw that coming? Oh wait. I did.
But if we're talking about characters, I have to give kudos to Aunt Nelly and Henry for being as cool as ever. Henry is as loyal as a human slave can get, and I really felt for Nelly when she would have serious conversations with Vlad and laughed with her when she would joke around with him. And once again, Heather Brewer succeeds in integrating school life and vampire life. And in case you were wondering, this book is still meant for boys. That doesn't mean girls won't enjoy it, but Vlad is easier to relate to if you're a guy.
Ninth Grade Slays took the series downward a bit, but hopefully Vlad will take one step back before taking two steps forward.
Reaction at the beginning of this book: "This isn't chick-lit, this is a modern day simulation of human psychology and the deleterious effects of scrutiny."
Reaction in the middle of this book: "Wow. I actually care about eight girls and their social status."
Reaction at the end of the book: "What the F***! NO! NO! Did my kindle forget to download the last few chapters? How could an author end a book like that?"
Reaction after letting the ending sink in: "Oh. I get it now."
Just thought you should know what I was thinking.
I usually don't read chick-lit for obvious reasons, but I was so intrigued by this premise. The List seems like more than a few girls flirting with boys. It looked to me like this book would be mainly about bullying, and I was delighted when that's exactly what it tuned out to be.
Author Siobhan Vivan is scary accurate when it comes to describing high school. No flat characters or dialogue. No young romance cliches. Every character was fresh and believable, and The List is something that could actually happen in most high schools across the country. There's a great twist towards the end, though I was able to see it coming before it did. And there is, as said above, an abrupt ending, but if you give it time to sink in you will find that the ending was satisfying in it's own right.
The List should be required reading in all high schools, so that every student can understand the hurt that comes with being labled. Sure, there will be kids that don't give about other people's feeling and go about their bullying ways, but others may realize how bullying wears down on a kid. Maybe they will be moved by The List.
Needless to say, I give The List a ginormous recommendation.
I haven't read something that's scared me in a while.
That was the main reason I picked up Anna Dressed in Blood. I wanted to read something that would...moreI haven't read something that's scared me in a while.
That was the main reason I picked up Anna Dressed in Blood. I wanted to read something that would make me terrified to go to sleep at night. So terrified that I wouldn't be able to go to sleep without a night light and a teddy bear. Oh, and those pillow things that light up could help.
A quarter of the way through this book, I was pretty scared. Anna rips a person in half. In half! And she doesn't do it the normal way. She plunges her hands deep inside the victims chest and then separated then, tearing the poor soul clean in two.
That's some pretty scary stuff.
But then the scariness subsides. Cas (the protagonist) starts to get to know Ana better and engages in heartfelt conversation with her. To me, this was a little random. If you were going to kill someone/something, would you go to their house and spill your guts to them about how hard you life is? That part of the story wasn't the greatest.
All of the characters in Anna are well-rounded and likable. From Cas to Carmel (popularity queen) to Thomas, (socially awkward magic guy) all of the characters are worthy of your time. Even the cat is cool. He can smell ghosts, which is pretty much as awesome as cats can get.
As the story progresses, we get less and less scary, killer Anna and more and more sympathetic, innocent Anna. In fact, the real baddie ghost person that we're supposed to cower in fear over is introduced about 80% into the book. We shouldn't have to wait that long in a good horror story.
Towards the end, I had to accept that Anna was going to be more of a protagonist than a psycho murder demon, and once I did, I could enjoy the book more. It became clear that horror is not the main genre here, but more of a sub-genre. But the climax was great, and the ending was nice and fulfilling.
It won't scare most readers, but Anna Dressed in Blood is still enjoyable in itself.