I read this novel over two years ago and remember it as a nice tale with some wonderful imagery. I do not remember it as a stunning read or one that w...moreI read this novel over two years ago and remember it as a nice tale with some wonderful imagery. I do not remember it as a stunning read or one that was overly praiseworthy. However, that said, I do remember that I enjoyed this short novel and felt it quite easy to read. It had a nice pace and not too many characters to confuse the reader. This was a book that would be a nice summer read or a grade 4-6 book for teaching. The morals of the story are quite attainable to young readers.
This debut novel was a riveting story. I was taken by the honest voice of the main character and found the dialog to seem realistic. I kept thinking h...moreThis debut novel was a riveting story. I was taken by the honest voice of the main character and found the dialog to seem realistic. I kept thinking how similar this tale and storytelling is to Tim O'Brian's Vietnam writing. But the had the epiphany that Vietnam was over 40 years ago! Even this story, which takes place in 2004-5 is almost ten years old. Yet the similarities are there. Questioning the US role, the individual soldier's daily plight and adapting to home after his tour comes to an end. The author depicts the re-assimilation challenges, but adds a harrowing twist I did not see coming as he brings the final conflict to bear. Resolution is not clear, as is the lives of so many vets today.
This is a challenging read well worth the effort.(less)
This was the best novel, in my opinion, by Kingsolver since the Pigs in Heaven/Bean Trees books and Animal Dreams. I was really taken by her weaving o...moreThis was the best novel, in my opinion, by Kingsolver since the Pigs in Heaven/Bean Trees books and Animal Dreams. I was really taken by her weaving of messages in this book about the environment, the American class system, modern advances in technology and popular culture.
The characters in this book are uniquely Kingsolver and her writing is as direct as ever. Her language is beautifully descriptive and left me with vivid images of rural East Tennessee.
I would definitely recommend this book to all and caution that it is not a happy tale and will lead the reader to question his/her value system in a larger and more complex world. This book will make you think and, hopefully, act out in taking a more active approach to understanding our place on earth as humans traveling in a bigger realm. We have a responsibility to our kids and to the greater earthly community and we need to account for our actions.
This was quite a harrowing tale. The story of Ismael is quite incredible and hard to visualize as a westerner removed from the real world tragedies an...moreThis was quite a harrowing tale. The story of Ismael is quite incredible and hard to visualize as a westerner removed from the real world tragedies and casualties of war. I am amazed that he survived to tell this tale and am equally thankful to have heard it.
As a book, there are redundant passages and became a bit long winded at times, but mostly appreciated his ability to marry western culture with his African. I appreciate his efforts to link the two experiences. I would like to have learned more about his adapting to his new life, family and world.
Definitely worth the read. Be aware for younger readers that there are some gruesome descriptions of death and war, as well as, a matter of fact description of drug use. (less)
Flanagan gets back on track with this episode in the Ranger's Apprentice series. While I was a little worried initially in this book that the author w...moreFlanagan gets back on track with this episode in the Ranger's Apprentice series. While I was a little worried initially in this book that the author would choose to use so many characters from previous books, in the end it worked out. I wanted the story to be about Will and Halt, but Flanagan focused a lot on Horace for the first half of the tale. Yet the story moved quickly and Flanagan kept true to his work with the main characters while introducing us to another land, Nihon Ja, and their people, customs and beliefs. I enjoy the story telling and the creativity in these tales. Only two more to go. I definitely continue to recommend these books to readers of all ages.(less)
Book 9 of the Rangers Apprentice series, Halt's Peril, was up to the challenge of the other books ion the series. In this tale, Halt, Will and Horace...moreBook 9 of the Rangers Apprentice series, Halt's Peril, was up to the challenge of the other books ion the series. In this tale, Halt, Will and Horace are attempting to complete their task of tracking down the fake Tenyson, discrediting him from his followers and bringing him to justice. As the title implies, Halt does run into some real trouble and Will and Horace have to show their independence and skills in helping Halt and facing the murderous assassins who do Tenyson's evil bidding.
The story moves along at a great pace and rarely leaves the reader thinking, "just get on with it, already." I look forward to the next installment in the series, I highly recommend this book and series to young and old readers alike. (less)
I was very moved by this book. Dau captures the reader with a complex tale that weaves characters, time periods, faiths, hope, love and anger in a com...moreI was very moved by this book. Dau captures the reader with a complex tale that weaves characters, time periods, faiths, hope, love and anger in a compelling way that makes this book hard o put down. The micro chapters move by so quickly that you have little awareness of the time you have spent reading. The author also twists the reader through emotional responses to the story and, as a result, I found myself reacting with different emotions as different times as I read the book. Anger, empathy, hope, despair, horror and sadness flowed through me at different times as I read further along and became more drawn into Jonas' fate (although fate may not be the right word, as he seemed to have choices and was aware of them, but then ignored the chance to make a choice). This is a fascinatingly compelling book that I have already bought two more copies to give to friends and colleagues to consider for teaching and discussion based reading with my students at our school. Truly a remarkable book that is so compelling and timely. Please consider reading this book.(less)
John Flanagan has pulled together another exciting tale in the continuation of his series, The Rangers Apprentice. This one takes place in another lan...moreJohn Flanagan has pulled together another exciting tale in the continuation of his series, The Rangers Apprentice. This one takes place in another land that mimics another section of the United Kingdom and plays on the themes of deism and cult following. Flanagan surprises us with some new twists, this time about Halt and his birth rite. The story begins with Halt off on his own tracking down a notorious group of 'Outlanders' in a neighboring kingdom to Arulen. Flanagan depicts Halt having some challenges due to his growing age and mortality, but Halt survives and returns to get he help of WIll and Horace. He brings the two young heros with him to investigate and, subsequently, bring down the cult leader Tennyson in the Kingdom of Clonmel.
As in his previous books, the action is exciting and full of twists and turns that keep the reader engaged throughout. Will and Horace are challenged both in their learning of real world issues, like human nature, morality, and honesty. They also are challenged in their roles as warriors and negotiators. Will even has to return to his jongleur routine for a bit of the story.
I enjoyed this book and appreciate the Flanagan has not run out of ideas and opportunities to excite the reader. I highly recommend this series to young adult readers and, really, all who enjoy fun tales of knights and rangers. (less)
I definitely enjoyed this tale in the continuing series of The Ranger's Apprentice. This one explores another new land in the fictional world created...moreI definitely enjoyed this tale in the continuing series of The Ranger's Apprentice. This one explores another new land in the fictional world created by Flanagan. Will and Halt are off on another adventure, this time to the desert. Will is at the end of his apprenticeship with Halt and questions his readiness for becoming a true ranger. Halt is struggling with the inevitable departure of Will from his everyday life and is, as the book begins, finally getting married. Old Skandian friend Erak has been captured on a raiding trip and is held for ransom. This news gives Halt a reason to run away from his new life and lead Will and their closest friends off on a rescue mission. Horace, Evanlyn, and Gilan join together with the two heroes and they sail away for new challenges and opportunities to grow and learn.
The story is fast-paced and full of exciting moments. Flanagan writes well and addresses challenges of youth and maturity in a way that is accessible to many different aged readers. This book, and the series, has been a great deal of fun to read and I certainly look forward to the eighth installment in the Ranger's Apprentice series.(less)
I found the novel to be a very well-paced story that kept me engaged to the very end of the book. The story of Epsen and his friends in the little tow...moreI found the novel to be a very well-paced story that kept me engaged to the very end of the book. The story of Epsen and his friends in the little town in Norway during World War 2 is a great story of bravery and maturity. This is definitely a book about a boy evolving into an adult. Epsen is also not the classic hero figure. He is not physically strong,wears glasses and often has to consider if he is doing to right thing. He wants to be part of the resistance movement and struggles with the changes imposed on him and his family in Nazi-occupied Norway. Yet he finds his own way to be a part of the movement, finds his way to manhood.
The other characters in the book are quite believable and provide a background against which Espen can make his decisions. I like the relationships that Espen has with his parents, his sister, and some of the other kids in the town. I was really intrigued by the change in his relationship with his best friend who does not see the need for a resistance movement and the struggle Espen has to understand why this friend does not see the world the same way. The challenges and trials that are placed on Espen and happen naturally are so real, it leaves me wondering what I would have done in his shoes.
I would definitely recommend this book to young adult readers and up.(less)
This was an intriguing novel. I was initially taken by the plot of the book, but found the development of characters to be quite interesting. While I...moreThis was an intriguing novel. I was initially taken by the plot of the book, but found the development of characters to be quite interesting. While I did not enjoy this book as much as his other books (Octavian Nothing #1), it was still a mature look at the life of teenagers in a not too distant future. While the technology seems far fetched and the opportunity to visit the moon or mars is not imminent, the lifestyles of the teens in the book are not far removed from today's kids. I liked the challenges faced by the main character, Titus. To not have to read, write or even think is a future I cannot imagine, but it begs the question, where are we headed with technology? I highly recommend this book for teens and adults. (less)