Only in New York City could three English-speaking bears blend into society without raising alarm. This fun adventure story follows the experiences of...moreOnly in New York City could three English-speaking bears blend into society without raising alarm. This fun adventure story follows the experiences of three bear brothers as they leave their quaint life on the Honeybee farm to seek their fortunes in the Big Apple. Each bear is quite unique: Vern, the oldest, is determined to become a personal trainer, Val, the middle brother, believes that he can teach people to be more respectful to each other, and Monty, the youngest, has launched into a journey of self-discovery. As the brothers explore their relationship and try to adjust to their new surroundings, Monty becomes an accidental witness to a spree of “vampire” crimes occurring in Central Park. Unsure of his civil responsibility, Monty questions what he should do. Does he keep his head down and mind his own business? Or does he report what he has seen to the police and bring unwanted attention to himself and his two brothers? Throughout his adventure, Monty learns how to balance his duties as a citizen and brother with the search for his own happiness.
This middle grade adventure is a great read for parents who want their children to explore social situations and personal responsibility. The absurd premise that three bears are essentially ignored as an anomaly in the most densely populated city in America is hilarious for both adults and children. Yet at its heart, this story is one of young people discovering their place in life and what it means to be human (or conscientious bears in this case).
Compared to the first novel, this one was sadly disappointing.
The first hundred pages or so were exciting as the characters journeyed to Oden's Ford,...moreCompared to the first novel, this one was sadly disappointing.
The first hundred pages or so were exciting as the characters journeyed to Oden's Ford, but once there, the plot became irrevokably stagnant. The title of the novel really should have been "Raisa goes through three boyfriends while at school," because all of the political and cultural depth that was amazing in the first novel was drowned by the princess's inability to choose a relationship.
The novel deserves three stars because Han's story was intriguing; a poor street rat trying to fit in with blueblood peers determined to put him in his place. Unfortunately I found Fire Dancer's plight to be of especial interest, but his story was completely glossed over in favor of Raisa's kissing scenes. I would also have liked to see more from Amon's point of view: his heartbreak was inspirational.
I am hoping the third one will redeem my faith in the series.(less)
When you look at the cover of this book you think "Hmmm...Neverending Story anyone?"
Not even close. The first chapter of this book introduces you to a...moreWhen you look at the cover of this book you think "Hmmm...Neverending Story anyone?"
Not even close. The first chapter of this book introduces you to a world of social complexity, often missing in today's young adult literature. There is love, anger, and self-discovery on a scale that surpasses anything on the bookstore shelves in the teen section.
Since the death of his father, Han's family is so poor that he has resorted to running with a street gang, stealing to survive. He’s so good at the violence, that he rises to Streetlord of the Raggers before he’s seventeen. Though he lives in the fictional city of Fellsmarch, his plight is distressingly realistic. His problems are the same ones that plague teenagers of American cities today: scraping together enough money to buy food, protecting his family from other gang members, and protecting himself from violence with violence.
Han’s best friend is Fire Dancer, the son of a prominent Healer in a mountain culture extremely parallel to 18th century Native American. He hates wizards because they invaded his country and took everything from his people. Sound familiar? The greedy wizards fought among themselves for power and wealth, eventually causing the worst disaster in history: The Breaking. Unlike America’s real history, the native tribes banded together and healed the damage, forcing the wizards into an alliance that the native people control.
Enter Princess Raisa. (What’s a good fantasy novel without one?) Bound by this truce, she finds herself sacrificing love for duty, until she realizes that she is just a pawn for those of her kingdom who are trying to increase their power. The political undercurrent of Raisa’s story is intriguing, yet laden with a wistful sympathy for the princess’s situation. She wants to pursue her own life, make her own choices, but her stations demands that she will never have it. Women all over the world throughout history have been forced to wrestle with the same issue: does she pursue her own happiness or bow to her society’s gender expectations?
After spending 400 pages wrestling with the three main characters’ dilemmas, I was pleasantly surprised at the end, wherein I discovered—as did the characters—that the world was not spinning in the directions they had assumed. Ancient secrets entangled their lives together in ways that were just beginning to be revealed, and of course could not be resolved by the novel’s last 100 pages. More magic and conspiracy are yet to come to light! Anyone who loves young adult fantasy should read this book!(less)
So when I first picked this novel up I thought: Finally! The finale of the series...
Oops. After a fabulous adventure, much darker than the others I mi...moreSo when I first picked this novel up I thought: Finally! The finale of the series...
Oops. After a fabulous adventure, much darker than the others I might add, I got to the last fifty pages and went "Crap...this isn't the end!" Not only that, but the book ends with a gargantuan cliff-hanger. Which, of course, all good series have at some point.
The plot is intriguing and fast paced. The constant point-of-view switch-up keeps the action and emotion running high. And although I love Percy, I have to say that I've got a bit of a thing for Jason and the Romans. They seem more tragic--and a little less goofy--than the Greeks.
Of course Rick Riordan does his homework when it comes to ancient mythologies, and the way he chooses to inject them with a modern twist is always interesting. I am enjoying the progression of his characters as they mature. Their journey through self exploration is both believable and fun.
The only thing I didn't like was the battle with the twin giants near the end of the novel. It took the reader back a stage: the action was back to a middle-grade-style-slightly-corny feel, where I really was expecting something more serious, due to the shift in the characters.
Annabeth's final confrontation with Athena, on the other hand, was spectacular!
All I can say is: I can't wait for the next one!(less)
This was a very interesting time travel story. I had a hard time deciding how many stars to give it because though the writing was excellent, the sci-...moreThis was a very interesting time travel story. I had a hard time deciding how many stars to give it because though the writing was excellent, the sci-fi elements were shaky. It was almost steam-punk, but not quite. I loved the imagery and literary references, but I didn't like how much of the main character's real life elements interrupted the story. The plot would start to pick up in a very interesting manner, but then Abby's real life would emerge and slow the story down.(less)
All I can say is "amazing." This book had it all, a strong, powerful protagonist who still retains her vulnerability, a deep social statement on how r...moreAll I can say is "amazing." This book had it all, a strong, powerful protagonist who still retains her vulnerability, a deep social statement on how racial predjudice brings out the worst of humanity, and DRAGONS! The vocabulary was literally breathtaking: there were even a handful of words that I had to look up (which, for me, is saying something). It was a fabulous literary milestone, if you will, for those of us looking for something more complex in young adult literature. Rachel Hartman has defied the commercialist comformists that run the novel industry these days. Where agents and publishers are saying "wait, make the story less complicated, use smaller words, young people aren't smart enough to follow what you're doing", the author pretty much thumbed her nose at all of them and wrote "Seraphina" instead, proving that there is a market for a complex, high diction story aimed at young adults. :)(less)
The story in this novel is amazing. It's fast paced and riviting, even if somewhat predictable for the hard core sci-fi fan. The author's portrayal of...moreThe story in this novel is amazing. It's fast paced and riviting, even if somewhat predictable for the hard core sci-fi fan. The author's portrayal of young people struggling to learn how to choose their future, when their lives were previously directed by the Society, is perfectly managed. The love story is sweet, but not overwhelming. The characters are excellently realistic.
My only complaint is the first person present tense that jumps from one character to another. The patterning helps, but I sometimes had to jump back and forth to the chapter heading to realize who was talking, especailly after the two main characters meet up.(less)
The premise sounded amazing, but there were many holes in the story. I felt like the novel should have been called "Blunt deus ex machine". Probably w...moreThe premise sounded amazing, but there were many holes in the story. I felt like the novel should have been called "Blunt deus ex machine". Probably won't read the sequel.(less)
It is rare to find a sequel that is more astounding than the original, but Insurgent is one of the most politically charged dystopian stories that I h...moreIt is rare to find a sequel that is more astounding than the original, but Insurgent is one of the most politically charged dystopian stories that I have ever read. When I read the first one, I liked it, but was a little disappointed in the simplicity of the social structure. Until Insurgent. Veronica Roth set everything up in such a way that I was fooled by the first one into thinking I was reading just another YA novel.
But I was wrong. This series is even more spectacular than the Hunger Games. I love it and cant wait until the third installment!(less)