Oh! How I wanted to LOVE this. I was certainly impressed by Krokos' Q & A on the fabulous blog: the midnight garden. And quite honestly, it was thOh! How I wanted to LOVE this. I was certainly impressed by Krokos' Q & A on the fabulous blog: the midnight garden. And quite honestly, it was this Q & A post that compelled me to check out his book in the first place. (He also makes some pretty insightful comments on author-reviewer relationships.)
So you see...I was so ready to love this.
It really pains me to say I don't. Right off the bat, I knew I was heading into rocky territory. The first few scenes didn't fit very well with what I expected of an amnesiac: a girl finds herself without any memory and she calmly tells a mall cop "Hello. I lost my memory. I was wondering if you could help." If I was in her shoes, I think I would probably appear frantic, confused, and more anxious about what was happening to me. Haven't you ever walked somewhere, like to the pantry to get something but then when you get there, you've forgotten why you were there in the first place? Well, sadly that happens to me ALOT. And I always feel out of sorts afterwards trying to remember. So it made me think: what if you lost ALL your memories? Wouldn't you feel a little more...unrestrained? Wouldn't you be scared? And in Miranda's case, wouldn't you expect her to manifest those fear waves immediately?
Then later on, I felt that some parts of the story seemed off: when Miranda meets Peter, it feels weird that there is so much drama and mystery of how he knows her. Why was he acting as if it was some kind of game to him? And if you just met a stranger, would you eat his mango chicken? uh. gross. And for someone who is supposedly a top notch weapon, why does Miranda make so many mistakes--like forgetting to grab the gun when she fights Grace? I also completely missed the point of Miranda feeling like kissing these 2 boys all the time; she kisses one and then she immediately wants to kiss the other. If I had a better sense of her, I think I would have understood her motivations better. But the part that bothered me the most was that the Roses were created to cause destruction--just because. Very little light is shed on the creator's motivation for making them--aside from them being "mad scientists." I think that's an easy explanation but not a compelling one; I wished there was more background to the story to make it believable.
I do think the concept for the story is interesting: teenagers used as weapons, with amnesia as a side effect, and I admire Krokos's challenge for writing a female perspective. It seems like it's received good reviews so you might like it. But for me, I found the story to be choppy and flat in places. I would have appreciated more character development in such a plot-driven story. Unfortunately, I lost interest in the characters and plot by by the last 1/3 of the book, skimming and skipping to the end. ...more
Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I thought the story would center on the adventures of a female "James Bond." InstAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I thought the story would center on the adventures of a female "James Bond." Instead, all I got was a bad taste in my mouth. It's not that Graceling was so poorly written: I actually found the writing style and world building nicely done. It's just that...I think I was lied to.
First, Cashore refers to Graceling as growing "from her daydreams about a girl who possesses extrodinary powers--and who forms a friendship with a boy with whom she is insurmountably incompatible." So imagine my surprise when Grace meets Po (the insurmountably incompatible guy) and I end up waiting...and waiting...for the big "reveal" only to find out their incompatibility is due to her being a fighter and him being aware of his surroundings. Now how exactly is that insurmountably incompatible? See...incompatible would be an angel hater saving an angel (like Angelfall). Or a demon falling in love with an angel (like Daughter of Smoke and Bone).
Second, there's the problem of Katsa. Obviously, this girl is carrying around some childhood baggage because she's got some major anger management issues. In one scene she "swung at (Po's) jaw with the side of her hand" bruising his jaw because she didn't like what he was saying about King Randa's hold over her. Whhhaat?! In another, she refuses to understand Po's reason for keeping his Grace a secret. Is she really that clueless? Of course, she eventually comes to her senses and end up in his arms.
Which comes to my second point: a lover or a husband? While Katsa has her own view on what these two definitions mean: freedom or imprisonment, what it really boils down to is commitment. There's just something that doesn't feel right with Katsa and Po's relationship. Basically, she wants to be with Po but without being tied to him and all it requires..."For once she became his wife, she would be his wife forever. Her freedom would not be her own." and "How will you feel if I'm forever leaving? If one day I give myself to you and the next I take myself away--with no promises to return?" It just seems to me that if you are in a relationship (married or not), there should be a certain level of commitment: loyalty, sacrifice...If the tables were turned and Katsa were a man, he most certainly would be considered a player.
My biggest disappoint is that the messages of feminism are poorly characterized in Katsa. Does Katsa have to behave like a stereotypical man (or feminist) in order to further the feminist movement? If a man hit a woman or didn't commit to a relationship, would we honor him for using his manhood? So why should it be okay for Katsa to behave this way? That's not what feminism is about: it's about embracing womanhood and striving for equity between the sexes.
Of course, there were also some minor character/plot development issues like: Katsa finding out that her grace is not actually in killing but in survival (which doesn't really make sense because how then is she able to inflict accurate pain on someone else when she's not being threatened?); or how Princess Bitterblue has the clarity of an adult when she's really only ten; or why the urgency to protect Bitterblue from her father (why she was so important to the King; if she died, then what? what's the consequence?); or why King Leck decided now (and not before) to spread his power across the kingdoms.
Overall, this was a desperately painful read but I was determined to finish...why? maybe I thought there was some redeeming grace at the end. But sadly, the entire time, I just begged it to be over....more
Plagued with guilt over her twin brother's death, Araby tries to escape her subconscious at the Debauchery night club. OutsiAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
Plagued with guilt over her twin brother's death, Araby tries to escape her subconscious at the Debauchery night club. Outside the entire world is broken. The "weeping sickness" is only kept at bay through porcelain masks (I can't help but imagine "Darth Vader" type coverings), worn only by the wealthy and prestigious. Araby's father is the inventor of these masks and as Araby's world begins to crumble by those that seek power, she must decide who or what she's capable of fighting for.
Based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe of the same title, Griffin took an idea and grew it into a fascinating and complex story. This is one of the very few, if only, steampunk stories I've ever really held onto. Carriages that run on steam; new inventions with a feel of the 19th century. The world is spot on for gothic dystopia: dark, dreary, foggy...so Edgar Allen-painted with so much imagery and feeling that I could clearly picture the devastation and turmoil.
Also, try saying debauchery without getting the chills.
But what really struck me were the characters. Talk about complex. To explain, let me refer to a post I came across by Laurie Halse Anderson in which she discusses characters who have dimension and depth. Masque of the Red Death is a perfect example of those characters. Araby, Will, and Elliott all behave both admirably and despicably. Which if done poorly can make a reader go crazy but here Griffin balances their character traits so that you realize no one is absolutely good or absolutely evil. Mind you, there were some parts that made me go "huh?" but for the most part, it kept me on my toes. At times I couldn't help but wonder if given the choice, what I would decide.
My only discontent or puzzlement I have with the story is that the "Red Death" is not introduced into the plot until much later. I was a bit confused because I thought the masks were to prevent the "Red Death." I'm not so much bothered that it stopped me from enjoying the story but I think it would be an interesting idea to discuss.
If you are in the mood for a dark and captivating story, check this one out. I definitely think it's one to put on your to-reads shelf....more
I was SO looking forward to reading this one but when I finally sat down to read it, it was all sorts of disappointment. First, there was the initialI was SO looking forward to reading this one but when I finally sat down to read it, it was all sorts of disappointment. First, there was the initial dance encounter between the mysterious Finn and Wendy where out-of-the-blue, he starts insulting her. Afterwards he tries to apologize and later we find out it's because he didn't want to get too "involved." Okay, uh...Can we please move beyond the "I'm going to be mean because it's for your own good" phase?
I was also under the impression that the story was about the Fey because well..uh, Wendy is a changeling (and isn't that what Fairies do?)...but it's actually about trolls...and so, I got all confused and just couldn't keep going. Unfinished around page 114....more
As a story, I wasn't that impressed. The plot line was pretty simplistic and fairly predictable. Only a third of the way thrAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
As a story, I wasn't that impressed. The plot line was pretty simplistic and fairly predictable. Only a third of the way through and I already had a lingering suspicion of who the culprit might be. There were also a few unrealistic moments. For instance, when the target is finally revealed, I kept wondering why they didn't just google "Ortolan & video game," a hundred pages ago instead of just "Ortolan." Which by the way is evidenced when Nick says, "We should have done more research...Then we would have found him a lot earlier." Yes, my thoughts exactly. I also didn't feel that much for any of the characters: an eyeroll every once in a while and an exasperated sigh. The pacing was also somewhat slow for a thriller and quite honestly, I felt like it was consuming up too many hours of my time. And when a book makes you wonder if "it is ever going to end?"...well, that's not a good sign.
HOWEVER, I really did like the writing style. And while I wasn't impressed by the plot, I was impressed by the way the characters became totally consumed by the game. I'm not a gamer myself so I can't fully understand the draw...but I've always wondered what keeps them hooked. As the story switches back and forth from the gaming world and the real one, I began to get a better feel for what keeps them going. There's the secrecy of the game and its rewards. Once Nick gets his hands on Erebos, he becomes completely consumed by it: just one more level...just one more reward... My favorite parts were when Nick must accomplish a task in "real life" in order to obtain a reward in the game: Nick acts nearly psychotic and desperate.
AND I did appreciate the fact that the story is more multicultural than most high school settings. Erebos takes place in London, and I expected a completely homogeneous group of people, so I was pleasantly surprised to read references to descriptions and names from different races. It made London feel so real!
But towards the end, I just wanted the story to be over. The romance with Nick and Emily was too forced...like the author just had to make it work. The pacing was too slow for me, and I expected more plot twists, more suspense. Also, I'm a bit surprised that Nick's parents never mention a word to him about Erebos. It is an interesting read but not as entertaining as I would have liked. I would have to recommend this as a "Maybe" read....more
There is a delicate balance between a story that is too simplistic and a story that leads to information overload. Too simplAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
There is a delicate balance between a story that is too simplistic and a story that leads to information overload. Too simplistic and the reader falls asleep; too complex and the reader is left in the dust wondering what just happened. Unfortunately, The Obsidian Blade falls into the latter category.
I should have known from the first chapter that I was heading into a bad mix of Star Trek vs The Twilight Zone. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy both. I'm just not sure they work well together...well, at least in this setting.
At the start, we are given a brief historical account of the Klaatu Disks (or time portals) invented by one discorporeal being in the postdigital age but made by Boggsian corporeals. Is your head spinning yet? It took me a few minutes to come to grips but I had to put that aside because then comes Tucker and his Reverend dad who finds themselves drawn to these time portals. And well...the adventure confusion begins.
From there, we discover that the Reverend has lost his faith and his wife is slowly heading into mental instability as a result of playing Sudoku. (Beware all you Sudoku fans!) The Reverend wants to cure his wife and disappears into the disks. But Tucker suspects this and eventually follows them.
In his journey, he meets such bizarre beings as futuristic autistic medical attendants (medicants) who use you in their product assembly line, futuristic priests who sacrifice pure girls to the disks, the last day of earth with a single mysterious woman who has secrets, a retelling of the crucifix of Jesus (who instead of dying and returning to earth, actually got delivered to the medicants: repaired and returned in 3 days), discovers that the Reverend got "cured" of his belief in God, references to the Digital plague, maggot disk eaters, and then being reintroduced to the Reverend as now Father September who will somehow return every one to a state of grace (from technology).
Wait a minute, I was under the impression I was going to read a time travel novel. Instead, the time traveling aspect is just a set up for introducing new bizarre circumstances. From what I can gather, the point of the story is about how we eventually become corrupt from technology...but why all the religious references? Is there a subtext I'm not understanding here. It's just all too complex and unrealistic; is there such a thing as unrealistic science fiction?
Sadly, I felt like I was reading a foreign language. I didn't feel anything for the characters and the story was just bizarre. Then a few days ago I was watching "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and ironically discovered that the main character is named Klaatu... coincidence? Why name the disks after one of the most popular sci-fi characters? I'm not sure, but I'm already too confused to think about it any further.
Sadly, a recommendation I can't make to anyone. If anyone has suggestions on a true time traveling novel, please let me know....more
It has been HIGHLY unusual for me to be reading so much contemporary/chick-lit fiction. Typically, I'm all about the paranorAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
It has been HIGHLY unusual for me to be reading so much contemporary/chick-lit fiction. Typically, I'm all about the paranormal fantasy world...so I've been pleasantly surprised that I've liked what I've read so far: Story of a Girland How to Save a Life. Although I may need to take a break from such emotional themes...
I love the uniqueness and creativity in which Speak is written. Anderson took a difficult and sensitive topic and was able to balance it with the humor of high school life. There's "Mr. Neck" the teacher, "Principal Principal," and "Hairwoman." Each section is also divided not by "chapters" on a new page but by "headings" that continue until the final "Report Card" at the end of each "marking period." In this way, Melinda's voice really carries you through to the end.
And it's this voice that goes right to your heart. As a rape victim, Melinda's cynicism, sarcasm, fear, hurt, pain, sadness are all evidenced in her experience. In how she now views her world and how she copes to survive. What she can say and what she can't. And the consequences of both.
Principal Principal: "Melinda. Last year you were a straight-B student, no behavioral problem, few absences. But the reports I've been getting...well, what can we say?"
Mother: "That's the point, she won't say anything! I can't get a word out of her. She's mute."
Mother: "She's jerking us around to get attention."
Me: [inside my head] Would you listen? Would you believe me? Fat chance.
As a parent, it is always particularly hard for me to watch how some parental characters treat their children. I'm somewhat sensitive to this because I never ever want to become the characters that I read about: how Melinda's parents think they know the reason for their daughter's behavior. I wonder what the parents could have done differently. And so at the end, I did have a wish for a better resolution with her parents: Would they have acted differently if they had known what happened? And if Melinda had a closer relationship with them, would she have spoken sooner? However, given the parent's behavior, as a teenager, I wouldn't have talked to them either.
The only other part that I thought was a bit unrealistic and somewhat uncomfortable was when the male teacher offered a ride to Melinda. Could this have happened in 'real life?' I'm just not sure. But aside from that minor "hmm...not sure about that" moment and the previous parental non-resolution, I very much enjoyed Speak. My favorite quote of the book is: "You can't speak up for your right to be silent. That's letting the bad guys win." I highly recommend this for both parents and young adult readers alike. This is definitely one for your to-read list....more
I learned a lot about myself with this one: my days of fairy tales are over. I just can't get into them like I used to. I think I'm becoming more of aI learned a lot about myself with this one: my days of fairy tales are over. I just can't get into them like I used to. I think I'm becoming more of an urban fantasy kind of a girl. In Enchanted, Kontis weaves together all the fairy tale stories into one with the story of the frog prince as the catalyst. While I admire her creativity and imagination, I felt that her world was very confusing with too much information and fairy tale adaptations thrown at me. Also, each of the 7 children are named after the days of the week, which while unique, somehow made it equally distracting. Likewise, the backdrop of the family's history and magical source had so many explanations and reasons that I couldn't keep track. And at that point, I decided it was better that we part ways. Unfinished around page 100....more
I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this: a THIRTEEN YEAR OLD caught by her dad in the backseat of a car?! I almost threw up.As seen on Zombie Mommies.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this: a THIRTEEN YEAR OLD caught by her dad in the backseat of a car?! I almost threw up. How in the world does a thirteen year old end up in a situation like that? And why would you even write a story about it? But I needed to find out why. Plus, it's Sara Zarr.
It's the summer after her sophomore year and Deanna is searching for a way out: out of her town, her past, her home. A way to start over. But how can you become a "new you" when everyone sees only the "old?" Especially if that "old" screams "slut."
No other story has made me feel as if I took a dive right into the past. Which by the way, I wasn't exactly sure I wanted to resurrect all that teenager confusion, misunderstanding, insecurity, and want...but at the same time, I was pretty impressed that Zarr knew exactly how to bring me right back to that 15-year-old me.
This story probably won't resonate with everyone, and I'm not really taking about the teenage "sex part." The parts that made me connect with Deanna were more about her insecurities as a teenager and the mistakes that she made and the hope that her parents still value her. As a teenager, this was exactly how I felt.
If it wasn't for Zarr's ability to take your hand and show you the light at the end of the tunnel, I probably would have abandoned this a long time ago. It's full of difficult topics and emotional rip-aparts. Characters who do unlikable things. And as a mom, I couldn't help but hope that I don't become that kind of parent...But even then, Zarr showed me our best intentions are sometimes small steps that can lead to something great.
The only thing I did hope for more was a clearer ending...but I guess that's what life is about: you're never really sure what's to come, but you hope for the best.
I really really wanted to like this one: Mind Games, Visions, Sleepwalking, A Boarding School, A Mystery, A Dark and HandsomAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
I really really wanted to like this one: Mind Games, Visions, Sleepwalking, A Boarding School, A Mystery, A Dark and Handsome Mysterious Boy? All the perfect ingredients for a great story...
...that fell flat like a homemade souffle.
The main problem with Harbinger were too many lose ends. With thrillers, I am completely prepared for unanswered questions that compel me to turn the page, eager to find the answer. But with this one, when i finally got to the end, all the lose ends just became a jumbled mess.
*****I am sorry but this is going to contain major spoilers.*****
In the beginning, Faye gets dropped off (against her will) at Holbrook, which is basically a school for wayward kids. The world has been destroyed and people live in "cooperatives" (which is never really explained; plus, what happens in the story could've just taken place without that). Faye has visions of drowning which began when she was a child but her episodes are getting worse. Then at Holbrook, she begins to hear drums and mysterious thingshappen.
The Holbrook Director, Dr. Mordoch plays mind games with the group in order to ensure cooperation: solitary confinement, privileges taken away, etc...Plus, there are pepper-spraying, taser-loving caretakers. Faye meets a host of characters who bond together like "Survivor Island" against Dr. Mordoch. There's even a ghost. The friends find themselves supposedly sleepwalking and in the morning, their hands are red and there are drawings on the floor.
So of course, I have to know what happens...and in the end, the only things I can gather are: 1) A long time ago, there were a group of people who had power over the earth and had a special meteorite seer stone. (Yes, a meteorite, and I have no idea where they got their power from.) 2) They saw that the earth was going to go to waste in the future so the members transferred their spirit to some relics that were buried. (So they could save the world in the future.) 3) When Faye touched the ocean when she was a child, one of the spirits transferred into her body causing her the visions. (I have no idea how the spirit attached itself to the ocean and what happened to the original Faye.) 4) Dr. Mordoch was being haunted by one of the original tribal spirits. Rita (the ghost/tribal spirit) leaves clues for Faye in the form of a prophecy on Tarot cards. 5) Faye begins to realize her visions as images of the past. 6) Faye, who originally wanted to 'save' the world, now wants to destroy/cleanse it. 7) Her group of friends had been sleepwalking and digging for the relics and become possessed with the spirits of the past and now have powers. They try to prevent Faye from destroying the earth. She ends up changing her mind because of Kel (eye roll). 8) Everyone sings (SINGS!!!) and the pollution from the sea and sky begin to dissipate.
But wait, I never learned more about the bones that Faye finds comfort in or why there were creepy Dr.-Who-Like-Weeping-Angel statues at the Academy or how the friends sleepwalked in the first place.
And although the cover says "psychological thriller," I never felt it as psychological as it was more weird fantasy. And my idea of a psychological thriller does not include spiritual possession. It does remind me a little like a Dr. Who episode (surprise, surprise. since Etienne is a fan) but where Steve Moffat's creepy paranormal scenarios are wrapped up nicely, Etienne leaves you with a disjointed and confusing story. I do have to say some of Faye's lines are a bit humorous but the entire premise was so poorly formed and left me quite angry at the end.
Just when I thought there couldn't possibly be yet another vampire novel...look who shows up. And if it were anyone else, IAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
Just when I thought there couldn't possibly be yet another vampire novel...look who shows up. And if it were anyone else, I wouldn't have even given it the time of day (ah! no pun intended)...but I'd heard such good things about Julie Kagawa...but wasn't really interested in the land of the Fey. So vampires it was.
And can I just say how much I just LOVED that the main character Allie was Asian?! YES! We need more multicultural characters!!!!!
Immortal Rules begins with the decline of society and the rule of the vampire. It's no wonder Allie hates them. But given the choice between life or death, she chooses life...life as a vampire that is. Throughout the story, it's this choice that haunts me: Would I have done the same?
Given the choice, would you become that which you hate? And then after the panic of survival, how do you cope with your decision? Regret? Anger? Acceptance? Fear? This is the question that Allie faces over and over. Not only does Allie have to struggle with her new vampire demon, she also has to struggle with her own perception of who she is: because how can you be good if you are something bad.
Immortal Rules asks these tough questions and tells you a story filled with hard choices and decisions. Nothing is black and white. The story is very well paced and leads you through one dilemma to another. While at times predictable, I thought the story was very well thought out. And did I mention that I really like Allie? Kawaga really knows her characters: they are all multidimensional individuals: from the vampire who changed her to the boy who believes in her. My only disappointment was the ending; even though it made perfect sense, I was still hoping for everything to be wrapped up in pretty paper with a shiny bow. But then again, that would have seemed ridiculous. And of course, we wouldn't have book 2 to look forward to.
If you think you're exhausted by vampires, have no fear, this one will suck you back in. (Oh my, I'm full of puns this evening). I highly recommend you put this on your to-read list....more
Jerome is your typical teenage boy "misfit" that finds himself on the rehabilitation side of Heaven. And by typical, I really mean, stRated 2.5 Stars.
Jerome is your typical teenage boy "misfit" that finds himself on the rehabilitation side of Heaven. And by typical, I really mean, stereotypical: lives on the wrong side of the tracks with his drunk dad, has no future, can't stop thinking about "milk cartons" or short skirts, and acts without consequences--like letting his cousin shoot an apple off his head. Which is how he found himself in Heaven's rehabilitation program in the first place. His last saving grace is to be Heidi's guardian angel. So since her birth, he's pretty much made her believe she hears voices in her head, singing FreeBird.
When Jerome finds himself in the Rehabilitation Program, he learns about the "Guardian Angel's Handbook: Soul Rehab Edition" (which he promptly loses), the 9 levels of Hell (Level I: Everlasting Standardized Testing, Level II: Ballroom Dancing with the Elderly, etc...), Morning Therapy Group Sessions, and of course, swearing sensors.
While I admire the creative parody behind the story, I found it tiring after awhile. And even with the "swearing sensors" in place, Jerome has a pretty active mouth. The barrage of slang (chevy, motherflasker, apple hole, well...you get the point) was distracting and overwhelming...after reading it for the HUNDREDTH TIME.
The plot was also a bit unbelievable: Heidi wears a black-and-white spandex outfit and dances with her best friend, Megan, in front of the entire school in the Talentpalooza. According to BFF Megan, "We have to do this, Heidi, if only to take high school back from the people who rule it....We must defeat them." Now either I'm missing something or Megan's lost a few screws because when was dancing with another girl in front of the entire school EVER going to be a winner? I just can't believe that a teenager would ever think so. So of course, Heidi's upset and ends up taking a walk near a frozen pond.
You can imagine what happens. She falls through the ice, and Jerome inadvertently saves her...by detaching her soul from her body, and they now have 48 hours to make things right. I have to say, this is where the story went south for me. With so much emphasis on the comedic aspect of heaven, it became too much.
I was surprised by Heidi's lack of despair or panic when she finds herself "dead." I also thought the entire side plot for saving her dog Jiminy was a bit ridiculous. She pretty much occupied his body in order to save it while Jiminy's spirit went off to chase squirrels. But then again, I've never had a dog...
In the end, I did like how Jerome changed and became more confident and responsible. The story is a bit predictable and somewhat confusing towards the end (what was the celestial squirrel nut for?) and I thought the reincarnation was a bit out of left field. And being a romantic, I don't always like stories where the (view spoiler)[boy and girl don't end up together. (hide spoiler)] I admire the creativity behind DI but after that, it didn't really do much for me.
So should you read it? Maybe...if you've got a lazy afternoon with nothing to do.
Kids, please don't hitchhike aboard a stranger's bus...
I actually had to look up the criteria for a Newberry Medal after reading this. Even as an "hoKids, please don't hitchhike aboard a stranger's bus...
I actually had to look up the criteria for a Newberry Medal after reading this. Even as an "honor" medal, I couldn't believe that it deserved the title of "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." But I guess that's not really up to me, it's up to 15 people to decide.
But...if it were up to me, this book would probably get a medal for "best concoction of invented and real words...without saying much." I fully admit that it's unique prose caught my eye in the beginning but after a while the story was so full of word fluff that when digging around for the story, I realized there wasn't very much there.
Word Fluff: I appreciate beautiful prose but it just got to be too much. Much of the prose sounded like this: "...next to the pushing-pulling waves." "...broody Samson was a dark and shadowy seven..." "...my palms burned like fire from all of the hurt just under the skin." "Girls only get quiet, polite savvies--sugar and spice and everything humdrum savvies." ...etc. etc. etc. Now, don't get me wrong. I fully enjoy adjective-saturated imagery...but when the focus is more on the word usage than on the plot, I begin to wonder what was the point of the story in the first place?
Plot: In case you're wondering, the plot basically goes like this: (view spoiler)[1) Leading off from the summary...Mib's parents are at the hospital. 2) Since her parents aren't there, the town's preacher family hosts Mibs 13th birthday party which is a disaster so Mibs hides aboard the Bible Supply Bus. 3) Along with 2 of the preacher's kids and 2 of Mib's siblings, the kids stow away on the bus, heading toward Salina (where the hospital is located). Eventually we learn that an alert has gone out that kids are missing. (Btw Grandpa Bomba is at home with the other Beaumont sibling.) 4) Mibs discovers that her special magical power is hearing the thoughts of people through ink on their skin. 5) The kids and bus driver and another "hitchhiker" travel through different cities until they finally arrive at the hospital. 6) Mibs tells her dad that even though he's "human," he still has a magical power which is that he never gives up. 7) Family returns home. (hide spoiler)] The End.
Obviously, the message here is one we've heard over and over again. Mibs, who is somewhat of a social outcast, is initially disappointed in her ability (i.e., Savvy) but ends up appreciating it, and through her adventure she develops friendships with other kids. Unfortunately, there is nothing awe-inspiring of this message. And for an honor book, I expected to be blown away.
Instead, all I could think about was: 1) Why would a group of teenagers along with a 7-year-old go hide in the back of school bus with a stranger driver. Did they not consider that their parents would be frightened to death by their disappearance? Furthermore, couldn't one of the townsfolk or even her Grandpa drive them to Salina to be with her dad? (Oh, but then we wouldn't have a story now would we?) And couldn't Mibs have told her Grandpa or left a note before they drove off? 2) Then when the bus driver, Lester, finally discovers them, does he insist on calling their parents? Is he the responsible adult he should be? Oh no, he lets them stay on the bus while he continues making his deliveries. 3) When the bus happens upon a broken down car with a lady (Lill) waiting by the side of the road, Lill decides to join them on the bus...because that's just what you should do when your car breaks down...climb aboard a bus of full of kids with a strange man. (Btw kids, it's really okay to hitchhike because it's a pink Bible Bus.) 4) But Lill is more of a responsible adult because she makes them call their parents...but isn't clever enough to know that the kids trick her by not really calling their parents. (And would any parent that had missing kids tell Lill to just wait until the next day to bring them home?) 5) And when the kids were finally found, when would a police officer ever say this: "I know how easy it is to make wrong choices and end up in difficult situations, but things don't always turn out badly. There will be consequences, of course, but no one got hurt, and no hurt was meant. So, as far as I know, no one's pressing any charges against those folks out there. [Lester] and [Lill] may have made some ill-advised decisions, but they did do a good job of looking after you and keeping you all safe." 6) So I guess the real message here would be: "Kids, if you make really bad choices, but nothing bad comes out of it, it's okay then."
I still can't believe this is what is considered a contribution to children's literature. If you are interested in a Newberry Medal read, there are much better choices out there: try Holes or A Wrinkle in Time or The Giver.
Should you read? Sorry but I have to say, "Skip it."
I don't know how he does it...After The Lightning Thief series (which if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for!), I thought Riordan wouldn't bI don't know how he does it...After The Lightning Thief series (which if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for!), I thought Riordan wouldn't be able to produce another one just as entertaining...But I WAS WRONG! Thankfully...
The Son of Neptune is the second in his new series: The Heroes of Olympus. The first book, The Lost Hero, follows the adventures of 3 demigods: Jason, Piper, and Leo while The Son of Neptune begins at the "Roman" camp starring Percy, Hazel, and Frank.
Riordan's trademark humor and sarcasm is evident throughout the story, and I found myself laughing right at the start:
"Her Bargain Mart vest, her flowery dress, even her tusks were decorated with 50% OFF stickers. Her name badge read: Hello! My name is DIE, DEMIGOD SCUM!"
The chapters switch POVs seamlessly among the 3 characters. Each has it's own mystery, strength, and weakness. And Frank's Asian grandmother was so ON THE MARK...I loved it!
There were only a few "buggy" things I noticed this time around: 1) The characters all seem to have the same "voice." I'm not sure if that really makes much sense, but while each of the characters have different backgrounds, they seemed to speak the same, have the same humor. It's not enough for a reader to notice unless there are being overly Type A...like me.
2) Definitely try to read the books without waiting MONTHS in between. It made for a frustrating read as I was trying to pull my amnesia back into remission. There are A LOT of tiny references to both Book 1 and The Lightening Thief series--not enough to take away from the story, but it would have been nice if my memory served me better.
Overall: I highly recommend any of Riordan's books. The only bummer about finding an author you enjoy is that you're not the only one; Riordan's last book signing was INSANE and a bit of a disappointment. I literally was given less than 10 seconds to say hello and have him sign my book. Oh, wait, I didn't even get a chance to say hello because he was busy talking to the kid in front of me. I got a "head nod" and then herded out of line. Apparently, I haven't gotten over that. But still, go read the book. It funny fun.
I guess third time's the charm because they finally did something right with the cover! In this one, Alona is stuck in the bAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
I guess third time's the charm because they finally did something right with the cover! In this one, Alona is stuck in the body of Will's friend Lily. As they try to make sense of this situation, things get complicated when another ghost wants a turn in Alona/Lily/Ally's body.
This series has definitely found its place on my "books I need to own" shelf. As soon as I read the first page, I was hooked. Kade has this way of writing that is not only catchy and witty but natural-as if each character him/herself is telling me his/her side of the story. And how does she come up with all those lines?!
I really grew to love Will and Alona. They have both matured and become more selfless and caring. You can really feel their longing for this relationship to work out. And when this other ghost complicates things, I couldn't help but hope for that happy ending.
In the end, I was very happy. I was actually surprised by how well everything in the story seemed to work out. I still shed a tear or two when I said good-bye to Alona and Will. I had some pretty good times with those two. I can't wait for Kade's next series: The Rules!...more
Are all cloning stories based on the same idea? If I hadn't already read The House of the Scorpion or watched Ewan McGregor in The Island, I may haveAre all cloning stories based on the same idea? If I hadn't already read The House of the Scorpion or watched Ewan McGregor in The Island, I may have been more impressed by a story of (view spoiler)[harvesting organs from human clones (hide spoiler)]. Granted this one was about 1 individual being cloned multiple times...but, wait...wasn't that like The House of the Scorpion?
But--as the character Abby would so often point out: there are pros and cons to everything so here's my list for Replication:
Pros: 1) I felt like I really knew Martyr; As a clone, we learn of his perceptions and views while living on the farm and then see his lack of knowledge of the "real world" when he escapes. What he thinks about colors, sky, clothing. What he calls a "dog" or a "house." It makes me think about when and what we learn about the world. 2) Abby's train of thought and sarcasm were funny. 3) Williamson did a good job of balancing the themes of Christianity in a Sci-fi novel. I didn't feel like she trying to preach to me. It just felt like a story about a girl who just happens to believe in God. There are definite Christian principles in the novel such as prayer, creation, and the Bible which may be a little overwhelming if you are not interested in those topics. 4)A discussion guide was included! Yay!
Cons: 1) I had hoped for a more interesting concept/plot line and the story was fairly predictable--which is probably why I wasn't on the edge of my seat and began to get a little bored closer to the end. (But if you haven't read many human cloning stories, you may enjoy this one.) 2) Some answers weren't good enough for me. Why do clones need to be educated if the doctors are just going to take out their body parts? Just to keep them civilized? What if you just kept them in a vegetative state?
Even with 2 strikes against it, I think it's well worth the read and would make for an enlightening book club discussion.