Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Incarceron is a thrilling new idea for lovers of fantasy fiction. I loved the idea of the falsely utopian future, in which everybody plays a part and has a hidden agenda. Incarceron is fresh and original, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The story follows the lives of Claudia and Finn. Claudia is the daugher of the warden of Incarceron, a prison of which there is no exit or entrance. She is betrothed to a spoiled prince she despises, and her mission is to find the lost true hair, Giles, whom she believes is inside Incarceron. Finn is a prisoner who is certain he came from Outside Incarceron, but everyone Inside insists it isn't possible. With a secret key Finn makes contact with Claudia, and the two are determined to find a way out of the prison following the stories of Sapphique, the only prisoner ever rumored to escape. But Incarceron is alive, and has other plans...
The Throne of Fire was a mediocre follow-up to The Red Pyramid. This time, siblings Carter and Sadie Kane battle new enemies alongside new friends as they attempt to stop Apophis, the chaos snake from rising. If Apophis breaks free from his prison, he will swallow the sun, causing the apocalypse. The only way to prevent disaster is to find and resurrect Ra, the ancient sun god. Compared to Greek and Roman mythology, I find Egyptian mythology confusing, uninteresting, and far less believable. I am not a fan of the Kane Chronicles so far, but I will read the third and final book to find out how it all ends.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The Mortal Instruments series continues seamlessly with City of Fallen Angels. Three months after Valentine's fall in Idris, life in New York goes on. Clary and Jace are together and happy. Simon is getting used to being a vampire and dating Shadowhunter Isabelle and werewolf Maya. Jocelyn and Luke are planning their wedding. Alec and Magnus are traveling and celebrating their blossoming romance. Everything seems at peace, until the signs that Jace is being controlled through his dreams, and someone is trying to create more babies with demon blood. Everything is thrown into chaos when Clary's brother Jonathan is discovered not quite dead, and the demon Lilith plans to use Simon and Jace to resurrect him.
Clockwork Angel is the first book in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series, which is a prequel to The Mortal Instruments. Tessa Gray has just arrived in London to visit her brother Nathaniel when she is abducted by two women called the Dark Sisters. The Sisters prepare Tessa for her union with the Magister by forcing her to tap into a previously unknown ability to transform into another person. When Tessa is rescued by a boy named Will and his fellow Shadowhunters she is drawn to his magnetic charisma and good looks, but held at bay by his abrasive demeanor. As a guest at the Shadowhunters' Institute, Tessa learns about the history of Downworlders, her family, and secrets about herself that she can't begin to understand as she sets out to find her missing brother and defeat the Magister.
The third and final book in the Hunger Games series concludes one of the most creative pieces of art I've ever experienced. Katniss has been extracted from the Quarter Quell along with a few other Tributes and is told she is needed to act as a catalyst in the rebellion again the Capitol. As she deals with the shock of District 13's survival and grief from the new of Peeta's capture, Katniss accepts her role as the symbolic Mockingjay. The rebels begin to fight back as Katniss realizes some people might not have the best interest of Panem at heart, including Gale. Mockingjay was an inspiring and heartbreaking novel, and makes one really think about the conflicts of our society and the possible outcomes.
Friday, May 13, 2011
The second book in The Hunger Games series hooked me from the first page. After surviving the Hunger Games, Katniss must choose between Peeta and Gale, both of whom are angry with her. But she doesn't have time to decide; soon after returning home from their Victory Tour, Katniss and Peeta discover they are to go back into the arena for the Quarter Quell, which will be the ultimate battle of the best victors. Knowing this time there will only be one survivor, Katniss makes it her mission to keep Peeta alive, knowing his goal is to do the same for her. Playing the game means facing allies and enemies, and trying to understand the Game Makers' strategy so she can ultimately beat the President at his own game once again. Catching Fire is an amazing follow up to The Hunger Games. On each page I could feel Katniss's rage at the President, and her agony over her conflicted and confused feelings for Peeta.
The Hunger Games is a shocking novel that I could not put down. Katniss Everdeen is a sixteen-year-old living in the distant future. The United States has fallen and now consists of twelve districts ruled by the overbearing Capitol. Every year, one boy and one girl from each district are chosen to fight to the death in the televised Hunger Games. The winner's reward is a life of ease, free of poverty. For Katniss, volunteering to take her sister's place in the Games means leaving Gale, the only boy she might have loved, attempting to kill Peeta, whom she has befriended and has publicly announced his love for her, and accepting her own possible demise. The Hunger Games force Katniss to fight desperately for her life while the odds are against her, and each day she survives brings more unexpected twists, until she can no longer tell the difference between desperation and hope.
When We Were Beautiful was written for the 25th anniversary of the band, Bon Jovi. Phil Griffin went behind the scenes with the band on their Lost Highway tour to get the inside story on their time together. The many pictures included are beautiful, and I loved learning more about my favorite band, but i was expecting to see a little deeper into the rabbit hole. Bon Jovi gave their fans a nice collector's item, but the circle of secrecy surrounding the guys remains firmly intact.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Gathering Blue is called a "companion" to Lois Lowry's The Giver. Both books are set in future communities, but in Gathering Blue, humanity seems to have regressed. Kira is an orphaned cripple who in uncertain what her future will be, until she is given an important job in the community, and she meets other gifted children who are celebrated. But as the months pass, Kira wonders whethere her talent has brought her security or a prison. Lies and secrets are uncovered and Kira realizes her true purpose in her new life. I enjoy Lois Lowry's portrayals of a possible distant future, but after reading The Giver, I was expecting more from this book. The plot was slow and the characters weren't too bright. Maybe it's an ok read for very young readers, but it is by no means a spectacular book.