Sunday, December 24, 2006

YA book reviews

Read an ARC of Being by Kevin Brooks (0439899737) to be released Feb 07. Hm. Reminded me much of Meg Rosoff's style - that edgy, "I'm a smart teen novel", filled with metaphorical writing and vivid descriptions, kind of style. However, unlike Rosoff, I didn't really get it. I mean, it was the unconventional, YA Bukowski type book, but I couldn't wrap my head around his descriptions of what Robert was. Basically, Robert Smith (how cliche!) is a sixteen year old who goes to the hospital for a routine endoscopy, and ends up being on the run for his life when the doctors discover..."stuff"...inside him that indicate he's not human!!! Dum dum DUM!!! Anyway, the "stuff" inside him don't sound altogether alien to me, and though I'm usually good at putting aside rational thought when reading a lot of YA, I couldn't figure out how this sixteen year old was able to run away so easily and thoroughly...and WHY did the lead female character (also older than him, as in Rosoff's Just In Case) fall in love with him??? I questioned that. Questioned it good. Anyway, wasn't too impressed, didn't come close to the aforementioned Just In Case, and so, only three balls of yarn here.

Speaking of Rosoff, I attempted to delve into How I Live Now (0553376055), but couldn't get past the kissing cousins. Sorry...just not for me. So, a disappointment there. I'm sure I would've liked it, but something in me couldn't go on. Zero balls of yarn. Fifteen year old cousins don't need to fall in love to further ANY story.

Finally getting around to the review of Kenneth Oppel's Airborn (0002005379), which I believe is one of Rachel Duck's favourite YA books. Action, adventure, a dirigible, and a panther/bat cross...what more could you want??? Well...I could list what more I could want, but it was a good book. Good enough at least. I liked the characters, I liked that the lead female wasn't a pansy, but I DIDN'T like the panther/bat creature. Like I said up above, I'm really good at visualizing author's creations, whether they're creatures or places...but once again, the descriptions here failed me. I pictured something that looked pretty stupid...not beautiful like they're supposed to be. And that will cost Mr. Oppel a ball of yarn. It was fun, and I'd like to read his other books now, but I don't feel the urgency that I think I should've. Three and half balls of yarn.

The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean (1582349754) by Alexander McCall Smith
The Cowgirl Aunt of Harriet Bean (0676977782) also by Alexander McCall Smith
B-o-r-i-n-g! I think he was trying to make them into a kids series like the wonderfulness that is Nate the Great or even Encyclopedia Brown, in that vein of literature...but he failed. Simple and quick, the Harriet Bean books have no real excitement to them, and she doesn't really do much. Harriet sets out to find her absent minded father's sisters, that she never knew existed. In the second book, she has yet ANOTHER lost aunt, and she must find her too. Her aunts are the ones who end up taking over the story, finding each other, and so become the protagonists. They should perhaps retitle the books "Five Aunts...(oh and Harriet Bean)" and "The Cowgirl Aunt...(oh and Harriet Bean)". Disappointed that what could've been a wonderful fun series for young girls turned out to be NOT. Two balls of yarn each.

Currently finished Book 5 of The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Ridell.
1. Beyond The Deepwoods (0552545929)
2. Stormchaser (0552546283)
3. Midnight Over Sanctaphrax (0552546755)
4. have yet to read
5. The Last of the Sky Pirates (0552547328)
What a FUN series! Lots of fantasy, this series is reminiscent of The Hobbit in some ways! It's not a fun filled world, there are a lot of hardships and dangers, and it's all about overcoming obstacles to find that little bit of goodness on the other side.
UNLIKE their Far Flung Adventures "trilogy" (Hugo Pepper 0385750935 will be released in February, and it's said that it's the third and final installment of that series...but we'll see...), the characters have faults and flaws and aren't junior detectives in their own rights. They're orphens and pirates, trolls and trogs, and characters get KILLED!!! In horrid vicious ways! But, it's all so good! In that wonderful YA book kinda way! Four and half balls of yarn.

A surprise Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy book review

The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (038566365X)
Finally! An English translation of this wonderful fantasy novel! I first saw the film (Russian, with English subtitles) sometime last year I believe, and if you like vampires, you'll love this series! Moscow is home to only one district of Watchmen and Others. Vampires are among us, and there is a treaty that is kept by the Day Watch and the Night Watch, to ensure some sort of normalcy. The Night Watch is comprised of Others of the Light, they "watch" the Day Watch - the Others of the Dark (ie. vampires). They in turn are watched by the Day Watch. Make sense? Good. The main character, Anton, is a young Other of the Light, who is thrown into a series of events that make him question his duty to the Watch. Encountering a young powerful boy, and a highly unstable, yet soon to be High Magician, young woman, Anton must decide whether he will follow his destiny, or create his own. A great thriller, I can't wait until the sequel The Day Watch (0385663668) and The Twilight Watch (0385663773) are released (end of January and July respectively). Oh, if you're expecting it to be a "novelization" of the movie...think again. This goes beyond the movies, and ends quite differently, but still gives you that fantastic intensity! Five balls of yarn!

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