Monday, August 10, 2009

Peter and the Starcatchers

I've read a whole slew of books recently, many of which won't be mentioned here, simply because they didn't hold my interest long enough for me to even finish them. (I used to believe it was a sin to not finish a book once it was started. Luckily for me (and my time) I've gotten over that. :-))

One, however, I will mention, mainly because I believe it deserves it:

Peter and the Starcatchers
3.5 out of 5 stars
Authors: Ridley Pearson and Dave Berry

Basically, this book explains how Hook became Hook and how Peter Pan became Peter Pan. These explanations were fun to discover as the story developed, and I had several "Ahah!" moments - even realizing that everything had been made up by Pearson and Berry. The characters were very entertaining and well thought out and I found myself worrying about them quite frequently while reading. I even worried for the "bad guys." Oh, and I LOVED the indians!

Perhaps the reason I didn't like this book so much was because it is written in the omniscient point of view. I found that the jumping from character to character was disconcerting and happened too frequently (even for an omniscient style book), especially during the more tense scenes. There were quite a few stories and characters to follow, much more so than usual, and especially for a children's book. It would have been better (in my opinion, of course) had it been written in third person. And another thing that disappointed me was the lack of humor (I mean come on - it's Dave Berry!). I'd actually picked it up hoping that it would be funny.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the story of Peter Pan.

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Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

Five out of five stars.
Author: Brandon Sanderson
First installment in the Alcatraz series

Before commenting on this book, I have to note the fact that I didn't buy it but got it from the library. (Funds permitting, it will be added to my personal library as soon as possible.) Out of the several librarians who were nearby when I checked it out, only one had read it, and I couldn't help but laugh at their expressions and opinions when we talked about the main idea behind the book. Evil Librarians: what an ingenious and hilarious idea!

Alcatraz is a thirteen year old boy who has no idea what being a Smedry really means. The story begins when his grandfather shows up and explains to Alcatraz that the fact that he's constantly breaking things is actually a talent. (The grandpa's talent, the ability to arrive late, made me laugh several times throughout the book.)

Brandon Sanderson tells this story as if he himself were Alcatraz Smedry. He lets us in on a lot of secrets about our world, including the fact that we are controlled and contained by evil librarians who tell lies and re-write history to hide important information and knowledge from us. (Read the book to find out what information.) The only thing I can say about this is that it is completely refreshing and enjoyable. I laughed out loud several times (annoying my family, of course) at the odd and hilarious narratives and explanations.

I highly recommend this book to anyone of any age.

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Last Olympian

Five out of five stars.
Author: Rick Riordan
Fifth installment in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

Absolutely wonderful! This book was incredibly touching - I even cried a couple of times. (Yes, I'm a baby. :-)) The fight scenes were amazing, the characters were true to their personalities, the twists were well executed.

(I'm not going to give any spoilers, however. :-))

Oh, and I can't WAIT till this book is in movie format. :-) A battle in Manhattan this huge will be so cool on the big screen.

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Battle of the Labyrinth

Five out of five stars.
Author: Rick Riordan
Fourth installment in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

This book definitely continued the course set by the previous books in the series. New and exciting monsters, great twists on familiar Greek myths, surprises. I'm loving how Nico Di Angelo's character is coming along.

Read the books!

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Titan's Curse

Five out of five stars.
Author: Rick Riordan
Third installment in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

Another amazing, hilarious, and exciting book. I really have nothing to add to what I've already said about the series. The story continues to flow well. The additional twists and turns were surprising and delightful. Read the books! :-)

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Sea of Monsters

Five out of five stars.
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher (paperback): Hyperion, 2007
Second installment in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

I absolutely loved this book. It was a fast read (only took a few hours) and built perfectly on the world established in the first book. The Greek gods played their parts wonderfully (especially Hermes! ("I didn't know whether to kneel or buy postage stamps")) and I loved the foreshadowing for the rest of the series.

Like the first book, the dialogue was easy to read, and I laughed out loud several times. The action was believable. I loved the different twists that were thrown in when Percy and his friends needed help. The "monsters" fit the book perfectly and added to the Greek feel.

I'm looking forward to reading the third book. :-)

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thirteenth Child

Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2009

I give this book 2.5 stars out of 5. Why I'm not giving it less is because I really didn't mind reading it, even though it was almost a waste of time. The writing flowed well, the characters had interesting personalities, and the idea behind the book was a good one.

What I didn't like about it, however, was the fact that the first 240ish pages were introduction to the last 100 pages. The book didn't get into the meat of things until near the end when the excitement started. What I mean about this is that whenever an exciting thing happened it was skimmed over with no real detail given. It felt like a journal - no attachment to anyone or anything, just a synopsis of what happened. It briefly skimmed through 13 years, starting when the POV (Point of View) was 5 and ending when she was 18. There were no jumps in time, just updates every couple of months. If the main characters had died I wouldn't have felt bad since they didn't feel real to me and the POV's feelings weren't really attached to them. Also, I felt like there was a lot of buildup to an exciting and dangerous climax which turned out to be nothing more than what the actual first chapter should have been - a way to get the story started.

On a good note, the premise was interesting. It's about magicians (not Harry Potter type magicians) in a frontier type America overrun with magical creatures. The magicians struggle to keep themselves safe from these animals by using different types of magic and different spells. For a sick day it was easy enough to read without having to put in a lot of concentration. If it turns out to be a series I'll probably read the next one in the hopes that the story will take off.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Lightning Thief

Absolutely loved this book. Five out of five stars.

Rick Riordan writes in a style that is easy for me to read and enjoy. While reading the book I only remembered a couple of times that I was also an author. This is huge! I found the dialogue believable and spellbinding. I found the characters interesting, funny, and I rooted for them all along. The story line was enjoyable, and there were several times when I felt like shouting "Hurray!" for something Percy did or said. It definitely delivered on its promise.

And I just learned it is being made into a movie! Yay!

Note: it isn't necessary to have an in depth knowledge of Greek gods or history to enjoy the book.

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