Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Daniel X Watch the Skies

By James Patterson and Ned Rust

Lights: All's quiet in the small town of Holliswood-television sets, computers, and portable devices are alglow in every home, classroom, and store. But not all is perfect. Evil is lurking, just out of sight, behind the screen.

Camera: From the darkest depths of James Patterson's imagination flickers the most terrifying character yet: a villain with more ambition than the world can withstand, dead set on throwing a sleepy town into chaos and documenting the destruction of every person in it, including Daniel.

Extermination: Daniel X is the only person who can stop this made-for-TV tyrant from wiping out the city and everyone living there. This devilish director assembles an all-star team of his own creation, and not even Daniel can imagine the enormity of his plans. Can Daniel X stop this deranged outlaw before he stages the most spectaular finale the world has ever seen? Or will Daniel find himself on the cutting-room floor?

This is the second book in the Daniel X series, and I just can't figure why I like them so much. To be honest, the plot is kinda obvious, the villian is pretty cheesy, and the banter is just over-the-top sometimes. I know! It's like a cartoon-book, that's why I like it so much! No, seriously, if this were made into a cartoon, it would rank top on the airwaves. It's got Alien Hunter action and adventure, it's got the teen drama angle, it's got the very funny (sometimes witty) dialogue and the entertainment value it pretty high. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely serious, I love cartoons (I know I'm in my twenties, so sue me) so I'm not bashing the book at all or being duplicitous. I really like the characters and the story that has been set up, its unique in so many ways that it makes me just happy to read it. Of course, at the end of the day it's still fantasy, but it's a fun way to spend your day- it only takes me about two hours to read a book-and I think kids who like comic heroes and such would like Daniel X. It's right down their superpowered alley.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Fledging of Az Gabrielson

By Jay Amory

Az is one of the Airborn. With a stretch and a beat of their eight foot wings his people travel effortlessly around and between their cities, perched high above the clouds. It's a life of ease and airy beauty. Only Az has no wings, so in his glorious world of freedom and flight, he is a painful-and isolated- oddity.
And then one day he is picked out for a job. A job below the clouds. The system of massive automated elevators which send up everything the Airborn need to survive, are breaking down-and threatening to take the Airborn society with them. Someone has to go down to the Ground to find out what has happened and Az, with his wingless similarity to the prehistoric Groundlings, looks to be perfect for the task of hunting for answers beneath the clouds.
But on the Ground, in the vast shadows of the cities, Az finds more questions than answers: a benighted people who worship a dim notion of the Airborn and aspire to be like them. A people who fill elevators with tributes to their winged deities. A people who are beginning to think their way of life is part of a very un-natural order of things.

And a girl called Cassie Grubdollar, who's definitely no angel...

For some reason, the notion of people having wings has always intrigued me. I've written short-stories about it myself. Reading Maximum Ride didn't do it for me with its winged heroine, but this book came a lot closer to satisfying my intrigue. In fact, it was very fun to read. I enjoyed the characters immensely; Jay Amory has that flair for giving characters a vivacious and vibrant life. His novel is very plot-driven, but he doesn't forget his characters, who instead of being drowned out by the story get refined and strengthened by it. I absolutely was tickled by this, as you don't see it as often with fantasy anymore. The story is also one that has a lot of parallels to actual life, making it feasible and real. You've got Az, who has always been on the outside with his people, you've got Cassie, who is so practical and headstrong that it hurts to read sometimes, and then you've got characters like Serena Aanfielsdaughter, the strong female leader with wisdom and experience. It's got all sorts of facets in it, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a great story with memorable characters. It was fantastic, and I can't wait to read the next book. (Yes it is a series, but the book can stand on its own) The only criticism I have is that I wish it could've been told in just one, maybe two perspectives instead of a plethora of them. That's just my preference though, it doesn't detract at all. So, read this book if you want a great story, fast paced, and enjoyable.

Friday, August 14, 2009

By These Ten Bones

By Clare B. Dunkle

A mysterious young man has come to a small Highland town. His talent for carving soon wins him work at the castle-and the admiration of the weaver's daughter, Maddie. Fascinated by the silent carver, she sets out to gain his trust, only to find herself drawn into a terrifying secret that threatens everything she loves.
There is an evil presence in the wood carver's life that cannot be controlled, and Maddie watches her town fall under a shadow. One by one, people begin to die. Caught in the middle, Maddie must decide what matters most-and what price she is willing to pay to keep it.

This was my second time around reading this book, and it passed the test of time. I still absolutely was engrossed. The best part about this book is the characters and the timelessness of good vs. evil and love crossing all boundaries. Just the kind of thing that is right down my alley. I would highly recommend this book to people who love mythological creatures (especially Werewolves) and medieval times. This book is set in Scotland fairly soon after Christianity was introduced and accepted, but still harbors Pagan beliefs and superstition. My only warning is this: it has some quite gruesome descriptions and gory sections in it that on my first reading I felt were overdone. Although, it didn't truly bother me because it was so over-the-top I couldn't believe it anyway. Although it does make for some strong imagery in your brain. I suggest ages being at least 14 to read this. Just to get where it's coming from. Overall though, I'd love to own this book for the great story, characters, plot, and message. It gave me some things to think about.

The Amaranth Enchantment

By Julie Berry

'I looked up to see the prince- the prince!- peering down over the counter's edge at me.
"You don't need to do that," he said.
"Do what?"
"Get down on your knees. Unless you are proposing marriage."
I scrambled to my feet. "As you wish." I dusted off my skirt. "You know best." Stupid response! Could I mortify myself any more?
He turned and doffed his hat to Uncle, who'd only just barely gotten back on his feet.
"I fear I must be going, sir," he said. "I haven't time for a special order. I need something sooner." His eyes glanced my way. "Your shop assistant shows great promise."
He was mocking me. I was ridiculous to him.
Then he bowed to me. "A pleasure. Might I ask your name?"
As God is my witness, I swear this is true: I couldn't think what it was.'

This was one of those books I found in the library, hoping to find something nice and fluffy with a fun romance and good humor in it. I was sort of hoping for the reincarnation of Ella Enchanted. Lets just say, I wasn't enchanted. It was strange and lacked the barriers that a story needs. I still have no clue what point, if any, the author was trying to make. It was a nice story, but it just felt really novice, which is to be expected with a first novel from Julie Berry. But I was really disappointed, I guess I was hoping for a great read and put my expectations too high. It's alright to pass the time, but overall I would find something better to read. It didn't even have a good love story. Sigh.

P.S. Sorry it's taken so long, I've been having some personal issues, so I haven't been reading much. It'll get better from here I think.