Friday, January 27, 2012

09 of 2012: Unwind

Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Shusterman
Dates Read: 1/25-1/25/2012
Date Published: 2009
Pages: 352
Synopsis: In the future, children can be "retroactively aborted" between the ages of 13 and 18. This is done by "unwinding": dividing the children into all their parts for organ donation. This is the story of three kids sent for "unwinding" who escape into a hostile world.

Review: WHY COULDN'T I STOP READING THIS BOOK?! It grabbed me and sucked me in and wouldn't let me go. Thank goodness the kids had free read today, because it meant I could read too! I think that's the only thing that kept me from being up all night! Though I wouldn't suggest this for younger teens, it is thought provoking and not as anti-pro-lifers as I suspected it would be in the beginning; instead, it's anti-all-radicals who would use a political stance to cause murder and meyhem. Well written and with engaging characters, I really loved this book.

Stars: *****/5
Keywords: SF, YA, Drama

Thursday, January 26, 2012

08 of 2012: Pawn of Prophecy

Several years ago, while I was living in Florida, my brother lent me these books. Unfortunately, they were in AL and I was in FL, where I was also working one full time job, one part time job, and attending college courses in education. I never got the chance to read them.

HE reads them every year (or close to it) at Christmas, and my curiosity overcame me this year: I ordered the first book from Amazon. And now I'm totally hooked, and have to BUY them! And they're not on Kindle! OH CRUEL WORLD.

Title: Pawn of Prophecy
Author: David Eddings
Dates Read: 1/23-1/25/2012
Date Published: 1983
Pages: 272
Synopsis: Garion is a sensible boy who doesn't believe all the great legends of his world's past - until his entire life changes in an instant, and he begins to suspect he might be in a legend of his own.

Review: I have to wait until Saturday at the earliest for the rest of the books to arrive! *insert copious weeping* Eddings uses the simple fantasy storytelling style to perfection, creating engaging characters and asking a million questions that - delightfully AND frustratingly - have very few answers in this first novel of the series.

Stars: *****/5
Keywords: Fantasy, Adventure

07 of 2012: Caveat Emptor

Title: Caveat Emptor
Author: Ruth Downie
Dates Read: 1/17-1/23/2012
Date Published: January, 2012
Pages: 352 (but I prefer the audiobooks!)
Synopsis: Ah, Russo and Tilla, still being their wonderful selves, have returned to Brittania. With no work as a doctor in sight, Russo finds a job as an investigator.

Review: This is Downie's best mystery, but she doesn't lose her deft hand at presenting a fascinating Roman world, either. While I was disappointed that she once again separated Tilla and Russo for much of the book, they were nevertheless as charming as always. I bought this on my Kindle when it came out, but ended up listening to the audiobook, because Simon Vance's wry presentation is absolute perfection.

Stars: ****/5
Keywords: History, Mystery

06 of 2012: The People of Sparks

Title: The People of Sparks
Author: Jeanna DuPrau
Dates Read: Mid January
Date Published: 2005
Pages: 352
Synopsis: The people of Ember walk into the daylight to find they are not alone: there are scattered survivors, and the Emberites quickly learned how helpless they are to exist in this new world.

Review: Overall, this book was fairly dull. Though the last fourth had some action, a great deal of the book is taken up with the Emberites working and the people of Sparks resenting them, without any real action or drive to the novel. A section in which Lina leaves and travels to one of the old cities seems misplaced in the book. The most interesting bits are in finding out how the world destroyed itself in the first place, but even that is pretty generalized.

Stars: **/5
Keywords: Young Adult, SF

05 of 2012: The City of Ember

Title: The City of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Dates Read: Mid January
Date Published: August, 2008
Pages: 2008
Synopsis: Lina and Doon are teenagers on the cusp of adulthood. They are also part of a grand, and ultimately failing experiment to save the human race: the underground city of Ember. Now the city is dying, and no one seems to want to admit it.

Review: I think I would have adored this book if I'd read it as a kid, because I enjoyed it as an adult. Lina is an especially wonderful character, a strong female lead who doesn't need Doon to save her, but does a good bit of the saving herself! I saw the movie for this first, and it was strange to see how much simpler leaving Ember was in the book. That simplicity probably wouldn't have translated so well to the big screen, though!

Stars: ****/5
Keywords: Books: SF, Books: YA

Thursday, January 12, 2012

04 of 2012: My Name is Mary Sutter

Title: My Name is Mary Sutter
Author: Robin Oliveira
Dates Read: 1/7-1/10/2012
Date Published: March, 2011
Pages: 384
Synopsis: Mary Sutter is a midwife who wants to be a surgeon. After repeated rejections, she finds her chance in the horrors of the Civil War.

Review: This book was very uneven. The portions telling Mary's story were intriguing. Oliveira created a sassy and intelligent woman who stands against the horrors of war with bravery. However, about halfway through the book she begins delving into scenes without Mary, but with real historical figures. These chapters lost me, since they lacked the emotional resonance of the chapters with Mary. They dragged, and made me lose interest and skim through most of the second half of the book.

Stars: **/5 because of the uneven second half
Keywords: Books: Historical

Saturday, January 07, 2012

03 of 2012: City of Bones

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Dates Read: 1/4-1/6/2012
Date Published: March, 2007
Pages: 496
Synopsis: When Clary witnesses an unexpected murder, she finds herself drawn into a hidden world of Shadowhunters. Among them, she learns startling facts about her own family.

Review: Although not as intriguing to me as the Clockwork prequels, I still enjoyed the writing style and characterizations. She's obviously building to another love triangle, which is tiresome, but the characters, especially Clary, make up for it. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Stars: ***/5
Keywords: Fantasy, Young Adult