Monday, October 22, 2007

Seeing Redd

Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor (2007)

Description: Alyss of Wonderland's rule has only just begun, and already those who prefer chaos to peace are threatening to destroy everything worth imagining. Trailed by newly appointed royal bodyguard Homburg Molly, Alyss is doing her best to keep pace with the non-stop demands of being queen while attempting to evade Molly for a few private moments with Dodge.

Alyss' life is a challenging mix of duty, love, and tough decisions and then a series of phantom sightings set fire to an urban myth of Her Imperial Viciousness' return and have everyone... seeing Redd.

Has Redd somehow freed herself and her chief assassin The Cat, from the confines of the Heart Crystal? If not, then who has resurrected Redd's brutal foot soldiers the Glass Eyes and set them loose to attack Wonderland on all sides.?

Battles rage, looking glasses explode and the Alyssians once again unite to defend White Imagination in this fast-paced follow-up to the New York Times best-selling The Looking Glass Wars.

Review: As a second novel, Seeing Redd does fairly well. This installment of the Looking Glass Wars trilogy find Alyss dealing with her new life as queen. The peace doesn't last for long. It appears that Redd has returned, but has she? We also learn many secrets about certain characters. Although, I guessed what they were myself. On the whole, I found it to be fairly decent. There were a few flashbacks, but nothing that was hitting you over the head. Actually, I was glad to have them as I had forgotten some of the details from the first novel. Characters are developed further and I am anticipating the third novel of the series.

Score: 4 out of 5

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Arrival

The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2007)

Description: Tan captures the displacement and awe with which immigrants respond to their new surroundings in this wordless graphic novel. It depicts the journey of one man, threatened by dark shapes that cast shadows on his family's life, to a new country. The only writing is in an invented alphabet, which creates the sensation immigrants must feel when they encounter a strange new language and way of life. A wide variety of ethnicities is represented in Tan's hyper-realistic style, and the sense of warmth and caring for others, regardless of race, age, or background, is present on nearly every page.

Review: While it doesn't take long to "read", its artwork is just so captivating. The reason I put read in quotes is that there aren't any words, just pictures. But the artwork that is there, is just outstanding. You could take forever just engrossed in the beautiful artwork that is inside of this book. The story that is told through this artwork is really great. Its basically the story of a man who travels to a new place and is dependent on the kindness of strangers. All in all, a great story that everyone should take a look at.

Score: 5 out of 5

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Lightening Theif

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (2005)

Description: Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into this life. And worse, he 's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

Review: What a captivating book. I had a really hard time putting this one down. It's a great way to teach Greek mythology to kids. I had a real fun time reading it as well. The tone of the book was really great. I just absolutely love Percy Jackson. I can't wait to read about his further adventures. All in all, a great, fun read. I highly recommend picking this book up and giving it a whirl.

Score: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Ruins

The Ruins by Scott Smith (2006)

Description: Eric, Stacey, Jeff, and Amy - four American friends on vacation in Cancun - meet Mathias, a German tourist, who convinces them to join him in searching for his younger brother Henrich. The last Mathias saw of his brother he as headed into the jungle with his new girlfriend and a team of archaeologists. But what the tourists discover, in every gruesome detail, is something far more shocking.

Review: As we followed the group throughout the story, I stared to care less and less for them. The book seemed to drag on and on. I was excited at first and really got into the story. The middle lost me somewhere. At the end I was listening to hear what happened, only to be disappointed in the end. The book had such possibility, but just fell short. All in all, an okay book, but I wouldn't bother reading it unless you have some time to kill.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz (2006)

Description: Within New York City's most elite families, there lurks a secret society of celebrated Americans whose ancestors sailed on the Mayflower. Its members are the powerful and the wealthy - and, in fact, they are not human. They are the Blue Bloods, an ancient group of vampires.

Schuyler Van Alen has never fit in at Duchesne, her prestigious New York City private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates, and she lives with her reclusive grandmother in a dilapidated mansion. Schuyler is a loner... and happy that way.

But when she turns fifteen, Schuyler's life changes dramatically. She discoverers a mosaic of blue veins on her arms , and craves raw meat. The death of a popular girl from Duchesne is surrounded by a mystery that haunts her. And strangest of all, Jack Force, the most popular boy in school is showing a sudden interest in her.

Schuyler wants to find out the secrets the Blue Bloods are keeping. But is she herself in danger?

Review: This was sort of The Devil Wears Prada and Buffy's love child. As a sci-fi/fantasy fan, it was not the greatest. There are far better vampire novels out there. That said, there was something to the story that makes me want to find out more. To be honest, I was having a hard time stomaching the constant designer name drops. I get it... they are young, powerful, and dressed to kill. Do I need to know that she is wearing Chanel boots? Hell no. As for the history part, it was almost hard to take. I'll give De La Cruz some points for originality; however, to anyone who knows anything about history, its going to be difficult to read. I guess it is one way to get girls who like "chick lit" into fantasy. I really wouldn't recommend this book unless you are really a De La Cruz fan.

Score: 3 out of 5

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Dark is Rising

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)

Description: On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift - that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated throughout the ages to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. He is plunged at once into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. Thereafter, for the twelve days of Christmas while the Dark is rising, life for Will, although outwardly normal, is strangely wonderful as he is drawn through terror and delight.

Review: The story follows Will Stanton on his journey and discovery of his skills as an "Old One". At first, it was difficult to get into the story. I do not think it is the fault of the author, but my own. Once I started reading though, I just couldn't get enough. I found the story to be very interesting and well made. The wording was so colorful, I felt the world was read. I could really picture everything. It was also very enjoyable to read. I would definitely recommend this book to sci-fi fans and/or youth/young adult readers.

Score: 4 out of 5

Movie Connection: David L. Cunningham brings Susan Coopers book, The Dark is Rising to the big screen. After reading the plot synapsis, it appears that Hollywood, once again, has butchered a good story. I will reserve my final opinion until I see the final product, of course. However, it doesn't look so good.

The Seeker: The Dark is Rising (2007)