Friday, December 21, 2012

A review of "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" by Philip K. Dick


This book is a doozy of a read, but also one of the most fun, thought provoking books I read this year. In a plot that almost defies exposition, a business man named Palmer Eldritch visits another planet, and is possessed by a godlike being. He creates a drug that transports people into a hallucinatory pocket dimension where they become him, or aspects of him. One man tries to stop him from imprinting his image on the inhabitants of the solar system, and insanity there follows. Philip K. Dick tosses out nutty ideas that are at points both wacky, profound, disturbing, or a combination of all three, and creates eerie atmosphere like Ray Bradbury with a screw loose.

The way he subverts the old "Mars is a land of romance and adventure" cliche, is both genius and intensely saddening. The way he develops every character, with their own neuroses and heroic elements is great, and even the Palmer Eldritch/immature godlike being character is revealed to have several dimensions to him, and is not painted as some ancient evil, but instead as a well intentioned idiot who happens to have cosmic powers. This book is filled with psychedelic tripping, and its gleeful hops through time, space, and relative dimensions almost make this a kind of Wrinkle in Time for 1960's LSD enthusiasts. My main issues with this book include that the plot doesn't really pick up until the protagonist arrives on Mars, and the hallucination sequences are definitely on the incoherent side. They make sense, but not enough to remove the sense that you yourself may be on psychotropic drugs.

But if you're ready to take an unhinged thrill ride into the imagination of Philip K. Dick, and want to try some sci fi that's a little different from your run of the mill space opera, jump down the rabbit hole with Palmer Eldritch. You might just enjoy it.

Grade:
A-

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A review of "A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. LeGuin


Often compared to Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin is a true visionary. This book tells the deceptively simple tale of a kid named Ged who lives in a magical realm called Earthsea. He is destined to be the greatest wizard in the world, but still has a lot of growing up to do. After meddling with the powers of chaos,  he accidentally summons an eldritch creature from the outer dark, and has to put it back there. In the process, LeGuin tells a compelling coming of age story, and  by combining this with a high fantasy story, she sets the groundwork for Harry Potter (Hogwarts is suspiciously similar to the Roke Island wizard academy Ged trains at), Eragon, The Legend of Zelda, (perhaps unconsciously) Star Wars, and many, many others.

The thing that defines this from other high fantasy works like The Lord of the Rings is how well developed the character of Ged is. Whereas Frodo (and even Harry Potter sometimes) got through their adventures simply by "being there", Ged has to constantly be taking responsibility for his actions because the otherworldly menace that haunts him exists partly because of his own shortcomings, making this also one of the first "existential" high fantasy books. Ged's own angsty brooding over his own failings did, and will continue to resonate with modern day teenagers. On top of all that, the cast of characters has a surprising amount of ethnic diversity, for a fantasy novel. Whereas A Song of Ice and Fire or something along those lines usually has a nearly all white dramatis personae, Earthsea has a myriad of different cultures and ethnic groups represented. Although it may sound like I'm bashing fantasy, I'm not. I love it, which is why I so enjoyed  A Wizard of Earthsea. It revels in and codifies some of the cliches of its own genre. Not only a good fantasy tale, but also a cracking good YA novel.

Grade:
A


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A review of "The Diviners" by Libba Bray


Libba Bray returns to the form she does best, the "teen historical occult thriller with romantic elements". This latest book is basically an extended Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode set in the 1920's, ,involving a rising demon, evil cultists, and a cyborg. But make no mistake: this isn't a moon-eyed Mortal Instruments-esque fantasy. This is a well researched, well plotted thriller, that doubles as a luxuriant historical novel. While it simply shuffles and deals old occult fiction tropes (for how many mystical cliches are in here, I'm surprised Cthulhu and Aleister Crowley didn't turn up),the excellent characterization and impeccable period detail shine past that little dispute.

There are also some great spooky moments that actually frightened me, and portentous foreshadowing that, unfortunately, partly set up a sequel. There isn't any of the hyper-self aware smugness that accompanies some YA books (coughHolly Blackcough) which is a definite plus. Although some weird, pulled-it-out-of-thin-air-at-3:00 AM plot twists turn up (the aforementioned cyborg), this is overall, a very good book.

Grade:
A

Friday, November 2, 2012

A review of "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeline L'Engle


On a whim, I decided to state my views on that perennial children's literary staple, A Wrinkle in Time, and in thinking over, I realized how weird it is. The main characters meet winged centaurs; travel in time, space, and other dimensions; visit alien dictatorships run by godlike beings, and have metaphor after metaphor thrown their way. This book was as frightening, and emotionally taxing as all get out when I was 6 or so, especially near the end, but I remember really enjoying all the cosmic concepts set up during it, and strongly disliking the sort of Christ-like child prodigy MacGuffin character Charles Wallace.

Now looking back on it, I didn't realize how insanely creative it was, and how well developed all the characters, even Charles Wallace are. The sequels, A Wind in the Door, Many Waters, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet are okay, I suppose, and introduce interesting ideas, including the Echthroi, the strange alien worlds hidden inside Charles Wallace's mitochondria, and a heavy dose of magic, but they don't measure up to the sheer inventiveness and energy of the original. A modern classic.

Grade: A

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Source:Library
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined. – Goodreads
My Opinion: I really enjoyed this. It was fast paced. Sarah J. Maas really knows how to work the reader so that they continue to read. As the story progressed I made a prediction or guess about a third of the way in the book and I think I am right based on what I read in the end and one specific quote from Elena at the end, I think supports it very well. I liked the love triangle between Calaena, the Crown Prince and the Captain of the Guard. I love how author allowed for Calaena to develop feelings for both but just happened that she feels more for the “forbidden” person. If my prediction is correct… that relationship is even more forbidden and threatening(?) to the royal family.

Now for the plot… I love how it starts that all I have to stay. I love the way that we meet her a death/labor camp and then we see how she transforms herself as she trains and become more like herself or how she used to be before the camp. I love how the story ended. I love that they had to go that far, because of how afraid they were of her abilities. I think that Nehemia and others, must have thought that it was pretty funny that for one little girl there are so many guards following her around. What I was the most impressed with was that she was able to keep her spirit as well as her escape attempt. I think it is amazing that she was able to make it so far as the wall basically while others could only make it three feet. It says a lot about her skills and the fact that she did that after six months in there, says that even more.

My favorite character had to be Calaena without a doubt. I love strong female characters. And Calaena, she is the epitome of that. Some of the things that she does are awesome. She isn’t just fighting skills, she is also extremely clever and smart and knows that to defeat an enemy, she needs to study her opponent and “hit” them where it most hurts. I think that is going to be her plan for the King. Another character that I really liked was Nehemia. She is a beloved princess by her people and that fact that the King was not able to strip her of her title after he conquered the land says something about how much power she truly has. I love that she is mysterious and that she knows how to fight, without others noticing but feeling the pain none the less. Overall, the book was amazing and I can not wait for the next one to come out. I think this is one of the MUST READS of the year.
Overall: 5+ out of 5

Friday, October 19, 2012

A review of M.T. Anderson's "Feed"


Before about three years ago, I had no idea M.T. Anderson had a career outside of writing the maniacally brilliant Thrilling Tales series, which deftly subverted and thoroughly deconstructed the tropes and conventions of 20th century children's literature, and the eerie fantasy novel The Game of   Sunken Places which also gives a spin on old cliches. As I found out, he had also written several edgy books for young adults as well, including the entertaining 18th century literature pastiche Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, the bleak vampire novel Thirsty, and this book. Jeez louise, was I not prepared for this book! It's about a kid who lives in a society where vampiric, oppressive corporations have taken over the world, and are slowly destroying it, through environmental destruction, total impingement of all perceivable civil liberties, and a chip implanted in people's head called "the feed" that is basically a parasitic computer disguised as a part of the brain. He and his girlfriend try to resist the feed, but, in short, it doesn't work.

I thought I was accustomed to dystopian fiction. Of dystopian fiction, I've read  1984, Brave New World, The Hunger Games, the Uglies series, The Giver, and Snow Crash. Make no mistake, whatever their resolution was, these books were depressing. But nothing I've read, dystopian or otherwise was as soul-crushingly dour as this book. It was funny, and well written, but it was also gut-wrenchingly painful.

At the end of Brave New World, 1984, and all the other books I named, there was a spark of hope, or an outright happy ending. At the end of Feed there is none of that. Just suffocating paranoia and despair. Only the skin-crawlingly awful endings of the Series of Unfortunate Events books compare. Even despite its 2002 publishing date, and its Bush-era malaise, it's scarily prescient of the smartphone age, which disturbs me to the core. Although, this book is witty, and well observed, and it captures perfectly a society where the attributes of today's teens were taken to their logical extreme.

There are a lot of blackly hilarious moments, such as the "Hipster Nostalgia Feedback Syndrome", and the "Nike Speech Tattoo", that lighten up the darker moments, but an overwhelming sense of dread really pervades this book. The main character isn't very likable, but he's a product of his environment. Like with a lot of Anderson's books, the other characters aren't very well developed, but they are rounder than other of his books. There were a lot of great, acrid bits in this, but I would have liked this book better if it wasn't just so darn heartbreaking.

Grade: B+

Monday, September 24, 2012

A review of "The Books of Magic" by Neil Gaiman


"The Books of Magic" is basically about a bespectacled British kid from a dysfunctional family situation finding out he's a powerful wizard from benevolent adult wizards. Sound familiar? But this boy wizard's name is Tim Hunter and he technically lives in the DC universe (well, a more mature version of it called "Vertigo" where various magical things happen more often, and people can drop unbleeped f-bombs:  a little like the HBO of the DC universe). He meets a couple DC magicians, and Morpheus and Death from Gaiman's Sandman  series, but other than that this is more of a picaresque trip through various magical realms that Neil Gaiman must have drudged from Bulfinch's Mythology, Midsummer Night's Dream, and old issues of The Phantom Stranger than an actual comic book story in the DC universe.

Like a lot of Gaiman's comic book work, he makes the story soothingly plotless, and is more of an opportunity for him to throw in about two mythological allusions per 3 panels rather than tell a story with actual rising action, climax, and falling action. Tim Hunter's questioning attitude keeps it real throughout, though, and Gaiman doesn't let the non-plot get away from him too much to lose good character moments and sneak in a good joke. It also works great as a story of Tim's maturity, through its chronicling of his acceptance of his magical destiny. Some standout sections include when Tim meets Merlin which portrays the famous wizard as a hormonal teenager, Doctor Occult bringing Tim through the various magical realms, and his interaction with perennially foulmouthed curmudgeon John Constantine, who seems to always be slinking in and out  of Gaiman and other Vertigo writers' work, and here, he adds a bit of salty flavor to the ponderous orations on magic that the other characters make.

The part where Tim travels to the future with DC soothsayer Mister E would be less irritating and more interesting, if Mister E wasn't a self righteous jerkface who spends his whole segment browbeating Tim about morality and his destiny. Other than that, the art was good, but some of it was painted weirdly, which was off putting, and a standout was former Sandman artist Charles Vess. Overall, an ephemeral, but ultimately charming coming of age tale.

Grade: B

Monday, September 3, 2012

A review of David Levithan and John Green's "Will Grayson, Will Grayson"


Here we are again. I'm yet again reviewing a John Green book, but this time, he's writing it with fellow YA author David Levithan. It tells the stories of two separate people named Will Grayson (who live in Naperville and Evanston, Illinois, respectively), whose paths eventually cross due to a chance encounter, and whose lives are eventually changed for the better because of it. This book seems disparate in tone at times, because the chapters alternate between the two Will Graysons' perspectives, but both perspectives complement each other.

David Levithan's chapters (about the Naperville Will Grayson) tell a delicate, melancholy story about coming of age, and a gay youth's quest for meaning and love, but is also bitterly funny. This Will Grayson knows he has made mistakes, is in touch with himself, but not with others, which adds a sharp edge to his sometimes laugh out loud internal monologue. His personality has the right balance of jaded sarcasm and emotional vulnerability to make me actually care about him.

John Green's sections (about the Evanston Will Grayson), like usual, are a sharp,fizzy screwball comedy of manners about a straight teen's identity crisis that zips along at a nice pace. My main issue with his sections is the same issue I always have had with Green's work: the main character is annoying. This Will Grayson is a non-committal, indecisive, mealymouthed milquetoast whose various neuroses irritate me like usual. But also as usual, Green writes the dialogue and narration outstandingly well, and his typical bitingly witty, John-Hughes-meets-Woody-Allen blend of comedy seems to be surprisingly looser and less glum in this work.

A standout in both plots is the character of Tiny Cooper, a gay youth that has such an outsize personality, that I'm surprised he doesn't have his own spinoff book yet. The way the two threads come together is marvelously realistic, but also fairytale-y enough to be fun, and the ending is entertainingly optimistic. Overall,  a great collaboration worth checking out.

Grade: A-

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A review of Mark Millar's "The Ultimates"

Mark Millar's The Ultimates is an alternate retelling of the origin of Marvel Comics' Avengers team. The main concept behind it and other "Ultimate" Marvel titles, was that newbie comic readers could get into Marvel, and not have to worry about not knowing all of the details of a certain title's mythos. It was similar to   a previous series, Heroes Reborn, but was actually successful, and not an epic failure like that earlier venture. This series, like I said before, was supposed to retell the origin of the Avengers, and update it for a modern audience. It was pretty good, but was annoyingly snarky and meanspirited at points, and much of the hip, 2000's-y stuff that was added seemed cheesy and forced.

The characters of Giant Man, The Wasp, Nick Fury, Captain America, and the Hulk were fleshed out and realistic, but a lot of the bits with Hawkeye, Black Widow, Iron Man, and Thor skirted the edges of self parody.The dialogue was often too hip for its own good, but had its moments. Millar's very good at handling action packed events, and this was no exception, with the plot moving along at a brisk clip. It was refreshing, after reading a lot of talky DC comics events, where the fights scenes and action sequences weren't as emphasized as the plot exposition, to read the well written battles that fill this book. Bryan Hitch's art for this series reminded me vaguely of J.G. Jones, which is a good thing, and carried the weaker sections of the book.

Overall, I thought it was great fun, and a good jumping on point for the Avengers mythos in general, and if you liked the Avengers movie, chances are you'll like The Ultimates.

Grade: B

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Year of the Beasts

Year of the Beasts



I read this book during the summer and I peeked through it. I even read the flap. It seemed interesting. So I checked it out. I read the book and I was utterly confused. The book is manga styled drawings. However, the drawings didn't match with the story. And the plot didn't seem well together. I mean, it's about a girl who looses out to the guy she loves by her little sister and wants to find love. That's it. But the drawing doesn't match with the story. Overall, I give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dead To You By Lisa McMann





Abducted as a young boy, Ethan finally is reunited with his family. He returns to his small town with a warm welcome from his family and friends.  Ethan tries to go back to the life that he cannot remember. Cami, his old best friend that was heartbroken when he left. Gracie, the "replacement" child, that his parents has when he left.  Blake, the four-year old brother that he left behind, now thirteen, is angry because when Ethan left he left behind a broken family. Can Ethan remember and sew everything together without making everything fall apart in the process?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bat-Quest CONCLUSION: "Batman Incorporated: Volume 1"


Well, it looks like I've reached the end of my wild, weird, and wonderful journey through Grant Morrison's gonzo take on Batman, but I can't start celebrating yet! Is still have one more book to review. Batman Inc. is the final in print volume of the Bat-Quest, and boy was it crazy. In this one, Batman sets up an organization of global Bat-Agents who are sworn to fight crime in their respective areas. Unfortunately, a mysterious villain had the same idea, and had set up its own organization of mind controlled assassins called Leviathan. This book was more of a traditional adventure than its predecessor, but turned from a story of global Bat-Antics, to a wacky international spy mystery.

While Leviathan's plots didn't make sense half the time, I realized that they weren't supposed to, because their main master planner, a sort of elderly Blofeld called Dr. Dedalus was suffering from advanced stages of Alzheimer's Disease. This had potential to be an interesting concept, but wasn't explained enough to be interesting, but the crazy global villains including the Japanese mass murderer Lord Death Man were morbidly wacky, and made up for how incomprehensible Dedalus' plots were. I liked how Morrison brought back Batwoman as a supporting character, though, and the 1980's British superteam Morrison creates is cool, but unexplored. Although, the stuff with Leviathan's agents were gory and frightening, and I still don't understand what SPYRAL was.

There were so many zany concepts introduced in this volume that it provided for entertaining reading throughout, though, but the cliffhanger ending was cheap. Yanick Paquette's art was the best of the collection, and the worst was the art in the arc that takes place in the internet. Look out for Bat-Quest Conclusion to the Conclusion, though, that will review Batman Inc: Volume 2 and finally end this epic saga. Overall,  an incomplete, but rousing conclusion to a great run.

Grade: A

Bat-Quest Part 9: "Batman and Robin Must Die!"


In this penultimate volume of the Bat-Quest, Dr. Hurt (dunh-dunh-DUNH!) from Batman R.I.P. returns and does his usual "I am the Devil you will die" schtick, and the Joker and Batman team up and kick his behind into next week. In this volume, it was basically a re-run of  R.I.P., but isn't done as well. Dr. Hurt cackles and plots like usual, but he wears out his welcome because the demonic air of mystery around him that was created in R.I.P. has all but dissipated. The horrifying Professor Pyg from Reborn returns, and is even scarier than before. He's a cautionary tale about the dangers of psychotropic drugs.

The scenes with a half-insane Commissioner Gordon (don't ask) are genuinely unsettling, but none of the scenes with the Joker are, ironically. The way Dr. Hurt gets his tush handed to him is spectacularly campy, but isn't as cathartic as how he was defeated the first time. The Joker comes back, but isn't really funny enough to be fun to read, but not crazy enough to be scary. The last issue in the volume is a prelude to the Batman Inc. plot, so it's really just setup. Remember how I said I liked Frazer Irving in my last Batman review? 

Well I still do, but only in small amounts. A large chunk of the first arc is drawn by him, so his art loses its appeal. Overall, a spooky, but fun rollercoaster ride.  

Grade: B

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A review of "Planesrunner" by Ian McDonald


Taking a small break from my Batman odyssey, I read Ian McDonald's Planesrunner. It's about a nerdy Londoner named Everett Singh who comes into possession of a computer program that allows him to travel between parallel earths. He ends up getting stranded on one of these earths, and comedic hi-jinks and action scenes involving  large airships ensue.  I was genuinely impressed by the cosmic creativity of this work, but was also astounded by how down to earth the author kept it. Everett keeps it grounded the entire time, providing his own what-the-heck-is-going-on, fish out of water perspective on the event.

Everett's experiences in the story and his perspective on them is a little like if Marcus, from Little Brother was dropped into a Phillip Reeve novel, which is quite entertaining to read. The beginning is slow, though and the dialogue is clunky at times. Some things, like his possession of Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle-esque "god sight" that allows him to weave together a map of the parallel earths seems a little contrived, and the editor could have done a better job localizing the exclusively British references.The flashes of brilliance in this book  are stunning, though, and they occur more often than not. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes Doctor Who, or well characterized science fiction.

Grade: B+

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bat-Quest Part Eight: "The Return of Bruce Wayne"


The Return of Bruce Wayne is about exactly what its title says it's about: Bruce Wayne coming back from the distant past to defeat an ancient evil. I suppose I enjoyed this well enough. The parts where Bruce was in the past were actually genuinely entertaining, and finally showed what really happened to the Wayne Family over all those years. My favorite segments were the parts set in prehistory and on the frontier, because they seemed to make more sense than the others. The others were good, but each had their own flaws.

The puritan times one was filled with too much Lovecraftian blather, the pirate one was okay, but its art wasn't the best, and the modern day Gotham city one was too filled with Black Glove-style freak-outs. The plot really got away from Morrison when he tried to throw in  a swing-for-the-fences cosmic adventure in at the end. It got way too caught up in Seven Soldiers of Victory-esque discourses on the Omega Effect. By the way, Morrison should stick to writing Batman and Superman, because he can't write convincing Wonder Woman dialogue to save his life. She acted too aloof, too realpolitik, and too holier-than-thou to be true to the character, and her various mis-characterizations were my least favorite parts of the book.

The art kept changing every time Bruce hopped to  a different time, but my favorite artwork was probably the weird, almost 3-D art of Frazer Irving in the Puritan section (he must have a knack for drawing Puritans because he also did the art for the Puritan-heavy Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch-Boy).  Overall, though, if you want to scratch your head in confusion more often, but still want a rewarding reading experience, pick up Return of Bruce Wayne.

Grade: B-

Bat-Quest Part Seven: "Batman vs. Robin"


This volume of the Bat-Quest is decidedly lighter in tone than its predecessor. The first story in it involves British super-mobsters, Lazarus Pits, a zombie Bruce Wayne replica, and Batwoman, and the other is a mystery involving Dr. Hurt from R.I.P., Wayne family history, and a mind controlled Damian. Both are entertaining romps,  and you can  see that Morrison is having a blast writing these stories. I did think that it was amusing that the main McGuffin the plot revolved around was the domino game "Mexican Train", which I've actually played. Some standout parts in  this are seeing mind-controlled Damian desperately trying to shake off his mind control, which is funny and tense at the same time, and the British gangsters, including the absurdly named "Old King Coal".


The art is dark, but not gruesome, and the covers are still wonderfully weird, courtesy of Frank Quitely. The plot started to lose its coherency nearing the end, and some of the parts with Talia weren't believable, but other than that, Batman vs. Robin was a rip-roaring adventure.


Grade: A

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bat-Quest Part Six: "Batman Reborn"


Jeez louise Grant Morrison. I knew your Batman and Robin series was supposed to be darker than usual, but did it have to be this downright scary? This installment chronicles the first adventures of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne as Batman and Robin,  but also shows the devastating effect modern drug cartels have on cities. This book is not for reading at night. From gruesome scenes of peoples' faces getting eaten, to frightening monologues given by insane villains, there are a lot of scenes in this book that will give more scare-prone readers the willies.

Not that that's always a bad thing, but when I started reading this book, I expected a rousing adventure, not a story about face eating, cartels, and hard drugs. It was entertaining, though, and the Damian/Dick dynamic was funny, the two of them trading one liners (Damian: "It's Robin and Batman from now on". Dick: "That'll catch on".), but besides its scariness, my only real issue with the the book is the return of that human diatribe machine, Jason Todd. He continues shouting long winded tirades, and Batman actually calls him on it, but since he has a sidekick in this story, there is two times the Manichean invective. Other than that, Frank Quitely's weird, puffy, creepy art is used for the first plot, while Phillip Tan's is used for the rest of it, and both are good. This isn't for the faint of heart, though.

Grade: A-

Bat-Quest Part Five: "Battle for the Cowl"


In this installment of the Bat-Quest series, I'll be reviewing Tony Daniel's Battle  for the Cowl  miniseries that chronicles (SPOILER ALERT) Dick Grayson taking over as Batman. It also chronicles the return of organized crime, and crime in general to Gotham City after Batman's "death" in Final Crisis. I suppose I enjoyed this series. The art was once again good, by Tony Daniel, and the story was as well. It developed Damian's character, and the more I read stuff he's featured in, the less I hate him.

The action packed plot is filled with blink and you'll miss it cameos of various Bat-heroes and villains, and makes for a fun game of "Spot the Side Character". Commissioner Gordon is stoically heroic as usual, and keeps the plot grounded, while the psychotic turn from Jason Todd is predictable. He speaks in catchphrases, and spends too much time soliloquizing on crime-fighting techniques to be more than just a sanctimonious windbag. He's a little like Polonius, in that he refuses to even abbreviate his pompous jeremiads.

There's a second story in here too, called "Gotham Gazette" that looks at Gotham sans-Batman from the perspective of several tertiary Bat-allies. Each character's story has a different penciller, so the artwork ranges from good to bad, Dustin Nguyen being a standout. Overall, a good appetizer that had me pumped for Morrison's Batman and Robin.

Grade: B

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bat-Quest Interlude: "Final Crisis"


Whew. Grant Morrison's Final Crisis, for all its flaws, was one of the most ambitious, creative and joyously life-affirming comics I have ever read. A very short, Cliff's Notes summary of the plot, is basically that ancient evil cosmic being Darkseid has finally succeeded in his quest to take over the universe, but in the process ripped open  a hole in the fabric of the multiverse that let loose an even greater evil. This is part of the Bat-Quest because in it, Batman has an awesome "Final Confrontation" of sorts that sets up future installments in the series, but is too short a part to make this book  an official "Bat-Quest" entry. This book was literally insane.

Superheroes and villains alike spout out long-winded expositions on god, space, time, and life, while cosmic superhero action rages in a super-crazy battle for the fate of not one, but 52 universes. I mean, there were so many little details that DC comics fanboys like me will lap up, and enough philosophical monologues to keep you thinking, but also enough guns blazing, take no prisoners action and suspense to enthrall casual readers. You just kind of have to surrender yourself to the craziness of everything. It's as if someone at DC headquarters just said "Grant, go all out on this one". And although there are many flaws with this book, including a lack of coherence, occasionally hokey dialogue and a slightly confusing ending, the sheer creativity of Final Crisis bowled me over.

J.G. Jones and Doug Mahnke's' art is impressively clear and well done, and adds even more epic awesomeness to this one of a kind book. If you give in to its cosmic insanity, you'll have a reading experience like no other.

Grade: A-

Bat-Quest Supplemental: "Heart of Hush"


This book wasn't written by Grant Morrison (it was actually written by Paul Dini) and was actually a prequel  to R.I.P., but I needed a little break from Morrison after the madness that was Batman R.I.P., and considering the next book I have to read, Final Crisis was even more confusing than R.I.P when I first read it, I needed this break. This book was about an old foe of Batman's, Hush, coming back after his critically acclaimed first appearance in Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee's Hush saga. This book was strange, because a majority of it is from Hush's perspective, and considering Hush's perspective is filled with classist invective against people Batman allies himself with, it isn't a very happy one. Paul Dini always is able to write a good Catwoman/Batman story line, and this one does a good job deepening those two's relationship. It shows a more vulnerable Batman, and a kookier Hush, who, in between berating Catwoman, also details his twisted relationship with his mother.

Dini does a good job writing Scarecrow, who does more frightening things than his usual fear-gas-to-the-face routine. I didn't like how Batman acted occasionally cold blooded, but maybe that was just me. The art by Dustin Nguyen is very avant garde, and emphasizes the moody tones of the story. Take it from me, though. Read this BEFORE R.I.P., because it's chronologically supposed to be read in that order.

Grade: B+

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bat-Quest Part Four: "Batman R.I.P." (SPOILERS WITHIN!)


This one was a doozy. This book is basically about an insane mastermind who knows everything about Batman using elements from very old and obscure Bat-cases as weapons against the Caped Crusader. This book, the first time I read it, made the littlest amount of sense, and during a majority of the time I was reading the book, I felt about as confused as Batman himself during this story. In short, I had no idea what was going on, and felt very defeated and befuddled, like Grant Morrison was telling me "It's not supposed to make sense". The second  time I read it, in order, and after having researched what in Siddhartha Gautama's name "Thogal" was, I found it to be still a scary, disorienting, psychedelic trip, but one that made more sense.   

For instance, when I read it the first time, I thought the main "Big Bad" Dr. Hurt's name was "The Black Glove", but learned this time around, that that was the name of his organization. I also, having read "The Black Glove" finally realized what the purpose of those  Bat-impostors were, and what in the world  the "International Club of Villains" was. This time around, though, I had oriented myself enough to understand what I liked and didn't like. I really liked the way the Club of Villains was used, each member having their own goofy gimmick that made their sections entertaining. The way the Joker was used was excellent as well. Morrison made him so unpredictable that he actually turned coat on both the Black Glove, and Batman. 

Talia, Damian, Bat-mite and Alfred's cameos were memorable, and the plot actually moved faster than I thought it did the first time I read it. And no one can deny how awesome "the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh" was, and how amazingly daring Batman's defeat of Dr. Hurt was. Some issues I still have with it, though, is that the character of Dr. Hurt is so bombastically evil, that he seems like a smarmy game show host spitting out corny one liners like "He's in the GRIP of the Black GLOVE now" (get it?). I also have an issue with the conclusion of the story. This was called "Batman R.I.P." and was marketed for months as "the death of Batman", but at the end, Batman survives. I find this a bit of an cop out, but maybe that's just me. 

Also, the fact that  I had to keep summarizing the plot to myself to keep track of the story kind of lessened the experience, but other than that I much enjoyed this. Batman R.I.P.  had excellent art by Tony Daniel, filled with lots of shadows and darkness, which added a spooky, fog covered air to the story, and the covers are excellent as always portraying Batman as heroic, but not invulnerable.Overall, if you want to put in  a little extra work reading the other volumes (because their threads all come to a head in R.I.P.), and like your Batman with a heavy dose of mystery, darkness, and  the weird, read Batman R.I.P. If you take the time, you won't regret it.

Grade: B

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bat-Quest Part Three: "The Black Glove"


For this installment of the Bat-Quest series, I'll be looking at the hardcover collection The Black Glove, again by Grant Morrison, that sets up the main plot in a future volume. This volume introduces the villainous Black Glove organization, that is out to destroy Batman. It, like Batman and Son has two separate plots. The first one, "The Island of Mr. Mayhew" is about Batman and Robin visiting a secret island that the so-called "International Club of Heroes" is meeting at. Things go awry, and a mystery ensues. 

Morrison should perhaps think of taking up mystery writing as a side job, because the way he tightens the screws on this mystery is masterful. There's betrayal, murder, and mayhem, and Batman proves once and for all why he's "the World's Greatest Detective". The way Morrison revived almost forgotten DC heroes, and updated them  was entertainingly bizarre, and the way the different personalities of the Club members clash is fascinating to read. The next story is the conclusion to the "Three Ghosts of Batman" story arc set up in "Batman and Son".  Bruce Wayne is hunted by the third, Satanist Bat-impostor, who gives Bruce Wayne a heart attack, triggering old memories. 

The parts where Batman has his trippy cardiac arrest flashbacks is confusing at points, filled with references to old 50's and 60's Batman comics, and esoteric Buddhist meditation techniques, but Morrison tries his best to prevent the plot from getting out of control, and you kind of have to read this part if you want to understand future volumes. Other than that, the extraordinary, classic looking art of J.H Williams III adorns the "Island" section, and Williams' unadorned, illustrative style is a perfect complement to the mysterious goings on in the story. The other section is drawn by Tony Daniel, who's no slouch either. His art is more modern, though, and doesn't evince the same reaction from me as Williams' art.  This story provided a fast moving thriller, and a shape of things to come, so I guess I enjoyed it well  enough.

Grade:
"The Island of Mr. Mayhew": A-
"Three Ghosts (Conclusion)": B-
 Overall: B

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bat-Quest Part Two: "The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul"


Now, if one is familiar with the Batman mythos, the title "The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul" should be greeted with a yawn and a sarcastic "What else is new?" because perennial Bat-villain Ra's al Ghul's  main gimmick back in the day was that he would use a special pool he called a "Lazarus Pit" to bring himself back to life after being killed. He was killed a lot. But, during a storyline called "Death and the Maidens" in 2004, Ra's al Ghul died for real, after having run out of Lazarus Pits to use. He was finally brought back to life during an event called The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul which spanned several titles, and several writers along with Grant Morrison contributed. This book was a twisty adventure story, that featured Ra's al Ghul switching bodies with someone multiple times, Tim Drake almost going off the deep end, and the continuing adventures of Damian Wayne.

Damian, surprisingly is less irritating than he was in "Batman and Son", and is shown to be insecure and vulnerable beneath his cocky exterior. Dick Grayson as Nightwing livens things up, especially when they get too bogged down in Tim Drake's self pity, and even though Morrison contributes just two issues to the gestalt he does do his usual magic, and revives the wonderfully wacky character I Ching (from Dennis O'Neil's late 60's run on Wonder Woman), who drops pearls of Buddhist and Taoist wisdom while kicking people in the face. Former Batman:The Animated Series showrunner Paul Dini contributes, and adds a sense of humor, but I wish the entertainingly loony Talia al Ghul had more to do in the story than just look angry. The art changes a lot, sometimes in the middle of an issue, which is odd, but it is often refreshingly cartoonish. Overall, this story was a refreshing detour from the main story arc that the next few Batman graphic novels follow, and is great fun.

Grade: B+

Bat-Quest Part One: "Batman and Son" (SPOILERS WITHIN!)


For the first "real" installment in the "Bat-Quest" series, I'll be reviewing Grant Morrison's  "Batman and Son". This collection is odd, because it contains three main stories each around two issues long. The first one, "Batman and Son" is about an illegitimate son Batman sired after sleeping with his archenemy's daughter, and his sometimes flame Talia al Ghul. This kid, Damian Wayne, is an annoying little bugger, whose whining and entitled rants about how he "should" be Robin instead of the current Robin, Tim Drake grated on my nerves, but this story was actually one of the freshest and fastest moving Batman stories I've read in quite some time. The goofy, but sinister "Ninja Man-Bats", the irritating, but fascinating Damian Wayne, and Batman's unusually glib interior monologue make this first plot a fun, action packed, detail-oriented adventure story worth rereading.

I can say less for the next two plots. The second one, "The Clown at Midnight" is about the resurrection of the Joker, who was shot in the face by a Bat-impostor. It is genuinely unsettling. Morrison depicts the Joker as a demon, a personification of immortal darkness. For a Gen-Y kid like me, who was raised on Mark Hamill's  zany voice-acting portrayal of the Crown Prince of Crime in TV shows like Batman: The Animated Series, this new, diabolic joker is frightening in a way that cannot be truly described, to say nothing of Morrison's cheesily gruesome similes ("like a caterpillar liquefying to filth in its own nightmares" reads one of the tamest of these). It seems at times that Morrison is trying too hard, and half the sentences feel like they're screaming "Look! I'm a serious writer, I'm DEEP". 


This plot does set up  a metaphor that carries over into the more confusing installments of Morrison's Batman saga, so I had to force myself to read it. But the most bizarre of these plots is the third one, "The Three Ghosts of Batman." The basic premise is that three Bat-impostors are roaming Gotham City, and Batman has to figure out why they're there. This plot is gruesome at points, and wacky at others, making it disorienting. One part of this plot, an issue depicting a possible future in which Damian inherits the role of Batman, is weird and depressing, and Damian as Batman isn't developed enough to differentiate him from Bruce Wayne as Batman, and the other part, involving Bruce Wayne in the present, is just a whole lot of set-up. 


The art in the main stories, by Andy Kubert, is stellar, and is pleasing to the eye, but the art in "The Clown at Midnight" is this weird, creepy, computer animated art, which I suppose suits its horrifying story. Other than that, I'd consider Batman and Son an entertaining romp, and a thrilling opening salvo to a very long saga.

Grade:
"Batman and Son": A-
"The Clown at Midnight": C+
"The Three Ghosts of Batman": B+
 Overall: B+



Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bat-Quest Prologue: "52"


Now, Batman has never been one of my favorite superheroes. I always thought he was too dark, too lonely, and too paranoid about other heroes. On the other hand, I have always liked the work of comic book writer    Grant Morrison. I much enjoyed his work on X-Men, I loved his work relaunching the Justice League in JLA, and was awed by the ambition of his poetic interpretation of Superman, in All Star Superman. I also knew that he had written a run on Batman that was considered one of the best of all time. 

I thought that maybe Grant Morrison could get me to like Batman a little more, so I read some of his Batman run, and was confused out of my wits. Every story was impenetrably dense with esoteric concepts, and non-linear story telling. Some parts were sheer genius, while others were turgid and incomprehensible. It was then I realized I was reading them OUT OF ORDER. So, I have committed myself now to reading his entire run on Batman, plus supplementary material IN ORDER so I can finally "get it", and will document it in a review series called "Bat-Quest".

The first story I started with was a collaboration series Morrison did with three other writers: Greg Rucka, a writer known for more down to Earth storylines, Mark Waid, an elder statesman in the comics world, and Geoff Johns, a hot shot writer with a knack for handling out of control plots. It chronicles several different story lines in the universe of the  DC comics company's superheroes, but here's the trick: not only does every issue span just one week in  a year, but after the events of another DC mega-event called Infinite Crisis, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are out of commission temporarily. While it didn't have enough Batman to be a real entry in the series, it did have a lot of elements that would tie in to Morrison's Batman stories later, so I made it a prologue. I loved how each writer balanced each other out. Each of their conflicting styles fused perfectly into a moving, action packed, entertaining, and uplifting story. 


Morrison's "big idea" fueled writing wasn't as frustratingly confusing, and even added a sense of cosmic unpredictability. The most compelling plot was probably the Intergang-Renee Montoya-Question plot, which tied all the other threads together, but a close second was probably the gleefully camp Science Squad plot which redefined the old  "revenge of the nerds" cliche, but doesn't get the top spot because of Veronica Cale, a sad-sack who weighs down the otherwise joyously bombastic plot. The change of artwork in the middle of every issue was disorienting, and the Lex Luthor-Steel plot dragged, at times  but overall, it was amazingly well done. The multiverse-changing conclusion had me clapping and cheering, and even crying. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys the adventures of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, but wants to try something new, and as a sort of Morrison apertif.

Grade: A+

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A review of Simon Schama's "Citizens"


Simon Schama's Citizens is an in-depth analysis of the causes and effects of the French Revolution. Before reading this book, I knew cursory information about the French Revolution, mainly through free-associated terms: Louis XVI, Bastille, Robespierre, Reign of Terror, guillotine, Napoleon. Afterward, I learned that there was a lot more causes to the Revolution than just "the poor were dissatisfied in France and revolted". Although it may sound tedious, Citizens is actually quite entertaining. Schama works his usual historiography magic by making even the dullest of events interesting, and his irreverent, chatty prose makes the book zip along. Just when the book seems to have started to become dusty and boring, there is a cool little anecdote that spices up the story. Although Schama is regarded in "serious" history circles as a mainstream sellout, I can't front: I really enjoyed this book.

Grade: A-

A review of John Green's "Paper Towns"


John Green's Paper Towns is about the exact same thing all his other books are about. A whiny middle class      boy meets a mysterious woman and his life is changed forever when she turns out to not be as much of a goddess in human form as he thinks she is. My main issue with the works of John Green is exactly that: the main character often treats the girl he lusts after like a kind of obscure object of desire (shout-out to Luis Bunuel) who is outside of everything. The way the protagonist, a disaffected teen named Quentin "Q" Jacobsen makes the main girl character, Margo out to be more than human irritated me both times I read it. Margo's own lofty hipster-ish observations on life also are borderline annoying, but the plethora of witty side characters makes up for Q and Margo's shortcomings. There's Ben, Q's Rabelaisian friend who's a  bon vivant with  a heart of gold, Lacey, the surprisingly 3 dimensional "popular" girl, and Radar, the pragmatic intellectual who round out the cast, and all at one point bring Q back down to earth. The writing sparkles with erudite wit, the dialogue is as sharp as a tack, and the formulaic plot moves quick, so one can overlook the several quibbles I have with this novel.

Grade: B+

A review of Alan Moore's "Watchmen"



 The book I'm reviewing today is Alan Moore's seminal 1986 comic book miniseries Watchmen. This book, about a conspiracy to assassinate superheroes is full of dark twists and turns, and gives a convincing portrait of what a meta-human filled world would really be like. Although some parts of it are corny (Ozymandias' plan was to SPOILER ALERT destroy New York City with  an alien squid?), the references to the Afghan-Soviet War are dated, the plot got a little confusing near the end (wait, so what really happened with The Comedian and Silk Specter I?), and the characters are all annoying, self absorbed idiots, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, because of the deep questions it raises about power, gender, war, and the human psyche, but don't let that scare you away: Watchmen is at turns dark, suspenseful, thought-provoking, and action packed, and is a solid mystery story on top of that. If you're a fan of American comic books, you'll think deeper about the ramifications of the actions of your favorite heroes, but if you're new to comic books, Watchmen will provide a jumping in point.

Grade: A

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

READING IS SO DELICIOUS! TEEN SUMMER READING PROGRAM!

READING IS SO DELICIOUS!



When you think of summer, you think of BBQ, 4th of july, and so many other things. How about participating in the Teen Summer Reading Club: READING IS SO DELICIOUS! How cool does that sound? Let me explain. Teens, that are between the ages 12-18, can sign up for this. And it's so simple! I will explain in the next paragraph!

 

All you have to do is come to the library, go down the stairs in the Teen section, talk to a Liberian down there, and sign up! So simple! You will get a log that you will have to fill in. And the log is so easy! It's only 4 slots, you only have to read or listen to 3 books! Only 3! No matter the length. The 4th slot, is a special slot. It's a Wild Card! That means you can put down a magazine you read, volunteer at the library, and so on! The list is endless! Another great thing about this program is the prizes.

 

 

Once you sign up, you will get a fortune cookie that will have a cool message on the inside. Your cookie might have a fortune saying "you won a special prize!" If so, head to the library and they will give you a gift card to a hot dog place for a free hot dog! But that's not all! After you turn in your first log, you will get a insulated cold cup. You can fill it with pop, water, or your favorite instant tea. But that's not all.


For every log you turn in, you will be entered in a weekly giveaway for cool gift-cards. Such as Culvers, Starbucks, and Dunkin Doughnuts. Along with so many others. The more logs you complete, the better chance of winning. At the end of the summer, there will be a drawing for a very nice prize. A brand new I pod touch! How cool is that?!


However, the thing ends August 31st. So you better come to the library and sign up. Trust me, you won't regret it.

 

 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Ghost Train to the Eastern Star" by Paul Theroux


This book is a non-fiction, travelogue about acclaimed travel writer Paul Theroux retracing the steps of his first successful travelogue “The Great Railway Bazaar”. While that book was light, eccentric, and filled with joie de vivre, this book is an entirely different animal. He views the places he visits with a kind of venom, and cynicism that comes with 40 years of travel experience. While he has often caught flak for the sardonic, self-deprecating tone of is later works, I actually prefer these. His prose boils and bubbles with sarcasm throughout, and he is the most entertaining when he’s petulantly complaining about something. The book lags when he visits places like India, which he seems more cynically bemused by, and Turkey, a place he doesn’t seem to cast his usual jaundiced eye on. But these are minor quibbles. As a whole, this book is highly entertaining, and I was enthralled by the state of modern Europe and Asia told through the uniquely cantankerous eyes of Paul Theroux.
Grade: A-

"Hate List" by Jennifer Brown



This book is about a girl named Valerie Leftman whose boyfriend commits a gruesome school shooting. What followed was the terrible fallout from that event. While it’s a well written book, it is painful even to read the opening chapters. You see the disintegration of Valerie’s personal life, her discrediting, and deep depression. To read of Valerie’s plight can be often very jarring, and quite disheartening. This doesn’t make this book a bad one. In fact, these gut-wrenching scenes are filled with compassion for Valerie’s troubles, but never sentimentality. I suppose it was to depict the harsh reality of school shootings. This book, for all its dark, depressing episodes, is lightened by the gallows humor of Valerie’s first person narration, but the eventual heartbreaking conclusion will leave readers feeling empty.

Grade: B

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa
Hardcover, 485 pages
Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Source: Netgalley
In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for. – Goodreads
My opinion: Julie Kagawa was amazing at faeries and now I am proud to say she is amazing at vampires. I could not put the book down. Allison was a great character and Zeke was awesome too. Allie was my favorite character not just because she was the main character but her personality and how she feels responsible for others in a world where caring about others could mean your death. Just like when she took care of Stick and the betrayal in the end, she still had enough courage and trust to open herself up a little. My second favorite was Kanin. Although, he is a vampire, he isn’t like the others and basically told her to make her choice of who she wanted to be.
 
The plot was easy to follow and kept you consuming the book wondering what was going to happen next. Allie kept surprising me what she could do and what she was willing to do for her “food.” The rabids were kinda cool too. They sort of reminded me of the zombies in I Am Legend, without them actually being like the zombies. They both had that mindlessness where all they were concerned about was the food. I loved how they pop out of the ground. That was very different and cool actually. It makes the reader experience the adrenaline that the characters are going through so that they are also wondering if Allie or Zeke or someone else is stepping on a Rabid sleeping and they are just going to pop out and eat them.
 
I liked that story. I liked the action. I liked the characters. I liked the plot. There was absolutely nothing that I didn’t like. I can’t wait for the next in the series and that is going to be next year probably.
Over all: 5+ out of 5

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Write Me A Vision: Inheritance, By Christopher Paolini

Write Me A Vision: Inheritance, By Christopher Paolini: Summary: If you have not read the books before Inheritance, I would suggest reading in order Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr before picking up...

This is my best friend's review. Please click the link and read it :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This is a book based off of fairy tales, a very specific one to be exact. If you haven't guessed yet then you haven't seen all of the Disney movies. Cinder = Cinderella? I thought it would just be a modern twist on things like they always do now-a-days.

This has a completely different twist! I don't know how I didn't guessed when I started reading it, maybe I was just starved for books to read.

This story is a sci-fi Cinderella story. But anyways, this book is about the future, a cyborg orphan who lives with her stepmother, feels truly lonely in the world. She lives in a world that depends on technology, and is ruled by royalty. Where the Lunar people watch from above, waiting for their next move. She runs a shop in the market, she is a mechanic, a repair-your-technology mechanic, not the car one.

Cinder lives in New Beijing, where the "blue disease thrives". Cinder's world comes crashing around her as she try to survive in a world where she is an outcast, in many ways, some which she doesn't know. Cinder is now stuck in the middle of things, whether she likes it or not.

This is book one is the Lunar Chronicles.

I think there are about four books, she lists them in Cinder.

You seriously need to read this, I don't care if you're a girl or a boy, teenager or an adult. You need to read this!

P.S If you haven't gotten the hint, this is my new favorite book :D

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Fairy Tales by Jan Pienkowski

I was at the library yesterday, and I was interested in fairy tales. Now I am not talking about "Beastly" or anything of that sort! I am talking about fairy tales that were told when we were younger. Now, nowadays, people who remake the fairy tales for younger kids, they sugarcoat them. I mean, for example, Disney's "Snow White". They say that she fell to the poison apple. In the true story, Snow White died 2 times then the apple came along. And this book, is actually stories from The Grimm Brothers. So we already know it's the real deal. Besides this, the book is beautifully pictured and it's 185 pages. It also shows how creepy and scary these fairy tales are. I would buy this book, and it's rare that I would buy a book. Plus it's a good read if you want to just relax from school or homework. And I thank Miss Mary for helping me find this book.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Audition By Stasia Kehoe


Book or Movie Title:
Audition
Author:
Stasia Kehoe
Type:
Fiction
Review:
This is the book narrated by a newly found ballerina named Sara that\'s on a rare and very much wanted by many girls scholarship to a highly approved dancing school. The problem is that her parent are paycheck to paycheck already and she has to move to a big city to go to her dream school. She lives as a border in one of the teacher\'s homes. She also falls in love with her classmate/teacher that\'s older than her. She\'s confused and she tells her story with her new found passion, writing. The book is written completely in verse, so it\'s a toned down version of Ellen Hopkins. (P.S Who has reviewed the book and really likes it!)
Rating:
4

Willow by Julia Hoban

Seven months ago, Willow, a girl with only a driver's permit, on a rainy March night, was responsible for driving home her drunk parents. But they never made it, Willow lost control of the car, and both her parents died in that accident. Willow is now seventeen years old, and she's living with her older brother, sister-in-law, and her 6-month-old niece. Ever since the accident, her brother can barely speak to her in a full conversation. Leaving her parents home, her friends, her school all behind. Willow has found a way to torture herself that she's the one that killed her parents- without anyone knowing that she's cutting herself  except Guy, a boy that is sensitive as she is. When Guy finds out about Willow's secret, he wants to pull her out of her numb, and torturing world she created for herself. Guy wants to know why she is doing all this, she told him she is doing this because she realized two things. The first is that the emotional pain was going away, it wasn't going to consume her. And the second was that she was stabbing herself, really attacking herself with a screwdriver, a razor, or even a stash and that the physical pain that she was causing for herself was better than the drug they gave to her in the hospital. That pain, that physical pain

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Tessa has terminal cancer so she makes a list of what she wants to do before she dies. She is really scared at first but she does the first thing on the list and then goes on to the second.  All of them are really dangerous. She just doesn't want to stay wrapped up in a blanket, rest and wait to die. She wants to break rules, to drink, to have fun and to fall in love. Get ready with your handkerchief becuase this sad tearjerker story celebrates  what it is to be alive by confronting what it is really like to die.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Beauty Queens


This book is officially my favorite book, it has girly, romance, humor, and action. All in one! They have that kind of Hunger Games Capital Feel to it though for the Corporation which made you feel like someone was always watching you. There are fifty girls on the plane going to one single place to get judged by beauty, talent, and smarts and one of them to be crowned Miss Teen Dream. They all crash land on a deserted island. Can you imagine what could happen next?