Thursday, 29 November 2012

Reached - Ally Condie (2012)

3.5 stars

I was pretty interested to see how this series was going to end, and although it wasn't what I expected, I found it really hard to put down and ended up reading till 1am finishing it.

I still think the best book in the series was probably Matched, however Crossed and Reached  were both good continuations for the characters, but not as much for the storyline. I think they were more like three serparate stories set in the same universe with the same characters than one big story arc. I really enjoyed reading from Xander's perspective in this book, especially comparing his feelings for Cassia with Ky's. My favourite characters in this book were Anna and Lei, Anna was really nice and an excellent leader figure that wasn't corrupt, she seemed unimportant but I liked how prominent she became. Lei was really lovely, and when I found out who she really was I was completely shocked and didn't see it coming at all. I would recommend this series to any dystopian fans.

The book starts with all three characters being part of the rising and recognizing that the takeover is starting. This means that the plague, which the society can't cure, has become widespread and the rising are the only people with the cure. However after a while the plague mutates and many people are falling into comas and some even dying as they no longer have a cure. The Pilot takes Ky, Xander and Cassia to the stone villages to discover the cure as the people there are immune and on the way Ky falls ill and goes into a coma. Cassia works out the right ingredient and her and Xander save Ky and get the Pilot to administer the cure to everyone once they find enough of the ingredient. The novel ends with Xander and Lei together in the stone villages and Ky and Cassia together and happy and casting their vote for who should be incharge now, Anna, the Rising, or the Society.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky (1999)

3 stars

I borrowed this off my sister because I have heard a lot of good things about it. It reminds me a lot of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 which was a best-seller in the early 80s. This story is a diary entry to the reader telling the life story of a 15-year-old boy who is a little different.

Like ClareBear I read this very quickly, I started it late last night and polished it off as soon as I got up this morning. I tried to stop and place my bookmark but I couldn't find a spot where my interest was lost. I recommend this book to anyone. It has a lot of late 90s pop culture references which gives you a bit of insight into how much the world has changed. Also a movie is coming out (starring Emma Watson and Mike from Friends), so have a look at the trailer - which I personally think looks pretty great.

ClareBear has beat me to reading this one, look at her summary!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Rise of Nine - Pittacus Lore (2012)

4 stars

I borrowed this off Clare because I really like this series - and I was not disappointed, this book was much better than I expected. I also did a little bit of research  on the series in the hope of finding a release date for the next book, to no avail. I did learn that there are meant to be a total of six books in the series. Pittacus Lore is supposed to be Lorien's elder who is on Earth - but it is actually the pseudonym for the two authors, James Frey and Jobie Hughes.

James Frey formed a publishing company designed to create highly commerical books like Twilight. Allegedly, the company abuses MFA students for ideas and holds them to contracts where they are given very little money for their work. Jobie Hughes is a MFA students and he has been removed from the series and was not involved in the writing of The Rise of Nine.

Besides the fact I feel a little conned for reading and loving a book specifically designed for commerical success,  I do recommend this series. It's hard to put down and is a nice change of pace for the YA fiction genre.

Quintana of Charyn - Melina Marchetta (2012)

4.5 stars

I bought this book after reading the past two in the trilogy and needing to know what happened to Phaedra, because I love her.

It has been a long time since I read the first book in this series, Finnikin of the Rock, but I think this book is my favourite in the series. I really liked the world the series is set in, and how the political situation is important to the plot, but not the main storyline of the series. As shown by her other books, Melina Marchetta can write like the best of them, and in this book she makes me interested in the fate of Skulendore and all it's countries and provinces, which probably would have bored and disengaged me if it was written by anyone else. I tried to pick my favourite character in this book but it was too hard, I really loved a lot of the characters and grew to love some of the ones I didn't. A couple of the best ones in my opinion would probably be; Phaedra, who can kick some ass when she needs to, Perri, who developed a really nice sensitive side in this book, Quintana, who also developed her sensitive side, and Finnikin, whose character had a step up in this book compared to the last one which made me remember why the first book in the series is about him. This is an awesome fantasy series that I would reccommend to anyone who likes the magic, curses, kingdoms and rulers drama.

This book starts a couple weeks after Froi was attacked and Quintana hid away with Phaedra and the other girls. Froi is being looked after by Arjuro and soon leaves to go find Garagrin and Lirah, which he does, however when he finds them Finnikin is about to kill Gargarin. Froi convinces them to let him go and explains what has happened to him in Charyn, Finnikin, Trevanion and Perri then leave him to bring the news to Lumatere. De Lancey then approaches Gargarin and tells him they want him to be the King's regent once he's born, but Lirah can't live in the palace so Gargarin gets angry and leaves, but they threaten Arjuro and Froi goes to save him. Once together, Gargarin, Lirah, Froi and Arjuro decide to go to the Lasconian camp to use their army to save Quintana, once there they discover Bestiano's army is camped just across from them keeping watch. Soon the Turlans come to the camp to join forces as they want to help Quintana, and De Lancey and his army, who says that he has another massive army training in Desantos as the plague there is merely a rumour. Lirah then realises that Phaedra died of a plague that never existed, and realizes that Quintana would trust her because Froi did, their army then attacks Nebia's army and Froi goes to kill Bestiano. However Froi decides to hurt Bestiano first and his guards return and try to kill Froi, however Dorcas suffocates Bestiano instead. Meanwhile, Quintana and the girls were betrayed by Ginny, who told her husband Gies where they were and he and Donashe capture them and put them in a cave near the top of the valley. Everyone realizes that Bestiano's order was to kill Quintana once the baby was born so when Quintana goes into labour the girls put a peice of wood in her mouth to keep her form making any sounds to alert the guards. Nebia's army joins forces with the turlans, lasconians and De Lancey's men and they go to save Quintana. Isaboe gives birth to a stillborn boy, but tells everyone that he told her to go down to the valley, so she does and goes into the cave where Quintana's giving birth. They then tell the guards that Isaboe's gone into labour so she can take the little King to safety and Quintana can live till the army arrives. Once the army comes, Froi cries when he sees Quintana and the baby but he is told to stay in Lumatere until Gargarin writes. After six months, Quintana's consort is being chosen by the Provincari and Lord August and Lady Abain present Froi as their son and promise peace with Lumatere as their dowry, Froi is chosen and he and Quintana get to live together with their son.

Friday, 16 November 2012

A Clash of Kings - George R.R Martin (1999)

4 stars

I bought this the day I finished A Game of Thrones. It won the 1999 Locus award for best fantasy novel and the 2004 Ignotus award for best novel. In this book, two new narrating characters are introduced - Theon and Davos. And Theon's perspective is very interesting.

Just like A Game of Thrones, I highly recommend it. It is advertised as the height of modern fantasy, and that it certainly is. It is very long, but not boring. Instead of boring, it is engaging and has many cliffhangers that kept me reading long after I should have been asleep. I also recommend the TV series, it sticks surprisingly well to the original plot and the confusing parts are are a lot clearer in visual form.

(summaries of the narrating characters adventures)
Tyrion acts as the Hand to the King in place of his father. He continues his relationship with the whore Shae and does his best to improve the kingdom. He is badly injured in the battle between Stannis and Joffrey - of which Joffrey wins.

Catelyn helps Robb by negotiating with Walder Frey and betrothing Robb to one of Frey's daughters in exchange for passage. She also tries to negotiate with Renly and Stannis unsuccessfully. She is present when Renly is killed, and is rumoured to be his murderer. She learns that Winterfell is taken by Prince Theon Greyjoy and he has killed her sons Bran and Rickon.

Davos is sent by Stannis to take his ships and Stannis' men to King's Landing to fight in the battle against Joffrey.

Sansa is abused by Joffrey, but Ser Davos promises he will help her escape. The betrothal is broken when Joffrey agrees to marry Margaery Martell.

Arya is taken by Yoren and he says he will take her to Winterfell on his way to the Wall with the men. She pretends to be a boy. The group is caught and Yoren is killed and no one knows Arya's identity. She saves a man's life. Arya is kept as a slave, but the man she saved promises three lives in return. She gets him to kill tow and then save some prisoners. She is then taken as a cupbearer, but on learning she is getting a new master, she runs away with tow of the men intended for the Wall.

Bran remains a cripple and has to act as Lord of Winterfell in Robb's absence. Maester Luwin counsels him. When Winterfell is taken by Theon - Bran, Rickon, Meera, Jojen and Osha hide in the crypts.

Jon ventures outside the Wall with the Night's Watch. They hear more talk of whitewalkers. On watch they come across wildlings and kill them, but Jon allows his captive to yield. Later, the Night's Watch are left with no options but to flee and Jon (as commanded) yields to the wildlings while the rest of the Watch flees.

Theon goes back to the Iron Island only to find his father doesn't trust him and has appointed his sister as heir. Theon is given a small area to conquer, but instead he goes after Winterfell. He does not have enough men to hold it and struggles, and pretends to kill Bran and Rickon. He kills Ser Rodrik and others and manages to hold the castle.

Daenerys travels along desert with her khalasar. It is revealed that Ser Jorah has feelings for her. She gets to Qarth, and goes into a spirited house that gives her much to think about. They only want her dragons so she travels to the ports. There she finds that Magister Illyrio has sent ships to take her, her dragons and her khalasar back to him.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Across the Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn (2002)

2 stars

I had to read this book for English. I'm not a huge fan of it, but it was fairly easy to read. It is loosely set in feudal Japan, utilising customs, places and names. Lian Hearn is a psuedonym for the children's author and playwright Gillian Rubenstein.

It won the 2004 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, which is a German award for outstanding children's literature. I really like Kaede's perspective in the book, a typical damsel in distress who is used as a pawn. It was really interesting and her character was thoroughly explored. The ending is surprising which made me appreciate it just that little bit more.

Yay for ClareBear's wonderful summary!