Monday, November 17, 2014

Afterworlds: Review

Author: Scott Westerfeld
Age range: 12-18
Content: Mild sexual content, moderate romance, mild language, moderate violence
Genre: Teen Fiction / Teen Fantasy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 608
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

Darcy Patel has put everything on hold to publish her first teen novel, Afterworlds. After arriving in New York with no apartment or friends, she questions whether she made the right decision. Until she finds a group of seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wing. 
Told in an alternating chapters in Darcy's novel, a suspenseful story about teenager, Lizzie, who slips into the "Afterworld" to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and dead and as Lizzie floats back and forth between the two worlds, she discovers that many unsolved and terrifying stories need to be recoiled. 

Happy November! 
Whew, it's been a while, hasn't it? Before I start my review, let's have a little bit of a catch up. So if you're only interested in my thoughts on the book, I suggest you skip to the next paragraph. Firstly, I'm 16 now. I've officially been 16 for 16 days. (Totally did not do that on purpose... sure.) I've also started working as a cashier at a cafe/bakery. So that kind of monopolized a huge chunk of my time. School, as well. That's quite important. Things have just gotten... not a lot busier. But definitely considerably busier. I'm going to try to keep up with five posts a month, but, as you can tell, I'm already slacking. I've found it's not writing the reviews that I'm having trouble with. It's finding time to read five books. So maybe I'll do more non-review posts or go down to three posts a month or something. I don't know. We'll see.

I've read a few other books by Scott Westerfeld. Like Peeps (which I just realized I never reviewed, even though I read it literally last year. Good one.) He's also the author of the Uglies series (which I have not read) and the Leviathan books (which I have also not read). Although I haven't read much of his work, I've heard amazing things about it. My point in telling you this, is that I went into this with very high hopes. I was expecting this book to be killer. And, well, it was not.

I mean, I liked the concept of a teen author writing a teen book and then having the narrative flipping from the actual story to the teen author's story. It was like two books in one, which was kind of cool, I guess. A little hokey, but cool. Honestly, both stories were so crappily written, it was disappointing. Both of them seemed like rough drafts written by a teenage girl. I feel like it wasn't quite finished.

It was mostly the dialog that irritated me. It was so juvenile and cheesy. Which surprised me, because I remember thinking how funny and sharp the dialog in Peeps was. I wasn't a huge fan of the characters in this one either. They were kind of one-dimensional and run-of-the-mill. Darcy didn't develop very much. Lizzie just kissed Yama a lot. The two romances, I felt, were shallow and happened very abruptly. There wasn't very much hesitation for Lizzie or Darcy, just a lot of kissing. The Afterworlds thing with the Hindu gods and stuff was cool, but I feel like it could have been executed better and the plot could have been more complicated. I don't know. The whole thing could've been so much better. The writing in this book was absolutely nothing like the writing in Peeps. Like if I didn't conscientiously know that the same guy wrote both books, I never would have guessed on my own. They're so different from each other. Afterworlds being remarkably crappier. 

Overall, I did not like this book. It might be suitable for younger, greener readers who want to conquer a huge book or something. But it just didn't float my boat and I won't be reading it again. 

Okay. I think that's all. I'll be back eventually with a post that may or may not be a review. Happy fall. Happy winter. Happy whatever. Bye.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I'm a halloweenie...

 ... because I didn't read enough books for this month. Sorry, sorry. Don't kill me. 
But here's cute pumpkin gif in place of a review. Enjoy.
Happy Halloween, everyone. Eat loads of candy.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2): Review

Author: Rick Yancey
Age range: 13-17
Content: Mild romance, no sexual content, moderate language, high violence
Genre: Teen Science Fiction / Teen Action and Adventure
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 320
 Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world in which the fundamental trust is no longer enough to bind them together. As the 5th wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, Ringer, and Evan are forced to confront the Other's ultimate goal.

I literally just reviewed the first book, like, yesterday or something. Which you can reach here. It was fairly lengthy and most of my thoughts on this book are similar to my thoughts on the first book. So today's review will be shorter, sweeter, and much more to the point.

Second books are usually my favorites of series. This one is no exception. I liked it better than the first. It seemed shorter and easier to read because it was devoid of droney backstory. The narratives were different. Rick Yancey added in Ringer's perspective to the mix which I thought was a nice change. And a lot of new characters were introduced. Mostly because a butt-load of characters died, but the new characters were still good characters.

Honestly, just go read my review of the first book. I rambled long enough about the book and who I recommend it to. I realize this post is kind of a crapshoot and I'm sorry about that. But hey, it happens sometimes. So I'm going to go. Happy 4th post of October. Byeeeeeeeeee. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1): Review

Author: Rick Yancey
Age range: 13-17
Content: Mild romance, no sexual content, moderate language, high violence
Genre: Teen Science Fiction / Teen Action and Adventure
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 480
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

After the 1st wave only darkness remains. After the 2nd only the lucky survive. After the 3rd the unlucky survive. Then after the 4th, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now it's the dawn of the 5th wave. On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie Sullivan runs from Them, the beings who only look human and roam the countryside killing everyone they see, scattering Earth's last survivors. Cassie believes that being alone keeps her alive. Until she meets Evan Walker who has a pretty human face, but unknown underneath. Nurturing and mysterious, Evan could be Cassie's only hope to carry out her promise to the one person who still matters to her, her baby brother. Cassie now must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between getting up and giving up, between life and death.

I read this a considerable amount of time ago. I've actually read this twice, both times being months apart and the most recent time being months ago. I've even read the sequel, The Infinite Sea. My reason for not reviewing immediately following my first or second time reading it, is not very good. For some reason, I got it in my head that I had reviewed this already. I don't know why. But I finished the second book a few days ago and then I went to review that one. And then I was like holy what I haven't even reviewed the first one. What is wrong with me? So here I am, delivering my third review for this month on a book that should have been reviewed a very long time ago. You're welcome.

I haven't read a lot of books by Rick Yancey. (I read half of The Monstrumologist. Ha.) I never considered him a well-known author among YA novels, but apparently he is. I say this because when I went through the customer reviews on B&N, a lot of people were saying that this book is only popular because of Rick Yancey's loyal fans and that it's not an actual good piece of literature. I don't know if that's true. I didn't finish The Monstrumologist so I don't consider myself a fan of Rick Yancey nor do I see myself liking this book solely because of Yancey. He's no John Green, let me just say that.

Although, it will probably never make my list of most revolutionary, mind-blowing books, I enjoyed reading this. I've read my fair few of books that take place in post-apocalyptic, end of life on earth, "fight to survive" worlds and The 5th Wave is one of the better ones. It's really easy to screw up post-apocalyptic storylines and create a lot of holes because no one's ever lived in a post-apocalyptic world. Yancey couldn't write from experience which, to me at least, makes it all the more impressive.

The writing was pretty good. Not terrible. Not amazing. I appreciate good, snarky dialog between characters that's slyly slipped into serious do-or-die conversations. It's always my favorite part of books like this and I think Yancey did a top notch job with his witty teen banter. Good dialog always brings that extra bit of life to the characters. Who were, indeed, good characters to begin with.

I related a lot to Cassie and I thought she was a really funny, strong female character. I loved how she was two different people before and after the alien invasion or whatever. Pre-invasion Cassie was actually pretty annoying. Post-invasion Cassie was kickass. I liked Zombie, Evan, Ringer, and Sam, too. I liked how the narrative flipped back and forth between Cassie, Zombie, and, I think, Evan (in third person, though, for some reason). All the characters were great. They carried the story.

One of the things I didn't like was the droney way the author explained the first four "waves." Even after reading it twice, I'm still hazy on what exactly happened. I think it would be a good idea for Ricky Yancey to go back and write a prequel going over the events that happened when the invasion first started. I'd totally read it.

I recommend this to people who like stuff like The Hunger Games, Legend, Divergent, and The Chemical Gardens. All of those are very similar to The 5th Wave. A lot bit better than decent, science fiction, YA novels. I know them very well.

All in all, I liked The 5th Wave. It's a good read, so much so that a movie's being made of it, starring Chloe Grace Mortez. I'm really excited for it. I think it'll look really cool on the big screen and Chloe Grace Mortez will be an awesome Cassie. I loved her in the Carrie remake.

Okay. End of review. Hope this was helpful and interesting as always and I will be back fairly soon. Bye.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thinner: Review

Author: Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)
Age range: 18 & up
Content: Moderate romance, moderate sexual content, high language, moderate violence
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pages: 320
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

Billy Halleck is fifty pounds overweight and, as his doctor keeps reminding him, on his way to heart attack territory. But he has a caring family, an expensive home, and a successful career as a lawyer. He is both a beneficiary and a victim of the American Good Life. Then, in a moment of carelessness, Billy sideswipes an old gypsy woman as she's crossing the street, and her ancient father passes a bizarre and terrible judgment on him. Caressing Billy Halleck's cheek like a lover, the gypsy whispers, "Thinner." Six weeks later and ninety pounds lighter, Billy is more than worried. He's terrified and desperate enough to toy with the forces of evil that are melting his flesh away... day by day. 

First off, I'm against authors writing under different names. I don't like it and I don't think it's beneficial to the book, the story, or the writer. Every time a well-known writer writes under a different name, it never goes well. The books never leave a lasting impression. At least, not a good one. Thinner is no exception.

It's sloppy. Billy Halleck was a very confusing and somewhat selfish character. I didn't relate to him, feel sorry for him, or feel encouraged by him. Billy handled his debacle lethargically and selfishly. I could never tell if he felt remorse for killing the gypsy woman or just purely wanted to rid the curse for his own gain (pun totally intended). His relationship with his wife and daughter was confusing, but not in a way that can be played off as endearingly "complicated." I could tell he loved them and wanted to keep them safe. As his curse progressed, the lines got more blurred, but still not blurred enough, I felt. Although, his personality didn't alter much, transitioning from before the curse to after the curse. It just didn't make sense. There was no transformation. King didn't create a character that I wanted to be victorious.

The writing was cloudy. There were a lot of instances when I found myself reading through a lot of crap that added nothing to the story and really slowed down the tempo. The parts that did move the story along were just as offbeat. Matched with the predictable plotline, it was a bitch and a half to read through. It was hard for me to finish this book and hard for me to want to read it. Partly because of the slow pace, but also because I didn't really care if Billy Halleck lived or died in the end.

There was not a lot I liked about this book, but the one thing that stood out to me was the concept. The concept of an once overweight man struggling with losing too much weight was just enough ironic and terrifying and opened up the right amount of questions to be answered throughout the course of the story. I wished King had done more with it.

Surprisingly enough, Thinner has been adapted into an HBO movie (I think). I don't know why, considering it's been receiving bad reviews since its publish in 1984. I can't imagine it being good, so I haven't watched it and I probably won't.

None of the content is particularly high, per se. It is pretty gruesome and twisted. The mental pictures that flooded my mind whilst reading weren't pretty, but the way King described a lot of it was confusing, which, in a way, saved his readers from too graphic of content.

I recommend this if you're a die-hard King fan. I've read a few reviews online written by people who adored this book. Personally, I love his books, but this one just isn't a winner for me. I don't hate it enough to not like King anymore. He's written plenty of stuff that I've loved. Thinner just missed every mark somehow.

I can't believe October is nearly over. It's going to be November next Saturday. How weird is that? I'm kind of glad October went by so fast. It's not my favorite month. Mostly because I don't really like Halloween. Anyway. I hope you found my review helpful and I will be back probably pretty soon. Okay. Bye.