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The Hobbit

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Bilbo Baggins is a reasonably typical hobbit: fond of sleeping, eating, drinking, parties and presents. However, it is his destiny to travel to the dwarflands in the east, to help slay the dragon Smaug. His quest takes him through enchanted forests, spiders’ lairs, and under the Misty Mountains, where he comes across the vile Gollum, and tricks him out of his ‘Precious’ – a ring that makes its bearer invisible, and wields a terrible power of its own.

The Hobbit

  1. Story  – Getting Into It (6) This is more of a children’s book and seems a little slow at times, especially since I already had a good feel for Tolkien’s world thanks to The Lord of the Rings.  
  2. Story – Staying Interested (7) It is a really short novel and there is plenty of excitement to keep you interested.
  3. Story – Finish (8) The book finished well and sets up The Lord of the Rings well. It just felt a little rushed at the end for me.
  4. Characters (7) Bilbo is a good lead character to get behind. I like the lesser characters but they lack depth with how many dwarves there are that all seem too similar.
  5. Writing (6) Tolkien creates a wonderful world that I love to get lost in. I have read several of his works and sometimes they feel like reading ecyclopedias but I love the world he created and all the history that goes with it.  

Overall a 34/50 or 3.5 rating from me. I decided to get this review out since a movie is coming out so soon. This is a great story for those who enjoyed The Lord of the Rings.  I loved what Peter Jackson did with The Lord of the Rings and it makes me really excited to see the Hobbit on Dec 14. I usually complain when too much gets cut out of movie adaptations so I won’t complain about it getting split  into three movies. As long as they use it to add some depth to characters and plot because I can see three segments to this book.

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Warm Bodies

October 31, 2012 Leave a comment

R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories,no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

 Warm Bodies

  1. Story  – Getting Into It (7) Considering this book takes place within the head of a zombie I was it did not take to long to get into this one.
  2. Story – Staying Interested (7) This is an interesting twist on zombies that I enjoyed.  I was only put off by some of the things the author tried writing about.
  3. Story – Finish (7) The book finished well and I would be interested in reading the planned sequel. Still not sure if I will though.
  4. Characters (7) I really like the main character R and the minor characters. But the main female lead is a low self-esteem slut that makes it hard for you to not want R to eat her.
  5. Writing (3) Isaac Marion is one of the worst authors I have ever read when it comes to how he  tries to get his message across. Either he is stupid or he thinks his readers are. I understand the zombies can’t speak well and have small vocabularies that leads them to swear a ton. But in order to get the idea that the lead female tries to act tough (by swearing enough to make a sailor blush) but is really softy inside with self-esteem issues (by having her be slutty enough I would not want to touch her with a pole). Add in the fact that the zombies which are supposed to have no strong desires except to occasionally eat brains seem to be sex addicts said to get naked and rub against each other and watch porn. Marion has the potential to be a good author but I don’t know why he went this way to get his message across.

Overall a 31/50 or 3.0 rating from me. I decided to get this review out today for Halloween and since a movie is coming out in a few months. This is a really interesting story that I really enjoyed at times. I only wish Marion did not feel the need to push things that did not need to be in there. I don’t know if he did it for shock value or what but this is a story I probably would have read in one sitting that turned into a grueling week where I wanted to read what happened next but would get annoyed enough to keep putting the book down.  I’m actually really interested in the movie because I think the script will turn out better than Marion’s own words.

Shadow and Bone

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

  1. Story  – Getting Into It (6) I don’t have a Russian background and this is a strange almost fairytale type world. Add the two together and it took a little longer than I hoped to get into this one.
  2. Story – Staying Interested (7) The story is interesting and I enjoyed it. The only problem is that it was really predictable to guess what would happen next. I like surprises but everything here screamed predictability.
  3. Story – Finish (7) It ended well and I will be interested to see how the story progresses.
  4. Characters (6) Stupid main characters drive me crazy and when the book is so predictable I assume the main character must be dumber than me if they could not see it coming. The characters are fine but I don’t love any of them. Some of the minor characters were actually my favorites and I’m interested to find out what happened to them.
  5. Writing (8) Bardugo writes a good story that is easy enough to follow even though it has strange Russian references to me. Her only drawback is the predictability.

Overall a 34/50 or 3.5 rating from me. Leigh Bardugo has written a good story and I will be excited to read the next installments.  Other readers may enjoy this book even more than I did, perhaps I was just really lucky at guessing what would happen and others would not be annoyed at predictability.

The Host

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining “wild” humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Wanderer probes Melanie’s thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer’s mind with visions of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.

 The Host (The Host, #1)

  1. Story  – Getting Into It (6) Harder to get into than Twilight due to an  alien being the main character.
  2. Story – Staying Interested (8) Once I got into The Host it was a more enjoyable read than Twilight.
  3. Story – Finish (8) The book ends on a little bit of a cliffhanger to show the possibilities of a sequel and left me wanting more. I’ve been hoping for a sequel since then and it looks like it finally is happening.
  4. Characters (7) Some different characters than other stories I read having an alien as the main character. I liked many of the characters but I don’t think I felt strongly one way or another about any of them.
  5. Writing (9) People may be hard on Stephenie Meyer but she does a good job of keeping a reader engaged and does not do anything to break that by being overly descriptive or trying to act too smart.

Overall a 38/50 or 4.0 rating from me. Stephenie Meyer does a good job with this book and left me wanting more. I feel she improved from her Twilight Series as an author and though people may question her and how this story may have been a bit of a rip off but I still really enjoyed it.

The Maze Runner Trilogy

October 5, 2012 Leave a comment

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

  1. Story  – Getting Into It (7) An interesting tale and something completely different than anything else I had ever read. Interesting concept: waking up in a strange place not knowing anything but your name,
  2. Story – Staying Interested (8) The excitement builds up and the books are action packed. Each book was slightly worse for me but I really, really enjoyed the first two.
  3. Story – Finish (7) The third book had a different feel and lost the thrill of the first two.  The ending was still good but I lost too much interest by the end of The Death Cure for this to be a top trilogy to me.
  4. Characters (7) I really liked some of the characters in the trilogy, actually a bunch of them but the main character Thomas bugged me at times.
  5. Writing (8) James Dashner writes and exciting adventure and describes it well. His main flaw is saying that all the characters are supposed to be really smart (like geniuses) but it takes them way longer to figure things out than me, so how smart can they be.

Overall a 37/50 or 3.5 rating from me. A really exciting, action packed, trilogy that I really enjoyed.  The story kind of loses itself trying to get too big by the end and the Thomas the main character can be annoying but overall still a good book.

Princess Academy Series

October 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

Princess Academy (Princess Academy, #1)Palace of Stone (Princess Academy #2)  

  1. Story  – Getting Into It (7) This is obviously a book for girls and I as a 20 something year old male had low hopes for this but my wife read it, we owned it, so I read it. Surprisingly, I was able to get into it.  I like the mountain feel of the story and the medieval type setting.
  2. Story – Staying Interested (7) The training at the academy really kept me interested, yes I would like there to be more male characters but I finished the first book and was ready to read the second.
  3. Story – Finish (5) The first book ended well enough but the second book had me so annoyed half way through with how the main character behaved that I almost gave up on it. She makes changes and things get better but it did not feel sincere. Also the stories get really predictable with the overuse of foreshadowing.
  4. Characters (6) Some of the minor characters are interesting and I liked Miri in the first book but I don’t know if she changed or if I just got annoyed with her. I don’t understand how someone who is supposed to be smart can seem so dumb.
  5. Writing (9) Shannon Hale actually does a wonderful job with these stories. She describes well but not too much. She has a good flow and miraculously keeps me interested in a series called PrincessAcademy.

Overall a 34/50 or 3.5 rating from me. Shannon Hale does a great job and an interesting take of a world similar to our own but different with a medieval feel to it. A lot to like but I just want more consistency with who people are smart person should not act so dumb and a dumb one should not act so smart. But I guess that is life.

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The Leviathan Trilogy

October 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

  1. Story  – Getting Into It (7) I had never read steam punk before this, so it was a little weird for me to get into but I love history and I love how this tried to look like a ya novel from the early 1900’s.
  2. Story – Staying Interested (8) This is a good story once you get into it and leaves you anticipating the finish, not quite like Harry Potter or Hunger Games but  the anticipation is there.
  3. Story – Finish (10) This trilogy had one of the best ending I have ever read. It did not tie everything exactly up with a perfect bow like Twilight but it also did not anger/frustrate me like Hunger Games/Maze Runner/many other series.
  4. Characters (7) The characters are likeable and you route for them to make in a world that seems like could crush them at any minute.
  5. Writing (8) I can read Westerfeld’s writing pretty well. I read the Uglies Trilogy first and did not really care for it but liked his writing style enough to pick this one up and I’m glad I did.

Overall a 40/50 or 4.0 rating from me. A good introduction for me to the Steam Punk genre but also a good story with a good plot. Not exactly loaded with romance for some ladies but it is still there and I highly recommend this book.

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