Thursday, January 12, 2012

Open Wounds

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Cid Wymann, a scrappy kid fighting to survive a harsh upbringing in Queens, NY, is a almost a prisoner in his own home. His only escape is sneaking to Times Square to see Errol Flynn movies full of swordplay and duels. He s determined to become a great fencer, but after his family disintegrates, Cid spends five years at an orphanage until his injured war-veteran cousin Lefty arrives from England to claim him. Lefty teaches Cid about acting and stage combat, especially fencing, and introduces him to Nikolai Varvarinski, a brilliant drunken Russian fencing master who trains Cid. By 16, Cid learns to channel his aggression through the harsh discipline of the blade, eventually taking on enemies old and new as he perfects his skills. Evocative of The Book Thief with a dash of Gangs of New York, Open Wounds is the page-turning story of a lost boy s quest to become a man.

My Review: First off, I'd like to apologize for the inactivity on the site lately. Secondly, I'd like to apologize to those who requested we review this book. Now, for the actual review.

This book, can be summed up in about three words: dark, artistic, and hopeful. This book was one of the most amazing debut books I have ever read. Normally, I don't care much for historical fiction, but this book was well worth my time. The characters were real, and the main character, Cid, was deep and wonderfully developed.

To explain the three words I noted above, we will begin with dark. This story is not a happy one, Cid has an abusive father, powerful enemies, and a life full of sorrow. Be warned, while this book is amazingly written, the essence of sorrow is captured in this book. If you can stand the sorrow, then this book will forevermore be adored.

Next, artistic, as noted several times before, this book is very well written, quite the work. Finally, Hopeful. A beautiful ending, and a wonderful message. This book is incredible. If it isn't on your list of books to read, it should be.

My rating:
Note: it's been a while since I read this book, so don't take these ratings too seriously. 
5 stars
Profanity: Mild
Sexuality: None
Violence: Moderate
Drugs and alcohol: Mild

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Death Cure

The Death Cure
By James Dashner

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.

What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

My Review:
The Maze Runner Trilogy is one of my favorite series ever. The Death Cure is the third and final installment in the trilogy, and also one of the best. It manages to keep up the intense pace of the previous books The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials. One of my favorite things is that the book is completely unpredictable. You turn one way and you end up where you started. In The Death Cure, you finally know the answers to all the mysteries. Dashner does an amazing job of keeping you hooked.
In this trilogy, Dashner creates a world on the brink of destruction. The sun was bumped closer to earth, so the world started to overheat, and to make things worse, there is a deadly disease called the flare on the loose. It affects people's brains, making them slowly go crazy. The company, WICKED is having a group of teenagers go through Trials to find a cure to the flare. The books are placed in the future, although it never says when, exactly.
There are interesting twists and turns in the book, all ending with a nice conclusion. I had a very hard time putting the book down, even to eat. I think that anyone who loves a suspenseful, action-adventure book will be addicted to Dashner's series. I highly recommend it.

My Rating:
41/2 Stars
Profanity: Mild
Sexuality: None
Violence: Moderate
Drugs/ Alcohol: None

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Demon King

By Cinda Williams Chima

     When 16-year-old Han Alister and his Clan friend Dancer encounter three underage wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea, he has no idea that this event will precipitate a cascade of disasters that will threaten everything he cares about.
      Han takes an amulet from one of the wizards, Micah Bayar, to prevent him from using it against them. Only later does he learn that it has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. And the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
     Han’s life is complicated enough. He’s the former streetlord of the Raggers—a street gang in the city of Fellsmarch. His street name, Cuffs, comes from the mysterious silver bracelets he’s worn all his life—cuffs that are impossible to take off.
Now Han’s working odd jobs, helping to support his family, and doing his best to leave his old life behind. Events conspire against him, however. When members of a rival gang start dying, Han naturally gets the blame.
      Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battles to fight. As heir to the Gray Wolf throne of the Fells, she’s just spent three years of relative freedom with her father’s family at Demonai Camp—riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Now court life in Fellsmarch pinches like a pair of too-small shoes.
     Wars are raging to the south, and threaten to spread into the high country. After a long period of quiet, the power of the Wizard Council is once again growing. The people of the Fells are starving and close to rebellion. Now more than ever, there’s a need for a strong queen.
But Raisa’s mother Queen Marianna is weak and distracted by the handsome Gavan Bayar, High Wizard of the Fells. Raisa feels like a cage is closing around her—and an arranged marriage and eroded inheritance is the least of it.
     Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. With the help of her friend, the cadet Amon Byrne, she navigates the treacherous Gray Wolf Court, hoping she can unravel the conspiracy coalescing around her before it’s too late.
My review: 
     This book was amazing! I loved it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I bought it before I returned the copy I was borrowing. While not my favorite(The Way of Kings holds that role) this book has definitely earned its place on my shelf.
      The world building in this book is quite well done, creating a world where, just like in reality, history has been broken and scattered. There are regional references(such as calling the northerners savages), and frequent misunderstandings as to perception versus reality. In other words, this world is realistic(other than magic). You see the some of the same flaws in the book's characters as you do in real people and situations.
     The characters in this book are great. you have as the two main characters the stubborn princess(Raisa) and the good thief(Han). Their stories remain seperate except for choice encounters. Each is attached to a faction, the two of which oppose each other. Han to the wizards and Raisa to the Clans. The two however have a common enemy, Raisa due to her faction, and Han due to a personal grievance or two. There is far more depth to each, and to discover more you will simply have to read the book.
     The plot of this book is filled with excitement. You discover things that the characters took for granted, as they go wrong.  It is truly a wonderful book and I highly suggest it to all fantasy lovers. Enjoy!

My rating:
4 1/2 stars
Profanity: None
Sexuality: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Drugs and alcohol: Mild

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Eleventh Plauge

In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving.
In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been
ravaged and two thirds of the population left dead from
a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen
Quinn and his family were among the few that survived
and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of
material to trade for food and other items essential for
survival. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his
father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds
his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too
good to be true, where there are real houses, barbecues,
a school, and even baseball games. Then Stephen meets
strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to
accept things as they are. And when they play a prank
that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing forever.
My review: 
    This book failed expectations horribly. I thought that it was going to be a good book but it wasn't. It was rather lousy. I am surprised that this managed to get published as YA. It's middle grade at best, possibly even younger. There was absolutely no depth to this book. The wold was minimalist, the plot did not twist, it was rather predictable, and the only character of any interest was the grandfather, who coincidentally, was dead by the time the book starts.
     There was no real good/evil definition either. It seemed Hirsch wanted to make an everyone against the protagonist environment, where the protagonist slowly accumulates friends. Instead he ends up with everyone switching around allegiances, and the reader becoming confused as to why there is no real evil to focus on. The antagonist appears twice in the entire book.
     Jeff Hirsch, I'm sorry but your book was not worth reading. Perhaps this book would have been received better had the audience been chosen a little better. I would recommend this to 5-7th graders, but that's about it. If you want a good dystopian, go read Maze Runner, or Divergent.

My rating:
2 stars
Profanity: None
Sexuality: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Drugs and alcohol: Mild

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Synopsis(from front cover of book):
      Ghost is part of an anarcho-punk airboard gang who live to break the rules. And there's a good reason—their world, Saga, has a strict class system enforced by high-tech electronics, armed guards, and a corrupt monarchy.
      But something is changing within saga. Strangers are appearing and disappearing on the streets, like some kind of special effect. Soon ghost and her gang learn the complicated truth. Saga isn't actually a place; it's a sentinent computer game. The strangers are “playing” from their home on New Earth, and access to saga works on them like a drug. The dark queen who rules Saga is trying to enslave the people of new earth by making them saga addicts.
      And she will succeed unless Ghost and her friends—and Erik, from Epic and his friends—figure out how to stop her in time.

My review:
      An enjoyable book with a fascinating world. This is the second book in the series, and while it could nearly stand alone, one of the key variables could not be understood without the book before it. Please note that I think the first book in this series was slightly better. Both books are set in a world in a world. This book is set in the world of saga, which is a sentient computer game set in a future colony in space. 
     Each character is unique and well crafted, the main character being full of feeling and emotion, elation and confusion. Not only are the characters well done, but the plot is a ride, learning and finding things out, finding several peices of the puzzle are missing, and once inserted, they create a very enjoyable tale.
    One thing I disliked about this book was the lack of utilization of technology. Kostick did not fully utilize all his resources in my opinion. I thought his sprinkling of fantasy was perfect, but he lacked true flair while writing science fiction parts of the story. 
     This was a read that should be enjoyed by fantasy and science fiction lovers alike. Go flop on a couch, begin the story in Epic and continue the tale throughout Saga and future worlds. 

My rating:
4 stars
Profanity: None
Sexuality: Mild
Violence: Mild
Drugs and alcohol: Moderate

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Synopsis(from back of book):
      Sixteen-year-old Yara Silva has always known that ghosts walk alongside the living. Her grandma, like the other females in her family, is a Waker, someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. Yara grew up watching her grandmother taunted and scorned for this unusual ability and doesn’t want that to be her future. She has been dreading the day when she too would see ghosts, and is relieved that the usually dominant Waker gene seems to have skipped her, letting her live a normal teenage life. However, all that changes for Yara on her first day at her elite boarding school when she discovers the gene was only lying dormant. She witnesses a dark mist attack Brent, a handsome fellow student, and rushes to his rescue. Her act of heroism draws the mist’s attention, and the dark spirit begins stalking her. Yara finds herself entrenched in a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening not only her life, but the lives of her closest friends as well. Yara soon realizes that the past she was trying to put behind her isn’t going to go quietly.
My review:
     The book starts off fast, with an attack, and moves very quickly, keeping you hooked the whole time.  The plot is very action oriented, written so that you see the book like a movie in your mind.  While the character interactions are a little stereotypical, Woodland more than makes up for it in interesting plot twists and thinking outside the box.  

My rating:
      4 stars
Profanity: very mild
Sexuality: very mild
Violence: mild
Drugs and alcohol: mild