28 October 2011

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

This book didn’t really work for me. It was bugging me from the beginning. The first chapter is nearly all exposition of the lead male’s back story in a very read-out manner, and at the end of the chapter the lead male makes the lead female forget the whole story so we have to read it again in chapter 3. Chapter 2 is a similar exposition dump on the back story of the lead female. There is more of the same exposition stated again and again in the book whenever it comes up again. I can’t tell if the author is reveling in her own cleverness or thinks the reader needs to be told things seven times before they understand them, but it’s very annoying either way. Once you get past the complicated and unnecessarily tangled back plot the story is pretty straightforward and rather frightening. The girl is destined to fall in love with the guy because “he smelled her first”. She realizes she loves him after he punches a guy friend of hers for greeting her with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. His rages and attempts to control her behavior are 'only because he cares about her'. This is not the only issue I had with the book, though. I really couldn’t find an example of a healthy relationship in the whole thing. Even the relationships you think are stable end up being selfish and scarred. Add on the fact that the lead character is “without sin” and presented as perfection incarnate and the whole book really became rather blah. I’ll be passing on the sequel.

26 October 2011

Tankborn by Karen Sandler

Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. GENs are gestated in a tank and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.
When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds secrets and surprises;not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul's great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night.
After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan to save the disappearing children. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, revealing secrets no one is ready to face

I think this is the Young Adult book that the adult science fiction fans have been waiting for. Tankborn is not only an excellent science fiction dystopian, but it shares the hallmarks of classic science fiction: excellent worldbuilding, a scientific foundation, morality that leads to more questions than answers, and a plot that ties them all together. Sandler’s take on class warfare and the solutions to it are interesting as reflections to our modern issues. Her characterization of Kayla is sympathetic and believable. The world of Loka is incredibly detailed, and unlike a lot of modern dystopians, where you feel that the author is making up the world as they need it to advance the plot, with Sandler you get the feeling that there is so much more to Svarga than presented. The plot has great twists that come out of nowhere and yet still seem like reasonable follow-ups to the action that happened before them.

I’m a little more conflicted on the cover, though. While I really want to congratulate the publisher for putting a person of color on the cover, I can’t help but point out that the society in the book is pretty clearly Indian, and conflating African heritage with South-Central Asian is not really helping. People of color have distinct societies and heritages, and making them all a homogenous mish-mash because they’re “NOT WHITE” is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Nonetheless, Tankborn is an excellent book, and should be considered for a Hugo next year for its appeal to readers of all ages.

24 October 2011


For my second giveaway I decided to join the The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is being hosted by Inspired Kathy at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

I am giving away two spooky autographed books!

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater!

I'm also trying out Rafflecopter on this giveaway. I really like it when I've entered contests in other blogs, and I hope you like it too. I will email the winners on Nov 1 and they have 48 hours to reply or I may pick another winner. And, finally, sorry guys, but this contest is limited to US and Canada. I'm still not up to figuring out international shipping.

20 October 2011

Memento Nora by Angie Smibert

Nora, the popular girl and happy consumer, witnesses a horrific bombing on a shopping trip with her mother. In Nora’s near-future world, terrorism is so commonplace that she can pop one little white pill to forget and go on like nothing ever happened. However, when Nora makes her first trip to a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, she learns what her mother, a frequent forgetter, has been frequently forgetting. Nora secretly spits out the pill and holds on to her memories. The memory of the bombing as well as her mother’s secret and her budding awareness of the world outside her little clique make it increasingly difficult for Nora to cope. She turns to two new friends, each with their own reasons to remember, and together they share their experiences with their classmates through an underground comic. They soon learn, though, they can’t get away with remembering.

What happens if people can choose to forget traumatic memories? This book starts with a great premise and only goes up from there. Nora’s mother forgets all the time. Nora, though, is not so sure. When she sees a bombing victim her mother takes her to the clinic to forget, but a schoolmate of Nora’s shows her how to buck the system and remember instead. Nora learns her mother’s horrible secret of why she forgets things so often, and Nora realizes she’s stuck in a world where she can’t trust anything she thought she could. Nora starts making friends with the classmate, and along with another new friend they try to discover the truth about what everyone’s forgetting. I love the development of this dystopian world. The description of it seems rather sparse, but the book is only 184 pages, so there wasn’t a lot of room to put it down. You never really get the impression, though, that the world only exists where the character is, and it feels like there’s always more out there if the book was longer or the author had more time. The plot is a great mystery that the reader can follow along with and guess correctly if they’re insightful enough. I’m not sure you want to take your time with it, though, because the implications in the plot are chilling! If you like books that make you think it’s a great thing. In all Memento Nora was a great short read that you should pick up!

19 October 2011

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

Where to start with such a great book? Tamsin is delightful and her story is great. It flowed well, jumping around like a good mystery but never going overboard. Tamsin is a great character and she seems like any conflicted teenager in a bad situation. I like her reactions to the plot, she is proactive but she doesn’t always have the right answers (which, really, is half the fun!). My only complaint would be the scope of the world. It was a little hard to keep all of the family members straight as well as remember what time period Tamsin is operating in. Perhaps that is because the book didn’t really have any lulls to catch your breath, which is not entirely a bad thing. The action kept coming and I never felt bored or rushed. To be honest, the bare bones of the plot seemed a lot like Holly Black’s Curse Workers books. It doesn’t seem like the same book, though. MacCullough deals with the same premise in a totally different way, so if you liked White Cat I’d recommend this series as well.

18 October 2011

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.


I’m not sure why, but this book is a miss for me. The first problem is with the motivations. I don’t get the Mogadorians or their reasoning behind attacking Lorien, and I don’t get how the Loriens were able to smuggle children and their protectors off the planet. Mostly, though, I don’t get what nine earth children can do against a race of super-soldiers that a whole planet of adults couldn’t figure out. The whole premise seems very off to me. John is not much of a redemption either. His character seems rather flat, and he’s always reacting in a logical, boring manner. His romance of Sarah is almost scary. She is really a cardboard cutout for John to fill with his expectations, and at the end it’s revealed that John has “bonded” with her and she is the only person he will ever love – a heavy thing to put on a teenage girl, imo. The only character I really liked was Henri. The author seems to have thought a lot more about who he is and what he thinks of the world, so he’s a lot more believable as a person. Perhaps the pretentions of the author have a bit to do with things, too. “Pittacus Lore” is an alien elder, and putting him forward as the author of the book seems rather arrogant, and this arrogance kinda extends through the story as well. It’s not very tangible, but there were definitely times I felt the author was saying “Look! Amaze at the cleverness of me!”.

I have to admit that I read the book right before seeing the movie, so the two kinda blended together in my head. I did think that the movie was more choppy than the book, but it did flesh out 6 a lot better than the book, so thank goodness for the trend of injecting a sassy female. Henri suffered, though. The movie makers seemed to take the pretentions of the author and try to cram it as full of explosions as they could manage, whether it made sense or not. In all, I think both the book and the movie are a pass.

17 October 2011

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth. Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers. But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Review of Previous Book in Series: Hex Hall

This review is so hard! I feel as though I’m spoiling anything in “Hex Hall” by even setting up the plot, and I don’t want to spoil you a bit because the books are so good! Ok, I’ll stop with the exclamation points. However, this book is a great sequel, and I really like how it’s a great story with a strong girl making all the calls. Sophie is still as sarcastic as she was in the first book, but she shows vulnerability too. I like that Hawkins is able to blend the two, it makes Sophie seem like a complete person rather than a stereotype character. The Sophie-Archer-Cal love triangle is still going strong, and it has some good twists along the way that tear up both Sophie and the reader. I like how there’s really no clear winner in this problem. I could really see Sophie choosing either boy and being happy with the result (or equally unhappy, depending). That makes the romance so much easier to digest than the typical since it really is a mystery. And, speaking of mystery, this book is a bit more of a cliffhanger than “Hex Hall” and it left me desperate for March 2012 and the final book in the series!

12 October 2011


Apparently I messed with my feedburner account a little too much because it started transferring the feed from this blog to the posts on my costuming blog. So if you've been getting some very strange posts for a book blog I apologize. You may also have been getting no posts, and if this is the case and you're interested you might want to come to my site and read the last few weeks' worth of posts, since I don't know how long this has been going on. So sorry for the inconvenience and I really hope it's fixed now!

Eona by Alison Goodman

Eona Bookplate

Where there is power, there is betrayal…

Once she was Eon, a girl disguised as a boy, risking her life for the chance to become a Dragoneye apprentice. Now she is is Eona, the Mirror Dragoneye, her country’s savior—but she has an even more dangerous secret.

She cannot control her power.

Each time she tries to bond with her Mirror Dragon, she becomes a conduit for the ten spirit dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered by Lord Ido. Their anguish floods through her, twisting her ability into a killing force, destroying the land and its people.

And another force of destruction is on her trail.

Along with Ryko and Lady Dela, Eona is on the run from High Lord Sethon’s army. The renegades must find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona’s power if he is to wrest back his throne from Sethon. But if Eona is to help Kygo, she must drive a dark bargain with an old enemy that could obliterate them all.

This has been a very difficult review to write. I really love Eon. It had great characters, a great plot, and a lot of promise. While the result, Eona, is great, I’m not sure it lived up to the expectations I had in my head. I’m not entirely sure that is Goodman’s fault, though.

A few of my problems with this book were the disconnect with book 1. For all that Eon struggles with his gender identity in book 1, one of my favorite parts of the book, in book 2 it is a non-issue. Eona adapts seamlessly to being a girl. I really wish there had been a little more of a transition, a learning phase where Eona has to cope with figuring out how to be a girl after having lived as a boy for so long. I know that her heart and her soul were accepting of her gender, but it still takes time for the brain processes to catch up. It was the same with the disability and her coping of how it happened. Once Eona is healed of her hip problem she doesn’t really seem to need to relearn coordinated fights and movements which seemed very unrealistic to me. However, I did really like the power struggle and love triangle between Ido, Kygo, and Eona. The issues of power and love never seemed to fully separate, which I found to be very realistic, and Eona had to work t o understand how she felt and how to trust in a relationship. More importantly, she had to learn that she can’t have it all and that she has to choose, which is a very adult thing I liked to see in a YA book. I liked the death that happens late in the book and how the other main characters deal with it, it seemed very in character for all of them. The story of Kinra and the Dragons is even more compelling, and although I am not entirely comfortable with the surprise ending, I do acknowledge that there was no “easy” way to end that plot, which is very realistic and grown-up.

11 October 2011

Cybils Nominations

I'm still so torn over my Cybils Nomination for Sci-Fi/Fantasy Teen Category because there are still so many good books that haven't been nom'd yet! If you haven't made a nomination yet here are some suggestions to jog your memory:

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler
Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
12.21.12 by Killian McRae
Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
The Boy from Ilysies by Pearl North

Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

Sirenz Bookplate

Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when they find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes—with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades—the god of the underworld—himself. To make them atone for what they’ve done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld any individual whose unholy contract is up.

But just because they have an otherworldly part-time job now doesn’t mean Meg and Shar can ignore life’s drudgeries (work) or pleasures (fashion!). Finding that delicate balance between their old and new responsibilities turns out to be harder than they expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there’s the matter of the fine print in their contracts . . .

A lot of people rage at stereotypes and their use in books. And it’s true, stereotypes can be very one-sided and flat, leading to characters that seem dull and predictable. This can make you forget, though, that stereotypes can be used by a skillful writer to make wonderful characters. This book is an excellent example of that. Meg and Shar start out as very stereotypical high school girls. Meg is a goth, angry at the world and rejecting the mainstream. Shar is a princess, always chasing the trendy clothes and the gorgeous boys. Along their journey, though, their stereotypes are only starting points, and they react and grow along very realistic but unpredictable lines that make their characters shine.

10 October 2011

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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.

This book wasn't bad. It was a little light on character, but the good plot made up for it. Thomas is a little over-powered for my taste: everything he tries he does right, he figures out all the problems without much help from other people, he is essentially the key to everything and you get the impression that if he had a few more weeks he could have done everything alone. This leads to a non-investment problem: when most of the characters die I felt rather detached, as if they were ants instead of people, and I don’t think it quite had the tension impact the author wanted. Or this could be an issue of the only female, Teresa, being little more than just a plot driver and not a fully developed character. Since I tend to identify strongly with female characters it could be that I couldn’t get into watching the boys develop because the one girl was so flat.

If you can ignore the slight superhero problem, though, the mystery is engrossing. Dashner has set up a very clever problem for the boys, and his pacing and plot twists are artful. I won’t spoil how the plot is solved, but it was set up well with building blocks and not one big lightning-bolt exposition that made it rather unbelievable. The ending also makes it pretty clear that all we have is one small slice of the puzzle, and the puzzle is clever enough that I’ll go along for the ride and see if I can’t get more invested in the characters later.

07 October 2011


I've added a few more challenges to my challenge page:

Relic Master: The Dark City by Catherine Fisher

Relic Master: The Dark City Bookplate

Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order and a Keeper of relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice, Raffi. They know of a secret relic with great power that has been hidden for centuries. As they search for it, they will be tested beyond their limits. For there are monsters--some human, some not--that also want the relic's power and will stop at nothing to get it.

Relic Master is a slow starter, but I suggest sticking with it because the payoff is worth it.

This book is the first of a trilogy to be relased this summer. I received this book free from librarything in exchange for an unbiased review, but I will definitely be getting more of them because this was an absorbing book that leaves you wanting more! I love the characterization of Galen, Raffi, and Carys. Galen’s situation and his solutions are intriguing. Carys is a great character and will prove to be much fun throughout the series and also serves as a clever way to get exposition without it seeming too laborious or put on for the reader only. The plot, while obviously being a small part of a greater whole, is not an entire cliffhanger and has a good resolution while still making you want to read further in the series. I love books that make a blending of science fiction and fantasy, and a great part of the plot mystery is figuring out this mystery. I also haven’t figured out how the present dovetails into this future, but I’m intrigued. And it’s great that the series is being re-published in the US with only a month between books. I will be picking up the rest of these books soon to finish out the series.

I was provided with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

06 October 2011

Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. by Cassie St. Onge

Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. Bookplate

For Jane Jones, being a vampire is nothing like you read about in books. In fact, it kind of sucks. She's not beautiful, she's not rich, and she doesn't "sparkle." She's just an average, slightly nerdy girl from an ordinary suburban family (who happens to be vampires.) Jane's from the wrong side of the tracks (not to mention stuck in the world's longest awkward phase), so she doesn't fit in with the cool vampire kids at school or with the humans kids. To top it all off, she's battling an overprotective mom, a clique of high school mean girls (the kind who really do have fangs), and the most embarrassing allergy in the history of the undead, she's blood intolerant. So no one's more surprised than Jane when for the first time in her life, things start to heat up (as much as they can for a walking corpse, anyway) with not one, but two boys. Eli's a geeky, but cute real-live boy in her history class, and Timothy is a beautiful, brooding bloodsucker, who might just hold the key to a possible "cure" for vampirism. Facing an eternity of high school pressure, fumbling first dates, or a mere lifetime together with Timothy, what's a 90-something year-old teen vampire to do?

Fans of the Vladmir Tod Chronicles, You are So Undead to Me, and Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side will feast on this deliciously readable, smart, and fantastically funny debut.

This was one of the cutest books I have read this year. I love the thought of a dorky, un-conventionally-gorgeous vampire with a blood allergy. Jane is loveable and relatable and she makes me root for her every step of the plot. Zachary is a wonderful character as well, somehow managing to capture the wisdom of the immortal along with the permanent immature mentality of a ten year old. St. Onge has a gift with comedy, and Jane’s voice rings true even through her predicaments. From the amusing premise to the twist on current literary trends to the characterization of the players, this book makes me wish it was twice as long so I’d have twice the fun! In fact, I think the length is my only complaint. I really wish there was more book to love.

05 October 2011

Beastly by Alex Flinn

I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly.

To be honest I didn’t really like this book. Although I love the turn-a-fairytale-modern subgenre this one just didn’t seem believable. Lindy is all talk, doing some token raging about her situation but never actually attempting to remedy any of the problems her father creates or make a better situation for herself. I get the feeling that her falling in love with Kyle is just because it’s the default, how the story should end, and not through any great motivation of her own. That’s not to punish her too much, though, because Kyle doesn’t really give her much to work with. In the end I couldn’t believe their relationship because there wasn’t enough character behind either of them for me to believe it. Plus I really couldn’t get over the fact that if Lindy had as much spunk as Kyle puts on her then she would have just called the police on him and her father.

04 October 2011


Many Thanks to Leah at Smart Pop | BenBella Books for donating a copy of The Girl Who Was on Fire for my giveaway!

Everyone should look at their books and consider getting a couple. They are very thought provoking! I remember coming upon them when I did a paper on Battlestar Galactica for a film/TV class in college, and their essays were very helpful and made me think more critically. Here are some of the series they have analyzed:

Harry Potter
Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Series
Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy
Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series
Ellen Hopkins’ Crank and Glass
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series
P.C. and Kristin Cast Vampyre Series

They've also got TV and Movie-centered books, so be sure to check them out!

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.

I was very torn about this book when I read it, and to be honest I’m still not sure where I stand. On some days I think it is one of the best science fiction YAs to come out this year. On others I can’t help but pick apart its flaws. I think the biggest one of these, in my mind, is that the plot is very grim. It’s a very personal thing, but I greatly dislike plots where I don’t feel that the protagonists have much hope to make their conditions better. It’s why I call Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer the wonderful, horrible book: it’s very well written, but I can’t help but hate it because I know everyone’s going to die either before the book ends or shortly after. I felt that way the entire way through Glow. Additionally Ryan’s view of humanity is very grim. She sets up two dichotomies for society, atheistic liberals and religious conservatives, and then makes them equally horrible places to live. The one oppresses women and encourages them to serve their husbands, and the other sets up gang rape as a way of life. Both of them see no problem with the mass rape of the young girls in the books, the liberal group literally and the religious group figuratively when they use them as breeders for new children. With the horrible turn the boys’ society takes in the absence of the girls it seems as if the book is saying you are either victim or oppressor, all humanity is horrible so it only matters if you are on top or on bottom. Even though Kieran tries to help the boys he cannot help but become the very thing that Waverly despises. There are also some strange physics problems with the science in the book. Ryan seems to be under the impression that a ship in space that is not accelerating is coasting to a halt, like a car or boat on Earth, and a ship that is not powering its engines is decelerating and will not lose gravity, but will have less gravity than an accelerating ship. Uniting the book over all these problems, however, are engrossing characters and a plot line that grabs you and forces you to keep going. I will pick up the next book in this series because of that indefinable “something” that’s making me curious about where Ryan is going.

I was provided with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

03 October 2011

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

The Throne of Fire Bookplate

Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. As descendants of the House of Life, the Kanes have some powers at their command, but the devious gods haven't given them much time to master their skills at Brooklyn House, which has become a training ground for young magicians.

And now their most threatening enemy yet - the chaos snake Apophis - is rising. If they don't prevent him from breaking free in a few days' time, the world will come to an end. In other words, it's a typical week for the Kane family.

To have any chance of battling the Forces of Chaos, the Kanes must revive the sun god Ra. But that would be a feat more powerful than any magician has ever accomplished.

First they have to search the world for the three sections of the Book of Ra, then they have to learn how to chant its spells. Oh, and did we mention that no one knows where Ra is exactly?

Narrated in two different wisecracking voices, featuring a large cast of new and unforgettable characters, and with adventures spanning the globe, this second installment in the Kane Chronicles is nothing short of a thrill ride.

Like The Red Pyramid Throne of Fire is a great book. The plot is fast-paced and full of action, and there is just enough characterization for the reader to invest in the characters without slowing it down. I love to call Riordan’s books “brain candy” because they have a fun, effortless way of making you learn ancient history and mythology. While I’m reading I can’t help but go look things up, which is frustrating only because when I’m reading about Egyptian Gods on google links I’m not finishing the book! I loved Zia’s twist, it’s nice to see a book teach boys that just because they love a girl doesn’t mean the girl has to love them back or she’s a horrible person. I am a little annoyed with how the Kanes are turning into less of a brother-and-sister-team and more of a hero-with-sister-sidekick. Sadie seemed a little more reactionary and in an assistant role than she was in the last book. I hope Riordan doesn’t leave his female readers in the lurch in the future. However, he has plenty of time to redeem himself in the next book, and I will be happy to read it!

01 October 2011

Cybil Awards

I've been sitting on this for a few days, but since it was posted last night I think I'm free to announce that I've been chosen as a 2nd round judge for the Fantasy and Science Fiction Cybils! I'm really excited about the opportunity to have some serious analysis discussion of some very good books :D

Which, btw, you should go nominate so we have books to read :D Here's the post with the nomination info.