Friday, March 28, 2008
In an age not very far along from now, the teens that no one wants are harvested for their organs. Rebellious, deformed, or simply not good enough, they are sent to the infamous Harvest Camps, to be dismembered for the "good of mankind". Connor is a financial liability and his parents sign the forms of release. Risa is a foster home kid with a future in classical piano, but maybe not as much of a future as the next virtuoso. Lev believes firmly in his unwinding, honored by his religion as a Tithe. But their fates collide when Connor shoots his transport (with a tranquilizer) and helps save Lev in the process, Risa pursuing in her interest. Together and apart they find their way through the hazardous days in between them and their 18th birthdays, the age of neutrality.
I really enjoyed this novel. Reminiscent of a futuristic perversion, there were secret hide outs, crazed revolutionaries, and demented medical staff. Connor is a hero in his own right, but his mistakes are glaring reminders at his humanness, while Risa is piecing out what she means to her world. Probably the most fascinating character in the book was Lev. He betrays, kills, searches, and saves at different points, his growth increasingly more involved as the pages turn. Some parts of the story were particularly disturbing, common in a dystopia novel of this subject matter. But a fantastic plot and writing handled inquiries about the value of life and the meaning of death in a sensitive and clever way.
6 out of 7 lightnings. BOOM ZAM SCHWA!
Futuristic Culture Defiant,
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Written in first person, Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier seemed true to the spirit of bedtime stories with its often antiquated speech. But the plot was creative and the characters passionate enough to make you feel overjoyed, dizzy, or repulsed in turns. And every so often a plot twist was thrown in just to pull your feet out from under you in record time. It even tackled important issues, keeping its distance from the danger of becoming a "fluff" book. What is true love? Does it even exist? What would you sacrifice? Sexism and the fear of the unknown (in the form of cousin Cezar) are also prevalent and beaten with sticks until submissive to Jenica's moving character. Unfortunately, some scenes with great promise are weighted down by that great beast after Dickens' own heart... over-description. A shudder passes through the masses.
So I must now set upon this book a 5.5 out of 7 lightnings. Very Good, but not quite excellent. Despite this, I plan on reading the sequel (Cybele's Secret) when it arrives on September 9th of this year. After reading the brief summary on Amazon it looks as if it may even prove to be more interesting than its predecessor. Plus, the cover art is equally pretty.
I Hunt for Covers of Promise,
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Thankfully the novel lived up to both cover and sword. Yoko is a somewhat normal Japanese girl (other than that crimson hair), haunted by dreams beyond her comprehension and perfectly satisfied with playing the innocent daughter and gifted schoolmate. But then a strange man arrives, shoves a sword in her hand, touches her foot to his head, and implodes the windows of the teacher’s conference room with a storm of glass shards that leave her hardly scratched. Things will never be the same again.
Yoko finds herself battling it out with demons and transported to a world she doesn’t understand. A world where 12 kingdoms (no. really?) exist that haven’t even heard of Japan and blame the recent destructive storms on Yoko’s arrival. The people appear to speak her language but are decidedly not Japanese in features and want nothing more than to deliver her to the nearest magistrate for a fate worse than death. No one can be trusted. As intrigue builds around our heroine and she seeks out the truth in a universe where children grow on trees, she unknowingly enters into a glorious destiny.
The culture built by Fuyumi Ono is detailed and spun with silver thread into the lore of China and Japan. Impressive fight scenes abound, beautifully described creatures crawl from every page corner, and the heroine develops admirably through the upheaval. Originally written in a manga-like form there is that constant underlying sense of the epic legend, accompanied by fantastic inked drawings that appear every now and again. Happily, the sequel comes out *checks calendar* TOMORROW! If it counts for anything, I am quite eager.
KRRRRRACK! SWHOOM! 6.5 Lightnings out of 7! Cheerz...the sound effects are back!!
I wantz a sword,
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Well, I'm not going to tell you everything, go check it out yourself! Oh, wait, you'll need a link won't you...
Click here to see the wonderful Invictus Verbum
From the Shadows,
P.S. You might even be able to post your own reviews... or so I've heard
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Maddy thrives on magic, a forbidden thing for her time. It is 500 years after the apocalypse-like rise of Chaos and anything unknown is simply ignored. Goblins there may be, but the good folk of Maddy's orderly town refuse to acknowledge the fact. Blame it on the rats. But when Maddy meets a traveler, a mysterious man (?) named One-Eye, her isolated world changes. He teaches her the way of the ancient runes and the legends of the Old People. And when he asks her aide in seeking out the mysterious Whisperer, there can only be trouble awaiting should she even survive the World Beneath to seek her prize.
Maddy's adventures are disjointed and her motives unclear. Is she out for adventure? to seek this Whisperer out for a reason other than One-Eye's cynical ramblings? or simply to get out? Characters appear and disappear in a frustrating display of meaningless and thread-thin connections . Even the protagonists aren't especially interesting and sacrifice depth for half-hearted attempts at wit. Plus (worse and worse), the gods are petulant and weak. I would be personally offended if Loki had been included in the facade, but impact was minimal. This flaw is forgiven. The only interesting part of this 544 page endeavor into the plot-less and vague was the quaint speech of the goblins and their trademark malicious behavior, wreaking havoc and supporting Chaos everywhere they go.
It is quite unlike me to be so very abusive to any novel. But this deserves it. Trust me. It does. 1.5 lightnings and no sound effects to boot.
With the Rare Expression of Disgust,