Why Are There All These Blank Spaces?

You may notice that in some of my posts there are blank spaces in the reviews. These are spoilers that I've written so I can remember important details of the books when I want to read the sequel. I've made the text a beige color to blend in with the background so you won't accidentally see something you don't want to. If you want to read it, just highlight the section to make the text appear - although you should really just read the book yourself! :)

Friday, November 27, 2009


by Ian Beck

I picked this book up on a whim at Powell's the weekend before Thanksgiving. The front flap description sounded interesting. It sounded like shades of Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix and the Stoneheart Trilogy by Charlie Fletcher. Both of which I enjoyed. So I decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, this book doesn't quite live up to its potential.

Pastworld is a sort of amusement park/historical preserve of 1890s London. The actual story takes place in the future, even though all the events take place within the park of 1890s London, so it's almost like it's set in the past. Confused yet?

The characters don't really do much and thus read as unimportant, even though they are the "main" characters. Eve, who is essentially one of the most important characters of the book does nothing but run away and join the circus (yes I'm serious), where she finds she has an amazing knack for tight-rope walking! (Forgive me if this does not qualify as an interesting character to me).

Bible J is an interesting fellow to some extent but he's given virtually no background and no believable motivation for anything he does.

The Fantom I had high hopes for. From the first page he is mysterious and sinister and all the things a great villain should be. Shortly after though he becomes nothing more than a cardboard murderer who has a penchant for cutting hearts out (and with a little too much detail from the author on that aspect - yuck!)

And the ending!! It was the most bizarre ending. And I'm going to **spoil** it, so reader beware: The "twist" is not fully explained. We learn that Eve and The Fantom were created for the park, but we don't learn much about how and what they actually are. Certainly not mortal since the Fantom jumps off buildings but never dies and Eve was created to be killed and then resurrected. I want to know how this is supposed to work! Also, we're left not really knowing what happened to the Fantom - he just gets away and...that's the end?! The author tries to make it sound like he won't come back, but judging from what we just learned about his nature and origin, doesn't it make sense to assume that he WILL come back? No one is concerned though, so book over! And randomly, Eve is pregnant. Why would they even create her in a way that she could reproduce when her whole purpose was to just die over and over? And did she and Bible J ever even kiss? Where they heck did this come from? It felt oddly out of place in the book. So in the end I was left unsatisfied. **end of spoilers**

It gets two stars because I like the concept and for the first half or so it seemed promising. Second half get 1 star or less - could have been so much better!

Monday, November 16, 2009


by Kristin Cashore

This book gives me really mixed feelings.

I love the premise. Fire is a human "monster". Basically this means she has brightly colored hair and has the power to read others' minds and control them if she wishes. She's also extremely beautiful. She's also the last of her kind. She's always refused to use her power to manipulated people because of the way she saw her father do it. However, soon the kingdom needs her help to uncover whose plotting against the crown. Fire must decide if she will consent to use her power and how far she will go.

Unfortunately, my enjoyment of this book is marred by a few things:

One - Fire (much like Katsa in Cashore's previous book Graceling) refuses to marry. It seems that Cashore has some hatred towards marriage and wants to make her readers agree with her. Not only this but there are many similarity between Graceling and Fire - she should have just named is "Graceling 2.0!"

Two - Fire is (kinda) in love with (and sleeps with) this guy whose a total womanizer. Not only that, but he proclaims his love for her on one page and then a few pages later we learn that he's fooling around with somebody else! (***SPOILER: And then a few pages later we learn that he's gotten TWO women pregnant!) I'm supposed to LIKE this character? What a jerk. (SPOILER AGAIN - I was actually kind of revealed when he died! END OF SPOILERS***)

Three - Fire is totally over-dramatic and self-absorbed. She can't seem to see beyond her own self-inflicted problems to realize there are bigger problems out there. She's so concerned that her power COULD be used for evil that she can't see past her own nose to realize she SHOULD use it to save peoples' lives!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

As You Wish

by Jackson Pearce

Viola feels like she doesn't belong. Ever since her boyfriend broke up with her she's felt different, broken, and like she was missing something. One day at school Viola is feeling so sorry for herself, and wishing so fiercely to feel like she belongs, that she inadvertently summons a genie. The genie, who Viola calls Jinn in required to do as she commands and grant her three wishes. Once her wishes are granted he can return to his country - a place he's desperate to return to. However, Viola isn't quite ready to make her wishes. She wants to make sure she makes the right wish and not waste any. And so, reluctantly, Jinn is forced to wait. Unexpectedly for both, Viola and Jinn start to develop a friendship which may be beginning to turn into something more. The problem? Once she makes her three wishes Jinn will be gone forever and Viola won't even remember he existed.

This book falls into the very common "average teen girl falls for supernatural guy" category of young adult literature. However, it's a clever concept that's mostly entertaining. The end was wrapped up a little too quickly for my taste - I think the book could have benefited from an additional 5 chapters. But it's a pretty good effort for a first novel! I look forward to see what else will be coming from Ms. Pearce in the future.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sucks to Be Me

by Kimberly Pauley

It's another new teen vampire book! However, unlike Twilight and Vampire Academy, Sucks to Be Me does not take itself so seriously. The whole thing almost reads as a spoof of vampires.

Mina finds out in the first chapter that she has to attend vampire class and decide in a few weeks whether or not she wants to become a vampire. This is because the vampire council just found out her parents - who are already vampires - have been keeping her secret her whole life.

So Mina goes to classes, learns new things about vampires, is torn about what to do, meets a few cute guys, etc. It's pretty standard teen book stuff. However, Mina was an enjoyable character with some funny commentary. The other characters were pretty flat, and the ending was wrapped up a bit too tidily. It was amusing though.