Archive for February, 2011

Book Review: XVI

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Series: XVI #1
Published by , in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 325

Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

My Review:

This is my first dystopia in a while, and I have to say, I was really looking forward to it, even though it didn’t make it onto my original projected reading list for the challenge. Projected reading lists never work for me anyways, so I just picked books at random that looked good. I figure some of them will end up getting read and some not, but overall I should end up with a full 12 after a year.

Some things that really impressed me: I could really see this happening. Some dystopias are set so far in the future or so differently from our world that while they’re really interesting, they almost don’t qualify as an earth dystopia for me. But this one was really rooted in some issues that are current, and have potential for changing our society in the direction of the world in XVI. It even mentions Katrina and the BP oil spills, albeit indirectly. While there are some unexplained parts, the majority of the society is very well explained, and well thought out. 

I also liked that while the society is dystopian, the issues dealt with are completely relevant now. We’ve all heard the stories about the people like Ed. In fact, most of us probably know people who have been in Ginnie’s situation with Ed. When someone is that abusive, the recipients of the abuse often feel like Nina did – out of control, and unable to fight back. It’s obvious that Karr is not advocating Nina’s particular solution, but she is advocating getting help. Nina spends a lot of time scared of Ed and I don’t blame her, but once she tells her friends what is going on and gets help the situation becomes at least slightly better. 

All in all, whether I liked it or not isn’t important (I did, for those of you who like black and white answers). The important bit is that this is an extremely thought provoking novel that belongs in schools being taught alongside books like The Giver (which personally, I know many people hated in school – it got taught anyway), though perhaps at a higher level, since we did The Giver in 5th grade. 

I know, this review feels rather short, but it’s difficult to say more without spoiling it. I recommend this to everyone, not because I think you’ll like it (though I did) but because I think everyone should read it. 

On to lighter reviews soon, I hope!

Book Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

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The Lies of Locke Lamora The Lies of Locke Lamora by
Series: Gentleman Bastard #1
Published by in 2006
Pages: 499

Locke Lamora is just a child when a plague leaves him orphaned on the mean streets of Camorr, a city that "has more gangs than it does foul odors." Lamora quickly masters the tools of the thieving trade -- deception and misdirection -- and eventually becomes something of a legend as the leader of the Gentlemen Bastards, a band of misfit orphans known for their intellect and street savvy. But in a city ruled by ruthless crime lords -- Capa Barsavi, whose shirt buttons are made of victims' teeth; the Duke's mysterious henchman, Spider; a ghostlike executioner named the Gray King, et al. -- Lamora soon finds himself a pawn in a much larger and deadlier game.

My Review:

I’ll be honest – the James Bond, smart gang fantasy thing usually isn’t something I’m that excited about. But boy did I need it. January was actually a really jam-packed month for me – I went through 16 novels, most on the paranormal reality side of the fantasy spectrum. It was a lot, and boy did I need a dose of high fantasy!

The Lies of Locke Lamora provided it, and boy did it provide it with gusto! I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel where I’ve thought “Man he’s soooooooo screwed! There is NO WAY he’s talking his way out of this one” that many times. One technique of writing is to put your character in the worst situation possible and then sit back and watch while he tries to get out of it, and Lynch has this technique down to an art form. 

Then again, some people might see this as a bad thing. I’ll admit, there were a few times where I stepped out of the novel and said to myself “There is no way a real person would think of that!” It didn’t matter to me – I kept reading because I wanted to see how he’d fix everything! But I can see how some people would find it distracting. 

Another thing that didn’t bother me (in fact, I loved it!) but might bother some was the format. This story doesn’t tell you anything unless you absolutely have to know. Basically that means the timeline jumps around quite a bit. I loved it! It meant that Locke stayed very mysterious at the beginning, which fit with the character really well.  The switches to flashback were a tiny bit annoying, but only because despite their vital information giving, they meant a longer wait until I found out what happened!

Anyway, for those interested in high fantasy, this is a must-read in the vein of the Night Angel series! Highly recommended (and you’ll never see the ending coming!) And now, I have a bed with my name on it, plot bunnies attacking, and several exciting unread novels calling me, so I will leave it there (however shall I choose?!)


0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Blog Nuts and Bolts

I owe you all an Apology (yes, with a capital A). My reading ADD has struck again. I am a mere 70 pages from the end of Lies of Locke Lamora, all set to do a review after just an hour of serious reading. The problem? I’ve been stuck there since last Thursday. Friday was a rather awful day and when I went to read before bed, I was not in the mood for the amount of concentration Lamora asks of its readers, so I decided to pick up Inkheart for a few pages, just to calm myself down, and now a) I can’t put Inkheart down (again!) and b) I can’t seem to find my way back into Lamora. This is a problem, especially as it means I haven’t posted here for more than a week.

And so, I sincerely apologize to you, my followers, and I promise to get this fixed! I will be reviewing again soon! In the meantime, try to stay warm and find yourself a good book to snuggle up with. I know I want to!

Book Blogger Hop! Feb 4-6

12 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Community Events
Book Blogger Hop 
It’s time to hop again! This week’s question:
What are you reading now and why are you reading it?
I am currently reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and Another Pan by Daniel and Dina Nayeri. The first I’m reading because I needed a break from the stuff I’ve been reading – it’s been forever since I’ve read a high fantasy and I needed one! The second I’m mostly reading because I love Peter Pan and I was curious.
What are you reading?

Book Review: Radiant Shadows

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Radiant Shadows Radiant Shadows by
Series: Wicked Lovely #4
Published by in 2010
Genres: , ,
Pages: 340

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.
Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death.
Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

My Review:

Wow! This book was amazing! It reminded me of the very first in the series, when I was just discovering this world that she’d built. One of the things I especially love about this series is the way she tells the story from a different point of view each time – first Aislinn, then Leslie, then Seth and this time Ani. We still see the characters we came to love in earlier books but they’re peripheral characters. This allows us something unique – we get to learn about them through the eyes of other people. Novels that focus on a single character tend to get rather “self-centric” and we only see what the character thinks about themselves. The other characters see things the way that a person cannot see themselves.

The other thing I loved about this novel was the pacing. I had actually planned to read another book before this one, but I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. Ani is the type of character who craves action, and it shows in her story. And even though Ani is the only main character who was never fully mortal, she’s relatable. She is an outcast from both the faerie and mortal worlds, and we’ve all been outcasts at one time or another, and we all wish we had someone like Devlin to rescue us from our exile.

Which brings me to another thing I loved about this book – Devlin. He’s the kind of character I love. He’s in a place that isn’t right for him, and yet he doesn’t feel like he can leave it. It didn’t take me long to figure out the ending, but that was ok, because I was able to spend the rest of the novel yelling at the characters for being so absolutely thick about it!

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone (though I’d recommend they read the rest of the series first) and I cannot wait until Darkest Mercy comes out!

Monthly Round-up: January

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Blog Nuts and Bolts

Can you believe it’s February already? I can’t! How does time go so fast?!

So for this January:

Books read: 16
Best new read:  Beastly and The Lost Hero are tied (closely followed by  Leviathan  and  The Book of Lost Things)
Worst new read: Eric (though it’s not awful, by any means)

Challenge updates:
        Potter-thon: 5/7
        Debut Author Challenge: 0 (but I now have a copy of XVI and I can’t wait until I can start it!)

Books reviewed: 100%
Media Reviews: 1 (ought to work on that harder)

All in all, pretty good!
Next month, though there’s no official challenge for it, I’ll be rereading the Inkworld series, one of my personal favourites.

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