Book Review: Haven

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Haven Haven by
Series: Winterhaven #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 401

One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.

But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.

Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.

My review:

OK, so I know I’m a little behind on this but I simply must add to the Haven love going around the blogoverse right now. Short version: Haven is AMAZING!

First of all, I’m sure we all know by now I have a weakness for boarding school stories. But a boarding school for the psychically gifted? Uh, yes please! I am so there! I want to know all about it, from how it was started to what classes are offered and all the different “Gifts” over the years. Heck, forget wanting to know all about it, I want to live there!

I also found the cast of characters really enjoyable. I don’t think I loved any one character so much as loving their interactions with each other. They remind me of my group of friends in high school, and even more of the group of friends I wished I had. These girls seem just like normal girls, just with some unusual quirks.

My only complaint, and it’s not really one at all, is that the romance happened just a tiny bit too fast. That said, when I finished the book, I was not upset about it at all. Cook gave us a very reasonable explanation for the sudden initial attraction and the progression of the relationship from there seemed natural. So, like I say, not really a complaint at all.

I’m so looking forward to the next book that I went hunting for release date of book 2 to mark on my calendar (couldn’t find it though – anybody know?) Where will you be?

Book Review: Behemoth

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Behemoth Behemoth by
Series: Leviathan #2
Published by in 2010
Genres: ,
Pages: 481

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.

My Review:

I love steampunk (I think I’ve read enough now that I can officially say that). Steampunk isn’t just fantasy, at least to me – it’s a way of learning history. Yeah, ok, some of the bits are changed, and there are fantastic beasts and amazing machines, but part of what makes a good steampunk is how very close the author gets to the “real thing,” at least in everything they haven’t specified they’re changing. Now I’ll admit, I enjoy history, at least the bits with interesting stories, but I’m really more of an ancient history buff. More recent than, say, King Arthur and I start to lose interest. Unless, that is, a really amazing author can make it interesting.

Westerfeld definitely makes my list of authors who can make me interested in time periods I didn’t much care about before. I always found World War I particularly boring, because I’m not much one for wars – especially as we were mostly taught about the politics involved and not much about the interesting stuff that makes for good stories! Add in some beasties and Clankers though, and I can’t put it down. I want to know more about this world where Deryn and Alek live. I want to know how the beasties work, and I want to help take care of them. I want to see the gorgeous Clankers I imagine in Istanbul. And I want Dr. Barlow’s dresses! (Not to mention a Perspicacious Loris of my own! They sound so cute!)

It’s so difficult to say anything else without spoiling either book. The second book was a logical extension of the first, wrapping up some loose ends and creating some others, but without feeling forced, or on the other hand, feeling like filler until the final installment. (Not that I want the next to be the last – I realized as I was typing that, that I was assuming this would only be a trilogy. Honestly, I hope it goes on for much longer, because I will be very sad when it’s over! I might beg if I had to!)

And now back to reading! I’m officially on Spring Break now, and I’m so excited to decimate my TBR pile!

Book Review: Leviathan

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Leviathan Leviathan by
Series: Leviathan #1
Published by , in 2009
Genres: ,
Pages: 440

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

My Review:

One of the things I love about Scott Westerfeld’s writing is the way he gets into the heads of his characters. He gets everything right down to the slang. Though some might argue that it makes it harder to understand his stories, I feel that in the end it makes the characters more lovable. I will admit it took me a while to get into the story, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. I carried the book with me everywhere and I’m pretty sure I made some people around me mad, because the slightest few minutes of nothing to do and I would pull out the book to read a few pages.

One thing I will say on the other side, the world was really complicated for a “real world” scenario. I personally was intrigued – I wanted to fly on Deryn’s Leviathan, and learn how to drive Alek’s Walker. But I think it would be really helpful to have a sort of guide book to the world. I want to know about all of the Darwinist’s beasts (I want a message lizard!) and I would like to read (or possibly even write) an encyclopaedia of all the beasts and machines involved. Then again, I’m fascinated by those kind of things, and some people may find that a bit off-putting.

I am so glad I decided to buy this instead of a book I’ve already read, and I am so excited to read the next one!

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