67-71

Jun. 13th, 2009 09:12 am
fiveforsilver: (Books [PotS])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
End of May:

67. Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce (344) YA/Fan

Daine's wolf pack from her former home asks her to talk to the humans in their new territory about the destruction of the land, the water, and the hunting grounds in the new valley they have moved to, but it turns out that the situation is much different - and much worse - than anyone could have guessed.

Wolf-Speaker is one of my favorite Tortall book. Although the main characters are (as usual in Pierce's books) just a touch too good to be true, Daine grows and learnes and makes mistakes throughout the story and people besides her play roles vital to the plot. I particularly like Maura, a young noblewoman who is terrified but brave, and Tkaa, one of the immortals that Daine meets and befriends.

68. Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce (384) YA/Fan

Daine and her friends are sent to Carthack, to meet with the Emperor. Daine's duty is to see if she can heal the Emperor's pet birds and otherwise to stay out of trouble, but unfortunately for her, the god-touched don't have a choice about where and when they're called on to intervene.

Emperor Mage is another thoroughly enjoyable Tortall story. The Immortals series really improves with each book. I love Daine's interactions with the gods and how she chooses to use her borrowed power in a way that reflects her so very well (and which is not precisely the way she is expected to use it).

69. Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce (338) YA/Fan

Daine and Numair go up against a group of magical creatures of a kind they've never seen before and when it turns out that neither Daine's wild magic nor Numair's Gift can effect them, rescue comes from a surprising direction. But now they're stuck in another realm while war threatens Tortall.

There are a lot of new and interesting characters introduced in this last book in the Immortals series, including various gods, dragons, and other immortals and magical creatures, and Daine's prejudices against Stormwings are tested. The realm of the gods itself is an intriguing place to read about, with different rules from the moral realm and wonders and dangers all its own. It's a fitting end to the series.

69. Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn (404) A/SF
70. *The Seven Towers by Patricia C. Wrede (336) YA/Fan
71. Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (320) YA/Fan



71 / 150 books. 47% done!


39 / 75 *new books. 52% done!


2 / 10 *non-fiction. 20% done!


21768 / 45000 pages. 48% done!

63-66

May. 22nd, 2009 04:24 pm
fiveforsilver: (Blood Ties [Henry])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
63. ^*Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded by John Scalzi (368) A/Non-Fic

A ten-year retrospective of Scalzi's blog, the Whatever. This book covers a variety of topics in no particular order, from war to business to parenthood.

Scalzi's writing is always a pleasure to read, but I wondered at some of the choices of material to include. Many of the entries are timeless - essays on parenting and advice for aspiring authors, for instance. But many (though not all) of the political posts are hopelessly outdated, having been written just prior to some major event that then made the entry obsolete.

64. *Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich (330) A/Mys

Standard Stephenie Plum book. Things blow up, cars are destroyed, much hijinks ensue around and to her, and there is high sexual tension (and maybe some sex) between her and Joe, and her and Ranger. Entertaining but no new ground.

65. *Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (307) YA/Fan

We meet Zachery, a guardian angel with a crush on his charge. And we meet Miranda, Zachery's charge, a high school girl who is about to be turned into a vampire. Can Zachery save her soul after he fails to save her life?

Eternal was a quick read that switches perspectives between those two characters, neither of which has a particularly strong or exciting voice. The plot was not very interesting and the world was not explained or described enough to be especially believable. Overall, a mediocre book.

66. *David Inside Out by Lee Bantle (184) YA/Fic

This is a short book that looks at the difficulties that are sometimes faced by gay teens today. What happens to the gay characters is mild compared to what happens to some people in the real world, but it does get across some of the conflict and frustration that must be common for many gay teens. Not a bad read but hardly the "hard-hitting" book that the blurbs made it out to be.



66 / 150 books. 44% done!


38 / 75 *new books. 51% done!


2 / 10 ^non-fiction. 20% done!


19642 / 45000 pages. 44% done!

62

May. 16th, 2009 09:44 am
fiveforsilver: (Default)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
62. *The Bar Code Rebellion by Suzanne Weyn (265) YA/SF-Fan

I only read this sequel because I had already bought it (and it was short). Like the first book, Rebellion is full of ridiculous pseudoscience and mysticism that doesn't add anything, isn't necessary, and turns what could have been a thought-provoking look at identity, society, genetics, and modern technology into a pretty silly story. Disappointing but expected after the first book.



62 / 150 books. 41% done!


34 / 75 *new books. 45% done!


1 / 10 ^non-fiction. 10% done!


18453 / 45000 pages. 41% done!

59-61

May. 15th, 2009 07:17 pm
fiveforsilver: (Chocolate)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
59. *Imaginary Friends edited by John Marco and Martin H. Greenberg (320) A/F/SF

I liked some of these stories a lot and thought some of them were just ok; I didn't actively dislike any of them. The writing is consistantly good through all the stories and authors. The unique takes on the idea of the imaginary friend was, for the most part, fascinating. I don't remember ever having an imaginary friend when I was young; it may be that a person who does will see this book in a different way, although very few of the stories have what one traditionally thinks of as a child's imaginary playmate.

60. *Love is Hell by Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, and Laurie Faria Stolarz (263) YA/F

Five stories of supernatural teenage love and angst:

Stolarz's Sleeping with the spirit is about a girl whose family moves into a haunted house, who then starts dreaming about a ghost. Slightly creepy but also moving.

Westerfeld's Stupid perfect world describes a future utopia where automated devices prevent anything bad from happening and everything is perfect, except during a two-week period when students practice "scarcity" to teach them about history. A fantastic story (as expected from Westerfeld), good from start to finish with some fascinating concepts played out in such a short time.

Larbalestier's Thinner than water is a village-and-fey story. Kept my interest but not my favorite.

In Zevin's Fan fictions, a girl falls in love with boy nobody else ever meets. Didn't make much sense, which is reminiscent of the book of hers that I readthe writing is strong and the characters are sympathetic, but the plot seems incomplete.

And lastly, Marr's Love Struck is about a girl and a selkie (or, selchie). Again, strong from start to finish. You're never sure quite what's going on or who to trust, just like the main character.

61. *The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn (256) YA/science fantasy

Warning: Review contains spoilers.

The next step beyond drivers' licenses and credit cards: a personal bar code tattooed to your wrist.

The government, the media, food production, schools, the internet, pretty much everything you can think is controlled by one corporation - Global-1 - and now they want to control people, too. The bar code tattoos are the next big thing, making everything from hospital visits to shopping transactions that much easier. But how do you know what information is in your file, who has access to it, and what they do with it?

I had high expectations for this book, both from what I had heard about it and from the description I read. Unfortunately, instead of being a tense SF book, halfway through it turned into a weird mix of paranormal and science fiction that just didn't mesh well. Throw in some bad science (the old "we only use a small percentage of our brains" rubbish and some fundamental misconceptions about adaptation and evolution) and it was hard to know quite what to think.

The basic premis is solid and the story could be fantastic: Kayla is about to turn 17 - the age when people are first allowed to get the bar code tattoo - but she isn't excited about it. When her parents got theirs, suddenly her dad's job started went south as he was passed over for expected raises and promotions, and he started getting depressed and drinking. Her mom became irritable and distant. Everyone Kayla knows who gets the tattoo seems to change, or something to do with them changes.

Kayla eventually discovers that the bar codes contain, among other things, a person's genetic information: her dad's file contains references to potential for scizophrenia, depression, and alcoholism, and obviously his employee had had access. She also learns that her mom - a maternity nurse - had discovered that "genetically inferior" children were being killed before they even left the ward. Kayla refuses to have the tattoo and joins Decode, the resistance movement.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Right up until they bring in the telepathy and telekenesis and premenotions, the Native American shaman, and the people trying to contact aliens with their minds. These things drastically decrease the effect of the story, as well as bringing up the previously mentinoed bad science. "Adaptation" and "evolution" don't happen in a few years (or even less) simply because people don't live with the rest of society anymore, and they don't happen to individual people anyway. And we already use all of our brains.

Overall, I was disappointed with this book. A story that could have been very interesting and address real issues being faced today got lost in the pseudoscience and mysticism, which was jarring and seemed out of context. I will not be rereading or recommending this book.



61 / 150 books. 41% done!


33 / 75 *new books. 44% done!


1 / 10 ^non-fiction. 10% done!


18188 / 45000 words. 40% done!

56-58

May. 15th, 2009 07:08 pm
fiveforsilver: (Doctor Who [the Doctor])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
May

56. *The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (390) YA/F

When Chloe sees something that nobody else sees, she lashes out at the people around her as they prevent her from running away from it. This breaks her school's 'zero tolerance' policy regarding volence against faculty and she is sent to a sort of private school/group home with other "disturbed" kids who, she slowly discovers, have more in common with her than she could have imagined.

This novel had a well-written and extremely effective first-person perspective. We only know what Chloe knows and we find things out as she does, which means that much of the book, especially the first half, is confusing at times, which adds to the tension in the story. I am looking forward to reading the sequel, The Awakening.

57. *Thirsty by MT Anderson (237) YA/F

Another unusual take on the YA vampire genre. Thirsty is well-written and an entertaining read, although not as moving or thought-provoking as Feed. It's easy to relate to Chris' confusion and frustration and I reached the end of the book still "thirsty" for more.

58. *Doctor Who: Shining Darkness by Mark Michalowski(256) A/SF

Not bad, not bad at all. The Doctor and Donna were in character, they blundered about as usual, and things eventually got back the way they were supposed to be. Overall a fun book, but then I'm rather fond of Donna. My only complaint is that the whole thing ended rather quickly. Whoops, it's over, poof. That's all, goodbye, not really much wrapping-up or whatnot.



58 / 150 books. 39% done!


30 / 75 *new books. 40% done!


1 / 10 ^non-fiction. 10% done!


17349 / 45000 pages. 39% done!

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