C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle - Grade: B. Probably my least favorite Narnia book. SPOILER: I like the fact that Lewis brings everyone back, but not that the majority of them die. It just seems unnecessary and unhelpful. Also, the spirituality/christianity aspect gets overly-heavyhanded here. It's tolerable in the other books, but here it becomes a bit much, in my opinion. Turtle was happy to be done with the Narnias so we could get to the last book in the Chronicles Series, Dragons of Summer Flame.

Sarah Southerland's Not Another Sarah: Avoiding and Escaping Abuse - Grade: ? I don't really know how to grade this book. It's written by a personal friend of mine about her true story account of being in and escaping from a very dangerous, abusive relationship. The account is harrowing, almost unbelievable in places, and gripping. I read the book almost in one sitting. Something intriguing Sarah has done is pair her account with a guide - "Everything You Need To Know About Abuse" for identifying and, subsequently, escaping abuse. It outlines abuse cycles, gives tips how to recognize it in yourself and others, and even addresses topics like divorce and child custody. This book reminded me alot of A Child Called It, though that account seemed almost more sensational (hard to imagine/believe). Both are raw, desperate, and captivating. My tears flowed unchecked for probably the last half of the book. Accounts of people suffering at the hands of others greatly upsets me.

Lev Grossman's Codex - Grade: A-. I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. Preceding the majesty and wonder of The Magicians but following the horrid Warp, I wasn't setting my expectations too high for this one, his first critically-acclaimed novel. But it was good. Not quite Magicians, mind-blowingly good, but good nonetheless. I enjoyed the characters, the storyline, and watching how the search for this elusive tome played out in the narrative. I was very satisfied with this book as a read and do recommend it (though The Magicians is WAY better).

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragons of Summer Flame - Grade: A. Weis and Hickman will always be household names at my place. I love them so much; their work will be always be part of the foundation of my inspiration and imagination. I have so much to thank them for, and this novel is no different. Bringing to an end the Chronicles Trilogy, Twins Trilogy, as well as building upon The Second Generation, this 8th book in the series ties up all the loose ends, as well as building the stories and lives of Usha, Steel, and Palin. I didn't remember the ending and when we finally got there, Turtle was crying so hard she couldn't listen hardly. Even worse, I, as stalwart narrator broke down myself and couldn't read. We eventually got through it, but there was alot of tears and heartache. The ending is everything it should be, wrapping my second-favorite series of all-time. Thanks Weis and Hickman for being so imaginative and brilliant creators. If I can create a world with fleshed out characters half-as-wonderful as yours, I will consider myself a resounding success.

Brian Jacques' The Rogue Crew - Grade: B+. Finished just before his death, this marks the final novel in the Redwall series, which has been a part of me since probably the 5th grade (maybe earlier? I don't remember for sure when I started reading him). As previously stated in my tribute to him, Jacques is the author I have read more than any other, so naturally this read was endearing, difficult, and nostalgic for me all at once. This was on the end of his better-written books, it didn't seem like a cookie-cutter regurgitation like some of his other books. It was bitter-sweet for me to read, knowing this was the end of Redwall. I think these books will always be household names as well.

Jeanne DuPrau's Prophet of Yonwood - Grade: C-. Bleh. This book was pretty bad. After City of Ember's brilliance and splendor, and then People of Sparks flatlined, I was apprehensive about this one. But then I figured out it was supposed to be a "prequel" and I was very excited and intrigued how the current plot was going to devolve into them having to go underground and start the City of Ember. And then it didn't. Like, at all. There was one piece in the last three pages that tied into something Lina and Doon found at the end of City of Ember. I was like, REALLY?! *THAT'S* your prequel?! So I kept waiting and waiting, eager to see how this would build to that Epic of books. I was always like, surely in the next chapter... and kept reading and never got any of what I wanted or was looking for. Just a story about a girl faced with stupid rules who loves her dog too much and freaks out when he is taken away. It was such a bad book. I guess there's a fourth, which I'm not looking forward to, but I ought to read. Bring on the torture I guess.

And that wraps up my book reading for 2011! Just a few more movies, one more trip, and then we will send 2011 packing on its way with the Best Of... and Music Review posts.

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