Pages Visited 2011 Edition

Somehow, someway this post got missed being published. I swear I wrote the thing months and months ago, the original draft was from Jan 31, 2011, but when I opened the draft there was no content! So I guess I failed on that one...

James Rollins' Altar of Eden - Grade: B-. A co-worker recommended this book to me. I don't think the storyline was necessarily bad, just weird. Some parts of the book came across as too contrived for my liking. It took me a long time to get through this novel. Parts of it were slow, and then others held my attention raptly. I was up and down on this book quite a bit.

Perry Moore's HERO - Grade: A. I didn't think the plot in this book was super-tight, nor were all the characters well-written and developed, but I'm going to give it an A anyway for breaking boundaries and daring to be different. This book is basically a re-invention of the superhero. The main character is gay, his teammate's ability makes everyone sick, and the girl who becomes his best friend has a dialysis bag (if I remember correctly? She had something wrong with her that necessitated having a bag attached to her at all times...) Anyway, what I'm getting at is that this is not your X-men, Avengers, or Justice League. It's a retake on the whole superhero thing, making them more human, more fallible, and more real, especially with the inclusion of a lead gay character. There are places where the book is shallow, moments that are contrived and don't work, but for the most part, good on Moore for writing this book. It's about time kids had some positive gay role models. At least I think so.

Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero (first book in The Heroes of Olympus series) - Grade: A-. Well, Riordan is at it again. Just like his Percy Jackson series, he's back at it with new characters, new plot twists, and new prophecies. This first installment was pretty long, but I didn't find alot of places where it dragged. But Riordan has new heroes: Jason, Piper, and Leo who embark on an epic quest, bound by a prophecy that speaks of 7 children. Who are the other 4? I went into this thinking that it was a spin-off series from the Percy Jackson books and wasn't related, but, oh it IS. Percy's name surfaces in the book and Jason and Co. definitely team up with Annabeth. Can't wait for the next one.

David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas - Grade: A+. This book is a product of GENIUS. I spent more than a month reading this book because early on I realized how awesome it was and I wanted to savor its brilliance. The story is formatted in a way that I have never come across before, with story as nested dolls. So the first section starts out in the 1500s or somewhere around there and goes about 39 pages and then just ENDS. Like middle of the sentence ends and just goes to the next section. When I got there I was super weirded out. I was like, wait, I'm missing pages, or there's a misprint, or something got formatted wrong! Nope. Totally intentional. The next section is about a chateau where a boy is learning to be a composer, and he's stealing books from the library and he finds this book that only has 39 pages and then just ends! Genius. The second section is written in the form of 9 letters, then the third section is about a guy who is trying to not get assassinated and in his pocket he has these 9 letters. I mean, it was mind-blowing. So the story progresses and you go deeper and deeper into the nested stories until you're at a post-apocalyptic one and then the story turns around and heads back the way it came, tying up all the loose ends. The very last section of the book picks up mid-sentence where the first left off and resolves itself completely. I freaking loved reading this book.

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's The Second Generation - Grade: A. Weis and Hickman are solid writers if you ask me (but I'm biased). This addition to the Chronicles and Twins Trilogies introduces readers for the first time to the children of the heroes. Raistlin's daughter, Tika and Caramon's three sons, and the elusive son of Kitiara, Steel. A great next chapter for DragonLance lovers everywhere.

C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - Grade: A. Just like had never seen The Lord of the Rings, played Zelda, or seen any X-Files, she had never read The Chronicles of Narnia either. To make sure it happened, I stopped between books 7 and 8 of the DragonLance series and told her I would not read the last one until we had read all of Narnia. They are short, quick books to get down. Also, I made sure we went in the order Lewis intended. There has been debate to put them in chronological order, but that was never Lewis' intention. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe introduces the world of Narnia gradually and with dizzying effect, while books like The Magician's Nephew has Narnia listed in the first paragraph, with no expectation, dictating that the reader should already be familiar with such a place and so no explanation is required. I enjoy this series, but the first book is one of my favorites. I love the Pevensies and the way the story unfolds around them as the reader is immersed in a whole new world, all inside the wardrobe.

C.S. Lewis' Prince Caspian - Grade: B. I'll say that I like the book much better than the movie. Not my favorite of the books, but not a bad one. Then again, I don't think there's really any book that Lewis did poorly. I will say, comparing to the movie again, I strongly disliked the way they altered the plot of the movie just so Tilda Swinton could have a part. Lamesauce.

C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader - This book is a good one, but the movie sorely messed with the plot, even moreso than I had realized. Nothing happens in the right order in the movie. It makes me sad when movies are untrue to their book predecessors, but I guess that seems to be the nature of film. I'd say this is probably my third favorite of the series.

C.S. Lewis' The Silver Chair - Grade: A+. I don't know why, but this is by far, my favorite of the Narnia series. I just love this one, especially with the kidnapped prince and how he rides past the heroes as the black knight on the horse. And Puddleglum is just a great character. I've always remembered this book with the most fondness.

C.S. Lewis' The Horse and His Boy - Grade: B+. This is probably ones of the books I remember least from the series, but again, one Turtle thoroughly enjoyed. The storyline is so exotic and middle-eastern-ish that sometimes it's easy to forget this is, indeed, still Narnia. What a wonderful world Lewis created.

C.S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew - Grade: A-. Not my favorite of the Narnias, but Turtle loved it. I like the characterization in this one, and enjoy it for its prequelness. Reading this after The Magicians, I couldn't believe all the hat-tips Grossman gives Lewis. Very encouraging to know that literature and genius are not dead in our day and age. Grossman should be a must read for everyone.

More book reviews coming tomorrow!


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