Thursday, August 30, 2012

Send by Patty Blount

Patty Blount's novel Send is a poignant story.  I don't think I can pick a better word to describe this story, unless you count "bittersweet."  This story does not end in a neat bow, nor does it have a ridiculously happy or sad ending.  Send is about the how every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  It's about how one choice can mark and change the course of your future, but it is also about forgiveness and self-acceptance.

The beginning of Send we meet Daniel at the front of his new school on his first day.  He is witnessing a typical "Jock" harrassing a scrawny "Nerd".  After battling with his inner self (Kenny) Dan decides to interven.  This becomes a common theme to his life.  Dan is constantly at the rescue, and he tries so hard to make sure no one will be tortured if he can help it.  During all this the reader becomes aware that Dan committed a crime, that he went to Juvie and was harrassed like the scrawny kid (Brandon), and that Daniel is not his real name. 

 As the book progresses so many little puzzle pieces fall into place.  At his new school no one knows who he is and what he did when he was 13.  Kenny is the person living within him and sometimes Kenny will show up in Dan's back seat or sitting next to him.  Kenny is 13 and Kenny is Dan's crutch/falling grace/alter ego/sickness/self-hatred.  No one knows about Kenny and that Dan has active conversations with Kenny.  This is an important character and a piece of Dan that shows the readers how desperate he has become because of the fallout of his actions when he was 13.

Julie Murphy is the love/hate/love interest in this book.  Their first meeting did not go well because Julie watched the fight involving Jock (Jeff) and Nerd (Brandon) and did nothing to stop it, so it was up to Dan to step in, with his jaw.  As you read you notice there is something Julie is hiding and while you know Dan is hiding something, he never talks about it, until the end.  All the reader knows is that at age 13 Dan hit send and someone died, he went to court, later to Juvie and 5 years later is when we meet him.  What Julie is hiding is pain.  She hurts because her brother committed suicide when she was 13, her father is obssessed with finding the boy who he thinks killed him.  As time progresses Julie and Dan get close and share certain parts of their story, but their complete stories don't come out until the end.

This is such a complex book that Blount has woven.  Lies, perceptions, and truths all come to head in this great story of mistakes, vengance, love and hate, and forgiveness.  Even though you might think you know what is going on and how these stories and lies are connected, nothing will prepare you for what happens at the end.

5 stars!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

A Confusion of Princes

"I have died three times, and three times been reborn, though I am not yet twenty in the old earth years by which it is still the fashion to measure time. This is the story of my three deaths, and my life between. My name is Khemri.
Taken from his parents as a child and equipped with biological and technological improvements, Khemri is now an enhanced human being, trained and prepared for the glory of becoming a Prince of the Empire. Not to mention the ultimate glory: should he die, and be deemed worthy, he will be reborn...Which is just as well, because no sooner has Prince Khemri graduated to full Prince hood than he learns the terrible truth behind the Empire: there are ten million princes, and all of them want each other dead."

Sounds good doesn't it?  Well that is what I thought when I first put this book on my "to-read" shelf, little did I know what travesty lay ahead for me.  I really really wanted to like this book and don't get me wrong I had a few enjoyable moments.  What killed it for me is that for the first 18 chapters the book reads like a completely clear and cut dried version of what I wanted.  Some things were overly explained while other things that were interesting lacked any explanation.  Men and women were both referred to as Prince and Priest, there was no real explanation of Khemri's world and why certain eccentric views existed.  Humans exist but are subjects to the ever present Emperor, and the Emperor has absolute power.  You find out that there are thousands of Princes out there in training to be part of the greater empire.  The book felt rushed, as if you were reading a 3 page paper, that should have been a thesis.  Too much was left out.

For example:  Khemri is on a mission, gets thrust into a combative situation and meets a girl in the middle of this attack.  Together they close down a worm hole and defeat the attackers.  They also have to share air so that they can make it to Raine's (the girl) home.  Okay lets call that chapters 14-19.  Seriously they get attacked, flee, go into a comma, he gets interrogated and then has to live with her and her parents.  So after their first meal Raine asks, "What would you like to do now?" and I turn the page that leads to Chpt 19 and here is a gem: "What I wanted to do was grab her, kiss her, tumble to the floor with her, and have sex on the carpet that covered the downside emergency hatch... If she had been one of my mind-programmed courtesans I'd have told her to lie on the carpet and prepare to receive her lord and master..."---WTF Moment...  I mean not once did he mention liking her before this... so I do not see the continuity in the actions of the character, granted that line made me snort out a laugh or two. 

I just feel like this book had hooked me with its great idea and potential and then let me free fall. I don't hate it... I just can see the benefit of making this a series as oppose to squishing everything in 337 pages.

2.5/ 5 stars.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mr. Monster and I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells

Mr. Monster (John Cleaver, #2)  I Don't Want to Kill You (John Cleaver, #3)

Book 2 and Book 3 of Dan Wells' John Cleaver series were exactly what I was looking for.  In Mr. Monster we find that John has been having some trouble locking up what he has released.  His monster is out and needs to be fed! 

In Mr. Monster John has not only bounced back from the ending of the last book but he is also dealing with an inner battle.  After tasting killing, he now wants more... or at least some part of him does.   While he is dealing with this he is also budding up a relationship with Brooke, trying to get involved with an FBI case and dealing with his growing horror. 

When it comes to Brooke, his mother has created an opportunity for John to give her a ride to and from school.  "I'd made a long list of exceptions to cover the area between "ignoring her completely" and "abducting her at knife point."  This makes for humor filled situations, especially when we are dealing with a sociopath for most of the book.  Even though they do grow closer something eventually breaks the spell.  Is it self preservation?  Maybe death?  Well, you will just have to read and see.

There is definitely something interesting between the new murders and the agent that John is trying to talk to about his ideas on the new murders.  Unfortunately for John he is not allowed near certain aspects because various people do not want to encourage him, especially his mom.  She is the only one that knows what's going on inside John. 

Thankfully John gets to see another day, and we also get to see the set up for book three.

Okay so I Don't Want to Kill You starts with John trying to figure out who the third murderer is.  Brooke is a non-major role in this book seeing as how things ended in the second.  However, John is not without love interest.  Such as a stalker, John is ever present in the latest murders that are occurring in his town.  Being such, John gets close to the Sheriff's daughter Marci.  She is such a great help to his obsession, never being to critical and only stopping him when he has gone too far. 

The major murders are dealing with teenage girls but we don't realize this until too late, John doesn't realize this until it is too late.  I really liked this installment because John is beginning to accept himself and realize that there might be away for other to accept him.  Unfortunately for John and the readers there are many things that change.  I think readers will be surprised about what happens towards the end but also a sense of relief and calm that has not been established yet, but will come eventually.  And if you are not convinced to read this series, I will leave you with this gem:
“[...] Mom’s not keeping me out because it’s a dead friend, she’s keeping me out because it’s a dead sixteen-year-old girl with no clothes on’
‘And that’s officially the creepiest thing you’ve ever said,’ said Lauren. She stopped typing, and then grimaced and shivered, like she’d just eaten something disgusting. ‘Seriously – yuck.’
I smiled. ‘I’ve got a live girlfriend – what do I need a dead one for?’
Lauren folded her arms. ‘How do I know you’re not just trying to get her out of the house for your own nefarious purposes?’
I smiled. ‘What kind of trouble am I going to get into? The dead girl doesn’t get here until tomorrow.” 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Covet (The Clann #2) by Melissa Darnell

Covet (The Clann, #2)

Let us talk about the sophomore slump most book series get into.  Usually most people anticipate the second, third, fourth, etc. book of a series, but then are completely disappointed because nothing useful happened and it was more like filler.  Well, that was not an issue for Darnell's series The Clann. 

In the second book of this series, Covet, Savannah and Tristan are right were we left them in the first book.  They are on a plan going back to Texas after their eventful meeting with the Vampire Council.  Savannah has promised the Council that she will break her ties with Tristan once she is back home in Texas, of course Tristan does not have clue about this.  The problem is that once they land Savannah finds out that the Clann has kidnapped her grandmother because the believed her father and she had kidnapped Tristan... and ladies and gentlemen is when the metaphorical poop hits the fan.

After going to the Clann circle and all the events that transpires there, Savannah stays true to her word and dumps Tristan (she also promises the Clann, as well).  So the majority of the book deals with her and Tristan coping with that decision.  That sounds boring right?  Sounds just like a regular book 2?  Think again...

While they are coping with their break up a few things transpire.  Savannah begins to learn about her magic, on her own.  This I liked a lot because she is no longer so one sided (Vampire).  Unfortunately for Savannah, she is still vampire and that means that she needs to learn how to deal with what that entails.  She ends up living with her father in the same town, in order to adjust to the change.  Her father (my favorite!) ends up teaching her how to control her impulses, buys her a new wardrobe and also shares many father-daughter moments, that I think she needed in order to see him as something other than a Vampire.  She also has to cope with her mother being gone, due to Savannah and her father living so close together (her mother's blood is apparently tasty to vamps).  Savannah befriends her best friend's ex, Ron, and learns about another aspect of the Clann life.  Her friend Annie is also a big help in all of this, though only being a mere mortal (us mortals can be really supportive to our crazy paranormal friends).  Oh and while all this is going on there are vampires on the loose attacking Clann members!

Poor Tristan! I swear he tried so hard to figure out how to be with Savannah, that I just wanted to jump in the book and fix it myself (seeing as no one wanted to help him).  Tristan even went as far as asking Savannah's father to turn him (doesn't happen because their blood cannot be combined, lethal).  Savannah is not the only one dealt heartbreak in this installment; Tristan too has to deal with losing his girlfriend, getting into a car accident (that might have been intentional), being held hostage in his room by his parents and losing people around him.  Some big things occur for Tristan in this book and they are all very dreary... to the very last sentence of the novel.  Even though this series really just focuses more deeply on Sav's existence and how she will have to deal with it, I feel in the next novel we will have this same experience from Tristan. 

Dylan is still around... and S-U-P-R-I-S-E he is still crazy.  But the reader will finally get a glimpse at why he's the way he is... and it is not too pretty or completely a legit reason to like him.

Emily... such a little hypocrite.  Oh well you will see why towards the end... but I truly feel for her.

Gowin... is a new character, he is Michael's (Sav's father) sire (he turned Michael).

Ron... I love him! He is so sweet and helps Savannah adjust to school after breaking up with Tristan.  He is also Annie's ex, and there are pretty cool surprises because of him.

I really truly loved this book.  It was exciting and fast paced.  The ending left me wanting to know more.  How will this series end?  I don't know if there are only suppose to be 3 books in this series but I feel there should be more, just because not only did Savannah and et all have to clean the poop that hit the fan in this book but there is a whole new fan and poop to clean in the next.

This book was a galley provided by the publisher on (4/5 stars)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Croak by Gina Damico

Croak (Croak, #1)

"You and that infernal team, honestly--" she started, but then closed her mouth after receiving a harsh glare from her husband... anyone crazy enough to name her daughters after the first battles of the American Revolution waived all rights to accuse anyone else of being too obsessed with anything."

Croak by Gina Damico is about the funniest book I have read this year.  The snippet above is on page 6 of the book.  We meet our MC Lex (Lexington) after she is summoned to the Principal's office because she beat up a classmate (male) and bite him.  We also meet her mother and father during this scene.  Right off the bat Lex is marked as a trouble maker... well, because she has been a trouble maker for the past 2 years.  Since it is the last week of school, Lex catches a break and isn't expelled; however, later that night (while she's tied to a chair for her family's safety) her mom and dad discuss her punishment.  In order to cool off and gain a different personality, one less combative, Lex will be spending the summer with her Uncle Mort in upstate NY.  (By the way Lex is a twin, her sister Cordy [Concord] is not as much of a hassle as Lex so she will not be joining her sister.)

Once Lex begrudgingly sets off to her uncle's everything starts to become a little odd for her.  During her bus ride she notices white lights at a car crash that the bus passes by.  Then there is her uncle... I FELL IN LOVE with Uncle Mort.  He is hilarious and no nonsense, and he also happens to speak Lex's language.  In the town of Croak we find the same group of people with Lex's rebellious streaks... and it turns out they are like that for a reason, because they are Killers and Culls.

Killers are the ones who travel to a person's death place and sets their soul free from the body after death and the Culls collect the souls. This work is done in partners for obvious reasons.  Uncle Mort tells Lex that she is a Killer, like him.  Soon after her internship begins in the town of Croak.  The reader is pushed into the world of reapers and the human condition.  What if you know who murdered your pick up?  Do you just let it go and collect your souls for the day?

Besides being hilarious and similar to the show Dead Like Me, this story is rich with actions and consequences.  At least worth the purchase and even more so to be read.

Monday, August 6, 2012

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver, #1)

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells is pretty fantastical!  Just so you know why I think this, I will have to tell you about my unhealthy need to look up serial killers on  As a teenager I found this gruesome story about a little girl from England who killed a 3 year old, from that moment on I was addicted to finding out what caused seemingly normal people and children to commit such awful acts.  Point one for John Cleaver (our MC), because that's how he knows so much about serial killers. 

John Wayne Cleaver has been addicted to learning about serial killers since he was 8 and realized that killing animals was a trait that serial killers shared.  He also became interested because of his name (John Wayne is an actor his father like, unfortunately John Wayne Gacy happens to be an infamous serial killer).  John is not like normal kids... or people.  He not only reads about serial killers but a lot of his class papers and projects are on serial killers, all this leads to him having a therapist who is the closest to anyone in knowing how John works and what is inside of his head.  John is too young for label sociopath, but his lack of empathy make it difficult for him to create and foster bonds with other people, including family. 

He knows what the right things are and how to act just from watching people, which he does a lot and to which he has strict rules about, because nothing shouts serial killer like stalking.  The only problem is that the monster inside of him wants out, especially with a serial killer on the loose in his town.  I find John to be a not as fun character as Jasper Dent (I Hunt Killers), who isn't prone to becoming a serial killer based on being a sociopath, but because his father taught him how to be a serial killer...for fun... like fishing.  John is scary, Jasper can become someone scary but he truly doesn't want to.  With John, he isn't sure he doesn't want to just let his monster out.  He tries, don't get me wrong, but still pretty s-c-a-r-y. 

John is Dexter.  You know, if Dexter didn't have a father who was a police chief, that taught him everything to successfully kill serial killers.  John has to make do with his dark passenger/monster inside of him.  Of course Dexter is in his 30s and John is barely 15.  I want to see the evolution of John because it is fascinating, wrong, but fascinating. 

The only reason I see giving this book a 3.5 instead of a full 4 or 4.5/5 is that there is a twist to this story, which I am not sure it needed.  I would have liked it more if the serial killer was a serial killer like the ones we are used to, not something that cannot be.... PROFILED...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

False Memory by Dan Krokos

 False Memory (False Memory, #1)

I received this book from the publisher Disney-Hyperion

"Then Miranda uncovers a dark truth that sets her team on the run. Suddenly her past doesn't seem to matter...when there may not be a future."

False Memory by Dan Krokos has a little bit of  everything.  I saw  some similarities with Meyer's The Host, the movie Memento and a little bit of Total Recall.  When it comes to sci-fi thrillers this one takes the cake, thus far this year.  Miranda is the main character introduced at the beginning.  The first inclination that I had that I would like this book came from her stopping the security guard at the mall and asking for help "I've lost my memory."  I know she was confused and lost but that was just a hint of Miranda's humor, and I relished in its simplicity.  Of course her first encounter at the mall with the security guard after she has lost her memory leads to a crazy small riot.  Thankfully we are immediately introduced to Peter, who happens to know Miranda.  

Here's the dilemma, we are seeing things through Miranda's POV, so at first it is difficult to be happy that Peter showed up.  Once he starts explaining about you they are  and why her memory is lost, it is hard not to feel like Peter could be a bad guy.  You have to take memory shots every day or else your psychic abilities will wipe out your memory, Miranda happens to have had her doses screwed with, by another member of the 4 person team.  Peter is the only one left and is trying to help Miranda back to home base, where she begins to remember weapons, small incidents with Peter, Olive and Noah.  She doesn't remember her relationship with Noah but at the same time their is this lingering feeling of something that once was.

Just when you think you can let your guard down a little with Peter, Noah shows up.  He is the complete reason why Miranda is in her situation... is it possible to trust Noah, the person she supposedly loves and loves her?  How about Olive who happens to want what Miranda has?  As a reader you are constantly on your toes trying to understand what is going on and what the ending will be, and guess what?  It really isn't that easy to figure out, which can be a breath of fresh air!  

The team figure out that they can be used as weapons to bring cities to their knees and this is when the craziness happens.  Full of action, escaping, rescuing, occasional mind changing kissing, and mind bending/life changing science experiments False Memory is worth every twist and turn.  Miranda is a strong MC, especially with the twists and turns that she must face about herself before the memory incident and after.  She doesn't make obvious decisions nor does she care about what she was like before, she stands for what she believes and is sometimes the glue that keeps them together.

I highly recommend this book to thrill seekers, Matrix-Inception-The Host-Memento lovers, mystery lovers and media specialist.  I can see both boys and girls reading this book and equally enjoying it!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rape Girl by Alina Klein

 I received this book by the publisher.Rape Girl

"Hey, look.  It's that girl.  That rape girl, right?"

Rape Girl by Alina Klein is a short but exposing tale of being a rape victim.  For some reason I do not think this topic can be over done.  It is important to have these tales of rape victims out there so that others can connect with them and also understand situations they themselves might never encounter.
Our main character is Valerie, she is a 16 year old sophomore in Salt Lake City, Utah.  We find out that her family moved to Utah 3 years ago and that there are outsider issues with being Catholic in a predominantly Mormon town (it is subtle).  At the opening of the book Valerie and her mother are being interviewed by two detectives.  Here is where we are told of a party that occurred, while Valerie's mother was not home, of her getting ready with her best friend, putting her sister to bed, getting drunk and ultimately kissing the guy Valerie has had a crush on.  It almost seems like a pretty good night, but nothing ever stays golden.  Obviously following the drinking, Valerie and many other get sick and eventually pass out.
When Valerie awakens her sister wants to go outside to play with a neighbor in the snow.  This is when the rape takes place.  Valerie pass out, only to be awakened to a terrible situation, one that she cannot call out for help, unless she wants to involve her little sister...

Written in "before" and "after" the reader is flipped through what occurred that night and the downfall of speaking out.  The scary part is that everything is realistic.  The victim is presumed guilty, support of the rapist lie about past experiences with Valerie, the examination (where Valerie is hit with the fact that she was a virgin but no longer is), the principal giving more support to the rapist than to the victim, all of this is common in rape cases.  Like it says in the book, rape victims are the only victims that have to prove their innocence.  

Unlike other YA novels, Val's mother is present and I rather liked that.  Her mother is the reason why Valerie was able to speak up and the one person who tried her hardest to get the defendant prosecuted.  Unfortunately due to technicalities, her rapist is off the hook.  So this book also deals with moving forward even when the criminal is in your math class.

I would recommended this book to high school librarians and English teachers and middle school librarians and English teachers. There are many concepts: bullying, rape, self-awareness, growth and acceptance in this book, that students would benefit from reading.  I thank the author for writing a book so close to her experience at 16, for being brave enough to speak out and not let it define her as the criminal, but as the victim.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I am Forbidden

“The postman on his bicycle, she envied him, envied his wheels kissing the cobbles, that he knew one language only, one country only, envied his undivided past, undivided from his future.”

Markovits' I am Forbidden is by far one of my favorite adult books of 2012.  Her novel is filled with a stifling air.  I do not mean that the book itself is stifling, but that the actual subject and predicaments of a Hasidic Jewish life create this atmosphere in the novel.  I have seen and studied Judaism, including Hasidim.  I was already well aware of how strict and formal the culture is; however, this story seemed too personal to view objectively.

The summary of this book is as follows:

 "A family is torn apart by fierce belief and private longing in this unprecedented journey deep inside the most insular sect of Hasidic Jews, the Satmar.

     Opening in 1939 Transylvania, five-year-old Josef witnesses the murder of his family by the Romanian Iron Guard and is rescued by a Christian maid to be raised as her own son. Five years later, Josef rescues a young girl, Mila, after her parents are killed while running to meet the Rebbe they hoped would save them. Josef helps Mila reach Zalman Stern, a leader in the Satmar community, in whose home Mila is raised as a sister to Zalman’s daughter, Atara. With the rise of communism in central Europe, the family moves to Paris, to the Marais, where Zalman tries to raise his children apart from the city in which they live. Mila’s faith intensifies, while her beloved sister Atara discovers a world of books and learning that she cannot ignore.
     A beautifully crafted, emotionally gripping story of what happens when unwavering love, unyielding law, and centuries of tradition collide, I Am Forbidden announces the arrival of an extraordinarily gifted new voice and opens a startling window on a world closed to most of us." -

I just want to state that this does not even begin to hint at the world the reader is thrown into.  From reading this summary I was expecting a double perspective of life, one as a Hasidic Jew and the other as a renouncer of Hasidim.  This is not the case.  We do see these two girls, Mila and Atara, grow in separate directions.  Mila, though, is our main character.  It is her story, of the true Hasidic, that we follow.  I actually do not know how to put into words what this book is about because I think it is an experience that readers should go in blindly.  The expression, "Shit hit the fan" can cover this book, I think.  Not only does shit hit the fan but it then is spread on the walls and floors as Mila and Josef desperately try to clean up the mess and keep on going with life.  Also, "Sins of the father..." doesn't even begin to cover the ending of this book.  It was so surprising and at the same time so sad because it was expected.  I guess you shouldn't be surprised at the ending, but something inside of me wanted to keep the false happiness built by Mila and Josef through out almost 30-40 years.

What I liked:

1) Atara- Okay, I don't like people being suppressed, even if it is cultural, religious and accepted.  Atara was the voice of modern age thinking.  She chose to question history during a time of reflection (the end of WWII).  She is also brave, not that Mila isn't, it is just that Atara had to chose the right life for her and that can be difficult, especially if you lose family.

2)Fluidity-  There are no chapters, just books.  I guess the separation of books within the novel and the city/year headings could be thought of as chapters.  I just like that one minute you would experience a situation through Mila/Atara/Josef's perspective and then right underneath you would see it through the other person's perspective, while the story continues (so that you are not stuck on the same scene for more than a page.)  This can be tough on some people but my best advice is to breathe and read, don't think that will only make it worse.

3) History-  I do like when novels incorporate history, but what I like most of this book is that this is a history more in depth.  There wasn't an overview of what went on or what the world experienced but of what a particular family from a particular sect of people.  Mila, Josef, and Atara did not have to endure the camps but Mila and Josef did lose family.  It wasn't just a history of the Holocaust and how that effected their life, but a history of a family who happened to live through the Holocaust... I hope that makes sense? 

I highly recommend this book if you like Anna Karenina.  There are some similarities but it's all about people trying to find their place in their world and the world at large.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

I picked up the mop and started washing again as Rob struggled to his feet, red faced. John laughed, and Much covered a smile.
"You lot think this is funny?" I asked. "I'll unman you too if you wish it."
They jumped back, and Rob grunted. "You haven't unmanned me, and I resent the implication of it."
"It were a warning blow," I told him, shoving the mop 'cross the floor. "Next time I'll try harder.”

I feel like the above completely highlights the fun in A.C. Gaughen's Scarlet.  Here is a beautiful girl who goes around with three bandits of merry men (Robin Hood is a supporting character).  At first you are not sure of how Scarlet gets involved with this men, but obviously that is the fun of this book.  While most of the book is about Scarlet's escapades with the John Little, Much and Robin Hood, there is also romance and major conflicts. 

Romance:  Guess what?! Scarlet like Robin Hood!  Of course that is obvious, but unlike many YA MCs that really don't have a reason to not admit that they like their love interest Scarlet has good reason to push back.  We, as readers, find a confused 18 year old who is struggling to keep her past a secret and unprepared to face her past.  We also find a feminist, a girl that will go great lengths to prove her worth is as much as a man's, that she shouldn't have to be told who is good for her to marry and how she should act.

Of course there is a semi-love triangle, cause when I was 18 it was so easy to find not just one amazing guy but 2! (Sarcasm is my language).  I am okay with this one, because Scarlet honestly is too conflicted to admit her feelings to both guys and to herself.  I am also glad about how this was resolved, no teams, no violence and everyone is accepting of the outcome. 

Conflict:  With Robin Hood involved of course there is conflict.  There is still the Sheriff of Nottingham taking too much of the people's money.  This is the major issue for the first 100 pages, but thanks to Robin Hood and his band the Sheriff decides he has had enough of the thieves and hires a Thief Hunter (or bounty hunter) Gisbourne.  That is when the conflict focus shifts over, and answers about Scarlet's past arise.  How does she know Gisbourne?  What will happen if he catches her?  Why did he give her that scar?  Who is Scarlet really? Is she part Angel? (Hahaha, that was a joke, but seriously)

Scarlet is a great read.  I love the story of Robin Hood and I am one to be open minded when it comes to remakes.  Sometimes I can be a stickler, but with Scarlet being so feisty and head strong (less annoying then the Bellas of YA, don't get me wrong she can be annoying but in normal doses) it is hard to care if the other characters or events are true to the original. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Fallen Series by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Okay, so to begin, I just want to point out that I have been reading a lot of books lately in the Paranormal/Supernatural genre.  Many of these books have Angels in them, along with Nephilim and some destiny that needs to be fulfilled in order to save the world and also the balance between good and evil.  I don't like normal reviews, where the whole book or series is explained... I mean seriously, I want to read the book not just someone else's review. 

Sniegoski does Angels differently.  He still keeps most of the mythology on Angels and Nephilim that you will read in other YA novels, such as The Mortal Instruments series; however, small distinctions between Hell and the Devil create a more complex world.  Aaron Colbert is our main character, who just happens to turn 18 as the series opens, which in turn is the catalyst for his Nephilim transformation.  Being adopted, Aaron does not know what is happening to him.  One minute he is your average senior in HS and the next minute he can understand and speak to his dog and various other languages.  This is not the only issue in this series, the Nephilim are being hunted down by the Choir of Powers (a specific group of Angels), who want to rid the world of this abomination, for the sake of their Lord of Lords.  Unfortunately for Aaron he is not just any Nephilim, he is part of a prophecy that the Powers will do anything to see unfulfilled. 

There are 3 things I loved about this series, thus far:

1) The characterization of Angels.  Most of the time Angels are depicted as acting higher than humans.  They do not like human beings, because they feel as though the creation of humans was an insult to the creation of Angels (lets just say it is not always a friendly case of sibling rivalry).  So in short Angels = Snobby.  Sniegoski's angels are just god awful, imagine the Taliban... but with wings.  As a human you start questioning them, why do you think it is okay to kill mass numbers of children because of the sins of their fathers (literally)?  Does your God wish for this?  Even when this is brought up to many of the Powers, they still don't see what is wrong and also confess that God does not communicate with them anymore (they don't know how to take a hint.)  Okay, so what I like is that Angels are not these divine beings, they make mistakes, they envy, they are vengeful and most certainly get God's wishes wrong.

2) Talking Dog.  Okay, this isn't even that awesome, but really it is.  After reading Patrick Ness' Walking Chaos series I love the idea of a smart animal companion.  It adds to the whole man's best friend thing.  Gabriel is awesome as far as dogs go and like he and many others state he is special.  Due to Aaron's saving him with his powers during a life/death experience, Gabriel now has distinct qualities to him.

3) LUCIFER.  That's right one, if not the, of the best things about this series is Lucifer's characterization.  I have lost hope of seeing God as a character in many series and books ( I don't know if people are nervous of being smitted by the Lord), but Lucifer is always ready for a role in books and movies. 

This Lucifer is not only important to Aaron's cause but he is depicted completely opposite of pop culture.  What if he was truly repented about his actions?  What if he was just a fallen angel and not the Devil?  What if his banishment and imprisonment to Hell was metaphorical?  For fans of Milton and Dante, do not fret, this is still a pretty bad ass character.  He is still witty and scary (when the moment arises) but he is also different in a good way.  I first started to think of Lucifer and his plight while reading the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.  Sure it's not the best literature in the world, but her concept of Lucifer was semi-unique.  Lucifer wanted to be loved by God and to have freedom of choice, much like human beings.  His pride was wounded when God let him and other angels know that only human kind would be allowed to question their faith in God and love others as much as God.  Is there a problem questioning authority?  I think not, actually we are raised in this country and in general to question the acts of leaders (if not aloud, then internally).  For this God let a war rage between Angels? Lucifer is such a complex character, one that is more connected to humanity than God himself, because we feel pride, we feel betrayal and we feel jealousy.  That being said, I find Lucifer's journey of being forgiven a truly inspiring one, is it ever to late to be forgiven?  I guess we will find out in the last installment coming this month!