Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Luck in the Shadows

Luck in the Shadows
Title: Luck in the Shadows
Author: Lynn Flewelling
Series: Nightrunner
Rating: 4/5 stars

The novel opens with Alec of Kerry locked in a dungeon and being tortured for information. Though Alec is innocent of being a spy, his captors will not believe him. After a couple days of torture, a young bard is captured and thrown into the dungeon with him.

The young bard turns out to be Seregil, a spy and thief of sorts who helps Alec escape from the dungeon. Freed from captivity, the two steal a horse and try and get as far away as possible. While on their journey, Seregil offers Alec and opportunity - become his apprentice.

The novel was excellently written. The characters were both well rounded and deep. The plot kept me interested and had a few surprise twists in it.

It's a long novel, and I found myself wondering if it would ever end. Yet when I reached the end, I wanted more. Flewelling really grips you with her writing and leaves you wanting more.

Filled with secrets, thieves and treachery, this is a book I'd recommend to any fantasy fans. The novel isn't really YA, nor is it adult fiction, so it can work for both age groups.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Warrior Heir

The Warrior Heir
Title: The Warrior Heir
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Series: The Heir Trilogy
Rating: 4/5 stars

Cinda Williams Chima's The Warrior Heir follows the adventures of Jack Swift after he discovers his role in the guilds - magical armies warring for control. There are five races; warriors, wizards, enchanters, sorcerers and soothsayers. Each race is powerful in its own way, but wizards are thought to be the strongest. For years wizards have ruled over the other races. Two rival clans, The White Rose and The Red Rose constantly fight for control in a Gladiator style tournament known as The Game - instead of losing "precious" wizards in wars; they control warriors and have them fight to the death. As a result of The Game, the warrior race has all but died out. Then Jack Swift comes along - a wizard born without a stone. Desperate to save his life, his family calls on Jessamine Longbranch. Longbranch becomes a Frankenstein like character, experimenting on Jack - instead of giving him a wizard's stone, she implants a warrior's stone.

Published in 2006, The Warrior Heir was Chima's first novel. The novel later evolved into The Heir Series, with The Wizard Heir published in 2007 and The Dragon Heir published in 2008. The Warrior heir has won numerous awards including Voya's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for 2006-2007 and has appeared on American Library Association's popular paperback list for 2008.

The Warrior Heir is filled with twists and turns at every corner - the writing is engaging and keeps the reader interested. Though the book is better written and more engaging than other fantasy book such at Harry Potter and Twilight, it has received much less attention. Not only does the book present an interesting read, it also speaks out against class systems and encourages equality. There are many morals within the story and teaches a lesson while keeping the reader entertained.

Chima created a fictitious world that is both realistic and engaging. Her characters are original and her magic system is exquisite. I absolutely loved this novel and I've gone back and read it about four times now. I highly recommend this novel for those who love fantasy and YA novels.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Title: Stormbreaker
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Series: Alex Rider
Rating: 1/5 stars

What if James Bond had been a fourteen-year-old kid? Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz answers that question with its main character, Alex Rider. Alex is a normal boy, living with his uncle in London, England. But one day, his uncle is killed in a car crash, and the facts just don't add up. Alex begins asking questions and sneaking around, trying to get to the bottom of what really happened. When meeting with his uncle's boss at Royal and Crown, he finds out the truth. His uncle wasn't a bank manager, he was an MI6 agent, and he wasn't killed in a car crash, he was killed while on assignment. Eager to complete Ian Rider's mission, they send his nephew out into the field.

Released in September of 2000, Stormbreaker is the first novel in a series of spy novels featuring fourteen-year-old, Alex Rider. The novel and all sequels are published by Walker Books. Stormbreaker appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, topping off at #1 for children's series. On July 21, 2006, a film adaption was released, staring Alex Pettyfer at Alex Rider.

As a whole, the novel isn't well written. The author prefers "telling" over showing. Instead of using detail and the senses to give the reader information, he uses what are referred to as "info dumps." Which are basically blocks of information that are vital to the storyline, but the author couldn't think of a way to give you that information so they just tell it all to you. Instead of letting you feel the actions, and make it realistic, Horowitz just says "Alex rider did this. The bad guy did that." It's very boring and unentertaining.

The novel isn't realistic either - the idea of a government agency sending an untrained child on itself if unbelievable. Even in the most desperate of situations, sending in someone untrained is suicide, sending in an untrained child is suicide plus a public riot. Not to mention the "gadgets" Alex receives. Some of them are plausible, such as the yo-yo or even the "zit cream". But the fake GameBoy is just pathetic. Having a computer appear as a GameBoy to transmit images is believable, but having that same computer turn into an x-ray machine just by switching out cartridges is not.

The plot is also predictable. Everyone can easily see what's coming next - it's a straight forward novel with no real twists and turns in it. It's a classic happy, nothing can happen to the main character, ending. It's important for a novel to keep the reader engaged with plot twists, but this novel is one of those books you pick up and know the ending after reading two chapters.

Though not well written, this novel paved the way for similar books. The Young James Bond series, written by Charlie Higson, came out in March of 2005. Fledgling Jason Steed, written by Mark A. Cooper, came out in September of 2008. The novel also spawned several sequel all featuring Alex Rider.

Overall, the book is good for a young child who wouldn't question anything. For an older child or an adult, the novel is very poor quality. Between being poorly written, and not being very realistic, this is definitely not an "all ages" novel. It would be best for someone eight-years-old and under, maybe even younger.

The King of Torts

The King of Torts
Title: The King of Torts
Author: John Grisham
Rating: 3/5 stars
It really took me a while to get into this book. It started out pretty slow, but it was interesting. I kept reading, and I'm pretty disappointed with the novel.

The novel follows a man named Clay Carter - a lawyer working for the Office of the Public Defender. His job is going no where, his girlfriend and her parents are after him to "make something of himself" which translates into "make our daughter rich." It seems like his life is going no where.

Then he meets Max Pace. The guy pops up out of no where and offers him a case that can make him $15 million. How can Clay say no? And thus, Clay Carter enters the world of Mass Torts.

The main character really didn't appeal to me. He was a guy who had a fortune handed to him, blew it all on stupid shit, made stupid decisions, and basically screwed himself, and yet still comes out unscathed.

Through out the novel, I kept finding myself wanting to smack Clay for the stupid things he does. I would've liked the novel more if it had focussed more on Tequila rather than a greedy man blowing money left and right.

Welcome to the Dancing Dove!

Welcome everybody, to the Dancing Dove! The Dancing Dove is a bar in Tamora Pierce's novels where the Court of the Rouge is housed. I figured I'd swipe the name to use for my book reviewing blog.

Every so often I'll be posting a review of a book I've read on here. I read all sorts of novel - Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, YA, Horror, etc. So you can find all sorts of books reviewed.