(Noughts & Crosses, book #1)
by Malorie Blackman
It sounded like a good Romeo and Juliet story so I bought the box set of all four of the series. After reading the first one I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest. On the surface it was a basic R&J, but it floated on the sea of a political and anti-racism rant. Now you’re wondering what I have against that, aren’t you? Well, the answer is, ‘Nothing.’ But there’s a time and place for it and this, now, is not it. I see what you’re saying, Ms Blackman, and while I agree with everything you’ve expressed in the first book, you destroyed a good story with too much activism.
Now I’m not making much sense. And starting to sound racist. Which is what I was trying to avoid. Balls.
Noughts & Crosses is set in a world just like ours was decades ago, but completely reversed, where white people (Noughts) are bottom class people trying to rise out of slavery and fighting for their cause, and black people (Crosses) are high class and wealthy, politicians, lawyers, and so on. Some things were clever (like how all plasters (band-aids) were brown and stuck out on white skin) but not entirely surprising, considering Malorie Blackman is a black woman who went through a private education system in London.
(Monument 14, book #1)
by Emmy Laybourne
I was so excited for the Monument 14 series when I first read the synopsis! It sounded like a really good – if a bit cliché – story idea that I hadn’t read before. Fourteen children in the town of Monument find themselves in superstore without supervision when their buses crash in a freak hail storm on the way to their schools. They end up in the superstore to take shelter and very soon discover that the outside world is crumbling.
A mega-tsunami that started in the Canary Islands created crazy weather phenomenons, earthquakes and a chemical spill in Monument, poisoning the air. They find out that the radioactive air affects different blood types in different ways when they’re exposed, and so seal off every door, window and vent in the store and wait for rescue.
That sounds pretty cool, right? Of course it does.
Unfortunately, all of the fourteen 5-17 year olds are simultaneously boring and irritating. With the older children, Laybourne has gone for the overdone clichés of The Jock with a warm heart, The Bully who realizes his ways are wrong, The Political Leader who runs the show, The Mum who is verging on insanity because she’s too young for the responsibility, The Cheerleader who the boys chase after, The Tough Chick, The Slut who [almost] gets raped and has a change of lifestyle,
by Chuck Palahniuk
I’ve seen the movie several times and I absolutely love it. I didn’t even know it was based on a book before I saw it on sale. I snatched it up and it sat on my shelf for a while. Finally, a friend told me I should read it, because it’s really messed up.
He wasn’t kidding.
Fight Club is one of the more twisted books I have ever read. Everyone who knows the movie knows the story, so I don’t really run the risk of spoiling it. The movie is a fairly good representation of the book, but for the most part it has been cleaned up. They excluded about 90% of the dark, perverted content, and I can see why. The book is an entirely different experience to the movie, and different again if you know the ‘big reveal’ about who Tyler is before starting to read. (Spoiler-free, just in case some people haven’t seen the movie.)
The more I think about it the more I realize just how f*cked up the book is. What’s more worrying, I think, is how much I liked it. It’s philosophy disguised in gore and mutilation.
And if that doesn’t sell it to you, I don’t know what will!
Note: I know this and the last review have been extremely short, but both books were just over 200 pages long and took a few hours to read each. There isn’t much to say without telling you the story, and where is the fun in that?
by Robert Westall
Blitzcat isn’t the kind of book I would have picked up to read of my own accord. A good friend handed it to me because it’s one of his favourite books, and so I said I would give it a shot.
It’s not a bad book. In fact, it’s very easy to read. I got through it in a couple of hours. It’s definitely geared towards younger readers with language and style, but the content (some violence and sexual content) is more Young Adult. I could see 9 – 11 year olds being put off by the content but older kids getting annoyed with the simplicity of it.
I think I know what my problem with the story is. I don’t like cats. For a while I was deathly afraid of the creatures. These days I’m just wary. When you’re reading a book that is essentially World War 2 from a cat’s perspective, to really enjoy it you need to connect with the cat somehow. I didn’t. I actually found myself speed-reading through some of the feline’s sections.
Overall I just found it on the boring side of ‘all right’. It reminded me of War Horse, but dull.
(Gone, book 6)
by Michael Grant
I finished Light
two three hours ago.
I can still feel it.
I’ve barely moved.
[You should know, though, that Michael Grant’s errors and inconsistencies are back (eg. “Sanjit’s sister, Bowie…” but Bowie is a boy). But at this point I’m done really caring. It’s just Grant’s style. If Garth Nix can be forgiven then Michael Grant definitely should.
I do have one regret that I hadn’t anticipated. When I finished with the Harry Potter series I felt bad for anyone who would never know the feeling of waiting for the books to come out every year. The feeling of growing up with them. The first Gone book was released long after I had finished my “growing up” (at least physically…) and even though I bought every book as they were released over the last five years I hadn’t read any since the first one, until this month. On the one hand I regret this decision, because I miss that feeling of waiting for a release. On the other, I’m not sure if I would have loved them as much if I had to wait a year between each. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly. I think I needed momentum to carry me through all the small things, the little (and not so little) mistakes so that I could take the story for what it was and not get annoyed with it. I know it sounds strange, but it’s the only way I can explain why I started reading Hunger back in 2009 but didn’t finish it until recently.
(Gone, book 5)
by Michael Grant
That was intense.
As you may have guessed already, the Gone series has had me hooked for the last two weeks or so. Fear was released about a year ago and, like the rest, I bought it as soon as I could. I did a bit of research and found a poll that asked which book of the first five was the reader’s favourite. About 55% of votes were for Fear (something like 20% was for Lies and the rest were split between the other three). This surprised me, because I was almost sure that Lies (#3) would be the best of the series. It was largely my favourite and in a way I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t like Plague (#4) as much even though it had a higher Goodreads rating. Fear has an even higher rating than that, so I was as worried as I was excited.
Fear is my new favourite. From about a hundred pages in I couldn’t put it down. (I’m actually typing this with slightly blurry eyes because I spent the entire day reading yesterday). What I liked about Lies was how uncomfortable and afraid it made me. Fear… well, it’s called FEAR for crying out loud! It gave me shivers a couple of times and for a huge section of the book (you’ll know what I’m talking about) I felt claustrophobic and maybe even a little dizzy. It’s almost as though the giant title on the cover isn’t the name of the book but a side effect warning.
(Gone, book 4)
by Michael Grant
Plague had a bit of a slow start. As you might have guessed, Plague is about the happenings in the FAYZ while the children are getting sick and, in some cases, dying. For the first third of the book or so all you get is a build-up. You find out where everyone is and what they’re up to, and just how bad the illnesses that are plaguing (sorry) the kids really are. You read a little about the new kids introduced in Lies, but other than that, the start of the book feels… unhurried. But that’s not entirely a bad thing.
Things pick up speed around the middle, and by the end so much is going on that I could not put it down. Yes, that old cliché. But I am telling you: I could not put it down. Everything gets seriously tense and all of your (my) favourite people seemed like they were going to die or were already dead for a large chunk of the end of the book. It’s gory and gross, shocking and heartbreaking. You get the feeling that shit is about to hit the fan, and in the end it does.
*** BIG BIG SPOILERS ***
Much like my “Shocking Moments” list from the last book, I’ve got an “I Can’t Believe…” list for Plague.
I can’ believe Hunter died.
I can’t believe Sam killed him in mercy.
(Gone, book 3)
by Michael Grant
I went straight from Hunger (book 2) to Lies with just a few hours break between. I had already started reading two other books but I couldn’t resist the pull of the Gone series, so I dove right in.
Lies is still riddled with the typos, mistakes and the repetition that I’ve come to expect from these books. Grant definitely isn’t the best author I’ve read and I have found myself getting annoyed with his poor word choice or mistakes that his editor should have caught before print. There are even a few inconsistencies, like a chapter titled “Three Days Later” and mention in that chapter of things that happened “weeks previously” instead of three days. Or when Dekka said in Hunger that she only took notice of Brianna during events of the first book, but in Lies she states how she had liked her for a long time before that. It’s the little things like this that bother me.
However, the series is still one of the most original stories I’ve ever read.
Lies takes places some time after Hunger. Possibly a few weeks, possibly months, because I vaguely remember both being said…
Okay, enough of the complaints.
Lies is my favourite of the series so far. It’s so dark, twisted, in some parts horrifying and downright disturbing that I found myself gasping and closing the book to let it sink in.
***BIG SPOILERS to follow***
(Gone, book 2)
by Michael Grant
I bought Gone (book 1) way back in 2008 when it was first released. I read it and, as far as I can remember, thought it was a very good book. I hadn’t been writing reviews to keep my memory in check back then but even now, five years on, I can still remember a lot of that book. That’s pretty impressive.
Over the years, as Hunger (2), Lies (3), Plague (4) and Fear (5) were released almost on a yearly basis, I bought each one but didn’t get around to reading them. They came with me on every house move I made and despite my sister being the only one to read them before I got to, the dust jackets got ripped and damaged. They started to look like they had been read twenty times over instead of just the once.
Not too long ago they released the first five books in paperback, and I knew that when Light (6), the final book in the series, was released in hardback I would have to get it before it vanished from the shops and I would have to suffer with another oddly mismatched series on my shelf. (For the record, Light was released ten days ago and I have yet to buy it. I’m waiting for it to drop in price while mildly panicking that if I wait too long I’ll lose my chance, but I just can’t afford a €15-€19 book right now!)
When I spotted Light on the shelves for the first time I squealed, and subsequently had to explain to my friend what the books were about, even though I only finished the first one… That same day, she bought the first five in paperback.
by Garth Nix
I haven’t read many Garth Nix books and I am aware that this is a problem.
In fact, I’ve only read one other. Shade’s Children. I mostly loved it. My sister and my boyfriend are both huge Garth Nix fans and they are forever telling me to read more of his works. And I will. I even have Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday and Sabriel on my book shelves. Really, I should read those before any others, but my sister had A Confusion of Princes and as soon as I read the back of it I had to borrow it. The story, like all of Nix’s books, is beautifully original.
This is the story of the three deaths of Prince Khemri. Yes, three, because when a Prince dies their mind is saved and transplanted into another body, exactly the same as the last.
Prince Khemri reminds me of Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove. You know, the emperor who gets turned into a llama until he learns how to be a good person? Khemri is just as self-righteous and spoiled, and I love it.
He is one of ten million Princes throughout the universe who began life as [mostly] human children, but through years of training and physical enhancements (think reinforced bone structure and the ability to see in the dark or hold one’s breath for a very long time because of mechanical and technological implants) they become Princes. Princes exist to rule over the Empire.