Sunday, May 17, 2009

Airman by Eoin Colfer

Plot: In about the 1890's a teenager goes to a prison on this tiny dismal island for being falsly accused of treason (he's framed) and oh, lucky coincidence, the person framing him runs the prison. He's forced to mine for diamonds and plans to fly out of the prison, using the skills his tutor taught him, making gliders and designing aeroplanes.

Comments: I was drawn to this book by its thickness and the espionage/dark/cool-looking cover. After I read the inside flap, however, I did not have very high hopes for this book, because I felt I knew how the whole story would go. Nevertheless, I loved this book, and it's great for a break between work (though it's hard to put down, so watch the clock carefully). It's not really espionage, though it looks it; it's more adventure, and it seems like a piece (an interesting piece) of history instead of a story. It gets too confusing at times, and the timeline of this novel is also misleading. Read carefully, because time skips ahead sometimes, and it's easy to miss. This is almost a sci-fi book, because of all the careful details and information on the topic of flying. The setting of the place is a little confusing, and all in all this book gives you the details when it decides to.

Rating: I give this book an eight out of ten--the highest ever!

Pendragon: The Never War by D. J. MacHale

Book Three in Pendragon Series

Plot: Bobby is back yet again (there's at least five more books--stay with me here), and this territory is unlike what he had imagined. I won't tell you where it is, exactly, but let's say this territory is not unlike Bobby's home, Second Earth. Bobby meets a couple more Travelers, and has to make an extremely difficult decision that will tip three territories (count 'em, three) to either the good side or the bad side.

Comments: I'm really liking this series so far. This book is good for a lazy afternoon, and it's modernized, and written so you can't say for sure whether or not it isn't actually happening as you read it. I like the use of real people and places, and I wonder if the way they're portrayed in this book is how they really are. It has a nice twist somewhere in the middle, but it gets predictable in that Pendragon always stays the same (does he ever learn?), Saint Dane (the bad guy) is always where you least expect it, and the layout is always the same--Saint Dane appears in a territory, Pendragon eventually figures out the plan, Saint Dane reveals himself, Pendragon thinks he's beaten Saint Dane, there's a problem, and boom, Pendragon wins again. Goos stories, but a little variation would be nice, considering how many books there are. The people get predictable, too.

Rating: This book gets a six and a half out of ten.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pendragon: The Lost City of Faar by D. J. MacHale

Book Two of the Pendragon Series

Plot: Bobby (the main character) is back, and there is another territory that needs saving, and this one's made entirely of water! Good thing he's a good swimmer...While at this territory, Bobby meets a Traveler like him, but this Traveler doesn't know it yet, and Bobby has to break the news.

Comments: A little better than the last book, and the names are easier, though there seem to be more. I like how Bobby talks like a normal teenager from [Second] Earth, but sometimes he's a little too predictable in what he says/asks. The plot is kind of complicated, but it's good. All the different types of technology are hard to keep track of, however. Introductions are good, but when they're all used together, it's hard to tell them apart.

Rating: This book gets a seven and a half, like its prequel.

Pendragon: The Merchant of Death by D. J. MacHale

Book One of the Pendragon Series

Plot: A fourteen-year-old boy has a normal life, with good grades, good at sports, and popular. His best friend is an unpopular nerd/geek, and his longtime crush/girlfriend is a girl a lot like him. But then his Uncle Press thrusts him into another world (literally), and he is discovering who he really is, while saving said world.

Comments: A good book, nice and thick, easy to get hooked on this series. Again, the names are a tiny bit confusing, but it works, because it's first-person point of view, so you don't know any more than the main character. The characters are full, well-developed people, and I can easily imagine them having a life behind the scenes of the plot. (I mean, I can imagine them thinking, talking, and having a life, unlike when characters only seem alive when they're on the page. Savvy?) A good adventure book, and I like how the plot moves fluidly.

Rating: I give this book a seven and a half out of ten.

Silverboy by N. M. Browne

Plot: an apprentice with silver skin and white hair (a result of apprenticing where he did) runs away, and has eight days to leave the land before he is hung. When his days run out, he teams up with a fisherman's daughter to try and figure out the mystery behind birds with human heads.

Comments: A good fantasy-style book, but the names are a little confusing at times. The problem with a lot of fantasy books is that the names are nothing like those here on Earth, and when there are more than a couple of names in the beginning, it gets confusing. The adventure in this book goes back and forth between places, again, making it confusing (the characters go to one place, then they go to another, then they return to the first place, then...). I didn't like the ending very much; it wasn't a bad ending, but I thought of several I would have liked more.

Rating: I give this book a six and a half out of ten.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Larklight by Philip Reeve

Plot: spiders are trying to take over all the worlds (there are a lot), and it's up to a boy, his older sister, and a pirate to save them. Plenty of odd places and new creatures.

Comments: a very good book for people with annoying older siblings. Sometimes all the names of places and species get confusing, but it's written in a way so that you don't really have to remember them all. I don't like how the older sister is so prissy and formal and...girly. She's obsessed with being lady-like, and there aren't really any other girls unlike her. But I suppose that's part of the book. I like the way things are in the future, with new technology and new worlds and everything, but is as the same time in the past, sometime in the mid-1800's.

Rating: I give this book a seven out of ten.

Dead Connection by Charlie Price

Plot: cheerleader goes missing, and everyone looks for her, but they haven't found a trace after six weeks. A boy can talk to ghosts, and he starts hearing a new voice, who he thinks is the cheerleader. He and a girl he befriends have to convince the police to help.

Comments: the cover of this book reminded me so much of the book Deadline, a great novel. Dead connections is a great book for those who are slightly superstitious, because it challenges if what we see is really what is true. It has a good plot, organization is nice. It's really confusing in the beginning, however, because a whole bunch of characters are introduced separately, and you don't know how they connect, so it's like you're reading several books at once. It gets better pretty quickly, though.

Rating: To this book I award seven and a half stars.

Starcross by Philip Reeve

Plot: sequel to Larklight. This time it's top hats that say "Moob" trying to take over the universe. The older sister's...well, basically boyfriend, won't respond to her letters and is making eyes at a pretty French girl. The whole thing is adventure, every step of the way.

Comments: the older sister is slightly better in this book. I like the adventure mixed in with a bit of angry romance (sorry, no better way to put it, I don't think). The plot is a little hard to understand at first, however. I don't mean it's boring; it's just that you have absolutely no idea where the book's going the entire time you're reading it. I suppose that's alright, but maybe it was took a little too far.

Rating: This book gets a six and a half out of ten.