Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

*TOP 10 OF 2012*

Marie’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.”

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (November 29, 2011)

RATING 4 STARS

I read Legend right after reading The Grey Wolf Throne.  The two books complimented each other.  It was really interesting, because I really like Han in the other series.  Day is a similar character. He’s poor with a tormented past.  He’s on his own and will do anything to survive.  One difference is that Han seems to be a bit of an egoist while Day is still trying to act within his own moral code.  Day hasn’t killed anyone.

And that’s what spurs this book.  Although he’s caused the Republic lots of problems, he hasn’t killed anyone.  Then one night things go horribly wrong and he’s accused of killing June’s brother.  The story unfolds beautifully, not too fast, not too slow.  We learn what happened to June’s family and the clues her brother left for her.  June hunts Day with the intention of killing him.  She’s the Republic’s golden child.  She’s smart, cunning, and merciless.  She’s the youngest solider and the smartest.

I LOVED this book.  It was dark and intense, with reasons that resonated with the reader.  You were routing for June and then hoping she’d fail, because you are routing for Day, too. Their two worlds collide and the story is just awesome!  I can’t say enough about this book.  It wasn’t on my short list of books because I hate the cover.  Yeah, I’m a girl and it’s an ugly cover.  Anyway, Legend is in my top 10 books read in 2012.  So why’d I give it 4 stars?

Lemme explain.  There is only one reason why I didn’t give it 5 fricken fab stars – the formatting.  Printing things in bold, weird colors was a gimmick that this book did NOT need.  Instead of lending to the book, these issues made Legend difficult to read from major headaches and eyestrain.  Publisher of Legend, I have one thing to say to you: I hope you print the next book normal so I can read it.  I completely hated the publisher’s guts while I was reading this book.  Doing anything that makes it more difficult for a reader to read a book is STUPID.  You might as well be shooting Chinese stars out of the pages at my eyeballs.  Majorly annoyed about that.

To the author: Your book was so good, I endured the migraines to finish it.

4 star book review

If you liked DIVERGENT, SHATTER ME, or 7 REALMS SERIES then you’ll like this.  Weird cross over on that last one, but I stand by it.  Han and Day are both awesome.  <3 <3 <3

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Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.”

Paperback: 320 pages
Recommended Age: Older Teen
Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (July 3, 2012)

RATING 4 STARS 

I almost walked away from this one a few times… But, I kept picking it up anyway and, eventually, it was worth it.

Anna Dressed in Blood has a great premise – and that’s what kept me from giving up on it. It’s not vampires, love triangles, and teenage angst (at least not entirely.) It’s a ghost story. A really creepy ghost story at times.

The problem, at least for me, was how slow it was to take full advantage of the premise. I was almost half-way through the book before the plot itself was gripping enough to keep me turning the pages. In and of itself, that wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. But, during that down time there wasn’t anything to balance out the lack of excitement. Every time it felt like it was about to kick into gear, it still managed to meander of pretty quickly.

I would really have liked to see more character depth from the beginning. More relationships. More conflict. More to keep me reading, and building the suspense, while waiting for the “ghosty” parts. Heck, I really wouldn’t have been upset to see any of the characters suffer a horrible death for the better part of half the book. That’s a problem.

As the story goes on, I never really fell for the protagonist, Cas, but there was still enough there to keep me hooked. Maybe that was the problem – the bulk of the beginning was supposed to be introducing Cas… and I just never really grew to like him during that time. At times I actually disliked him. If nothing else, how do you have a “ghost hunter” who seems so weak at times.

I normally would have rated this around three stars. But, my rule is that if I’ll pick up the next book in the series it’s worth 4. And, I just may grab the next one. Maybe. This book actually ended on a note that strongly reminded me of Demon Kissed – and that’s a great series.

***Although YA, my twelve year old will have to wait for this one… Otherwise I foresee a lot of nightmares in the near future. Just an FYI – maybe your kid is made of stronger stuff. But, I was creeped out at times, and I’m old enough to know the bogeyman isn’t under the bed.

4 star book review

Recommended for people who read YA Horror, Ghost Stories, and like a good creep-out.  Need a spooky read for Halloween?  This is it.  Anna Dressed in Blood is followed by Girl of Nightmares (release date Aug 7, 2012).

Grab Anna Dressed in Blood on Amazon now. It was only $2.99 when I grabbed it!

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Book Review: Valkyrie Rising by Eric C. Currie

Valkyrie Rising (Warriors Wings #2) by Eric C. Currie

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: Two years after the initial invasion of Hayden’s World, the newly reinforced Hayden Militia is in a state of stalemate with the remaining enemy forces but neither side is content to leave things at that.

The alien alliance has dispatched their varsity to clean up the resistance on Hayden while the USF has officially activated Task Force V, the latest and most advanced combat ships built by humans.

In the end there are some things you decide in the skies, but some can only be settled in the mud.

Print Length: 255 pages
Age: Adult Sci-Fiction
Sold By: Amazon Digital Services

RATING – 4 STARS

This is the sequel to “On Silver Wings,” and from the author of “Into the Black: Odyssey One.” If you’ve read my reviews of those, you’ll know that I’m already a big fan.

With “Valkyrie Rising” we get the return of our protagonist. Sergeant Aida is back. But, this time she’s in her element as part of a larger force. And as readers, we’re no longer just focused on the conflict evolving on a lone world, but we’re also exposed to a much larger epic. So while keeping tabs on Aida, we’re also able to see the greater story unfold where she plays but a small role. It’s a great way to keep the comforting intimacy of the characters we know, while expanding the scope of the story into something bigger – bigger conflict, bigger stakes, bigger cast, bigger!

Somehow, Currie has managed to keep each book intense, and full of conflict – but still end on a really satisfying, fulfilling note. Instead of following the “Star Wars” formula (introduce the conflict, dark episode, vindication of the good guys), he’s made each book a complete story arc. Personally, I find that a much funner and more satisfying way to read a series.

Looking forward to the next book…

4 star book review

Recommended to Sci-Fi readers.

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Book Review: On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION “In the future, mankind has colonized other worlds, mined asteroid belts, and sent ships so far into the blackness of space that light from their drives won’t reach Earth for centuries. Through it all, life has been found in almost every system we visited and yet we’ve never encountered another intelligent species.

Until now. When the Colony on the planet known as Hayden’s World stops transmitting on their CASIMIR FTL system, a Solari Fleet Task Force is sent to investigate. When they arrive there are enough oddities in the situation that they in turn send in a special operations unit to contact the colonists and determine what happened. Only one of those operators survives to make planet fall. Sergeant Sorilla Aida finds herself against an alien force of unknown power and capability. Her only assets?

A depleted suit of power armor, her rifle, basic kit, and a few hundred Hayden born civilians looking to take back their home. Just what she was trained for.”

RATING 4 STARS

I picked this up after reading Currie’s “Into the Black: Odyssey One.” That was a great read, and I was anxious to see what else he’d done. I wasn’t disappointed.

As opposed to a lot of science fiction, here we’re given a great female protagonist. And instead of a utopian future and amazing tech, you’ll find a universe that you can easily relate to. Humanity is still the same. And so, when the protagonist is dropped into truly alien experiences, you’re along for a great ride.

The pace is quick. But character development and relationships aren’t sacrificed for plot. I wish my daughter read more action/adventure and sci-fi, because there are so few great female characters out there. Here’s one where the fact that the story centers on a female marine is simply taken for granted. It’s a non-issue, there’s no pandering, and the story tears along dragging the reader with it.

Since this isn’t a space epic, the scale is much more local – and it works. That alone would be a nice change of pace, but the fullness of the story and the great characters make it a 5-star book.

4 star book review

Recommended for Sci-fi readers and anyone who likes a solid cheap kindle book.

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Book Review: The White Mountains by John Christopher

tripods, books for boys, teen books, sci-fi books, 5 star book reviewsThe White Mountains by John Christopher

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “Long ago, the Tripods–huge, three-legged machines–descended upon Earth and took control. Now people unquestioningly accept the Tripods’ power. They have no control over their thoughts or their lives. But for a brief time in each person’s life–in childhood–he is not a slave. For Will, his time of freedom is about to end–unless he can escape to the White Mountains, where the possibility of freedom still exists. The Tripods trilogy follows the adventures of Will and his cohorts, as they try to evade the Tripods and maintian their freedom and ultimately do battle against them. The prequel, When the Tripods Came, explains how the Tripods first invaded and gained control of the planet.”

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse; First Edition edition (April 1, 2003)

REVIEW-5 STARS NOT TO BE MISSED

I just got around to setting up a goodreads account (April ’11), and have mostly added books that I’ve read in the past year or two as a starting point for my shelves. But, I stumbled across this book and had to add a review…

I read this book well over 20 years ago. So, I can’t say anything about the typical stuff that I’d normally evaluate a book on – except for impact. After 20+ years, this story is still bouncing around my head. I don’t remember all the characters and plot details, but I remember how it made me feel. I remember the basic story. And, I know that I want to hand it to my kids as part of their introduction to science fiction. I’m tempted to go back and read it again, but I’d hate to ruin the good memories I’ve got from this series – in case that 20+ years has been harder on my memory than I thought. :o)

BOOKS are better than icecream, 5 stars, awesome books

Recommended for younger readers, especially boys.

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Book Review: The Dig by Michael Siemsen

the dig, contemporary fiction, sci-fi books, YA sci-fi, 3 star book reviewsThe Dig by Michael Siemsen

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “A mysterious woven metal artifact is found at a paleontological dig in Africa. Mystified experts, confounded by the impossible timeline they get from traditional dating methods, call upon a stubborn young man with a unique talent. Matthew Turner’s gift is also his curse: Whenever he touches an object, his awareness is flooded with the thoughts and feelings of those who touched it before him. It is a talent that many covet, some fear, and almost no one understands. Despite being exploited as a child and tormented by the unpleasant experiences imprinted on him from the various items he has “read,” Matthew agrees to travel from New York to the forests of Kenya. There, threatened by unknown enemies and helped by a beautiful but prickly ally who begins to understand his strange ability, he journeys back in geological time to make a discovery so shocking that it forces us to rewrite all human history.”

Print Length: 324 pages
Publisher: Fantome (January 17, 2011)
Recommended Age: Young Adult

REVIEW: 3 STARS-IT WAS OKAY

In The Dig, Siemsen manages to keep the reader engaged in two completely distinct stories. There’s a modern, paranormal, story that he uses to weave in a second, more science fiction, story that’s easily as compelling. It’s a great feat. And I found myself happily transitioning between the two worlds.

Likewise, he’s developed some great characters. A few reviewers have complained that they didn’t find anyone truly “likable.” But, I think the “problem” is actually a more three-dimensional protagonist. Unfortunately, the villain is a bit caricature-ish, which may undermine the more well developed characters. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to turning each page.

The disappointment didn’t hit until the end… Siemsen wrote two great stories and wove them together almost seamlessly. So, over the course of each chapter the anticipation of a great pay-off builds. You want to know where it’s all going! But, the great climax never arrives… In fact, it felt incredibly anti-climactic when it was all said and done. The best that can be said is that all the loose ends were neatly tied up.

Hopefully Siemsen brings his great style to another book, and the storytelling is paired with a more dramatic purpose.

three star books, ya books 3 stars

You may enjoy this book if you liked: Neanderthal

Recommended for guys, Sci-fi readers and YA book fans.

Grab THE DIG now on Amazon or B&N for $2.99!