Saturday, April 23, 2011

Young Adult Super Post 2! Glimmerglass, Gone, The Lightning Thief, and My Soul to Take

As a continuation of yesterday, I've gone on a bender of young adult books and decided to post about them all at once. I'm not including my own synopsis because I am linking to Goodreads and it seems redundant. I realize that I am not the main audience of these books but I really like Young Adult books as a whole.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Goodreads synopsis: In this stunning collectors' edition of The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson’s world is brought to life with eight full-color plates by the series jacket artist John Rocco. The edition comes in an elegant slipcase with a ribbon bookmark, rough edges, and cloth cover—a perfect keepsake for fans of this truly epic series.

After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There's little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus.

This first installment of Rick Riordan's best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.

My take: I didn't know how I was going to feel about this book because several friends told me it wasn't very good. I imagine they were comparing it to the Harry Potter series and didn't realize that The Olympians series is Middle Grade (ages 7-12) rather than Young Adult.

The book is definitely a middle grade book. That being said, I really liked it! Percy is a likable hero who just wants to save his mom. Percy is the son of Poseidon (and, thus, is a demigod) and is sent on a quest to find Zeus's lightning bolt which has gone missing. If the bolt isn't found it will likely cause a war between the "big three"--Poseidon, Zeus, and Hades.

I'll admit, I was that dorky kid that was really in to Greek and Roman mythology but I like Riordan's spin on ideas like the Lotus Eaters, who now run a high-end hotel in Vegas, to the idea of Percy being able to talk to Zebras because his father created horses, to what he does with Procrustes (which is pretty accurate to the original myth). I also appreciated the update of the gods--Poseidon in bermuda shorts for example or Ares riding a motorcycle. The secondary characters were interesting too. And it's a rare first novel that actually manages to have a story of it's own in addition to setting up the rest of the series. A minor quibble: It's hard to imagine a group of children being able to transverse the country while "Wanted" ads are being posted for Percy and not get stopped, I still liked the ride.

The lines that made the book for me:
"Be honored, Percy Jackson. Lord Zeus rarely allows me to test a hero with one of my brood. For I am the Mother of Monsters, the terrible Echidna!"
I stared at her. All I could think to say was: "Isn't that a kind of anteater?"
She howled, her reptilian face turning brown and green with rage. "I hate it when people say that! I hate Australia!..."
I actually laughed out loud at that exchange.

Keep reading? Absolutely! I have the next two on their way to me as we speak (

A continuation of yesterday! I decided to go on a Young Adult novel bender and post about the Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

Goodreads synopsis: It’s all she’s ever wanted to be, but it couldn’t be further from her grasp…

Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her newfound friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with… until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again…

My take: I loved this book but it's possible my standards were slightly lowered by all the dreck I've been reading. I was optimistic because I really like Jenna Black's adult series but you can never tell if an adult writer can write young adult books or vice versa.

1. I like novel Fae creatures outside of the norm. Spriggans, for example, are interesting and unique to me and much more interesting than the trolls or imps that show up in every fae-type novel.

2. The interaction between Dana and her dysfunctional family felt very real to me. Her love-tempered disgust with her drunk mom, not knowing how to deal with the father that she never knew--it all seemed realistic.

3. Although Dana makes the inarguably stupid move of flying across the world to meet a father she's never met and didn't know she existed who lives in a half-fae, half-human town (and a man her mother has warned her about), she is generally pretty smart and logical. A nice change in YA books where the heroines often fall in to the too-stupid-to-live trope. And what teenager wouldn't want to escape normal life and meet their unknown father?

Keep reading? Heck yeah! Great start to a series

Gone by Michael Grant

Goodreads summary: Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.

It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...

My take: This book was incredibly boring. I'm actually not sure how I finished it. The book seems to be based on a sort of X-Men meets "The Lord of the Flies" approach, which I would have expected to be a lot more interesting. It was spectacularly predictable. Obviously, I am in the minority, because most of the Goodreads reviews rate the book very high.

Read more? Heck no. I probably wouldn't even see the movie that is bound to be spawned from this series.

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Goodreads summary: She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be nex

My take: I had the exact opposite issue with this book as I had with "Glimmerglass"--I don't like Rachel Vincent's adult series. In fact, I think Faythe, the protag of that series, is one of the least likable characters in UF. So I didn't know what to expect from this book.

I was pleasantly surprised! The main character, Kaylee, is living with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, a family in which she isn't very accepted, which leads to excellent conflict. She finds out the hard way that she is a banshee (bean sidhe), which is a nice departure from the average fae, when she starts screaming when she sees a death and is placed in a mental institution. I know there is a prequal to this book that was free on Vincent's website and I'm actually glad I didn't read it before reading the book--I think it gives away a major plot point that I liked not knowing until it was revealed in My Soul to Take. I was genuinely surprised by the ending of the book, even though it was set up perfectly. I recommend this book.

Keep reading? Absolutely.

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