Saturday, February 28, 2009

Many Waters

Title: Many Waters
Author: Madeleine L'Engle

What it's about: Twins Sandy and Dennys Murry are bamfed back to Biblical times when they mess with one of their father's space-time experiments. Finding themselves in a well-known story from the book of Genesis, they lend their aid to the family who saved their lives and end up learning about themselves and about love.

What I thought: Simple but rich descriptions and a novel premise make this a book I've always been fond of. Religious lore is heavily drawn on, but there's no preachy moralizing, so it's all good. The characters are well-drawn, and the depictions of antediluvian life are interesting.

Overall: Probably makes the most sense if you read it in sequence with the rest of L'Engle's Time Quartet books.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Title: Starclimber
Author: Kenneth Oppel

What it's about: Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries have adventures... IN SPACE! They get selected to be part of the first voyage into space. However, space travel is like nothing they've done before, and the journey is fraught with risk. Factor into that some personal drama in that Kate's parents are more concerned than ever with getting her married off, and you've got one monumental trip.

What I thought: So. I was super-duper excited when this book came in. I'd preordered it and everything. And I blazed through it in under eight hours, while having to contend with two classes and a midterm, no less, so I think that tells you a little about how gripping it was.

So I thought it was interesting that there was much less of a focus on flight in this book than in the previous two. Not a bad thing, of course. I liked how there was a real sense of fragility for the trip, which gave it more realism and suspense. The space-dwelling life forms didn't really strain my disbelief, which I was glad about. I thought that the characterization was quite good. One complaint that I'd read others having with the previous two books was that Matt was always up against some older alpha male type he had to prove himself to. Shepherd was the closest thing to this role, but the way the two interacted worked for me. It was good to see Captain Walken again, too. I really liked the whole makeup of the crew for the Starclimber. The group was varied, which made for some really great interaction. Also of interest to me was how the relationship between Matt and Kate. Things get more serious between the two, and while Matt has always had a jealous streak that sometimes made me want to facepalm, in this book you could see where he was coming from. Kate's selfish streak, more charming than anything in previous books, becomes more of a real concern. She's an interesting character. Reminds me of Suzumiya Haruhi in how she acts sometimes. Anyway, the romantic drama plays out well. I also like that we were introduced to Matt and Kate's families and the small inclusion of the sufrage subplot.

Overall: A real wow of a sequel. Great, great book. Already can't wait to reread it.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Title: Airman
Author: Eoin Colfer

What it's about: Set around the 1890s, this book is about Conor Broekhart, a young man who dreams of building a flying machine. He lives with his family on the Saltee Islands, a small kingdom near Ireland. Conor's life is what any boy would dream of until he's falsely implicated in a plot to kill the king and then thrown in prison. However, he still has his dreams, and Conor works to gain his freedoms and right the wrongs committed against him.

What I thought: I haven't read any of Colfer's books in years, and I was pleasantly surprised by just how good this one is. I thought Conor might turn out to be a Gary Stu character, but instead, despite all his talents and such, he turns out to develop quite believably. The story's pace seemed almost a little too fast, but it was still enjoyable. There was plenty of swashbuckling and clever plotting, and this was an overall good piece of historical fiction.

Overall: A very good book. If you like Kenneth Oppel's stuff, this is worth a read.

Enna Burning

Title: Enna Burning
Author: Shannon Hale

What it's about: After The Goose Girl, it looked like a happy ending for Isi, Enna, and all of Bayern. However, Tira, Bayern's neighbor to the south, starts a war, leaving Bayern in dire straits. Enna wants to help, and she gets her chance when she discovers the talent to speak with fire. But controlling the elements comes with a price, and if Enna's not careful, she might find herself in over her head.

What I thought: Where The Goose Girl is pretty much a straightforward fairy tale with added depth, Enna Burning takes a much darker turn. The characters from the first book are built on and given more depth, and the world of the story is developed further. Enna's an interesting character, and the choices she makes are tricky and realistic. I thought the flow of the story was interesting. Unlike the first book, what felt like the climax happened rather early, I thought. However, just because it didn't end with a bang doesn't make this bad. The story flowed to a slower, but still very interesting, ending.

Overall: Not a fairytale, but a very enjoyable tale nonetheless.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Title: Evernight
Author: Claudia Gray

What it's about: Evernight boarding school is a creepy place, but it's home for Bianca Olivier, whose parents have accepted teaching jobs at the elite school. Bianca is out of her element among the sophisticated students, but she finds a friend in Lucas, another new student who's somewhat rough around the edges. The two form a bond, but will that be enough to survive the sinister secrets of Evernight?

What I thought: Though this is a vampire novel, it's no Twilight. Evernight was surprisingly engaging and well-written. The twists came naturally; I was surprised by them, but they were justified well enough. Bianca was a good protagonist, not made out to be a caricature of a clumsy loser like Bella Swan, but a more realistic portrayal of an awkward teenage girl. She develops pretty well over the course of the story. The supporting cast is well-developed, too, as is the vampire lore and Evernight itself.

Overall: You wanna read about vampire, read Evernight. Definitely a solid book.

Man, I fell out of the habit of reviewing again. Nyoro~n. Got the flu, and though I read a ton, I pretty much lacked the motivation to review the books. I will try to get River Secrets, Love Among the Walnuts, and Enna Burning reviewed, though.

Friday, February 6, 2009

'Night, Mother

Title: 'Night, Mother
Author: Marsha Norman

What it's about: One night, Jessie tells her mother that she plans to commit suicide that evening. What follows is the final conversation between the two women.

What I thought: Rather moving and very disturbing. This play gets very emotionally charged, especially at the end. Jessie's a rather interesting character. I mean, anyone who's that calm when planning to commit suicide... But, uh, very depressing.

Overall: Good play, but not exactly a fun read.

Princess Academy

Title: Princess Academy
Author: Shannon Hale

What it's about: The village of Mt. Eskel is a secluded one where the people live a simple life mining linder stones to sell to traders. Miri, a young village girl who doesn't work in the quarry, has never thought about life outside of her mountain. Then one day the traders are accompanied by an emissary from the king. The priests of the kingdom have divined that the prince's bride will be a girl from Mt. Eskel, so all the eligible girls must attend an academy to recieve polish so that the prince can choose his bride from among them. Now Miri and the other girls have to adapt to learning an overwhelming amount of new things, all taught by a strict tutor. But despite the hardships, Miri learns many important things, including more about who she is as a person.

What I thought: This was the first of Shannon Hale's books that I read, and I thought it was great. As with The Goose Girl, the world of the story is well-developed, with plenty of little touches of culture that make the story and its inhabitants seem more real. Quarry-speaking was an interesting invention, and I liked the imagery that ran through this. Miri was a good protagonist, someone relatable and clever. In regards to the ending, I don't believe I was able to predict it when first I read this, so I think that also says something good for this book.

Overall: A very nice stand-alone read, good for getting into Hale's books.