Thursday, October 29, 2009

Catching Fire

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins

What it's about: This sequel to The Hunger Games starts off not too long after the first book ended. We're thrown right into the tense atmosphere in District 12 following Katniss' and Peeta's win. Katniss has quickly learned that her defiance of the Capitol has caused trouble, and if she doesn't watch her step, she could lose everything she holds dear.

What I thought: Definitely a good book. I personally prefer The Hunger Games out of the two, but that's not to say that Catching Fire is in any way a bad book. It's got a good amount of drama and action, with more worldbuilding and plenty of character development and introspection on Katniss' part. The final third of the book was totally unexpected and was just what the book needed, and the conclusion left me eager for the final volume to see how things would wrap up.

Overall: If you liked The Hunger Games, you'll definitely want to check out this great sequel.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness

What it's about: On a far-off planet, there is a village of only men and one boy. Todd Hewitt is that one boy. He's never known anything but his life in Prentisstown, where men can hear each other's thoughts through a phenomenon known as Noise. Then one day Todd finds a place where there is a strange silence, an absence of Noise like he's never encountered. He goes to investigate and ends up being dragged into a world of secrets larger than he ever dreamed possible.

Minor spoilers ahead. tl;dr version: This book is awesome buy it now.

What I thought: My gosh, this book... It took me about three chapters to get into this. At first I was a bit skeptical, but over the course of the day as I read it, I became more and more engrossed, to the point where I just spent three hours late into the night reading until the gut-wrenching conclusion. Okay, so, first thing. Noise. What a concept. It's a strange but interesting one with many possible ramifications, and to my mind Ness does a satisfactory job of covering all the bases that this opens up. It certainly makes for a very interesting dynamic between Todd and Viola, and as that dynamic is one of the most important things in this book, that's a good thing. Todd's a well-drawn character. He's far from perfect, but what we get from his narration is that he's a guy with good intentions, struggling like you or I would to deal with these strange circumstances into which we've been thrown. Viola is certainly an interesting character, too, and she seems especially enigmatic because of the combination of her initial silence, the fact that she doesn't have Noise, and because she's a girl and Todd isn't good with girls, at first, anyway. Anyway, you know, this is a pretty grim story. Y'all know me, I like my light and happy tales, but I loved this book, mainly because its characters don't give up. Despite all the odds facing them down, they try their best. But, like, Todd isn't a Determinator or one of those stupid shounen heroes who believes in the you who believes in you; this is just a guy knowing that some things are hopeless but you have to try anyway, and who knows, maybe you'll just make it. And the friendship, the bond between Todd and Viola is just heartwarming. So despite the grim and even horrific things in the story, you're compelled to read onwards because of these characters. Anyway, the writing style itself is good too. Ness really gives Todd an unmistakable voice, and the prose is of good quality. So, yeah, amazing book, and I'll probably gush about its sequel next.

Overall: Stop reading this, go to Amazon, and order this book. Now. Do it. Do it. Do it. This and The Ask and the Answer are probably my two favorite books I've read all year. This includes stuff like The Hunger Games. The Chaos Walking books are just that good.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Excuses, excuses...

Just a quick update to say that, no, I have not forgotten about this blog or my sacred duty to review every book I ever read ever. It's just that, argh, real life. However. I will review The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, so help me, because those books are amazing and gripping and wonderful and why isn't the final book out yet? Also! Only two more people ahead of me for a copy of Catching Fire at the library! I will definitely review that too! However, updates will stay slow for the rest of the semester because 1) NaNoWriMo, 2) twenty-one credits, and 3) independent study game design project. Nyoro~n. But please stay tuned! And you can bet that I'll be reading up a storm during the second half of December. Well, bye, folks!