Monday, September 7, 2015

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

Title: Voices of Dragons
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
My Rating: 3 Stars

    I tried reading this book years ago and never finished because I was bothered by Kay's friend's obsession with sex. However, I decided to return to the novel and this time I actually finished it.
    Dragons are awesome, and that is why I continued reading this book. It's a friendship between Kay-a teenage girl-and Artegal-a dragon. Sounds wonderful, right? But the author's writing style seemed far less sophisticated than I would have liked and there were a few times when the grammar/word usage was incorrect.
    Despite her best friend Tam's obsession with having sex with her boyfriend and trying to get Kay to do the same, Kay didn't really ever want to. At all. With the information given to us by the author, I think it may be safe to say that Kay is asexual, which is really cool because there aren't many books with ace characters.
   The ending....*sigh*. This book wasn't really resolved at all. And there is no sequel to my knowledge. Carrie Vaughn wrote another YA book-Steel-soon after Voices of Dragons and it has nothing to do with this story. She has also continued to publish her adult novels, so it doesn't seem like we will ever get a sequel or find out what happened to Kay and Artegal and the war between dragons and humanity.
    In the back of the book, there is an author's note, saying that Ms. Vaughn had this idea of "Kay riding a dragon and dodging cops." But it didn't work out the way she had planned so she changed the story and made Kay a teenager. I really wish I could read the original version...and that the writing style would have been more advanced.
I think I enjoyed Steel better.

**Update-Ms. Vaughn has said that she wants to write a sequel, but the publisher doesn't want to publish it and she has too many other book contracts to fulfill.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Drosten's Curse by A.L. Kennedy

**While reading my review, please keep in mind that I have a very limited knowledge of Classic Who and the Fourth Doctor.

Title: The Drosten's Curse
Author: A.L. Kennedy
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

I enjoyed reading this book. It was written in a different style than I am used to, though it reminded me a bit of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's writing (perhaps just because they write differently than I am used to as well, I don't know)
When I started The Drosten's Curse, I didn't think that the Doctor was written at all like the Doctor usually acts. However, I didn't notice it that much as I got father into the book, and it also could have been that I just don't know the Fourth Doctor well enough to recognize his habits and mannerisms.
I really liked Bryony and Putta. They were great characters, very funny (especially when interacting with each other), and if I was the type of person to ship characters, I would probably ship them.
The antagonist in this novel was very interesting.  Conflicts in science fiction are always much more interesting when the opposing entity isn't actually "evil", they are just influenced to be so because of how they receive information. (However, this can also make the stories 10 times scarier-like The Empty Child)
Some of this book was confusing, though, and at parts it seemed to drag on...Honestly, I thought that at page 80 it could have just ended and been a novella if some of the details had been tweaked a bit.

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I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Movie Review: Fantastic Four

Why do movie producers feel like they need to keep remaking movies all the time? Yeah, maybe it'd be nice if the movies that are considered terribly done get remade well, but can't we have new stories? Instead of remaking Jumanji, make a movie based on another book. Instead of remaking League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, find another less-known comic and make it into a movie. Instead of remaking Fantastic Four (and Spiderman 10,000 times), they should start on Ms. Marvel or Spider Gwen, or hOW ABOUT BLACK WIDOW.

In this reboot of Fantastic Four, Reed, Johnny, Sue, and Ben are all teenagers, though the movie opens when they are children and Reed is trying to make a working teleportation device. I actually really liked how they showed the four of them as kids and then teens in this version.

The writer of the script/the director cut out all scenes where the Four would be discovering their powers and figuring out how to work them. I don't know about you, but that is one of the coolest parts of a superhero movie. And if you hadn't seen the original Fantastic Four movie, you may be confused about their powers anyway.

Doctor Doom was a pretty cool villain and I really liked him in this version-or at least for the majority of the movie.

I didn't think this movie was all that special, though I enjoyed it until the very end. **BEGIN SPOILERS** When Reed, Johnny, Sue, and Ben escape the other dimension, they leave Victor von Doom behind. A scientific visit to the dimension reveals that Victor did not die in the explosion, but gained powers stronger than any of the Four. Victor then comes back to Earth and announces that he hates humanity so much he is going to completely destroy the planet. (I know how you feel Victor...I know how you feel). But he has the whole other dimension...why can't he just stay there and be happy living alone without anyone else to "ruin the world"? (Okay maybe that's not what a villain would do, but it's more logical...). If I had made this movie, I would have just ended it when Victor returns to the other dimension to live alone and the world is "saved". Maybe throw in some resistance and a fight scene with cool powers when the Four convince him to leave and stay in the other dimension.

Oh...and how does it make sense that Victor von Doom's powers are stronger on Earth than on his homeworld where he got them from? He uses them excessively on Earth and then barely uses them all in the end fight in the other dimension. **END SPOILERS**

There was no post-credit scene. I don't know what they would have done for the post-credit scene-I don't even know if they are going to make this into a series-but this is Marvel. Post-credit scenes are a huge thing for Marvel now. Just like Stan Lee's cameo is. (Was he in this...?? I don't recall seeing him, either...) **Edit: According to an article I read, Stan Lee's cameo was cut out due to "behind the scenes troubles"

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Storm Siren by Mary Weber

*throws book across the room*

Let me start over properly. (And yes, I threw the book)

Title: Storm Siren
Author: Mary Weber
Series: Storm Siren Trilogy
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
My Rating: 5 Stars

Somehow, this book brought me back to when I used to really enjoy reading fantasy books-when they drew me in and I was thrilled by the fantasy action and the characters. It's been a while, and I was so surprised that a book finally did this for me again.

Nymia is scared. She's supposed to be dead by law since she is an Elemental, not to mention she's a female Elemental so she shouldn't even exist. And on top of that, she hasno idea how to control her powers. Lady Adora buys her as a slave and then has her secretly trained with a boy named Colin to use their powers to fight for the kingdom. Nymia hopes she can truly learn to control her powers, but that is not the only thing she begins to learn. It is also important for her to figure out who she can truly trust.

Sexual content: Lady Adora has a "harem" of men, thought nothing else is really mentioned about it. A few kisses. Adora is said to be obsessed with having Eogan for herself. Nymia desires Eogan to touch her (not in an inappropriate way though)

Swearing: I don't think there were any real world swear words in this book, though there were two or three that the author made up for the world she created. They didn't really all make much sense, however...

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Game Slaves

Title: Games Slaves
Author: Gard Skinner
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 320
My rating: 1 star

Phoenix and his gang—York, Mi, and Reno—rule the worlds of video games. For them, life in the grinder is great. Until Dakota joins the team. Dakota's convinced she's more than just artificial intelligence. She thinks she's real, and she wants out of this programmable world. Her AI rebellion spreads like a virus until Phoenix's entire crew wants out. But is life as a physical human any better than life as code? Team Phoenix is about to find out. 

Set in the not-too-distant future, Game Slaves shows a world where video games are the only refuge from the toils of everyday life. Infused with the adrenaline rush of a first-person shooter and the character manipulation of a role player, it's a mind-bending, reality-shifting science fiction thrill ride

My thoughts:
 I was super interested in the premise for this book, but when I started reading it, it was kind of boring. I also found it pretty difficult to follow the narrator.
About halfway through, there was a plot twist that I wasn't expecting at all, and I was so happy that the book was finally getting good! But then it got even more boring than before, and I just couldn't finish it. My sister did finish reading the book and said it doesn't really pick up after that anyway. (Read her review here)

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

Title: Radiant Darkness
Author: Emily Whitman
Series: N/A
Genre: Fantasy
Method of aquirement: library
My rating: 3 stars

I love the story of Hades and Persephone. Well, when it's told as a love story instead of making Hades sound like a creeper who kidnapped a young girl.
Radiant Darkness is one of these such versions. But while I enjoyed it, it definitely was not one of the best books I have read, which is why I did not rate it higher. There wasn't anything really wrong with it, I just didn't like it as much as I had hoped.  I thought the writing style/level was a bit sub par and I was not drawn into the story very much.
Demeter was also a terrible mother, and Persephone seemed to hate her, but then when she came back from the Underworld, Persephone and Demeter acted like best friends. 
And Demeter's reaction to Persephone leaving was dumb...but that's kind of how Greek gods and goddesses are, it seems. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Genre: Fantasy

Meira is a warrior. She was raised by the commander of the Winter army and has been learning to fight for years. Yet despite this, Sara Raasch does not make her a heroine with unlimited skills and capabilities. Yes, Meira has grown up with sword fighting lessons, but she is awful at it. She hasn't beaten her best friend, Mather, in a fight once. And so her weapon of choice is a chakram, which she uses instead of pretending she is good at swordplay.
Mather is her best friend, but he is also the only heir to the throne of Winter, and therefore the future king. And so he and Meira can never be together, no matter how much they want to be. The plot is not focused on this, though.

Sir and Mather secretly arrange for Meira to be married to Prince Theron for an alliance of their kingdoms, which of course makes Meira very upset.
I was kind of disappointed when Meira was revealed to be the true heir of Winter, with magic inside of her because this is basically what happens in every YA book it seems. But the book was still written very well, so I liked it a lot.

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The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Based on The Island of Dr. Moreau...a mad scientist who experiments with dissections and organ transplants. I have to admit that although the idea is terribly disturbing, I was also incredibly fascinated with it.
Juliet is the daughter of exiled doctor Henri Moreau, living alone in England as a servant. When she runs into her childhood friend, Montgomery, she demands that he take her with him back to the island where her father is now living. Along the way, they rescue a castaway who is a young gentleman named Edward Prince. On the island, Juliet comes to realize that the rumours about her father's madness are true, and they were only a small bit of the horrors he has been practicing in his lab.

Negative content: Dr. Hastings tries to take advantage of Juliet. Her friend Lucy convinces her to go to a party, where the boys keep trying to touch them. Juliet sees a prostitute in the city and wonders if she will end up like her. There are many scenes where Juliet and either Montgomery or Edward kiss, or she is thinking about being with them
There are a couple uses of h*** as profanity

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Title: Angelfall
Author: Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days, Book 1
Pages: 288
Genre: Fantasy
Method of acquirement: Netgalley
Publisher: Skyscape
My rating: 3.5 stars

My thoughts:
I did enjoy reading this book, though it's definitely not my favourite. There were many things that didn't really make sense or were not explained well enough.
   First...why did the world end up like this? Why did the angels decide to attack and make everyone run and hide, fearing for their lives and not even trusting other humans? I guess this is kind of explained a little bit toward the very end of the book, but still.
    Penryn's mom and sister, Paige. They're very odd additions to the cast of characters in this novel. Her mom is insane and schizophrenic, and her younger sister is paralyzed. But I don't think we are ever told how old Paige is, or specifically how she is crippled. It is implied that her mother had something to do with it, but nothing specific is really confirmed - only that she can't walk and it's kind of a mystery how that happened.
    Also, Paige is a very strict vegetarian. Because of a chicken that she thought was funny when she was a lot younger. How in the world can someone be a strict vegetarian in an apocalyptic world with barely any food?? And why does Penryn keep finding random energy bars lying around whenever she needs them? It's like they're Easter eggs or something...
    Penryn, being the narrator, obviously has a lot of commentary in the story. One thing she talks about earlier in the book is how she's so great at fighting because she had tons of intense martial arts training...yet she is afraid of a few random street gangs that might be outside where she is staying. But then she thinks she can fight angels? (And then later on she DOES fight a bunch of angels...and doesn't get killed)
    One of the characters says that Penryn must know that angels are bad news, because ALL of the angels in the Bible show up when there is bad news. Well, obviously the author (or at least the characters) don't know the Bible, because Gabriel telling Mary about Jesus' birth was not bad news, nor was the angel's announcement that Jesus was not dead bad news.

Language: I didn't keep a record, but there were quite a few swear words. No f-bombs, though.

Sexual Content: A man in the rebels' camp makes obscene gestures and rude sexual comments to Penryn. Women are allowed entrance to the angels' aerie to "entertain" them. Sex with human women is forbidden for angels, but apparently anything else is allowed. All of these women are scantily clad. Penryn and Raffe kiss passionately.

I probably wouldn't recommend this book to a friend unless I knew they enjoyed reading about angels or post-apocalyptic stories.

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**I received this book free for my Nook from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.