Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Fire Eternal, by Chris D'Lacey

I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I looked forward to reading it very much, because I liked the 3 books written before it, The Fire Within, Icefire, and Firestar. Though they're rather big books, I read them all very quickly last year, which is a pretty good sign that I rabidly enjoyed them. It had squirrels, clay dragons that came to life, a guy in college who becomes a writer, polar bears, all these spiritual, magical adventures, and an enviromental message.

I liked it a lot. But when I read this, I somehow got turned off from it. All the magic stuff kind of goes over my head, especially near the end. And the main character, David... I have no idea how he came back to life when he was supposed to have died in the previous book. It didn't give a good enough explanation.

I'm not sure where the author went wrong, but I think he should have left the series as a trilogy. Worse, the ending he wrote smacked of the possibility of another sequel. There were too many things that I didn't get, too many unresolved plot elements... Ah yes. I just checked out Wikipedia, and it seems there is a sequel on the way. Darkfire. Appropriate, I guess. It'll be released this summer. I'm not sure whether or not I'll pick it up, when I have the opportunity to. I am quite curious whether D'Lacey redeems himself with the next book, but I pretty much doubt it'll be worth it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Journal of Curious Letters, by James Dashner ^,~

This was my second time reading James Dashner's bestselling book. I read it while reading it to my brother of 11 years, Adam, for the first time. His verdict? He loves it and is probably going to pay more attention to this series. It was a great experienced, reading out loud to my brother. He doesn't like reading as much as me and my sister does, but he enjoyed listening to Dashner's words. I also think he liked me doing an impression of Mothball, who reminds me personally of a Russian person.

Rereading the book reminded me how much I liked James's writing style. It felt like reading his blog. He also uses funny metaphors and his sense of humor plainly leaks onto the pages. However, I didn't really like the fangen fighting scene that much. It was slightly confusing, and I can't really picture what one looks like in my mind. But ignoring that, I still say that I liked reading it and it is proof that James Dashner's book can stand the test of time. I can hardly wait until I'm able to read the sequel, Dark Infinity, or his other raved about book, The Maze Runner, which still has yet to arrive.

Even if I hated his books though, I love James Dashner's blog. For those who haven't read it before, please check out this link and be amazed. The life and times of this published author is fascinating to follow.

MAD Issue # 500

I haven't written about magazines before on this blog, but this is pretty big. I finished reading the 500th issue of MAD magazine. This magazine is soooo funny. The cartoons, the articles, the spoofs, the satire, the jokes. It's all really great. We've had the subscription for a few months, and I love it. Anyone else who appreciates MAD has a pretty good sense of humor in my book.

The 500th issue seemed a bit longer than the other issues we got, so that was a lot of fun. There were all these MAD  factoids in the page margins,  500 of their best marginal cartoons (that was fun because they're all lined up in a grid and you have to look at each one real close to get the joke from them), pictures from past issues, a great strip about Dead Celebrity Apprentice, a Spy vs Spy vs a woman Spy, and so much more. Those who don't read MAD probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so you guys ought to get a subscription right away. It might be pretty dumb to most people, but it's really funny to me, and that's the important thing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Supremely Bad Idea, by Luke Dempsey

Sorry I haven't written here in a while. I actually finished this book a couple days ago. It wasn't fantastic, not a book I normally read, but it was good. It's written as a true story, like, the stuff in there actually happens to the author. It had a tone similar to that of Join Me, but this was a lot less funny, I think. It's about a British-American guy (like in Join Me) who suddenly gets obsessed with bird-watching, or birding, and he and his two friends go all over the country looking for beautiful birds to spot. Arizona, Florida, Washington, Colorado, Texas, lots of beautiful states. They have pretty interesting adventures, I suppose.

It was a little hard to read, because all the various, exotic bird names frequently go over your head. The author, Luke's, two friends are somewhat funny characters. They're a couple, Don and Donna Graffiti. That's right. Don and Donna. That's like in the movie Corpse Bride, where they matched up Victor and Victoria. And Graffiti? Funny name.

I don't know. I wasn't excited about this book, especially after I finished it. It felt like a waste of time, compared to many fiction novels I've read. You know, you finally understand why this is called A Supremely Bad Idea only when you get to the final page? I didn't like that.

In conclusion, I suppose reading this was, in fact, a supremely bad idea. Unless you're as into birding as this guy, I suggest you not read this. Coming up next: My official review for The 13th Reality: the Journal of Curious Letters, by James Dashner. I've been rereading it with my younger brother, Adam, and he's loving it as much as I am. My verdict will come very soon. Don't worry.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Flight 3 and Flight Explorer, plus Pendragon: Before the War #3, by Walter Sorrels

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I kind of forgot to say that I finished Flight #3 a couple days ago. I finished it so fast that I didn't think it meant anything. But it was really a good graphic collection. That fox cartoon on the other Flight post? That continued in this. That little guy is my favorite character! Now I'm all caught up with the Flight series and just have to wait until Flight 5 is in my sights.

In the meantime, yesterday I went to Borders (one of my favorite place in the world!) and read Flight Explorer. This is related to the Flight series, in that it's a collection of comics made by some of the same artists that contributed to the regular Flight books. I think it' supposed to get the kids into comics, because there's a lot fewer stories in it. Still, I liked it. This whole graphic series is definitely something to get into, I can tell you.

I was a little sad in Borders, because I'd been hoping to find James Dashner's Dark Infinity and read as much as I could of it straight out of the store. Only I didn't find it. You know, I don't even think they carry any of his Jimmy Fincher books? I'm really curious about this early series of James's, but they weren't there. Oh well.

I whiled away the rest of my bookstore stay reading almost the rest of the third Pendragon: Before the War book. I think if I'd been given enough time, like another half hour or something, I might've had a chance of finishing it, but we had to go. I read the first two stories, about Loor (Zadaa) and Siry Remudi (Ibara), and was well into Patrick Mac's story. I believe I'm on page 159. I don't want to lose my place. I'm not sure whether I've gotten a good impression of Third Earth thus far. It sounds more like a utopian Veelox so far. I really liked the Third Earth that MacHale described in Pendragon #3, the Never War. (You know, come to think of it, I wonder why it was called Never War in the first place?) Anyway, I quite enjoyed the book, but I don't think it's my favorite out of the prequel Pendragons. It's a very good thing #10 is just around the corner. I can barely wait for that! Now that book I would buy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Flight: Volumes 1, 2 and 4

These books are the first two and 4th in an awesome graphic- novel series, or an anthology as they're called. Each book is a compilation of many short comic stories, in lots of different styles. Each little story might have a tiny something to do with flight, like the main character likes flying or planes or something similar, but not all of them have to do with flight. I found that most of them in Volume 2 and 4 had nothing to do with flight. But all the comics were cute and engaging. I like graphic novels. Unless they're obviously heavy on manga or anime or whatever. But comics are a wonderful story-telling medium. I especially liked the few comics that didn't have any words in them, so you have to infer the meaning from the story. For example, here is one of my favorite strips from Volume 2, the first one that was in it (which did have flight in it, I guess.) It's not the whole thing, but it's still cute and tells part of the story.

It's too bad I had to skip Volume 3, but hopefully it'll come out from the library soon. Turns out that there are a couple more volumes of these graphic novels. I believe there only used to be four, but I think a fifth one was turned out very recently, and a sixth volume is rumored to be in production. I hope there turns out to be plenty more.

This is a good series for those who simply appreciate comics, like cool artwork, or enjoy a nicely weaved short story. It's also great if you happen to not exactly like reading regular books, because this is mostly pictures. I went through them very quickly. Doesn't mean you will too, but they are speedy reads.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Breaking Dawn, by Stephanie Meyer

Wow. That's all I can say after finishing one of the best series I've read in my relatively short life yet. Wow. It feels like a terribly understatement for what I'm feeling now. I'm done with Stephanie Meyers' vampire romance. I figure that if I put together all the days I spent reading the novels in this series, like if I had done a Twilight marathon, I'd have "devoured" all the books in little over a fortnight (that means just over two weeks. I just thought it sounded funny saying fortnight). To me, when I think about it from a different perspective, it's pretty unbelievable, because that means that I read 2,000 odd pages of print in 14+ days. (Okay, I'll stop with all the boring statistics. But I'm a Virgo. What can I say? I'd like to add that I think it's so cool that Bella and I almost share a birthday. I've mentioned that in New Moon, but... for those who didn't know. ^,^)

Soooo... boy, what a finale. I mean, just when I thought it couldn't get much better than Eclipse. I liked how this book was organized. It's almost as if the three separate parts in the book were actually 3 different novels. It's good that they were all bound together the way they were, though.
**********BIG SPOILER ALERT!**********
The first part was good, though (understandably) my least favorite. Not because I hated anything about it, on the contrary I didn't. It was simply that the later parts were much better. See, in part 1, the story is in Bella's view, as a human (as per usual). She gets married to Edward, which was nice. Alice was so cool. I wish she'd organize my wedding. There's still some confusion over who Bella likes more, however, Jacob or Edward. Later, when the couple are on their honeymoon (very tastefully done, Stephanie. Perfectly written, so that even kids can enjoy this part), Bella finds that she's pregnant. Which at first was like a big HUH?! when I understood what was happening. Of course, I expected it a little, since I've heard Twilight rumors, but still.

Part 2 was awesome, because it was in Jacob's view, and this time I liked it. I love Jacob's thought processes and his side of life. Like my good friend warned me, the headings for his chapters were kind of funny. I'd say Jake thinks a little more bluntly than Bella does, not quite so carefully. It was awesome seeing what life in the werewolf pack was like. Sounds like as much fun as being a vampire. Unfortunately, Jacob doesn't have a lot of fun in his story. It's almost heart-wrenching, how much he has to put up with Bella. Especially when she shows up pregnant. But for some reason he sticks around, unable to tear himself away. I wished he could find someone else to imprint him so he could forget about Bella and leave her with Edward in peace. Of course, when it came around at the very end, I could see from a mile away how his love life would be happily resolved. I'd like to remind you that this is a spoiler alert, so I assume you've read the entire Twilight series, because if you haven't, I'm sorry to be the one to spoil it for you. I was so happy that Jacob imprinted with... Bella's daughter, Renesmee. Even with her being half-human, half-vampire. It made perfect sense then. That Jacob had loved Bella since forever for the very reason that she carried his future love, though he didn't know it. So that was nice.

Finally part 3. My favorite part. It was best because it was the longest and because Bella starts her new "life" as a vampire. Whoops. Sorry to break it to ya. Well, Bella manages to make me wish further that I was a vampire myself, since she pulls it off so well. Her relationship with Edward improves a lot, since he doesn't have to hold himself back when they get... physical. She can beat Emmet at arm-wrestling, she doesn't need sleep, she moves extra fast, and her daughter, Renesmee, is so amazing. She's got a great talent that allows her to put thought pictures and memories into people's heads when she touches them, so they know what she wants. I kind of wish I was Renesmee (or Nessie, as she comes to be called) more than a total vampire, because at least she keeps the abilities to eat human food and get tired. I'd hate drinking blood all the time. Mostly 'cause I'm a real vegetarian, so I dislike meat of any kind. Strangely, Bella's vampire development is sped up a lot. Probably since she made the choice first, or because it was just her. Her talent is cool. Forcing a mental shield over everyone she loves so that no one can harm her or her protected. That came in real useful near the close. Too bad that meant it didn't turn into an actual battle. Oh well. I liked the happily-ever-after chapter, when (sorry!) it appears that she can allow Edward to see inside her mind, conditionally. A nice ending, with the promise of a good future for the characters I've come to love.
**********SPOILER OVER**********
Well, no that that's over and done with... what do I do with my life? He he, just kidding. But I don't know. This Twilight saga sure took a toll on me. It's like Annette once said in passing when I had my nose stuck in the pages. Twilight cast a spell on me. Now that I'm officially done with the series and know what happens, the spell has been somewhat cast off, but not entirely. Because I will always remember the feelings that I got from this romance, where I truly believed that I was in the story. The characters and the plot and the enormous circumstances all took turns tugging at my heartstrings. Every time I put the book down, I would seriously sit and speculate what could possibly happen next to my vampires. That's as opposed to me closing another book and going off to do something else, not giving the story much thought until I had time to crack the book open again.

I will not shove my opinion on anyone else, but I highly disagree with anyone who claims that this saga is, in any way, not good. Sure, it might get a little mushy/ lovey-dovey for some readers, I can understand that. Still, I will not hear a word that says Twilight is at any time boring or slow, or that the series went kind of downhill after Stephanie's debut. This was as good a series as there has ever been, with each book clearly better than the one before it. I'm glad to have known this series. I recognise, however, that it's time for me to move on. But I don't think my mania will fade competely until each book is made into a movie. Kind of like Harry Potter. Until Deathly Hallows part 2 comes in theaters, I will never give up the magic universe completely. Even though I'll be 19 or 20 when that time comes. I don't think that'll make any difference, though.

Forgive me. I babble on and on and all you want to do is reach the end already. I'll stop now. But please, remember to leave a comment when you're done. Even if you absolutely hated Twilight, no matter what I said. Just tell me.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer

Alright, now this month I don't think I'll care at all about statistics of books in posts. They're only useful in the labels. The fact is that I loooooved this book!!! It's almost scary how fast I was able to finish it. Because believe me, this book was thick. But then I'd been waiting for it for such a long time, so it's almost hardly a surprise how eager I was to read it.

I'd heard around that Eclipse wasn't that good a story in the Twilight Saga, but I think these people were dead wrong. I believe that, if a series is truly awesome, then it must get better and better with each new book. My special theory is that the best books in the very best series are the last and second-to-last books. Of course, the series has to be longer than a trilogy, because otherwise the pattern has to be great, greater, greatest.

Anyway, as this is the penultimate Twilight book, I super enjoyed it. I loved it much better than New Moon. That's a good sign. Some of my favorite parts were when different characters told stories to Bella, very interesting sort of histories. Like what Rosalie and Jaspar were like around the time they became vampires, or the legends of the werewolves. They were so interesting. I'm glad that a lot of subconcious questions of mine were answered.

Of course, I loved the romance the best. Though it was incredibly confusing, to tell you the truth. Like, after Bella and Edward got back together, Jacob the werewolf is still in love with Bella, and she still gets to hang out with him until it's like she loves him too. But she loves Edward even more, and she knows that she can't live without him, but Jacob... and Edward seems okay with all this? Because he loves Bella so much that he doesn't care what she does as long as she's happy. Since this book is told in first person, and since I relate so much to Bella, I'm continually as baffled as she is who she should choose in the end. Edward, of course, is amazing. But still, I love Jacob. He's a wonderful character, and the best friend she ever had. Plus, I don't think he's as dangerous as a vampire. He's part human, anyway.

**********Spoiler alert**********

One of the funniest parts for me was when Bella, Edward and Jacob are all camping in a tent together and it's very cold, so Jacob warms Bella up so she can sleep. (Edward can't do that since he'd make her colder.) Later, when Bella is very still but not quite asleep, though the boys think she is, vampire and werewolf start talking, strangely friendly like. They calmly chat about how they both love Bella and how sticky a situation both of them are in because of that. They're also aware how strongly Bella feels for each of them, and they discuss that. All the while, I'm thinking like, Why aren't they at each other's throats by this conversation? They should be killing themselves over her right now. But they both behave. Bella seems to write this unusual scene off as a dream, which is conveniant for the story, because if I were her, I might have decided to "wake up" several times. But I thought it was very cool how genuinely friendly these guys were towards each other. In another world, had they not been mythical monsters or in love with the same girl, I bet they'd be pretty good buds. Still, I agreed with the both of them when they decided that the best man will have to win, and that by the next day the strange truce will have to be over.

**********Spoiler over**********
All in all, this book was totally amazing. I don't care what anyone else says. To me, this was the best Twilight book yet. Still, I know this book has only prepared me for the treat that Breaking Dawn is sure to be. My friend Q told me about chapters in which Jacob narrated, where the headings are funny. I'll be looking out for that. Ooh, speaking of which, I thought it was really strange in the epilogue how it turned into Jacob's view instead of Bella's. It almost disoriented me, because I was unused to the way his mind operated. Of course, this may be because I'm a girl, but still.
I'm so excited that I'm nearly finished with the whole Saga, but sad at the prospect at the same time. Twilight has cast a spell over me, one that I very much doubt will ever leave me, even after I turn the last page of the final book.