Mini-review: The Vicious Deep (Zoraida Cordova)

The Deets:
Meant for: YA readers
Pages: 384
Publisher: May 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN: 9781402265105
Source: my copy



The Vicious Deep (The Vicious Deep #1)For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he's heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he's suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea...and now it wants him back.


I really have to start taking notes as I read. I read this book in one sitting then jumped right into a new book. Eight books later, I can hardly remember what I liked and didn't like about The Vicious Deep

I do remember that I liked that this story is told from a merman's point of view. I'm glad that the menfolk are getting some representation in a female dominated genre. No need to be sexist, afterall. Tristan was pretty darn funny. He was arrogant and witty, just like you would expect most teenage boys to be. He was a 100% believable narrator.

Then there is Layla. I liked her a lot. She was strong-willed and independent. She was also not a mermaid. She found out about Tristan's secret, by pure chance. Of course, since it's been like 3 months since I read this book, I forgot why exactly I liked her other than those reasons.

I also want to point out that I enjoyed the world building. The descriptions of the merworld were great. It is so important to have a believable setting-- even in a fantasy type book. The old school rules of fighting for the tritan were pretty extreme, and added to the plot. There were a few characters that I didn't care for that kept hanging around, but whatever. I'm sure they will find their place somewhere in book 2.

But what really irked me about this story was the ending. Did anyone else think it ended too abruptly? I was crusing along enjoying the quest, when BAM. End of book one. Just like that too. I had to actually flip back a few pages to make sure I didn't skip something. I really thought I had missed a chapter or two. That was a huge disappointment. I love a good cliffhanger, but not when the story seems to hit a brick wall at 65 MPH. Of course, though, I'll have to read The Savage Blue because I need to know how and if Tristan can find the rest of the trident pieces.


Review: The Maze Runner (James Dashner)

The Deets:
Reading Level: YA
Pages: 374
Publisher: October 6th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers     
ISBN: 9780385737944
Source: Library book


The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

 

When I started this book, I was completely confused. Seriously. The new lingo and the cryptic nature of the story itself had me thrown for a loop. In fact, I really didn't care for the story much because of it. But, since I picked this book for December's Dystopian themed YA book club topic, I had to finish it.... and I am glad I did!

The book starts off a little slow in my opinion. Thomas is in The Glade but he has no idea what's going on. As the reader, you have to piece the puzzle together along with him. The author gives subtle clues here and there through slipped messages or fuzzy memories. But just like Thomas, you have to decide what to make of it.

The characters didn't make a lasting impression on me. There really wasn't anything mind blowing or special about them. Seriously. Ok, two of them had telepathic powers, but that didn't even impress me. It actually felt a little weird, but given how bizarre this book was as a whole, I decided to just go with it. I will note that the creatures lurking in the maze were terrifying. I have never read anything like that before! It makes the minotaur of the Labyrinth seem like a fuzzy puppy in comparison.

After I finished reading The Maze Runner, I discovered there was a prequel. Thank goodness! I highly recommend reading The Kill Order before you start this book. I had so many questions while I read The Maze Runner. Some were answered, but most were not. I think the prequel will help set the stage and explain why the maze was actually created. The ending of The Maze Runner tried to explain it, but it was too rushed. The best part of the book was crammed into 30 pages at the end.

Which brings me to this book's saving grace: the ending. WTH. Holy crap. I was expecting some twist ending, but not exactly what I got. I really wish I could share what happened, but it would give away too much. Know this though, the "flare" that is discussed came up at Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house. And no, it wasn't because of this book. My dad was discussing "survival tactics" due to EPM or CMB attacks... and so "that" flare was also mentioned. I was a little unnerved to think that about the amount of destruction that could be caused by an act of nature. And of course I mentioned that "I have a book for that"-- interest piqued instantly.

I think boys might enjoy this book. It seems pretty geared toward them since the MC is a teenage male living with other teenage males in a maze. There is a good amount of gore and violence, so that also seems fitting. The other books in the series might be promising too. I am interested to see what happens, but I'm leery to read on. I hate sequels that feel stale, and that might happen with book two. I already know what the premise is, so not sure how the author can pull of any surprises. I don't know though, the titles do catch my attention, so I may try to squeeze them in at some point.


Review: The Complete Maus (Art Spiegelman)


The Deets:
Reading Level: YA (for content)
Pages: 296
Publisher: October 1st 2003 by Penguin Books
ISBN: 9780141014081
Type: Graphic Novel
Source: Library book


The Complete Maus

Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Maus II - the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler's Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival - and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.





This was different from what I expected. I wasn't sure what I would be reading when I started this book. I knew Maus was a Holocaust story, but I didn't know what type of story it would be. Calling it a "contemporary classic of immeasurable significance" is an understatement. I think powerful is a better adjective. Heartbreaking. Captivating..... those would work too.

The people in the book were depicted as various types of animals which I was both disturbed by and thankful for. I found it very interesting that the author chose to depict his "characters" as animals. The dehumanization aspect was not lost on me-- afterall, isn't that what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jews?

Given the subject matter, I'm not sure how I would have taken to this book if it had the detail that most graphic novels are known for.  The drawings lacked facial expression and some detail, but the point was still made. I still cried when a baby mouse's head was smashed against it because I knew what the mouse represented.

One thing that I did find bothersome was the constant switching between the present and past. I could see it being confusing for some people. However, I thought it was important to show how the past events shaped the father into the person that he became as a survivor. It wasn't choppy per se, but some type of textual feature to indicate that the present was occuring would have been better I think.

Overall, given that this is such hard content to work with, I think the author did a nice job of sharing his father’s horrifying experience in a tasteful way that might make learning about the Holocaust more accessible to future generations. The story was focused on one family's tale, yet it managed to tell about an entire nation. It saddens me to think how little people know about this dark time in history. We are so quick to glance over it or pretend it didn't happen exactly the way history books tell us. But I have met a survivor. I have read her story; and I won't forget.


review: The Juvie Three (Gordon Korman)

The Deets:
Reading level: MG/YA
pages: 256
publisher: September 2nd 2008 by Hyperion
ISBN: 9781423101581
Source: my own copy


The Juvie ThreeGecko Fosse drove the getaway car.
Terence Florian ran with the worst gang in Chicago.
Arjay Moran killed someone.
All three boys are serving time in juvenile detention centers until they get a second chance at life in the form of Douglas Healy. A former juvenile delinquent himself, Healy is running an experimental halfway house in New York City where he wants to make a difference in the lives of kids like Gecko, Terence, and Arjay.
Things are going well, until one night Healy is accidentally knocked unconscious while trying to break up a scuffle among the boys. Terrified of the consequences, they drop him off at a hospital and run away. But when Healy awakes, he has no memory of them or the halfway house. Afraid of being sent back to Juvie, the guys hatch a crazy scheme to continue on as if the group leader never left. They will go to school, do their community service, attend therapy, and act like model citizens until Healy's memory returns and he can resume his place with them.
But life keeps getting in the way...like when Gecko finds romance. Or Arjay gets famous. Or Terence starts reverting to his old ways. If the boys are discovered, their second chance will be their last.


Another book club hit!

I was really worried when I started this one that it was going to be like a Walter Dean Meyers book. (Not that I don't love those; I do. I've just read a lot of them already.) You know the scenario. Troubled teens get a second chance, but someone blows it. Will they do the right thing or not? Very plaid out cliche in literature, I think. Well, thankfully Gordon Korman came along and gave it fresh insight.

Yes, the cliche remains, but he doesn't beat the dead horse. There are no neat little bows wrapping up the plot at the end. No rainbows and unicorns-- at least not completely. Yes, there is that obvious "happy ending" that you knew was coming (so don't whine about a spoiler). BUT somethings were not solved in the way you might think. That made it believable, and I am thankful that not everything ended up sugary sweet.

The characters are a nice compliment to one another as well. Gecko is shy but funny. Arjay is misunderstood and layered. And Terrance is your basic pain in the arse thug wannabe. They interact nicely with one another, giving the perfect combination of conflict throughout the book. There were minor characters that make appearances too, but they aren't all that memorable. Ms. Vaughn makes me laugh with her obvious stereotypes, but beyond that... bleh.

It's a quick read. I flew threw it in two sittings. Great descriptions and some seriously funny LOL moments. I think MG readers would enjoy this one if they like stories about troubled youth getting second chances.

 

Cover Appeal: Dystopians Part 1

If I wrote a YA alphabet book, D would be for Dystopians... and that's what you get this week. Dystopian book covers for Cover Appeal.


Day and Night in One Photo.
 
The end
 
photography print  The border  Original Signed by PhotographyDream, €22.00
 
.
 
 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Grab my Button

Flashlight Reader

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Alanna (The Flashlight Reader) has read 5 books toward her goal of 100 books.
hide

Rating System

Rating System

Blog Roll

Pageviews