I Am Number Four – Pittacus Lore

Aliens

Super powers

Lame-o love story

I must admit, I enjoyed this book.  I’ve called books gateway drugs in a previous post.  And this book falls into that category.  It was delightful to read.  Granted, throughout the book I criticized it: poor choices…poor dialogue…poor love story.  Did all of those flaws stop me from reading the book?  No.  Did they slow me down?  No.

Will I stand on the rooftops and proclaim this the best book I’ve read in the past week?  Heck no.  But did it keep me entertained?  Yes, yes it did.  Is it currently introducing young teens to the sci fi genre?  Yes, yes it is.  Will those teens go on to read other books?  Hopefully, oh hopefully.

So, do I recommend this book?  I’m going to be a little ambiguous about this.  I think that if you are able to read books without getting caught up in flaws (as long as they’re not tooooo big) and you want some light hearted reading for a couple hours, this could be an option.  Then again, I could recommend some much better easy reads that you will probably enjoy more.  So maybe, read it if you want.  Like it for what it is: a simple story with a simple (albeit predictable) plot line.

I am Number Four – Pittacus Lore

Spoiler alert:  The best part of this book was the dog.  I’m not even kidding.  But as you know, in books, dogs die.  Not. In. This. Book.  Finally a book where the dog lives.

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The Magicians – Lev Grossman

Other worlds

Magic school

Slightly offputting

So I just finished The Magicians.  It sounded very intriguing, comparisons to Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but also compared to Narnia.  This was a story where the magical world you enter might not be as welcoming and heartwarming as Narnia was.  So I was intrigued, and excited to read it.

My first complaint about this book is virtually the same complaint I made about the Amulet of Samarkand.  I didn’t like the characters.  Any of them.  They were mopey, unsatisfied, undriven, and full of self pity.  All right, so there may have been one character with a little more drive and a little more reader sympathy, but she was peripheral for a good chunk of the book and it wasn’t until the very end that she became multi-faceted enough to really be interesting.

My second complaint is about how similar Fillory was to Narnia.  But it was twisted and dirty.  And while I think this darker version was very well done, it made me question some of the simple and good views I have a Narnia.  I selfishly didn’t like this because I loved Narnia, I especially love Narnia on a very simple and shallow level, yes I know it is virtually one long biblical allegory.  But Narnia, a tale about four kids and a witch and magic lion…that story I love, and I hate that for even a little while this book has made me look for dark, twisty corners in Narnia.

Personally, I won’t recommend this book to fellow readers.  If you want a magical world, go read about Narnia, or Oz, or Hogwarts.  This book left a sour taste in my mouth and I would have rather spent that time reading (or rereading) some other book, some better book.  Or sleeping, I like sleeping and I don’t do enough of it 🙂

The Magicians – Lev Grossman

On a Roll: Louise Cooper’s Indigo Series; a review

Believe it or not, but while I wasn’t posting on here, I have been recreationally reading.  Probably more than I should have.  I should have been studying, but when I get overwhelmed I look to escape, and I’m sorry to say but my Medical-Surgical Nursing textbook does not provide the kind of escape I like.  So instead I read lots (and lots) of other books.

Those other books include the Indigo series by Louise Cooper.

This is longer series, coming in at eight books.  But unlike most fantasy books, they aren’t 1000 plus pages, closer to maybe 300 or 400, very doable.

Let’s start with a con, if you can call it a con.  The first book scared the bejesus out of me.  Seriously, I didn’t sleep that night.  Without giving too much away (I hope), I think the reason it was so scary was because the demon has a vulnerability…at least that’s what you think at first…but no, not really, not vulnerable, just scary.  So the first con is also a pro, it’s scary and it pulled me right in, I had to keep reading.

Indigo Series – Louise Cooper

In the first book Indigo releases seven demons.  The next seven books are about her vanquishing those demons.  What’s really great about these books is with each book the demons become more internal, they still have physical bodies, but conquering them requires Indigo to conquer a flaw within herself.

Yes, there are disappointments during the series.  I think the series starts as a fairly typical fantasy series, but as it progresses and morphs into a more internal battlefield it can (at times) let a reader down.  Especially if the reader want it to continue down the same action-packed, fantasy-filled road they’re used to.  However, I thought the change from outward to inward was gradual and natural.  So even though I wanted some of the normal fantasy plotlines, I could appreciate the books with slower plotlines because (in my opinion) it was the truest direction the story could have gone.

Another awesome thing about this series, the two main characters are female. Not only are the two main characters female, but a lot of the peripheral characters are female (whoop, whoop!)  They are strong, dynamic, flawed, and powerful characters.  And (did I already mention this?) they are female.  Bam.

As an aside: I love reading about strong female characters.  In fact, I’ll post a quick review about another series that really highlights women (!).  And with one daughter, whom I’m hoping is an avid reader, I’m looking for more books with strong girls and women.  Any recommendations?  Anyone?  Hello?  Bueller?…Bueller?

SweetPea + husband + me

I decided to use the  mention of my daughter as a good excuse to post a picture of her.  We’re already training her for hikes this summer.  Yep, yep!

Book Review: The Assassin King by Elizabeth Haydon

One

Small

Flaw

Seeing as this book is actually the sixth book in the series, I’m not going to recap much (if any) of the previous books.

This book was good.  If I had no other responsibilities I doubt I would have put it down.  Like so many good fantasy novels this book is ultimately about good versus evil.  And Elizabeth Haydon has done a beautiful job creating a world and characters where this plot line comes to life.

Haydon introduces a few new characters to her audience.  And like so many times in prior novels she gives you a glimpse of who they are and then slowly reveals more aspects of them.  The rather flat character you first see becomes more real as each encounter with them shows another flaw or strength or gives more history to explain how they became the person they are.  Haydon is gifted at taking archetypal characters and then adding so much dimension to them they become completely believable people.

In this book, more pieces fall into place and so the audience’s understanding of the conflict broadens even more.  One worry I have, the story keeps getting bigger and bigger, in that manner it reminds me of Robert Jordan’s series which got so big it became a bit of a mess (a mess I personally loved.)  I hope Haydon is able to keep her story on track.

While pieces are falling into place this book lacks an overall arc.  It really seems to be setting up for the next book.  And so the conclusion of this book (more so than her previous books) doesn’t have that feeling of completeness.  There is no single great conflict contained in this book and so there is no single battle and no single outcome at the end.  Yet, there are several smaller conflicts and those conflicts coupled with characters the readers already love make this book a delicious addition to her series.

The flaw, if you were waiting to hear it, is simply that the book is over.  And the next book isn’t written yet.  If you haven’t begun the series, maybe wait until she writes the concluding book.  Here is a lesson I should have learned several unfinished series ago: don’t start a series until the last book is written.  It is painful to wait years and years for that conclusion.

The Assassin King