Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman
Five-star Rating


Unwind was supposed to be the book I’m reading first from Neal Shusterman, but when I saw this in our bookstore here in my place, I immediately grabbed this undoubtedly since I was told before by a reader that Shusterman is such an amazing author. So who do you think can resist of searching for his books after hearing such a word?

Blake fears something and he fears to admit that it’s the rides he fears to get in. Some are meant to be survivors, some are not. And some are meant to be a single survivor out of tens, twenties or thirties unfortunately die in an accident. Being the only one survivor of the bus accident when he was a child, it gives him creeps no matter how old he’s now.

Since before, Blake has been Quinn’s—his brother-- butt-savior. Quinn travels to places he sometimes doesn’t know why. One month to go, Blake is going off to college and it obviously mean that he’s leaving Quinn to live with their mom and her new boyfriend. One night Quinn’s gone, left their house but physically in coma, only to find out that his soul is in an amusement park. Would Blake continue to save his younger brother even if it means, riding seven rides before dawn in full tilt?

So far, this is better than the last book of the same author I’ve read. But amazingly these two books have originals concepts. However, this book has gotten my taste more than the other one. I’m very much lucky to notice this book in our bookstore.

I admit that I’m really impressed of this book. The book has what it takes to be a real YA fantasy nowadays. This book has a non-stop full tilt of adventure. Every chapter gives different kinds of excitement and thrills. As if in just reading this book, you have ridden the rides by yourself already. It was an unimaginable thrill of less than twenty-four hours of adventure.

The relationship of Blake and Quinn is normal as any other siblings do with each other—saving the butt of the younger ones, the arguments and even the teasing with each other. However, this book has, in one way or another, added more odd habits and spice to every character to have stronger personalities. The only problem I found out in this book is Shusterman gives no justice at the ending of this book. The story as if hangs in midair, as if halted instantly while in a rush speed of motion. This book needs an additional page or chapter. Nevertheless, this is really great book that I couldn’t put down.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
5-star rating


In an amazing movie or show, sometimes, it makes us silent and open mouthed in astonishment and explode all the praises until we have calmed and the hype have been subsided. In relation with this book, I would not have made a review of this book due to the same reason I mentioned above. Even if I have calmed, I didn’t think of reviewing this book because I rather think and dream the story instead. Thanks to my reading buddy Kwesi for asking me million of questions. Read his review

Ender the Xenocide; Andrew Wiggin the speaker for the dead; same person—the one is history and the other is still known at present. 3000 years has passed since Ender killed all the buggers, except the Hive Queen. No one forgets what happened because even at the present, the evil Ender the Xenocide is still known. Through ansible, world to another world as weeks to decades, he travels to undo his past mistakes and continue the travel to spread the truth.

Many have called for the Speaker but they were all refused to be granted until one day he receives a call from a girl he immediately fall in love with. Andrew Wiggin decided to grant the call even if it means leaving his beloved sister, Valentine. He leaves Trondheim for Lusitania even though already know how Lusitanians’ loathed him and how it will be hard for him to adopt a new species of ramen—Piggies. Would he be accepted at Lusitania, by Piggies and Lusitanians, despite of his being Speaker for the Dead?

This book is absolutely a wow! My recommendation is so far effective as what I’ve noticed. I don’t know if those people who listened and followed my recommendations do have same taste of books as I have or they just hitching my like even deep inside they don’t actually. Well, even if Card has written on the cover or personally shout at you that this book is a stand alone, I still highly suggest you all to read the Ender’s Game, except for those who’ve read it already. But if you’ve read already the Ender’s Game and haven’t yet this book, don’t just sit there while heating your butt, read thisIMMEDIATELY.

Let me start it first with confusion: I don’t know at first who was Jane. Card put her in this book without being introduced first in the story. I tried to reread the Ender’s Game final chapter but I haven’t found even shadow of Jane in the book. Boohooo if you say she was in the introduction because I didn’t finish reading Card’s introduction. It was good that Card introduced the Piggies in the first, long chapter but it was really boring chapter that I even thought Ender wouldn’t show anymore. It could have been nice if they were introduced through Ender and Jane.

If you don’t like this book, there’s nothing I can do about it. Either you got the wrong book for you or the book got the wrong reader for itself. I found out the story to have just a simple mystery but I don’t know what Card has with him or what he did that this book really got boomed me; maybe because of my admiration to his characters and how they are all interesting to me.

This book has showed a different Ender but gives an exact reason of the transition from the Ender’s Game. I didn’t imagine that Ender would be what he is on this book—matured and still soft-hearted. I can’t also imagine a karate kid turns into a tamed professor.

The characters of this books shows different personalities, based from what I observed. List them down along with their personality and you’ll find out what I mean. Got it! I think what makes this book likable because of the different characters with the different personalities. At least in that way I was able to differentiate themselves from one another. Card made Ender still a hero in a very different way.

Well I don’t want to discuss it anymore. Just try to imagine how a man tamed a forest of wild lions.
The setting and the world is quite fantastically created. The time, forget about it because we’re just part of past on this book. The foundation of Card’s made-up theories are strong that makes you think a believable one. The new creature was built firmly inside and out that even the attitude, habits and language seem very convincing that you won’t think this is just a sci-fi novel. I was pretty amazed at his ansible theory and still am, fortunately.

If I were to compare this book to Ender’s Game, I think I liked this book more because of my, you know, Ender’s Shadow issue. But I’m sure Ender just need a little more push and he’ll match up Bean in my field of best characters. Goodbye to pitiful Ender and welcome the new and intelligent Andrew Wiggin. Stay put Xenocide (third book) for here comes your daddy. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Review: Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Four-star Rating


I’ve seen this book with a YA label on the cover and I thought it was silly for a book to be labeled a genre on it. Since I heard about the book before, I went home along with this. Yeepah!

Tom Natsworthy is a third-class Historian apprentice of New London, since his parents died and left him with small amount of money that could only support a third class of apprenticeship. Being a Londoner is a pride but being a third-class apprentice is mock. When he meets for the second time his hero, Timothy Valentine and has saved his life. Instead of honoring him, he has got himself out of the running island of London.

Hester Shaw is a girl who survived from a massacre. Her parent’s murdered but she remained alive and lives with a scar that reminds her of the reason she lives for. She must take revenge against a man who murdered her family. When she gets her chance to kill the murderer, a boy intervenes. Unexpectedly, the same boy travels with her to hunt down the murderer they both now loath.

This book is surprisingly good. I mean really good. Before my main review, I don’t know if this is a dystopia or a steampunk since the book has the two qualities to consider either of them. But I think this is a cross-genre of steampunk and dystopia, if my sources are right that steampunk isn’t just set during Victorian era but any era as long as engines are in it. But if you’re looking for some kind of steampunk of book, I highly recommend this.

Back to really good, this book has made my taste. I like the new world. This book shows different world unlike the previous dystopian novels I’ve read. The world sets in the future but bringing with it the Victorian era. If we’ll think of future, technology might be the first thing to come to our mind because it’s pretty obvious that as year passes by, the technology is becoming better and better. And to think of its downfall in the future is really unimaginable. But Reeve made it possible. The present technologies we have as if forgotten in this book that depicts how far the year they are from us. Among the dystopian novels I’ve read, this is the farthest to the possibility of the future. The idea of the book is really cool but where’s the science in a walking city?

This is one of the heartbreaking books I’ve read so far. I can’t imagine the loss in the story… it saddened me a lot. I was hoping for a bright future of the heroes here in the sequel of this series but it distressed me to know that it may not happen anymore. I don’t want to discuss it any further; I may have given the titanic spoiler.

Among the characters, I liked Grike. The people who have read this might think I’ve gone nuts. Yes, if it is what it takes for them to believe me. Why Grike? Behind his monstrous features, I admire his heart’s desire. After the squeezing of my brain, I still did not guess what his heart really desires. And now I’m sorry for him.

I wasn’t really paying attention in the story that I didn’t notice the biggest twist of the story at the near-end of the book. I didn’t see it coming, but there’s still in me that think that it could have been unnoticeable still. It was as if the turning point of the event—turning point of the character’s interest. Only one thing negative that must say, I wasn’t contented at how this book ended.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book Review: The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
3-star rating


King Roland is dying and he’s supposed to choose among his two sons who’ll take his crown next to him as a king. Would it be Prince Peter, who he admires the most for the excellence he’s achieving on his lessons; or his second and youngest son, Prince Thomas, whom he relates himself during the days he was the age of Thomas?

Everything is planned to whom will King Roland pass his throne and even the people of Dellain has approved on King’s choice. But in a trick of fate everything changes—from the life of king to the lives of his sons. Unknowingly that behind it is Flagg, the King’s adviser.

It’s been six years already, if my calculation is not betraying me, since Stephen King and I had our first meet. And at that time, he introduced me his The Shining. That book really impressed me a lot and because of that, I promised myself to read more King’s books. So when I saw this book in our used-books bookstore here in the Philippines, it got my interest. Stephen King is known for his pee-on-pants kind of books. So when I saw this, it kinda intrigued me.

Unlike the last time we met, this one hasn’t been memorable as the first one did. His story this time hasn’t been as convincing as before. This book isn’t convincing as The Shining. King made a space between reader and the story for him to fill-in.

This might sound absurd but I can’t get myself into a story once I know there’s a standing barrier between the interaction of myself, as a reader, and the book. And the author stands amidst between the story and that results the story to get more unconvincing.  He did himself an involvement in this book as if to remind the reader that he’s the story teller of this book and I really dislike that kind of story narration when it comes to books.

However, I still like story if I were to judge just the story. It possesses different lessons to kind of people and situations. I liked how this book give point to what the faith really is. No matter what the majority says if you’re heart opposes it and still you believe to your heart that it is right, you have the “it” of faith then.

I liked also how King puts deeper a word “friendship” into this book. This book dignifies friendship, love, trust and forgiveness.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Review: Scar Night by Alan Campbell

Scar Night by Alan Campbell
Three-star Rating


After reading dystopian books, I never thought I would meet again steampunk books. I’ve seen this book actually in Goodreads and fortunately found a copy in one of our bookstore here. I was lucky then to have this book because some of my friends find this hard to catch one.

Dill is the last angel of his line. Being the last archon tails a heavy consequence. As the age of sixteen, he still doesn’t know how to fly, much less how to fight.  So when the time comes he has to become a temple angel, he meets Rachel Hael—a Spine— assassin.

Carnaval knows how murderer she is as much as the people of Deepgate know. Upon her eagerness to cure herself from killing innocent people during Scar Night, she discovers that killings around the town haven’t just been through her, others are killed to complete a wine she deeply needed to cure the curse she has.

Some of the people I have discussed with this book said they weren’t able to make through all the way with this. As for my part, yes, I have almost given up this book. The first part of the book is metaphor-coated that tends people to become confused and disoriented. The formula also leads the book to boringness that makes the people depreciate it instead. As for the boringness, I did find this book dragging during the first part, at all. Well, since it is Campbell’s debut novel I could say that this book is quite good for a new but not good enough to boil the interest of a reader. Rephrase the first part, and then I could have given my five stars.

However, contrast to the first part, the second and third make up for the lousiness of the previous one. The second part as if makes sense in just a click that got my interest to continue reading the book till the end. This book has even evoked my emotion at the halfway through especially at what happened to Dill. The metaphor lessens that becomes understandable after all.

I was even shocked at how the twist developed at the latter of their journey. This book is pretty good for a steampunk lovers.