Sunday, August 15, 2010
Book review catch-up part II
Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
The Remarkable & Very True Story of Lucy and Snowcap by H. M. Bouwman
I Put a Spell on You by Adam Selzer
Stories Edited By Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio
The White Road by Lynn Flewelling
Fool by Christopher Moore
The Chaos Walking series takes place in a future where the colonization of space has begun. On one of these alien planets all the men and animals have been infected with some sort of virus that makes all of their thoughts audible to everyone else around. For some reason female humans are not affected by this virus so their thoughts are not audible, although they can still hear those of the animals and the men. This causes the kind of complications you'd expect. Eventually the series sees the female humans, male humans, and natives of the planet forming separate armies in a fight for dominance. But this book isn't really about aliens or space travel--it's about lies and truth and all the variations of both, it's about trust and prejudice, the power of love and of hate, it's about growing up in difficult times and doing whatever you can to survive them. I love so much about this series--its commentary on information overload and its resistance to clear cut lines of good versus evil, the presence of adults who at least try to care for the young protagonists in addition to the adults who really can't be trusted, the complex relationships that develop among the characters and the complexity and layers to the characters themselves, and what really made the book stand out to me--the way it deals with death and killing. I'm sick of reading books where the young protagonists who are raised with similar values to youth of today are always able to kill when it comes down to it and without much more than a little bit of obligatory guilt afterward that's conveniently forgotten after a chapter or two. I don't know about you, but I seriously doubt that I (or most of my friends for that matter) would be able to kill someone even if my life did depend on it. This book is wonderful, although I was left with the nagging feeling at the end that it could have been absolutely spectacular with little extra effort. There were many points in the series where difficult decisions arise and the characters dither so long that the choices are effectively taken from them so they don't have to make those hard decisions. While that is in a way a choice it's passive not active and I feel that the series would have been that much more interesting and valuable if the characters engaged in those decisions more actively and then had to deal more directly with the responsibility for their outcomes. It's funny because in many ways these books are very bold and dark (fair warning: do not get too attached to animal characters--I wish I'd been warned because I am a total sap about that!) but I felt that at a lot of crucial turning points the author wussed out a bit. Still, this series was wonderful and I recommend it highly for young adults, especially those who like Hunger Games, and if my school is any indicator that's a lot.
The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Well that's all the books that I read up until I got back from Scotland with the exception of one book that I'm waiting to talk about along with is sequel. I'll try to keep up with doing single book reviews from here on out. Wish me luck.