Tuesday, December 28, 2010

LEVIATHAN (Book 1 of Leviathan Trilogy)—BOOK REVIEW

This is the first review I’ve done since time immemorial, I’m really sorry about that, I was really busy with school. So here it goes. I’m going to review the book Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, the first book from the Leviathan Trilogy.

The plot:

The year is 1914. It is the start of the war between the Clankers (those that prefer machines) and the Darwinists (those that use fabricated animals.)

The story revolves around the separate adventures of Alek and Deryn. Alek is the son of Archduke Franz, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and his wife, Sophie. Alek’s parents were assassinated that in turn caused a war between Austria and Serbia which started to spread around the continent. After his parents’ deaths, Alek was pursued by his own people, thus, he goes into hiding together with his fencing and mechaniks masters and two more people. With only this small crew and a fighting machine, Alek strives hard to hide, and strives harder to survive the war.

Deryn, on the other hand, dreams of serving the British Air Service. But her dilemma is dictated by her birth—women are not allowed to. So Deryn disguised herself as a boy named Dylan in order to fulfill her dream. She found herself aboard the Darwinist airship: Leviathan, where she struggled to hide her secret and was caught up with the war.

What will happen if these two meet? What will happen to the war? Which side are you on, the Clankers or the Darwinists?

Here’s my take on the book:

To set things straight, this is my first time encountering the Steampunk genre so forgive me guys if I'd lack the proper knowledge to review this book. Still, here goes...

In Leviathan, Westerfeld presented a carefully crafted tale that speaks of a world exhibiting an alternate history to that we know of and at the same time displaying the elevated possibilities of the future. He did this impressively and elaborately. He cautiously placed the elements of both the past and the future and let them meet in the time of the Great War.

It is a good thing that even though the story borrowed concepts from the real world, the story is still filled with the richness of Westerfeld’s originality. This is especially seen in how he created the different kinds of fabricated animals that were made by the Darwinists and also the innovative technology of the Clankers. But as both sides have greatness on their own, it is even more bizarre and wonderful how this author made these two forces clash.

The story did not necessarily say which side is right and which side is wrong, or which side is better and which is worse. The book plainly presented the story of both sides with Alek and Deryn at the center. Having said this, it is pretty much commendable how Westerfeld characterized both the main characters--one being well-mannered and sophisticated while the other one quite haughty. The interaction between them is also an especially significant part of the book, which Westerfeld successfully portrayed with much care, thought, and a lot of enthusiasm.

The only downside that I can see is that since people know, for a fact, the actual technological capabilities that the era had, it may be hard to disassociate the readers’ consciousness to that certain knowledge for them to fully absorb the story. It may be hard for the audience to infuse themselves to every nook and cranny the storyline portrays. But, in answer to this, Westerfeld had clearly indicated and clarified the line that divides  fact and fiction in the world of Leviathan, thus, making the disadvantage less troubling.

My last point goes to the illustrations on the book. Parts of the story were depicted with illustrations that were pretty much detailed. They practically gave off the same vibrancy/mood that the story itself showed. So, kudos to that!

This is a good start for a trilogy, all in all. I will definitely read the next books!

Leviathan is recommended for the younger readers and may also extend to the YA lovers.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Am Number Four--Book Review

It’s been a while since my last review ‘cause I’ve been VERY busy doing school stuffs that I hardly find the time to open the book I’m reading. But after weeks of struggling, I finally finished another book. So here it is, my review on the first book of the Lorien Legacies Series: I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore (which is a pen-name, as I believe.)

The story is about Number Four, presently known as John Smith, one of the nine Lorien kids who came to Earth after their home planet, Lorien, was destroyed by another alien species, the Mogadorians. They came to our planet in order to grow and mature so that they may be able to revive their planet and their kind. But their stay on Earth is not a walk in the park as the Mogadorians are now on the planet in order to slay the Lorien kids, and also to make Earth its next victim.

The nine kids separated to different places on Earth and with a charm, the Lorien kids can only be killed according to their numbers, one to three are dead, which leaves Number Four next. So John, along with his guardian, Henri, should do their best to survive until John’s powers mature so that if needed, they could fight back.

But John’s life can get more complicated as it already is as he got involved to some human affairs as well. In his new school, he met and fell in love with a girl—Sarah Hart. How will John live his life without revealing his secret to the ones he learned to love? Will he survive, or will he succumb to the enemy’s powers?

Here is my take on the book:

I found the concept a little intriguing since I personally haven’t tried reading lots of Sci-fi. I guess this was a good start, the only problem that I had with this book is that I didn’t really see it as much of a sci-fi experience; it was more of a fantasy-ride for me. This is because the technicalities of an alien story lacks in it.

The tone used in the book is quite serene and laid back in the start, which I found quite disturbing. This is because the premise of the story is that John and Henri, and the other Lorien kids, are “on-the-run” but the way the story was told in the first half of the book gave a feel that they weren’t really “on-the-run.” I expected a darker storyline but still, it was bearable and the book somehow redeemed itself towards the end with some action-packed scenes. I just thought that this is aimed for teen boys so I guess the romance part on it should be given a little less limelight.

Characterization-wise, the book did an “ok” job. You will be able to understand each and every character, and why they do things they do. But it felt kind of flat, there are no complex character developments involved in the story. Plus, there weren’t any exceptional characters that would be tattooed on one’s mind.

What I totally loved in I Am Number Four are the Legacies, or the powers that the Lorien people possess. It was great watching John as he discovers his powers and uses them in his adventures. Guess I’m a fanboy for superpowers.

Will I read the next book in the series? Probably yes. As far as I can see, I Am Number Four only set out the origins of the Lorien Legacies series. So I am thinking, and HOPING that the next books would reveal more action-packed storyline and pacing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Artemis Fowl, The Time Paradox—Book Review

Today I’ll review The Time Paradox, the sixth installment of one of my favorite book series, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer.

In The Time Paradox, we see our favorite genius boy go back in time in order to save the last of the Silky Sifaka Lemur species that proved to be the cure for her mother’s illness. The problem is, he was the one who caused the extinction of the Silky Sifaka Lemur almost 8 years prior. Therefore, Artemis of the future should face and outwit the Artemis of the past. Using time travel and escorted by her fairy friend Holly Short, will Artemis defeat his greatest enemy to date, his own self? Can they go back to the past and not alter the future they have known?


My Review:

The book still holds up the same humor and adventurous feel that fans had known from book 1. The adventures that Artemis Fowl goes through are what have driven most part of the book, add clever twists and turns to that and you will get The Time Paradox.  

Like the other Artemis Fowl books, the most impressive part that Eoin Colfer has inculcated in this book is the “reveal.” Colfer still did very well on this one, the wit of writing he used made the twists just make you “Ooooh! That’s cool!”

The book proved to have a much more complicated storyline that seemed to grow with Artemis Fowl. The battle of wit and smarts of the two Artemises is surely a highlight of this book. What could fans ask for more knowing that they can be spectators of an intellectual battle between two characters that they had grown to love and maybe, despise?

What makes this different from prior books is that it showed more on Artemis’ human side. Much more than the genius, here we see how he had grown to be softer. We see how he responds to his emotions and not just his intellectual premise. The book also showed how much Artemis had grown through a comparison of the two Artemises of both time and also how does the relationship between him and Holly develop.

Characterization was never a question when it comes to the AF series as readers are sure to see how Artemis is growing throughout the books’ storylines and how his life has been affected by his involvements with the fairy people. Holly is also given the right and fitting character development. Also, a refreshing thing in this book is the addition of the demon warlock N°1 (first appeared in the fifth book: The Lost Colony) in the lineup of lovable characters.

Reading Artemis Fowl books is like riding the same rollercoaster all over again. But each time you ride it, there are additional features that will make each ride different from the other–a paradox of familiarity and uniqueness in each and every book.

The Time Paradox is surely a must-read for hardcore Artemis Fowl fans! But beware, this book has a little cliffhanger element that will make you want to instantly get the next book: The Atlantis Complex.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Haven't Read the Hunger Games Trilogy. Does that make me a loser?

Okay, everyone seems to be talking about the release of the last installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, yet I haven't even started on this one. The reason--I'm still thinking as which to buy, the whole paperback edition or the hardbound ones. Being the obsessive-compulsive (OC) person that I am when it comes to books, I want a book series in my collection to be of the same sizes so that when I buy the paperback edition for a first book, the entire series should be in paperback. The hardbound ones are expensive and I'm not even sure if I will like the series so I'm not really certain if the purchase will be worth it. But if I decide to buy the paperback ones, I would have to wait for a long time since the paperback for the first book has just been released weeks ago. If ever I liked the first one so much as most of you did, then the wait would be excruciating! So now I'm really confused about it.

So I ask you, is it a MUST to read this trilogy that I wouldn't be wasting money if I buy it in hardbound? Also, I would like to know if any of you have the same OC-ness when it comes to book collection. I would like to hear from you! 

-The Book Eater

Saturday, August 28, 2010

UNWIND by Neal Shusterman -- Book Review

I think I’ll remember this book for a while for I was utterly disturbed by it….in a good way.

Unwind is a story set in a future that is a little (or a lot?) different from what we perceive. In this future, the Bill of Life exists. This provides that when children reach the ages between thirteen to eighteen, their parents could decide to unwind them, meaning, they are to be brought to “harvest camps” where each of their organs are taken for reuse of those who needed transplants. It is like abortion in later life, and in Shusterman’s created world—it is legal.

The story centers on three teens set to be unwound: Connor, being a little pain for his parents, was decided to be unwound; Risa, a ward of the state, has been seen as a little less talented to be kept alive; and lastly, Lev, a kid who has prepared all his life to be unwound for he is a tithe—a child born to be unwound. These three will meet at points of their lives that they did not expect. . . .making much more unexpected things to happen.

What future awaits these three? Can they escape their destiny? And to settle things: is Unwinding right, or wrong?


My Review:

Never knew unwinding can be this disturbing.

What I meant by the word disturbing is that it did disturb my senses, to be precise, my thoughts. The book makes the gears on one’s mind (maybe even the heart) tinkering and rotating. We are brought to a world where life is questionably less valuable than it is today—a future that may be seen as a little dysfunctional, and distraught.

Where does beauty in life come in a place like this?

Issues of today, such as Pro-choice vs. Pro-life, are virtually and pivotally present in Unwind. Shusterman did a great job in putting up faces to these phenomena that he exemplary realized in his own book. The book won’t preach on the rightness or wrongness of things instead it depicts causes and effects that will help readers decide for themselves as to what to believe.

Connor, Risa, and Lev are just the icing on the top of the cake. There are more to this book than the lives of the main characters. The minor characters also present dimensions that give the book more life, and more depth (my favorite would be Cy-Fi’s story). The people the three meet, the experiences they encounter and the lives that they’ve touched (or lives that touched them too)—these are what made this book worth reading, and worth pondering on. The book did not stay too much on the three main characters but also gave the spotlight to the others and presenting their perspectives. By doing this, the book easily depicted the condition of the world that Shusterman crafted in Unwind, plus it helped to the betterment of the pacing of the book’s story.

Was the story blown out of proportion? Yes. That is why it lacks authenticity. But what it did is that by doing so, it got the desired effect. The characters’ experiences are amplified to give more impact to the readers, making them realize that we’re not on a perfect world yet doesn’t start to sound too preachy. Characters speak for themselves, their voices coated with life’s lessons. The world is not presented in black and white, there are gray areas to where the readers are taken. Gray areas where the readers would most likely love to indulge and linger to.

The lessons present in the book can be pertained for the young readers and to adults as well. But it is very much obvious that this particular book is targeted for the young adults, though others would still definitely love to read this as well.

The book holds up until the end. It gave closure to the wonderful story, but not the issue (not on the book, but on life in general). Beyond the story, the action, the adventures is a story of life. Readers would not be able to stop themselves from thinking and assessing how they see the world as they flip the pages of this Young Adult book. Add well and fast pacing to those, and you got a great book called Unwind!


Unwind presented effective characterizations and lessons that easily buried the book’s other flaws.


If you are interested in purchasing this book:

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Sorry guys for not being able to post new reviews lately. I've been (and still am) very busy with school work that I'm having a hard time to put "reading a book" in my schedule. :( Exams are coming up and I hope I'll do well, so wish me luck everyone! :D

But I'm also happy because I was able to buy new books for me to read once I am freed from this tight schedule of mine. Hope to devour them as soon as possible! Here they are:

The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox,  by Eoin Colfer

Unwind, by Neal Shusterman

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson

Maximum Ride: School's Out--Forever 

Lies, by Michael Grant


Hope to review them all soon! :D

Monday, July 26, 2010

THIRST NO. 2 -- Book Review

I will review the second book of the Thirst Series by Christopher Pike. (refer HERE  for my review of the first book) Here is the main idea of the second book

Thirst no. 2 immediately follows the events of the first book where Sita has been reverted to being a human. But the question is, what will happen next? Will she be able to live among the mortals that once were different from her?

Now that she is in her new reformed condition, Sita was able to conceive a baby—a dream that she has desired for a long period of time since she left her daughter five thousand years ago. But it seems that her baby isn’t near normal, the baby is also thirsty for blood and she grows faster than any human being. Sita is now faced with the dilemma of being a mother to an inhuman being.


The second installment of the Thirst series features Sita in her more emotional state. As the book depicted her becoming more human, both literally and figuratively, she grew more familiar to the readers. Emotions of the past creep up like nightmares and she confronts them, goes back through them. With humanity and history within her, she faces the ghosts of her pasts in order to solve the riddles of the future.

The readers are taken to a realm beneath the vampire story. There are new, unknown forces that are introduced in the second book. New enemies and situations that will spur out new questions to the readers’ minds and Sita’s as well. It ceased to be just another vampire story, but a story of life and decisions—depiction of human nature within the flesh and blood of a vampire. Concept of life, death, and reincarnation revolves around the second installment.

As the first one has based its story on solid, thoroughly explained vampire origins, the second one has done otherwise. Thirst no. 2 presents creatures that is both a new experience to the readers and to Sita as well. Though they give a new dimension to the main story, Pike was not able to totally explicate on these new concepts as he had done so in the first. The only redeeming chance for this is that the third installment of the series would give the explanation that the readers are looking for.

The Sita telling the story here is still the Sita that has been seen at Thirst no. 1, the aggressive vampire chick whose battle skills are at par to no human standards. Blood spill is also inevitable in the story telling of this book.  Though she grows in more heroic proportions, as she got involved into a dilemma that does not only involve herself, but the whole mankind as well. She takes up the responsibility for the people close to her, as well for the humanity in the face of the planet.

Yet still evident in the second book are the problems that made the first book a little ineffective. The biggest one of them is her addiction to her faith that made the books sound really preachy rather than enlightening. But the involvement of reincarnation in the second book made little amends to this dilemma as they became personified lessons which in turn instilled the lessons of faith in much more action than words.

Thirst no. 2 presents more complex dimensions to Sita’s life as she battles it out with new creatures that she is yet to be familiarized. Her awareness of the consequences to her every decision and knowing what’s worth fighting for is commendable in this second book.


In a concise review:

Thirst no. 2 is crazier and more action-packed than the first book but still holds the same problems that made the first a little ineffective.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

THIRST NO. 1 -- Book Review

First and foremost, I despise vampire stories even before trying them out. It’s because all of them just came popping out after the success of Twilight! And I just hate that book because I think it’s nothing but a love story (sorry for the fans), but I guess it’s wrong to judge them all that way.

Now I will review the vampire book, Thirst no. 1 by Christopher Pike. Here is its premise:

Alisa Perne is a five-thousand year old vampire, the last one of them as she believes. But now her long-lived life is threatened as she discovers she is being investigated by Detective Michael Riley. After speaking to him, Alisa (or Sita, her real name) figures out that the one who wants her investigated knows a great deal about her, and this intrigued her as well as alarmed her. She killed Mr. Riley without even choking the truth out of him which left Alisa with only one lead, Mr. Riley’s computer. This computer can only be accessed with the use of a password that led her to meet with Mr. Riley’s son, Ray. But her encounter with Ray stirs something inside Alisa, something like love.

Her meeting with Ray starts her adventure within  as she ventured with him and the other people around him. Who is the one wanting her investigated? Can the love of a five-thousand-year-old vampire be returned? What destiny will befall this feisty female vampire?

Thirst no. 1 is a compilation of the first three books of Christopher Pike's series, The Last Vampire. This includes The Last Vampire, Black Blood, and Red Dice.


Thirst isn't necessarily a love story, which I actually like. It is a vampire story—Sita’s story (I want to use the name Sita more because she uses it more often in the book than Alisa). But the love angle in her story is definitely crucial for the development of the story because with it, the readers will easily know this feisty woman’s pains, feelings, and thoughts.

The book is told in the first person point of view. At the start of the book, I cannot even see a five-thousand year old maturity in Sita, it sounded like Sita is nothing but an egoistic self-adoring b*tch but it’s good that at the second and third parts of Thirst 1, she began to display the wisdom of a vampire that has lived in thousands of years. But at times, it seems irritating that she still makes reckless decisions throughout the book, which is out of character because she should’ve learned more in her long time of living.

Sita is a vampire with religion. She has been alive by the time Krishna (the avatar of Vishnu, a Hindu God) and decided to devote her life through his teachings. This is a good idea provided that it will give a depth in such a vampire story as well as lessons for the readers. But for me, the downside of this is at times, the book starts to get preachy that every once and then, well most of the time, she discusses Krishna’s teachings. It gets to my nerves at times.

Action-wise, the book is full of fight scenes, mostly at the second and third parts of the book. It can be described as mildly macabre with lots of blood spilt in the story. Sita is an expert with guns and weapons which magnificently portrayed her as a femme fatale that is thirsty for blood (Hot!).

The story progress was just fine. The start wasn’t really remarkable, it was just okay. But as the book progresses it gets better. Though there wasn’t really much of a climax in the book, it still holds big ideas that may appeal to readers.

The good thing about Thirst is that it stays to the thought that vampires are bloodthirsty creatures but emphasizes that they too can have a good nature and can be admirable at times. Sita’s story is a tale of life, of love, of faith, and of death. Follow her story with Thirst no. 2 which includes the next three books of Pike’s The Last Vampire series.

In a concise review:

Thirst no. 1’s story is anticlimactic at times but is redeemed by the big ideas inculcated in it (though they are not really executed very well).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

After being intrigued with the sudden hype on this crime novel, I decided to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (first of the Millennium series) by Stieg Larsson.

The plot centers on three points. Mikael Blomkvist is in a tight spot after being involved in a libel case due to what he had published making his journalist career come to a sudden downfall; Lisbeth Salander, one of the top investigators of a security company and seen by the society as a social outcast, had came to investigate on Mikael as part of her work; and the mystery of the disappearing member of the Vanger family of 1966, which will intertwine both Blomkvist’s and Salander’s futures.

Blomkvist decides to uncover the truth about the Vanger mystery in order to redeem himself from his journalistic misery. He seemed disheartened with the idea at first but as he goes deeper into the mystery, dark secrets start to unveil themselves to him.

A journalist, a social outcast, and a mystery waiting to be solved—what will happen if they all meet at the same path?

This book is certainly much more than a crime or mystery novel. There are many dimensions in the book that speak for themselves and as they meet each other, they do give great impressions to the reader.

The book for me was told in a serene tone that could have been mistaken as the book being slow even if it was dubbed as a mystery novel or a crime fiction. If it were other books with that tone, I could have easily closed the book and looked for other, but I was not discouraged in continuing it. It is indeed initially told in a not-so-startling way yet as it was beautifully and intelligently written, it wasn’t really hard to be able to absorb the story.

Characterization-wise, Larsson was able to pull it off magnificently, especially the main characters. My favorite character would be Salander, which Larsson portrayed as a hard-headed girl that is seen by others as a nutcase. Throughout the whole book, there is indeed developing attributes in her character (as well as the others) which is actually a very good thing. Larsson did not stereotype his own characters, thus, taking them out of their shells and introducing them to the readers.

As the book was originally written in Swedish, the question of translation will most likely be brought up. I think the book’s language was fairly justified, though I’m not really the authority to say that because I haven’t read (and won’t understand) the original text. But the language used is sufficient to supply the right mood for the book. The vocabulary also gave way for the journalistic and business backgrounds that are found in the story.

The crime/mystery part of the book isn’t something that really awed me. I did not find that part as really gripping. With that said, I still believe that this book is certainly worth reading. The funny part for me is that what I was looking forward throughout the book is not the outcome of the mystery within the Vanger family but the journalistic adventure that Blomkvist is going through. (Though this may be a little bit biased since I am currently studying a Journalism course in college. :P ) And I also saw Salander’s life as really amusing.

Salander’s dilemma, Blomkvist’s quandary, and the mystery waiting to be solved 40 years ago. Each of these present ideas that can easily appeal to the readers even if presented individually. Having them in the same book is pretty wicked awesome. There is really something for everyone who decides to grab this book.

Sensitive issues such as abuse, murder, and crime illustrate themselves in the story once in a while, sometimes even taking the center point of the story. Occasional sexual content is also present in the book but they are actually needed in the story. Larsson showcased these in a manner that they give the proper impact on the readers.


Favorite quote:
"…If there's one thing I've learned, it's never engage in a fight you're sure to lose. On the other hand, never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide your time and strike back when you're in a position of strength--even if you no longer need to strike back”


In a concise review:
The intelligent plot and complex characters seen inside the book made The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo transcend the definition of a mystery/crime novel.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare –Book Review

I’ve seen the Cirque du Freak books for a while at bookstores but only gave them small notice. I actually developed an eagerness to read the series after I’ve seen the movie which came out months before. I essentially enjoyed the film (but not really that awed by it) and as I thought that most of the time the books are better than the movies, I decided to read it.

The premise of the book Cirque Du Freak 1: A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan is about a boy with a fascination for spiders named Darren Shan (yeah, they have the same name) who, due to circumstances, went to watch the Cirque du Freak, or Circus of Freaks. Cirque du Freak is not the same one as the regular freak shows, it showcases real freaks and Darren will know them firsthand. The Cirque du freak happens to feature a talented spider Madam Octa owned by Mr. Crepsley. Madam Octa impressed Darren, and this made him decide to steal her from Mr. Crepsley—who turned out to be a vampire. What future does Darren Shan have now that he used up his guts to steal from a vampire? Add to this is his best friend, Steve, who happens to want to become a vampire.

I have no problem of the fact that the name of the author and the main character is the same.  The book’s story is told using the first person point of view, which is appropriate given that the author wished to name the character before himself, but sometimes Darren seems to annoy me. (The character, and sometimes the author :P)

The book is a so-so book, with a so-so story, and so-so characters. I enjoyed it, yes, but I think it can use a lot of improvements. The good thing about it is that it is surely a fast read. Not action-packed as I thought it would be, but maybe (or hopefully) it will be after the next books.

As I’ve seen it, the book just set out the origin of the series. There wasn’t really much action which what I was looking forward to. That is why it seemed boring even though the chapters were relatively short as the book was short itself. The length of the book made it bearable to read up to the end. The humor too, though not really exceptional, made me finish the book.

But as it was the first book, it should give a big impact on the readers so that they would continue on the series, but unfortunately it didn’t give much of an impact. This just told as to how Darren Shan’s adventures start, this is not necessarily Darren Shan’s first adventure.

Would I want to read the next of the series? Probably yes, but I’m not really hyped on grabbing the next books instantly. I would want to know what will happen next to Darren Shan but I’m in no hurry. I still have other good books to read.

Re-readability wise, no. I wouldn’t want to read it again. But I’m not closing the doors, if I enjoy the next books, maybe I would like to read some parts of the beginning of Darren Shan’s adventures. It will all depend on the next books.

It’s a book that you can read when you’re bored but not really looking for an intelligent read. There isn’t really something exceptional about this book. No big lessons, no life-changing quotes, just mainly for entertainment.

Concise review:
The book is an enjoyable and fast read, but lacks thickness of plot.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What I'm reading now.

I haven't posted in a while, once again, due to my busy schedule. I haven't done any reviews lately, so I'm just going to talk about what I am currently reading.

It is the first book of the Cirque du Freak series --A Living Nightmare

Yeah, I have been late in reading this series. So far, I am quite entertained by the book. Actually, this is my first vampire book. (I can't lay a finger on those romantic vampire books!) Will tell you more about it when I finish reading.

Also, my friend lent me a book by Eoin Colfer, the author of my favorite Artemis Fowl series. The book is entitled The Supernaturalist. I don't know yet what to expect with this book, but I'm looking forward in devouring it. :)

Reviews to follow!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

GONE by Michael Grant—Review

This book is AWESOME! I will definitely add this one on my favorite books.

When Kid Nation meets X-men—this is how I would want to describe its story. In the world created by author Michael Grant, everyone with the age higher than 14 suddenly went gone so basically the young ones are left alone. To add to this, some of the kids are developing supernatural powers and animals are mutating. What caused these phenomena? How would they survive? Who will take up the role of leading all the other kids? Follow this story of survival where bonds are being formed, tested, and destroyed.

This book has an unquestionably intelligent plot. I liked how Grant made the story move. He did not only focus on telling the story through the eyes of the main protagonist of the book, Sam Temple, but also gave the limelight to the other kids on the book, including the antagonists. He created a story set in a familiar yet unknown world waiting to be explored.

There are lots of lovable characters in the book! (Mine would be Computer Jack!) The story revolves around the lots of kids fighting, confused, and lost on how to run the place without the presence of the adults. There are kids who want the better for everyone but there are also some kids who do evil things—bullies want to rule, the kids with powers are being treated differently, and plots between kids are getting darker.  Adding to this is a creature lurking in the shadows with a dangerous cause, making the book proven as an action-packed experience! Plus, I love the character developments going on through the story. Not much romance, just the way I like it.

 The whole book still left some mysteries towards the end but that is acceptable as this is only the first one of a series of books. Hopefully other issues of this story would be enlightened at the next books, but given the way Michael Grant tailored the first book, I definitely believe that the next books are also going to be great! Finishing the book makes me want to immediately grab the next book of the series, HUNGER, and dive into the lives of the kids of the Gone series.

I had lots of fun reading this book! I usually do not like saying the phrase “I couldn’t put the book down” but with this one, I can actually use that phrase. I can’t stop on reading it and I dreaded the time when I need to finish the book. Reading it was a suspenseful ride with all the twists and turns inside the world of FAYZ (or the Fallout Alley Youth Zone).

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!! YA book lovers would definitely enjoy reading this!

Concise Review:

GONE is a certified page-turner with its action-packed story, humor, and lovable characters.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Skin Hunger (Book 1 of A Resurrection of Magic) -- Review

I just finished reading Kathleen Duey’s SKIN HUNGER, the first book of the trilogy: A Resurrection of Magic.

First off, the book follows two stories separated by time: Sadima who lives in a world where magic was long gone and met with people who wanted to resurrect it; and Hahp (centuries after Sadima’s story)  who enters the academy of magic where he is taught by magicians. . . . the hard way.

I would have to agree 101% with Holly Black that this book is BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. There are elements in Skin Hunger that is new for me but they came to me with familiarity. I had not had a difficult time accepting the fact that there are two alternating stories and that both of them had different kind of narration.

Well, personally, if I was made to choose which of the stories I liked better, I can easily say that it is Hahp’s story. I saw Sadima’s story as anti-climactic (though that may also be true for the whole book). But what I am amazed at is that I can’t help falling in love with both stories. They are separate tales that support each other, at first they do not make sense but as the book progress, they do meet (and hopefully still at the next two books).

There is very little climax that can be seen throughout the book, yet it can still be considered as a lovely tale. There is no powerful action and fight scenes here that are usually seen in YA books but the characters themselves are enough to magnetize the readers to love this world carefully created and crafted by Duey.

Through the eyes of Sadima and Hahp comes a portrait of the world that is surely to be loved. The book is a place where magic is definitely magical with characters that can be felt—it is a world carefully written and told.

I can say that the two stories can run independently, but the two stories make up for the lacking element that the other has. They make up for one another, and they were balanced at that note. In Hahp’s story, I felt tensed and excited while in Sadima’s, the story seemed to lay low from the suspenseful story but providing the more significant and informant bits.

Thumbs up for Duey’s characterization. Hahp and Sadima were depicted greatly throughout the course of the book, and it also holds true for the supporting characters. Hahp’s story was told using the first person point of view which I did not expect this because the author is a woman but she chose to use the first person narrative in the story of Hahp. Nevertheless, it was executed fine. While in Sadima’s, Duey used the third person narration which she also done well.

A complex story told in a simple manner. The idea of using two different stories in one book sounds unique but the question that mostly comes first is “would it be confusing?” For Skin Hunger, it did not. The two stories come alternately between chapters and since the chapters of the book were so short, you wouldn’t even feel that you have left the other story before resuming it.  Another thing is that since the stories use different types of narration, it would definitely be hard to mix them up.

It was certainly a ride. The emotions held in the book were so raw, the familiarity stings.

I am very much excited in reading the next two books in the series.  The book’s ending is certainly a cliffhanger! Leaving me looking forward to see what will happen to the two main characters of the trilogy. Hopefully I get to see a head-on clash between the both worlds where every piece of the puzzle will fit in together.

In a short description:
Skin Hunger is entertaining, lovely, and magical in its own unique way.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Finishing up Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey, think I will write a review on it once I finish it. So far I'm loving it.

Next book to read:

GONE by Michael Grant

It's on sale when I bought it. I love books on sale, mostly the ones in good condition

I'm excited with this one because I'm a BIG fan of Battle Royale which plot has the same flavor as this one: teens fighting one another for survival. (Would also like to try Hunger Games but it is still not available on paperback, I'm being stingy here. :P )

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gerald's Game: Review

I mentioned in the description on this blog that I would like to try out horror books, and where better else to start than with Stephen King?

After looking for King’s books in the internet, I was intrigued by Gerald’s Game’s premise: a woman handcuffed half naked in a bed and due to some unforeseen circumstances, she was left all alone . . . or was she?

Two weeks of reading (for some reason, this came to be a long read for me), and I found myself blown by this world presented to me by King. I would like to agree that Stephen King is indeed a genius. In this riveting, exciting, page-turning novel, he showed a world that displays the nature of the human mind—through Jessie Burlingame.

Jessie is the main character of the story, married to a Gerald Burlingame. Years of married life led them to this one scenario which the story will revolve around to—Gerald handcuffs Jessie, Gerald dies, and now Jessie is alone in a house in the woods waiting for no one to discover her.

King did great in making a whole lot of breath-taking scenes just from one scenery, from that single bedroom where Jessie is tied up, we are taken to a world beyond which locks up dark secrets from the past. But what lies in her past may help her in what she is going through. Nightmares she buried down in history should be dug in order to wake up from the nightmares of the present.

Listening to the voices inside your head, and acknowledging them proved to be one of this book's greatest lessons.

So much as I’m hoping to find a book that would scare me to my wits, this book’s not it—though I could say I’ve found something better. Gerald’s Game is a psychological rollercoaster waiting to be ridden on. This book took the term “psychological” in a whole lot different meaning and dimension. And even it was written way back, thinking that I was just a year old when this was first published, it surely holds its magic and still haunts and intrigues the readers who decide to take a bite of this little pie called Gerald's Game.

It portrayed different levels of torment and despair—physical, emotional, and psychological. How one is haunted by his/her own ghosts, and trapped by one’s own handcuffs. Symbolisms are lurking in every page that one turns in this book, but even without deciphering them, the reader will still surely learn from this. Besides, this book proved to be one entertaining read.

Characterization is out of the question in Gerald’s Game. The book was full of Jessie Burlingame’s character (or need I say: "characterS?"), one wouldn't miss it. I think King is a genius for building and depicting Jessie’s life and personality and instilling it inside this 400 and something page.

Gerald’s Game opened a new world for me—Stephen King’s world. And from what I’ve read in this book, I will surely be more than willing to try out his other books.

This book is recommended for suspense genre lovers. I won’t suggest this book for the young ones, well that is if you are one and you are open to books with explicit content and a little gore.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

busy, busy.

Sorry if I haven't updated my blog. I'm currently busy with school work (internship). But I'm having fun!

It is election day here in the Philippines! Good luck everyone. I was not able to register for the elections and now I'm regretting it.

What I'm reading now: Stephen King's Gerald's Game.

And I will soon read Skin Hunger (A Resurrection of Magic: Book One). I'm happy about this book cause I bought it on sale and on a good condition.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Book Thief: Review

Today, I will talk about Markus Zusak's critically acclaimed book, THE BOOK THIEF.

Here is the synopsis:

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel Meminger’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Grave Digger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up and closed down. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.


I first saw THE BOOK THIEF while browsing on a bookstore and I fell in love with its cover. I guess the saying "don't judge the book by its cover" does not apply for me. I had no idea what its about but the dominoes on it (the cover) gave it the mysterious/dark impression that got my attention. Reading through the synopsis, the premise got through me, because the thought of a story about a girl's desire to read books is a familiar one for I have the heart of a bookworm.

One characteristic of this book that many argue if it's successful or not is the book's narration. The book is narrated by Death himself. But this is not the Death that we know carrying a caret and taking down souls mercilessly--this Death became bored of his work, kinda grumpy at times, and likes to spoil things. The idea that the reader is looking at the world through the eyes of Death is awesome, though hard to execute to the point that it is believable. Zusak really had guts trying this style, but I guess it paid off. Having another narrator of Liesel's story would change the impact of the book.

Great characterization. Zusak really weaved up a good storyline with great characters in it with this book. I couldn't stop myself from loving Liesel's family as I read through the book. I couldn't stop myself from feeling for them. The reader will be sucked in a world as seen by a little girl and Death. How the two of them meet, and how Liesel's story became remarkable to someone as prominent as Death.

The story's more on the anticlimactic side but the emotions that flood this book keep one turning page after page. The way the story is told do not emphasize the action that is happening around Liesel's life but narrows on the relationships that she had with the other characters. By doing so, Zusak crafted a story that moves slowly but surely--without making haste to get to the point of the story. Though I admit, the book did not really need all those pages.

It took me long enough to be hooked on this book. But I think the fault is on my part. I'm not very fond of reading stories about the Nazi. I'm not even knowledgeable about that period and that is why I had a hard time gripping the story but nonetheless, the story of Liesel is one of the most unforgettable stories that I will want to look back to. Though it will take a long time for me to decide if I'm going to reread it (it was so long).

I was quite surprised to see that this book was listed on the children's section because from what I've read I think this book will bore children. But I'm not stopping you from giving this book to young ones since I think this book will teach them a lot about living and loving. But my point is, since this book covers 500+ pages, I just think children won't appreciate it as much as grown ups would. And do not read this if you are looking for a fast read because this one would take up your time, but it's worth it. I guess this one should be labeled in the teens' section. I recommend this book for teens and adults, you'll learn a lot from this book!

I loved the cover of my copy of The Book Thief, but I saw another cover from the internet that I would prefer. It's so cool, I would not know if I'm awed or spooked by the cover. It displays so much emotions--just like the text itself. Here it is:

Cover - 3.5 stars
Characters - 5 stars
Writing - 3 stars
Story - 3.5 stars
Overall - 3.75 stars



Friday, April 2, 2010

The Graveyard Book: Review

Today I'll talk about one of the latest books that I've read: Neil Gaiman's THE GRAVEYARD BOOK.


Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family…

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.


Okay, this is the first book that I've read from the Neil Gaiman (would you say I'm missing a lot?) and for me, it was a fair choice.

I got a lot of expectations on this one for everyone seemed to love this book! Well my expectations were met, barely.

The book had a nice story, yeah, Jungle Book but in the graveyard. Nobody Owens, or Bod,was taken care of by the ghosts and was protected from the killers of his parents. The readers could see how Bod lived his life and grew into a fine young boy destined for great adventures! But yeah, since this one is patterned from the Jungle Book, it is quite predictable.

This story is filled with LOVABLE characters (I think that all caps would emphasize my, umm, emphasis?). Living with ghosts, Bod learned the ways of the dead. But these are not those ghosts that you see in horror flicks, these are those that had once experienced to live and retain their memories. These ghosts know how to live and love like real people, by this Gaiman depicted a new dimension on perception of ghosts, and this is a plus point for me.

The ending was quite expected but the adventure towards it was GREAT. There were some fun parts but there are also heartbreaking scenes, I'm not the one who usually cries when reading a book, but at one point I felt tears at the sides of my eyes while reading this one.

The illustrations were weird, some made it hard for me to understand but given the mood of the book, I say it is acceptable.

Good book all in all! You could buy this one for your children and find yourself enjoying it too! Recommended for young readers and die-hard Gaiman fans!

Characters - 5 stars
Story - 3 stars
Writing - 4 stars
Overall - 4 stars