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



Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1): Review

Another review for today!

It's The Lightning Thief, the first book from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series.

A synopsis first before I start:

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.


Okay, I first heard of this book when the movie version was nearing to be shown in cinemas. So, I said, why not give it a try since there will be a movie adaptation, this might be good! So I got myself a copy and I was quite satisfied with what I've read.

The premise was good, a boy being a son of a Greek god and a mortal. Being raised in the mortal world, everything seemed to turn upside down as his other world comes to meet Percy Jackson. And what a good way to start a new life by being accused of thievery?! Much more of the powerful lightning that belonged to the god Zeus? He along with his friends: Grover (a Satyr), and Annabeth (Athena's daughter), goes into numerous adventures to prevent a great war between the gods from happening.

There are some great characters in the book that will captivate the hearts of the readers (my personal favorite would be Hades, the god of the underworld). The gods were portrayed in a very unique way that will change the way you look into the Olympian world. The demi-gods (half-mortal, half-god), as the main characters of the story, were also depicted greatly, with personalities that resemble those of their god parents.

The book was written in the first person narration. Some say that they do not like Riordan's style, but for me, I liked it. Though sometimes I think he grows tired of this narration and goes out of character. By character I mean, the-boy-with-an-ADHD-and-dyslexia character.

The downside of the book, for me, is the way the story moves. It was pretty episodic! In one chapter, Percy and friends encounter a new enemy and in the same chapter, they already defeated the enemy. It's like watching a crappy TV show! It felt like the story wasn't even flowing. Instead, it plays and stops, then the cycle goes on.

Speaking of stories, the book is based on Greek mythology, but sometimes I cannot help but to think that Riordan is only riding with the stories of mythology and not weaving his own. Sometimes you will be wondering "where is Riordan's story? All I see is Greek mythology retold with sprinkles of new characters!" Nonetheless, he redeemed himself by amazing characterization of the people (and gods and demigods) inside his story.

Recommended for young and teen readers. Maybe some adults will like this one, but I think this book will be preferred by the young ones.

More from the Percy Jackson Series.

Characters - 4 STARS
Story - 2 STARS
Writing - 2 STARS
Cover - 3 STARS
Overall - 2.75 STARS


Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1): Review

Good day to everyone! This is my first review in my first blog site written in the first day of April! Happy April Fools everyone!

To begin this blog, I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite books out there--Artemis Fowl.

Here is the synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius-and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories; these fairies are armed and dangerous.

Artemis thinks he has them right where he wants them…but then they stop playing by the rules.
Off to the review.

Written by the famed author Eoin Colfer (How do you pronounce his name?), Artemis Fowl is the first of a series of books that follow the adventures of the young genius-slash-criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl II.

Artemis Fowl book tells an adventure that is filled with humour, action, fairies. Yes, fairies and action can be mixed and this is well executed in Colfer's world of Artemis Fowl.

Colfer masterfully created a world underground dwelt by the fairykind and lets the readers dive into it and into the society the fairies live in.

He made and introduced lovable characters in the story such as Holly Short (the fairy captain), Butler (Artemis', well, butler), and Artemis himself (though some may find him evil in his own kind of way).

In the first Artemis Fowl book, we will see how can a twelve-year-old boy scheme against the fairy race just to get some of their gold~through kidnapping. And how will he be able to escape from the revenge his fairy friends have prepared for him.

Many say that Artemis Fowl is the next Harry Potter. I, like most of the YA book lovers I know, am a fan of Harry Potter but I beg to disagree to those people. ARTEMIS FOWL IS IN A DIFFERENT PLANE THAN HARRY. I think it is a bit unfair for the great Artemis to be in the shadow of our beloved Wizard boy. Please do not compare them. They are both great in their own fields.

Humour added to an action-packed adventure, the first book of the Artemis Fowl series will surely captivate the hearts of teenagers and adults that are young at heart.

Oh, and when you're reading Artemis Fowl, better look out for the reveal. As Artemis is a genius, he plots the most awesome plans that would certainly make you go WOAH. And as he reveals his plots, it will be too late for you to stop being amazed by his young great mind. This, and more, makes the Artemis Fowl series worth reading.
More to come from Artemis Fowl!

Writing - 4 STARS
Story - 4 STARS
Overall - 4 STARS


Hello Everyone!!

Good day to all of you out there!

This is Ivan from the Philippines. I love devouring Young Adult books (specially Fantasy) and I would love it more if I got to share the experience that I've had with them to you~through reviews!

I would like to thank you in advance for taking your time to read my posts. Hope to hear from you, so please drop some comments, suggestions, and reactions.

I'm new in blogging as well as book reviewing. So please bear with me and enjoy the ride.


Bookwormingly yours,
Patterned Text Generator at