So it was rainy, and dreary, and gross. The weather this weekend was remarkably like that of Prague. Prague happens to be a city in which most of the book I read this weekend takes place. Coincidence? I think not! I controlled the weather via my reading choices! Next time I’ll read a book about fire raining down from the sky and see what happens. Anywho, the book I read this weekend had some fabulous word creation, great mythology, and a heroine who grew on me like a tumor. You hate it at first, then get used to it, then when it is removed you kind of miss it in a weird way.
My reluctantly liked heroine came from a book by Laini Taylor called Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Karou fills her sketchbooks with picture of monsters that don’t exist, and tells tales of what they do in their far away world. Only, their world isn’t so far away. In fact, it is accessible via a portal just 10 minutes away from her apartment. Karou has always known these monsters, they are her family. They are, in fact, the only part of herself that she is very sure about. But the world is stirring around her, and more creatures are coming out of the woodwork. Is there something more to Brimstone’s tooth business than meets the eye? Is there a reason that scorched handprints have been showing up on all the doors? And who is the stunningly beautiful man who Karou senses following her, and why did he try to kill her?
This book had a heroine who I was sure was going to make me want to hurt myself rather than finish reading about her. I was all set to hate her. And then she had to turn out to be kind of awesome. She never became a blundering wreck, she did not immediately fall for her one true love, and even when she did, she was very reasonable and controlled about the whole thing. Karou had wonderful perks and some great flaws, and I would let her travel by my side if I had to kick some otherworldly angel booty. The romance storyline was wonderfully done and meshed in well with the books mythos and world creation. At no time did I find myself not believing the world that Ms. Taylor was creating, even though it was very far-fetched.
Yay! A new book review! I have been anxiously waiting for a new shipment of YA books to come in, so when they finally did I tried hard not to just pounce on them and scurry away to read them. Instead, I elegantly walked down to my bat cave and then devoured them like a madwoman. Double lucky for me, one of the books is by one of my all-time favorite authors. The other one I have chosen to review was picked at random when I closed my eyes and grabbed. Enjoy!
The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin was the biggest surprise of the summer for me. I have never been so taken by surprise as I was by this book. Aggie Winchester is a junior in high school, the principal’s daughter, and is very much a gothic outsider. Ever since she was bullied her freshman year, she has depended on her goth friend Sylvia to protect her from the nasty cheerleaders. But now Sylvia is pregnant and the father is one of the most popular boys in school. Not that anyone else knows that he is the father. With Sylvia becoming more and more withdrawn, Aggie is wondering who she really is, and if she is really happy. Add in a dash of bass fishing, some suspicious ballot box action, and a sexually demanding ex-boyfriend, and life as Aggie knows it is falling down around her.
Switching from goths to magicians is no easy feat, and I have no clever segue. Umm…both books have teenage girls! Now that the clever segue is out of the way, I can continue telling you about the fabulous Across the Great Barrier by the wonderful Patricia C. Wrede. Wrede is the woman who wrote the book that shaped a vast majority of my young life. Many a day was spent trying to be more like Princess Cimorene from Dealing with Dragons and I am better for it. I was overjoyed to see the Wrede has once again written a heroine that I can get behind, strong, with a good amount of humility, a little magic but not too super special and just the right hint of bravery. Eff is the thirteenth daughter who is not sure just what she wants to do in life. Her twin brother Lan, the seventh son of a seventh son, thinks she should be going off to college and honing her magical skills. With Eff on the fence about what she wants to do with her life, she decides to take on more responsibilities at the college menagerie. While working there, a Professor asks her to go a journey west, out into the settlements, where animals, both natural and wild, roam free. When Eff makes a discovery that could shake the settlement of the unknown west to its core, what is the free world going to do?
Okay, so I didn’t really unleash my righteous fury on some zombie scum. But I did read a book where they did! And that is almost totally like doing it yourself. Almost. There might have also been a little shape shifting bad-boy love in my life this weekend. That was in book form as well, but a lady needs something to do when her partner in crime is out of commission (thanks wisdom teeth.) So this weekend while I had only planned on reading one new book to review, opportunity smiled upon me and now you are the ones who benefit! Without further ado I introduce the two newest books in the Tucker Free Library’s collection: Enclave and The Gathering!
Enclave is a first book by the lovely Ann Aguirre and I hope it is not her last! Part I Am Legend, part Y the Last Man and a sprinkling of Hunger Games makes for an exciting read in one of the best post-apocalyptic dystopias I have seen in recent months. These tribal societies have developed underground where you are not given a name until you turn 15, mostly because few make it to that age. Once you turn 15, you either become a breeder, a builder or a hunter. We follow the story of Deuce, recently given her name and branded as a hunter in her tribe. She is partnered with Fade, the only boy who survived alone in the tunnels for years. Deuce and Fade are supposed to get food for the rest of the tribe, and kill any freaks (flesh-eating monsters) that get in their way. When they find out that the freaks are growing smarter, developing strategies, and have overrun the closest tribe they trade with, they find themselves at odds with the tribal elders. It seems like the ruling faction does not want the true power of the freaks known. When they are exiled, what choice to Deuce and fade have but to try out their luck, above ground.
Our next book takes place in a small close-knit community as well, on a island up in Canada. The Gathering is the newest creation of Kelley Armstrong, who is a force in the world of Young Adult literature. Maya is dealing with the loss of her friend, convincing her parents to let her get a tattoo, and generally dealing with the things life throws at you when you are sixteen. And while most sixteen year old girls don’t have to deal with being catnip for mountain lions, or having the ability to speed up the healing process in animals, or have a best friend who can “read” people, Maya does. She also has a birthmark which caused an uproar in a tattoo parlor, has attracted a bad-boy to her side, and makes her think twice about where she has come from. Add in a reporter getting murdered and strange shenanigans going on around the island, and you get one confused teenager who just wants to solve the mystery of herself.
I about died laughing when I saw this book on the shelves at the Tucker Free Library. One of my librarian friend in Virginia has been on hold for this book for a while now, so I figured I would be a good friend and read it first, then lord that fact over him. The title was enough to peak my interest, and has a die hard horror movie fan, I knew I needed to read this book. Best. Decision. Ever.
We start the book by meeting our main character, Toby. Slightly over weight, kind of a loner/loser, he is not your typical supernatural teen. He’s not even very supernatural come to think of it. Toby initially gets a job as a pizza maker in the Killer Pizza shop to get a head start on his big dream: to become a celebrity chef. Toby and his fellow co-workers, Strobe and Anna soon become a finely tuned pizza making machine. All this great work leads their boss to one obvious conclusion, they will be the next team of Monster Hunters Killer Pizza trains.
From then on, nothing in our intrepid groups life is normal. They soon come to realize that their town is slowly being invaded by the Guttata, a group of creatures who are somewhere between a werewolf and a gargoyle, and extremely vicious. There attacks are what drive the monster hunters in training to improve their skills, though there are times when Toby doubts that he is cut out for this line of work. Can a tubby kid who dreams of being a chef really have what it takes to bring down a pack of monsters? Will he save his friend Anna and rescue the bitten Chelsea from the brink of monsterdom? Most importantly, will he ever create a signature recipe good enough to go on the Killer Pizza menu?