Fantasy

Book Review: Unwind

Unwind
Author: 
Shusterman, Neal
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Okay let's get the bad stuff out of the way. To start things off, many times throughout the book it feels a bit slow. I find myself trying to read a part of the book, hoping that something exhilarating will happen, but it turns out to be slow. Following that, sometimes things felt the opposite and felt rushed. At some points of the book, I feel like some plot twists/reveals were forced into happening and being revealed. I would think to myself that it's a bit cliche. But otherwise, there's nothing else that really bothers me.

Now the neutral/mixed emotions. Sometimes the transitions are very good; making the audience know another character's POV at the time of an event. Other times... well it's a little dull. For example, one scene you'd be at an action paced-fight, the other, you'd be having a conversation. But yeah this is the only neutral/mixed emotion factor.

Now the amazing stuff. The characters are absolutely amazing, the plot is amazing, and the action-paced scenes are amazing. I cannot use words to describe how much I love Neal Shusterman's unique way of writing. The way that the characters interact with the world around them, and overcome the problems and struggles put before them really draws you in, and they dynamic between the characters themselves is also amazing. Really love it!

Reviewer's Name: 
Evelyn

Book Review: Six of Crows

Six of Crows
Author: 
Bardugo, Leigh
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book just has it all. Whether it be fantasy, crime, mystery or romance. It was a real heart-wrenching novel. The fact that she shows the story from the perspective of all six characters and tells their personal stories too is amazing. Although this book is manly based on a heist, we also get to know about the setting/world around them, and get a unique look into the lives of each character and why all of them are in the situation they're in. And the fact that so much is going on in this novel, but doesn't feel chaotic or difficult to understand at all, and has amazing flow and structure, really adds to the immersive sensation. Altogether the character and world building in this story is amazing, and each and every character’s perspectives were enjoyable to read. The backstories of each character is amazing, the setting is amazing, and the slow-burn to fast-acting action and story progression keeps you on edge and wanting more.

Reviewer's Name: 
Evelyn

Book Review: Scythe

Scythe
Author: 
Shusterman, Neal
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Scythe is the first book of the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, that follows dual main characters Rowan and Citra. Set in the far-future, natural death has been practically eliminated thanks to technology and the "Thunderhead," and only those dubbed "scythes," which are basically reapers, can truly kill someone. This book set up the perfect utopian world, whilst being filled with joy and sorrow. Throughout the book you learn about the interactions and struggles of characters that aren't so different from today's people. The flow was fantastic, always making you want to know more and making the jump between character perspectives really work. The inclusion of 'scythe journals' in between the chapters adds a personable feature and gives an insight into the lives of characters that while they may not be specific to the story, and important to the context and groundwork. Every character that was introduced felt so human and real and makes you wonder what it would be to live in their world. The two main characters felt like they were connected in a deep and important way, yet they also felt so different and so alive that the dual-lead works. From the world to the characters, this book will have you wanting to know more, and wondering about life in an era without true death.

Reviewer's Name: 
Evelyn

Book Review: Swift

Swift
Author: 
Anderson, R. J.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Flight and Flame Trilogy - Here is the legend-like tale of Ivy of the Delve: how a wingless piskey girl (considered least among her people) ends up learning how to fly and eventually becoming the queen of her tribe. It is also a murderer's story of redemption: readers familiar with the character of Martin (introduced in the previous Faery Rebels/No Ordinary Fairy Tale series) will witness a transformation of villain-to-hero.This trilogy is both its own story and a semi-continuation of the first series. Readers will be able to briefly catch up with some of the characters in the previous books, as some of them play important new roles.
In Swift, the first volume, R.J. Anderson expands her world of magical folk even more to include the piskeys of Cornwall: a race of faerylike people who are adamantly against associating with faeries and, especially, their ancient enemies the spriggans. Seventeen-year old Ivy, however, ends up breaking these traditions when she meets a stranger who offers to reunite her with her lost mother. She discovers a world beyond her tiny one that is both beautiful and dangerous, filled with secrets and mysteries, and discovers her people are in grave danger and that she, with help, is the only one who can save them. Swift is a bit darker than the previous series, but it sets the stage for an even more epic adventure in book two - don't miss it!

Reviewer's Name: 
SL

Book Review: The Ruin of Kings

The Ruin of Kings
Author: 
Lyons, Jenn
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons is an amazingly crafted fantasy story following a young boy named Kihrin as he discovers the secrets of a world filled with gods, demons, dragons, and mages. However, Kihrin finds that his past will come back to haunt him, and he must survive with the help of anyone who will accept him. Including, but not limited to, gods, dragons, and deposed kings. The plot twists and amazing scenery make this book amazing. I enjoyed reading it very much, and would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys fantasy novels.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Harrison

Book Review: Dune

Dune
Author: 
Herbert, Frank
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Frank Herbert’s Dune is one of the most iconic science fiction novels of all time. Featuring an imaginative universe filled with strange aliens and even stranger planets, Dune provides a sense of adventure and wonder to every reader. It follows the story of a young noble as the Emperor gives his family control over the planet responsible for generating the most valuable resource in the universe, spice. But this advantageous appointment is not without its risk, and soon rival houses come to try and take control of the planet. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys any kind of science fiction, and it is a must read for every Star Trek and Star Wars nerd out there.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Harrison

Book Review: The Wrong Train

The Wrong Train
Author: 
De Quidt, Jeremy
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

A boy is trying to get home by train, but he ends up on a strange platform with no one around and no idea when the next train is coming so he can get home. A man suddenly appears and sits with the boy, telling him rather strange stories while they wait.

This book is a collection of short stories that revolve around a bigger story. All of the stories are creepy and mysterious. If you are the kind of person who likes to be creeped out just a little, but would still like to sleep at night, this book is for you. I am not a huge horror fan, but I could not put this book down. I found this book in the kids section (the little ghost sticker on the binding intrigued me, so I thought I would give it a try) so this could be the reason I found it more bearable and less creepy than other books of that genre. No matter what grade, if you are looking for a spooky book, you should give The Wrong Train a try (unless you find it not scary at all, in this case I suggest you read it anyway because it's still pretty good.)
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Emma

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

In eighth grade English class, we had to read the Hunger Games, but the third book, Mockingjay. Instead of reading all of this without knowing how it started, I decided to first read the first book first. Now I'm really glad I did. The first book of this series is about a girl, Katniss, who volunteers herself as tribute to attend the Hunger Games instead of her 12 year old sister, Prim. At the age of 16, Katniss struggles to survive the Hunger Games, along with her partner, Peeta, after they announced that they didn't want to kill each other. This book starts at the reaping while ends with Peeta and Katniss stepping out of the train- holding hands for the camera. Why? Read this book to find out.

Reviewer's Name: 
Trisha

Book Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Author: 
Adams, Douglas
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I'll be honest. The main reason I picked up this book was because I kept hearing people talk about how 42 is the meaning of life and I had no idea what they meant. I also read it because I'm generally a big fan of science fiction, but it was mostly to understand the 42 reference. Despite my less-than-admirable intentions, though, I massively enjoyed it. The author is very creative and the writing itself is well-crafted, but, at the same time, the book doesn't take itself too seriously. It's hilarious. From the "42 is the meaning of life" idea that everyone talks about to the name "Slartibartfast," this book made me laugh out loud several times, which isn'ta common occurrence when I'm reading. I also read it as an audiobook, and Stephen Fry as the narrator makes it that much better. My only complaint about it is that the ending was a bit abrupt, but that's what sequels are for, so all in all, I would highly recommend.

Review grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Elanor

Book Review: Of Giants and Ice

Of Giants and Ice
Author: 
Bach, Shelby
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

I adored this series in middle school. Now that I'm older, I'm better able to recognize that it isn't exactly high literature, but it was fun to read. Putting a twist on middle grade and YA fiction's beloved fairy tale retellings, in Of Giants and Ice, main character Rory discovers she's a "character" when she joins Ever After School, which is supposedly an unassuming after-school program but actually a school where characters go on missions and eventually end up in "tales." As the name suggests, tales are when characters become characters in a fairy tale. Rory and her two friends, Chase and Lena, are thrown into a Jack and the Beanstalk tale, but discover there's something waiting for them that's more sinister than just giants. Of Giants and Ice follows a fairly typical middle grade fiction structure, with a "chosen one" middle school protagonist on an adventure with some friends and eventually solving a massive problem that, for some reason, the adults are incapable of handling without the help of kids, but it's an entertaining read with a fun premise. I would recommend for younger readers who are looking for something light and diverting.

Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Elanor

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