Fantasy

Book Review: From Blood and Ash

From Blood and Ash
Author: 
Armentrout, Jennifer L.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

JLA is always a great storyteller, but in this series, she particularly excels in the world-building aspect. So much detail, such rich storylines, such well-developed characters. It is great for fantasy lovers, but still accessible enough for those not accustomed to reading fantasy. I recommend this book to everyone I talk to!

Reviewer's Name: 
Erin S.

Book Review: Dealing With Dragons

Dealing With Dragons
Author: 
Wrede, Patricia C.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Dealing with Dragons is a novel about a princess named Cimorene. What's unusual about this particular princess is the fact that she is very improper. Unlike most princesses, she actually has a brain. When she learns of plans to wed her off to some cotton brained Knight, she runs away. She runs, not to the Enchanted Forest, not to some abandoned tower, but to a dragon's lair. I enjoy this book because of how well it puts you in the story. Once you start reading, you can't put it down. I recommend this book to anyone reading fairy tales, but not content with how stupid some of the characters are.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ethan

Book Review: School's Out -- Forever

School's Out -- Forever
Author: 
Patterson, James
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

After the amazing complexity of The Angel Experiment, James Patterson’s School’s Out-Forever, is a slightly less-complex sequel in which the teens must navigate the muddy waters of public school while trying to stay out of the grasp of their previous captors. It features one large new addition to the story, an imposter among the group. Who could this imposter be? What is their purpose? There is only one way to find out, read the book. I enjoyed this book less than The Angel Experiment, primarily because it can get confusing at times in its complexity, but I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first book.
Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Harrison
Awards: 

Book Review: The Angel Experiment

The Angel Experiment
Author: 
Patterson, James
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Maximum Ride series by James Patterson is an amazing young-adult science-fiction series which follows the journey of six individuals who were given wings and other bird-like abilities by a genetics experiment. In the first novel, The Angel Experiment, the six have escaped the laboratory where they were held prisoner and are trying to remain free while being hunted by human-wolf hybrids that the experimenters have also sent to hunt them. I enjoyed the complexity of The Angel Experiment and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed movies like Wolverine.
Grade: 11.

Reviewer's Name: 
Harrison

Book Review: The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library
Author: 
Haig, Matt
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Matt Haig's unique novel The Midnight Library ponders the infinite possibilities of life. It is about a young woman named Nora Seed, who lives a monotonous, ordinary life and feels unwanted and unaccomplished. One night, her despair reaches a peak and she commits suicide. But the story doesn't end there--Nora gets a chance to experience various ways her life could've unfolded had she made slightly different choices. She finds herself in a place called the Midnight Library, which exists between life and death and is filled with books in which lie endless parallel lives she might've lived; she is given the chance to undo her regrets by trying out these lives, starting right where her alternate self would've been on the night she ended her life. While in the Midnight Library, Nora lives hundreds of lives and becomes hundreds of different versions of herself--some she'd never even fathomed--but she is faced with a difficult decision. She must decide what she is willing to sacrifice in order to live permanently in one of these 'ideal' lives, where they seem perfect for a time but, as she realizes, there are really new sets of challenges awaiting. Nora's exploration of herself is captivating as she attempts to discern what is really important in life.

This novel is very well-written and thought-provoking. Nora's emotions are deeply portrayed, and I was captivated by the depth of Haig's storytelling. While the concept is simple, it drew me in as a reader and encompassed so many different emotional experiences that come with life. I spent much of The Midnight Library reflecting on my own life and the decisions I've made, as well as looking to the future and imagining the infinite possibilities--this is a sign of a talented author. While I appreciated the depth of this novel, sometimes it took on a repetitive, almost pedantic tone when an important idea was already clear but kept being elaborated on--this was common when life lessons came up. There were also attempts to make Nora's life-jumping seem scientifically possible, with reference to quantum physics, and I didn't think this was necessary, as the focus was on Nora's life and personal growth. Overall, I very much enjoyed The Midnight Library. The character development, setting, and plot are engaging, while also discussing important themes such as mental health.

I would recommend The Midnight Library to teens and adults alike. It's a short, worthwhile read that will get you thinking and have you on the edge of your seat. And it may just awaken you to how much unlocked potential you have!

Reviewer's Name: 
Alexa

Book Review: The Last Kids on Earth

The Last Kids on Earth
Author: 
Brallier, Max
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Jack Sullivan is a teenager that had adopted by many families. Now he is having trouble surviving in a monster apocalypse. His adopted family left him with no regard. When he goes to the CVS to get a repair kit for eyeglasses he comes across a monster named blurb. He needs to contact his friend quint with a broken walky-talky. Eventually, he finds his friends from school. He finds a friendly monster dog named rover. Blarg is tracking jack using his scent of smell. Jack almost dies to save his friends. Jack slays the beast in the end saving his friends.

Reviewer's Name: 
Landon L.

Book Review: Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds
Author: 
Sanderson, Brandon
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I devoured this book (a set of three novellas) in three days and really enjoyed it. Brandon Sanderson is such a creative author, and here's yet another book of his that doesn't fail to impress. It tells the story of Stephen Leeds, who creates hallucinatory "aspects" with certain specialties to help him compartmentalize his knowledge to learn things and master abilities. He uses their help to solve mysteries as a way to give himself a purpose. Stephen's cases were intriguing to follow, and his aspects were really fun characters to get to know and get invested in. Stephen himself felt rather flat at the beginning, but as I read further, I realized that was an intentional decision. Because of his aspects, his personality is contained in all of them, so without them, he's sort of empty. It was awesome to watch him grow in this.

The only reason I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 is because, as a set of novellas, the first two don't relate very much to the third, or to each other. I wish he had found a way to tie the cases into the finale more than he did. Otherwise, a great read, especially for a quiet weekend at home. I would definitely recommend!
Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Elanor

Book Review: The Alchemyst

The Alchemyst
Author: 
Scott, Michael
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Alchemyst is a book following a pair of seemingly ordinary twins, Sophie and Josh. When the truth comes out about their role in the future, Nicholas Flamel races against time to keep them safe. At the same time, Dee, an old enemy of Flamel, is holding his wife captive. This adds extra stress on Flamel, with the already strenuous task of keeping the twins safe. One of the things I enjoy in this book is the magic involved. To create the magic spells and objects, you have to sacrifice something. For example, when Sophie creates some very sudden fog, she sacrifices a lot of calories and most of her self-replenishing aura. This is a good book for anyone looking for magical adventures, and a mystery as old as Earth itself.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ethan

Book Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game
Author: 
Card, Orson Scott
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I've read this book so many times, and I always love it. It tells the story of the child prodigy Ender Wiggin, who starts the book at only six years old. In a dystopian world that's in the midst of a war with the alien Buggers, Ender and other highly gifted children are taken to Battle School to prepare them to fight in the Third Invasion, when Earth plans to invade the Buggers and hopefully beat them once and for all. Ender is smart, creative, and compassionate, while also sometimes being cruel in moments he needs to protect himself. He's such a well-developed and dynamic character, and I can always find myself relating to him, whether it's as a gifted child, as he questions who he is, as he grows up, or as he misses home and the way things used to be. It's easy to feel for him, from outrage at the officers to treating him unfairly to warmth in your heart when he builds relationships despite his forced isolation. He faces the trials of Battle School, but he also faces the trials of childhood and growing up. The book tackles themes of lies, control, isolation, free will, family, childhood, compassion, enemies, and prejudice in ways that are always very well-done. It balances action and shocking twists with character development and philosophy into a narrative that flows beautifully and keeps you engrossed from the first page to the last. Everything about it is exceptional, and I don't think I could ever get tired of it. I would recommend to anyone, any gender, any age, because it is certainly very near the top of the best books I've ever read.
(note: there is a small amount of language)

Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Elanor

Book Review: Unlocked

Unlocked
Author: 
Messenger, Shannon
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

I was honestly kind of disappointed with this book, and it felt like a cash grab to me more than anything. I've been enjoying the Keeper of the Lost Cities series for years and I was looking forward to this release as much as any other, but it was anticlimactic, to say the least. As advertised, the majority of the book isn't actually story, but "exclusive Keeper details" that had me excited at first, but after I read the book, felt more like the author had copy and pasted her world building document. I understand that world building is fun and that she wants to share all these interesting details she's come up with, but most of it was information people already know if they've read the rest of the books, and I'm disappointed she mixed it in with a book in the series, forcing everyone to buy unnecessary content when the only actual series content is a short novella at the end that's hardly able to advance the plot. I wish that, if she wanted to release an extra world building book, she had done it separately from the yearly release so that people can read it if they want, but don't have to. The novella though, that actually continued the series, was great! I loved the alternating point of view between Sophie and Keefe.

Reviewer's Name: 
Elanor

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