Fantasy

Book Review: Animal Farm

Animal Farm
Author: 
Orwell, George
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Animal Farm by George Orwell is a chilling tale of animals' uprising against humans to form an idyllic society. Without the rule of humans, animals expect equality, prosperity, and utopia. Over the course of this fable, however, the characters slowly devolve into new forms of oppression, greed, and violence against one another. Each chapter is more suspenseful than the last. The book is not entirely scary, but unsettling more than anything else. Orwell writes characters who are worth caring about, and antagonists that are easy to dislike.

Reviewer's Name: 
Lily

Book Review: The Last Present

The Last Present
Author: 
Mass, Wendy
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The book The Last Present follows around a group of teens that know things other people don't and two of them are able to go back in time. I really enjoyed the book and thought everything tied into each other well. While at times it can be a little confusing what is happening or why they do what they do, you end up always getting the answers. The author did a great job of making sure all the details made sense and that all the little details were included. While it is a series I had not read the other books and it made perfect sense. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book that will take you on a ride of twists and turns.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jana

Book Review: It

It
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

"It" is a really good book! Although its over 1000 pages it all of it is really good! "It" is about a group of kids that live in Derry Maine. The main character, Bill, looses his brother to Pennywise the clown who terrorizes the kids of Derry every 27 years. Bill and his friends Richie, Eddie, Beverley, Mike, Ben, and Stanley try to stop Pennywise. The book's cool because it also goes back and forth between the characters when they were kids in the 1950's and when they're adults in the 1980s. Lastly, even though its from Stephen King and is a famous "horror" novel, in my opinion its not very scary. If you like stories about kids going on an adventure, then this book is for you!

Reviewer's Name: 
Emani

Book Review: Predator's Gold

Predator's Gold
Author: 
Reeve, Philip
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Taking place a few years after the events of Mortal Engines , I was aided somewhat in my read-through of Predator’s Gold by the fact that I didn’t have a movie to compare against. While the first book in this series helped set the stage, I felt the real story didn’t start until book two. After all, this series really is about the relationship between Hester and Tom. In Mortal Engines, they had only just met; in Predator’s Gold, we see how far they’ll go for each other, even if most of the story beats are somewhat predictable.

I appreciated how thoroughly real this ridiculous concept of monstrous towns roaming the world and devouring each other seems in this book. This post-apocalyptic setting felt thought-out by adding the main setting of Anchorage and the introduction of a charlatan author who cons everyone around him for his sole benefit. So often, an additional concept is added to the world-building, and I’d think, “That makes sense in this context.” I also appreciated how previous ideas were integrated into this story, showing how nothing is a “throwaway” idea.

Despite the excellent world-building, the root of this story is Hester and Tom’s relationship. While the more “romantic” elements were merely alluded to—as this is a series meant for children, after all—I was slightly annoyed with how stubborn these two characters were. If they’d been together for a few years, you’d think they’d have figured out some of these simple relationship issues before they become lynchpins tied to the survival of entire cities. I also felt the “will of God” was in a lot of the plot developments, as these two characters always seemed to be brought to the right place at the right time so they could continue to be together.

Excellent world-building with so-so character relationships, I give Predator’s Gold 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin M. W.
Awards: 

Book Review: Infernal Devices

Infernal Devices
Author: 
Reeve, Philip
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Wow. OK. Maybe this series isn’t for children as much as I thought it was. Sure, a post-apocalyptic world has many subjects that can be considered dark—death being the main one—but Infernal Devices certainly went all in here and pushed the ugliness of humanity to the forefront of the plot. Of course, one wonders if the POV change to focus on the progeny of the two characters who comprised the first two books is part of why the tone of this book changed so drastically. Sure, there was violence in the previous two books; it just didn’t seem so gratuitous then. Aside from all the killing, which I suppose was meant to signify Hester’s character development, there wasn’t too much new in terms of world-building in this book. I appreciated all the developments in Mortal Engines and Predator’s Gold, but the addition of the African and Middle Eastern cities didn’t expound the “city-eat-city” world that much. Sure, there was more exploration of the Lost Boys concept, but it didn’t necessarily go any deeper than the basic idea presented in Predator’s Gold.

Despite the huge time gap between book two and Infernal Devices, I did find a few things to stand out in this part of the series. First was the epic battle between automatons. I felt the action in this scene, along with the other action scenes in this book, were well-described. Second, I don’t want to give away too much, but the twist ending was a bit of a shock—even if it made complete sense. For a series that usually hits many clichés and tropes of relationships, I was honestly shocked that the author went for this ending. Of course, the ending also leaves things unresolved enough to require another book, so there is that aspect to it which I can understand.

A jump ahead in time and the amount of violence, I give Infernal Devices 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin M. W.

Book Review: Lone Wolf

Cover of the book Lone Wolf
Author: 
Lasky, Katheryn
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This series is one of my favorites. It's about a world where animals preside, and wolves are the main focus. The detail in this is amazing and the interactions are realistic. While there are elements of fantasy, it still feels like the real world. I got lost in this book the first time I read it because of how beautifully she wrote the characters, they just seemed to come alive. If you want a good read about intelligent wolves in a fantasy land, read Wolves of the Beyond. The first book is Lone Wolf.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ethan W.

Book Review: Red Hood

Red Hood
Author: 
Arnold, Elana
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Acclaimed Young Adult author Elana K. Arnold knows there is realism to be found in dark fairy tales and the award-winning author delivers once again, following up her Printz Award-winning Damsel with Red Hood (Feb. 2020), a retelling of the classic fairy tale geared toward older teens. The story centers on Bisou, a girl in a red hooded sweatshirt, who discovers she has inherited the instincts and supernatural strength -- triggered by menstruation during the full moon -- to stop the boys who turn into werewolves at that time from hurting the young women they prey upon. It's a violent and bloody tale enhanced by layered depictions of strong females, positive male allies and a realistic portrayal of teen life. Arnold effectively blends magical realism, dark fantasy elements and modern prose together into a disturbing but ultimately empowering story that celebrates sisterhood that spans generations while shining a light into the dark shadows of rape culture. The story quickly builds to an ending that does not disappoint.

Reviewer's Name: 
Joe P.

Book Review: The Island of Dr. Libris

The Island of Dr. Libris
Author: 
Grabenstein, Chris
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I love this book because of the creativity. The way it blends creative concepts and reality is amazing, in that it feels like something that actually could happen. The detail is pretty good and the characters feel realistic. Overall, this book is a great read, blending creative concepts, excellent detail, and realism into the same book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ethan

Book Review: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl
Author: 
Colfer, Eoin
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Artemis Foul is a thrilling book, bringing fantasy to reality. The
fantasy part of the book is really well done, as the technology for the most
part is realistic. The book follows mainly Artemis Foul, a 12-year-old genius
child, millionaire, and criminal mastermind. To get his family's fortune back
after his father is assumed dead, Artemis Foul dives into legend and comes
across fairies. But these fairies aren't the ones from bedtime stories, they
are dangerous and, when it comes to it, deadly. This book has a story with
many twists and turns. I highly recommend reading this book, it is a
must-read book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Torin

Book Review: Keeper of the Lost Cities

Keeper of the Lost Cities
Author: 
Messenger, Shannon
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

"Keeper of the Lost Cities" by Shannon Messenger was recommended to me and I love it! The plot, characters, and the way it flows all makes the book a 100/100. Twelve year old Sophie Foster is suddenly taken from her world by a boy who explains to her how she is different and claims she can change the world. Leaving the people who raised her was difficult, but after meeting people and gaining new relationships, Sophie realizes that she would do anything to save her friends and family. Along the way, Sophie hopes to find out who and what she really is.

Reviewer's Name: 
Kate S.

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