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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The United States of YA

 Now, this map is pretty amazing.  Each book is placed in a state according to its setting.  Looking at it, I can say my favorites are Michigan, South Carolina, California, and Alabama.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review: Caught in a Moment by Martin Dukes

Title: Caught in a Moment

Author: Martin Dukes

Publisher: Self-published

Publication date: February, 2012

Softcover: 264 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first in a series.

How I got this book: Galley from the author

Why I chose this book:
I really liked the synopsis of the book, especially the originality that came with it, and was excited to see what it was all about.

Synopsis:

Whilst all the world stands still, Alex Trueman wanders alone in the silent streets of the city. All around are the motionless figures of his fellow citizens, caught in a moment, solid as marble. “He’s a Daydreamer,” states his school report and no one who knows Alex would disagree. But this mental state, this condition of temporary disassociation from reality is one that Alex has immersed himself in once too many times. He has daydreamed himself unwittingly into the strange world of Intersticia, a world outside of ordinary time that exists in the slender intervals between instants. At first it seems that he alone is free to wander these hushed streets with their motionless cars and people. But he is not alone. Alex soon discovers that he shares this world with others and that he has a rare power with the potential to change future, past and present.

Review:

I really love Dukes’ writing style.  It was eloquent, it flowed well, and it really brought me into the story and made me want to keep reading.  It was almost lyrical in a way, which I think adds really well to the concept of the protagonist being a Daydreamer.  It also helped the story move very fast, wanting me to keep reading to the end.

I will have to say I was a little disappointed with the characters.  I think I just wanted a little more from them, something that made them ultimately human to me and make me believe it is entirely possible to run into them randomly on the streets some day.  They’re close to being there, but not quite.  I really think this could have made the book considerably more outstanding.

It’s always challenging writing about different worlds.  You’re shooting completely in the dark, having nothing to work with except a few stray details from Earth. So you’re left with this other world that may or may not be believable.  I think the way Dukes’ created this other world, Intersticia, was perfect.  I could imagine it very well, and it didn’t sound hoaxy to me or make me want to stop reading.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book!

 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars

Author: Diana Peterfreund

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Publication Date: June, 2012

Hardcover: 416 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand alone (Though, there is an ebook prequel, Among the Nameless Stars.)

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: I’ve read some other novels by Diana Peterfreund, and I’m impressed by her writing style, though her choice of endings hasn’t always placated me.  I decided to take a gamble and check out this novel, hoping for it to be a little more satisfying. 

Synopsis:

It’s been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology. 

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go. 

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Review:

The book started out a little slowly.  I’m assuming this is because it begins with a back-and-forth letter format, which is a little hard to get into when I have no background on the characters and can’t really connect with them.  After getting past that – and the first narrative chapters – the story started to pick up pace and was much easier to get into. 

So the gist of the plot seemed pretty simple at first.  You have Elliot, a girl that comes from a family of wealth and nobility, and Kai, a boy that comes from a class that is almost at the lowest of the low.  Low and behold, they fall in love.  Shocker. 

But the story starts to get much more complex as Kai has left and made something of himself, and Elliot is left to defend for the workers on her fathers estate.  It’s all tied into this tradition that was brought force by this long-ago event called the Reduction.  Simple put: people tried to act as God, and they were punished for it.  The ones that hadn’t tried to become superior thus became the superior ones from their ability to not want to progress in society.  At all.  This relegated them back to the times of horses pulling carts and candle lamps. 

However…Kai comes back into Elliot’s life, and Elliot’s father tries to hurt the workers that Elliot cares for, all to show his superior control.  He seems to have a major complex.

This book was interesting, to say the least.  It had lots of potential, but I don’t think it lived up to most of it.  It had some redeeming qualities, and was worth the read-through.  However, if there were to ever come along another book in the series, I don’t think I’d pick it up.

Overall: Okay book, but nothing spectacular.

The prequel, Among the Nameless Stars: http://www.amazon.com/Among-Nameless-Stars-Darkness-ebook/dp/B008LCP77A/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1352522755&sr=1-2&keywords=for+darkness+shows+the+stars