Tag Archives: series

YA Book Review- Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore (Graceling Realm series)

This book opens up eight years after Graceling. Bitterblue is Queen of Monsea, busy with trying to lead her kingdom in the wake of her sadistic father’s rule. While she trusts her group of advisers, she is starting to realize that she doesn’t know much about her kingdom or her people at all. This leads to her sneaking out at night and witnessing the deteriorating villages that surround her castle, which her advisers had carefully kept quiet about. Bitterblue slowly starts uncovering secrets and exposing lies, but it all just makes things more confusing: Why is no one in her kingdom taught to read? What is causing everyone around her to act irrational and crazy? How will she discover all of her father’s horrific secrets in time to save her kingdom? The lead characters in Graceling and Fire make appearances to assist the brave Queen, but is the web her father wove too thick and deadly to be undone?

This is considered a sequel to Graceling and definitely worth reading if you loved the other two books in this series. Fantasy enthusiasts will get wrapped up in the kingdom details, and mystery lovers will try desperately to figure things out before Bitterblue does.

bitterblue

YA Book Review- Fire by Kristen Cashore (of the Graceling Realm series)

Imagine a world where there are not only regular animals and humans, but brightly colored monster animals and humans that are vicious and beautiful and can compel you to do anything they want you to do? This is the world where Fire lives, and she is one of these monster humans, with hair all shades of reds and pinks and beauty so stunning that men and woman alike will do unreasonable things, like try to kiss her or kill her on sight. Fire has always hated her abilities, but she is the only monster human left ever since her greedy and scheming father, Cansrel, killed himself. Monster human blood attracts monster animals, and so she is in constant danger of attacks- the only thing that saves her is her ability to manipulate creature’s minds, which is something her father delighted in but she has always felt made her a terrible person. When mysterious attacks by blank-minded men make her home estate an unsafe place, she happily takes the invitation to visit the King’s city, even though it means having a constant steel-minded guard with her and trusting herself to the sullen younger brother of the king, Prince Brigan. The dangers are many and the longer she is away from home the more mysteries present themselves. Can she help a kingdom that is quickly falling apart, a good king who cannot control himself around her, and a damaged prince who seems to be the only one to understand her?

Once again, this author does a wonderful job of world building. This book is part of the Graceling series but is set in a land that knows nothing of the Graceling-filled kingdoms, separated from them by a treacherous mountain range. You do not need to read Graceling in order to understand the story- Fire actually takes place before Graceling and is considered a companion novel. Fantasy lovers, you will not be dissapointed!

Fire

 

YA Book Review- Graceling by Kristen Cashore (of the Graceling Realm series)

In the land where this story is set, there are humans that are Graced with special abilities, and they are clearly marked by having two differently colored eyes. In most kingdoms, the Graced are bound by law to be given to the kings as soon as their Grace shows itself.  Katsa has always known herself to be Graced with the art of fighting, and as the niece of King Randa she was close enough to the crown when this was discovered that she was immediately put to work as one of his thugs. She hated to be used by him in this way, so she started a Council of trustworthy people throughout the kingdoms that secretly work against the ignorant kings and lords. Despite Katsa’s good heart and selflessness, her general distrust only allows a very small circle of people close to her heart. When the Graced prince from a local kingdom comes to her court in order to solve the mystery of his missing Grandfather, Katsa cannot decide whether or not to trust him- especially because he is the first man to ever get under her skin.

If you have ever been a lover of fantasy, you simply MUST pick up this title. The world that the author builds is dazzling and intriguing, and the mysteries that Katsa works to solve will have you guessing until the last pages. This is also a great pick for anyone who likes to read about strong, independent female characters! Once you read this, you will be excited to know that there are two more books set in this world- Fire and Bitterblue.

Graceling

YA Book Review- Rebel Dawn by A.C. Crispin (Han Solo Trilogy Book 3)

This final book of the trilogy packs in all of Han Solo’s life from the minute he joins the huge gambling tournament in Cloud City up until the moment he meets Luke Skywalker in Episode IV: A New Hope.

Han Solo does not believe he is an especially good gambler, but he takes a chance and uses all of his money to play in a giant sabacc tournament. His friend Lando Calrissian is there, and much to Han’s surprise they are the last two in the game when Lando throws his ship, the Millenium Falcon, in to the pot- not a smart move for Lando. After winning a ton of credits and the ship of his dreams, Han is off to the Corporate Sector to spend his fortune and build up his ship. Meanwhile in the galaxy, Han’s old girlfriend Bria is a leader in the Rebel Alliance and is working hard to unite worlds against the evil Emperor. The Hutt’s are also facing a lot of turmoil as one Hutt clan is pitted against another in endless devious schemes, most resulting in grizzly murder. When Bria approaches Han to rally his smuggler friends and help her lead a Rebel attack against the slave world Ylesia that once owned her, the promise of a fortune is something he can’t resist.

One really fun thing about this book, for all of the Star Wars fans out there, is that the very last line nicely sets up the scene where we first meet Han in the movies. A great, thrilling ride, this is definitely worth picking up if you like science fiction of any kind.

rebeldawn

YA Book Review- Scarlet (#2 of the Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

 

Last week’s post was about the first book in this futuristic series featuring famous fairy tale characters. This book, which is due to be published this February, stars none other than Red Riding Hood. Life on her quiet farm in a small French town never seemed out of the ordinary to Scarlet. That is, until her grandmother mysteriously disappears and no one will help Scarlet find her. Throw in a dangerous, surly stranger that goes by the name of Wolf and the reappearance of her once charming but now deranged father and you can quickly see that her life will never be the same. Expect to see the return of some of your favorite characters from the first book, including Cinder herself. I won’t reveal too much here so I don’t give away anything important, but Marissa Meyer sure knows how to write a story.

Once again, this book is great for sci-fi lovers, fantasy enthusiasts, action seekers, and also romance fans.

Scarlet

YA Book Reviews- Son by Lois Lowry

This book is the fourth is the Giver series by Lois Lowry. That said, you do not need to have read any of the previous books to enjoy this emotional dystopian novel (but you should, because they are all very good!).

The story starts in Claire’s community, where she had been assigned the task of Birthmother when she turned 12. Every child in this community is assigned a job at that age, and hers was to bring newchildren in to their world. After a birth gone awry, Claire is re-assigned to the fish hatchery, but thoughts about the baby she gave life to linger in her mind. The community assigns families to each other just like they assign jobs, so Claire would never have known her child, but she finds a way to spend time with him even though it is against the rules. After her small son is taken from the town by another young boy Claire goes on a perilous quest to escape the world she knows and find the only person she has ever loved.

YA Book Review- Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

What would you do, if you were riding the bus to school one day and a hailstorm hit so hard that it literally tore the vehicle to pieces? How would you feel if the storm was so bad that you and all of the students on the bus had to hide out in a superstore until things were safe again? And then, just when you thought things were scary enough, a leak from a nearby chemical weapons plant causes the outside air to make people paranoid, hallucinate, or worse? This is the situation for Dean and all of the other kids who were lucky enough to find shelter at the Greenway just in time. This novel, a first in a series, follows the story of how they survive, try to figure out an escape, and try to figure out who to trust. Pick this up if you like action and horror, or stories set in the strange America of the near future.