Fiction

Book Review: Origin

Origin
Author: 
Brown, Dan
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

When it comes to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series of books, I have
appreciated his ability to mold art and symbology into a tight and thrilling
narrative. His works have not been without controversy, the main perpetrator,
of course, being The Da Vinci Code . In Origin, Brown leaves the world of
classical art for the modern pieces that are still filled with meaning and
symbology, just not in ways that lend themselves to uncovering ancient
mysteries. While there is plenty of interesting plot points and twists along
the way, Origin seems set to stir the pot of controversy more than tell an
interesting story.

It’s been quite some time since the last Robert Langdon book released, so
this book needed to advance its technology to be able to keep up with the
modern times. If anything, I felt the inclusion of artificial intelligence
down-played why Langdon was even involved at all, since he was mostly the
“answer man” who knew the information to advance the plot. Sure, Langdon
still needed to be there to interact physically with the surroundings, but
all he was tasked with finding was a password to a computer, and that was it.
Even some of the headier symbology that he’d usually bring to the table was
reduced to basic, common knowledge tidbits.

Perhaps the overall story was weak to begin with, because I found the
narrative in Origin to be distracted at best. The focus jumped around a lot,
which I recognize has happened in previous books in the series, but it was
almost like three different stories were being told here, and very rarely did
they intersect with each other. Even the eponymous “origin” wasn’t that
great of a reveal, merely acting as a McGuffin to drive the conflict.

Hardly one of the best of the Robert Langdon series, I give Origin 3.0 stars
out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

16 year old Katniss Everdeen has had to fend for her mom and sister,
Primrose Everdeen ever since her father died in a mining accident when she
was 12. She has had to learn to hunt to keep her family alive with the bow
and arrows that her father made before he died. It is the Reaping, and
Katniss knows she is in danger of being reaped because of her extra names in
the Reaping. After her father died she was forced to sign up for more food so
that she and her family could live and she will pay the price now. It is
Primrose's first reaping now that she is 12, and against all odds she is
reaped. But Katniss volunteers so she won't have to go the the Hunger Games
were a male and female tribute for each of the 12 districts are forced into
an arena to kill each other in tell one lone victor remains. But when it is
time for a boy to be reaped, he has a connection to Katniss' life. His name
is Peeta Mellark a boy who worked in the bakery in District 12. As they get
to know each other and prepare for the games they start working together so
maybe one of them can survive the games.

Reviewer's Name: 
Natalie M.

Book Review: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Part 3, Stardust Crusaders, 01

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Part 3, Stardust Crusaders, 01
Author: 
Araki, Hirohiko
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The continuation of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure brings back old characters with a fresh take and introduces us to new characters that make Jotaro's group feel rounded. It is definitely different, but 100% recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: 
William W.

Book Review: The Glittering Court

The Glittering Court
Author: 
Mead, Richelle
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This is the best book if you like multiple things in books. If you like fashion, adventure, romance, mystery, and royalty, then you'll love this novel that embraces the true nature of finding ones own path and defying the odds of those who doubt you are capable of things that you can already achieve. No matter what this book has a pure essence of perfection.

Reviewer's Name: 
Skyla N.

Book Review: The Last Wolf

The Last Wolf
Author: 
Krasznahorkai, László
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

This bundle of stories is an interesting read. It contains three stories about a writer facing an identity crisis, a hunter gone mad, and a final story about the impact of the hunter’s actions. The way this story is written can be often confusing and difficult to understand for casual readers. I personally didn't like this book, due to the bland, depressing, atmosphere of the setting, and the complexity of the sentences. Often times, it is difficult to tell when the narrator is talking or when he is thinking.
Regardless, I still believe it is a fine read for readers with an advanced vocabulary. Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Kyle Y

Book Review: Monster

Monster
Author: 
Myers, Walter Dean
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book is an interesting and suspenseful novel. It is filled to the brim with moments that will have readers on the edge of their seat. Monster also is written in a unique format, in the form of a movie script written my the protagonist Steve Harmon, who is awaiting trial for a crime he didn’t commit. This story is written with intense figurative language that paints a terrifying image depicting the horrors of prison. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great suspenseful read. Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Kyle Y

Book Review: The Outcasts

The Outcasts
Author: 
Flanagan, John
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Outcasts, is a book written by John Flanagan. I read it and enjoyed it very much. The Outcasts is the first book in the Brotherband Chronicles and begins in a place called Skandia. At the beginning of the book, Hal is not shown much respect. But as his leadership shows more and more, people learn to look up to him. When Hal turns 16, he and his friends go to Brotherband, a place to train to become a man of Skandia. The first two groups of ten are chosen, and Hal and the seven other outcasts are forced to join a group together. From then on, Hal starts to show his true colors to the reader and the other characters in the book.

I would rate this book four out of five because the book was a little slow in the beginning. On the other side, it was an awesome book with a great plot line. I would recommend this book to people who like Percy Jackson.

Reviewer's Name: 
Hayden S

Book Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: 
Matson, Morgan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, written by Morgan Matson, begins with communicating the past of the main character, whose name is Amy Curry. Amy is a girl whose passion is drama. She often played the main role in her school's musicals. This was before something very tragic took place in her life; something she keeps blaming herself for. The past year for Amy has been pretty awful. Her mother decided on a whim to move to Connecticut, forcing Amy to somehow get their car from their home, California, all the way across the country. The biggest problem is that Amy has been terrified to be behind the wheel since the fatal car accident she got in which killed her father.
Also, her twin brother has been a mess since their father's death. He was stoned regularly and went out late to friend's parties. That was before their mother decided, also on a whim, to send him to rehab in North Carolina. Now Amy is forced to be alone in her home in California which is seeming less and less like home as strangers come in with the realtor checking out the house.
Next, Amy's roadtrip gets started, but with an unexpected visitor named Roger, and the tables turn. I think this book is a beautiful display of picking one's life up after tragedy, and rediscovering who you are once dreadful obstacles get in your way. The characters are very round and developed and the book is impossible to put down! I recommend this book to anyone who has recently gone through something traumatic or anyone who is into fresh starts and adventures.

Reviewer's Name: 
Elizabeth P

Book Review: The Iron Trial

The Iron Trial
Author: 
Black, Holly
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

We all believe what we are conditioned to believe. For Callum Hunt that means believing magic is evil and corrupt. When his invitation to the Iron Trial arrives, he vows to please his dad and fail the trial. Instead his plan backfires royally and he is chosen by the best master in the whole magisterium. Against his dads best interests, Call attends the magisterium and discovers maybe magic is not as bad as he thought. That is until disaster strikes the Magesterium.

Any fan of fantasy or adventure will get lost in the world of the Magesterium. The book is full of friendship, trials, and fun twists. In The Iron trial you never know what awaits you around the next corner.

Reviewer's Name: 
Lauren G.

Book Review - Spin the Dawn

Spin the Dawn Cover
Author: 
Lim, Elizabeth
Rating: 
1 star = Yuck!
Review: 

I picked up this book as it was being sold as “Project Runway meets Mulan” which sounded really intriguing, especially to this reader who loves both Project Runway and Mulan. And that description really does fit the first third of the book or so – our main character, Maia, poses as a boy to take her father’s place in a royal tailor competition. However, the potential of this part of the book is really under realized. There was a lot of room for plots within plots and court intrigue, but the whole thing is pretty quickly abandoned so that Maia could go on a quest for three objects with a cute boy who is very much off limits. If you are thinking to yourself, “isn’t that the plotline of like, half of all YA fantasies” then you, dear reader, are correct. With that said, though, I think many teens, especially those new to the genre, will really enjoy it. For me, an interesting and unique premise quickly gave way to a fairly pat YA fantasy. 1 star – I didn’t like it.


Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Children's Knopf Books for Young Readers for the eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. Spin the Dawn is available now.

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

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