Fantasy

Book Review: The Young Elites

The Young Elites
Author: 
Lu, Marie
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

(Slight Spoiler Alert)
The Young Elites is a book of teens and young adults who are very powerful
(literally). The main character Adelina heard about The Elites when she was
a child but it wasn’t until a major event in her life when she figured she
was apart of them. As a child Adelina’s mother died of the same disease
that killed thousands of adults and gave children markings making them
malfettos and very few elites. Since Adelina’s mother died when she was
very young and Adelina became a malfetto it left her vulnerable of abuse from
her father. Adelina developed a hatred for her father but always stayed loyal
to her sister Violetta. Violetta and Adelina kept each other calm.

One day Adelnia decided to escape from her father’s madness. On her way
Adelina does a crime discovering her abilities. Adelina gets in lots of
trouble with the Inquisition but is able to escape. When Adelina escapes she
joins the Dagger Society a group of young elites. The Dagger Society has a
goal to wipe out the Inquisitors. Within the goal Adelina has some drama
within the group. Adelina is relatable to teens experiencing intensified
versions of how teens feel such as passion, anger, happiness, and much more.

Reviewer's Name: 
Alexia
Awards: 

Book Review: Ember Falls

Ember Falls
Author: 
Smith, S.D.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Being a fan of children’s series like The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as
a lover of rabbits (owning two Flemish giants as pets), I was glad to get
back into the Green Ember series with the second book, Ember Falls.
Obviously, as this series is mainly geared toward children, there were a few
points of the plot of this second book that I either predicted from the start
or could see coming from a mile away. In any case, the world building that
continued with this book was top notch, despite certainly feeling like a
“linking” part of the series.

While The Green Ember could stand on its own and laid the groundwork for the
books that came after it, Ember Falls certainly needs its predecessor to make
sense. It also seems to rely on the next book in the series to reach some
conclusion. This is an issue that often arises in book series. The saga of
the story as a whole (across numerous books) is prioritized over focusing on
a complete plot for each book. Don’t get me wrong: I still want to see
where this series goes; however, it’s a little infuriating when I don’t
have access to the next book in the series yet.

Ember Falls inherits a lot of what I liked and disliked about The Green
Ember. This is likely going to be the case for the series as a whole. The
individual characters are well-rounded and have clear motivations. However,
the fact that they are rabbits seems to be often overlooked. These characters
mostly act like ordinary people and only occasionally use their unique
lagomorph attributes to advance the plot (same goes for the enemies as well).
Other than that, this is certainly a series I’ll be reading to my children
someday.

An adequate progression of the Green Ember series, I give Ember Falls 4.0
stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review - Teen Titans: Raven

Book Cover
Author: 
Garcia, Kami
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

After a car accident that killed her mother, Raven is living with her her new mom (her aunt) and foster sister Max, in New Orleans. In addition to losing her mother in the accident, Raven lost all of her memories. Adding to that, she can hear the thoughts and feelings of those around her. As she tries to remember who she was, Raven is making new friends and learning that what matters is who she is, and who she chooses to be going forward. That is, until her past catches up with her...

I'm not at all familiar with the Teen Titans but know enough to know that Raven's a popular character from that series. And I can see why! In this iteration, she immediately (albeit accidentally) puts mean girls in their place, and stands up for those being bullied, which I like. Memory loss may not be the most original way to begin an origin story, but its certainly an effective way to slowly introduce the audience to the character, and it was used to good effect here. The high school bits were just right - prom, foiled romance, mean girls - Garcia nails those elements. I just wish there had been a bit more to the story. I liked it, but it all felt a bit trite. Its a perfectly good origin story, but there's nothing new here. Just when it starts to get really interesting, it ends. I do hope there is a sequel planned.

For me, the thing that can really make-or-break a graphic novel is art, and the art in this is wonderful. The coloring was just right - its mostly purples, blacks, light blues and beige, and the muted palatte really sets and fit in with the overall tone. When a red character emerges, he really pops. Also, sometimes I find artwork to be confusing (especially in action sequences), but that was not at all the case here. In fact, this would be excellent graphic novel for those who are just starting out with the medium.

TLDR: A run of the mill but nonetheless entertaining origin story that will delight teenagers (and adults) who aren't sick of superheroes.

Overall, this is a really solid graphic novel for teens that I'll probably end up booktalking. 3 stars - it was pretty good!

Thanks to DC Ink and Netgalley for the advance copy which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. Teen Titans: Raven will be released on 02 Jul, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: Carve the Mark

Carve the Mark
Author: 
Roth, Veronica
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Carve the Mark, by Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series, is told in a fantasy/sci-fi world, where the nations of Shotet and Thuvhe co-inhabit one planet, but not without a whole lot of conflict. One of our two main protaganists, Akos Kereseth, is the son of of Thuvhe's oracles, and he has a dark fate: "The third child of the family Kereseth will die in service to the family Noavek." Our other protaganist, Cyra Noavek, is the little sister of Ryzek Noavek, the cruel and sadistic ruler of the Shotet nation, and her currentgift (a kind of superpower) is to cause instant pain to anyone who touches her and be in constant pain due to this currentgift. When the Assembly (the equivalent of an intergalactic government) reveals the fates of all fated Thuvhesit citizens, Akos' family is attacked and his father is killed, and Akos and his brother Eijeh, fated to become the next Thuvhesit oracle after his mother, are kidnapped by Shotet soldiers and transported across the Divide (a field that seperates Thuvhe and Shotet). Ryzek Noavek, using his current gift, tries to obtain Eijeh's gift of prophecy by destroying Eijeh's mind, and Akos is hopelessly unable to rescue him. Meanwhile, Akos is put into the service of Cyra Noavek after Ryzek discovers that his current gift can help relieve Cyra's constant agony. In this complicated situation, Akos begins to fall in love with Cyra, although it is difficult to get past his resentment towards her and her people, and when they are both put in danger of Ryzek's crazy schemes, their relationship is truly put to
the test.

I really, really, really enjoyed this book. The characters are compelling as well as the story, which was a plot unlike anything I had ever read or seen before. The writing was good, although some humor was definitely lacking. The author did a good job of introducing many characters without taking the focus away from the main characters or making the story too confusing. The world-building was thorough, although at some points, it became a bit tangled, causing me to have to go back and reread some previously mentioned details. If I could, I would rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Here's the official summary (I think it's better than what I wrote): "In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift. "Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra's currentgift gives her pain and power--something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother's hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows. "Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual current-gift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive--no matter what the cost. "Then Akos is thrust into Cyra's world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy each other?

"Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth's stunning portrayal of the power of friendship--and love--in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts."

Reviewer's Name: 
Martha

Book Review: Fire

Fire
Author: 
Cashore, Kristin
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In the novel "Fire" by Kristin Cashore we are given the tragic back story of the human-monster Fire. With the history of her cruel dead father Cansrel, Fire is determined to help the royal family restore the Dells to the glory it once was. After a three week journey to the royal palace Fire agrees to stay there to help interrogate transgressors, enemy spies, and any accused of treason. By using her breath taking beautie and control of the mind Fire helps prince Brigan discover very valid secrets and save the Dells.

Reviewer's Name: 
Aida

Book Review: Lumberjanes

Lumberjanes
Author: 
Stevenson, Noelle
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Do you like magical creatures? Do you like actually well-executed pop-culture references? Do you like respectfully handled minority representation? Then the Lumberjanes series is definitely for you! It follows the adventures of five girls at a very unusual summer camp - Ripley, Jo, Mal, Molly, and April. Together, they encounter all manner of magical beasts, artifacts and locations, all while bonding with each other & following their motto of 'Friendship to the MAX!'

The series also has representation to offer, as I previously mentioned. With not only a main-cast lesbian couple, but a trans character,a nonbinary character, and several characters of color, it does well showing the diversity that exists in our world. "But, the art! What do you have to say about the art?" I hear you ask. Well, being a comic, it does have to convey much of its story through images. Through volumes, the art style does shift as different artists draw for Lumberjanes, but it consistently holds in a quality range of 'good' to 'great'. The main artist's style is a little unusual & a bit difficult to get used to, but it'll quickly grow on most readers. Overall, the Lumberjanes series is worth a read, even if it doesn't quite sound like your thing. It's charming and sure to delight pre-teen and teen readers.

Reviewer's Name: 
Olivia F.

Book Review: The City of Ember

The City of Ember
Author: 
DuPrau, Jeanne
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The City of Ember is a fictional book in which the author explains a dystopian society. In this society young people are given their jobs that they must do for the rest of their lives. The city is also falling apart because they are running out of supplies like food and are running out of an energy source. Their "government" system is corrupt making it impossible for change to easily happen. The main characters, Lina and Doon, are determined to find life outside of their enclosed city so they embark on a journey. On this journey they face many struggles but eventually make it out with hopes of a better life.

I would recommend this book. "The City of Ember" is a fun, easy book to read. I read it the first time because I was in battle of the books. I couldn't relate to the characters. It wasn't predictable and it was a good book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Oriana O

Book Review: United As One

United As One
Author: 
Lore, Pittacus
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The final battle is upon the Loric. They have prepared for this their entire lives and the time has finally come. However, will all that they have done be enough to defeat Setrakus Ra. Pittacus Lore has written a thrilling conclusion to this blockbuster series. This action packed adventure is wonderful and a great read. I highly recommend this book to all middle and high school aged readers.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B

Book Review: Scarlet

Scarlet
Author: 
Meyer, Marissa
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

"Scarlet" is the second book of Marissa Meyer's series, "The Lunar Chronicles". We left off with new information on Cinder's true identity and her trapped in jail. With gifts from Dr. Erland Cinder must pull a daring escape from prison, using her wits and new allies to push her towards her next goal.
Meanwhile, Scarlet has been waiting weeks for information on her grandmother's disappearance. When nothing turns up, she is forced to turn to more sketchy sources.
Marissa Meyer expertly weaves the two view points to keep the series moving in the dashing book known as "Scarlet".
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Adia R

Book Review: Talons of Power

Talons of Power
Author: 
Sutherland, Tui
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I am an avid fan of the Wings of Fire series, and Talons of Power is by far my favorite! Individual books in the series have been from another dragons point of view, and this time we get to see the world through the eyes of Turtle the Seawing. As Darkstalker's grip over Pyhrria tightens, Tui gives the most unassuming and fearful character in the group to lead them towards victory. The dragonets will be forced to get creative if they want to stop Darkstalker. Each chapter is full of thrills and plot twists, with an ending I'm sure no one saw coming.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Adia R

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