Wednesday, January 27, 2016

reviews from Saleena 1/27/16

I was so excited to start a new A.S. King....and now that I slogged through it; I am unhappy.  This was just a bit "out there" for me....I love fantasy & SF; I don't love when I can't tell what is reality, what is fantasy and who among the characters is completely off their rocker....and that is definitely the case with this book.  Someone is phoning in bomb threats to the school and the story alternates between several of the students who might have done it; but it also has them having adventures to work through their very real problems.  I can't even explain the entirety of the story, but when a major plot point involves an invisible helicopter, and I STILL can't explain whether it actually happened or if it was all some odd's a problem (at least for me).  Maybe I'm just not smart enough, but I like my stories clearly delineating when I'm in a magical realm, a realistic story or if it's just all a big delusion.

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms was a suggested read; and definitely not something that was on my radar to read.  I wanted to like it; but it came off a little too much "noble savage" style book for my taste.  The main character is raised in Africa and then forced to go to London for "civilizing"...which of course she rebels against.  Unfortunately she is stuck with no money, no friends and few resources in England.  It's kind of a crossover Jungle Book/Tarzan type story but with a female lead character.....and with the same amount of wide-eyed innocence about the "purity of the simple life"....not my cup of tea.

Now THIS book was recommended and I am glad I tried it.  It starts with a Pakistani family who loses everything in a fire.   A few students at the school decide to organize a fundraiser for the family and somehow a famous piece of art is donated and turns the whole thing into a mess.  The Art of Secrets is told in snippets from the various characters, and there is a twist to the ending.  Klise does a great job of keeping the reader guessing as to what will happen next.  I tore through this because I had to know how it would end and I really got invested in the family who is caught up in the mess through no fault of their own.  Definitely, check this out!

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a VERY strange tale indeed.....I finished it and am still not sure what I read.  Ava starts the tale by telling of her strange birth (she was born with wings); she then takes us back through several generations of her family (to, I'm guessing, completely ensure we understand how truly strange her family is)...then jumps back into her life and trials up to a particular crisis point.  I kept reading, hoping I would understand it....but, no....very strange.  I don't think it was bad....just not my cup of tea.....

Now this one, this is my cup of tea.....completely.  Iris is Blue's twin sister....and she died in an accident.  The whole family is grieving but dealing in their own way.  Everything is seen throug Blue's eyes both through story and through her videos that she takes all the time.  As she struggles to figure out things, life continues to happen around her.  I love this quirky, disorganized and messy felt real.  I really connected with Blue but also understood where the other people's points of views were....I love that Farrant fully fleshed out all of the family members, so that it wasn't just "so and so is a bad person"...but "so and so is making bad choices and this is what happens".   I HAVE to read the next book to see where it goes.

So, I finally read Ascendant and am very upset with myself for waiting so long!  Peterfreund did a great job of following up on Rampant and in this book we are seeing what is happening now that people know about unicorns but there still aren't enough girls to help fight them.  Astrid's family and romantic troubles are compounded by her confusion about what exactly here responsibilities are...should she be trying to eradicate the species?  Trying to help protect them (while also keeping them from killing people?)  I really, really loved this book as much as Rampant.  If you haven't read these, you REALLY need to.

Dime is a hard's about a 14-15 year old girl who has been tricked/lead/connived into prostitution....her journey and also the decisions she makes.  As a reader, you don't know what the big problem is; but Dime is trying to find a way to tell the the time you get to the end...your heart is broken.  Frank left the ending very nebulous, so you aren't sure if it was a "she was saved" or a "and thus she ended it" type thing......I'm going to stick to the optimistic ending...because I can't even think about the other (even though I'm still not sure).   An important and heart-wrenching read that will make you look at prostitutes in a whole different light.

Creature of Moonlight is a pure fantasy tale told in a fairy tale style.  It has three parts, and in each part Marni faces a choice and a dilemma.  It is a very "fancy" tale, with lots of flourishes and fairy-tale language.....ominous foreshadowings galore.....but I really enjoyed it.  It was not what I expected, nor did it go where I thought it would, which I love.  I am very happy I read this; though I know it will not be everyone's cup of tea, it will make readers of high fantasy and classic fairy tales very happy.

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