Monday, January 31, 2011

Dreamfever [Moning]

Book: Dreamfever [Fever Series Book 4]
Author: Karen Marie Moning

Review: In anticipation of Shadowfever (the final book in Moning's popular Fever series) I decided to reread book 4 to psyche myself up. I devoured this book like a piece of pumpkin pie. For those of you who don't know me, that means I read it quickly and enjoyed every ounce of it. Even though there was limited development in the relationship between Mac and Barrons, I loved how he "rehabilitated her" in the beginning of novel. The cliffhanger at the end was just as exciting this time around, and I was beyond thrilled that I could immediately start the final book to find out **spoiler alert** who Mac stabbed in the mirrors.

Grade: A-

Last Sacrifice [Mead]

Book: Last Sacrifice [Vampire Academy Book 6]
Author: Richelle Mead

In the final book of the Vampire Academy series, Rose Hathaway finds herself awaiting trial for murdering the queen. Determined to clear her name, her friends break her out of prison and exile her to a small town so they can solve the murder and keep Rose safe. However, anyone who knows Rose knows she won't be able to sit back and wait. Traveling with alchemist Sydney and her ex Dimitri, they embark on a mission to find Lissa's illegitimate sibling and solve the murder mystery.

I enjoyed this book (the murderer was someone I didn't suspect), but this series changed from 'wow I love it!' to 'I really like it' after the previous book. When I finished the previous book I was surprised that one of my favorite heroines, who had been strong and confident was reduced to a selfish, whiny, annoying main character who I wanted to slap in the face. Rose was written better in this book but she was still so selfish it surprised me anyone was her friend and that she had 2 guys vying for her affection. Speaking of men, there was a love triangle that was resolved. I freely admit I've never been a Dimitri fan-I never felt a spark between them nor particularly cared for him but it was obvious they would end up together. They traveled together for most of the book and he is just a BORING character. I thought Rose was overly harsh during the breakup scene with Adrian considering she cheated on him. Hey-I realize she wasn't in love and essentially used him their entire relationship but he was a good guy and her selfishness and immaturity just irked me.

Overall-I still really enjoyed this book-I love Sydney and look forward to reading the spin off series she will be part of. I thought the sections with Lissa were also very entertaining. Rose, although selfish and immature was still funny at times. It was a good conclusion to the series and a quick, fun, read.


Mockingjay [Collins]

Book: Mockingjay [The Hunger Games Book 3]
Author: Suzanne Collins

Review: **This review contains spoilers.**

She defied the Capital in 'The Hunger Games' by saving Peeta in the arena. In 'Catching Fire' she inadvertently incited a revolution instead of stopping it. After breaking out of the arena during the 75th anniversary of 'The Hunger Games', Katniss and a few other competitors are rescued and become part of the rebellion. With the third and final installment, Katniss must decide if she will become the face or 'Mockingjay' of the revolt, while she struggles with the knowledge that Peeta has been kidnapped by the Capital and she is being used as a pawn by many powerful parties. Will she be manipulated? Will she see her potential and rise to the occasion?

While still an engaging heroine, Katniss did not mature as much as I hoped in this book. I kept hoping she would realize her power and rise up-and while she did (kind of..) I was hoping for more. Many chapters are devoted to a mission against the evil President but she never ends up killing him. Collins also introduced many new characters that seemed interchangeable and were killed off anyway. I surprisingly found myself skimming some sections (I did not skim at all in the first 2 books). Overall, I enjoyed this book although I'm conflicted about the ending. There is a love triangle of sorts throughout the series (it is very obvious who Katniss will end up with)-this was resolved to my satisfaction. However, she ends up almost banished to District 12 and seems content with this. Unless she is suffering from PTSD, it didn't seem that realistic.

Overall-I highly recommend this series.

Grade: B+

Catching Fire [Collins]

Book: Catching Fire [Hunger Games Book 2]
Author: Suzanne Collins

Review: **Although I'll try to be general, this review contains spoilers. If you haven't read 'The Hunger Games' and plan to, DO NOT READ any further. It is impossible to discuss this book at all without giving away the ending of book 1.**

Still reading? Okay, here it goes.

After Katniss outsmarts the Head Gamemaster in 'The Hunger Games', she and Peeta return home to District 12. But life for Katniss is not sunshine and roses. The President of Panem holds Katniss responsible for the political unrest throughout the districts and threatens her loved ones unless she can subdue the uprisings during her 'victory tour.' Things only go further downhill when the 75th anniversary "celebration" of the Hunger Games is revealed and Katniss finds her life, as well as Peeta's in jeopardy once again.

Like book 1, 'Catching Fire' is fast paced and emotionally sucks the reader in. Collins successfully introduced new characters and created a finale I did not see coming. An excellent followup and my favorite book of the series.

Grade: A-

The Hunger Games [Collins]

Book: The Hunger Games [The Hunger Games Trilogy Book 1]
Author: Suzanne Collins

Review: It's the future. North America is now Panem, which is comprised of a capital city and 12 outlying districts. The wealthy Capital controls the districts through isolation, propaganda and poverty. Each year, the districts "nominate" a male and female between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the 'The Hunger Games.' While the contestants are treated like stars (they each have stylists and coaches) they are fighting for their lives. For the 'Hunger Games' are a televised fight to the death. The "winner" becomes a celebrity of sorts throughout Panem and their district receives extra food and money for a year.

When 16-year old Katniss Everdeen hears her little sister's name called to be a contestant in the Games, she steps up and takes her place. Peeta, a classmate who once saved her life by giving her food when her family was starving, is also called into the games. What follows is a captivating book that made me laugh, cry and hunger for the next two books.

*Note: this is not a "happy" uplifting type of book and therefore is not for everyone. This is marketed as a young adult book in the US so although there is violence, it is not overly graphic. There is no bad language.

Review: Grade: A-

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [Larsson]

Book: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson

Review: "Christine. You are going to LOVE this book. It is so good. I can't put it down!" I can't tell you how many people have told me that over the last year. So imagine my surprise when I started this book and it was all I could do not to fall asleep reading it. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" (or 'Men Who Hate Women' in its native tongue) has two primary story lines, both involving a financial journalist, Mikael. It starts with Mikael being sued for libel against a billionaire and being sentenced to a few months in prison as well as a hefty fine. He is then offered a job by an old man to research a cold case. The man's grand-niece has been missing for 40 years and he believes someone in his family killed her. He entices Mikael to move to his small town for a year and research the case. Mikael cannot refuse when the man, Henrik, offers him a lot of money. The title references a researcher, Lisbeth, who eventually joins Mikael in his research.

This book had a lot of promise. From what I've read, the author planned a series of 10 books but died after delivering 3 manuscripts to his publisher. It is very obvious this book was not edited. Multiple pages are spent introducing characters that aren't necessary to the story (there are only a few members of Henrik's family integral to the story yet closer to 15 are introduced). My biggest complaints are that the book moved so slow, was extremely repetitive and details were included that had little to zero impact on the overall story. Case in point, we were told every time Mikael ate a sandwich. I cannot tell you how many sandwiches he ate...but you could start a drinking game with all the references. Larrson described every room down to the foot and he seemed very interested describing computers in extreme detail. The book did finally pick up about 3/4 in. However, when the cold case is solved, another 100+ pages devoted to the billionaire that sued Mikael. It should have ended when the cold case was solved.

Overall-I didn't hate this book or love it. Like I said above, with editing it could have been really good. I'm not invested enough in Mikael (I didn't mention he is a ladies man who sleeps with almost every female character in the story) or Lisbeth (a punk hacker who is a ward of the state, which is not explained but I"m guessing is addressed in the next books) to read the next 2 books which are published, although I'm told book 2 is much better. We'll see-maybe I'll read it eventually.

Grade: C+