Saturday, February 25, 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood

by Kendare Blake

Grade: 4 1/2 stars
Story: Basically an episode of Supernatural with a heavy dose of Buffy. There's a professional monster hunter, with a parent who got killed by one of those said monsters when he was little, who goes about the country investigating strange, gruesome happenings. (In this case, even to Canada! It always bugged me that Sam and Dean of Supernatural never went to Canada. Surely there were monsters there too?) Then, like Buffy, he gathers together a group of young people (of Scoobies--one of whom's a witch and another who's named Will Rosenburg! (these two are not the same person in this case, though)) and has an older British mentor who's a bit stuffy and loves libraries. Also like Buffy, he (spoiler, visit to decode):  snyyf va ybir jvgu bar bs gur zbafgref ur'f zrnag gb xvyy.

Thoughts: Pretty cool. As with the last book, it says something that I'm able to read it during this strange reading slump I'm having. Although considering how much I like Buffy and Supernatural, perhaps it isn't much of a surprise. And as the story outline above shows, there are a lot of similarities. Almost too many, although I suspect most of them (especially the character named Will Rosenburg) were on purpose.

It also got me thinking about Romance again. Romance in books bugs me so often, and I have been trying--with only partial success--to figure out why. The fact that I didn't mind it in this book got me thinking that perhaps I mind less when it's written from a boy's point of view as opposed to a girl's? YA Fantasy from a female perspective often seems to have too much...something. I don't know--I have to think about it more still. However, this book did have several elements that tend to make me mind less, such as the main female sidekick NOT falling for the hero.

Also, cover!!! I think I should grade this one "To Own" (EDIT: Since writing this, I have. EDIT 2: Since writing the last edit, I've changed my grading system.), because I want to own a book with a cover that looks like that, 'cause it's PRETTY.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brain Jack

by Brian Falkner

Grade: 4 stars
Story: Hacking! Daring escapes! Distopian apocalypse! And lots and lots of computers!

Review: I've been on a bit of a reading slump. I'm not sure why. I can hardly read anything right now. But it is not terribly surprising that the one book that I could read at this time was a YA cyber thriller. WITH HACKING!!!

Yeah, so as you might have guessed, I like computers. I study computer science at university, and this kind of book makes me wish I actually studied hard. In that respect, it reminds me of Evil Genius and its sequels, by Catherine Jinks. Except it has the added benefit of an apocalypse-type end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario. In fact, I think if this book has a fault, it's that there are too many good things packed into it. It started out reminding me a lot of Evil Genius, with a young male prodigy with not the highest morals. Then it morphs into an Born Identity-like escape sequence, until finally ending in an almost 1984-ish distopian finish. It was all great stuff. However, personally I would have preferred that it stayed in the first mode. The part where the slightly amoral teenage genius stumps the officials with mega-cool hacking.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

King of Ithaka

by Tracy Barrett

Grade: Unfinished
Read: To page 31 (Chapter 4).

I don't think I was really fair to this book. I didn't give it a chance to prove itself. It started off good enough, but then I read through a bit of the end. I know I shouldn't, but sometimes if I'm worried about a book, I want to make sure reading it won't all be for nothing.

SPOILERS from here on out.

And in this case, I was worried about Odysseus and his marriage to Penelope. I always like Odysseus. Of all the Greek heroes, he was my favourite, I think. And I like marriage. I like marriage that stays together particularly. And in this case, what I read of the end seemed to indicate that Odysseus was rather a jerk, and he left his wife alone on Ithaka to go have adventures, or something.
Anyway, I didn't like it, so I stopped.