No, none of us won the contest. I entered, though, and Cassandra Clare* emailed me... to ask whether the Evil Cousins wanted an ARC!
After I finished squee-ing** I said that we most certainly did.
And here it sits, right next to me. Jealous?***
She even signed it for us:
I die of happiness.
*Who is definitely my hero. Right now, anyway. Well, her and Buffy.
** And jumping up and down, and fainting.
*** Insert maniacal laughter here.
Fainting, squee-ing, reading City of Ashes, and yours,
PS A review is, of course, forthcoming.
Holly Black weaves the world of the fey and human with a strange and beautiful ferocity that is unique and wonderful. She combines an unflinchingly honest view of today's world with the magic of the faerie courts. When I began reading Black's "modern faerie tales", I had a bit of trouble getting into them. Make no mistake, they're very well written....I was just so unused to seeing the fey in a (modern) world so harsh. If you--like me--tend to enjoy reading romanticised faerie stories (You know what I'm talking about. Those ones. They usually involve many awesome ball gowns...or are set in Ireland...etc.), give the books a chance. They're well worth it.
I award Valiant four and a half out of five daggers.
The point is: THE GERBILS OF DOOM ARE ATTACKING! RUN FOR YOUR LIIIIIIIIIIFFFFFFEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Just kidding. Heh. I'm hilarious. Anyhow...The point is: there may be some reviews that you have not read, For instance, we did a lovely little review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Boredom-I mean...er...Hallows! But it seems that nobody has read it. Because there aren't any comments. And I know for certain that everybody who has read the book must have some strong opinions.
Scroll Down, young grasshopper...Avery Trelaine
Clio Ford is a 17-year-old girl with a most fabulous tattoo and, she thinks, a most fabulous summer plan. But then Things Go Terribly Wrong. Her mother, an artist (Clio is an artist as well) gets a fellowship for the summer that causes her to move to Kansas. Clio has to give up her summer job at the art store with the Cute Boy and spend the summer with her father on a yacht in Italy. Oh, the horror.
Yacht = good, right? Clio doesn't think so. Bad relationship with father + no Cute Boy + no art store = lots of teen angst. But it's all good fun. And anyway, there's another Cute Boy, and he's much more awesome.
Anyhow, there's an ancient archeological mystery, some jellyfish, and much snarkyness. Read it. Don't let the cover fool you-- it's good.*
Oh and Aiden (that's the Cute Boy-- the one on the boat, I mean, not the one from the art store) is most wonderful. And he has great hair.
I bestow upon this book 3.5 daggers, because it is enjoyable and very entertaining, not to mention well written... but it's fairly frivolous. I mean, it's not a great work of liturature, but who wants to read nothing but great works of literature?** But, I mean, it's good, but it's, er...
Okay. I'll say it.
It's a girly book.
You got a problem with that?
Laughing at headless girls, reading girly books, fearing jellyfish, and yours,
** Okay, so quite a few people, but my point is NOT ME.
The fourth book in the Uglies 'trilogy', Extras, takes place in post-'mind-rain' Japan a couple of years after Tally Youngblood destroyed the Pretties system. Japan, along with the rest of the world, is adapting to the freedom of thought that people had so long been deprived of. New cultural norms have emerged, and Japan's 'reputation economy' is one of these. It ties wealth and fame together at a whole new level, making most everybody want fame more than anything else.
Enter fifteen-year-old Aya Fuse, who's just as desirous of fame as the next person. She's a kicker, and always has Moggle (her hovercam) by her side. She is constantly searching for a great story to kick, one that might take her out of panic-making obscurity. One that might make her famous. But with a face rank of 451,369 (out of a million), there is little chance of that happening. That is, until she stumbles upon the story of a lifetime. But she gets more than she bargained for when she kicks it, and fame ends up being difficult. And, in her case, dangerous.
For an Uglies/Pretties/Specials fan such as myself, it was awesome to return to Westerfeld's creepy future earth. I couldn't help but notice that the reputation economy makes a lot sense. Which is creepy. We're already fame obsessed enough as it is.
Extras is really quite a wonderful book. It was well tied-in with the three preceding books, but has enough new developments so as not to be repetitive. Aya is a great character. She's endearing but imperfect. And sometimes you get really mad at her.
Which means, of course, that Westerfeld has done his job very well.
Dude, Extras is awesome.
And, as many of you probably know (on account of the link from his blog), we saw Scott Westerfeld talk/sign books... it was pretty darn cool, yo. Justine Larbalestier was also there (author of the Magic or Madness trilogy), which was also pretty darn cool, yo.
So... five out of five. Yep.
*Which would possibly work better than our current economy. I mean, it's creepy, but it would totally work.
Hoverboarding, kicking, mag-lev-riding, fame-seeking,
PS Reese: email us! Quick, before the dark lord of all evil finds out!
I finished reading Extras and I adored it. Tally-wa...Tally makes me incredibly happy. I love her super-specialness and "I'm a loner" attitude and her "just accept me or don't - - I don't care" outlook.
I give this wonderful book, the full 5 daggers.
Yep. Proving once and for all that Aislinn is not a boy. Not that there was any doubt in the first place... right?
Isn't it pretty?
There are also other new things, like... individual blogs! Each of the cousins now have their own personal blog, where we will... blog. About bloggy blogging things.
So, dear reader, I command you: click here and here and here.
Bloggingly, picture-admiringly yours,
PS The one on the left is Avery, I'm in the middle, and Twyla is on the right.
I had a hard time understanding why Charlotte was soo in love with her boyfriend, Noah. His character wasn't really developed until the end. Yeah, they had known each other for a long time, (they used to eat play-doh when they were still ignorant little children) but I never read anything that I thought was particularly sweet or gentlemanlike of him. Nothing that would capture my heart, but maybe that's just me.
I had a really hard time getting into the book partly because I expected it to be a really girly, cliquey book. As you probably guessed...I was slightly wrong. This is a book about the desire for indepence and change versus leaving everything you know and care about. I am left with a vision of high-heeled Charlotte in the ice and snow, still stuck on an island off the east coast. I kind of admire the fact that she didn't fall and break herself, then again if she had, it would have been quite hilariously funny.
Overall...I give this book a 2.5 daggers out of 5.
Still typing, reading and yours,
Teen Read Week is... presented by? Sponsored by? Held by? ________ by ALA (The American Library Association). This year's theme is LOL.
No, really. Like the internet abbreviation.
Please excuse me. I have to go curl up in a corner and cry.
But other than the atrocious (in my opinion) theme, Teen Read Week is pretty darn awesome. Teenagers should read more.
Readingly, curling-up-and-cryingly yours,
Note: You can see my further thoughts on lol, and some other stuff, here.
I was actually racing with one of my cousins (of the non-evil sort) to finish the book (I won, of course), so I didn't realise how disappointed I was until I gave it some thought. And there it was, the awful truth: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a creature of deathly boredom.
And OH! The epilogue. Of all the things that could have gone wrong, this was the worst. How could she make everything so...perfect? I shall refrain from saying anything more on the subject, for fear of being hunted down and butchered by a vengeful not-yet-finished reader.
Despite the fact that this Deathly Boredom was so...well, deathly, I feel that I must give it no less than three out of five daggers. Just because I grew up with the series. And the first three books were totally made of awesome.
So, unlike Avery, I am going to assume that everyone reading this had read Harry Potter and the Deathly Boredom, er, that is, Hallows.
SPOILER ALERT!! If you are one of the, like, four people who haven't yet finished, don't read this . . .
I'm going to do this by character, because... because because.
Harry-- Our dear main character was as much of an annoying angst-ridden idiot as always. Only this time, he was an annoying, angst-ridden idiot who was also Jesus. And has anyone else noticed that he's not that good at magic? No, seriously. I mean, who in their right mind would make him head of the auror department? (This is what he goes on to do-- JKR said so.) I was so depressed that he didn't die.
Ron-- Went from being kind of a pathetic loser to being entirely a pathetic loser.
Hermione-- Lost all her awesome. No, really. She went from being all "Get out of my way or I'll turn you into a moose" to "Oh, Ron, you're soooo clever! And also, I'm suddenly not nearly as competent a witch as I used to be!"
Ginny-- If Harry Potter dumped me 'for my safety,' I would most certainly not just sit around and wait for him to come back to me. Then again, I wouldn't date Harry Potter in the first place. Also, JKR tells us that Ginny became a professional Quiddich player, but then left her job when she married Harry. No, Ginny! No! Don't let patriarcial society keep you down! BREAK THE GLASS CEILING!!
Malfoy-- Most certainly did not live up to his potential. He could have been so awesome, but instead, he was just a whiney, incompetent loser. I would also like to take this opportunity to note that if Draco had, in fact, fufilled his potential for awesome, he and Ginny would have made a great couple. (Hey, don't look at me like that. It's true.)
Dumbledore-- The Headmaster was dead, yes. But he was in the book more than any other, except perhaps the sixth. I think JKR simply couldn't fathom writing a Harry Potter book without Dumbledore.
THE DEATHSTICK-- Yes, it's a wand, but it really deserves its own character listing. It had so much personality. And also, it's called the deathstick. And Voldy always said "Deathstick" last, like: "It is mine! The Elder Wand! The Wand Of Destiny! THE DEATHSTICK!!!"*. At which point I always burst into a fit of hysterical laughter (no matter how serious the situation was supposed to be).
*This is not an actual quote from Deathly Hallows. But it's pretty darn close.
Dissapointedly, cynically, thanking-God-it's-over,
Note: We know that this post is seeming to be spreading the HP hate. But really, we love it as much as all you crazy fangirls. Okay, maybe not quite as much. As in, we don't write any Dramione fanfiction. Or any fanfiction, for that matter.
But still. We love Harry Potter. We just hide it really, really well.
Now for my opion of this wonderfulness. Well, I thought it was ok. I wasnt thrilled with it but there were certain parts I liked. It was pretty, ok very predictable. Especially the ending. The very very end, 19 years later, it was waaay to perfect and like *sigh* aw, how sweet. Lets all go to bed and have sweet dreams because everyone lived happily ever after. After all of what Harry went though, wouldn't he have some emotional drawbacks he needed to work on? Or insane fans he had to outrun?
After saying that, I give Deathly Hallows a 3.5 daggers out of 5.
Looking for Alaska is divided into two parts-- before and after-- and the chapters are named accordingly (a month before, two days before, etc). This gives the whole book a sense of inevitability. There is a Bad Thing that is about to happen, and you can see it coming, but there is nothing whatsoever that you can do about it. Of course, there is never anything that you can do to stop something that happens in a book, unless you are the author of the book, or you have magical powers, but Looking for Alaska really drives the point home. The entire first 3/4 of the book is just building up to the Bad Thing, just waiting for it to happen. And then, BAM. Bad Thing. And it hurts your soul, believe me.
Now, look at the picture of the cover. Do you see the shiny round gold thing? Yes? Good. That, dear reader, is a Printz award, which, if you don't know, is a very fancy sort of an award. Looking for Alaska won a Printz (a fact that you may have surmised from the aforementioned shiny round gold thing). Why did it win a Printz, you ask? Silly reader! I say. Because it is good! Now go, go out into the wonderful land of books and read it. I command you!
I award this book 4.5 daggers.*
Depressedly, Bad-Thing-hatingly yours,
*I should probably give it five, but there's too much drinking. Is that a legitimate reason to take away a half a dagger? Eh. Teenage drinking is annoying.
Despite all of the teen drinking and sex and smoking, I absolutely adore this book. It is a beautiful story of love and loss and suffering. And it made me cry. It absolutely ripped my heart out. And one must love a book that can do that.
The inevitability of the Bad Thing really hits you, though.
Hits you hard.
I give it the only set of daggers that I am able: all five.
Hoping for good last words...
Aislinn (That’s the girl’s name. Coincidentally, it is also my name. It’s pronounced Ash-lin, not Ah-is-lin, or Ay-es-lin, or Bill, or however one chooses to butcher it.) catches the eye of a faery named Keenan, who turns out to be something called the Summer King. This makes him an important person (or faerie). He’s also kind of a jerk. Keenan has been searching for a bride for nine centuries (faeries are immortal, if you were wondering) and thinks that Aislinn may be the one. I won’t go into all the details, but, basically, Aislinn is given a choice: become a Summer Girl (one of many simpering idiots who die if they go too far from Keenan), or take a test. Obviously, I’m not talking about a math test. It’s a magical test. You know, like slaying a dragon or pulling a sword out of a stone (though slaying a dragon is more about brute strength and/or battle prowess). If Aislinn passes, she becomes the Summer Queen, Keenan’s bride (also, a curse gets broken and some other stuff happens, but I won’t go into that). If she fails, she becomes the Winter Girl, forced to endure constant cold and bound to serve the Winter Queen (who is evil, of course). And no, I’m not going to tell you what the test is. You’ll have to read the book. It isn’t slaying a dragon, though.
Anyhow, while all this is going on, Aislinn is getting into a romantic entanglement with a boy named Seth. Unlike Keenan, Seth is wonderful. He is also mine—sorry, Avery dear. Seth lives in a train car. And has tattoos. And a snake. Also, he’s hot. And did I mention mine?
Wicked Lovely is Melissa Marr’s first novel, and she had better write more now, because it is most absolutely utterly wonderful fantabulous. It starts out a little slow, with a scene that is supposed to introduce you to the concept of faeries and the fact that Aislinn can see them. But Aislinn’s fear at seeing them seems a bit forced—she’s been seeing them all her life, and you’d figure she’d be used to it. The book recovers quickly, though, and has very few weak moments after that. There were some times when I wanted to scream at the characters because they were making bad decisions and don’t be stupid and ack don’t do that you idiot because can’t you see that other thing? But I’m not sure that this is bad. I scream at characters a lot, see.
I give this book 4.5 daggers out of 5.
Sincerely, book-reviewingly, Seth-kidnappingly, faery-lovingly yours,
Faeries have been a part of my life (self? soul?) since I was very, very young. Because of this, I just happen to have an affinity for books about them. Often, I will be excited about a book on the subject of faeries, only to be monumentally disappointed. Fortunately, however, this was not so with Melissa Marr's 'Wicked Lovely'.
The book, as Aislinn (Nyx, not the main character) stated, began shakily with an awkward "I see fairies" scene. It recovered quickly, plunging the reader into an epic clash between winter and summer, love and obligation, mortal and faery. You know... everything that my daily life would be if it weren't... normal.
One thing that I really loved about this book was its love story. The high ranking fae creature verses the best friend is a common love conflict/scenario, popular among many fantasy writers. The great thing about Wicked Lovely is that Marr took a common theme and made it original and complex. And entirely awesome.
(And actually, Aislinn darling, Seth is not yours. He may not be mine, but if I can not have him, neither can you. So there.)
All in all, Wicked Lovely was, well... lovely.
I pierce the icy heart of the Winter Queen with four and a half daggers.
Fae at heart...
Some who are reading this review probably have already watched the movie, but the book and the movie are two completely separate things. The book had more adventure than the movie and ended better, in my opinion. I will give the movie props for being funnier though.
In the book, I enjoyed the way Neil Gaiman switched points of views throughout the story. I liked reading the witch’s perspective and getting into her thoughts because, personally, I haven’t read many books like that.
I give Stardust 5 daggers out of 5. I felt that all the loose ends from the beginning of the book got tied into perfectly neat bows.
Keep an eye for more reviews.
Well, for once Twyla and I agree on the quality of a book. That's interesting.
Anyhow, I adored Stardust. Neil Gaiman is masterful in his storytelling and the world that he created in this book was simply marvellous. Somehow, he managed to make the entire book heartbreaking within the very last paragraph.
I give the book five daggers (of five) worthy of cutting out the heart of a star.
Read on....Avery Trelaine
Oh my! Total consensus! Whatever shall we do?
I think that this unprecedented event comes on account of the fact that Stardust is indisputably, fantastically amazing. To take a cue from the Uglies trilogy, it is happy-making.
Stardust managed to make me extraordinarily happy and then completely rip my heart out. How, you ask? Do not ask. Read.
Also, I need to see the movie. I'm told that there's a cross-dressing Robert De Niro.
Five of five, but of course.
Happily, sadly, starrily, wonderingly, agreeingly yours,
While out hunting for potential fads, Trendsetter Hunter runs into Jen -- an Innovator. Innovators are the teens who come up with the new fashion trends through their own natural creativity. Hunter introduces Jen to the focus group he works for. The next evening they are supposed to meet Hunter's boss, Mandy, at an abandoned building, but they only find her cell phone and a mysterious cache of the most amazing new type of shoes -- shoes everyone will want. Enter the Jammers. Jammers want to thwart the Big Businesses making money off teen fads. This book made me realize how people are brainwashed by the media to want certain brands. We are made to think a certain way and to think that certain things are cooler or, "more skate" than others.
Like, Hunter, by the end of this book I ended up being all for the Jammers. I give this book 4.5 daggers out of 5. I think that I would have really loved the book if the Jammers were a little bit more powerful because cool is overrated in my eyes.
Don't get me wrong...I love Scott Westerfeld. The Uglies/Pretties/Specials series was absolutely bloody brilliant. That being said, I found myself highly disappointed in SO YESTERDAY. Sure, the book was entertaining...but there wasn't much else to it. Nothing in the book really stirred me. I didn't care if the characters succeeded...hell, I didn't really care if they died. Somehow, neither the story or the main characters captured my imagination or interest in any significant way.
All in all, I felt that somewhere along the line Westerfeld lost the power of the message he was trying to convey. I already knew that we teenagers are brainwashed by the corporations and brand names every single day. No great epiphany was spawned during the reading of this book.
I give this book three daggers of the available five.
Both of Ling’s parents are doctors at a hospital in Wuhan. Everything is peaceful until Ling and her family have to share their house with Comrade Lee, a communist under Chairman Mao. Neighbors start disappearing around them and Ling loses her friend because of her bourgeois background. Her friend tells her that she's afraid of looking like a bourgeois sympathizer.
Compestine’s writing in the book made me laugh out loud, for instance, she wrote, “I secured the first elastic band around my father’s slippery ponytail. Would my singing neighbor feel as happy as I was when she could finally reach the high note? I wished she would get there soon—or sing a different song.” I would give this book 4 ½ daggers out of 5 only because it left me wondering whether Ling and her family ever ended up in San Francisco.
Kayla struggled with her age quite a bit. At only fifteen, she had had to take care of her mother constantly and deal with their frequent moves (the most recent of which was to New Mexico at the beginning of the book) and was very mature for her age. With that idea of her own maturity, she began a relationship with Remy, a musician nine, years her senior. She found herself trapped between adolescence and adulthood as their relationship progressed. Confused by her feelings for him and his for her, she made some big mistakes.
'Not Like You' is an honest, heartfelt, well told story of a teenage girl struggling to find a place for herself in an unsteady new life. Despite being a bit iffy in places, the book was enjoyable and I was entirely satisfied with the ending. I bestow upon this book the rank of three and a half daggers (out of five).
Until next time......Avery Trelaine
I was intrigued by a few excerpts I had heard before I read the book. One thing I didn’t get was why Kayla had a beer with Remy when she saw how her mother got when she drank. I was proud of Kayla at the end of the book for letting go of Remy and realizing that he was too old for her. I ended up enjoying the book so much, I couldn’t put it down. I give this book 4 daggers out of 5.