Looking For Alaska

Looking for Alaska is John Green's first book (his second, An Abundance of Katherines, shall be reviewed forthwith). Looking for Alaska is a rather heartbreaking story. There is, of course, a boy and a girl, but there's also a boarding school and some alcohol and a suitcase labeled "COFFEE TABLE" and many last words. Miles Halter (the boy) goes to boarding school and meets Alaska (the girl) and a bunch of cool stuff happens, none of which I will tell you about, because I'm cruel. Then a Bad Thing happens, also which I will not tell you about.

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...


Wicked Lovely

Wicked Lovely is the story of a girl who can see faeries. Not shiny, happy, sparkly, petal-wearing fairies—scary ones. Thus the spelling: fairy = Tinkerbell, faery = awesome. And of course, by awesome I mean, you know. Frightening.

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...


Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Stardust is the tale of Tristran Thorn’s quest to find the Fallen Star for his love, who promised him anything he desired if he were to achieve the impossible task. Tristran does end up finding the star, but gets more than he bargained for -- he is not the only one searching for it. The evil witch queen is after the heart of the star, for the star is actually a gorgeous young woman and eating her heart will make the witch queen young and powerful again.

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.

--Twyla Lee

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.
Genius, really.

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,

Aislinn Ai