Book Review – Lord Sunday by Garth Nix

Title: Lord Sunday

Author: Garth Nix

Format: Hardback

Published: 2010

 

It is hard to believe that after all these years of having started the series and then abandoning it that I am finally here I have finally reached the end of this seven book series. After finishing this book I had to sit on my thoughts and feelings for this final book and the series as a whole because the ending was not what I had expected and even now several days removed I am left without words on how the book ends. My fellow reviewer Sara and I talked a bit about it and all I could do to express my feelings and thoughts was to gesture vaguely with my hands and make a questioning non committal sound.

 

The general flow of the story and the start of it was gripping. As I am reading the book I am on the edge of my seat as each thing happens. The book took the ante and upped it compared to the other books. The book moved between three main characters which was Arthur, Leaf, and Suzy and I did not find myself bored with any of the characters at all. While one chapter would end leaving me clamoring to know what happens next with the character that I was just reading I wasn’t tempted to skip because the person I was being made to read next was boring and everything from every perspective was hinged on the other a lot of times it very much felt that everything was all happening at the same time and it was important not to jump ahead any.

 

There were a lot of great twists and turns and some great characters in the story and I had a lot of fun reading. The story starts off right where the last book ended and Arthur found himself not being himself once more and becoming more than just a human which would have been annoying if it happened for the whole book but it didn’t and then shortly into the story – (spoilers, if you don’t want to know skip to the last paragraph please) Arthur is captured by Lord Sunday and is threatened to be tormented until he relinquishes the keys of the house to him. The torment is that of the Old One’s torment we saw in the first book, where his eyes will be ripped out every 12 hours.

 

With time ticking for Arthrur we find Leaf trying to get help for the sleepers that Friday had taken and in which she is being chased after Sunday’s Dusk to be taken as leverage against Arthur and Suzy is trying to get to a place where she can get help for Arthur as well. The story is complex and you are left thinking the Will is possibly evil something you have felt from near the start. Everything ends up culminating together, for there to be a large battle which was a good read and had a great clip to it – literally my nose was stuck in the book. Then came the end and that is where I was left wanting and maybe a little bit bothered. My normal rule is not the discuss the end of the book by far the end of an entire series but it was so lacking that I really want to discuss it and share, so if you are okay with spoilers but not knowing the absolute end please skip to the last paragraph other wise for those people who jump to the end of the book and read that first plunge forward with me.

 

At the end Arthur frees the last part of the will and takes the last key. There are a few old favorite characters with him like Dr. Scarmandos, Fred, Suzy, and Leaf. When the Will combines the Nothing is practically on top of them and then there is Nothing literally. Everything absolutely everything is gone, the house and all secondary realms are destroyed, all that is left is Arthur in the void but transformed into something more – he is the New Architect. The Will and the Architect design was for everything to be destroyed because the Architect was old and tired and wanted things to end for her and the only way that would work is if everything was destroyed – but it’s okay because Arthur who is not really any longer Arthur but the new Architect can rebuild everything how he wants. He debates what he wants to do and remembers the vague concept of who he was. He can’t bring back the house as it was save for the few people that were near him at the destruction of everything and he can restore the secondary realms as they were which includes the bombed city of his old home. He does this and splits a portion of himself who is the old Arthur and sends him and the recreated Leaf back with the news that Arthur’s mother, who was in the house at the time Nothing hit, is gone forever; so go home and deal with that and believe you are normal when really you aren’t.

 

Then the epilogue gives nothing more than to say the New Architect took on a less spectacular form and looks like a 21 year old Arthur who is talking to Suzy who asks about being older and apparently is, as she is okay with her reflection (no description here) and then Suzy asks if Arthur will remake the house and the few others. The Architect known as Art thinks he might make the house only better and he’s not sure if he’ll remake the others but decides to have some tea and biscuits with Suzy who is to be the new Lady Sunday. Literally the end. I was massively left wanted this epilogue was only 2 pages tops. I know as a young adult/children’s book words and page count are something to keep in mind because of the reader but seriously a sentence more about how Suzy looked wouldn’t have hurt things nor would a page or two more giving a better summary of things, though really what sort of crap is this? Sorry your mom is dead, good luck explaining that to your family who knows nothing of what you’ve been through. Sorry your attempt to save your city as well failed. Go have a ‘normal’ life and I’ll drop the bomb that you are not mortal later when it is more convenient. Of course, those aren’t my only complaints but we went through as much as we did for it just all be sort of erased with some sucky results. Yeah I was in shock at first but now that I’m writing I’m kind of mad!

 

Any way, for those who are joining me after skipping a few previous paragraphs due to spoilers I will state that while I started this review almost shocked and speechless I’ve become rather frustrated with the end and it was vastly lacking based on the journey the rest of the story took you though. I’ve looked into another book series by Garth Nix in the past and did have ideas of picking that series up to read and review but now I almost hesitate. Will he pull the rug out from under me again like he did with Keys to the Kingdom? I don’t know but I do know that I’ll think twice before I jump into more books by him. Over all I think I would give this book a 3 out of 5 pages because of the ending it would have had a solid 4 out of 5 pages if the ending had not been so lacking and enraging.

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Book Review- Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fantastic Rabbit

Title: Alice in the Country of Hearts My Fantastic Rabbit

Author: Quin Rose (scenario by Owl Shinotsuki)

Illustrator: Delico Psyche

Format: Paperback

Published: 2010

 

Okay so I have said in the past the Boris is my favorite person to pair Alice with when it comes to the Alice in the Country of series but I feel that that is quickly changing.  I know from the first books where Alice was not picking a person and just getting to know everyone I loved the interaction with Boris and I still enjoy the interaction with him in the Country of Clover books but the story with Eliot on the Country of Clover was adorable and this one is even cuter.  I absolutely loved this story it was so cute and sweet and innocent in a lot of ways.

 

This story takes place early when Alice is in the Country of Hearts and she meets the Hatter Mafia right off and spends her time there choosing to live with them.  As she gets to know Eliot the time they spend together is cute.  They are both a bit awkward and unsure and just so excited when they get to spend time together.  I also like how when Alice gets lost and cannot get back to Hatter Mansion she keeps wondering and thinking of Eliot and then wondering why she keeps thinking of his first while he takes the time to search for her and try to find where Alice has gone.

 

The story also hold interest as Alice kidnapped and is in a precarious position at the end of this first book in the My Fantastic Rabbit Series.  Seriously Eliot is freaking adorable and though he can be trigger happy and had a dark and shady job in the Hatter Mafia working for Blood Dupree, he is absolutely cute and sweet.  Over all I think this would be a Manga that I would give a 4 out of 5 starts as this is one that I very much want to add to my personal  collection to read again later, which is rare for me with these books I like to read them but I don’t feel like buying them but this one I want to own.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz 3

Title: Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz 3

Author: Quin Rose

Artist: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2010

 

So yes, I am addict,  I absolutely love and enjoy the Alice series that I have lambasted you with in the past, and not that long ago.  I am going to probably lambast you with another sizable collection of reviews for Alice in the Country of books.  As I said I’m an addict and there are a lot of them to get my hands on and really I enjoy them and that is part of what this blog is about.

 

Today, I bring you the next in the Chesire Cat Waltz series.  This one picked up right where the last one left off and sadly I couldn’t remember much of what had happened before so it took me a little bit to remember how the last one left off on a cliff hanger.   Once, I got into the book it got rather interesting.  There weren’t any big interesting action scenes but there was some interesting plot developments and some romantic moments between Boris and Alice that I rather enjoyed.

 

With the plot there is further explanation of why Alice is there in the country of clover and how some of the characters interact and are related to Alice and it was kind of interesting to look at that and get a better feel for the world.  I rather like books that focus on the main plot even if enjoy a bit of the romance here and there too.  Having read some of country of Joker which is over all plot heavy it made a lot of sense and added to the intrigue for me even if these events don’t effect what happens in the Country of  Joker because the book for Clover focus on the concept of Alice picking a particular character to be in love with rather than focusing on plot but it sill gives you an inside look at the world and honestly makes me wish there was an English sub/dub of the video game.

 

Over all I would give this another 3 out of 5 pages as I feel I rate most of my mangas that I read.  But at the same time please note that I would probably give the collection of all these Alice books a 4 out of 5 because I really do enjoy them all as a group and would recommend the series to someone looking for a good manga to read.

Book Review – Red Robin: Collision by Christ Yost, Marcus To, and Ray McCarthy

Title:  Red Robin: Collision

Author/Illustrator: Chris Yost, Marcus To and Ray McCarthy

Format:  Paperback

Publication: 2010

 

After reading Red Robin: The Grail it is no question that I would have to read the continuation of the story.  It was a good story but not as good as the first half.  I admit that this book is where my friend deviates and that is okay even if I love my friend’s reinterpretation of what would happen to Tim.  Still the story was good all the same and I enjoyed it just not as much as The Grail.  I think it threw me off because there was the incorporation of a lot of characters that I was less familiar with and in the middle of the story was an insertion of Bat Girl 8.  It made sense to have that issue of Bat girl as it fit right in with the story but at the same time it wasn’t my cup of tea Bat Girl simply does not hold my attention as well as Tim Drake as Red Robin does.  I also feel with Bat Girl a bit of back story would have helped this issue of Bat Girl come more to life.  These things don’t break the book but they certainly detracted something for me.

 

All the same the art work for this book was amazing and I did still love the story.  I do strongly recommend that if you want to read this book to read The Grail first before picking this one up and maybe even pick up the appropriate bat girl.  Maybe even pick up a few issues of Batman with Tim Drake as Robin as this story called a whole lot more back story than the last one did.  It was still easy enough to follow as  my friend talked about the back stories with me a bit but it was still difficult at times.

 

Despite my issues with this book, I did find there were a few more laughable moments where I was having to curb my laughter as I was in a public setting when reading and for those alone in some respects make the book a worthy read.  I think my favorite moment was  page 120 at the bottom “Holy crap” the expression drawn on Tim’s face was priceless to me.  Though I didn’t find the book to be as good as The Grail I will still give this book a 4 out of 5 page review.

Book Review – Halls of Ivy by Roland Nuñez

Title: Halls of Ivy

Author: Roland Nuñez

Format: Paperback

Written/Published: 2010

Today I am actually reviewing a book that was a request for our blog.  It is the first of many on my list.  Halls of Ivy is New Adult novel that focuses on a series of suicides that have been occurring on a college campus that aren’t quite what they appear to be.  As it turns out these suicides may actually have more nefarious connections than simple suicides something along the lines of murder.  Over all the concept of the book sounds promising but I found the execution to be severely lacking.

 

As a fan of murder mystery and a writer of said genera I have come to have certain expectations of a murder mystery.  What I would qualify as a fantastic mystery is one where I cannot figure out who the murder is as I am reading and when I get to the end I can look back and ask myself how did I miss all these clues that were laid out here, here and here.  That was not the case in Halls of Ivy.  To be honest I wouldn’t call Halls of Ivy to even be a good mystery.  There was no mystery or true investigative style or line that one could follow along and try to puzzle things together along with the protagonist.  It was a presentation of scenes of scenes with no connections between how this one even lead to this next event or what impact certain things had on others.  To be honest book was more set up and less murder mystery.

 

The cause behind the suicides was not even mentioned or indicated until the last third of the book and when the cause was brought up there was no question that it was the cause of the suicides.  It wasn’t enough for a case to be made properly to like say the police or an authority figure but in the world of writing there was no question and the character even was strongly inclined to say this is more than likely the cause – allow me to dig deeper to verify this.  This left no mystery and the book was more set up and filler than an actual mystery.

 

As the blurb says on the back of the book Cheyenne Winters was interviewing 21 students which indicates that it was a large cast list for the story but all the same there were several characters that added no substance to the core story or were just added filler to help make a conclusion easy and convenient.  It felt a little like it was a matter of let’s make our villain a little worse and have them rape someone and by having the villain do that it helps the police realize that there is real danger with this person (despite the fact that there was more than enough that indicated that there was real danger) it wasn’t till it was revealed that they raped a person that they were considered a dangerous threat.

 

Another issue I found myself having with the book was how often it jumped in time and formatting.  The book starts in 3rd person where Cheyenne is facing a committee about the school crisis to 1st person of Cheyene telling her story to a student bio followed by a student interview.  This is all well and good and is an interesting way to present a story yet the execution was severely lacking as there were also instances where after an interview the story would shift to 3rd focusing on the students, before shifting to something else the next chapter.  This was annoying and got confusing especially considering that Cheyenne came to the school late in the school year and interviews were when she was there at the school and the 3rd person narrative focusing on the students jumped to a previous point in the school year such as the first day of the school year and student orientation.  Then there were scenes in the 3rd person narrative that seemed to be present rather than past.  Then as the story progressed the time line seemed to coalesce and become one cohesive thing but all of it was in 3rd person even the parts that were focused on Cheyenne, which was very confusing and frustrating to me.  Additionally, the student bios were not always prevalent to the story and were present throughout the story till page 251 (this is a 272 page book).  I personally feel that a character bio is irrelevant and pointless at this point particularly when the mystery and story is being wrapped up.

 

Lastly, the ending seemed lacking, we never reach a conclusion of the hearing for Cheyenne, we only get what she thinks will be the results of the hearing, and there are several things that happen in the last chapter of the epilogue that have no bearing on the story at all save to potentially set up a second book which is advertised in the back of this first book.  The advertisement for the second book in some ways reveals that Cheyenne’s predictions about her career is wrong but we don’t get the results of the hearing or the purpose really of why Cheyenne is the focus of the hearing either when she was one of many people involved in the school suicide crisis.

 

Overall I feel like the story of the book was poorly executed and there was a lot of fat and filler to be found in the story.  The best thing I can guess with a lot of these extra characters who had little to no bearing on the main story itself is because they are going to potentially play a part in the next book.  Of course this is only a guess on my part and I could be wrong and that these random side characters who did nothing more than take up space and time were just that side characters taking up space and time.  It is hard to say – and to be honest I have no desire to find out – this book was a difficult read for me and it was also difficult to follow along at times.  This is why I’ll give this book a 2 page rating.  It had a good premise and concept, but very poor execution.

Book Review – Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins

Title: Mocking Jay

Author:  Suzanne Collins

Format: Hardback

Written: 2010

Published: 2010

 

It was per the recommendation of my fellow reviewer, Mandi, that I enter into the world of the Hunger Games one last time with the series conclusion, Mocking Jay.  Based on my poor opinion of the second book Catching Fire, I was dragging my feet to read this one.  The was particularly after reading an excerpt of Mocking Jay where ther was more whining and “woe is me” moments.  Yet, I took a deep breath and plunged ahead with the book and found myself surprised once again but this time for the better!

 

Before I continue with the review I would like to put up a quick warning about spoilers and I’m going to be very bad and include a remark on the epilogue.  Generally speaking I try to leave the end a mystery but there are a few issues with it that I will want to address later on in the review.  With that in mind I’ll go ahead and give my rating of the book up at the front and then explain why I gave it such a rating. I give the book a three page rating, because it was decent but not the best.  Now, I admit that I gave Catching Fire a three page rating but that was mercy rating and my being kind to that book so please bear in mind that Mocking Jay was certainly better than Catching Fire but not better than Hunger Games (which also got at three page rating).

 

Now on to the why I my opinion stands as it does.  It did not take long for the pity fest to end as Katniss realizes that she is needed for the rebellion and not exactly because the people of district 13 want it but because it is the right thing to do and she is tired of all the crap that is going on around her and it is time to stand up and fight for what is right and bring an end to the problems that surround her.  This change happens when she agrees to become the Mocking Jay and I begin to see the old Katniss the character that I actually liked and enjoyed reading about in the first book.  I can relate to her once more and I do actually have an interest in pretty much everything that happens in the book from this point on, such to the point that I have trouble putting the book down.

 

As I continued to read I was told that I would wind up hating Katniss and I she would go back to what she was but I never found that moment, I was ready for it but it never happened.   There were times where she started to lose it and burry herself into her problems but they were very short and understandable it was like a quick moment of panic and run and then she had herself back together to keep pushing and fighting and I can’t blame her, particularly when it comes to dealing with the issues with Peeta as he was hijacked and trained to kill her.  Over all the book was interesting and I kept having trouble putting it down.

 

Yet, despite the good of the book and my suspense over my favorite character Peeta, there were issues I had with the book.  The first being the hanging tree song.  It may have been in a previous book I don’t know and it was I’m glad I missed it because it was creepy and in some ways unnecessary I know it was Collins trying to make some moments poetic but it just didn’t work for me even when Katniss tried to justify the concept and lyrics as they played through her head on various occasions.  The other thing I found annoying and pointless was the voting on the Hunger Games to continue with the Capitol children. It made you hate Katniss and Haymitch and I found her approval of the idea a bit surprising considering what all she went through.  Seeing as the games did not happen because Coin was killed ie was a pointless filler that annoyed me more than anything and made zero contributions to the novel.

 

Lastly, there was the epilogue that is going to get a very nice rant for me and for that I apologize.  I’ve heard people complain about the one at the end of Harry Potter, but this one I think takes the cake!  The epilogue is pointless! It ruins the book!  The last chapter ends with a very beautiful line about how there is beauty and hope and shows that Peeta and Katniss are together and in love and in the happily ever after from that point is satisfyingly in love but no there has to be the Epilogue that has to come in and make a mess of things!  We fast forward 20 year and the creepy hanging song makes another appearance and Katniss talks about how Peeta convinced her to have kids and she worries about telling the truth of her dark past and that it still haunts her some even now.  Why? I ask WHY?  Why must we suffer this horrible moment of darkness for no point than to go look they have kids and I struggle with my life but am making do?  I find the idea of ending on life goes on and can be good, Peeta provides that and when he says “You love me. Real or not Real” and the answer is “Real” is a much more lovely and poetic ending.

Book Review – Morpheus Road: The Light by DJ MacHale

Title: Morpheus Road: The Light
Author: DJ MacHale
Format: Paperback
Written: 2010
Published: 2010

As it seems it is my usual, I came to The Light because of the author. I first became familiar with DJ MacHale when I randomly picked up the first book of his fabulous series known as the Pendragon Series. His writing style was something that caught me by surprise, and I fell in love and thus, long ago, when I saw he had a new book series out I picked it up to look at it and was instantly intrigued by the idea of his new character, Marshall Seaver, who is being haunted by a character of his own creation.

After having had a bad experience with with another author who I will review down the road, I was wary to go back and read a book by an author I had read before. I was fortunate that MacHale did not let me down. His story, told in the first person, as his norm, was enchanting and gripping from the start, with characters full of life and quirks that make them vastly unique and very him. Having read the Pendragon series the characters though different were reminiscent of the ones from his first series. Additionally, the setting of Stony Brook was the same and as such the novel even warranted a mention of Mark Diamond a character from the Pendragon series, which brought a smile to my face. Outside of that, the book was fantastic, frightening, and quite gripping. I loved almost every minute of the story. It wasn’t until the end of the book that I finally found myself getting bored, and that was simply because I knew I was at the end and it was a calmer period where most mysteries were figured out and things were starting to wind down.

Yet, before the end things ramped back up for an interesting twist. I think the biggest surprise turn at the end of the book was the epilogue. It continues on in a first person narrative and you are left thinking it is a continuation and reflection until the last lines and you discover that it isn’t what you think it is, and it makes the promise and perspective of the next book interesting and chilling at the same time. As MacHale and his characters put it, things are heading for “Trouble Town.” Over all, I would give the book four out of five pages because I know not everyone is down for reading a creepy supernatural story that will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end.

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