Monday, September 28, 2009

Thirst No.1 by Christopher Pike

Thirst No.1 by Christopher Pike is way more than I expected! This book stands out as an original among a genre bursting at the seams with books that seem to retell the same story with different character names.  Thirst No.1 contains the first three books in Pike's "The Last Vampire" series.  This series was around long before the "Twilight" craze started (originally published in the 90's) and is fortunately being rereleased!  The author's writing is seamless and the characters are so well developed that you feel like you know them personally.  The main character, Sita, is so believable.  You can feel her age and wisdom through her words and you can feel her loneliness radiating from the pages.  She has lived since the dawn of history and believes that she is the last of her kind.  She has made her way through thousands of years virtually invisible and plans to keep it that way.  All is well until she is called into a private investigator's office for questioning.  Sita then realizes that someone out there knows about her and could threaten exposing her as a vampire.  As the story unfolds Sita's life and the lives of countless others are placed in jeopardy.  An old enemy presumed dead long ago may have returned.  If that is the case then Sita will go from being the ultimate predator to being the prey.

This story is woven with romance, action, spirituality, violence and redemption.  Sita's journey is not made alone.  The characters she encounters in the present and the characters you meet from her past all help make this book so enjoyable.  I am really looking forward to the last three stories in this series that will be included in "Thirst No.2" due for release in January 2010.  Believe me..... this book is worth your time and money!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Skellig By David Almond

I picked this book up while browsing at my local public library.  I usually only check out YA books, but this came up when I was doing a search on their computer.  It was in the children's section, but I decided to give it a try since it was an award-winner.  I am glad I did!

Skelling by David Almond is a story about a young boy named Michael.  He and his family just moved into a new house that is in a state of major disrepair.  His mother just gave birth to his baby sister prematurely and she is sick and struggling to live.  Michael is trying to come to terms with all of these changes when he makes an amazing discovery.  While snooping around in the family's dilapidated garage he finds a mysterious man covered with dust, cobwebs and filth sitting on the floor wasting away to nothing.  Michael soon realizes that this man isn't really a man, but what is he?   Michael confides his secret to the only one he trusts to believe him,  his eccentric and lovable neighbor Mina.  Together they forge a relationship with this mysterious man, named Skellig,  and discover that there is far more to him than meets the eye.  Skellig has a profound effect on Michael and Mina.  Through their relationship with him they learn about the enormous power of love, the fragility of life and the importance of family.

I found this book very thought provoking and original.  The author's writing was so beautiful and the characters were identifiable to the target adolescent audience.  The book contained a wonderful mixture of humor, adventure and mystery.  The poetry of William Blake was woven perfectly throughout the book which added to its appeal as well.  I loved the vulnerability that Michael showed.  I think it is important to show adolescent boys that it is ok to express your feelings, that it is ok to cry and that it is ok to be who you are.  This would be a wonderful book to read aloud to your children.

1998 Carnegie Medal winner
1998 Whitbread Book Award
1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize
2000 Michael L. Printz Award
2000 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
2002 Young Reader's Choice Award-Intermediate division

Monday, September 21, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

                       ***5 HUGE stars***

I have been anxiously awaiting "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Colllins for so long!  I count "The Hunger Games" as one of my all-time favorite reads and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it's sequel.  This book was definitely worth the wait!  Suzanne Collins has created a world that draws you in completely.  I became totally invested in each character and read the book at a furious pace in order to see the outcome for all of them.  The book has so many plot twists that I didn't see coming!
The book begins shortly after the last Hunger Games ended.  Katniss and Peeta are preparing for their"victory tour" through the districts.  In order to survive the last games, Katniss and Peeta convinced the world that they were in love with one another and challenged the Capitol by forcing them to declare two winners or they would kill themselves and there would be no winner.  The scheme worked and they were both crowned victors.  Unfortunately, forcing the Capitol's hand to do anything has dire consequences!  Katniss realizes how dire these consequences could be in "Catching Fire".  While preparing for her tour she gets an unlikely visitor who informs her of potential rebellion in the districts.  This is said to be a result of her and Peeta's actions in the arena.  She now must convince the world that the love between her and Peeta is real or everything and everyone she loves will suffer.  Katniss had hoped to return to her 'old' life after the games- one that included Gale, her best friend/soulmate, but once again the Capitol is controlling her life.  She is forced to publicly profess her undying love to Peeta and become a pawn in the Capitol's game again.

The journey this book takes you on is intense!  It is a roller coaster of action, anger, manipulation, rebellion, romance, betrayal and suspense.  While reading I felt like I was there in Panem.  The author has created a vivid world and the characters are so well developed that you feel strongly for them.  I loved every page of "Catching Fire" and am once again on pins and needles waiting for the next one!