Tuesday, June 28, 2011

impromptu book reviews(maximum ride, harry potter, inkheart, the search for wondla)

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Normal People have really cool titles for their book reviews. Well so do I. Because "impromptu" and "review" rhyme. They do! They do!
This review is impromptu because I had no intention of actually reviewing the books at the time I was reading them. Also, I'm not going to be real fancy divvying up the review into different sections with a ratings system and everything. I'll just tell you my lasting impressions of the books at the time.
 http://blog.weber.k12.ut.us/nojhlibrary/files/2011/03/maxride.jpg http://www.bookswim.com/images_books/large/Maximum_Ride_Book_2_Schools_Out__Forever_Maximum_Ride-119352441614785.jpg

 Maximum Ride is a series of young adult science fiction and fantasy novels by American author James Patterson. The series chronicles the lives of six fugitive kids – Max, Fang, Iggy, Gasman, Nudge, and Angel – known collectively as the Flock. Bred in a laboratory called the School, they endured scientific experiments that rendered them 98% human and 2% avian. They spend the first two books running from the scientists who created them while trying to discover their destiny to save the world, etc.
My obsessions take time to grow. Usually, I'm hooked around the third book or so(which is why it takes me a while to develop obsessions, and why I rarely develop obsessions on sagas with only one or two books). 
Let me tell you I have NEVER become enraptured with a book as I was with Maximum Ride. 

One reason it's hard for me to review books I like is because to review a book, I had to keep a separate head at the time I was reading it. 
And it's hard to keep a separate head during these books. The narration style is fantasticly amazingly awesome. I fell in love with Max's steady, sarcastic, witty, hilarious voice. The character development took a while, but it picked up during the second book
. I enjoyed the touching scene in the church. This series also is refreshingly good about keeping things clean with language and so(it starts to falter a bit in School.)
Maximum Ride is a really good example of a story where the story's voice makes the novel. In an interview with a HarperCollins editor, she said that a story could have any plot as long as the narration and characters were strong. It's true, in James Patterson's case.It could a story about vampires, mermaids, supermodels, whatever, I'd be hooked as long as Max was narrating it.

These books are addicting. They latch onto your brain and stay there. Don't read them if you have anything important to do that day.
This series is constantly harped as a video game in book form, and it's true to some degree. At times, taking the readers on a thrill ride seems more important than developing characters and telling a meaningful story. It's the literary equivalent of a big, creamy milkshake. Not particularly deep/meaningful, but it's fun and you look back fondly afterward.

Think The Boxcar Children or The Mysterious Benedict Society with wings, guns, and big explosions.



You probably know what this series is about already.

I read this book(and the Chamber of Secrets) recently. I'm not at obsession stage yet but I probably will be. These books are everything they're cracked up to be, charming and original. The narration is funny,  The world of wizards and Muggles is seamless and exciting, and I can't wait to get The Prisoner of Azkaban next!

The first two at least, are pretty much in the style of a mystery.  And they're pretty suspenseful, twisty and turny, too!

From a Christian perspective-Yes, these books(obviously) have magic and all that in them. So far, they haven't been that dark or scary(I've heard it gets worse though.) If you're interested, I can honestly say that you wouldn't trip up if you read these books. They're moderately suspenseful/scary/dramaful, but so far nothing more than what you can reasonably expect from kid/young adult books.




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 Inkheart follows the adventures of a 12-year-old girl named Meggie Folchart whose life changes dramatically when she discovers that her father, a bookbinder named Mortimer (Mo), has an unusual ability; when he reads aloud, he can bring characters and items from books into the real world. When Meggie was three years old, Mo read a book called Inkheart aloud to her mother. In an instant, Meggie's mother (and two cats) vanished into the Inkworld and three men from the novel (two of whom are murderous villains) entered into the real world. Nine years later, these men have come back into their lives and Meggie's and Mo's lives will never be the same. 

The book design is even more beautiful in person. However, out of the 40+ books I've read this year, Inkheart was definitely my least favorite. I've heard so much good buzz about it(and the movie). "Ahhh! I love Inkheart! I was totally obsessed, ahh." Let's say I was disappointed.

Inkheart was an example of one of those books which have so much potential, but failed to deliver. The narration was okay, but the book had the feeling of taking itself too seriously. I found most of the characters(except for Elinor and Dustfinger) uninteresting, unsympathetic and semi-motivated. There seemed to be new characters every couple chapters.

The real killer was the pace. Inkheart, honestly, could have been half as long and told the same story. It dragged, and dragged, and dragged, up to a pretty anticlimactic ending.

This book had a really good idea and lots of potential. Maybe it's just me...everyone else seemed to like it enough.



Eva Nine had never seen the actual sun before, or walked outdoors. In fact, she had never even seen another living person in all twelve years of her life. That changes when a marauding huntsman destroys her underground home and sends her fleeing for her life. She is desperate to find someone else who is like her, and a single clue gives her hope: a crumbling picture of a girl, a robot, an adult, and the word "WondLa". 

 Don't let the book's length fool you. One look at the large font and the plethora of illustrations inside, and you'll know you're looking at a children's book. Like, for ten-year-olds. 

But this book is surprisingly good. The plot sounds simple enough, but Mr. DiTerlizzi hones an unique science fiction feel that's strangely haunting, in a way. Like Artemis Fowl, you'll never find another children's book like WondLa on the market.

The weird thing about WondLa is that it looks like it should be another cliched children sci/fi fantasy book(and that was what I was expecting) but it isn't. Somehow, the fantasy-world setting is strangely entrancing. The characters feel real. The stark writing feels honest. And the end is strangely touching.

The plot is rather simple, though. Girl wakes up in strange world. Girl schleps around getting acquainted with strange world. Girl looks for something with help of a couple friends. Girl gets chased by Bad Guy. Bad Guy is defeated. Girl finds the something(or does she?).

The End.
 
And for a simple plot, it takes up a lot of pages.  The book has four parts(the illustrations probably take up a lot of room.) It did feel dragged on in some parts. And true to its look, there aren't really any suspenseful parts or parts that latch onto you. Think of it as floating relaxingly down a long lazy river.
 

6 comments:

  1. You're not the only one who didn't like Inkheart--I thought of it as a waste of time. I liked the movie more though.

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  2. I loved the first two Max Ride books, I LOVE LOVE LOVE HP, and I LOVE inkheart!!!!!!!! <3
    I can't believe you didn't like inkheart. I absolutely loved it and it is to this day my favorite fantasy read (besides Narnia and HP.)

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  3. That was a really great post, Amaranthine. Seriously. Having read almost the entire Maximum series (I'm on the very last published one) that was a very accurate summarizing of the series. :D

    I liked the other reviews too. Great work!

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  4. Great post Amaranthine!!!! :D I think I need to read the Maximum Ride series....xD LOL!

    I am planning on reading Inkheart, because my cousin liked it. :P LOL!!

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  5. I liked the story of Inkheart, but I think something got lost in the translation because it never quite clicks, if you know what I mean.

    The Harry Potter books do get darker, but there's a Christian theme that gets more and more clear throughout the series. The books were never intended to instruct in spell casting or anything like that. J. K. Rowling herself doesn't believe in magic, it's just a story. Just so you know. :)

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  6. I liked Inkheart, but I didn't like the sequels, and would not recommend them.

    I totally agree with Migillicutty about Harry Potter!

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Amaranthine <3's you. Thanks for the comment!