Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bartimaus Trilogy: Book 2, The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud

I previously reviewed the novel “the amulet of Samarkand” part one of a series known as the Bartimaeus trilogy. This week I am reviewing book 2 of the trilogy.

“The golem’s eye” takes place 2 years after the end of book one, and a lot has changed. Due to the events that occurred in book one, our protagonist Nathaniel has gone from an unnoticed apprentice to a respected employee of the government. He is given the role to hunt down the resistance. This has led to a new found arrogance in this character, but in my opinion, he does not seem as useless anymore. The second protagonist, the powerful demon Bartimaeus is as sarcastic and cynical as ever.

The first novel was written in alternating perspectives of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus. But a new perspective is added into this novel, that of the girl Kitty, a young member of the resistance.
In this story Nathaniel re-summons Bartimaeus to help him track down a mysterious monster, while kitty along with other members of the resistance wreak havoc.

Book two is just as good as book one, I would recommend it to readers 13 and above, I give it a 4.5/5

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bartimaeus Trilogy: Book 1, The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

After the success of the “Harry Potter” novels, book shelves have been filled with novels about whites and wizards, unfortunately more of them aren’t worth reading. But there are a few that are better than worth reading, some of them are worth reviewing.

The first thing I noticed about this book was its original take on the “wizard genre”. In this alternate reality, witches and wizards are not powerful themselves, there power lies in there ability to summon and command demons of different levels. But there is a catch, if the summoning is done incorrectly or the demon is too powerful for the “summoner” to control, the demon may end up killing the “summoner”.

The second piece of originality I detected was that in this alternate world, society is ran by wizards and witches - they are the upper class. Where as in “Harry Potter” the beings of magic are hidden from the general population.

There are 5 main levels for demons, in order of increasing strength are: imps, foliots, djinni, afrits and marids.

This story follows a 12 year old apprentice named Nathaniel, who secretly summons the notorious djinni Bartimaeus, before he should even be able to summon even an imp. Bartimaeus is sent to steal a mysterious amulet, that’s when the problem starts.

The story switches perspectives between the often immature Nathaniel, and the 5000 year old Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus truly stands out, being powerful, funny, cynical, intelligent and wise. Where as I found Nathaniel to be quite boring, and annoying at times.

Over all, this book is a great page turner. To be honest, I enjoyed this more than the philosopher’s stone, probably because this story is darker and more mature, but maybe, just maybe, it’s because this book is actually better. I recommend this novel to readers 13 and above. I give it a 4.5/5

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Under the Wolf, Under the Dog by Adam Rapp

When I was looking for a new book to read, I came across one with a relatively high review. Despite its strange title, I decided to give it a try. So this time, I’m reviewing “under the wolf, under the dog”

This story starts off in Burnstone Grove, a facility for severely troubled youths. There, the teens are divided into groups. Red grouper (drug addicts), blue grouper (suicidal kids), and grey grouper (none of the above). The story follows a grey grouper named Steve Nugent. He is a highly intelligent sixteen year old who has experiences highly unfortunate events. Steven also tends to make a lot of bad decisions, which doesn’t help.

This is a heart braking story that causes to reader to feel sorry for the protagonist. But I do not believe that this story is depressing or melodramatic, just very serious 90% of the time. Despite its heavy themes, this story also contains just the right amount of light and hopeful moments.

Over all, this is a pretty good story, but in my opinion, this is not the best book of it’s genre. I still found it quite enjoyable and it did keep me up late at night, so I recommend this to readers ages 15 and above. I give this book a 4/5.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I am quite a fan of the author Markus Zusak so this week I’m reviewing “the book thief”. I believe it's one of his best books.

This novel is narrated by “death”, I found that quite interesting. Death is represented as a conscious being, with emotions and morals. In this novel death is not evil but wise and fair. It is very strange to have a narrator that is all knowing and constantly jumps through time, a narrator who knows the ending before the story begins, but I found it quite enjoyable.

Despite the narrator being death the protagonist of this story is a 9 year old girl named Liesel. She is a poor girl growing up with her foster parents in Nazi Germany, this is a story of her growing up and discovery the different aspects of life and books-something she can not resist.

This novel reminded me of “to kill a mockingbird” with the way society is explored though the perspective of maturing children. This story is moving and beautifully written.

One of my favorite things about this novel was how death believed that humans are evil but at the same time capable of great beauty. I would recommend this to anyone 14+ and enjoys reading; I give this novel a 5/5.

Lord of th Flies by William Golding

So, a while back I read a book called GONE, which is part one of a trilogy that I quite enjoy. Recently, I found out that the trilogy was based on a book called Lord of the Flies by William Golding, so I decided to find that book and read it.

Lord of the Flies explores what would happen if everything was run by kids, and the consequences of an adultless world…kind of like a realistic version of the Peter Pan story.

Basically, a group of kids are stranded on an island, they form a community and vote Ralph (the average boy) as chief with Jack (alpha male) as second in command. It soon becomes a battle between instinct and logic when Jack wants everyone to hunt and Ralph tries to get everyone to build and maintain a fire as a distress signal. On top of that, there is also a monster of some sort causing issues on the island.

This book starts off with a bunch of seemingly innocent kids, and I thought the worst problem they could encounter would be someone losing their teddy bear. But then, all of a sudden the story takes a dark turn that would catch a lot of people by surprise (they start hunting animals, then each other).

This is a short read, but it is still a classic. I fairly enjoyed reading this book. I would recommend this to readers 13 and above; I give it a 4/5.