reference_room


The Reference Room

reviews of published fictional novels


[novel] The Last Werewolf
{Aiba} magic
the_edjucator
The Last Werewolf
By Glen Duncan

Summary

Jake is meeting up with an old friend when he learns that he is the last werewolf on Earth.  Instead of running underground and fleeing the anti-occult group responsible for his species' impending extinction he is looking forward to the Hunt.  After 201 years of life he's ready for it to end.  Despite his surrounding human contacts' insisting he fight he's completely content to lie down... well, like a dog.  Why is he so eager to die and what will it take to get him to find the will to survive?

Review

A lot of buzz surrounded the release of this book and the jacket description was very interesting.  When I started the book it seemed to take forever and had a lot of interesting reminiscing on part of the main character and equally abundant sexual escapades.  I understand that in the States we're prudish compared to our European cousins but is it really so hard to go one chapter without the main character making a reference to their genitals in the crudest form possible?  It also didn't get very interesting until the last third of the book.  It has read to a lot of people like he might try to write a sequel.  I don't see how but he did leave a lot of loose ends to tie up.  Overall, it was okay.  I don't know about recommending it to someone unless I knew they could handle all the gratuitious, plotless sex.

[series] Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
{Jun} on sunday
the_edjucator
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
By James Patterson

Summary

Maximum Ride is the leader of the Flock: a group of six kids who are 98% human and 2% bird.  They may have been born that way or had their DNA horribly twisted up.  They aren't entirely sure.  All they know is that the people who did it are part of the School, a place of terrible tortures where you're treated as a thing and not a human.  The Flock's been on their own for a few years after one of the white coats helped them get out.  Now the School is back and has stolen the youngest of their ranks.  Maximum takes all of two seconds to decide to go after her with the rest of the Fock in tow.  Once they start on their journey they learn their destination is not what they expected.

Review

Kind of a slow start but Patterson's other books have been strong so I kept pushing on.  It didn't take too long for things to pick up and get really interesting.  This is another one of those series I made fun of when I saw them in the store but hopefully I'll be proven wrong!

[series] Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero
{Sho} drifting
the_edjucator
Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero
By Rick Riordan

Summary

Jason wakes up on a school bus next to his girlfriend, Piper, and best friend, Leo, on their way to a field trip.  The only problem is that Jason doesn't remember Piper, Leo, or what he's doing or where he's from.  Once they get to their destination, the three find out they're demigods and are quickly whisked away to Camp Half-Blood.  Now they have to wait while their godly parents claim them all the while trying to help Jason figure out who he is and where his memory went.  Once the gods get involved progress on the memory front slows down but they're also having to keep their eyes out for information on some guy named Percy Jackson, who has been M.I.A.

Review

I was super stoked to get to read this one.  I loved Percy Jackson and so far this new series isn't going to disappoint.  Riordan's been doing a fabulous job with his characters and now blending Greek and Roman mythology together.  Leo is absolutely adorable and Piper is not at all like the rest of her cabinmates.  The second book comes out soon and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

[series] Gone: Gone
{Sho} muse
the_edjucator
Gone: Gone
By Michael Grant

Summary

It was just a regular, boring day in history class when all the adults disappeared.  No big poof, no loud sound just there one second and not the next.  It wasn't just the adults, either.  Anyone fifteen and older is gone leaving those near that age anxious about what'll happen when their birthday arrives.  There are some other pressing concerns, though.  Like the animals.  Suddenly the animals are changing in the more horribly frightening ways imaginable.  It doesn't take long for some of those left behind to figure out they're changing, too.  They're developing powers only imagined in comics and movies.  Powers that defy the laws of physics.  When some kids from the Coates Academy come down into town all the rules that used to exist in Perdido Beach change and someone needs to step up to make things right again.  This is the FAYZ, Fallout Alley Youth Zone and it's every kid for themself.

Review

You thought the Hunger Games was a heavy read?  Gone holds nothing back.  The vocabulary might be at the YA level, but the subject matter is not.  This is really what would happen to kids when they're scared, alone without any adults, and have no idea how to fend for themselves.  Sam Temple is our hero and he is in the unfortunate position of being looked to as a leader simple because he's learned to keep a level head in sticky situations even though he doesn't want the burden of responsibility.  All of the characters fill their roles wonderfully and keep you wringing your hands when they mess up or clapping when they've finally hit people upside the head.  This series has a lot of promise!

[series] Uglies: Uglies
{Sho} drifting
the_edjucator
Uglies: Uglies
By Scott Westerfeld

Summary

Tally is looking forward to her sixteenth birthday.  That's when she becomes Pretty.  Her best friend has already become pretty but a new friend shows her that there might be another option.  She isn't entirely sold on it but when she's asked to turn in her friends she starts to wonder about it.  The more she learns about it the less certain about becoming pretty she is.  Is the threat to never turn prety strong enough for her to betray her friends?

Review

There is a pretty strong message that Westerfeld is sending in this story about being happy with who you are.  Even taking that out the world he's set up for this series is super intriguing.  Each dystopian tries to, very briefly, explain what happened to... well, to us here in the present.  Figuring out what happened to people from before and how vastly different we are is a continuing topic of conversation between characters.  It's nice to see an author attempting to make their world as fully developed as possible.  All that aside, the portrayals of the Pretties and the Uglies were wonderfully done.  I absolutely love these characters.  I wish I had taken the gamble and got the rest of the series so I could get through it all at once.  I'm looking forward to seeing where Tally and crew go.

[series] : Human.4
{Kai} bury me
the_edjucator
: Human.4
by Mike A. Lancaster

Summary

Kyle Straker left behind a series of tapes when played back leave the same message: we're here, please remember us.  What should have been the usual yawnfest of a village talent show becomes something life altering and truly terrifying beyond words.  Everyone is different, technology isn't working the same, and strange symbols come up on computers that somehow still work.  Whatever it was that happened to everyone else Kyle and three others are left behind to figure out on their own.

Review

Another one of those 'interesting cover, why not check it out?' books I picked up this one turned out to be a good find.  I wasn't sure what to expect from this book because frankly, it is incredibly short compared to the other books I read.  I enjoyed it immensely.  There was a lot more that he could have explored with the idea he presented in the book but for whatever reason he contained it to what he did.  However, I checked around and found the author's website where he stated he's been given a go head for a sequel.  That's why I don't really know what to call this series just yet but I'll fix that once I find out.

[series] Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25
{Kai} bury me
the_edjucator
Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25
By Richard Paul Evans

Summary

Michael Vey is just your average, picked on kid except that he has a very interesting power dealing with electricity.  When his best friend Ostin and their classmate Taylor figure out this secret the three learn that there are other kids with electric powers.  Michael is forced to take action when his mother is kidnapped right in front of him.  Now he has to figure out where she is, who took her, and what it is they want with him... or his powers.

Review

I've read that this book is gaining a lot of buzz but I didn't even know about it until I went to my neighborhood Target and plucked it off the bookshelf.  The synopsis sounded pretty interesting and yeah, it was.  It's always nice when an author has thoroughly planned out their series and you've actually bothered to look that fact up so you're expecting half the book to be character set up.  I'd bet if you picked it up without knowing that you'd get frustrated with the build.  Anyway, Michael is an awesome protaganist and it was really fun having a hero with Tourette's.  The kid's awesome, Ostin is the nerdiest nerd that ever nerd, and Taylor is super sweet.  This series has a lot of promise.  I'll be following it!

[series] Hush, Hush: Hush, Hush
{Koki} you crazy
the_edjucator

Hush, Hush: Hush, Hush
By Becca Fitzpatrick

Summary

Nora is warned to stay away from Patch.  He's too dangerous.  When they're assigned to be Biology partners she does her best to steer clear but can't deny there is something incredibly alluring about him.  Shortly after their meeting, a series of events leave her shaken and doubting the people she knows and trusts.  How can she figure out who to trust when everyone seems to want her dead?

Review

Lame summary is lame but so is this book.  I have wanted to read it for a while because the covers for this series are very interesting.  Guh.  Guh, guh, guh, and guh.  This is so obviously a Twilight rip-off that tries to... I guess drag out the bad boy vibe in the main male character.  Nora is a stupid, please read - STUPID main character.  She says the cliched "I'm not afraid of you" and turns around and runs away two paragraphs later?  I smell a Mary Sue.  Then the side characters, I'm annoyed with her best friend and the way she acts with her best friend and somehow they're best friends with "an invisible string" connecting them but I don't see their chemistry.  I don't see her chemistry with the male character.  I don't see her chemistry with anyone.  She doesn't even have chemistry with her own inner voice and constantly flips back and forth.  Maybe the rest is better but I'm not about to find out and can't wait until my trip to the used bookstore to sell this thing back.



[series] Matched Trilogy: Matched
{Jun} on sunday
the_edjucator
Matched Trilogy: Matched
By Ally Condie

Summary

The Society tells us what to wear, what to do, how to play, and when to move.  It is necessary for an orderly society.  They also tell us who we will be matched with.  When Cassia turns seventeen it happens to fall on the same day at the Match Banquet.  It is an important day for her and she can't wait to see her match, who turns out to be her life long friend Xander.  Things couldn't be more perfect.  But when she goes to view his information, someone else's face appears just before the screen goes blank.  Now she has questions.  The more the Society tries to put her at ease the more she questions everything.

Review

The book kind of smacked of something like Delirium by Lauren Oliver, which was okay but not the greatest, but I was interested enough to see how this could be handled differently.  I liked Matched infinitely better even though it still isn't the best thing out there.  I like how the characters still feel their own feelings, how Cassia is nervous and asks questions, and I love the supporting cast.  Godforbid it ever gets made into a movie because I know it'll get a lot of eye rolls, but if you're looking for something dystopian with a little lighter edge to it then Matched is a good pick.  Let's be honest, no society is ever perfect and no person can ever truly be controlled - that's what I like about this book.  Not all the characters, even the so called "perfect" ones the publishers allude to, are 100% faithful to the cause.  Nice.

[series] The Wolves of Mercy Falls: Shiver
{Sho} muse
the_edjucator
The Wolves of Mercy Falls: Shiver
By Maggie Stiefvater

Summary

Ever since her first encounter with them when she was a girl, Grace has been watching the wolves in the forest behind her home.  Every winter they're there and one in particular has always stood out with its haunting yellow eyes.  They have a strong connection she can't explain to anyone else.  One day she encounters a boy, Sam, and shortly afterwards it becomes obvious he isn't like other boys.  Now a student at her school is dead but his body goes missing and worse yet his sister is starting to follow her and one of her friends is becoming distant.  What is the secret of the wolves?

Review

The book could have used about 100 less pages and Grace is a little... flat as a main character, but the story is still intriguing.  The book is definitely worth a second-hand purchase.  Once you get through the character set-ups the plot starts picking up pace and I'm looking forward to trying out the next volume though it isn't something I need to rush out and do right away.

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