Friday, October 29, 2010

The Sea of Trolls

By Nancy Farmer

The Sea of Trolls
Start Date: 7 October 2010
End Date: 9 October 2010

This book was even better than I remembered. There was more history incorporated, and way more mythology that I had thought. What’s more, the story in itself was great, with memorable characters, a great plot, and striking scenes. Nancy Farmer expertly crafts layers of story that are peeled back after multiple readings.

I’m actually not going to write a summary of what happens, because I could never do it justice, but I will just say that it’s a great book that I highly recommend.

The Land of the Silver Apples
Start Date: 10 October 2010
End Date: 12 October 2010

The Islands of the Blessed
Start Date: 12 October 2010
End Date: 15 October 2010

Also, the costume is done! The “research” didn’t help that much, but it was great to reread the books.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

By Michael Scott

The Alchemyst
Start Date: 15 October 2010
End Date: 16 October 2010

The Magician
Start Date: 16 October 2010
End Date: 17 October 2010

The Sorceress
Start Date: 18 October 2010
End Date: 24 October 2010

The Necromancer
On my to-read list.

I read The Alchemyst for the first time several years ago. At that time, I was not impressed by the characters, the plot, and many other aspects of the story. However, when I recently received the first three books of this series as a gift, I decided to try it again. It still think it’s not fantastically written, but I enjoyed it and I thought each sequel made the story more complex and more interesting. Many people have bought these books because it involves Nicholas Flamel, a character mentioned in Harry Potter. However, Rowling did not make up Flamel specifically for Harry Potter. The Flamel in both Harry Potter and The Alchemyst is based on a real, historical person who lived in Paris in the 1300s and was rumored to have found the secret to eternal life. Scott also incorporates a host of other characters adapted from other sources, such as John Dee, William Shakespeare, Niccolo Machiavelli, Hekate, Gilgamesh, and many others. Overall, I would say that the first book is okay, but not great, and the second and third really pick up the pace and make the series a lot more interesting.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Book Swap, Part II

I thought I should post a picture of the great books I got at the Book Swap.

Bright Shadow, by Avi
I have no idea what it's about, but Avi is reliably good.

Science Fair, by Dave Barry and Ridely Pearson
I was so excited when I saw this book because Barry and Pearson also co-wrote the Peter and the Starcatchers series, which I loved. Science Fair seems like it will have a bit of a weaker plot, but these guys are great writers, and it's sure to be very funny.

Morning Girl, by Michael Dorris
Definitely below my reading level, but I remember really loving it, so I thought, why not?

A Girl Named Disaster, by Nancy Farmer
I love Nancy Farmer. She writes so well on such a variety of subjects. Also, A Girl Named Disaster is a Newbery Honor Book, so it must be good.

Tracker, by Gary Paulsen
I've never read any Gary Paulsen, but Hatchet has been on my shelf for as long as I can remember. I intend to start reading his books ASAP.

Fablehaven (Books 1-3), by Brandon Mull

Agatha Christie: Five Complete Novels, by Agatha Christie
Never read any Agatha Christie before, but a friend who gives me great book recommendations told me to try it out.

So anyway, those are the books I got at the wonderful MS Book Swap. Thank you again, great librarians. It was fantastic.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hurray for Book Swaps!

My school library just recently organized a Middle School book swap. Even though I’m not in MS, I got permission from the librarians to come after school and pick out books that people hadn’t chosen. Let me say this – it was awesome. There were tables full of books not chosen, and SO MANY great books that I wanted to pick. They were mostly MS-level (obviously) but there were some great books (e.g. The Giver, by Lois Lowry, A bunch of Avi books, some Nancy Farmer, a giant volume of Agatha Christie…. I could go on and on). I ended up picking out about ten that I’m very excited to read, but they’ll have to wait until after the giant stack has been reduced quite a bit. Since I took a break to read the Sea of Trolls trilogy (which I’ll hopefully be finishing tonight or tomorrow), I still have 10 of my 14 from a few posts ago patiently waiting to be read. And one more that I borrowed from my friend. And two more that I checked out of the library. It’s so nice to have books waiting to be read.

Thank you, very nice librarians!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halloween Costume Research -- The Sea of Trolls

By Nancy Farmer
Start Date: hopefully tomorrow (6 October 2010)

For Halloween, my friend and I are going to dress up as Thorgil and Jack from Nancy Farmer’s The Sea of Trolls trilogy. So we’re both re-reading the series before we figure out our costumes. We call it research. The trilogy is set in Viking times, combining historical fiction with the fantastical Norse myths. It’s a great series that I hope to post a review of later on. For now, everything else (i.e. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett and a few other half-finished books) either gets finished tonight or put on pause until our research is completed.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Queen's Thief

By Megan Whalen Turner

The Thief
Start Date: 11 September 2010
End Date: 15 September 2010

This book was unexpectedly good. I had heard about it from multiple people who really liked it, but I wasn’t expecting it to be spectacular, merely good enough. However, a few chapters in, the story was quietly snatching hours from my day. When I finally put it down, I was surprised to see that it was a Newberry award winner. Looking back, it unquestionably (undoubtedly?) earned the title. I especially liked the development of the main character, Gen, and how even though the book is written in first person, the reader is still trying to figure him out by the end. The book is funny, engaging, and a fantastic read.

The Queen of Attolia
Start Date: 17 September 2010
End Date: 19 September 2010

The 2nd book of the series, I didn’t like it quite as much as The Thief, but again there was a very well-presented story, complex enough to keep the reader’s interest, but not so complicated that it’s confusing. Again, Gen is funny, surprising, and an overall great character.

The King of Attolia
Start Date: 23 September 2010
End Date: 25 September 2010

The 3rd book of the series. I got very frustrated reading the middle section of the book because I felt that Gen was not being nearly interesting enough, and the story was told from the point of view of Costis, a guard, who I frankly didn’t care about. But of course, being part of such a great series, it came together magnificently in the end. (I just love when books come together so nicely in the end, and all the little pieces of the story fall into place—it’s so great.) Although this particular book can be a little trying at times, it’s definitely worth it in the end.

I haven’t read the fourth book, A Conspiracy of Kings, yet. I will post when I do.
[EDIT: see my review here]


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