Friday, August 10, 2012

For Lack of a Better Topic: Here, Read These Books, They Are Awesome!

I haven't reviewed a book on here in a while, but I've read some pretty awesome ones lately. So, I'm gonna share a few with ya.

Cinder, by Mariss Meyer

This book caught me off-guard. I had seen the cover all over the place online, but the bright red high-heel shoe totally turned me off. Bleh. Romance. Not another "girl in pretty dress cover"--no, worse, a pretty shoe :P. But I was at the library one day and happened to find it on the shelf with some other featured YA books. I noticed, for the first time, the "bones" in the leg. Hm. They are metal....

Snagged the book, started reading, thought to myself, "Ugh, Cinderella as cyborg..." and nearly gave up. But then Peony gets the plague and as one Amazon reviewer said, "That's when the (stuff) hits the fan." Does it ever! After that point, I could NOT put this book down. It's SO much more than the story of Cinderella. It takes such different turns. And it is SO NOT prissy little girl goes after prince. The romance is there, but not at all gushy-kissy. Cinder turns out to be pretty kick-butt.

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman

I admit, this is another I almost gave up on at first. I got this copy through Amazon vine, but I'd have bought it anyway based solely on that lovely cover! At first, though, the story is rather slow. Very well written, but so much information! So many characters, all this detailed world-building....I began to think the story would never get going.

There were moments when I felt like the author was trying to write like Patrick Rothfuss, but not quite hitting the mark. If you have read The Name of the Wind, you know what I mean. All that detail, so much about music and the little things of life--but he makes it all so fascinating it's addictive. This wasn't quite there. At first.

Then it found the groove, and I began seeing it as the YA dragon-book version of The Name of the Wind in earnest. The details and the intricate world and the characters began to truly breath. It turned into one of those books where I was dreading the end because it meant I couldn't read more.

Imaginary Girls, by Nova Ren Suma

What took me so long to read this novel??? I read this author's MG novel, Dani Noir, ages ago and adored it. I've probably mentioned that book on this blog at least three times!

(Quick aside--the cover I have pictured here is the old cover. I put it up because it is so pretty. If you click on the link above, though, it will take you to Amazon and the new cover, which is cool too and probably more suited to the mood of the book.)

What I loved about this book is the same thing I loved about Dani Noir. Voice. This author has VOICE. And the voices of the two books could not be more different. Dani Noir is fun and snarky, and Imaginary Girls is deep, haunting, and dark. This author is one of those who could write a story about a girl going to Walmart and shopping for pantyhose and I'd slurp up every word and beg for more. But rest assured, Imaginary Girls is not a story of the mundane. It's got magic (sort of?) and obsession, and twists and turns. OK, I've read them both...time for her to publish another book! Now!!!!!

Sorry :). I've picked up quite a few not-so-great books lately, too, and I'm ready for another amazing one :P.

Anyway, let's go for one more....

The Dragon's Tooth, by N.D. Wilson

Yep, let's give a guy author a spot today. This one is YA, but it'd be great for Middle Grade fans, too. Think Fablehaven. Think Percy Jackson.

The book did have a rocky start imho, because the details came so fast and, well, abstractly. It felt like it was written by and/or for someone with ADHD. But I've noticed that is kinda common among MG/YA novels written by men. They are geared for 11-yr-old and up boys, I think, which means the kind of mind that can't remember dirty clothes go in the hamper but can memorize the names and stats of 827 Pokemon characters in about four minutes.

But the book has some really unique and cool magical stuff in it, lots of action, strange and interesting characters, really evil bad guys, some twisty plot stuff....adventure. Coolness. And you won't be lost if the beginning is a little foggy for you--it clears up very nicely after just a couple of chapters and the rest of the book is a great ride!


Jeff Chapman said...

I agree with you about Seraphia. That one deserves a look based simply on the cover. The plot sounds interesting too. : )

Kat Heckenbach said...

Seraphina is definitely unique. The dragons are different than any in books I've read, and the world she's created is really detailed. I was very glad for all the stuff up front once I got into the story. I think it is a book you would like, Jeff.

Kessie said...

My brother and I had a discussion about Dragon's Tooth. We agreed that there is too much showing and not enough telling. So much was shown and not told in the climax, we had to compare notes to figure out what we thought we'd read.

I forgot about Cinder! I read about it when it came out and thought I'd like to try it when the library got it in. I like fairytale retellings. :-)

Kat Heckenbach said...

Yes--there can be too much showing! Sometimes, writing tries to be too much like movies...only, without the pictures it doesn't always work.

I love fairy tale retellings, but if it's just replace (this) with (that) and nothing creative, then I get irritated. I thought Cinder was going to be like that at first, but it's not. You would love it, Kessie!