Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cloaked by Alex Flinn

Date Read: 3/31/12

Rating:  ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't quite on the level of Beastly and Bewtiching. I think my biggest problem for why I didn't enjoy it AS much is because there were just too many fairy tales crammed into one book. The last 90 pages all started wrapping up the book. I usually enjoy when books are really wrapped up and really not many loose ends left. But she had to wrap up so many fairy tales that it just felt like it kept going and going.

I will say that I really enjoyed being introduced to new fairy tales I hadn't ever heard. I knew a little about the elves and the shoemaker and The Fisherman and his Wife. But the others I'd never heard. I think this is a neat way to introduce young girls to fairy tales that are not traditionally told in the United States.

The book moved at a pretty good pace -- kinda had to in order to fit that many fairy tales in! There was a lot of adventure and danger. The animals he met were a lot of fun - I think the used-to-bes were some of my favorite characters. Johnny was a fun character to watch grow. He was a little oblivious at times. But I really enjoyed Meg. I thought she added a lot to the story.

I actually liked that she kept the Prince and Princess as a typical prince and princess. They weren't mean, but lately, a lot of authors and movies portray the prince or princess as actually a really nice person who gets the girl or guy in the end. So I actually appreciated how she built the prince and princess characters. You don't really dislike them, but you also don't like them.

I guessed the ending pretty early on - but that didn't ruin anything for me. When I read a book like this, I expect to have a happy ending and when you're reading a book about fairy tales, you expect a certain thing to happen. So I wasn't disappointed one bit that I was able to guess the ending so early on. Actually you almost forget about that part of the story by the end!

I am still really happy with this book. And I still plan to read A Kiss in Time as well. But it wasn't quite on the level with Beastly and Betwitching. But I still really enjoyed this book. It was a nice change. I like how Alex Flinn can retell fairy tales in such different ways. If you enjoyed Beastly or Bewitching, you'll enjoy this book as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Date Read: 3/22/12

Expected Publication: 5/8/12

Rating:  ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

There could have been just a little more world building and back story involved. I had quite a few questions about the world throughout the book. I felt like just the basic info was given..but things like, do they remember who they are after they're bitten and turned into vampires, etc?

The first 100 pages or so I thought this was just going to be the Hunger Games but with vampires instead. I mean really, the similarities were alarming: the lottery, the game, the televised hunt, the training program, it was even written in first person present tense like the Hunger Games! But after those first 100 pages, it finally took a turn to be its own novel. That's when I started enjoying the book.

The sparkly vampires are no more in this book...however, they do have their own weird quirks. For instance, they scratch their wrists instead of laughing. They drool uncontrollably when even the slightest hint of heper is around. And their weird like makeout ritual involves elbows and armpits. Weird.

I didn't feel real attached to any of the characters. Even Gene was hard to attach to because once he met the hepers in the Dome, he was a total jerk. Expecting them to be savages and uneducated, not even able to speak. And even when he finds out they are just like them, he completely and totally lies to them. He was going to still let them die in the Hunt. Not much honor there. So it turned me off the character. I know that he was brought up in the "vampire" world, and that's what they taught the vampires in school about humans. But c'mon, his dad was around when he was little, and never told him other humans were savages.

The vampires are not even regular vampires. Sure, they can't be in the sun and suck your blood. But they are just like normal people after that. They work and go to school. They age. But they also eat flesh - not just drink blood. So I guess you can call them vampires, because that's the closest thing...I had thought it was odd that I never saw them called vampires until I thought about it. Technically they're not vampires in the typical sense of the word. So it's appropriate. But Fukuda also doesn't name his monsters. I dont know what they are.

I enjoyed the second half of the book because Gene didn't have to pretent as much anymore. He was more human. And I enjoyed that side of him more than his fake vampire personaility. The action also increased greatly in the last 50 -60 pages or so. In that last chapter about the Hunt, I couldn't put the book dowmn because I needed to know what was going to happen.

I had expected one of two things to happen at the end. It did, but it was my less sure guess that won. Strange, but appreciated. And the ending seemed very abrupt. I didn't feel like there was any closure at all to the book. And I know it ended on a cliffhanger because there will be a second book. But usually there are some loose ends tied up even though there was a cliffhanger...but nothing got tied up. I feel like this story should have been logner, and he just decided to end it there, without giving the book a real closing.

I enjoyed this book though. I thought it was pretty enjoyable. The writing was pretty good - the vocabulary was refreshing. There were a couple words I had to look up, but I appreciated the more advanced vocabulary. I've gotten sick of the elementary vocabulary I've been reading of late. So that was very refreshing.

It was a little violent. Mostly when the vampires went into the sun. So this book probably isn't good for young kids, but I recommend it to anyone whose middle school or high school student or YA wants to read a vampire book from a male POV. It was entertaining enough. I will pick up the sequel whenever it comes out. I want to know how the story will continue after that cliffhanger.