Friday, 15 November 2013

Paper Towns Review

I’m apologising in advanced here: I have recently decided to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), despite the fact that it is already halfway through the month. This means I have to write about 3,000 words a day if I want to complete it on time. This also means that my very minimal free time that I had before will now be gone until the end of the month. This includes my blog. There is a huge chance that I will not be able to get reviews up for the next couple of weeks so, to my very few and very amazing readers, I am sorry. But I will complete NaNoWriMo this year! (heh, as if that will actually happen…)

Anyhoo, this week I read yet another John Green book. I have to say, I’m getting addicted. This one was Paper Towns, a book that personally is currently one of my favourites. In a very short summary, this book is about a girl named Margo who disappears after the narrator Quentin spends a night running around the town with her doing crazy stuff. Quentin becomes obsessed with trying to find her and follows a bunch of clues, trying to piece together the story. It was very fast paced, not at all boring, and the ending was probably one of his more satisfying ones.

First off, I have to say that the age group for this book is slightly more mature, I can say that about most John Green books, but this one in particular sounds most like an average teenager. And by that, I mean that there is cussing and explicit mentions (or joking from the character’s perspectives) of sex. So if you’re a teenager, I’d say great! Go on and read! But if you’re one of the more sensitive types, you might want to avoid the book.

That being said, I feel like this is one of Green’s most realistic teenage-perspective books. They character’s aren’t over or under done, and to be honest, I found the characters saying things my friends or I would probably say. There were also a few references to things that made me flail around happily at the fact that I understood the reference (such as to Harry Potter, which was, in fact, mentioned). I could relate to bits of this book on a level that I normally can’t with most books, so I have to say I was quite impressed.

The point of this book was for there to be character development – specifically for the character Margo. So much of the plot was based off of that, and John Green did a very good job. It was a risky thing to do in a book, basing a plot fully on how much you learn about a character, but he implicated perfectly.

Overall, I’d give Paper Towns a five out of five. It easily made my top five books, probably above his Fault in Our Stars. The book was very well written, well thought out (unlike this review), and well detailed. I honestly don’t think that there was anything I didn’t like about it. I would recommend to anyone who wants to read a very teenager-ish, mystery-ish bo

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Eye of Minds Review

After waiting weeks, I finally managed to get James Dashner’s new book. I was really excited to get it. I enjoyed The Maze Runner and I was hoping that this book would be just as good.

It was better.

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner is the first book in the new series The Mortality Doctrine. The second book is planned to be released in autumn of next year (Pulling a Rick Riordan, are you Mr. Dashner?). The book takes place in a sort-of futuristic setting where people are spending more time in the virtual work, VirtNet, instead of the real world. It’s one of those books that takes place mostly in a digital world where there is somebody hacking the system of harming people. I have seen this before, at least twice (though I can’t remember the first time I saw this per say), the second being in the Pendragon book The Reality Bug). But even though I have seen this type of setting, this book felt different to read.

Well, the book started off fairly regular. Somebody spending time in the VirtNet, except something weird happens. It’s the type of formula that has been seen before multiple times in multiple books. The book seemed fairly average until about halfway through, when things started to get good. I can’t say what happened because of spoilers, but things got dark and crazy and the book ended with a twist that had me wishing autumn 2014 would come a lot sooner.

Honestly, I just need to talk about the setting of this book. I feel like that is a huge part about what made this book what it was. It was brilliantly done, what with the line between what was fiction and reality. That line being a very, very thin line at times. The way that Dashner talked about the VirtNet made it feel like it could almost be real – like I could go to the corner of the room and there would be my “coffin” (a sort of container-type thing where a person laid while they accessed the VirtNet) waiting for me. And while sometimes the virtual world felt realistic, other times it was written to be very clearly digital. It was brilliantly done, and the book itself kept you, as the reader, guessing as to what was going on.

It wasn't very difficult book to read. Between books that I've been reading for school and some books I've been reading for fun that were a little more on the complex side, this book was an enormous relief for my mind. No, the plot was not obvious nor was it not complex, but there were no crazy symbolisms and there was no fancy language that was akin to Shakespeare. I managed to finish in only a few hours, which is something I haven’t been able to do with a book for a long while. And it was interesting enough to keep my undivided attention for said hours.

Overall, I’d give this book a four out of five. It was very well written, very interesting, and overall just a good read. I’d recommend this book to people who want a break from extreme fantasy or crazy sci-fi. This book is a bit of a cross between those genres, while keeping a very realistic element to it. Like I mentioned before, it isn't a very difficult book to read, but I wouldn't recommend giving it to someone under the age of 12. There are some dark elements that had even me slinking under my blankets once I turned out the lights.

Friday, 1 November 2013

The Fault in Our Stars Review

It’s really quite amazing how a book can change ones view of the world and, more often than not, make them feel pretty damn insignificant. This is how I felt after reading the infamous The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
' Sobre Café E Livros: Por Que Ler A Culpa é Das Estrelas, De John Green (com Fan Arts!). N.d. Photograph. ' Sobre Café E Livros: Por Que Ler A Culpa é Das Estrelas, De John Green (com Fan Arts!). Web. 01 Nov. 2013. <>

I don’t like most books about cancer. A lot of the time, they’re unrealistic or about those few who did something really brilliant. TFIOS was different. This book is about a teenager named Hazel who, if you couldn't guess, has cancer. The book basically sums up the hell that she has to go through because of cancer – including her love life. I don’t often cry for books, but by the end of this one, I was brought almost to tears (the reason I probably didn't cry was because I was too emotionally tired from starting the book a few hours prior and reading it all over a short amount of time).

Besides the realistic-ness of the book, symbolism plays a huge part in the book as well. Not symbolism like in The Great Gatsby where the reader has to find out about it themselves, but symbolism that is very clearly put in almost bold letters I am a symbol. It adds both a bit of deeper meaning to the text as well as give the bluntness of the average teenager. Especially a dying one. There’s also a lot of emotion behind these symbols. The word “okay” holds more meaning than the word “always” means to Potterheads, which is saying quite a bit.

I know that I say this about almost every book I've reviewed on here, but this book had dynamic characters. Hazel grew emotionally stronger and her view of the world did change, Augustus… Well, let’s actually not talk about him right now. I honestly didn't think there be so much development in a book about cancer, I’m not quite sure why, but this book completely changed that. Especially because she [Hazel] didn't act like the stereotypical cancer kid.

The writing style of this book was very John Green. It was sarcastic, joking, and made references to a book that to my knowledge doesn't actually exist throughout the book. Despite not being a teenager, he has definitely succeeded in sounding like one, where many authors have failed (yes, I am looking at some popular YA authors). At times, it seems to be a little overdone, but it only adds to the lighter tones of the book. But as a general rule, the narrator acting like a teenager really helps to connect to the readers. I can see why so many people like the book.

Overall, I’d give the book a five out of five. This book easily made it into my top five favourite books (place number one still goes to Anthony Horowitz’s Oblivion). It’s deep, funny, light-hearted, depressing, and everything in between. It plays with your emotions so much throughout the book. You, as the reader, actually almost feel like you’re in the book. I would recommend this book to everyone. I repeat; everyone. It is a book that, within the time that I spent reading it, completely changed my view on the world. There isn't one person who shouldn't read this book, no matter the age.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Unwind Review

I apologise for not being able to post last week! On the night before I was planning on uploading, I had a giant essay to write that was due for IB English the next day. But I’m back again, and somewhat alive!

Dystopian books are starting to reach the level of being overdone and are a far too popular topic to write about. I, personally, am also not a fan of the genre. So when I went to pick up Unwind by Neal Shusterman at my friend’s request, I put it at the bottom of my “to read” pile. Once I finally got my bum around to reading it, I realised two things: The first being that this was an amazing book, the second being that I should really stop doubting my friend’s choice in books.
Unwind Cover. N.d. Photograph. Neal Shusterman: Unwind. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <>.
What stood out to me the most about this book is that it actually had a plot that I had never, ever, ever seen before. This is a very rare thing, and because of that, I was extremely shocked. This book is about a society where unwanted children, instead of being sent to jail or grounded or whatnot, were “unwound”. This “unwinding” consisted of taking the limbs and organs of the person (under the age of 18) and using those pieces to replace a limb or an organ of someone who needed it. This way, they got rid of the unwanted child without fully killing them and they saved lives. The book follows the perspective of three children who were sent to be unwound who managed to escape (or in one character’s case – was somewhat kidnapped) and were on the run.

This book has a very chilling effect on the read. The most shocking thing about this book is that it is so well written that it actually seems like it could be happening right now. Everything else in society is fairly normal like it is now, with the exception of unwinding and a few other minor details. Shusterman does an excellent job at portraying this concept without creating an entirely differently world in the process (cough–Gone–cough). It was a very shocking read and, to some extent, did change my perspective on the world once I had finished it.

The main characters, the narrators, also are very dynamic. The trouble with some books in this genre is that sometimes the authors put too much thought into creating this crazy, perfectly imperfect, dystopian society that they forget to write more about how a character changes. This book managed to capture this perfectly. And the fact that it changes perspectives from three different characters gives the reader a much broader understanding of different classes and groups during this time as well so there was nothing lost on the development of the setting and culture either.

On the downside, I did feel like this book did drag on just a bit in times. Yes, yes, it is difficult to find a book that doesn’t do this, but this was one of those books that couldn’t hold my attention enough to finish it in a couple of days given the time. There were some scenes that seemed to stretch on forever, and though that could have been intentional by the author to show how the characters were feeling about a situation, I personally just found myself shoving a bookmark in and moving to another book in the hopes that would keep my attention.

Overall, keeping personal opinions to the side about the genre, I would give this book a 3. Every detail of this society was well executed, and the characters were very well developed, but it did drag on quite a bit at times and there were some parts where I was questioning the sanity of the author. Unwind was a book that changed my perspective on life around me, and I would recommend this book especially if you are looking for a dystopian book that doesn’t exactly follow the formula. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

Heroes of Olympus: House of Hades Review

The Heroes of Olympus has been a hot mess full of underdeveloped characters, Mary Sues, and a general disconnect from the original Percy Jackson series up through The Mark of Athena.

And then the House of Hades came.
When I first picked up this book, I was very apprehensive. Of course I wanted to know what happened to Percy and Annabeth after that terrible, and literal, cliff hanger at the end of the Mark of Athena, but I didn't expect Riordan to be so good at writing dark. This book is possibly one of the darkest books he was written. From the description of Tartarus that originates from both classic myth and his own imagination to the descriptions of some of the gods, the book was very well written. Anthony Horowitz still takes the cake for being one of the best dark YA authors, but Riordan holds much potential.

Can we talk about the cover for a moment? It is just so perfect! As mad as it may sound, the US cover perfectly fits the book. It is dark, symbolistic, and actually partially portrays a scene from the book (unlike the UK covers – sorry, but those still scare me). It is a near-perfect portrayal of Percy and Annabeth in this book. John Rocco, this is a shout out to you being an amazing cover artist for the books since The Lightning Thief!

Up to this point in the series, there was a certain disconnect from the original books. This book completely patched that over; references to the Second Titan War, old characters appearing, and our good ol' Annabeth actually acting like herself again. For once, I felt as though I was reading a continuation of PJO instead of a [poorly] written fanfiction. Old characters also popped up in this book. Remember Rachel? Grover? And if you've read The Demigod Files and The Demigod Diaries, be prepared to see some references to some of the stories in there.

And the characterisation. Of my gods, this book did an amazing job at it. Ever wonder about some of Nico's past? This book connects the dots and even sneaks in a little detail in about him where, unless you've come across a spoiler before reading the book, you will have not seen coming. Flat characters are turned into round, dynamic characters and, overall, this book fixes most of the mistakes from the prior books.

Now let's discuss the plot. It moved along quickly - almost too quickly than what I would have liked. 600 pages went by way too quickly, and although I like a fast book, this one went a little too fast. Individual scenes weren't generally very descriptive, and were done in a choppy manner through the switching of perspectives between scenes. The chapters were also almost to Maximum Rider length, the shortest being only two or three pages long. The story itself was entertaining, but it could have gone into a bit more detail.

Uncle Rick has also surprised us in a way other than a troll-worthy cliffhanger. As some of you may or may not be aware, Riordan had a reputation for being a bit of a homophobe. It seemed, in prior books, that he purposely avoided any and all myths that involved any sort of gay characters. This book changed this. I won’t say who, but besides there being a blatant mention through a myth, there is also a gay character. And it is seamlessly written into the story – not at all forced like I would have assumed.

Overall, I would give this book a 4 out of 5. It is the best book in the Heroes of Olympus by far, and though there are a few mistakes (and misquotations), it was overall well done and well thought out. I was definitely not expecting this high quality of work and I will be expecting something even better for the last book, The Blood of Olympus, planned to be released Autumn of 2014.

Friday, 4 October 2013

An Abundance of Katherines Review

I was really excited to read this book when it was lent to me by one of my friends. I have been hearing a lot about John Green over Tumblr and I really wanted to read one of his books, and to finally have a copy of one of his books in my temporary possession made me really happy. Though, if I’m completely honest, I had no idea what the book was going to be about when I started it.

An Abundance of Katherines is a story about a boy named Colin who only dates girls named Katherine (and despite the fact that he acts like he has no life, he has much more of one than I do). He was a child prodigy and he spent a good portion of the book trying to come up with a mathematical theorem that could explain and predict relationships. He does this while he's on a road trip with his best friend, who is trying to get him over Katherine #19.

This books was an interesting read, I'll say that much. From what people were saying, I was personally expecting a book with a lot of symbolism and deeper meanings as well as an interesting plot. I was disappointed.

The book is written in third person narrative, from the perspective of Colin. Since the book is from the perspective of a child prodigy, the reader gets a relatable perspective while also seeing some thoughts that most normal people wouldn't think about. All of the main characters are very well developed. The books paints a fairly clear description of them and it doesn't take long for their personalities to be revealed. Also, many of these characters are dynamic, meaning that they change over the course of the book. I'd give examples, but as River Song always says, spoilers.

The plot started and ended interestingly enough, but the centre of the story was where it got boring. I caught myself starting to skim over the pages and I still understood what was going on. Despite how well written it was, the plot still managed to slow down and crawl along the ground for a while before picking up once again.

I probably should mention that this book, as well as what I’ve heard about Green’s other books, is very humourous. This is probably what kept me reading the book to the end. I love books that can make me grin or laugh, and this book does exactly that.

Overall, I'd give An Abundance of Katherines a 3.5 out of 5. I enjoyed it, yes, but I won't be coming back to reread it. For what it's worth, it is very well written. I just happened to have a lapse of interest halfway through the book. I still have high hopes for John Green's other books, such as the Fault in Our Stars, which I plan on reading before the film comes out. I'll let you know what I think of it once I get my hands on a copy. I would recommend this book to people who want a break from fantasy books and want to read something that makes at least some sense. And I’d recommend this to the maths nerds who may actually understand some of the equations mentioned in the book.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Alex Rider Prequel: Russian Roulette Review

Anthony Horowitz has been one of my favourite authors for the longest time. I've gone through my Riordan and, regretfully, my Stephanie Meyer phases, but I always come back to the author who had written Alex Rider.

I had high hope for this book when I ordered it (it’s released in America on 1 October), and I have to say, this book does not disappoint. I devoured the book in less than two days and just wow.

So what is Russian Roulette? This book is a prequel to the Alex Rider series, though I would recommend reading through the first five books before this one due to spoilers. It’s the life story of the contract killer Yasha (Yassen) Gregorovich from when he was fourteen to when he meets Alex at the end of Stormbreaker. It starts off in third person in the prologue before switching over to first person as Yassen begins to read his diary (which, before you ask, is not written in diary entries).

 This book honestly shocked me. I always knew that Yassen had a rough childhood – I mean, he’s an assassin and clearly not a newbie. But I never realised how bad it was. The book, despite how quickly it moves along, is very descriptive without being over the top. It pulls you into young Yasha’s life (Yasha is Yassen’s real name) and doesn't let you go until the end. The settings are described very well to the point where even if one had never been there, they can picture it almost perfectly in their mind.

The plot itself was brilliant. It’s not often that books make me cry, but this one managed it within the first 25 pages. It was the perfect backstory for Yasha/Yassen, describing the hardships and the pain that he went through to get where he was in Stormbreaker. It explains almost everything about him that one may have wanted to know. As I mentioned earlier, the plot does move along pretty quickly since it’s most of Yasha/Yassen’s life in 400+ pages, but it doesn't detract from any of the details.

The character of Yasha/Yassen was mentioned in the Alex Rider books, but no detail was really gone into it. This book is his spotlight. It explains so much about the character in the books and it has a very developed plot. As a bonus, you also get to meet John Rider, Alex Rider’s father, for the very first time.

Overall, I’d give Russian Roulette a rating 4.5 out of 5. This book easily made my top ten books, with its illustrative details and intricate plot. I would recommend this book to anyone ages 14 and up. Maybe older, depending on their maturity is. A quick warning is that there is a moderate use of drugs, violence, and mentions of torture in this book, so if that makes you uncomfortable or is a trigger for you, you might want to avoid this book. But besides that, I would highly recommend this book to any YA reader who has read the Alex Rider books up through the fifth one, Scorpia.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Review

I'm not lying when I said that I was very apprehensive about reading the book City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. It seemed to fall too much into the whole supernatural-romance-Twilight genre and I did not, in any way, want to read yet another one of those. I picked it up eventually after much pestering from my friends, and to my great surprise, I loved it.

The City of Bones is a story about a teenage girl named Clary living in Brookland, New York who seems to be an absolutely normal person until she starts seeing things that her best friend, Simon, can’t – specifically, a murder. Her mother disappears, she finds out she isn't human and is instead a Shadowhunter (Nephilim), and life as she knew it completely changes. The book ends with a twist that unless you've seen the movie or someone has spoiled it for you, leaves you sitting there in shock (or in my case, so frustrated to the point where you nearly threw the book at the wall).

Despite the fact that this book uses a fairly overused plot (I'm now starting to see similarities between the plot summary of CoB and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan), it’s well executed. This book follows fairly true to the original myths of creatures (or Downworlders, as they’re called in the books), such as vampires, fairies, and werewolves, a nice change from all these Twilight-esque books that are finally falling out of popularity. Vampires in this series can’t go out in the sun and sleep during the day. Werewolves are made up of those infected with Lycanthropy and they change on the full moon. Fairies aren't the innocent creatures that Disney makes them out to be. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw these details in the book, and so I applaud Cassandra for doing her research.

The thing that struck me the most out of this book was the societal aspect of it. This book was written in 2007, right around the time that people started to get riled up about the fact that gays couldn't get married. This is one of the few books that I've read that actually includes gay characters and I couldn't be happier about this (other books include Harry Potter and Perks of Being a Wallflower). Many authors (not naming any names), are insistent in not including characters that have any differing sexualities, so when I came across the characters Alec and Magnus in this book, to say I was surprised is an understatement. And it isn't just that she included the character in the books, but she also included it as a more major part of the Shadowhunter society (or rather, the way that the Clave was very much against gays). Going back to my original statement of society, Cassandra also created a separate society for the Shadowhunters called the Clave, which plays a huge role in this book. It was a very well thought out idea.

Now onto characterisation. The main character, Clary, is a very round, dynamic character. She starts the book as a girl who loved art and didn't always get along with her mum. She ended the book more independent and with a new perspective of the world around her. The downside is that I have seen this exact character before, both in personality (artistic, sassy, and confused all at the same time), as well as her physical description (ginger hair and green eyes). Besides this, mostly all of the main characters go through a deep change somewhere in this book (or in later books, for the sake of Simon and Alec).

Overall, I'd give the book a 4 out of 5 rating. I like the way it was written and I love the characters. The reason why I won't give it a 5 is because I have seen similar characters and a similar plot line before. If it had been just a bit more original, it would have been even better.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Welcome to my blog!

Hey everyone, and welcome to my new blog! Here I am going to be reviewing books (and occasionally the movie adaptations of books).

Feel free to contact me at if you have any book suggestions or something of the sorts! Expect my first review up in the next day or two.