Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Genesis Secret

Tom Knox's Genesis Secret tells the suspenseful yet intelligent tale of reporter Robert Luttrell. Sent on a supposedly simple assignment about the excavation of Gobekli Tepe in Kurdish Turkey, the oldest remains of human civilization and apparent Garden of Eden. Rob is quickly drawn in to the mystery of Gobekli Tepe, why the locals are resisting the dig, and, ultimately, the death of the lead archaeologist. Back in the UK, a string of brutal murders are being committed and investigated by the Scotland Yard, especially Detective Forrester. Eventually, a connection is made and Forrester and Luttrell must work together to discover the Genesis secret and, more importantly, catch the crazed murderer. 

The Genesis Secret  is a fairly intense read, not one you can necessarily read at the beach or with distractions around, especially at the end. I mean, James Joyce is referenced! It's a good book; though slow to start, once it all starts to come together it gets hard to put down. However, it is rather violent and grotesque and the language is, at times, obscene and responsive to the violence. The characters attempt to be real and relatable, but fall short. I was more captivated by the story line and desire to solve the mystery than the fate of the characters. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. 3 & 1/2 stars. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Ranger's Apprentice: Books 1-3

John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series is a pretty popular one with the middle school set, so of course I had to give it a go. Matthew had the first three in a boxed set (not that he's read them; he said he couldn't get into them) so those are the ones I read. The first one started out kind of slow, but then the adventure starts and keeps going. I think this series would be best for 5th-7th graders who read on at least that reading level. It might be a little boring for a high schooler. The closest thing I can relate them to is the The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins. They're right in between juvenile and young adult, but the language is definitely young adult. That's the one thing that did bug me. It swore quite a bit, much more than I would want Jordyn to read. Matthew, no problem. But not Jordyn. I did like these books, though, and I'll probably read the rest -- I have to know what happens! -- but I can only give them three stars. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Candy Shop War

I've been meaning to read The Candy Shop War for a while now, and finally got to it.  As one might gather from the title, it's about a "war", if you will, between a candy shop and a candy truck, and the kids manipulated by the candy makers into fighting this war. Of course, magic plays a large roll as well. 

The Candy Shop War is a creative idea for a novel and I really enjoyed it.  The characters are realistic and their adventures are exciting.  It's an enjoyable, appropriate book for kids of all ages. Four Stars. 

The Book Without Words

Avi's The Book Without Words is a unique tale about a man who wants to live forever and his journey to do so, while not really being about him at all. So much is about Sybil's internal conflict of using the magic herself. 

It's not an amazing, can't-put-down novel, but The Book Without Words is an easy Juvenile/Young Adult novel that anyone with an interest in a little mystery and magic during medieval times would enjoy. Three and a half stars. 

Watership Down

Goodreads recommended Watership Down to me, and since it was a book Cass brought to the marriage (doesn't that sound funny?), it was convenient to read. It tells the story of a few rabbits who choose to leave their warren because one of them, Fiver, has a premonition that something bad is going to happen. Though his vision isn't clear, he is trusted by a few rabbits. The book is basically about these rabbits and their journey to find, and make, a new home, as well as to bring some female rabbits into their warren so that they can procreate and make their arduous journey worth it. 

Some parts are pretty exciting, but other parts drag on and on.  Adams also uses a lot of made-up rabbit language, which you eventually get used to, but is kind of annoying.  I would have liked Watership Down  a whole lot more if it was about half as long. It was an okay book, but not great by any means. Three stars.