Ready? Here we go!
|Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, #1)||Cashore, Kristin|
On this one, I LOVED the concept. LOVED it. As you know, I'm a sucker for Super-Competent characters, and a girl who's an unbeatable assassin falls under that heading very nicely. The writing was solid and the characters were realistically drawn.
That said, I didn't resonate with the characters as much as I would have liked. It could just be a personality thing, since Katsa, the MC, and I have very different opinions and reactions to certain things, and so it was harder to identify with her. HOWEVER, because Cashore's writing is so good, I was definitely rooting for her, and anxious to see how everything turned out. A fun and solid read. 4 stars
|Incarceron (Incarceron, #1)||Fisher, Catherine|
There's been a lot of talk about dystopias floating around my corner of the Interwebs, like this whole series of posts by my friend Beth, and this book is one of the most unusual dystopians I've ever read. A vast prison that no one can find and no one can get out of. (No, really, you can't.) A prison intended to create a utopia that failed. A prison that's ALIVE, in a very creepy Hal 9000 sort of way. I kept expecting it to say "I can't do that Dave."
This is an excellent book for the study of creating tension. Even in low-action periods, there are things that Fisher does that make you even more anxious to find out what happens. For dystopia fans, a must-read. 4 stars
|The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1)||Collins, Suzanne|
And speaking of excellent dystopias, this book is one of them. Right after I read it, I couldn't wait to recommend it to a friend of mine, who then not only read it, but went out and bought the second one and loaned it to me.
This one hit all the right notes with me, an inventive, resourceful character that I resonated with, a very cool concept (teenagers forced to fight for survival for the entertainment of the Capitol), smooth writing, and some VERY powerful enemies that made me wonder how this girl was ever going to survive. 5 stars
|Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2)||Collins, Suzanne|
And the sequl was just as good. Had a little more set-up, and some more interpersonal drama than the first one, but the tension clipped along at a good pace, and the stakes just kept rising and rising and rising...
This series is an excellent example of one of Terry Brook's rules for writing. The strength of the protagonist is measured by the threat of the antagonist. Again and again, I found myself wondering how the MC, or indeed any of them, was going to avoid being crushed like bugs by the Capitol. Are they going to win in the third book? I have no idea. And that's awesome. 5 stars.
|City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1)||Clare, Cassandra|
You would think with all the urban paranormals (i.e. vampires, werewolves, city streets, etc.) out there, that there wouldn't be any new ways to tell that kind of story. You would be wrong.
City of Bones puts a fresh spin on the urban paranormal, largely by regulating the vampires and werewolves to bit players and focusing on demons and their nemeses, the Shadowhunters. The main character is a fairly ordinary girl trying to deal with a paranormal world that she's suddenly stepped into. There are a couple of nice twists to keep the story interesting, and the writing is lush and descriptive. If you like urban paranormals, you should definitely give this a read. 4 stars
What I found the most interesting about these books was that I liked them all for different reasons. Graceling for concept, Incarceron for tension, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire for worldbuilding and strong antagonists, and City of Bones for description and characters.
Has anyone else read books that they liked for wildly different reasons?