Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Phoenix Rising is a novel of The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences by Pip Baalantine & Tee Morris. It is published by Harper Voyager an imprint of HarperCollins and it is 402 pages long. A brief summary is that England is under attack from a malevolent brotherhood known only as the Phoenix Society. Eliza Braun is a hot tempered agent assigned to Wellington Books to learn to cool off and to make sure he is not a double agent. Books is a gentleman in every sense of the word and is horrified to have Ms. Braun down in his archives. They get involved because Braun is trying to find out who killed her previous partner and Books because he thinks the same people are the ones who kidnapped him, now the reason that he is suspected of being a double agent. The chapter titles are just delightful for example: Chapter Thirteen Wherein Agent Braun Causes a Bit of a Ruckus while Making Friends. The humor in this is based on the gender basis that people have and the authors play that up with Ms. Braun being the violent one with dynamite on her and Mr. Books is the one who loves quiet and opera. The sub-plots are interesting, I did not feel like I was wasting my time by having them in the book. The ending is good with just enough questions for the next novel. I am looking forward to reading, hopefully before too long into the next year.
Monday, October 24, 2011
A Jane Austen Education
I loved this book. It is charming, funny and touching. It begins with the author William Dersiewicz taking a graduate course called 'Studies in the Novel' and he was introduced to Jane Austen for the first time. Deresiewicz is feeling honest about himself. He shows himself to the reader to be a high-minded modernist, with no interest in 19th century British literature and nothing to think about good for Austen or what she wrote. But Emma changed his mind. Over the course of the novel he begins to see himself in not too flattering light. Emma's faults he sees in himself and he begins to change. I am not a big non-fiction person. I like fiction, I like a clear narrative and I like an ending. Deresiwicz gives me this. He starts at one place in his life at the beginning of the book and in the end he is in a very different place. The book is broken up in chapters that are based on Austen's six books. He talks about where he was, what he was doing and what he thought about each of the books as he read and reread them. I found this to be very powerful and moving personally. He helped me to put into words what I liked about my favorite of her novels Persuasion. That it is about being honest with yourself and others around you, that loving someone means that you are willing to help them by pointing out mistakes, in a loving manner, but not about hiding who they really are. The book it 255 pages long, only in hardback at the moment, was published by Penguin Press this year.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Today's post is going to be about 'Delirium' by Lauren Oliver. It is published by HarperCollins Publishing, it is 441 pages long and it has a beautiful cover. It is about Lena and is 95 days from getting 'cured'. 64 years ago scientists made a cure for amor deliria nervosa or what we would call love. All kinds of health problems are blamed on it from heart attacks to high blood pressure. When one is cured one no longer has to worry about anything, one is never going to have pain again or die from deliria. Lena wants nothing more than to be safe, to be cured and to not die the way her mother did. The day that she is going to have her final testing before she is scheduled to have her cure, the clinic is 'attacked'. By attacked I mean cows are herded into the build with things like mindless and not a cure written on them. She sees a boy on the roof looking down at this chaos and laughing. She meets him again and becomes friends with him but she thinks that he is safe, that he is cured. Of course he is not and he does not think that the cure is a good thing.It has some very tense moments, because the reader is experiencing the novel through Lena's eyes and the author does a great job in building the tension. I am expecting at least, a second novel, in the series and I am looking forward to where Ms. Oliver is going with this world. I would not have anyone under the age of about 13 read this because there are some scenes of how far humanity has fallen on that we have no emotions at all. But anyone older can handle the tale.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
This review is going to be about Possession by Elana Johnson. It is about a 15, almost 16, year old girl named Violet Schoenfeld called Vi by her friends. It takes place in a future where 99% of people are controlled by the Thinkers. The Thinkers tell you where do, what job you are going to do and who you are matched with. Vi's mother can not wait for her to turn 16 so then she's an adult and then can get her own home. Vi does not understand why her mother dislikes her so but it is okay because her match Zenn loves her. Zenn loves her so much that he joined the Forces, police basically, and he used to protect Vi. But somethings as changed about him. Now he does not call, he does not break curfew with her and he is becoming someone who just believes in the rules, like so many people around her. Vi is arrested for walking the park with a boy after dark. That is really where the book starts. In prison Vi meets Jag a baddie. Everyone is a goodie if they lived the way they are told to, if not or if they are born in the badlands free of Thinkers control, then they are baddies. Jag is different but he is different like Vi. He can not be controlled by the thought-transmissions, he hates the Thinkers and he loves to 'bad'. He and Vi break out of the prison before they can be sent for training. They spent most of the book on the run from the Thinkers and their leader Thane Myers. The journey is an interesting read, it is interesting to watch Vi become an adult in her thinking, it is still a romance between her and Jag, but she is thinking about why people are willing to be controlled and what kind of person does the controlling. I liked it a lot, I hope that there is going to be a second one because I did not like where it ended. It is 405 pages long, it is published by Simon Pulse. My only real problem with it is I do not understand the title or the cover art. Maybe I am just thick but I do not. It is for older YA but if the kid can handle thinking about had issues then go for it.