Friday, September 10, 2010

The Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Scarlett and Rosie March have dedicated their lives to hunting and killing the Fenris. Scarlett carries physical scars from when she was attacked in an effort to protect her little sister Rosie, but Rosie carries the weight of guilt from that night. Now, armed and trained and a bit bloodthirsty, Scarlett wants to take the hunt from the country to the city, with Rosie and their neighbor/hunting partner Silas in tow. But when things become more dangerous than they had imagined, Rosie finds herself wanting a new life while Scarlett thrives more than ever in the slaying of Fenris.

I have conflicting feelings on this one. None of which are very strong. What intrigues me about this story is the sister relationship. I had the same feeling about The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares. It's that whole We're Opposites And Yet Sometimes The Same Person thing that's going on. Maybe it's because the only sister I have is 15 years younger, so this bond is somewhat foreign to me. Scarlett is fiercely (read: overly) protective; Rosie continually does things out of a She Saved My Life So I Owe Her mentality, which gets old. But there's a real love there beyond duty and shared DNA.

The Fenris thing - meh. Kind of overdone. And not all that gripping, actually. The best part was the slight blend with Little Red Riding Hood. Because the girls lure the wolves in with their red cloaks and then chop their heads off. Heh. The action sequences are good, but I wasn't breathing quickly in anticipation or anything.

The Big Mystery is pretty clear from early on, which is always a let down. I like feeling incredibly smart by guessing how it will go, getting it right, and then claiming that I KNEW IT! all along. (It brings to mind Gwenyth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam in Emma -- "Triumph?! You made a lucky guess!" "Have you never known the triumph of a luck guess?!") So when Big Mysteries are really obvious I feel cheated of my rightness.

And then there's Silas. The Love Interest. Whom Rosie falls for but doesn't want Scarlett to know, since Scarlett sees romance as a distraction from wolf gutting. Plus, he is her hunting partner, so that might get messy. The Tension comes from 1) it being unlikely that Silas feels that way towards Rosie since he's 5 years older and much cooler, and 2) keeping it all hush-hush from Scarlett. Which, as we all know, never works. But after some confessions and tears and a Close Call, all works out well.

So, I feel good about this one. But not great. 3.5 sharpened axes for Sisters Red.

Book source: Local library.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Perchance to Dream (Theatre Illuminata #2) by Lisa Matchev

When Eyes Like Stars left off, Bertie was about to set off on a quest to reclaim her dashing swashbuckler from the evil clutches of a frightening sea witch, and to also find out more about her past and to actually step outdoors for once in her life and to cavort about with Ariel and probably do some other things I can't remember.

And that is where Perchance opens. Honestly, I can't give a real summary because I myself feel a bit confused about what happens. There is lots of adventuring, which I always like, but this involved too much Maybe This Is Real And Maybe It's Not scenes and not enough witty banter/fairy pranks/Nate the Pirate. Some more Secrets From Bertie's Past are revealed, involving an interesting father-part-time-bird, the Love Triangle continues to drag on with Ariel taking the lead, a couple new charming secondary characters are introduced, and then it just sort of eeennddsssss.

But not really.

Because there is still another book on the way. Of course.

The premise of these books is quite fun, and I like the carnival/gypsy/Euro thespian feel it has going for it -- Colors! Circus men! Flying carriages! -- but in Perchance it started to drag a bit. Drag confusedly. Part of the problem, I think, is that we don't get enough insight into the characters. And because they are interesting characters it just seems like there is so much to explore with them.

Ah well. I hope better things for the next one. At least we can expect (probably) more lovely cover art.

3 out of 5 dancing elephants.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

I've been meaning to review this for a while now, and then I realized the movie has been out for like a month - so, a little overdue.

I haven't seen the movie, so I couldn't say how true to the book it is. The first time I watched the trailer though I thought that 1) I had no idea it took place in the 50s/60s, so either that's a new addition or I'm a bit thick, and 2) I really like how they capture the glow of the book. Because it's one of those reads that's just sweet and warm and chocolate chip cookies with cold milk. Take a gander:

In essence, Flipped is the story of two kids, Julie & Bryce, who live across the street from each other. They recount flashbacks and their current 8th grade year from their alternating perspectives.

I like this book because it slowly changes how you view the characters. At first, Julie is a somewhat obnoxious girl who has no concept of boundaries, and Bryce is understandably afraid of her and her propensity to chase him around the playground. As they get older Julie really comes into her own, and both Julie and Bryce's family is given more color and presence. Both learn valuable lessons about family and loyalty and understanding.

The problem for me were some of the memories that Bryce and Julie both shared views on. It just dragged it out too much and sometimes bogged down the story. I know it was important to see each side of the story, and thus understand the characters more, but sometimes it was just too much of the same event over and over.

Flipped is one of those books that all ages seem to really enjoy. Short and sweet, much like this post.
4 puffy little baby chicks for this one.

Book source: Local library.