Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hedgie's Must Reads: October 2012

The month of falling leaves and pumpkins is coming to an end, and I thought that it would be fun to start having a Best Reads for every month. So here's October's, along with a little blurb on why Hedgie and I thought it was so awesome, and a link to my full review.
The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (4/5)
Anthony Horowitz outdoes himself with this one; he imitates Conan Doyle's writing style perfectly, stays true to the characters and the Canon timeline, and deftly weaves two very engaging and very awesome mysteries together into a twist that is surprising. While the purpose of the House of Silk is rather suggestive, the Author handles content with extreme delicacy, but this is still a book better suited for an older audience. Sherlockians and mystery fans alike will gobble this up in no time, and will be left feeling satisfied in the end. Sherlockians especially will appreciate some of the nods the Author makes towards the original stories in the Canon.

City of Swords by Mary Hoffman (4/5)
I've had several criticisms for past books in this series: the protagonists annoyed me, the plot progressed very slowly, et cetera. But this installment of the Stravaganza series did not disappoint me. The Author wastes no time in delving into the exciting and fast-paced storyline, weaving reintroductions to old characters skillfully in, without upsetting the pace of the story. While Laura isn't her strongest Stravaganti protagonist, and the romance is very hurried, there's something about Laura that make her easily liked. The book ends satisfactorily, but also leaves plenty of potential for possible sequels. Fans of Mary Hoffman's Stravaganza series will not be disappointed. While the book is listed as a Young Adult, it is appropriate for most ages.

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts (4/5)
This is an apocalyptic book that genuinely creeped me out, and in a good way. It plays on the idea that deep down, people really aren't basically good. The writing style starts out choppy, but it smooths out as the story progresses. The story jumps right into the action, and doesn't let up until the end, and while there are four different protagonists, each with their own "side-kicks," the story has a very isolated feel. The violence isn't graphic, but the Author doesn't shy away from it, either, making the book better for the audience level it's intended for: Young Adult. Fans of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction will love this - especially Readers who enjoy books that explore the darker side of human nature.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (3/5)
After reading this Author's book Lament, I didn't have high hopes for this book. I loved The Scorpio Races, but suspected that it was a happy accident. Well, Maggie Stiefvater proved me wrong. Her writing in this is phenomenal, the storyline highly original, and the variety of characters add a lot of dimension to the story. The romance is blessedly a minor side-plot, and the Author focuses more on Gansey's quest and foreshadowing for the book's sequel. Unfortunately, the book has a lot of language, and if it wasn't for that, I would have totally given this book five stars. That, and some of the themes - family abuse and the like - make this for an older teen audience.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George (4/5)
One of the best retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon I've read in a long time. While the protagonist is only called "the lass," she still managed to worm her way into my heart, and her personality makes up for the lack of a name. I still maintain that this book ought to have been written in first person, but it being in third person doesn't lessen the book's magic. The Author also brings a lot of life to the two animal characters - Rollo the loyal and cynical wolf, and the isbjorn (polar bear), quiet and caring and patient. This is, overall, a fun and engaging adventure, filled with beautiful scenery and magic that reminds you why you loved fairy tales in the first place; any age will enjoy it.

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (4/5)
Filled with foreshadowing, Rick Riordan's trademark humor, a good dose of drama, and tons of plot twists, this third installment in The Heroes of Olympus series was not disappointing. The Author has created a very dynamic "duo" (or a dynamic septet, if you want to get technical) with all the different personalities, and he keeps the action up from beginning to end, while laying out the groundwork for Book Four, and leaving the Reader with enough questions to drive them crazy until The House of Hades is released next year. He once more demonstrates his knowledge of Greek and Roman mythology by tossing in lots of really obscure gods and goddesses, which I really enjoyed and appreciated. Fans will absolutely love this one.

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (5/5)
This book shocked me in a completely good way. I expected it to be fairly good, but didn't let my hopes get too high, just in case I was proven wrong. From beginning to end, I was completely absorbed in the story. This Author knows how to keep her Readers guessing, and she also knows how to tie a mystery up with thoroughly satisfying explanations. Throw in an eccentric inventor-uncle, a strong female protagonist who holds her own, two equally wonderful male protagonists, a mute boy who completely steals your heart, a strange house filled with secrets, a snotty aunt Readers enjoy hating, and underground ballrooms, and you have the ideal Victorian mystery. Appropriate for any age, girl-and-guy read, ideal of mystery fans.

  • Envy by Gregg Olsen (Worst Book of the Month)
  • The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (Best Book of the Month)

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