Friday, February 20, 2015

Kris's Mini Reviews

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.
This book was ridiculously cute and sweet. I really enjoyed it, but it wasn't perfect.  

I thought Ceony was a fantastic character. She's got struggles and she'll tell you about them, sister. She's not happy about her apprenticeship, and she complains about it, but it never becomes annoying or distracting. 

I am pretty much in love with Emery Thane, so there's that. I really need an Emery Thane in my life to make me a paper dog. Or a paper fox. OR ALL OF THE PAPER THINGS. I loved the world and the magic and the rules and everything. I do wish that we could have followed Ceony through her magic school a little, maybe to understand more about the world. Getting thrown in where we did was a little jarring for a brief moment.

My complaints about this book: it was too short. It felt rushed in certain areas. The whole journey through the heart sequence got confusing and weird and needed help.  

But overall, I loved it. It was squeaky clean to boot. A++ would read again. 
A heartbreaking, wildly inventive, and moving novel narrated by a teenage runaway, from the best-selling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless teen living in an igloo made of ice and trash bags filled with frozen leaves. Half a year earlier, a nuclear plant in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom had experienced a cataclysmic meltdown, and both of Emily's parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault. Was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to flee their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that, as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer's apartment, and inventing a new identity for herself - an identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. When Emily befriends a young homeless boy named Cameron, she protects him with a ferocity she didn't know she had. But she still can't outrun her past, can't escape her grief, can't hide forever - and so she comes up with the only plan that she can.

A story of loss, adventure, and the search for friendship in the wake of catastrophe, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is one of Chris Bohjalian's finest novels to date - breathtaking, wise, and utterly transporting.
Um, I LOVED this book. It sucked me in and spit me out. I could not stop reading to save my life.  

There are soooo many mature themes here - prostitution (underage), homelessness, major death incidents, and drug abuse. I was recovering from surgery when I read this book, and greatly enjoyed taking my Oxycontin along with the characters (though I took mine responsibly and it was prescribed to me, so there.) Definitely an adult book. No children allowed. 

The story was very interesting and very convincing. There was science to back up the issues, and the whole idea of the "incident" was enough to scare the pants off me.  

The characters were fascinating. I loved Emily so much, and I loved that she loved Cameron and tried so very hard to take care of him. My heart broke for her over and over again.  

The ending was very interesting. The chapters leading up to the ending were well done, and the ending itself was kind of... rude. Just because it's like YOU get to decide if Emily makes it or not. I'm leaning towards yes. But who knows? 

Anyway. Definitely recommend for those who enjoy survivalist type books, but only if you can handle mature themes.  

PS: I LOVED how Bohjalian worked Emily Dickinson in over and over throughout the book. It was my most favorite thing ever. 
Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
Why wasn't this book around when I was a kid? I would have eaten this stuff up. 

I loved the characters. Sure, the love triangle was trite and made me roll my eyes more than once. But I loved Alexa. I loved that she was so strong and amazing (until it came to the boys and then she was all melty. Eye roll.) The action parts, though, those were awesome. Alexa's grief and struggles came alive and were all very real to me.  

I wouldn't recommend this book to younger teens as there are mature themes in it, including murder, other violence, and rape. These issues aren't solved within the book either - but they seem to be coming close to being solved by the end. The end is very hopeful and uplifting. I can only hope that Book 2 lives up to the un-put-downable-ness that was Defy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment