Sunday, November 25, 2012

The 13 Curses by Michelle Harrison

This book is the sequel to 13 Treasures, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Rowan, called Red, gave herself to fairies in book one, and she is now trying to find her little brother who was taken by them about two years before. Warwick, named Stitch in this book, is caught in a fairy trap and ends up helping her. Red is given a quest to complete that involves Tanya's bracelet with the thirteen treasures. Meanwhile, Tanya and Fabian are trying to find Warwick, and they become involved in the quest too. In the end, Red discovers something about her past that might be her greatest curse or her greatest treasure.

This plot had more substance than the first book, and I enjoyed it more. It has all of the main characters from the first book but added some others. There was more action, and the conflict provided a mystery that needed to be solved. The characters needed to figure out the location of tiny charms without much information about them. The curses surrounding the charms got stronger as the characters got closer to finding all of them. The book included flashbacks to when Red was younger and explained the kidnapping of her brother. This book is the second in a trilogy, and I suspect Eldrich will be a part of the final book. Red left the fairy trapped in a cellar, and he swore that she'd regret it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison

The Thirteen Treasures (Thirteen Treasures, #1)I chose this book because I saw some students reading it, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Tanya has the ability to see fairies, and they are currently tormenting her. Her mother is fed up with her stories about them, so Tanya is sent to spend time with her grandmother, who doesn't seem to like her at all. Tanya discovers that her grandmother's best friend disappeared in some nearby woods about fifty years ago, and Tanya realizes that the fairies are involved. Despite being warned to never enter the forest, Tanya knows that she must disobey in order to solve the mystery, but does she know enough to survive?

The book reminds me a bit of the Fablehaven series (type the keyword into the search box above), which I recommend. There aren't many friendly creatures in this story; there are good fairies and bad fairies that take turns ruling, and the bad ones seem to be in charge now. The plot has a mystery to solve, and characters, especially the adults, seem to be keeping secrets. The climax to the plot was surprising, so that's something to look forward to. I think the plot could have moved more quickly, so I couldn't give the book a rating of five. 13  Curses is the sequel to this book.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques

Martin the Warrior (Redwall, #6)This book is part of the Redwall series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. It shares the origin of the story of Martin, a legendary warrior mouse in Redwall. Martin is captured when he's very young and spends much of his time as a slave to Badrang, an evil stoat. Martin escapes with a few others, but he vows to return and free the rest. He also swears to kill Badrang and retrieve his father's sword. The rest of the book follows several plots. Martin has a difficult journey to reach Noonvale, the home of another mouse named Rose, where he hopes to enlist some help. Rose's brother meets a group of traveling performers who help him free additional slaves. Badrang has another problem in the form of his former partner, Clogg, who plans to take over the fortress and the slaves.

To be honest, I enjoyed the plots of this book, but there are a couple of things that might bother some readers. All of the characters are animals, but I'm okay with that. The main complaint I hear from some students is they can't understand the speech of the moles, shrews, and a couple of other characters. Some animals don't speak clearly, and the author writes the dialogue the way they sound. The rest of the characters should be easily understood, and I haven't had much trouble following the plot. The author is able to mix action and suspense with moments of humor. With regards to the series, I know there's a correct order, but I've skipped around to different books and haven't found that it's a problem. I read this book after Redwall, because Martin was mentioned in it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Michael Vey #2: Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans

Rise of the ElgenThis book is the sequel to The Prisoner of Cell 25, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Michael and the other "Glows" are trying to locate and free his mother, but they discover that she is being held in Peru. The group first returns to Idaho, but Elgen is waiting for them. Michael receives phone calls from a mysterious voice that offers them help, but he's not sure if the person can be trusted. Meanwhile, Elgen has discovered a new energy source and plans to take over the energy production in all of the major countries of the world. Hatch, the leader of the Elgen electric kids, has a falling out with the board of directors controlling Elgen, so he comes up with a new plan to use the powers of the children. Hatch on the loose with the massive power of the electric kids means trouble for the rest of the world! Michael and the Electroclan travel deep in the Amazon Rain Forest to stop him.

You must read the first book in the series before reading this one. There is background information about the characters and the plot, and I don't think you can skip it. This book has two plots going on at the same: Michael and the Electoclan are trying to free his mother, and Hatch has a conflict with the other members of Elgen. I enjoyed the interaction of the characters and each group has its own internal conflicts. I didn't like the resolution to the book, but a third book must be on the way.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Epitaph Road by David Patneaude

Epitaph RoadThis book was a classroom gift from a student, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. It takes place in the year 2097, thirty years after 97% of the male population dies from a mysterious virus called Elisha's Bear. Kellen's cousins, Tia and Summer, come to town, and the three of them uncover some overwhelming secrets. Tia had suspicions before arriving, but it looks as though the Elisha virus wasn't a random event; it was intentionally spread. And Kellen's mother is involved. He discovers that his father's life is now in danger, so he heads up north with Tia and Summer to save his father's life. However, once they arrive, they make some new discoveries that could spell the end of humans on Earth.

The conflict was very interesting, and it brings new meaning to the term "battle of the sexes". It takes concerns with society today and comes up with an unusual, and hopefully unrealistic, solution to the problems. The twist to the plot when the kids arrive at the bunker was probably predictable, but I didn't have my thinking cap on before that. The second half of the book had much more suspense than the second half, and I smell a sequel. I don't know if it will happen, but the door is open.