Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Beyonders #1: A World Without Heroes By Brandon Mull

A World Without Heroes (Beyonders, #1)Jason is transported to a strange world ruled by a ruthless wizard named Maldor. One word spoken in Maldor's presence can defeat him, but the word is made up of six separate, secret syllables. Jason accidentally learns one syllable which immediately makes him one of Maldor's enemies. His only hope of survival is to search the kingdom, find the entire word, and defeat Maldor. Of course, Maldor is trying to stop Jason, and there are many thieves and creatures that would happily kill him. Jason finds another Beyonder, Rachel, and they are joined by various characters in their quest. They are not aware that one of their companions is actually a spy for Maldor.

The plot is pretty straightforward, but the solution to the conflict is unique. Jason faces a unique internal conflict in his character, as Maldor keeps track of his progress. He takes on the quest even though he has no connection to the world, and later, Maldor offers  him a life of luxury if he gives it up. A couple characters have strange characteristics. One character is able to lose parts of his body, even his head, and reattach them later. Another character has died nine times but is able to regrow, with all of his memories, if the seed at the base of his neck is planted after his death. The story's climax has an unexpected twist.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1)Day is on the Republic's most wanted list, and he takes great efforts to keep his identity unknown. He secretly keeps watch over his family's home as the Republic sweeps through the neighborhoods looking for signs of the plague. He's confused one day when the Republic marks their door with a three-lined X, and he breaks into a hospital looking for medicine. Day injures a soldier while escaping, but the soldier ends up dead. The soldier's sister, June, vows to hunt down his killer and exact revenge. She goes undercover on the streets, becomes friends with Day, but then has him arrested. Day is sentenced to death, but June learns some facts about him that make her question the Republic. Maybe Day wasn't the killer. Maybe the Republic is intentionally making people sick. Maybe her friends will become her enemies.

This book is a nice dystopian adventure. Day and June are the protagonist and antagonist, but they have a complicated relationship. June is angry and is set on avenging her brother's death; she loved him very much. Day is determined to help people; he would never kill anyone. The Republic is like many governments where the citizens blindly believe whatever they're told. The citizens can't imagine their government would intentionally harm others, and their enemies may not be as evil as they believe. June's thinking does a complete U-turn as her whole world is turned upside down.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Red Dragon Academy #1: Dreamwalker by Rhys Bowen and C.M. Broyles

Dreamwalker (The Red Dragon Academy, #1)After her mother's death, Addy travels to England with her aunt and discovers she was actually adopted. She's enrolled in the Red Dragon Academy, and the maze of hallways winding through the old castle is confusing. She finds her art teacher has painted an exact replica of the the one Addy just finished, and her friend Raj's math assignment is written identically to hers. However, she is frightened when her dreams of flying aboard a red dragon, seeing a girl in a gray robe, and being grabbed by a woman in white seem too real. The lines between reality and her dreams become blurred. Six of her classmates are unaware of their own special powers, and Addy discovers she has the ability to travel to another world. The One is waiting for her there, and traveling to the world without truly understanding her powers may be her doom. He hopes to control
Addy's rare power to control the minds of everyone.

This book is similar to the Harry Potter series in that the students are discovering their powers while at the school. However, most of the students are normal humans, and the main characters are unaware they possess any powers. Strange things happen, but the characters explain them away with logic, or wonder. You know Addy's adoption will be important as the plot moves on; it explains everything that is going on. It was a little difficult understanding how her powers actually worked, but I assume it will be less of an issue in the next book. It seems like Addy's dreams transport her and cause things to happen, but then she ends up back where she was when she wakes up, sometimes. I like books where the characters must use their individual talents to work as a team, and this book fits that description. I'm anxious to read the next book in the series.

The Unwanteds #5: Island of Shipwrecks by Lisa McMann

Island of Shipwrecks (Unwanteds #5)After rescuing Sky's mother in the previous book, Alex's group starts sailing back home. The ship is drawn toward an island and is damaged on the sharp rocks. They meet three very old men and discover hurricanes hit this island every day before disappearing. Marcus used to to visit the men, but Alex doesn't see any way to escape the island and return to Artime. Simber is gone, the ship is wrecked, and Alex has no idea how they can get away from the powerful currents and storms. Meanwhile, Aaron, Alex's twin brother, is still plotting to attack Artime, and he's discovered a couple of dangerous allies. One of them has military experience and machines, while the other has magic. Aaron isn't the most gifted thinker, but even he realizes his new "friends" might be traitors to his reign as high priest.

You will need to read the first four books in the series to understand what's going on. While this book has elements of adventure, it lacks the action found in previous books. Alex and his group spend their days exploring the wrecks and trying to repair their ship. The three men add some interesting information, and they share medical information with Henry. Alex and Sky are able to fix their relationship. Aaron is still intent on ruling everything, but he continues to bumble along. With the secretary killed in the previous book, Liam takes over as Aaron's advisor. Aaron would be lost without him, but Liam secretly hopes to stop him from taking over Artime. This book is not my favorite in the series, but I enjoy the overall plot.