Category Archives: Young Adult

Chapter 7: Fear

First real review in awhile.  I’m still not sure I like the format I’ve been using but I’m also not quite sure how to tweak it either (mostly because I get sick of copy/pasting the format every time I got to post a review).  So, gonna change things up a little today…or try to.  We’ll see since old habits are hard to break.

Anyway, today’s review is on Michael Grant’s latest release: Fear.  

Don’t be afraid. At least the flesh eating bugs are gone.

Fear is the fifth book in the Gone novel series, a series that is planned for six books.  At some point I should probably go back and talk about the first four books, but as I’ve stated before on this blog: I review as I read them.  But, a quick summary for those of you who AREN’T familiar with Grant’s series, Gone is a young adult dystopian series set in present day California.  The story begins when everyone over the age of 15 vanishes from a 20 mile radius of the town, leaving behind a bunch of scared kids and a dome that means the children are now all cut off from the outside world.  Things, as you can imagine, take a very dark turn from there.  The series has been described in the past as “Lord of the Flies meets Stephen King” and I tend to repeat that summary a lot because it is a VERY good short summary of what to expect from this book.  I’m sure you can guess where the LotF aspects come in, but the King aspects are apparent when you start to realize that the dome isn’t the first strange thing to happen to this town in California.  Grant gives us a series with mutant animals, cannibalism, radioactive Eldritch abominations, and kids with special powers fighting against the kids without special powers.

The Gone novel series quickly became one of my favorite examples of dystopian literature and Fear proved to be just as exciting as its predecessors.  It follows the same layout as books before it: jumping between character scenes and starting each chapter with a countdown to an unspecified event.  I will say that I’m still not a fan of the jumping between characters aspect of these novels, but really that is its one weakness and it DOES tend to stick to the same handful of characters when it switches.  The confusing part, however, is when it switches mid-chapter, which it does…a lot.  However, on the plus side, it does give you a sense of how one character’s actions effect the actions of another who, int turn, effects the actions of another and so on.  My favorite thing about the series has always been the countdown at the start of each chapter.  It really helps to up the tension in the novels because you never can be sure what the countdown is FOR, only that each chapter decreases in time.  There’s something about seeing a chapter go from “5 hours, 15 minutes” to “3 hours” that just really gets your heart racing.

Fear itself deals with Sam and the others’ continuing adventures inside the FAYZ.  The dome around them is starting to change and the communities have been split between those that still live near the beach with Albert and Cain and those that have moved to the lake with Sam.  Everyone is, of course, still dealing with the bugs epidemic of the last book and Astrid is still in shock over what she did to her own brother: Little Pete.  Diana is pregnant with a rapidly growing fetus who is the child of Cain and a mysterious force is messing with some of the children, turning them into abominations.  Worst of all the gaiaphage is starting to stir again and seems to be deeply afraid about the changes occurring to the dome as much as anyone else.  This is also the first book where we get to see outside the dome and find out what the parents have been up to and how things are being handled by the world.

I can’t say for sure if this was my favorite of the series, but it was certainly a fun buildup.  You can tell this is a penultimate book because a lot of things are set-up that you know are going to be paid off in the sequel (Diana’s baby, the dome becoming transparent, Little Pete’s transformation, etc.).  I think, however, that if you have liked the previous installments of the series that you will find a great deal of enjoyment in this one.  As usual it is EXTREMELY difficult to put down and I know I personally finished it in about a day’s time.

If any of this interests you, I suggest starting from the first novel because this is NOT a series you can jump in halfway through.  In fact, it’s kind of difficult to talk about if you haven’t read the series either.  I think my favorite part about this particular installment was finding out just what has been going on OUTSIDE the dome and then seeing the parents’ reactions when they get to see what their kids have been up to.  I can only IMAGINE the kind of horror THAT’S going to bring, especially since by the book’s end the kids are now like a bunch of fish in an aquarium.  That’s going to present some interesting things in the last installment, I can already tell.

Rating: 4 out of 5 crazy, psychopathic children

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Chapter 6: Voices of Dragons

Haven’t posted in awhile and I apologize for that.  I’ve been busy with job hunting and interviews and the like.  I’m also thinking about tweaking my review style since this is still a kind of learning process.  But, we’ll see how it goes.  For now it’s time for a review!

And yet I see a bland chick featured on the cover more so than a dragon, disappointing.

Title: Voices of Dragons

Author: Carrie Vaughn

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Warnings: Death and teenagers

Time it Took to Read:  A few days

Times I’ve Read it Before: 0

Why I Picked This Book?

Many times when I go to my local library I will grab books that jump out at me.  My section at the library is mainly the YA section just because there’s a lot there that I’m not necessarily interested in BUYING but have decided it would be interesting to check out (this is how I wound up with I am Number Four as a side note).  This book I grabbed for a few reasons.  One, the author’s name was familiar to me (though at the time I couldn’t remember where from, turned out I had marked one of her books as “To Read” on goodreads.com).  Two, dragons.  I’m not sure I really need to elaborate on number two but suffice to say I LOVE dragons.  I love the concept of dragons and I especially love books about dragons where they talk and help out the protagonist and are generally awesome.  The premise seemed interesting too, but I’ll get to that in the next section.  Anyway, I picked this book mainly for the dragons and this is my first book by Carrie Vaughn so it’s not like I had that to go on aside from recognizing the name which I guess is something (especially if you know how bad I am with names).

What’s the Book About?

DRAGONS!  Okay, probably more about the teenager DEALING with a dragon than the dragons, but that is where this book is a bit misleading.  Anyway, the setup is that it’s a world like ours but with dragons.  Dragons are not mythological and in fact we sort of woke them up when we did all that bombing in World War II.  The dragons were kind of pissed off at the humans and things were not pretty for awhile, but then they made this treaty and everything sort of shifted into a Cold War deal.  Fast forward to “present day” and we meet our main character Kay.  Kay is a teenager and likes the outdoors much to the disappointment of her bff who is all about fashion and such (because that’s how all friendships work, there is always the outdoor girl and her disappointed ‘why don’t you wear a dress just ONCE’ friend).  Kay accidentally stumbles into Dragon Territory while climbing one day and meets a dragon.

The dragon and girl, as you can imagine, bond.  They learn about each other’s races and also figure out that they can fly together which was pretty cool (kinda like How To Train Your Dragon, but without the difficulty of lack of communication).  Actually, now that I think about it, this book plays out a lot like that movie (can’t speak for the book series How To Train Your Dragon, but you get my point).  Kay tries to keep her meetings with the dragon a secret but, of course, it eventually gets out and causes all  sorts of problems with the military and government of BOTH races.  Eventually, Kay decides the only way to bring peace to both is to offer herself up as a “sacrifice” and fly off with her dragon to a mysterious location that is supposed to be a safe haven for human/dragon friendships.

What did I think?

I’ll be honest, How To Train Your Dragon did this better.  True, HTTYD is set in viking times and the dragons can’t talk, but I honestly cared more about Hiccup than I did about Kay in this story.  Kay is just…Kay.  She’s not a very compelling character in my opinion and honestly I feel like she was…TOO teenagery (yes, red squiggle underline, I know that is not a word).  I just couldn’t relate to her and she just seemed like something pulled out of a typical teen movie (this wasn’t helped by her best friend and their “typical high school problems”).  I get that I’m not a teenager and that this character was not meant for me to relate to 100% but I feel like the author could have done a better job of conveying a HUMAN and not just a TEENAGER.  I just really could have cared less about Kay and her problems.

Our dragon on the other hand.  I wanted to learn MORE about him.  I think this story would have been 10 times more interesting if it had been more from his perspective and dealing with these strange humans.  In a book about dragons I want to hear more about the DRAGON issues than the human issues and we just don’t get that a lot here.  I think partly that was done to set up the mystery of the location and make the dragons seem like a threat, but the book is supposed to be about both parties coming to terms with each other and the only thing we get is the human POV.

Otherwise, it was an okay read.  I found it dragging at points and the real fun stuff doesn’t start until well into the book.  However, I think if you are in this for the dragons you might be better off finding another series because I just did not get much of a dragon fix out of this book.  I believe there is supposed to be a sequel though so hopefully that aspect improves in the next book.

Rating: 2 out of 5 dragons in the air.