April 20, 2009

Valiant by Holly Black

Valiant by Holly Black
Date Started: April 19, 2009 Date Finished: April 20, 2009
Summary: Val catches her mother and her boyfriend together and decides to run away to New York City. There she meets a group of strange street kids and get entangled in a plot between the feuding faerie worlds, the Seelie and the Unseelie court. Val falls in love with a monster, but learns the true meaning of beauty while trying to uncover mysterious deaths of faeries around the city and to clear the name of the man (half troll) she loves.
Likes: Thank God I didn't not give up after the first book. The first book, Tithe, was a frustrating read. Black has redeemed herself with Valiant. The characters, almost every single one of them, were believable and tragically flawed. There was not a character I disliked and it was amazing to see how realistically Black could portray these characters. It was interesting to see their progress into madness as they became hooked on a faerie glamour potion that they called "Nevermore" (or shortened to Never). As the kids get increasingly more hooked on the potion/drug, they do dangerous things with the temporary powers that they receive and they must deal with the consequences of their actions (doesn't this sounds familiar a la Gemma Doyle series). The kids do frightening things, like throwing a kitten in front of an oncoming train and causing another person to kill someone else. It is interesting to see what lengths they will go to continue their Never fix. The story is just so raw, I'm glad that the author doesn't hold back the gruesome details.
Dislikes: The language is still a little off to me, but that may just be a stylistic thing. Sometimes the words sentences are unnecessarily long and it's a little bit irritating to read. A lot of times, mostly when nothing is happening (this is when the problems seems to get worse), I find myself rewriting some of the sentences is in my head. This really didn't hinder the plot or the character development, just a minor irritation.
Overall: I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. I was kind of thinking that it would just be a retelling of the same story with different characters. It was not that type of story. This story could stand-alone from the other story . Some of the most important events were vaguely alluded to in this current story. This book could stand alone from the other, but they still go hand in hand together. I'm interested in reading the third book, Ironside.

April 16, 2009

Tithe by Holly Black

Tithe by Holly Black
Date Started: April 7, 2009 Date Finished: April 16,2009
Summary: Kaye has been able to see and interact with fairies for most of her life. Then she moved all over the East Coast, following her mother's dreams of being a Rock Star. Kaye is forced to drop out of high school and work full time to make money for her family. After a mysterious attack, Kaye and her mother move back to New Jersey and Kaye begins seeing the Fairies again. After seeing an injured man named Roiben on her way home, she realizes that helping him has thrown her into a world between two fairy courts and into the war that is brewing between them.
Likes: I like Roiben. The book was pretty good and a little strange, but in a good way. I really liked some of the description, especially when they were in the Unseelie Court. The author holds nothing back in terms of the bad things that happen in the book. The part a little bit before the end was my favorite and it was really a gruesome but wonderful part to read. It was pretty gorey for a young adults book.

Dislikes: Some of the language was a little overblown and the plot was a little farfetched (I know it was a fantasy, but still). At any rate, there was a lot of telling instead of showing. For some reason, I couldn't emotionally connect with Kaye, there was just something off about her. The plot twist was unexpected, but somewhat predictable. There was something that was bothering me about this book, but I couldn't place my finger on it. Probably because everything was solved so quickly. Kaye always knew the answer to everything, even though her problems got worse when she didn't use discretion. It was a little bit annoying that it kept happening almost all the time. And the part with Janet? I was totally confused and was wondering why it happened. As much as I liked the book, I wasn't about to read that part again because I really just wanted to be finished with it.

Overall: It was interesting. I wasn't exactly captivated with it, but it was a fun read. I just think that I may be getting to old for Young Adult Fantasy. This is something I might have liked when I was about 14 or 15. I still enjoyed it, but some of the things Kaye worried about were too trivial and I would have found them trivial as a 14/15 year old as well. Sometimes I wonder whether adults writing for children realize that children and teenagers can have deep thoughts too. I will be reading the other two, Valiant and Ironside. I kind of hope they get better as they get more in depth because I feel like this book barely skimmed the surface of what goes on in the Faerie realm.

April 6, 2009

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Levithan, Cohn

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Date Started: April 3, 2009 Date Finished: April 6, 2009
Summary: Nick is a poor schmuck getting over his insanely hot girlfriend. Norah is virtually taking care of her sister at a night club. The adventure starts when Nick sees his ex girlfriend and asks Norah to be his five minute girl friend. Instead of going insane on this kid for asking such a strange question, Norah responds by kissing him. This sets off a night of heartbreak, heartache, and a song written on Ludlow street.
Likes: I love the references to New York. I can almost picture the streets, the subway, the feeling of the town. It was a really nice read. There was a point in time where I was thinking, I am I reading this book? I'm clearly a couple years older and than the characters and feel a little awkward not knowing what was going on most of the time in terms of conversation and dialogue (the bands were lost on me) but in the end, the story reminded me of why I enjoy reading Young Adult fiction so much. Nick and Norah isn't hung up on beautiful phrases or artsy fartsy writer-y type things. It just is. The characters are themselves and don't hide it. They make mistakes, they own up to those mistakes, and move on. There's something sweet and simple in this novel, just two teens having an adventure one night. It's reminiscent of just hanging with two friends. It's kind of like being a part of a group where you know two of your friends like each other, but they aren't admiting it. This is a story where some things go right, some things go wrong, and somethings just don't go at all (Jessie!Yugo). It reminds me why I love young adult fiction. It doesn't spend time on the hang ups of language, it's simple and easy to read, but also has many complex layers.
Dislikes: I'm not really into the rock scene so a lot of the band humor is lost on me. I kind of feel like I'm reading an inside joke that everyone is laughing at and I get it, but it's not really funny because I'm not apart of the scene. There was a lot of unnecessary cussing. At some point in the middle of the book, I was hoping that it would be over, but I'm glad I stuck with it because it had a rewarding ending.
Overall: I liked this book. Rock isn't really my scene so some of the references were lost on me. As a reader, you can tell that Cohn and Levithan have good writing chemistry together and aren't afraid to let people in on their inside jokes. It's pretty cool to see authors collaborating. I can't wait to read their next book and to read the collaboration between John Green and David Levithan.


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