[ Book Review ] A pretty cover does not a good book make. Sadly.

Meg’s Review: The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

by Michael Scott

Audiobook read by Denis O’Hare

I am a sucker for three things: ancient-mythology-in-modern-times, perfectly-paced prose, and pink-colored alcoholic drinks.  The first weakness saw me buy The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. The lack of the second drove me to the third.

In The Alchemyst, 700-year-old Nicholas Flamel is alive and well after discovering the secret to immortality in a book called “The Codex”. He and his wife, Perenelle, are camped out in San Francisco running a bookstore (because I guess what else would you do if you were immortal and could turn anything into gold?).  Enter the villain, John Dee, who is after the secrets contained in “The Codex” — which, incidentally, are key to returning the Dark Elders (think evil gods) back to power. And in the middle of it are twin teenagers Sophie and Josh, who, by the way, turn out to be the subject of a prophecy that may or may not end the world.

I realized early on that my main problem was that I simply wasn’t connecting with the protagonists. Did that mean that I had finally hit an age where I could no longer truly commit to a young adult novel? Are fifteen-year-old minds just too different for my decrepit-self?  How to check the theory? I thought about how I felt about the plight of other YA protagonists: Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and Katniss Everdeen. Then I decided that Sofie and Josh were just kinda dumb and annoying, and that’s why I didn’t like the book.

Time for some of the good and bad:

Continue reading

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[Book Review] Such a hot, hot mess

Meg’s Review: I Am Number Four

Pittacus Lore — I Am Number Four

 

Apparently, Number Four is in a Burning Ring of Fire. Going down down downThe only reason I picked up I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore was because the guy in the trailer for the movie was really hot. But as saying, “I’m going to see a  movie because the star is hot” seemed like a shallow approach, I grabbed the book to build a stronger defense. Terrible plan, as it turned out.

I Am Number Four is a young adult scifi thriller with an interesting premise. Number Four is one of the last surviving members of an alien species whose home planet was destroyed by invaders. He and his fellow refugees (1-9) are hiding out on Earth, biding their time until they can take back their planet. However, the invaders followed them to Earth and are systematically hunting the survivors down in numerical order. As the book opens, Number Four realizes that Number Three has died, meaning his number is literally up (har).

Sounds interesting. And it would be if the authors, James Frey (A Million Little Pieces) and Jobie Hughes working under the pen name Pittacus Lore, actually stuck to that plot summary. Instead, they somehow managed to Continue reading

[ Book Review ] It’s a Conflict alright.

Book Review: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: Conflict of Honors

(a novel of the Liaden Universe, the front cover says)

Product Description (lifted from Amazon.com):

“In the third novel of the Liaden Universe, Priscilla Delacroix is betrayed and abandoned by her shipmates. But confronting the crew will be far easier-and safer-than confronting the demons of her past.”

Upon reading this standalone novel from the Liaden Universe, however, the reader discovers that the much harder tasks falls to taking the characters and their situations seriously. I picked Conflict of Honors off the shelf up knowing full well it was a space opera. Hell, that was its selling point – the promise of angst, space, hilarious misunderstandings, and big dosage of futuristic escapism. And I was prepared to swallow mediocre prose to get it.

Instead, the authors created a monolith of flat characters, uninteresting conversations, and absurd conflicts bested only by the even more unlikely resolutions. Please note, the following will include a liberal helping of [mild] spoilers. Reader discretion advised. Continue reading