The Book Blag

Book reviews over anything and everything

In My Mailbox October 26, 2010

MailboxIn My Mailbox is a weekly meme sponsored by The Story Siren. I have been very lucky the last couple of weeks, and I won two books from blog giveaways! Yesterday, I received my copy of The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff that I won from Melissa’s Books and Things Halloween Giveaway. You can see Melissa’s review of The Replacement at her blog. Today, I received Beat by Stephen Jay Schwartz that I won through a giveaway at Cheryl’s Book Nook. You can read Cheryl’s review of Beat here. I want to thank them for my upcoming reads, just in time for Halloween! Reviews to follow after I’ve read the books.
 
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff:
 
Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.
 
Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs. (Description from Goodreads)
 
Beat by Stephen Jay Schwartz:
 
LAPD Robbery-Homicide Detective Hayden Glass has always had trouble controlling his urges. No longer trolling the streets looking for working girls, he has a new obsession–the Internet. Infatuated with a woman he finds on a website, Hayden Glass’s sex addiction drags him to San Francisco and into a web of corruption and crime.
 
Glass’s search for this woman leads him to a massive sex slave trade, run by the Russian mafia and protected by a group of powerful and corrupt San Francisco cops. Glass gets co-opted by the FBI to aid in their investigation…but his presence is doing much more harm than good. (Description from Goodreads)

 

Review: The Hunger Games October 6, 2010

Filed under: Book Reviews — Carrie @ 9:17 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Once known as North America, Panem is comprised of 12 districts under the control of a callous dictatorship. Citizens of Panem are poor and starving, and two children from each district are forced to compete in an annual televised fight to the death — The Hunger Games — as punishment for an uprising long ago. The story follows sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to take the place of her little sister, Prim.
 
The Hunger Games takes a hard look at the effects of political unrest and oppression on young people. The author’s take on this concept is fascinating, and the characterization of the protagonist is positively gripping. Katniss is a survivalist. She carries a manner of stoicism about starvation and death — the intriguing part of her characterization is the transition from indifferent acceptance of the Capitol’s power over her situation to the spark of rebellion that rises up in her as she experiences the injustice of the Games.
 
Speaking of the Games… once we’re in the arena with Katniss, this book turns into a non-stop thriller. Danger, fighting, desperation, sneakiness, mercy, cold-bloodedness, and even some cool sci-fi elements comes into play here (mutated animals and creepy medical advances are a couple of examples).
 
The author, Suzanne Collins, manages to include the requisite romantic component (between Katniss and her male counterpart in the Games from District 12, Peeta, as well as her undefined relationship with best friend back home, Gale) present in most young adult fiction aimed at girls. The interesting thing about this romantic twist is that Katniss is playing a part. It’s obvious there are some stirrings of true feeling, but for the most part Katniss is worried about staying alive and using the relationship with Peeta as a survival technique (I won’t go into more detail for fear of spoiling the story).
 
At times the romantic element feels forced and unnecessary — the concept behind The Hunger Games is so compelling on its own — but the plot is definitely driven by the circumstances between Katniss and Peeta. Compared with other popular young adult novels, this one deals with teenage romance in a very mature way, and thankfully, ooey-gooey feelings do not dominate the storyline.
 
This is a modern classic in the making… I was reminded of Ayn Rand’s Anthem when reading this book. It is riveting and horrifying. The novel makes serious issues of injustice, death, and oppression palpable for young people. Excellent characterization, eloquent writing, and poignant moments pervade The Hunger Games. This book kept me up at night, and gave me nightmares (but in a good way). I don’t believe in censoring books from children, but ages 12 and up will probably take something profound away from the story more so than those younger… it may be extra frightening and the message might be lost on the very young. Great book for getting non-readers hooked.
 
My rating: 5 stars