I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1) by Pittacus Lore


Wow. It’s been 25 days since I’ve last posted. This is way overdue. I have just been very busy. So, here is my latest review, which is of Pittacus Lore’s I Am Number Four.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Book Rating: 3 out of 5

Genres: Fantasy, Sci-fi, Romance, Post Apocalyptic (in a sense)

Lorien, a planet near Earth, was destroyed by the Mogadorians. During the chaos, 9 children were sent to Earth with mentors to continue the race of the Lorics and someday fight back. These 9 children will develop powers, train, and will have to work together if they want to stand a chance against the Mogadorians. They are still being hunted down, except that they can only be killed in order, thanks to a charm cast by one of the elders.

In order to survive, they must keep moving from place to place, and shed all of their identities, and everything they’ve ever known, just to stay safe. But it isn’t enough. The first 3 were killed. And he’s next.

I Am Number Four was generously lent to me from a friend, who offered when I told him I had nothing to read. I accepted it with thanks, thinking that I’d like it, because I’d seen the movie, and it wasn’t that bad.

Overall, it was an okay book. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t one of those books where I told every single person I knew and bugged them to read it. It was like, “Read, and move on.”

The characters were probably one of the better points of the story. Four, who’s also known as John Smith for the majority of the book (he was Daniel Jones at the beginning, when they lived in Florida), was the most developed character in the book. I knew almost everything about him. He was born on Lorien, and was raised there until the Mogadorians attacked and destroyed everything; he was sent to Earth with his Cêpan, Henri (at least, that was the name he chose for himself). He had to move frequently, and change his identities along with them, because he could never risk revealing himself to the Mogadorians. He’s also fifteen, but he’s been on Earth for 10 years.

My favourite character, though, was Sam. He was so awesome as the nerd that actually wasn’t that stereotypically nerdy, like they’re usually portrayed. He was pretty well developed, too. He seemed very realistic, like you could find him at school or on the street.  I can’t really say much right now, because some of his background will spoil the story, which isn’t really the best thing to do in a spoiler free review.

I liked the antagonism between John and Mark (Mark is Sarah’s jock exboyfriend that she dumped because she realized that he was a total jerk and that she was growing more and more like him). On the first day, John picks a fight with Mark, which I think wasn’t really the smartest idea, because he’s only a sophomore, and Mark’s a senior. Plus, he couldn’t risk revealing himself as an alien with his superpowers.

The pacing of the book could’ve been improved. There were a couple parts that I thought were unnecessary, and it sometimes dragged. The climax felt like it would go on forever, which isn’t the best thing, because climaxes, in those types of stories, are rather fast paced, energetic, and are supposed to leave your heart thumping (at least, if they’re told well). It was too long for my liking. The sentences were really long, so I guess that contributed to that fact. I wouldn’t be able to think in really long sentences if that were happening to me. But I can’t really tell you what that is.

The romance (yes, there is romance)…well. The only thing I can think of now is the word “cute”. John Smith falls in love with Sarah Hart, who’s a year older than him. I find that he does the noble heroic thing a bit too often, which I guess is understandable considering that he is a hero in a sense. Think Edward protecting Bella (except John is nothing like Edward but in that. Same goes for Sarah). They also got rather sentimental at times.

The version that I read had a bonus, which was Sarah’s diary. I got to see things from her point of view, which was very interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read any books like that, where there’s a personal account of another, slightly minor character in it.

Also, there were quite a lot of flashbacks and dreams in I Am Number Four. At times, they were good for giving some backstory, and explaining things without giving huge, irritating info dumps. They broke the flow of the story if they were just inserted at random times, though, and I could’ve done without a few of them.

In my opinion, I Am Number Four is an okay book, but not exactly my cup of tea. I still enjoyed it, though.

Airborn (Matt Cruse #1) by Kenneth Oppel


Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Genres: YA Adventure, Fantasy, Steampunk

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the airship Aurora, a luxury liner ferrying wealthy people from one place to anotherIt’s the life he’s always wanted; his father was a sailmaker and he believes he’s lighter than air. After rescuing a dying old man from a balloon wreck, he is told that there are beautiful creatures in the sky, ones that humans (except him) have never seen before. Skeptical, Matt learns that the man died the next day.

A year later, Kate de Vries goes aboard the Aurora, intending to see what her grandfather saw when he set out on a balloon expedition. Only after befriending her, and surviving a pirate attack can Matt start to believe that what the old man said could be true.

Kenneth Oppel is an amazing writer. I had the pleasure of meeting him a while back at a festival over here, where he was promoting Half Brother, another book of his. Since it was a festival, and he’s a pretty big deal, along with the fact that there were hundreds of people there, I was mainly ignored after he autographed my paper, even after I said that I loved his books. Hurts. Anyway, I read Airborn during Grade 5; it was totally awesome, so I immediately read the second book that I got from the library with Airborn (by the way, “airborn” is not a typo). I freaked out when I found out we didn’t have Starclimber, and it was this huge deal for me because it was like, the big finale where your mind will probably explode of awesomeness. Just saying.

One of the main reasons why I really liked this book was because it was from a guy’s perspective. I haven’t mentioned this before, because I realized it just now. It’s balancing to read from his point of view, because I find that usually in books girls portray things differently than guys do, especially if it’s in first person. I find that usually, if the protagonist is a teen girl living in the present (even if she’s in a paranormal book, as long as she’s a teenager), then the chances are pretty good that there’s going to be a boy introduced sooner or later, or there already is a boy, and she just spends time thinking about him, and other things that are typically on a stereotype-fitting teen girl’s mind. Sometimes it’s good to take a breather from that, and lose yourself in other perspectives.

The plot was great; although since I read it a couple years ago and I read it again recently, I can’t recall exactly when I was surprised. It had all the makings of a great plot. When the book started, it was already exciting, because Matt was on crow’s nest duty, and had sighted the failing hot air balloon. It was also he who had to swing out of the crane in midair, more than a couple thousand feet high. So already then, you’re on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what happens (obviously he makes it; why else would the book be more than 300 pages?). When Mr. Oppel feeds you the plot, everything’s paced excellently. There were no drags, as far as I could tell, and nothing was resolved too quickly and left me unsatisfied. The climax was nail-biting, thrilling, and eye-widening. In relation to other books, the climax was longer, although people could have different thoughts on when it began and ended. Nevertheless, it’s exciting.

Matt and Kate are awesome. Kate is, in my opinion, an awesome role model for girls. She’s headstrong, intelligent, and independent. Sneaky, too; she outwitted her dry chaperone many times in Airborn. Matt is brave, realistic, and ambitious. He doesn’t seem like the perfect hero with no flaws and will save the damsel in distress (like Kate would let him), which is why I like him. He’s also very comfortable in his surroundings, and has always believed that he belonged in the sky. Like I said before, he’s realistic, so he’s got problems of his own, like how he’ll support his mother and sisters home in Lionsgate City (he’s Canadian, and Kate comes from Lionsgate City, too), because his father died on the job and he’s the main breadwinner in the family. A couple times you see that Matt gets jealous of Bruce Lunardi, the son of the owner of the manufacturer of the Aurora, especially since he took the position that Matt wanted, he’s rich, apparently handsome, and he knew Kate before Matt did.

There’s some romance in this book, mainly between Matt and Kate. It’s not really focused on much, because the main plot is different, and I don’t even think that it’s a major subplot. It’s the second one, in my opinion. Mr. Oppel drops hints, though, that Matt likes Kate. I won’t be a spoilsport and tell you what happens in the end, except that they keep in touch.

The setting is really unique. I don’t know if there’s an official word for it, because it seems like it’s in a different universe, where some things have changed, like the fact that airships are there instead of airplanes, there’s a ship called the Titanica, and there are places like Europa, and the some of the oceans are called Atlanticus and Pacificus. It’s familiar, but different at the same time. It’s not a dystopia, or a utopia. Also, you can’t really put a finger on when it happens. All I can figure out is that it’s not in present day, because life seems simpler and it isn’t muddled with the technology that we have today.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel is an awesome book. If you like steampunk, fantasy and adventure, you will not be disappointed! Airborn will leave you amazed, and if you liked that one, you’ll love Skybreaker and Starclimber! I will definitely review those.

I Need Your Help


Hello!

Lately I’ve noticed that I reviewed and read a lot of books that could be considered  along the lines of chick lit. I don’t mean, like hardcore chick lit (if there really is such a thing as “hardcore chick lit”), but only a few of my books don’t have “romance” written in the genres section in my reviews. I mean, I know that it can be a major part of any YA book, it’s just that I need a book that isn’t so… girly. It can get tiring after a while.

I know that the last couple of books I’ve reviewed lately actually haven’t really been that girly, but that’s because I read those books a while ago (but I still remember them).

Right now I’m reading The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, which is a good break from all that fluffy stuff. I’m also curious to see what other people think, and I want other opinions. So, I;m going to ask you something: what book should I read next?

Comment below to tell me! I’d greatly appreciate it.

Book and Movie Review: Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen


Flipped 

Written by Wendelin Van Draanen, and directed by Rob Reiner

Rating: 9.5 out of 10 ( I know I usually make it out of 5, but I couldn’t manage it now because it was nearly perfect. )

Genres: YA Chick Lit, Coming of Age, Romance

Bryce Loski is the new kid in the neighborhood. Juli Baker’s the only girl in the famiy, and there aren’t any kids her age, until Bryce moves across the street. Juli thinks it’s love at first sight, while Bryce isn’t so sure; especially since it’s second grade. For the next 6 years, Juli chases Bryce, while Bruce runs from Juli. That all changes in the middle of eighth grade, when Bryce finally starts to see that there might be more to Juli than meets the eye. At the same time Juli’s starting to wonder if Bryce really is as wonderful as she thought. Can the girl with the iron backbone and the boy with dazzling blue eyes ever see eye to eye?

I read Flipped a couple years ago. I’m pretty sure that it was one of the best books I read the whole year. The main reason why I read Flipped was because I saw the movie trailer before watching the new Karate Kid movie. I had no clue that it was Flipped, until the end, which was when it got my attention, because I knew that a former teacher of mine had the book.

Anyway, since this book was one of my favourites, I’ll tend to gush about it, but I’ll really try to keep the teenage fangirling to a minimum.

With that said, I’ll start with the things I didn’t like. One thing would be Bryce’s attitude for the first half of the book, which is kind of hard to explain. Basically, I wanted to smack him upside the head.

That’s it. Now for the things that I did like in the book.

First off, the characters. Juli is my favourite. She’s witty, funny and passionate about life. She’s also a bit misunderstood, and her family isn’t exactly well off like the Loskis. She’s extremely smart, and according to Bryce, she’s an annoying know-it-all who hands in her A+ projects early to be used as weapons for the teacher to use against the rest of the class. If she was real, it’d be so awesome for me if she was my best friend.

Bryce is a hard character to talk about. All I can say is that you hate him, then you love him. But I think that’s only because the author makes Juli so likeable and Bryce makes a couple (slightly amusing) mistakes. You can’t help but go on Juli’s side.

The plot of Flipped was very good. There were barely any drags, and everything went smoothly. Bryce and Juli’s transition throughout the years as second graders to eighth graders was also nice, it didn’t seem as there were a lot of holes. There were a couple gaps, like from second grade to sixth grade, where you know nothing except Bryce still avoided Juli and she still really liked him. Other than that, it was fine.

The climax of the story is when everything changes. It was enough to make me worry abut how everytihg was going to turn out, and read as if there was no tomorrow (but that was probably because I had nothing to do the next day).

Also, Ms. Draanen is very desceiptive, and makes the world of Flipped leap off the pages. I sided with Juli for the most part of the book, until the climax, which is when you start suding with Bryce. I really felt for all the characters.

The ending was one of those where it leaves you wanting more. I really wanted it to go on, and I couldn’t believe that it ended there. The thing was, though, I also thought that it couldn’t have ended a better way! I think it might’ve had something to do with the fact that too much of a good thing isn’t that good. But it didn’t end like that, so it was awesome!

Callan McAuliffe (left) as Bryce Loski, and Madeline Carroll (right) as Juli Baker. Best leads ever.

Okay, now about the movie. First, it was really close to the book (plotwise), so that makes it automatically awesome. Next, the casting was very good, and they acted the parts very well. I especially liked Callan McAuliffe, who played Bryce (ahem). Madeline Carroll was excellent as Juli, too.

Also, the soundtrack is excellent, full of 50s classics like “Teenager in Love” by Dion and the Belmonts, and “Chantilly Lace” by Big Bopper.

Also, the movie’s set in the 50s and early 60s (I forgot to mention it earlier). The filmmakers transitioned everything very well from the 90s and early 2000s to that era. It made it seem better, in some aspects, because everything was so much simpler then, what with TVs with antennas that you had to fix to get the right channel (and no TV remotes! How did they survive?!) and no computers! So there were less distractions. Everything also seemed authentic; the clothing, mannerisms and technology clearly belonged to the fifties and sixties.

All in all, Flipped, both as a book and a movie, was excellent. I’d really recommended, especially if you like coming of age, he-said-she-said teen romances.

Edit: They have a movie website, too: flipped-movie.warnerbros.com/dvd/. I’ve checked it out myself, even back when it was promoting it in theatres (basically September 2011). It’ll play the trailer automatically when you visit the site.

The First Bit


Hello! So I thought that today I’d start off with putting some old writing of mine up here. You know, not reviews, but stuff like creative writing. So this is something I wrote a couple months ago, and it’s a fractured fairy tale. The idea of posting it came after I read the prompt for the August chain on Teens Can Write, Too! When I first wrote it  I asked a couple of my friends to edit it, but editing a 16 page draft seemed daunting to them (even though I told them it was double spaced. Didn’t make much difference). Only one of my friends actually edited it in whole, and her response was “It’s cute.”

The story is a (hopefully) new take on The Little Mermaid, which I called…The Little Merman. Obviously I was very original, as evidenced by the title. Oh, and another thing: I went by the Disney version, I really don’t like the non-Disney version, since there wasn’t a very good Happily Ever After in it.

Anyway, here is the first chapter of it, and I hope you enjoy . Feel free to critique it, I really need it. I can’t wait to hear what you guys say!

The Little Merman

Chapter 1

What year is it now? Okay, go back a century. Then another. Then another. And maybe another. Alright, that should do. Now the story starts.

A long time ago, in a land not so far away, there lived a young girl. Her name was Lily. Lily had everything: joyful friendships, a loving family, lots of money… what else could a normal girl want? A lot, actually. It also didn’t help that Lily was not a normal girl. She wanted more freedom. She wanted to explore. Even at the tender age of 10, she wanted to see the world. Unfortunately, even as they tried their hardest, her parents couldn’t see why she wanted to go. According to them, she was perfectly fine here. So they set some limits, and tried in vain to squash her dream. It wouldn’t be fit for an inexperienced princess to go travelling about the large, frightening world outside the kingdom, now, would it? Still, Lily would keep questioning her parents on why she wasn’t allowed to go. This was how it usually went.

“Mum, isn’t it so pretty?” Lily sighed dreamily, while staring out a window of the castle.

“What’s so pretty, dear?” asked her mother, barely glancing at her while she embroidered and sat daintily in the sunny part of the stone room.

“Outside, mum. It looks so charming; with all the lovely cottages, the green, grass and the cattle, and far away, do you see that? Mum, do you? Those are the mountains, where they say the snow falls really thickly. And the beach! I want to go there, mum.” She said, looking bright eyed and very excited.

Lily’s mum, the queen of Anthesia, looked warily at her daughter. They’d been through this conversation a hundred times before. “Dear, you know you can’t. Papa and I know what’s best for you. And what’s best for you is to keep you safe. We can do that best if you’re in the castle; however, I can see that you’re feeling rather restless today.” Lily raised her eyebrows, not believing that the queen only saw that now. “So,” the queen continued, “I will allow you to stroll in the gardens, but only if you have two guards with you at all times, understood? You may go now.” She dismissed Lily with a wave of her hand.

Outside the room there were already two guards waiting for her. She sighed, and resigned herself to skipping all the way down the corridor. The guards marched alongside her, and easily kept up with their long strides.

Soon Lily was only walked, and was very aware of the guards’ presence. She glanced at the sea beside her; she didn’t realize that she walked that far.  The sun glinted off the smooth water, temporarily blinding her. Gulls floated lazily above, and the wind off the water was cool. She stood there silently admiring everything, and wished that she could just dive under the water. Little did she know what would be waiting for her underneath if she did…

What’s down there, you ask? A paradise. Not just any paradise. This was a kingdom called Aquaria, ruled by the Sea King Neptune. Soon, one of his six sons would inherit his throne. It would most likely be Seth, since he was the oldest. Young Prince James, however, only had a chance if all of his other brothers had gone, since he was the youngest.

Now, even back then, this saying had worth: “The grass is always greener on the other side.” James, like Lily, could not stop fantasizing about what was on the other side. In Aquaria, the young merfolk couldn’t visit the surface world until they reached the age of 16. James and his siblings were each born a year after the other, so every year one more of them were able to go up to Terra .  James listened to all of the thrilling adventures with happy eyes and a wistful heart; he wanted to go there more than anything, but it seemed like it would take forever.

 

Thanks so much for reading it! I’m kinda nervous, putting it out here, because I’m the type of writer who writes something, thinks it’s good, looks at it 2 weeks later and absolutely cringes at every sentence. Well, not so much with this, but you get the idea. Crossed fingers.

P.S I realized this a couple days after I wanted to post it. My main characters’ names are James and Lily. Turns out Harry Potter influenced me more deeply than I thought.