Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review 4- I Am Number Four

Book Review of I Am Number Four By Pittacus Lore

            2/5 stars- This book, oh this book. Okay so the thing is this book isn’t by Pittacus Lore. Pittacus is fictional. However, James Fray is real. You know James Fray, he’s that guy who wrote a biography about his life that was actually fictional and then lied to Opera about it. I’m going to be honest here, the history of this author and the way this book was written had me a little biased. I’m going to try to review this based purely on story.
            The story is okay, the characters are okay, everything is okay, but not great. It has a lot of action in it, but I was never too entertained by it.  The romance bordered on cheesy, but never fully crossed the line. Everything was just mediocre to me. 
            The characters were tolerable, I didn’t feel attached to any particular one though. There is one thing that bugs me though. John is never described from what I remember. Not once in book one are his physical characteristics given to me.
            John’s personality isn’t that spectacular either. The only time he shows an alien characteristic is when he’s with Sarah (Who he’s freakishly in love with), and proceeds to act like a lovesick little schoolgirl. These feeling at least get an explanation with him being from a different species and culture. At least I thought so but Sarah is really attached to him to. I could just say, “Well she’s a girl and girls are different when it comes to romance,” but Henri clearly said humans do not love the way the super powered aliens do. Yet Sarah seems really certain about this relationship. She doesn’t even freak out when John says he’s an alien. So my guess is either this relationship is somehow making her evolve up to John’s level so she can love like he can love, or she’s just a teenage girl who will probably get over him eventually. I’m not sure.
            As for the alien aspect, well they are from space, and that’s about it. Any other weird traits they have is due to magic, which would be fine, but this magic is pretty bland and broad. I’m all for Sy-Fi Fantasy crossover, but with this I felt like the alien aspect was overshadowed by the magic aspect. The magic itself wasn’t that unique either, and it was difficult for me to grasp the way this race worked. The culture was interesting at times, and excused the cheesy romance, but overall it was boring.  As for the enemy aliens, they want to destroy all life on earth so they can steal the resources themselves and then they’ll move on to the next planet…I’m bored just telling you this.
            Maybe it was my A.D.D, but I never fully enjoyed this book, and I really wanted to. The characters weren’t complete idiots all the time, and I understood why John didn’t want to move away from his friends. It was selfish, but I understand how that would be hard for someone. There were even moments where I felt worried. But in the end, I couldn’t lie to myself, this book was blander then plain oatmeal. 

Book Review 3- Matched

Review of Matched by Ally Condie (Spoilers)

1/5 stars- Matched. Where to begin with this book? Oh I know, let’s start with a boy named Jonas. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Jonas? Who’s Jonas? I don’t remember a Jonas in this book.” Well that’s because there is no Jonas in this book.
            Jonas is the main character in a book called The Giver. An interesting read that was simple, but it entertained me. The character Jonas lives in a society that is (Cough) exactly (Cough) like the society in Matched. Jonas slowly begins to realize the world around him is far from perfect. This realization is brought on by his apprenticeship with The Giver, an old man who holds all the memories and emotions of the old world. This book does what it needs to do, it gets Jonas from point (A) to point (B) in a way that makes sense. On top of that it’s only 179 pages, so the writer didn’t put much filler in it.
            Matched is basically The Giver with a Female teen protagonist, and 187 more pages filled with pointless angst. People are told who to marry, when to marry, where to work, when to stop working, and when to die. I don’t know how anyone can read this book and not think “Is this the first fan girl fanfiction from The Giver fandom?”, but I’m sure it can be done.
            The characters are dry and uninteresting, and we’re stuck in Cassia’s pov (Pronounced Ca$ha), who’s dullness can only be matched by her love interest Ky. Ky is a boy with blue eyes (Trust me I know they’re blue, they were described to me in a number of strange ways), and knows how to write.   Then there’s Xander, the third and destined to lose point of the love triangle. You know how I know that? Simple. Pick up any YA book with a love triangle. The boy who is described the most over and over again will most certainly win over the boy whose eye color I can’t even remember. Cassia will end up with Ky, even though their relationship lacks the substance to be anymore then a simple friendship.
            I will give the book credit where it’s due, the characters do change. Granted this change is like being slapped in the face by an invisible hand, but there is some character development. I think this author was trying to focus on character building, because the plot lacks, well, a plot. I read roughly four-hundred pages of Cassia’s boring life, and that was painful. Cassia doesn’t have the character to hold a story up on her own, and her romance drama only brings the cheesiness to the table.
            The society isn’t really that menacing. “Oh you better not do anything bad! We might cut down a tree from your front yard.”
            Yes, I am serious. Yard work is warning one. What next? Are they going to go around fixing our dishwashers? I’m shaking in my boots here.
            The most insulting attack on my intelligence is the villain of the story, a woman who I can’t even name because her name was only mentioned once. However, I do remember she said something along the lines of, “Oh yeah, we were in control the whole time. This whole love triangle thing was a science experiment, just to see if you would fall for it.”
            So you’re telling me that you had this brilliant idea to conduct this experiment that could ruin people’s lives and change their perspective of the society and the people who run it (People who already never question you and completely trust you). Not only that but this experiment is being conducted while people are starting to rebel outside the city, and you want to bring this rebellious thought process into this cocoon of safety for your order. Are you that stupid woman!?
            Alright I know this woman didn’t have complete control, but think about it, why did she show the picture to Ky? Why did she let Cassia see Ky? Why would she plant the seed of doubt? Why not just fix the glitch without anyone knowing it happened? I noticed this book was compared to the Hunger Games. If this was the Hunger Games, President Snow would have this woman killed.
            Finally I have to say something about the pills. Here is how the pill system works, green calms you down, blue is kept for emergency nutrition and red makes you forget. The thing is some people are immune to the pills effect. Why? They just are.
            I want to accept this and get over it, but I can’t. The purpose of the matched program is to ensure that the offspring are the healthiest outcome. One might think that the society would have it so the offspring would no doubt NOT be immune to the pills. You know who’s immune to the pills, Xander and Ky are. This is either really convenient, or this is a fairly common thing.  I mean think about it, out of all the people who could be immune it happened to be both of Cassia’s love interest. I can’t see how the society wouldn’t know about this issue. Then again they did allow that woman to conduct her experiment, so maybe I’m overestimating their intelligence.
            Overall Matched just reminded me how much better The Giver is. The love triangle isn’t interesting enough to make it stand out from The Giver’s shadow, neither are the extra pages. I know originality is hard to come by, but this book was worse then City of Bones for me. I can’t look at it without thinking about The Giver. I can say that the pretty cover is relevant to the story, but you still only get one star from me Matched.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Entry 3

A Piece of Work

So in celebration of finishing this

(Ain’t he pretty)

and finishing my edits, I have decided to post a little snippet of my writing. Even though it’s not a book review or anything I decided sure why not. I hope someone out there finds this entertaining. Tell me what you think, and if you have any tips please share them.

(This is my original work and NOT for public domain)

A scene from Pan's POV (The boy in the picture). 

            The bell tower rang signifying class was over. I got up from my seat in a daze, walked into the noisy halls, and into the bathroom.  The stalls were all empty, and when the door behind me closed the noise in the halls were muffled. I needed the quiet right now. I shrugged out of the itchy wool jacket and hung it over one of the stall door before I headed to one of the sinks to turn it on. I turned the water off when the basin was filled. My hands cupped the water. I stared at before I just stuck my face into the basin itself . The cold water stung a little, and the bubbles gurgled passed my ears to the surface. I stayed like this for a moment waiting to finally be pulled out of this fog. Things would be clear if I could just wash it away, if only it was that easy.
            I still doubted whether what I saw was actually real.  I was looking for signs that would tell me it I was really seeing things, maybe I just thought up the professors too. It was just like the cloaked figure wasn’t it? I had made it all up. The air in my lungs ran out so I retreated back to the surface. Drops dripped off my nose into the sink. I told myself I would get some sleep tonight, that would be all to make the illusions go away. When I lifted my gaze to the mirror on the wall, I stumbled backwards. My reflection had been replaced by the cloaked figure with its eyes glowing red.
            “Bit of a jumpy thing aren’t you?” it said with a laugh.
             “I told you to go away,” I said trying to mask the fear in my tone with authority.
            “You thought me up, I told you I’d be around if you did,” it said pressing its hand up against the glass as if the mirror. It gave the mirror a little tap with its finger. The glass shattered, and it attempted to crawl through the mirror.
            “No, no, stay in there,” I said backing away.
            The red eyes rolled as it placed one foot in the sink for support. Its cloak had snagged on a shard of glass that was still stuck on the edge of the mirror frame, and it was having a hard time trying to get the cloak out, “I told you, I’m not going to hurt you.”
            “Actually, no, you never said that.”
            “Really? Thought I did,” It said dropping down to the bathroom floor once the cloak was free.
            “No, you didn’t,” I said.
            “Well in that case I’m not going to hurt you at this moment,” it said.
            “That’s a bit of a relief-,” The thing cut me off.
            “I’m just going to kill you,” It took a long pause before it added, “Eventually.”
            “Alright now when you say things like that I start to get a little weary.”
            “Well you are short of a pansy.”
            “What’s that suppose to mean?”
            “You can’t face the inevitable, I’m going to kill you eventually. Not right now, but maybe an hour from now, or tomorrow, or it could be years from now. You just need to accept your going to be murdered and go with it. Nothing you can do about it mate.”
            “What did I do to make you so angry?” I asked.
            “Nothing, you are just what you were meant to be. A replacement. Problem is you were a replacement for something that didn’t really need to be replaced,” It picked up a shard of glass. 
            “Who was I meant to replace?” I asked eyeing the door. I could have left, I should have left. It was all in my head so why couldn’t I just make it disappear and get on with my day?
            The distance between the thing and me I was trying to keep grew smaller.
            “Who you ask? Who?” it said laughing.  I found its hand clutching my shoulder, immediately I tried to pull away. The thing was stronger then me despite being the same size. So it was able to pin me up against the wall.
            “The who your asking of, is me,” it said in a low tone.
            “But your not real,” I said. I saw its sharp teeth appear one by one until I was looking at a row of knives formed into a twisted smile.
            “Remember when I told you I wasn’t going to hurt you at this moment?”
            I nodded.
            “Well, the moment’s over.”
            Before the fear even dawned on me, I felt a sharp sting in my side. Stunned I looked down and saw a shard of glass sticking in my side. I cringed when the thing pulled the glass out.
            “You’ve pissed me off enough already,” it said dropping the glass into my pocket, “So I wouldn’t be pushing it if I were you.”
            It pulled my jacket off the stall door, shoved it into my limp arms, and pushed me towards the sink full of water. My face hit the water. I felt my eyes bulged out of my head as my lungs burned like a flame was roaring inside them. I found myself breathing in the water willingly as if I was purposefully trying to drown myself. Wait? No stop this! I screamed at myself. I lifted my head out of the sink warring over coughing out the water and gasping for air. My hands smacked the wall above the sink clawing at the bricks. Wait above the sink? I looked up still coughing. The mirror, it was gone. 
            I jumped when I heard one of the stall doors swing open. Someone was here? They saw all that? I spun around, but all I saw was the stall door swinging open and close without anyone exiting or going into it. When it opened I saw the mirror laying on the floor with the shards of glass all set on it. I should just leave now, I thought, I shouldn’t look, it’s probably nothing any way. My thoughts didn’t match my actions though. Slowly I walked over to the swinging door, my staggered breath becoming shorter. I caught the door as it swung open, and looked down at the mirror in the stall.
            The broken shards of glass were organized so they formed a message within the frame.
                                                “CUT THE PRETENDER OUT.”
            Did I do this? Why? I noticed the little bit of blood, my blood, smeared on some of the shards. I looked at my hands and arms to see fresh cuts covering the layers of old scar tissue. I felt my side where that thing had stabbed me. Sticky blood stained my shirt.  How long was I here after that-no it didn’t stab me that didn’t happen. My stitches, from when the guards stabbed me, they broke. So why was there a hole in my shirt over the wound? Because I snagged myself on something, a piece of glass maybe, and it tore the stitches too. That was the answer, it had to be. The message on the mirror stared at me, mocking me. How could I logically explain that?
            I kicked the mirror over destroying the words written with the glass. Suddenly the door opened I turned around and saw Pesky standing there eyes wide.