Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Infidel-Ted Dekker

To see my review of Chosen, the first book in the Lost Books Series, head over here.

After being stretched to their limits, the four heroic young Forest Guard recruits-Johnis, Silvie, Billos, and Darsal-are pulled into deeper danger on their mission to secure the seven lost Books of History.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Ruins of Gorlan-John Flanagan

The book surprised me.  I can say that much up front.  I have been wondering what it was all about for nearly a year.  Recently I won a book from Jacob Parker which happened to be the third book in the series.  I decided I wouldn't start a series on the third book, and I didn't want to have a book sitting on the shelf unread so I got the first from the library.  Boring story huh?  Anyway...

The Rangers, with their shadowy ways, have always made him nervous.  And now fifteen-year-old Will has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice.  But what he doesn't yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom who will fight the battles before the battles reach the people.  And there is a large battle brewing.  The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom.  This time he will not be denied.

My Take:
I was disappointed.  The book had a lot of potential, yet it failed to deliver. 
What was perhaps my biggest issue with this book was the setting.  In essence it was a great setting, but like I said, it failed to deliver.  The author failed to make me love the world.  This resulted in me not really caring when Morgarath attacked, or was preparing, to attack.  I don't really care much if he wins.  That may sound shallow, but it's the sad truth.
When it came to characters, he failed as well.  They seemed shallow and clichéd.  I did, however, develop a great bond with Will's horse, Tug.  I also liked Halt, even though his characteristics were somewhat cliché as well. 
Besides that there were problems with the story ending feeling too conclusive and not exactly leaving the reader dying to read the next book and also many technical issues with the writing, primarily the P.O.V. that bugged me.  I honestly have no idea whether I will continue reading the series or not.
My Rating:  Two Pens

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chosen-Ted Dekker

I've been a fan of Dekker since picking up Showdown.  He hasn't let me down.  Until now.

The land of the Forest Dwellers has been decimated by the Horde under the watchful eye of the vilest of all creatures, Teeleh.  Thomas Hunter, supreme commander of the Forest Guard, is forced to lower the recruitment age of his army from 18 to 16.  From among the thousands, four new recruits are chosen to lead-and perhaps die-for the greater good.
The chosen four are sent on a quest to prove their character, but their mission takes a dramatic turn when they are intercepted, sworn to secrecy, and redirected to a different endgame.  Now they must find the seven lost Books of History.  Books that have power over the past, present, and future.  Books whose words are alive.  Books sought by the Dark One that control not only the destiny of their world... but that of ours as well.

My Take:
Okay, maybe it was as dramatic as I made it seem, but I was disappointed by the book when compared to the rest of his books.  The only reason I could think why this would be is simply that is is a Young Adult book which is not his normal audience.  Dekker tried to simplify things.  But the problem I have isn't that it was simplified, because it wasn't any more then the average YA book.  It was because his writing quality seemed to drop as well.
Every two or three chapters there was a complete or partial point-of-view shift.  There were also as sense of urgency in the writing.  As if, the book could only be two-hundred and fifty pages and there was too much story, so he had to condense it and quicken the writing instead of simply cutting some out afterward.  I don't know if either of these were conscious or sub-conscious decisions or if it even had to do with the audience of the book at all, but the writing was lacking either way.
That said, I did enjoy the book, and very much at that.  Throughout Black through Green I've always had a yearning to explore the outer reaches of the desert.  So I kept hoping during the books that it would go there.  But it never did.  So when I found out that this book focus's on the outer-most parts of the desert I was excited.
The characters were refreshing.  I enjoyed having someone else doing something besides Thomas Hunter[the protagonist in the previous works in the Circle storyworld] and thought that Dekker handled it well.  On a smaller point of the characters though, I thought they were too skilled.  It was very tacky how well they handled their weapons.  They were brand new recruits to the Forest Guard and while they may be skilled, I thought that it was a little over the top.  Just a pet peeve I guess.  Nothing to hurt the overall plot.
The plot itself was great.  Though it did seem very short, which was due in most part to the fact that the book was some two-hundred and sixty pages rather than four-hundred.
I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the six-book series.

My Rating:  3.5 Pens
You can buy this book on Amazon or purchase it on the publishers web site.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dragonspell-Donita K. Paul

One Dragon Egg Holds the Key to the Future.

Once a slave, Kale is given the unexpected opportunity to become a servant to Paladin. Yet this young girl has much to learn about the difference between slavery and service.

A Desperate Search Begins…

A small band of Paladin’s servants rescue Kale from danger but turn her from her destination: The Hall, where she was to be trained. Feeling afraid and unprepared, Kale embarks on a perilous quest to find the meech dragon egg stolen by the foul Wizard Risto. First, she and her comrades must find Wizard Fenworth. But their journey is threatened when a key member of the party is captured, leaving the remaining companions to find Fenworth, attempt an impossible rescue, and recover the egg whose true value they have not begun to suspect…

My Take:
Dragonspell was unique.  Not completely in plot, though it was unique in that way as well.  But rather the book's feel.
The characters, the setting, the plot, everything just seemed unique and had an air of happiness with foreboding gloom to it.  I thought the races-as they were a large part of this book-were quite imaginative and original while still feeling human in nature and spirit.
The setting at points seemed small which was one of my only problems with the book.  The journey in the book goes all over the map and landscape of the book yet seemed to stay in the same place.  It bothered me while I was reading it.
My only other problem with the book was the villain. He just didn't seem, villainish.  He was quite unintimidating at times and I had trouble taking him seriously on occasion.
Besides these two things I adored the book and can't wait to read the next in the series.

My Rating:  4 Pens