Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review: Mockingjay (Book 3 of The Hunger Games)

Mockingjay (2010), Suzanne Collins. Hardcover, 400 pages.

Summary: Katniss, the "girl on fire," becomes the conflicted figurehead of a revolution, and finds that it puts all of her loved ones at risk. For a more detailed summary, click here.

First Sentences: 
I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather. This is where the bed I shared with my sister, Prim, stood. Over there was the kitchen table. The bricks of the chimney, which collapsed in a charred heap, provide a point of reference for the rest of the house. How else could I orient myself in this sea of gray?
     Finnick and I try to station ourselves in Command, where surely first word of the rescue will come, but we are barred because serious war business is being carried out. We refuse to leave Special Defense and end up waiting in the hummingbird room for news.

     Making knots. Making knots. No word. Making knots. Tick-tock. This is a clock. Do not think of Gale. Do not think of Peeta. Making knots. We do not want dinner. Fingers raw and bleeding. Finnick finally gives up and assumes the hunched position he took in the arena when the jabberjays attacked. I perfect my miniature noose. The words of the "The Hanging Tree" replay in my head. Gale and Peeta. Peeta and Gale.

     "Did you love Annie right away, Finnick?" I ask.

     "No." A long time passes before he adds, "she crept up on me."

     I search my heart, but at the moment the only person I can feel creeping up on me is Snow.
     It must be midnight, it must be tomorrow when Haymitch pushes open the door. "They're back. We're wanted in the hospital." My mouth opens with a flood of questions that he cuts off with "That's all I know."


Writing Quality: 4/10

Depth of Concept: 5/10

Rounded Characters: 5/10

Well-Developed World: 4/10

Page Turner: 6/10

Kept Me Thinking: 5/10

Overall Recommendation: 5/10

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Catching Fire (Book 2 of The Hunger Games)

Catching Fire (2009), Suzanne Collins. Hardcover, 391 pages.

Summary:  Katniss, having survived one brutal gladiator-style competition, finds that she is no more free of the clutches of the oppressive Capitol than she was before. For a more detailed summary, click here.

First Sentences:
     I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air. My muscles are clenched tight against the cold. If a pack of wild dogs were to appear at this moment, the odds of scaling a tree before they attacked are not in my favor.
     "I'd like to go to the Cornucopia and watch. Just to make sure we're right about the clock," says Finnick. It seems as good a plan as any. Besides, I wouldn't mind the chance of going over the weapons again. And there are six of us now. even if you count Beetee and Wiress out, we've got four good fighters. It's so different from where I was last year at this point, doing everything on my own. Yes, it's great to have allies as long as you can ignore the thought that you'll have to kill them.

     Beetee and Wiress will probably find some way to die on their own. If we have to run from something, how far would they get? Johanna, frankly, I could easily kill if it came down to protecting Peeta. Or maybe even just to shut her up. What I really need is for someone to take out Finnick for me, since I don't think I can do it personally. Not after all he's done for Peeta. I think about maneuvering him into some kind of encounter with the Careers. It's cold, I know. But what are my options? Now that we know about the clock, he probably won't die in the jungle, so someone's going to have to kill him in battle.

     Because this is so repellent to think about, my mind frantically tries to change topics. But the only thing that distracts me from my current situation is fantasizing about killing President Snow. Not very pretty daydreams for a seventeen-year-old girl, I guess, but very satisfying.

Writing Quality: 4/10

Depth of Concept: 4/10

Rounded Characters: 4/10

Well-Developed World: 4/10

Page Turner: 6/10

Kept Me Thinking: 4/10

Overall Recommendation: 4/10

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Which Books Should You Read This Summer?

So, this is a really great graphic from and I thought I'd share it. Not all of the choices are what I think of as the best example in a category, but there are still a heck of a lot of good ones here, including genre stuff, some of which I've reviewed here. After taking a gander, feel free to share whether you have any good alternative choices for some of these categories:

Summer Reading Flowchart

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Updated Review List and Stats Comparisons Page

So, a week ago, I had just a brief list of all of the books I've reviewed. I've expanded that page, and for now it's titled "Book Reviews: Main List and Stats Comparisons." It's got a list of all of the books I've reviewed in alphabetical order by title, and then by author. That's the easy part.

The more controversial part follows it, in which I place the scores I've given each book side by side. I think it's a lot of fun and also very revealing to try something like this, but I have little doubt that people are going to quibble with some of the placements. That's okay. I quibble with some of them myself. Quibble away. If you're quibbling, it means you're thinking and making me think.

I've got some predictions about the comparisons that will bother people the most, but I'm going to keep them to myself until readers have had a chance to voice their thoughts. And I'm very curious to know whether you think the comparisons are a worthwhile endeavor, regardless of how right or wrong I may seem to be in specific instances.