September 8th, 2008

girl reading

The Big Summer Read

I challenged myself to write a one-sentence review of each book I read this summer. Being a chatty person, especially when it comes to talking about books, I failed. So, here are as-short-as-I-could-make-them reviews of all the books I read this summer. Anything that contains spoilers is behind a cut.

Found in the 'Young Adult' or 'Non-Adult' section/s

Before I Die by Jenny Downham is not a book to read when you're feeling depressed or miserable, because you already know the main character is going to die. It's even in the title. Why, then, I picked up this book to read on a happy summer holiday I may never know, but I'm glad that I did, because the writing is beautiful, particularly the descriptions, and the characters are fully realised and completely human.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare just isn't as good as the first book in The Mortal Instruments trilogy, even if it was an okay read. Collapse )

Stravaganza: City of Secrets by Mary Hoffman spends too much time recapping the previous three books of the series and is weighed down by a huge amount of characters. Yes, I like knowing where the characters from the earlier stories ended up, but do we have to know about practically every single one of them and have whole sections of the book from their point of view? Just a few of them would have been far better, so that we could have had more of the wonderful descriptions of life in Hoffman's 16th century 'Talia'.

Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer is, like all the rest of the Artemis books, funny and clever, has wonderful technology and magic, and never treats young characters, or young audiences, condescendingly.

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong is set in the Otherworld verse, which previously has only been made up of 'adult books'. Some of the plot becomes less mysterious if you're already familiar with the verse, but Armstrong never has just one plotline and, regardless, this new view of the verse was interesting. Comes complete with wonderfully complex and realised characters.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer was...far worse than I thought it would be. 'Thank God I got this one for free' was the first thing that came into my head when I'd finished it. I'm sure that plenty has been said by now about the whole disaster, so here's what I thought was GOOD about it:
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Found in the 'Adult' section/s

The Breaker (a crime novel) by Minette Walters is not Walters' best book, but the book started with two suspects and I still didn't figure out who dunnit until the very end...after I had been told!

The Scold's Bride (a crime novel) by Minette Walters IS, however, one of her best books. The plot, the mystery and, particularly, the originality of the characters were all brilliant.

Daddy's Little Girl (a crime novel) by Mary Higgins Clark was a disappointment. The mystery was intriguing enough and certainly suspenseful towards the end, but I couldn't help thinking that it could have been better written.

Deja Dead (a crime novel) by Kathy Reichs is the first book of the series that inspired the TV show Bones. The book is nothing like the TV show. Bones has more humour (and starts with more sexual tension, which perhaps there will be more of later in the book series), but the 'police system' in the book (without giving anything away) was much more interesting than the FBI angle of the TV show.

State of Fear (a crime/action/science novel) by Michael Crichton had scenes that were reminiscent of a movie blockbuster, but far more information, including referenced data, than any screenwriter would be able to include. Crichton assumes his audience is intelligence, which meant some parts were slow-going and for a while, at the beginning, I wasn't sure which characters I was supposed to be following, but I did enjoy it.

Dragonsdawn (a fantasy/science fiction novel) by Anne McCaffrey is a book written later on in the Pern series that goes back to the beginning, but whilst the filled in gaps and answered questions made me smile, it still holds it's own as a stand-alone novel. I already knew, long before the characters did, what 'threat' was on the way, but that actually amplified the sense of danger - I really wanted to yell at some of those poor characters for being ignorant of what was coming. *grins*

The Age of Innocence (a Pulitzer novel) by Edith Wharton has a basic plot of 'man waiting to marry woman gets interested in another woman', but the well-realised setting of New York and it's society during a changing period was cleverly written and the prose was wonderful. Collapse )

Rereads included The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce, Small Gods by Terry Pratchett and several Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman.