Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

I remember reading this book years ago in highschool as the first book in the book club I had just joined.

We got to pick books out of a crate and I was one of the last ones to pick, and the cover of Legend looked interesting.

I started reading it on the bus ride home that afternoon and I was done by the end of the week.

I was hooked in an instant. It was an easy YA book to read, and it was the first book that I read that had a dystopian theme to it. I was putting my foot in the water with Legend, and quickly dove right in because I loved it so much.

One thing I really enjoyed about Legend was jumping between two different perspectives. Marie Lu wrote her entire trilogy about Day and June, two “perfect” characters, or so their tests and evaluations tell us, who have two different experiences in life.

June is hunting down Day, whom she believed killed her brother, and we get to see their interactions from both perspectives.

Usually having different perspectives in the same book isn’t much of a big deal because plenty of books do it.

That is true, but most of them have different character perspectives because they are focusing on different parts of the world, and having just one person’s perspective wouldn’t give readers a large enough scope of what is happening.

In Legend, and the other two books in the series, Day and June spend a lot of time together.

Day is from the poorer part of society, and we get to experience his life as a rebel, helping out the poor much like a Robin Hood sort of figure. He pulls off some pretty insane stunts and is a genius in his own regard, he just does things on his own.

June on the other hand, works for the “government”. She is top of her class, and like June, is able to perform some very remarkable physical stunts and is also a genius in her own regard. She is also fairly well off in life, and hasn’t known poverty.

The two different perspectives in the books is a nice change. It gives us the poor and the rich side to everything. When one character is living their everyday life, the other is exploring it for the first time, and as a reader, this style of reading was nice, because it’s different.

June knows her truth of certain events that happen in the book, and Day knows his truth. Jumping between perspectives gives us a look at the inner thoughts of both characters when the time is right, but also puts us outside of their mind and their thoughts when the stroy needs it to happen.

Marie Lu has done a wonderful job utilizing the different perspectives and making the two characters bounce off of eachother nicely.

Like I said, it is a fairly easy read, but it is good. If you like dystopian style books mixed with some spy and mystery novel aspects I recommend Legend.

Advertisements

Book Review: The Book Thief

Book Review: The Book Thief

When I think back about this book, I can honestly say that there are no happy memories that come to mind. From how I recall The Book Thief, it’s similar to A Series of Unfortunate Events–it’s just miserable.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book as a whole. I thought it was fantastic, but there weren’t any moments that I genuinely remember being happy about it.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

I hadn’t heard of this book before I started reading it, but I really enjoyed the suspense and the drama that came from it. 

If you’ve ever read the book, you’ll remember that there is a very interesting narrator–Death. Yes death is the narrator of the story, and because this is World War Two, you can imagine how busy he was collecting the dead. 

Death foreshadows constantly throughout the story, so we know a bit about which of the characters will die. I think Death’s perspective adds to the building suspense through the story. 

You might assume that Death being a narrator can be sort of intimidating. I mean he’s Death, why wouldn’t his POV be dark and greusome right? 

The truth is, Death was one of the brigher parts of the story. He was a ray of sunshine through some of the darker moments. 

I do not carry a sickle or a scythe.
I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold.
And I don’t have those skull-like
facial features you seem to enjoy
pinning on me from a distance. You
want to know what I truly look like?
I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue.


The Book Thief is also a bit of a different view of the Holocaust, because it focuses on a little German girl, Liesel, who is living in Hitler’s birthplace.

And the character growth, in my opinion, is remarkable. There are many characters that we hate throughout the story, only to love them by the end. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you haven’t read it yet. It’s technically considered a YA book, but I think it has more impact the older you are.

I will give you a fair warning though, if you want a fast read, this book isn’t for you. It’s a bit of a grind at times. You’ll feel like your clawing your way through mud, but that slow crawl adds something to the story. It adds a sense of accomplishment and connection to the entire story. 

19063.jpg

I’m not one for re-reading a book, but this one is on the short list for books I plan to re-read in the future. 

I have never met someone, or found a single review that has said anything against The Book Thief. Many people state it is a modern classic. It is truly a remarkable book, and I will firmly recommend that EVERYONE should read this book if they call themselves a book lover.  

Book Review: The World of Ice & Fire

Book Review: The World of Ice & Fire

This is a little known book in the world of Westeros, and I figured I would give it its moment of fame this week before Season 8 of Game of Thrones comes out this weekend. 

Rating: ★★★★☆

Author: George R.R. Martin

I’m a big fan of history, as you probably know by now, and I’m an even bigger fan of fantasy book series, which you should know by now and if you don’t then you do now.

The World of Ice & Fire was a perfect combination of both worlds because it’s an annotated history of the Game of Thrones world that I’ve fallen in love with since reading the books and watching the shows.

World_of_Ice_and_Fire_(2014)

That’s one great thing that Martin has done with his Song of Ice & Fire world. He has built it up so well and so perfectly that you could probably make stories for years to come, just based on information that has already been written.

He’s created the history of these kingdoms and their stories that The World of Ice & Fire can feel like you’re reading a real history book sometimes.

If you want to pick this one up, don’t expect much of a “story”. It reads a lot like a history book. Each of the major houses in Westeros are written about, showing their history since their founding basically, with a few major events highlited for each.

Most of the names in the book one will be one’s you’ve heard before, but only the more dedicated fans will know how everything connects together. Just watching the shows and then reading this might make you a bit confused, but you can definitely do it.

Probably about half of the books gives a brief overview of what each of the Targaryen kings during their reigns. Since there has been so many it sort of glances over each of them and their more notable events, with the more important ones getting more pages than the less important ones.

The other half of the book is about the major houses’ histories, and the history of some of the other cities and countries in the world that you may have heard of at some point.

1nLJ1iS.jpg

It talks about white walkers, the first people in Westeros, some major battles, Old Valyria, Robert’s Rebellion, and everything in between. It’s a nice little book to read if you’re big into trying to predict theories for upcoming books or episodes.

What I really love about the book, and what really made me enjoy the experience of reading it is the beautiful artwork inside. Almost every page has some illustration on it, and some pages there’s nothing but.

9780553805444_p3_v8_s550x406.jpg

It almost feels like what I imagine the history books of Westeros to look like, which is a little added bonus I really enjoy. It’s really a piece of art, and if you want to consider yourself a Game of Thrones nerd you definitely need to give it a read.

I don’t really know what else to say. It’s a history book of the entire world, so there’s not even moments I’d want to point out that really stood out to me because that’s not the type of book it is, and I don’t think that was the intent of it.

The intent wasn’t to tell a story, the intent of the book was to help create the story that was already being told. I think that’s the case with all of the supplemental Game of Thrones materials.

They aren’t made to tell their own stories, they’re ment to tell the complete story of A Song of Ice and Fire, which they are all only an aspect of.

Next week I’m going to be taking a look at another Game of Thrones related book, but I’m not going to spoil it just yet. 

I would love to hear what you guys are most excited for in the upcoming season though. Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Lord of Chaos

So since I started A Crown of Swords this morning, I thought it would be a good idea to review the book right before it, The Lord of Chaos.

LOCCover.jpg

Rating: ★★★★☆

Author: Robert Jordan

So this is my first time reading through the Wheel of Time series, and as you probably know by now, I am in love with it. Like I said in past reviews, I bought all 14 books before I had even finished the first one.

Lord of Chaos is by far my favourite of the first six books though, and probably by quite a bit.

Lord of Chaos doesn’t necessarily have my favourite moments for each character (though Mat is just the coolest 24/7), but all of the character’s stories put together as a whole provided the best overall story.

The one problem I found with Lord of Chaos is it comes at the point in the series where people are becoming ‘bored’. There aren’t many series out there with more than a few books, because it’s just the way things work. Turning a world and a story into three books is going to be much easier than into 14 books, but I still think Robert Jordan has done a pretty good job of it.

Over the first five books, the style of Jordan’s enemies are on the verge of being repetitive, but in Lord of Chaos, Jordan moves away from his regular plots/characters and changes up the style of bad guy, which is sort of just a less good, good guy.

Rand has fully come into his role of being the main character, but Perrin (he’s back from his honeymoon), Mat, Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne are back in action and bad ass as always.

My favourite part of Lord of Chaos was that it set up A Crown of Swords, and yes that probably sounds dumb because all books set up the next one if it’s a series.

wallpaper_4_20_10_by_majora58_d2o2b2x-pre.jpg

What I mean by that is this book didn’t solve all of it’s issues. There are still a few story lines that weren’t resolved by the end of the book.

For the other four books before this one, Jordan has each of them contribute to the overall story line of the series, but each book has its own story line that is wrapped up. In Lord of Chaos it isn’t completely wrapped up, which came at a good time in the series in my opinion.

It’s an important thing for writers, more so those with long series, to know how to keep readers interested. That’s why people often shoot for a book series that is somewhere from two and four books long, because each book introduces more risk of losing readers.

If you’re writing a book there’s a big risk of becoming too in tune with your writing style, and you end up writing a bland story that is repetitive and makes people lose interest in your story.

I’m not a master of books, or literacy, or reading or anything like that, but I think Jordan did a good job knowing the status of his story at this point and changing it enough to keep people interested.

asha_man_kill____dumai_s_well_by_endave_d6i2wg1-fullview.jpg

I did a little bit of digging as I was writing this post, and it seems like Lord of Chaos isn’t one of the most popular books in the series, but it is generally ranked higher than all of the books coming before it, and usually lands about the mid way ranking in terms of popularity.

I think the reason is because Jordan switched it up and changed his formula enough to get people interested again.

What is your favourite book in the Wheel of Time series? Let me know in the comments, or give me your ranking of all of the books in the series!

Arc Review: One Piece Romance Dawn

Arc Review: One Piece Romance Dawn

Arc Rating: ★★★★☆

So if you don’t already know I have covered a few manga on here before, but in doing so I have found that I’m not happy with them.

I find it’s not enough to cover an entire manga series, which can be hundreds of chapters long, in roughly the same length as a regular book review. That’s why I’ve decided to cover them arc by arc.

This might not be a perfect equivalent, but I think this will better represent the manga as a whole, and allow me to go a little further in depth when looking at the entire picture.

I decided I would cover One Piece first because it’s currently my favourite on-going manga series, and never ceases to amaze me arc by arc.

Since we are taking a look at One Piece, where else can we start than with the Romance Dawn Arc.

This arc makes up chapters 1-7 of the manga, and will always be the most important arc of the entire series.

There are three main events in this arc.

Roger_at_His_Execution.png

The first is we find out about Gol. D. Roger and how he inspired a generation of people to become pirates and chase their dreams–which in turn became Shanks inspiring Luffy to become King of the Pirates. This is where Luffy gets his Devil Fruit Powers, and where Shanks gives him the iconic Straw Hat that Roger had given him.

The second important moment in this arc is Koby from Alvida, and the third and final event in this arc is Zoro joining with Luffy and defeating Ax Hand Morgan.

Now each of these events seem pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things, except the Shanks incident.

We all know Shanks gave up an arm to save Luffy from the Sea King, which seems like a big deal at the time, but as the story progresses we realize that it was a way bigger deal than we had thought!

In terms of where we are now in the story, Shanks has become one of the strongest men in the entire world, even after losing his arm to a creature he could have beaten in one punch, but as he tells Whitebeard “I bet it on the next generation.”

Again, we don’t find any of this out till much later in the story, but what we do know is that this moment, when Shanks loses an arm, and when he gives Luffy the iconic Straw Hat, are hands down the two most important moments in the show. These are what inspired Luffy to become the next King of the Pirates.

Shanks tells Luffy all about his stories and adventures he has gone on, which is the greatest thing in the world to a child like Luffy, but it is losing the arm that really inspires him, because witnessing this happen tells Luffy that Shanks protects the ones he cares about and Luffy grows up to do the same.

Shanks_Saves_Luffy.png

PLUS Shanks gives Luffy the ultimate quest for returning the Straw Hat. 

The next little bit of this arc focuses on Luffy saving Koby. In my opinion this hasn’t done much for the overall story, and at the time it was pretty much the same. Koby does become Luffy’s first real friend once he takes off to sea, but he was set up right away to be a sort of counter to Luffy, because his dream was to become a Marine Admiral, which is sort of the opposite of what Luffy wanted.

Now Alvida hasn’t had much to do with the story since she was defeated, so she’s basically unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Luffy_Fights_Alvida.png

Even Koby has become somewhat pointless. As the story develops I thought Koby might become a rival to Luffy, pushing him to become stronger but still being friends at the end of the day, but Koby is more or less useless. We learn that Gol. D. Roger had a marine rival–Garp, so I thought that this might be Koby’s job in the story, but that doesn’t seem to be the case since he is so weak. If anything I’d give this job to Smoker at the moment, and I really doubt Koby will change much as the story wraps up.

He has his moment on Marineford, but Luffy takes him down in just a punch.

I’m not really sure what the point of Koby is. I mean he isn’t a threat to Luffy, he isn’t even that important in the Marines, he hasn’t done much other than help stop the Whitebeard War, but I still don’t like him.

Don’t get me wrong he’s strong in his own right, but I don’t think he’s strong enough yet to give Luffy any sort of threat, and at this rate I don’t think it would make much sense for him to be anywhere near as strong as he needs to be to defeat Luffy, but I think there is a reason he’s here…we just don’t know what it is yet.

Finally the Axe Hand Morgan section of the arc. This is another pretty unimportant part of the story in the grand scheme of things, other than the fact that we get introduced to the first, and coolest, Straw Hat crew member Zoro.

Luffy saves him from prison and the two of them work together to beat Morgan and saving the town he was ruling over.

Again, Morgan is pretty small key villain, and even his son Helmeppo, who becomes good friends with Koby as they join the marines together, is pretty useless since we’ve met him.

Zoro_Tied_up_in_Shells_Town.png

There are two key moments in this part of the arc though. The first is when the Marines thank Luffy and Zoro, who are considered criminals, for helping defeat Morgan. This is very important because this is where we get the idea that the Marines, who are essentially the bad guys, have their own sense of what justice is.

They could have tried to arrest Luffy and Zoro after they defeated Morgan, but realized that it was only because of them that they were able to stop Morgan in the first place. This sense of justice doesn’t mean much at the time, but it becomes more and more important as the story goes on.

The second important event is the moment when Luffy and Zoro team up to fight Morgan. This is when we really find out that they are good people, despite being what readers normally consider the bad guys in society–pirates.

This is the first real moment of being a ‘bad guy’ because of society looking down on pirates but being a ‘good person’ because Luffy, and by extension Zoro always do the good thing despite being labelled as a bad guy.

So that’s it for my review of the Romance Dawn arc. What did you think? I liked writing this arc review much more than the manga review as a whole, so I’ll likely continue with it in the future, but I’d love some feedback in the comments section.

Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a truly extraordinary Viking hero known throughout Vikingdom as “the Dragon Whisperer”…but it wasn’t always so. Travel back to the days when the mighty warrior was just a boy, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans. Can Hiccup capture a dragon and train it without being torn limb from limb? Join the adventure as the small boy finds a better way to train his dragon and become a hero!

The third and final movie in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy came out over the weekend, so I figured it would be a good idea to give a review of the book that started it all.

How_to_Train_Your_Dragon_First_Edition_Cover

I read this book when I was a kid, obsessed with dragons and knights and everything magical and mystical.

I originally thought the movies were only based off of the first book, because I thought that there only was one book. I had no idea that there was a whole series about the How to Train Your Dragon world.

The movie was good, I saw it on the weekend, but I thought the book was good too.

I honestly don’t remember a good portion of the book, but from what I do remember it was a sort of “manual” of how to train a dragon, and the main character Hiccup had to do just that, with a dragon he later calls toothless, who he needs to pass the initiation for his Viking Tribe.

It’s a fun little book. I don’t remember ever reading a book where the dragon was considered a “pet” of sorts, but I thought How to Train Your Dragon took the idea and played off of it well.

If you’ve seen the movie but haven’t had a chance to read the book yet but plan on it, don’t get your hopes up too high. In this case the book and the movies are VERY different from each other, but in this case I’m actually okay with it.

The general premise is the same. A scrawny viking chief-to-be has to fit in with his culture and train a dragon but that’s basically where the similarities end.

Some characters have the same names, some dragons too, but the overall story is different.

395365_519157818146724_1168377042_n

Usually I get upset because the movies ruin the books for the most part, but in this case I think the movies did a fantastic job at taking their source material and making it something new. I wouldn’t say the books are better per se, they’re just different.

Did you know How to Train Your Dragon was a book before it was a movie? Have you read it? Or if you’ve seen the movie I’d love to discuss the new movie in the comments, I really enjoyed it. 

Next week I’m gonna take a look at a book with different short stories in it, given to me by some wonderful authors. The book might be a little spooky, so I’m excited.

Book Review: The Hole by Christina Burridge

Book Review: The Hole by Christina Burridge

Before I begin, I’m not entirely sure what the rules are for stating if a post is sponsored or not,and as much as this may sound like a sponsored review, I am receiving nothing from reviewing the following book. I purchased a copy of my own, and did not get anything in return for covering it. The reason I am covering it will be posted in the review. Thank you. 

Author: Christina Burridge

Rating: 4.5/5

Before I begin, I want to remind you that if you or someone you know are suffering from depression or any sort of mental illness, please find help. Those around you may not completely understand what you are going through, but there are professionals and programs in place to help you.

As I stated last week, this week’s book review is another classmate’s school project. This one is a graphic novel called The Hole, and honestly, it is a fantastic little book that shows someone experiencing depression.

The first thing that stuck out to me was the simple art style. The few graphic novels that I’ve read in my life generally have very elaborate art styles, which is amazing, but The Hole has very simple art work. It’s simple, but I really enjoy the simple look if it is done well. The focus of the book isn’t on the elaborate art styles or the beautiful colours. The focus is on the story.

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 11.06.02 AM.png

In my experience, I haven’t read a lot of books where the main character is suffering from any sort of obstacles, whether thats physical or mental. Main characters might be poor, or have some struggles to go through, but they are generally well-off mentally and physically. At least well off enough to get by at first.

What’s fantastic about The Hole, is that the main character is experiencing depression. She tries to explain her situation to her parents, who don’t really understand what is going on, and tell her she is being lazy or she’s just upset about something.

From my understanding, that same message is the one that a lot of people who are experiencing depression go through.

“It’s just a phase”

“Stop moping around all day”

“He’s just got attitude”

“Just go out and do something”

“why don’t you go make some friends”

“She’s just upset”

“Get over it”

These statements may be true for some. Someone might be having a rough day, or experiencing a breakup, or a number of different things that might make them feel a little down, and these phrases might work.

At the same time, these phrases can be devastating to someone who isn’t just going through a phase, who isn’t just upset about a bad mark, who isn’t just upset about over a fight they had with their friend.

For someone who is experiencing depression, or many other mental illnesses, phrases like the ones above can be incredibly painful to hear, especially from someone you love.

The people you love and care about are supposed to be the ones to help you through all the tough times, be your shoulder to cry on, and hold you when you’re scared.

The Hole, in my opinion, is a fantastic representation of all of this. Liyana, the main character, is suffering from depression, and is having a hard time finding a job after moving back in with her parents. Her best friend Mikah, who is going through problems of his own, does his best to push his thoughts and feelings down to help Liyana.

For those suffering mental illness, I think this is a truth that hits home and hits hard. Sometimes it is easier to help others than it is to help yourself, and so we push down our own problems in order to help others.

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 11.06.29 AM.png

Before I finish, I want to remind you that if you or someone you know are suffering from depression or any sort of mental illness, please find help. Those around you may not completely understand what you are going through, but there are professionals and programs in place to help you. If you don’t feel like reaching out to a professional, feel free to reach out to me. I may not be the best option but I am always willing to help.

If you might be interested in getting a copy of The Hole, let me know and I can arrange for you to buy a copy. It is definitely worth the read, and it sheds a painful but insightful light on those who are suffering from mental illness.

 

%d bloggers like this: