Thursday, November 18, 2010

[Novel Status + New Books] as of Nov 18, 2010

I've been buying even lesser books than usual now! Hurrah!
But it didn't exactly make the number of books I actually finish get higher in number.... ahahahaha. Trying my best to catch up again, but for now, here's the current status:

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
I read it because the movie's coming up..... but now matter how many more pages I read... I still cna't see what's so great about it x_x

The Tapestry #1: The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff (116 of 414)

  • The Tapestry #2: The Second Siege by Henry H. Neff
  • Chronicles of Narnia #5: Voyage of the Dawn Trader by C.S. Lewis
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy #1: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
  • Breathe by Cliff McNish
  • ~ and so many other choices

  • Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
  • Peter & the Starcatchers by Barry and Pearson
  • The Oracle Prophecies #1: The Oracle Betrayed by Catherine Fisher

TO READ FROM THE START AGAIN (previously on-hold):
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
  • Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Sussana Clark

  • Roar - Emma Clayton
    I saw Eoin Colfer having a positive review on it.... and it was about a twin brother searching for his twin sister... and they're involved in some violent game between mutants.... can't resist... plot~ Haha!
  • Artemis Fowl 4: The Opal Deception - Eoin Colfer
    I've already read this actually because a good friend had lent it to me. I just bought it for the sake of collection, hehe. I love this series.... even if I'm quite behind on it.
  • Coronado - Dennis Lehane
    I love Shutter Island, which is a work of the same author. This one seemed to be a collection of intriguing short stories... I think I can only expect good stuff from someone who was able to think of Shutter Island, hehe.
  • Uncle Boris in the Yukon - Daniel Pinkwater
    I still haven't read the other Pinkwater novel that I have but this one was about the love for dogs and it was on sale! I'm a dog lover and the difference from the original price was REALLY BIG so it was hard to resist, hehe.
  • Mistborn 1: The Final Empire - Branden Sanderson
  • I saw the third book and was already tempted to buy it until I realized that I haven't read the first book yet. So when I finally found it, on sale even, I didn't have second thoughts on grabbing it, hehe. Hopefully it is indeed as good as the reviews say.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

[New Books] Sept 21 to Oct 17 2010

  • The Last of the Angels by Fadhil al-Azzawi
    I haven't read an Iraqi novel.... so I was so happy to have the opportunity to be able to read one when I found this on sale~ And I see World War I, a pair of brothers, and a boy meeting three men claiming to be angels, literally. Me likey *_*
  • The Angel Maker by Stefan Brijs
    A haunting tale of a mad scientist doing... something... on male triplets.... and it's said to be somewhat like Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyl and Mister Hyde.... and it involves issues related to ethics, morality, science, and religion. Sweet~
  • How to be Good by Nick Hornby
    The title... intrigues me xD And there are so many positive reviews on how witty and funny it is. I can't ignore *_*
  • Howl's Moving Castle #2: House of Many Ways by Diana Wyne Jones
    I haven't read the prequel... but I have seen the animated movie version and I LOVE IT!
  • Many Waters by Madeline L'Engle
    I have yet to read the first book but I quickly browsed this one and saw the magic word, "unicorn". So I didn't have second thoughts anymore, teehee~
  • Madman Dreams of Turning Machines by Janna Levin
    It's about geniuses that went insane~ I find that interesting =D I took a glimpse on some lines in the book and it already amused me~
  • A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li
    It's an anthology that had several awards and I don't get to read stories about Chinese people in abroad much. So it's something new for me~
  • Fable Heaven #2: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull
    I have not read the prequel but I've already been eyeing on it for a long time so maybe's it's a sign that I'd actually like it. I saw the sequel on sale... I hope I'm right on the risk of buying this one. I would really regret not getting this if I ended up falling in love with the prequel.
  • The Keys to the Kingdom #1: Mister Monday by Garth Nix
    I kept on seeing the third book but I can't buy it because I haven't read the first two books! Now I finally found the first one (on sale even, yay!). I like Nix's Abhorsen trilogy and this one, though it sounds a bit cliche, it has something to do with the Seven Deadly Sins (corresponding to the seven days of the week). Stuff like that always get me interested~
  • The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater
    It's about three weirdos in some wacky adventure.... and Neil Gaiman enjoyed it.... so it must be fun and awesome =D
  • An Obsession with Butterflies by Sharman Apt Russell
    THE TITLE IS EPIC *loves butterflies* 'nuff said ;P
  • Anathem by Neal Stephenson
    A group of intellectuals isolated then brought to the outside world. It has a LOT of positive reviews and was said to be very intellectual.... that alone got me so intrigued. I'm so happy I managed to find its version that is on sale... I almost bought the copy that is not on sale form another bookstore, ehehe.
  • The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor
    A person obsessed with a certain past he couldn't remember... and there's some murder mystery involved. Interesting *_*
I've been buying less novels than usual now... (In the past, I already managed to buy this number of novels in a WEEK but this time it took me almost a MONTH) I'm improving!

It also appears that the novels I've both are more varied in terms of ethnicity/setting this time (there's an Iraqi, Dutch, Chinese, etc.). I also risked some sequels even though I haven't read their corresponding prequels yet, ehehehe.

All of them were both at least lower than half of its orginal price ^^ I'm so happy to be able to get such interesting books in a decent price ^^ Yay!

Now for the time to read them....

Friday, October 1, 2010

[Novel Review] Demons of the Ocean (Vampirates #1)

Demons of the Ocean (Vampirates #1)
by Justin Somper
Connor: My twin sister and I got separated when we were shipwrecked.
Grace: Connor was rescued by the pirates.... while I landed into the ship belonging to the Vampirates!
Connor: Grace is in danger! I must find her!
Grace: I'm worried about Connor! I must find him!
I love stories involving vampires, but this recent vampire romance craze is making me sick. What a relief I had to read something about vampires again that is not entirely focused on romance! It made me happier that not only are the vampires her not mushy, their pirate traits make them kickass as well. The idea of a vampire and a pirate in one was really cool~

However, it might have been better if the existence of pirates that are vampires as well in the book had been a twist or at least a mystery instead of something that is obvious from the title of the series alone. Actually, not many of the twists in the story had been that surprising, even if it's so action packed and fast paced.

So many things happened in the book in every freakin' chapter yet there are still many things that are left unexplained. It appears that because the story tried to progress too fast that it didn't have time for character development.

Even the two main characters didn't have enough of it. If you think about it, they aren't really that different from what they were at the beginning. I have to admit that it's quite sickening to see Connor being too good in everything even for a newbie in a new way of life (it didn't take him too long to adjust to his new lfiestyle), and Grace being so lucky to be protected and pampered despite her selfishness and uselessness. I prefer seeing Connor having more weaknesses... and for Grace to be truly as smart as how the book tries to portray her to be.

My biggest problem with the twins is that... they're so special yet we don't know WHY. There has to be some explanation or significant clue at least on why our main characters take all the glory on its very first book. Harry Potter was The Boy Who Lived; Percy Jackson was The Son of Poseidon; so Connor and Grace are....?

The problem with the main characters isn't really the worst of it. I had so many other concerns with the flaws of this book but none of them could beat my problem with the setting. I mean, it's set in the future, where everything is supposed to be more advanced and high-tech... YET the main characters don't act like children from the future but some kids in the early 1900's. They didn't have problems in adapting to an environment that lacks technology because they appear to have no experience or idea about it. With that, I didn't see the sense of making the setting futuristic. It might've also been a great idea to have our pirate characters be on a high-tech ship... but they aren't. So the time period seemed pretty pointless.

I admit my disappointment with this series because I really could see it to be much better than what it is right now if only it did more interesting twists and avoided some annoying cliche. Nonetheless, I applaud to this series for its use of vampires: the vampires here are smart people, use a system, and still drink human blood. The sunlight weaknesses made them a little boring though (oh come on, does this mean they could only do battle at night?) unless the author does something about that limitation.

Many of the characters of this series have been charming and interesting in their own way; I love a number of them~ It was very enjoyable to read and had a satisfying ending (Hooray to focus on family love instead of romantic love for a change!). I look forward to reading more from this series.

C (OKAY! Not that great but isn't bad either!)
It's nowhere near fantastic but had several remarkable points~
3.5 Hearts ---> LOVE
I enjoyed reading this and I LOVE LORCAN!!! Hehehehe....

Thursday, September 30, 2010

[Novel Status] Oh I think I miss Peter Pan....

Peter & the Starcatchers by Barry and Pearson (54 of 451)

The Tapestry #1: The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff (52 of 414)

Chronicles of Narnia #5: Voyage of the Dawn Trader by C.S. Lewis

Vampirates #1: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper
Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

TO READ FROM THE START AGAIN (previously on-hold):
Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Sussana Clark

Finally managed to finish Demon's Lexicon after a long while, ehehe. It was actually good, but it gave me some headaches =_=
I'm liking Peter and the Starcatchers so far. For a prequel of Peter Pan, it's quite dark. Sweet~ =3
After finishing those novels on-hold, I aim to read the 5th Narnia novel already before the movie premieres. It will be quite a motivation for me to finish those novels as soon as possible, hehe.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fangurling: The Hunger Games Trilogy

by Suzanne Collins

~ Click here for the unbiased and spoiler-free review ~

I was already familiar with the Hunger Games popularity even before the second book was released. Its popularity made me curious so when I spotted it in the bookstore oneday, I read the plot at the back. It sounded so much like Battle Royale, which I didn't appreciate much because of the sexually mature themes. Though I am certain a YA novel won't ever go that far, I still don't think I could appreciate it because of the reality TV thing. I never appreciated reality TV series with the likes of Survivor and Amazing Race, so my interest in the novel's story became even lesser. What made me more convinced that I won't ever appreciate it is because I see a certain author's name among the reviews saying that she's so obsessed with it. Why? I just can't imagine getting hooked to a series that is loved by an author I disliked. I don't care if Stephen King, an author that I like, had praised it despite that. Not all the books that my favorite authors like are what I like anyway. Because of that I've been ignoring this trilogy and paid more attention to other novels (and my other fandom).

During the month of the third book's release, I found out that a close friend of mine is actually hooked to it. Since we have similar tastes, I thought that I might end up loving the series after all because my friend did. It took me a while before I decided to buy the first book already.

I didn't read it at once though. I just left it on a shelf then continued with my daily life. The one night, when I finished a certain novel, I thought of giving Hunger Games a chapter or two.

The next thing I knew was that I was already at chapter 5 in the middle of the night!

Unlike the other YA novels I've read before it, its first chapter was already so terrific that reading it felt like it was saying to me, "Put me down and you'll regret it!". In other words, it's such a page turner... really difficult to put it down because knowing what will happen next has been exciting and seeing the world through Katniss had been interesting.

I think the choice of a novel's narrator is very crucial.... because how he/she narrates the story matters a lot. I mean, it's seriously difficult to appreciate the story if the one telling it is freakin' annoying. Thank goodness Katniss is a likeable character. She uses her brain; she analyzes and observes, formulates strategies and considers multiple options. She's no close-minded idiot who only relies on the others to do the thinking. She also doesn't waste paragraphs in decribing how beautiful things/people are and in agonizing about how unfortunate she is.

Katniss has not only been a decent heroine, but also lovable and admirable. Sure, she may be a little extra special among the other characters.... but at least it's because of her own efforts, even if she did them unkowingly, not out of pure luck or coincidence. She acts stupid at times, but at least she's aware of it... and she faces the consequences and she actually improves herself. I love her skills and limitations, her strengths and weaknesses. I love this girl.

Actually, there's no character that I absolutely abhor in the series, because I find none of them annoying. All of them had been interesting in their own way, whether they're major or minor characters. Yes, even the main villain who's absolutely heartless. I find it better if villains do their role well.... and also those that only hold back for a good reason.

A terrific leading character and a marvelous main villain.... actually that's already enough to make a decent series because they're seriously rare. What's even rarer is that this series managed to give enough character development to most of the characters in this series. I firmly believe that we could've learned even more about the progress and the backgrounds of the other characters if we didn't need to rely on Katniss's point of view. But well, even if we're limited to only seeing what Katniss does, what we get to know about the others is already satisfactory.

Speaking of satisfaction, one of the things that made me so pleased with this series is how it represented love. For one, it didn't focus only on romantic love. I was so relieved that it also puts great emphasis on the love for family, friends, and countrymen. The saying "love conquers all" isn't only applicable to romantic love, you know. I'm so happy that the characters here aren't absolutely blinded with erotic passion.

Another is that the love stories here are heartwarming, sometimes tragic, but overall absolutely beautiful. It's so amazing when he characters express their love, because it's something that you call true love, not to mention it's pretty realistic. They love everything of their other half, no matter what his/her flaws are. There's a reason on why opposites attract. It also showed that sometimes romance is somethng practical: you pick the one you need the most.

The most popular love story here is none other than the main love triangle, which is one of the most decent love triangles in literary history. Neither of the boys had a "forever one-sided love" because Katniss gave love to both Gale and Peeta equally; what she had done one is most likely what she would also have done to the other one if the same thing happened; if ever she didn't, there's usually a good reason/excuse for it... not because she's just being biased to the one she favors more. The boys, on the other hand, showed their undying love for her in absolute obviousness. They were straight to the point. They don't hide their jealousy, but jealousy didn't make them forget about their love nor make themselves angry with the other guy. In fact, they get along well and there had been times where they tell each other that the other will be the winner, not himself. They have a peaceful rivalry, and neither are forcing their feelings on Katniss. I wish other love triangles are like this.

I didn't seriously mind much on who Katniss ends up with, but I admit that I favored Peeta over Gale... simply because he's ranked higher in my favorite characters list compare to Gale, haha! I find Peeta's romance more romantic because he was in love with Katniss much longer than Gale had. I also find find it difficult to compare Peeta's sacrifices for Katniss' sake compare to Gale's.... because Peeta really did a lot more! What I find most remarkable with Peeta is that he managed to protect the girl he loves.... even though he's no fighter type.

He's in fact the peace-loving boy and the artist type. He's such a nice guy and really terrific with words. I don't know how many times i had called him genius! Haha! It made me so sad when I read about the parts when he's in pain. I feel even sadder when I see Finnick and Cinna in pain, because those are the only two characters whom I like more than Peeta.

At first I thought Finnick was just a playboy, but when I found out that he isn't what he seems and is actually a pretty nice guy, I changed my opinion of him. Much more when I found out that he's also awesome and adorable 24/7. Haha! I find it pretty romantic that he's in love with someone.... not mentally stable. I mean, he treasures someone who's very vulnerable... and practically useless. I'm not saying that a kickass dude x helpless girl is my ideal romance.... but the way Finnick loved her... and knowing that this girl used to be a survivor of the Hunger Games... I'm sure there's something more in their relationship. Unfortunately we just weren't able to know more details about it. Ehehe.

Now as for Cinna, he may not have much role in the trilogy, but his little acts and words already gave me so much impact. This guy is BRILLIANT and really LOVABLE in whatever he does. It's like how Katniss got captivated with him.... this guy is just difficult to hate no matter how little he says. He's a stylist, and what he designs aren't just pretty and very creative.... but they also have meanings and purposes. In his own way, he fought for what he thought is right and helped those he had loved.

When something tragic happened to Cinna, however, I didn't cry.... because I already expected it. I honestly didn't cry at all as I read the books.

Why? Simply because I didn't want to make the books wet because... I just borrowed them! Haha! Another reason is because I finished the novels after midnight... and I need to sleep as soon as possible because I need to be early the next day. Crying would only delay my sleep. Only then I realized how good my self-control had been when it comes to that.

But the tears started the next morning, when I was recalling what I've read as I left home. It's embarassing to cry in public so I advise you not to think of the sad scenes of the Hunger Games while outside, okay? Ehehehe.

Anyway, I haven't been this hooked to a novel series since the Harry Potter phenomenon. I highly look forward to its upcoming movie. Hopefully it would be able to live up to the book's glory!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

[Novel Batch Review] The Hunger Games Trilogy

#1: The Hunger Games
#2: Catching Fire
#3: Mockingjay

by Suzanne Collins
Katniss Evergreen: Our country, Panem, is ruled by the Capitol, which controls the twelve ditrcits surrounding it. I live in District 12... and everyday I try to save me and my family from starving to death.
Gale: The Capitol is evil. Forcing each district to send 2 children to fight to the death on live TV every year is wrong!
Effie Trinket: Happy Hunger Games! The girl selected to be this year's tribute is.... Primrose Evergreen!
Katniss Evergreen: PRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIM! I volunteer as tribute!
The idea of forcing a group of young people to kill each other until only one of them is left is not something new. Such a harsh phenomenon can be traced back in history. It's sad but it's a reality that humans really have the ability to find enjoyment in watching others bathe themselves in another's blood. In the past, these could only be seen in one area, but thanks to modern technology even those who are far away can witness such horror.

Since the Hunger Games also uses this idea of people fighting to the death, naturally its story would be filled with tragedy and hardships. Moments of peace and happiness are rare; feelings of pain and loss are uncountable and unforgettable. Bloodshed isn't the only horror to be faced in this trilogy for there are also a number of psychological horrors to be encountered. There are things that could be far worse than death and torture.

But even though the main plot is meant to be depressing, it won't be a surprise if you'll be finding yourself laughing or giggling at times as you read these books. Despite the dark themes, the series has a great sense of humor. Its various elements are blended so well that it didn't ruin the main story.

The story is much deeper and more complex than it seems. Not everything that the narrator witnesses is the truth, and neither are everything on the surface is as it appears. A certain action could cause or imply so many things; a certain thing could be defined and used in many ways.

I'm very impressed that forms of entertainment that are considered pretty harmless and wasteful in modern times had been used in important matters in the story. Music saved lives, television has brought inspiration, and fashion sparked a revolution! Not only those who are capable of battle can fight, but also those who can bake, invent, and design clothes!

The trilogy has a dynamic and interesting cast. The characters are different from each other in various ways yet in their own way they could shine even with the simple things that they have done. A lot of them got enough development... and even if some of them seem too skillful to be real, their backgrounds make their capabilities believable enough. Despite of the many amazing things that they could do, I love it that the author hasn't forgotten about their imperfection and limitations; there are times where they would fail or would need to step back. There are times where they rely on others... and how these relationships are formed are beautiful.

I believe it's safe to assume that the trilogy supports the saying "Love conquers all". But fortunately, unlike other novels that talk about love, the Hunger Games trilogy acknowledges that romantic or eros love isn't the only form of love in the world. There's love for family, friends, companions, country, and oneself as well.

Aside from love, the trilogy also teaches the value of other things such as patience, resourcefulness, wits, and guts. Being able to attack others and defend oneself isn't the only way to survive in a deadly arena, but knowing the ways of mother nature is just as important. Mental and emotional strength.... how you'll manage to keep yourself together and retain your positive sides... are also very essential. True victory doesn't just mean managing to breathe for a long period of time in chaos.... what you did matters more than what you won.

The Hunger Games trilogy is a brilliant narrative filled with action, suspense, mystery, romance, and even comedy! It involves discipline, justice, politics, revolution, strategies, war, and survival! Opposite sides of the spectrum are blended well in this as well, such as mother nature and advanced technology, and a city filled with luxury and a city filled with almost nothing, and despair and hope!

The novels are such page-turners that it's so difficult to put it down because of the hunger of knowing what will happen next. If the first book is already incredibly captivating, the succeeding books are even better. It improves and gets more serious in each succeeding novel, yet the excitement and intensity aren't any less.

Like any other novel that has existed, there's no way for this trilogy not to have any flaws. But since it's well-written and has so many fantastic aspects, it's absolutely not difficult to ignore those minor flaws. This is the best Young Adult trilogy I've read so far! It's highly recommended to everyone because finding something this good is seriously rare!

A+ (TOTALLY BRILLIANT! *worships*)
It has been amazing in so many ways. It totally deserves its fame.
5 Hearts ---> OBSESSION
This is my top favorite YA trilogy so far~ I was very very very hooked to it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

[New Books] Sept 11 to Sept 20 2010

  • 07-Ghost Vol. # 2 by Amemiya Yuki and Ichihara Yukino
    I can't not complete the english version of one of my top favorite manga~

  • 07-Ghost Vol. # 3 by Amemiya Yuki and Ichihara Yukino
    This is the latest volume published by CY that I know of. Gotta have 'em all~

  • Peter and the Shadow Thieves (Peter and the Starcatchers, #2) by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
    The prequel seemed good in its first few pages; it would be nice to grab this one which is on sale =D

  • Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms, #1) by Kristin Cashore
    wingstodust strongly recommends it so... I can't ignore

  • The Encyclopedia of Useless Information by William Roland Hartston
    Epic title with epic contents. It's very interesting!

  • A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1) by Madeleine L'Engle
    Based on recommendation again~ The other series attracted me more actually (blame the unicorn) but this is the series which got an award so better try this first~

  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years, #1) by Gregory Maguire
    I often saw the sequel and it got me interested... but I can't read it without reading the rpequel... and this one hard to find! But I finally found it! YAY!

  • Tide of Terror (Vampirates, #2) by Justin Somper
    I liked the first book~ And I want more Lorcan~

  • The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Trilogy, #1) by Jonathan Stroud
    It seemed interesting and friends strongly recommend it. Gotta get xD

  • The Golem's Eye (Bartimaeus Trilogy, #2) by Jonathan Stroud
    It was on sale! I have a strong feeling I'll like the prequel anywayz, better grab it before I regret~

  • Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
    My predition of being hooked to this series had occurred, ahahahaha!

  • Mockingjay (Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
    In a way I'm quite thankful I'm late to the fandom, at least I don't have to wait. Teehee.

I bought almost all the novels that my online friends dedicated to me xD Yay! But now reading list has become long... eep.
Now I should ban myself from buying too much novels again ^^; Ahahahaha...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

[Novel Review] Shadow of the Wind

Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Daniel Sempere: When I was young... my father brought me to a labyrinth filled with a lot of books....
Mr. Sempere: This is the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Choose the book you desire and you must protect it.
Daniel Sempere: I chose the Shadow of the Wind... I was so in love with the book that I wanted to find the other novels written by Julian Carax but....
Julian Carax: All of the novels that I've written are burned....
Daniel Sempere: I shall protect the book with my life and get to the bottom of this mystery...
My discovery of this novel felt similar to the way its main character found a novel of the same title.... I couldn't let it go! I fell under its spell instantly and reading the plot already made me so attached to it, much more when I started reading it! It was irresistably good that it was really difficult to put it down due to time contraints....

Overall, it was simply brilliant~ I was so intrigued to its many mysteries.... they involve tragic pasts, destructive wars, inhumane tortures, dark secrets, and so on. Despite its gothic theme, it manages to make me chuckle a lot because of its witty humor! It also shared a lot of insightful thoughts related to politics, society, philosophy, and religion (even the occult). It also made me so pleased that this novel is also about love for books and literature.... and sure knows a lot about it!

The author does beautiful storytelling which kept me so engrossed to the book. It's difficult not to fall in love with its story and characters~

I admit that I wasn't that impressed with its love stories though.... those involving the protagonists give us examples of "geniuses turning into idiots because of being too passionately in love". Ahahahaha.... but well, that's "youth"? Hehe. It's a coming-of-age story after all. At least they develop. The idiotc protagonists could be compelling characters if they want to be.

The most interesting main protagonist for me is Julian.... mainly because of his habit of telling frightening tales related to the supernatural... also because of his guts to insult a noble and befriending weirdos. As for the other main protagonist, he's a darling but sometimes I find him too idiotic. But well, that's part of growing up. Haha! He's a nice character.... my only problem with Daniel that on many ocassions he seems to be.... too lucky. How he gets away and gets saved.... they're mostly thanks to coincidence.

Nonetheless, many of the supporting characters have been really remarkable (and even those who don't get much of a role are nicely developed), especially my favorites~ Mr. Sempere had been such a nice man, who truly loved his wife and his son. He's such a caring father that can be considered as one of the best fathers in the literary world~ I would also want to award Julian's and Daniel's best friends as the "best best friends in the literary world"~

Both Miguel and Fermin, who are Julian's and Daniel's best friends repsectively, are friends that a lot of people would wish to have for their selfless love and fierce loyalty. They aren't only like that to the protagonist that they adore, but to the woman that they love as well. Aside from that, they also have great minds and fun personality. I love learning about Fermin's opinions about various matters (from food to war to women to sanity).... and I absolutely adore Miguel's Freudian obsession~ It's also difficult not to giggle at their jokes... especially Fermin... he's so hilarious~~

I'll never forget how I madly fell in love with my favorite characters, especially Miguel. This book is worth treasuring.... for being so incredible and amazing~

A (EPIC AWESOME! So addicting I cannot get enough!)
It's GENIUS but I just can't make it A+ because the erotic romance kinda turned me off... ehehehe.
5 Hearts ---> OBSESSION
I'm really a sucker for books dealing with various topics related to religion, philosophy, psychology, politics, sociology, and the like. And it just had to add some crime and book loving stuff. I also absolutely adore stoies with mystery and comedy xD Lastly, Miguel, I love you~

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Double Dozen Prequels I'm Thinking of Checking Out...

Here's a list of novels that I remember being interested in in the bookstore or jsut spotted on the net recently:
I want to buy all of these but that would be financial suicide x_x Hopefully I can have these narrowed down soon....

[Novel Status] Vampirates, Hunger Games, and RUSHING x_x

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (78 of 374)

Sacrifice by Sarah Singleton
Charlie Bones by Jenny Nimo
Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks
Dirty Magic by Carol Hughes
Peter & the Starcatchers by Bradley nd Pearson
The Merlin Conspiracy by Dianne Wyne Jones

Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (205 of 322)

The Tapestry #1: The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff (52 of 414)

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Vampirates #1: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Sussana Clark

Vampirates wasn't as terrific as I anticipated but nonetheless I love it~ Lorcan's my favorite. He's the "handsome saint who can kick ass" type. Squee~
I'm now reading Hunger Games. I never appreciated reality TV shows so I never imagined getting hooked to this. I only checked it out because I'm curious on what made it so popular.... but now I understand! Haha! I'm really pleased with its strong heroine~ I'm now at chapter 6 and I'm sure I'll love it. Fortunately a friend has the next 2 books so I don't need to worry about getting my hands on those~ Wheee~
I'll be attending the book fair on Saturday and I want to know which sequels or other novels I shall get... so I need to check the part 1's or the samples of some of the novels I have. About those under the "To Try" section of this post, I'll just test around less than a hundred pages of each to see if I get hooked or not. If I do, I'll buy another book from the same author, hehe. If not, then I won't let myself risk in wasting money on something I'm pretty certain I won't enjoy. I know that list is incomplete... and that's just the YA novels! Gah! There are so many novels I want to try x_x I should've done this sooner! But now I have to rush x_x
Or maybe instead of sequels I should focus on checking out new books by unfamiliar authors? Gah! The problem of wanting so many @_@

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Heroes of Olympus Debuting Soon!

Announced at Publishers Weekly, to be released on October 12 is the first book, entitled "The Lost Hero", which is a part Percy Jackson Spinoff series called "Heroes of Olympus".

Friday, September 10, 2010

[ Novel Status ] I think I'm gonna be hooked to Vampirates....

Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (205 of 322)

Vampirates #1: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper (53 of 330)

The Tapestry #1: The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff (52 of 414)

Septimus Heap 2: Flyte by Angie Sage

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Sussana Clark

Gimmick! by Youzaburou Kanari and Kuroko Yabuguchi

Supposedly I'll just focus on finishing Demon's Lexicon. But today there was a possibility that we might drop by a bookstore today... what if Vampirates turned out to be addicting? I thought of reading some chapters on it to have an idea whether I'll be hooked to it or not. Because if I did, I would want to grab the later installments as soon as possible xD

So anywayz, we didn't drop by at a bookstore in the end but I did fall in love with Vampirates~ Well, it's too fast paced for me though.... but things might turn out to be better than I hoped for in later chapters, hehe. What I like about it so far is the sibling love (Daaaw~ Those twins) and there are FEMALE pirates! Hooray to no gender stereotypes! =D

With Demon's Lexicon.... I like the bro complex fanservice but.... it's starting to overflow that it's becoming... sickening o_O I'm not that pleased with the story so far either. Only the humor is making me go on. So yeah, I feel like I'm jsut forcing myself to finish this. I don't think I'll be anticipating for its sequel ^^;

Lastly, I'm actually in "no book buying until the international book fair" mode... and having good control on that so far. However, I couldn't resist getting Gimmick volume 1 ^^; Ehehehe.... I see the later volumes often, but the first volume's hard to find. So I didn't have second thoughts when I miraculously spotted this one. Hehe. Hopefully it's as good as it seemed. If it is, I'll no longer have second thoughts in buying the later volumes~

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

[ Novel Review ] This Book is Not Good For You (Secret Series #3)

This Book is Not Good for You (Secret Series #3)
by Pseudonymous Bosch
Bosch: I'm really busy eating chocolate right now but I might as well tell you about the further adventures of our young heroes....
Yo-Yoji: Yo, I'm starving. Got a chocolate milkshake?
Bosch: The mission's dangerous, deadly, and.. delicious! Watch out for the evil chef and, of course, the always-upto-no-good Midnight Sun!
Cass: I don't care about the danger. I want to know who I am!!!
Bosch: They're going to be eating chocolate, then learning chocolate trivia, then eating chocolate, then visiting a chocolate plantation, and then.... did I mention that they're going to eat chocolate?
Max-Ernest: But I'm allergic to chocolate!!!
The third installment of the Secret Series did not disappoint! It was a very enjoyable read, as usual. It had been really hilarious and the part with Yo-Yoji going samurai mode was seriously awesome! Haha!

It didn't have as much codes or puzzles like the previous books, but it still makes you think and analyze. I find it exciting that it had been using different languages like French, Japanese, Italian, and you even have a glossary of "Hello" in a hundred languages! It even shares trivia related to animals and places. It was like the series went international and is acting like a tour guide for you~

And of course, what you'll learn most from this book would be stuff related to none other than CHOCOLATE! It really shows how the author loves it... and how knowledgeable he is of it! Interestingly, this book makes you see how much chocolate is connected to alchemy, which is one of the main themes of this series' story.

But no matter how much I adore this book, I've got to admit that there are several things that didn't seem right to me. One of them is the Japanese part. We were taught of what a haiku is. We got a translation of a haiku and it has the correct number of syllables BUT the character who said that line spoke in Japanese. Isn't it more appropriate that it's the Japanese lines that were in correct format, not the English translation? I mean, I pretty much doubt that the Japanese version of the haiku in the book would be in the same number of syllables as the English translation. Or was it because the author wasn't able (or got lazy) to do the Japanese version of a haiku? Come to think of it, not all of the lines that were supposedly uttered in Japanese are written in their original form.

Another thing that bothers me is that Cass has become... too special. It all began with the second book where she turned out to be a descendant of someone important. And what happened to her "prophetic abilities" from the previous book? Only applicable to the homonculus then? What the.... anyway, my point is, the more special Cass's background and role is becoming, the more special abilities she possesses. And that's quite..... boring. Super special characters are so boring.

But at least, in this book, Cass's mother has become involved in her adventures. It promises to me that this won't be your usual "parents don't know anything" adventure any longer. I'm also happy that we learned more about Mr. Wallace in this book. Hopefully the other older characters in the series get a chance to shine. I'm especially interested with Yo-Yoji's teacher, whose background was promised to be revealed sometime in the future. And Owen should do more awesome stuff, seriously.

Overall, I honestly think that this third book still can't beat the first book, it's certainly hell better than the second one! Hopefully the fourth book has a pleasant surprise for everyone~

B (COOL! So good I like it, baby!)
A very entertaining read! Much better than the second book!
4.5 Hearts ---> ADDICTION
The first book's still my favorite but SAMURAI YO-YOJI WAS AWESOME! HELL YEAH! Haha!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

[ Animation Review ] Despicable Me

COMPANY: Illumination Entertainment
DIRECTORS: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
WRITERS: Ken Daurio (screenplay), Cinco Paul (screenplay), Sergio Pablos (story)
When a criminal mastermind uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand scheme, he finds himself profoundly changed by the growing love between them.
Hooray to a wonderful children's show that focuses on a "villain" this time, rather than the usual superhero. It's so refreshing to see something different (imdb)~

I love it that even though the main character was made to be as despicable as possible, instead of getting annoyed, you find his actions entertaining instead. Haha! It has been much easier to warm up to him when he begins to open up his heart.

Though I admit that I think it would be better if our main character is crueler than how he was portrayed in the movie, I considered that this is targeted to children. It's nice that they kept the rating, even with the mean acts. Haha!

I find the ending appropriate as well. It's also better for children to see the reality that nobody's born evil and consider the possibility that even mean-looking parents can be such loving people.

Story-wise, some parts didn't seem to have been explained that well or has been pretty odd to me at least. Like, how could the main character not get any police notices for driving and parking like that? (It's quite... too unrealistic) And how did the girls get ballet lessons if they're orphans (Is there a school that teaches ballet for free? (It's quite unlikely for them to be sponsored by the orphanage at the show)

Nevertheless, the laughter that it brings to the audience made up for whatever it lacked. Haha! The minions were so adorably crazy! They had been so amusing in whatever they do! The part when they wanted to have a goodnight kiss cracked me up the most, haha!

Then about the girls, I'm relieved that they haven't been the extremely annoying parts. I think I'm a combination of those three: I'm an elder sister like Margo, I'm as morbid as Edith (haha!), and I adore unicorns almost as much as Agnes does (UNICORN STUFF TOYS ARE SO FLUFFY I COULD DIE!!! Hahahahah!). Surprisingly, I even think I can relate to Dr. Gru as well... especially on the way he criticized the storybook. Haha!

All characters here have been charming in their own way. I believe that like me, many others, whether children or adults, could relate to them, whether in personal or in experiences.

This movie had been very fun to watch. It's highly recommended =D

B+ (WOW! I am very impressed!)
A wonderful and entertaining film for all ages. The idea's impressive and the story's well done. And everything else is 100% fun~
4 Hearts ---> ADORATION

Monday, August 30, 2010

[Novel Review] Corydon and the Island of Monsters (Corydon Trilogy #1)

Corydon and the Island of Monsters (Corydon Trilogy #1)
by Tobias Druitt
Corydon: I am just a normal shepherd boy.... except that my foot isn't one of a human's.
Stheno:According to the stars, he's the Mormoluke that can lead the monsters to survival....
Corydon: That's impossible...
Medusa: You're the one who will save us from the Olympians, Corydon.
Corydon: But I'm no hero...
Perseus: I so don't wanna fight but I HAD TO because I'm a HERO! Let's go to Monster Island, boys! I'm already so physically prepared even if mentally unprepared!
Corydon: *gulps*!
The author had a very interesting idea for this trilogy. He didn't modernize mythology unlike the other mythology based series nowadays; he maintained the classic storytelling with a little twist: the monsters are the good guys. Through this we were given a different perspective on mythological events, and the monsters were given personality.... not just some beings that are like defeatable per stage until the hero reaches the final boss and becomes victorious.

Unfortunately, despite the potential, it failed to become as impressive as it seemed. The monsters are portrayed too symphathetically, making them drama queen and drama king wannabes. I could no longer count how many times it was mentioned in the book on how badly they were treated, how they prefer soltitude and nature,, and how much their fate relies on the young hero... thus making them such boring characters.

They whine and rant a lot.... but none of them beats the main character as the most annoying creature in the book. Ignorance is forgivable, but the boy's beyond stupid. I believe it's more than once when he did something dangerous right after he has been warned about it and informed about the consequences. What's worse is that he always relies to another being, who is unconditionally protective towards him, to help him out. He was useless except for around the end of the book, when he finally thought of using the skills he had been so proud of since the earlier chapters. I don't expect him to be a courageous hero too early, but not having any character development except around the end makes him so despicable.

The only chapters that had been quite fun to read are those that are centered on the "bad guys". They are very silly, but at least they are humorous, unlike the "good guys". I believe this book would've been more entertaining if only the main characters are as silly and wacky as the antagonists.

Unfortunately, the most that the funny chapters of this book could do is to make you giggle a little. Yeah, they're funny, but not funny enough to make you laugh your head off. In other words, some jokes are pretty lame. But if you're someone easy to laugh, then you might not feel the same.

The best part of this book for me is: The Glossary. The descriptions were really amusing that makes me wonder WHY this type of humor hadn't been used in the entire book?! The author had the potential in making this book fun and hilarious, but it appears that he preferred his audience to feel sorry for the monsters rather than laugh at them.

I have so many other complains on this book like with how disturbing it is for a YA novel (Please, there's no way Corydon only saw Medusa as a mother with how he sees her), how absurd some parts of the story had been (A human became Corydon's companion so easily), how dumb some solutions had been (Corydon was able to know an answer from a riddle by BEGGING), and so on. But my biggest complain on this book is: BORING. VERY BORING.

It was a pain to finish this thing. I have no intention of experiencing the same pain by reading the next book.

D+ (REALLY DISAPPOINTING! How could you do this to me?!)
Interesting idea on making the monster in mythology the "good guys" but.... it's extremely boring!
2 Hearts ---> DISLIKE
I like Kharmides. I find Perseus amusing. But the overall I didn't enjoy it so nah...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

[New Books] Aug 17 to 22 2010

  • Skellig (David Almond)
    The "Dr. Death" thing intrigued me xD And it got an honorary book stamp so I think it might be good.
  • Artemis Fowl 6: The Time Paradox (Eoin Colfer)
    FINALLY I've managed to get my hands on its paperback edition!!! But the 7th book is still in hardbound.... bummer.
  • The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
    I don't find this interesting at all (from reading the plot) since I'm not into reality TV shows anywayz. However, it's reaaaaaaaaaally popular and even Stephen King admired it? Perhaps it's something worth checking out.
  • Leonardo's Shadow (Christopher Grey)
    I have a feeling anything connected to Leonardo da Vinci will be interesting for me, ahaha!
  • The Tapestry 2: The Second Siege (Henry H. Neff)
    I'm not yet done with the first book but I'm liking it so far! Better grab the sequel while it was still on sale ^^
  • Madapple (Christina Meldrum)
    It had religious references.... and the Solomon's Seal thing reminded me of a favorite manga.... I can't resist, haha!
  • Lirael (Garth Nix)
  • Abhorsen (Garth Nix)
    I've read Sabriel ages ago but I told myself that I would only buy the other installments of this series if they are on sale. Surprisingly, these two showed up recently, so I didn't hesitate. Hehe.
  • The Icarus Girl (Heleen Oyeyemi)
    It's about imagination and this is my first try to read a novel about Nigerian mythology~
  • The Red Pyramid (Rick Riordan)
    The plot didn't really impress me... but Egyptian mythology from the author of the Percy Jackson series? I love that series, and it's a bestseller in my place; I guess it's worth checking out~
  • Septimus Heap 2: Flyte (Angie Sage)
  • Septimus Heap 3: Physik (Angie Sage)
  • Septimus Heap 4: Queste (Angie Sage)
  • Septimus Heap 5: Syren (Angie Sage)
    Ahahahahahaha.... yeah, I completed it. I'm mad, I know. Haha!
  • Guys Write for Guys Read (Jon Sciezka)
    It's an anthology for boys actually.... but lots of my favorite authors are there. I think this would be fun~
  • Vampirates 1: Demons of the Ocean (Justin Somper)
    I loooove the idea of vampires + pirates~ And twins who got separated and desperately want to see each other???!!! Ooooo.... this will delight me~ Hopefully they're nothing like the Newman twins from the Nicholas Flammel series.
  • Heroes of the Valley (Jonathan Stroud)
    Rick Riordan had a positive review for this book. And the trilogy that this guy made seems popular. It got me cruious for this one, hehehehe.
  • The Monstrumologist (Rick Yancey)
    I've been eyeing on this for a long time already but it was in hardbound so.... uuuugh! Then finally I saw a paperback version with a blue cover! Yay!
  • The Prince of Mist (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
    Anything with the word "Prince" attracts me. Hahahah! And I'm really impressed with Zafon's debut novel, so I thought of getting my hands on this one while discounted! =D

  • solanin (Inio Asano)
    I see positive reviews on this and I can finally own a viz media manga in a much much affordable price ^^ The original price is insanely expensive x_x
  • The Count of Monte Cristo 2 (Mahiro Maeda & Yura Ariwara)
    I bought the first book.... and I didn't expect to see the second one on sale too! Yay! I'll wait for the last book to be on sale before I marathon it, hehe. Which reminds me, I should rewatch and marathon the anime too *only seen around 2 episodes*
  • Yokai Doctor (Yuki Sato)
    I do not know why I picked this up but hopefully it won't disappoint x_x

I've bought all of these on sale (and at least 20% off) Today's the last day of the sale at my favorite bookstore so..... I'll start to avoid entering bookstores in order to be not tempted to buy anything no matter how cheap it is, ehehe.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

[Reading Status] I wonder if Corydon is as disappointing as it seems so far...

Corydon Trilogy 1: Corydon and the Island of Monsters by Tobias Druitt (68 of 283)

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (166 of 486)

Septimus Heap 2: Flyte by Angie Sage

Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (148 of 322)

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Sussana Clark

I thought of reading Corydon as soon as possible because its sequel is also on sale (50% off; hardbound). I've reserved it but my reservation expires in a few days. I have to decide whether to buy the sequel or not, or else it would be a waste if I didn't buy it but it turned out to be cool.

So far, to be honest, I find it pretty boring. But its glossary had fun descriptions, which leaves me wondering why the actual story doesn't have the same style =( Ah well, I have a few more days before Friday. Hopefully things will become more interesting later.

Waaaahhh.... I can't decide whether I should continue the Septimus Heap series (while the prequel is still fresh on my mind) or continue Shadow of the Wind already (while I still remember its story). There are also plenty of books I would really want to start already. *sigh*

Monday, August 16, 2010

[New Books] August 10 to 16 2010

  • The Hellbound Heart (Clive Barker)
    I didn't get hooked to Barker's Abarat series but writing's okay. The premise of this one intrigued me a lot~
  • Half Moon Investigations (Eoin Colfer)
    I didn't read the plot. I just thought of collecting anything by the author of the Artemis Fowl series because I'm sure they'll be good. Hehe.
  • Belle: A Retelling of "Beauty and the Beast": Once Upon a Time (Cameron Dokey)
    I. Absolutely. Can't. Resist. Fairy. Tale. Adaptations/Retellings.
  • The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle)
    Huge fan of Doyle because of the Holmes series. I didn't expect that he had the dinosaurs idea too! Awesome!
  • Corydon Trilogy #1: Corydon and the Island of Monsters (Tobias Druitt)
    Mythology.... I really couldn't resist. Haha!
  • Interworld (Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves)
    It's not often for me to see a Neil Gaiman book on sale~ And I'm a sucker for different worlds stuff~
  • Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth (J.V. Hart)
    The popular villain as a main character? That will always interest me =D
  • Philosophy Made Simple (Robert Hellenga)
    Novels involving philosophical ideas... can't resist. Haha! And I haven't read a novel with a Hindu marriage and a main character befriending an elephant. I wonder how those things got connected to philosophy, haha!
  • Journeys in the Dead Season (Spencer Jordan)
    A psychological thriller! The idea of a murderer being inspired by a soldier's memories in war intrigued me~
  • The Rose of Sebastopol (Katharine McMahon)
    It reminded me so much of Sedgwick's "The Foreshadowing", which I loved so much~
  • Breathe: A Ghost Story (Cliff McNish)
    I've been seeing this author's name for so many times because many of this person's works had caught my interest but I had second thoughts on buying them. Then recently I saw this one on sale, I no longer hesitated. Hehe.
  • Bible of Clay (Julia Navarro)
    I haven't read the more popular Navarro novel but.... this book's pretty new. Rare to see something pretty recent and popular on sale. Ehehe
  • The Tapestry 1: The Hound of Rowan (Henry H. Neff)
    I've heard that though it has so many similarities with Harry Potter, it had tons of positive reviews. That got me really interested.
  • The Painter of Battles (Arturo Perez-Reverte)
    I have yet to read the other works of this author that I have but the premise of this one seemed really interesting. I hope I won't regret it.
  • Pendergast #9: Cemetery Dance (Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child)
    The plot got me interested me so much but now I kinda regret it when I found out that it's the NINTH installment of a series I'm not familiar with! Waaah! Can I read this without reading the previous books? Huhu.
  • Septimus Heap #2: Flyte (Angie Sage)
    I loooooooooooove Magyk, so I'm totally completing this series~
  • Septimus Heap: The Magykal Papers (Angie Sage)
    I got it on sale! It's what motivated me to start the Septimus series in the first place, hehe.
  • The Youngest Templar #1: Keeper of the Grail (Michael Spradlin)
    It sounds cliche but it had sooooooooo many positive reviews. That made me really interested on it. Besides, I'm a ucker for medieval stuff.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

[Novel Review] Magyk (Septimus Heap #1)

Magyk (Septimus Heap #1)
by Angie Sage
Silas Heap: Our seventh son was born.
Sarah Heap: Hello Septimus.
Silas Heap: During that night in the Forest, when I was on my way home I've come across a baby girl freezing in the snow. That poor child.... I thought of adopting her.
Marcia Overstrand: Tell no one you found her. She was born to you. Understand?
Silas Heap: And when I arrived home with the baby....
Midwife: DEAD! Septimus Heap is dead!
What's most intriguing in this book is that the plot tells you that the main character of this book is DEAD. But naturally, since he's the title character, you expect that he can't really be dead. Knowing that the main character's death is one big joke is already something that you can list in your things-that-I-had-predicted-about-this-book's-story-which-happened even before reading it. And no, its predictability unfortunately doesn't end there.

Surprisingly though, despite its predictability, it still had good twists. In other words, even if you have an idea of what will happen, learning about how things exactly happened had still been impressive.

However, the storytelling wasn't really anywhere near outstanding. What made it worse is that it gives you the "You should've done it earlier!" feeling. Like for instance, the mystery behind the main character's past has been unknown until the end, and the process was actually something that could be done anytime as long as certain circumstances are meant (there wasn't any mention that they can only be availed once after many years. So I assume it can be done as frequently as they please). If it weren't for that odd delay, the matter would actually have been resolved much earlier. There's only one reason that I see why things didn't turn out that way: the author can't think of how to continue the story after that and also prefers to have the kids who were born during that time as the main characters that would play a bigger role in it. In other words, if Septimus had been 100% confirmed to be alive in earlier chapters, we wouldn't be having this story in this book at all.

Not that I don't like the story. I just wish the author had thought of other ways of developing it. But nonetheless, even with the poor execution, the disappointing plot holes, the annoying cliches, and the typical good-always-wins-against-evil stuff, the actual story was good, fun, and interesting enough to engage readers in reading more to know what happens next. How fast paced it had been is how fast you would want to turn to the next page as soon as possible, haha!

I really like its presentation on the character's emotions. It's interesting to know that they way they act and think actually have reasons behind them. Moreover, not everything is focused on the emotions of a single character. I really love the variety.

The book has a lot of characters that are silly yet cool in their own way. I love it that the main characters don't get all the glory. Even supporting characters could stand out and save the day! And it's fun that we even get to find out what happened in the end even to characters who only appeared once or have a really minor role.

Though I'm pleased on the non-excessive bias on the main characters, it appears that for that sake, character and relationship development had been sacrificed to give a little development on as many characters as possible.... which was still unsuccessful because several characters still don't have much of a personality nor background. Most of the main and supporting characters did have enough, but I can't help but wish for there to have been more. Especially on the main ones.

Speaking of background, though it shared background on its magical history, the many of actual enchantments hadn't really been that explained at all. Some are obvious, I agree; those bolded words had been helpful, but still it would be better if the spells are explained, and the long ones aren't just mentioned but are actually written in the book. I won't accept the reason: thinking of a nice sounding written spell of the long ones is difficult to think of. That's just author laziness.

Yeah, yeah, the book is totally not exempted from flaws, but still, overall it has been really fantastic! It's full of exciting adventure and its wonderful set of characters make it even more entertaining.

What draws me most into this is the imperfectness of the characters. Even protagonists can screw up and be as annoying as they please. I really appreciate children/YA series that aren't too biased on its main characters, especially if they aren't annoyingly angsty.

The most interesting character for me is the greatest young wizard who has military background. Yes, he's very powerful thanks to his natural gift BUT his fighting abilities doesn't rely only on his powers, unlike other fantasy series wherein the fighting type-wizards gain combat skills thanks to their magic, or magical weapons, or school training (which will only start at the beginning of the series). But our wizard in this series has gone through the real tough army training; for certain he knows danger and battle... and even has the experience. I really love seeing uncommon types of characters.

I look forward to the next book very much! I'm excited for its movie version to be released~ Hopefully they won't screw this up.

B (COOL! So good I like it, baby!)
Yeah, there are a lot of flaws, so what? So many things made up for it! It's remarkably creative and it rocked!
4 Hearts ---> ADORATION
It's very very enjoyable~ I love it! My new favorite series! Yay!

Friday, August 13, 2010

[Reading Status] I'm liking Septimus Heap~

Septimus Heap 1: Magyk (249 of 564)

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (166 of 486)

Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (148 of 322)

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Sussana Clark

Fantasy adventure series usually capture my attention, naturally the Septimus Heap series had been no exception. I had been wanting to check this out for a long time already but I had been having seconds thoughts on purchasing it because I feared that it might not be as good as I hope it would be (there were two fantasy series that just disappointed me during that time).

But an online friend recommended it. And recently I've stumbled upon Septimus Heap: The Magykal Papers ON SALE (more than 60% cheaper =D). I reserved it but I only have several days left before it expires. I had to decide whether it's worth it or not, so I purchased the first book as soon as possible (And it was 20% off! Yay!).

Now that I'm almost halfway on it... to be honest I still can't say if I'm hooked to it, but I am definitely enjoying it! =D Oh dear.... I think I'll be tempted to purchase until the latest installment! Haha!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

[Novel Review] The Alchemyst (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel #1)

The Alchemyst (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel #1)
by Michael Scott
Nicholas Flamel: I am an immortal and my role is to guard an important book... which I failed to do so in this story.
Female Twin: My name is Sophie Newman. I'm the older twin and I am very protective of my overprotective brother.
Male Twin: I'm Josh Newman. I love my laptop, iPod, and cellphone. One day in a bookshop I worked in, our lives changed forever.
Dr. John Dee: Their lives have changed thanks to me, the bad guy in this novel! I'm so evil yet so awesome because I have so many talents! But since my role is to be a villain, I use all my might to make their lives as miserable as possible... no matter how many times I fail!
This book has been very engaging and it's a real page-turner for I already wanted to throw it away after reading the first chapter! It was also full of surprises; so many of what I had expected had happened! I was very shocked!

I was very thrilled with its action scenes because none of the main characters did any special moves.... even though they mentioned about attending to martial arts classes and getting a red belt in taek won do. The book has also been good with the drama, for it made the twins have as many touching moments as possible; I didn't even shed a tear.

More importantly, let's give praise to the author for being so thoughtful that he considered how forgetful readers are. I could no longer remember how many times it was mentioned on how much the lives of the twins have changed, how much they don't want to believe it yet they couldn't help it because of what's going on, and also in how much danger they're currently involved in. We are also constantly being reminded of how old the Alchemyst and his wife are. And of course, we are also being frequently reminded of the little things like the profession of the twins' parents. Thanks to that I had become sooooo aware that their parents are archaeologists, and thanks to them, the twins know stuff related to myths and legends. They're so knowledgeable about these things that they need to research about it through Google or hear the explanations or descriptions from the other characters. It looks like they do know these myths and legends really well!

Speaking of the twins, they are so multi-dimensional that even after I've finished the first book, I still don't know them very well! What I'm certain of is that they've been together since forever and no plans of changing that. I also often notice about their annoyance in being treated as kids in the book, even if they really are. They sure have shown the great qualities of teenagers nowadays!

And oh, because they're the main characters of this story, naturally they're very very special. They are prophesized to be the ones who can save or destroy the world.... and of course their abilities are rare and the most powerful ones.... even against the gods! And even if the other characters have more experience.... and no matter how many victories the other characters have bragged about.... in the end, the twins are still the ones who save the day! And yes, even if they're still amateurs and ignorant! Aren't they incredible?!



I'm so disappointed. This book had so much potential! How the author had managed to connect mythology, legends, and history was beautiful! I believe the author should be complimented for the research done for this book. They were real people connected to "fictitious" events yet they make sense! It was really remarkable!

However, they were placed in a horribly cliche-rich story centering on typical leading characters. What's supposed to stand out didn't stand out! No thanks to that, the story became annoyingly dull. It was very PAINFUL to read.

The book has interesting ideas and a nice selection of the cast.... but they were placed in the wrong story. I think the author made a mistake for oversimplifying things and trying to please the teenage audience as much as possible. It may have worked for some, but it made me lose my faith in him. What a waste!

I think this would've been better if Flamel was the main character. His life in those earlier years seem more interesting. If not Flamel, Dee would do. He's the one who was originally planned to be the main character in the first place. I wish he didn't change his mind. It would have been more intriguing to read about Dee's story... a great character who succumbed to the dark side afterwards. That might not sell though. Most good stories don't sell. *sigh*

On the bright side, I find the cover of the book very tantalizing and enchanting. The material is also of very good quality (doesn't smell bad either). It was pretty affordable too (or maybe it's because the actual worth of the book would be much less if it weren't for the pretty publication?). Hopefully I'll be able to see good books (that are unlike The Alchemyst) from Delacorte Books some day.

Sadly, this book hadn't been good enough to make me wish for more. I'm so relieved that I didn't decide to purchase its sequel. It certainly saved me from a terrible headache.

C- (SO-SO! Very average and typical whatever!)
It really wasn't that horrible but it had so much potential. It's such a waste.
2.5 Hearts ---> NEUTRAL
It was disappointing, but I don't really hate it... can't say I like it either though.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

[Novel Spotted] White Cat

Curse Workers 1: White Cat
by Holly Black

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love -- or death -- and your dreams might be more real than your memories. (Fantastic Fiction)

I first saw it at the bookstore. The cover attracted me at first glance and the reading the plot made me convinced to buy it as soon as possible!

The concept of what these curse workers could do is really creative and interesting~ It's not often you get to encounter a unique type of con artists with a dark fantasy twist~

Moreover, though a main character who appears normal but belongs in a totally not-so-normal family isn't really something new, Cassel doesn't seem to be the 100% goody-goody type of hero. And he seems to be caught in something dangerous and mysterious.... sounds intriguing! And I'm most intrigued on the white cat! Well, usually this kind of fantasy story deal with black cats, right? Hehe.

Sadly.... the price wasn't very nice. Huhuhuhuhu.... When the heck will the paperback version come =_=

Monday, August 9, 2010

[New Books] July 16 2010 to August 9, 2010

  1. The Book Without Words (AVI)
    I adored AVI's Midnight Magic so another fantasy novel by this author would be splendid~
  2. Crispin: The Cross of Lead (AVI)
    I actually have the sequel of this which I've mistaken for the first book x_x Now I finally have this! It's award-winning so it has to be good! Its main character kinda reminds me of the Crispin from Noli Me Tangere (by Jose Rizal). Hehe.
  3. The Traitor's Gate (AVI)
    I think a detective-ish novel by AVI would be interesting~
  4. The Last Unicorn (Peter S. Beagle)
    I absolutely love unicorns and I finally got the best unicorn related classic ever after several years of searching!
  5. The Unicorn Road (Martin Davies)
    The word "unicorn" got my attention.... and the story seems interesting.
  6. The Myth Hunter (Christopher Golden)
    An attorney becoming a hero involving alternate reality and Jack Frost? Cool. I've been eyeing on this for a long time already. Finally got it!
  7. Dirty Magic (Carol Hughes)
    I love stories with brothers rescuing their sisters. Hopefully this is better than Darkhenge, which has a similar pair of siblings.
  8. The Swan Thieves (Elizabeth Kostova)
    A psychiatrist studies a madman who was a painter that brutally attacked a canvas? Interesting~
  9. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (Barry Lyga)
    The title amused me a lot. And it has a lot of comic references I've heard, then this may be a fun read!
  10. The Nautical Chart (Arturo Perez-Reverte)
    The author seems famous (so most likely he's good) and the story on this one seems very very interesting. I've been tempted to buy his other novels too, but for now I took the one on sale. Hehe.
  11. Rampant (Diana Peterfreund)
    This is the type that I would have ignored if it weren't for its idea of evil unicorns. Haha!
  12. Inverted World (Christopher Priest)
    I adored Priest's The Separation. I've been hunting his other books ever since. I didn't need to read the plot to make me bring it to the cashier. His books are so hard to get and as expected, the plot is interesting anyway.
  13. Septimus Heap Book 1: Magyk (Angie Sage)
    I remember a LiveJournal friend recommending this but I can't remember who. Ah well, my LJ friends and I have the same taste, so I'm hoping for this to be worth it.
  14. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst (Michael Scott)
    I'm a sucker for alchemy stuff.... and I've loved series with twins as main characters since childhood.
  15. The Interpretation of Murder (Jed Rubenfeld)
    Famous psychologists as main characters and investigating murder cases? Enough to make me interested~
  16. The Dark Flight Down (Marcus Sedgwick)
    Even though its prequel wasn't as good as I expected, Sedgwick had impressed me with his other works. I feel obliged to read this sequel. This was actually the first book by Sedgwick that I've laid my eyes on after all (Just didn't buy it that time because the prequel wasn't available)
  17. The Kiss of Death (Marcus Sedgwick)
    I didn't really know the plot when I bought it.... but I've been collecting all of Sedgwick's YA novels.... I can't not make my collection incomplete? Haha!
  18. Sacrifice (Sarah Singleton)
    Crusaders, knights, holy war.... I'm a sucker for these stuff. Haha! And the main characters are from different lands, eh? I like nationality variation~
  19. I am the Messenger (Markus Zusak)
    The Book Thief was brilliant! This one seems even more interesting! I know it won't let me down!
My favorite Bookstore had a sale (until now, will last until August 22) so getting all the interesting ones in a lower price had been so iresistable xD

  1. The Secret Series 1: The Name of This Book Is Secret (Pseudonymous Bosch)
    This series has been in my wishlist for a long time but only recently have I found the first book! I'm happy that xtine06 asked me to buy it for her =D
  2. The Secret Series 2: If You're Reading This, It's Too Late! (Pseudonymous Bosch)
    The same as the first book.
  3. My Sister's Keeper (Jodi Piccoult)
    xtine06 enjoyed it so I think I would as well so I borrowed it from her. Hehe.

[Novel Spotted] Wolfsangel

by M.D. Lachlan

The Viking King Athun leads his men on a raid against an Anglo-Saxon village. Men and women are killed indiscriminately but Athun demands that no child be touched. He is acting on prophecy. A prophecy that tells him that the Saxons have stolen a child from the Gods. If Athun, in turn, takes the child and raises him as an heir, the child will lead his people to glory. But Athun discovers not one child, but twin baby boys. Ensuring that his faithful warriors, witness to what has happened, die during the raid Athun takes the children and their mother home, back to the witches who live on the troll wall. And he places his destiny in their hands.

And so begins a stunning multi-volume fantasy epic that will take a werewolf from his beginnings as the heir to a brutal viking king, down through the ages. It is a journey that will see him hunt for his lost love through centuries and lives, and see the endless battle between the wolf, Odin and Loki - the eternal trickster - spill over into countless bloody conflicts from our history, and over into our lives.

This is the myth of the werewolf as it has never been told before and marks the beginning of an extraordinary new fantasy series from Gollancz. (GoodReads)

werewolf... angel... viking.... king... prophecy.... Norse gods... twin boys... warriors.... lost love.... wolf....

That's more than enough to make me interested in this. I hadn't encountered a story regarding werewolves being connected to Norse mythology. And I'm totally a sucker for fantasy novels with princes.

I wonder when this will reach my country in paperback.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

[Reading Status] I think I'm gonna regret prioritizing this crap...

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst by Michael Scott (226 of 375)

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (166 of 486)
Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (148 of 322)

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Sussana Clark

I saw the hardbound version of the third installment of the Nicholas Flamel series on sale, so I placed books 2 and 3 on reservation (which will expire tomorrow) and bought the first book. I had been interested in the book for a long time already, but I thought of prioritizing the other books I like before it. The sale of the third book might've been the sign that I shold start the series already, so I thought of finishing the first book before I decide whether to buy its sequels or not.

And most probably I won't be buying those two books. It's not really that bad, but so far it's very disappointing. I don't get what my friend saw in this (she said it was good and is very impatient to read the second book..... but I think we'll be having different opinions on it. Ironically I think I was the one who introduced the series to her) but since we usually have similar tastes, I'll be giving this a chance.

[Blog Update] Blog Revamp

Formerly called Fiction Hunter, now please welcome Imagination Complex!

I have been neglecting this blog for too long, now I want to revive it. I thought of giving it a new name, so that it'll be like a rebirth. A rebirth needs a new name, and I like this one better than the old one. I guess title's that I think of out of the blue are better than those I've thought of for days. Hehe.

I've been reading and watching more often recently. I'll try to update this as regularly as I can from now on.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

[Novel Review] The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1)

I picked this up mainly because the cover is suggesting that it's some sort of dark fantasy novel. The mysterious cloaked guy in it made me even more intrigued with it.

I saw it on sale, so I bought it at once. The sequel was also for sale, but I decided not to buy that one as well because it has been sort of my rule to not buy sequels unless I've read their preceding books. So I didn't.

Thank goodness I made the right decision. The first book was a failure.

The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1)
by John Flanagan
He had always wanted to be a warrior. The Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways, made him nervous. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now fifteen year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice. What he doesn't realize yet is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, 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 . . .
Well, it was indeed a dark fantasy novel. Or rather it tries hard to be one. The only dark elements here are the main villains . . . but they don't seem as threatening as how the novel tries so hard to make them seem. After all, it didn't take too many chapters to defeat those creatures. We haven't heard much about the mastermind around the end either. The introduction of the cast, the training days and the moments with the little fights and stuff took more chapters than the actual adventure. And that's what made the novel so freakin' boring.

It's slow-paced, I get it. There's totally nothing wrong with that. But detailing almost everything that was done during the training (or what happened during their school life), and mentioning how each particular training had enhanced a particular skill is just a waste of sentences and paragraphs. The book didn't only waste its pages on that. For some reason it also loves to emphasize on how freakin' talented the main character and his friends are. They are all the best on what they're good at (e.g. the girl who loves to cook is so freakin' good that even the palace chef admired her greatly. And of course, she's better than the other cooks. Of course.)

And of course, the main character is freakin' exceptional and special. Yes, there's this little twist of him excelling in something different from what he thought he wanted. But after discovering it, he turns out to be a natural. And yeah, even though he was new to the spy thing, he managed to rescue a friend, who's supposed to be the fighter between them, and he also managed to save important people and the whole kingdom in fact. He's the hero. It's all him. All him. The amateur was better than those characters who are supposedly the more talented and experienced one. But the main character has to receive all the glory in this adventure. He has to be as great as possible. Oh that's so terrific....

Ah, another character complain. One of the main characters is supposed to be a knight prodigy since he's a natural on the swordfights and all. However, he couldn't handle the three big bullies, because it was three-against-one. But if it's one-on-one he won't have a problem in dealing with them . . . even if he's very badly injured. And he's considered a prodigy . . . riiiiight. But as if it's always one-on-one in real battle. The real skillful warrior can handle a number of weaklings with no sweat. This is a fantasy adventure novel after all. They fight monsters so puny enemies shouldn't have been a problem. *sighs* I acknowledge that author's attempt to make an extremely talented character not to be as perfect as he seems . . . . but the result was a failure.

If characterization is already horrible, the development on the relationships isn't anything better. Especially the romance, because it just happened for the sake of the leading character having a love interest. It went as far as a kiss at that moment but before that, they didn't interact much . . . nor do we see them having a special connection/interaction except for the fact that they've been friends longer than the others.*bangs head on the wall* The interesting bond perhaps is between the main character and his master/teacher. The master seemed cold or indifferent at first but as days go by they slowly warm up to each other. It was a cute development. However, at times it creeps me out when the main character becomes overjoyed when he sees his master smile. I know it's because his master rarely shows emotions and he likes the guy being proud of him . . . but still . . . to be THAT happy everytime it happens . . . for some reason it makes me have wild imaginations . . ..

The only thing, or person rather, that I actually appreciated is the apprentice before the main character, whose name I forgot (starts with a "G" if I remember correctly). He only get to do something cool very briefly . . .he even failed in it. The "rule" of the main character always being better has to be followed. Ugh. Well, anyway, what I liked about him was that he was fun. He's the one who jokes a bit (the other jokes try to be cool but are actually lame. But this guy is indeed lame, and that's what made him funny for me). So in other words, he didn't bore me, unlike the rest of the cast . . . who are all uninteresting. *yawns*.

Overall, it was extremely boring. I was absolutely not pleased on its strategy in wasting pages. It fails in suspense and plot twists as well, because they're so expected and some are delayed on purpose though the answer's already so obvious. The characterizations and character/relationship development gave me the most headaches. Even if it had the friendship love that I adore so much . . . but the best friend pair in this one is so dull to me. I'm so disappointed that this book is just your typical fantasy adventure novel . . . and it wasn't as interesting as it seemed to me.

I admit that this book isn't that horrible. but it's nowhere near great at all. Maybe the succeeding books have improved, but I don't want to take the risk. There are many other interesting books in my to-read list.

If you just want to read a YA fantasy adventure novel, this isn't a bad choice. But if you want something different and exciting, pick a different one for this will just disappoint, in my opinion. Novels are meant to save an avid reader from boredom, not make them bored and sleepy.

D (DAMN HORRIBLE! What a complete waste of time!)
It really wasn't that horrible but it's so boring and typical . . . definitely a waste of time. I regret reading it.
2 Hearts ---> DISLIKE
It was disappointing, but nothing particularly annoyed the hell out of me.