Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013: Year In Review (In Tweets!)

Monday, 30 December 2013

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead | Review

Please note: This is not a spoiler free review

The Fiery Heart is the fourth book in the Bloodlines series. Richelle Mead has a wonderful knack of ending books right at a point where you desperately want to know more, so it's fair to say that I've anticipated this instalment in the series since the moment I closed the third book, The Indigo Spell.

This is the first book in the series that is very much Adrian Ivashkov's story. It's half told from his point of view, and the part of the story that excited me the most was Adrian struggling to meet his potential while dealing with side-effects of spirit magic. 

Sydney has been an incredibly hard character to like throughout the series, but she's always been perfect to Adrian. And in this book, you start to understand why. Towards the end she gathers her courage to an ending which was quite remarkable (although we all knew that the Alchemists were going to attempt to re-educate at some point since it was mentioned in the first book, right?) and I did feel my heart tug when Adrian realised she was gone. 

The introduction of Zoe in this book was an incredibly interesting development, and obviously structurally-important as she is the one that shops Sydney in to the alchemists, but I do feel like the character of Zoe could have been developed more. Adrian and Sydney got a lot of much-needed time together, but I do feel that some of this sacrificed time for us to get to know Zoe. That being said, we know enough about Zoe to know she is everything an alchemist should be - prim, proper, and hates anything supernatural. As you can probably tell, I'm not sure how I feel about the whole Zoe thing. I wish she was a bit more than a means to an end for a plot for one story. But you never know, she might have a change of heart and bust Sydney out of re-education in Silver Shadows. (I doubt it).

All in all, Richelle Mead has created another book that I adored. She left me hanging on a thread the whole way through and I adored it. I can't wait for Silver Shadows (released 29/04/2014).

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Monday, 23 December 2013

Wonder by R.J. Palacio | Review

At the age of 10, August Pullman has gone through 27 surgical procedures. Every day, he deals with stares and whispers and has never gone to a mainstream school. That all changes when August is enrolled into Beecher Prep at the start of a new school year.

August is thrown into a new, unknown world where he must navigate friendships, school bullies and school lessons. Wonder is split into parts, narrated by August and other characters whose lives he has touched. Through this method, you get to see the impact August makes on the world and those around him through different pairs of eyes.

August is a character who shows remarkable strength and bravery throughout the book. However, August is a child. An extraordinary child, but a child nonetheless. He can be stubborn, petty and selfish, just like any 10 year old boy. And part of Augusts struggle is convincing his new classmates that he's just like them, despite the appearance.

Let's face it, we've all had times in our lives where we have walked past somebody who looks different to us, and had to do a double take. Wonder is a beautiful lesson in tolerance and acceptance. It's a book you connect with on a deep, human level, that makes you want to be a better person. I would honestly encourage everybody to read this book, and I would challenge them not to feel a little bit changed at the end of it.

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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

James Dasher Signing at Forbidden Planet London Megastore | 2nd December 2013

On Monday 2nd December the Forbidden Planet London Megastore hosted James Dashner's first ever UK signing. I was super excited about this, as I absolutely loved The Maze Runner Trilogy (and prequel, sort of), am very excited by the prospect of the upcoming movie, and was very intrigued by his new book The Eye of Minds - the book which he was in the UK to promote.

I arrived at Forbidden Planet about half an hour before the event was due to start, mostly because of my absolute hatred of being late and in part on the advice of Forbidden Planet staff. There were a few people in the queue already, and we all chatted while we waited. Unfortunately I don't think that the turn out ended up being as great as it could have been, and I'm sure that the fact that it was at 6pm on a Monday evening had a part to play in that. 

James arrived and we all crowded in and had a great discussion about the book and about the film, and about England in general. We found out that he's incredibly happy with what he knows about the film so far, he has total confidence in the actors, The Scorch Trials has been given the go ahead to be made into a film, and The Matrix was one of his inspirations for The Eye of Minds amongst other things. 

When it was my turn to get my copy of The Eye of Minds signed (along with The Maze Runner which he very kindly didn't mind me bringing along) I asked him about how Kaya Scodelario was on The Maze Runner movie in his opinion and that she was always my Theresa when I read the books. James was incredibly nice, he answered my questions and didn't seem at all annoyed by them. He asked where I was from (I said Oxford, it's easiest) and we discussed how people think he should visit there (I said it was boring). I was also got a photo with him, thanks nice Forbidden Planet man who took it!

I look a bit worse for wear after spending the day battling Oxford Street Christmas shopping!
All in all I had a great time and am very happy I got to meet James. It's great when you meet an author and they are engaging rather than dismissive, happy to discuss rather than wanting you to accept their opinions.
I've started The Eye of Minds and it's proving to be a well-written, fast paced novel that I can't wait to finish and see where the story goes (and then probably get frustrated because the next book in the series isn't out yet, that's how it goes folks.)

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