Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Colossus Rises

So I tend to have 0 expectations when it comes to books like this one other than I want it to be fun, and as far as I'm concerned Lerangis did that. I was impressed with the characters - the Professor (ha!) was clearly using the kids as pawns, but it's clear at times he cares for them more than he lets on. The kids also are very clearly kids, which is very well done on Lerangis' part. They all had their own personalities, questioned authority, fooled around and missed their parents. I think that's something that's often not mentioned, but it's a very real aspect of this book and a detail I appreciated.

It seems a lot of the buzz about this book touches on how it was slow, did a lot of world building and people were a little confused as to where the series is going to go. I'm not going to argue with that, but I will throw in my two cents that the books target audience is middle school kids - and I think the topic is unfamiliar enough to that audience that a little world building for a series is probably a good thing.

Basically the book is the beginning of the kids tracking down the seven powers - or seven wonders of the ancient world. I love this, because I'm enough of a history/classics geek and I think every kid should get to be awed by the ancient world once or twice. I also admittedly love searching for things that have been long lost to history - it throws in just enough reality to make a fantastical book plausible enough for imagination to go wild.  I'm fairly sure this book was a set up for the series, and I certainly wasn't disappointed with it. I think it's appeal to a middle grade crowd is really strong - I feel that by the end of the book it was already setting itself up for a fun action filled ride, and I can't wait to see where they take the rest of the series.



***Full Disclosure - I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher at OLA Super Conference, not specifically for reviewing but because they're promoting it to librarians. So I feel half bad about not getting my things together enough to do an early review, and then for doing a post-publication review on an ARC. Generally I'm fairly confident not enough has changed, but apologies none the less.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

RUSH

So I wasn't sold on this book from day 1. The premise is the main character is pulled from her real life, into what appears to be a real life video game, where she has to eliminate an alien life form. Basically, kind of Hunger Games meets Books of Valor - so I was half sold, but half leery because this will either end fantastically, or in a slightly painful tug of war.

So the thing is Silver pulls it off. RUSH is a lot of fun - Miki is clueless, frustrated and terrified because there are aliens and what is going on because guys, aliens, but if you die in the game, you die in real life. Her teammates try and fill her in, but when she goes back to real life (I'm old, so I kept having Matrix flashbacks)  she tries to find out what's going on but that's harder than she expected. Miki is a pretty great character - she knows how to fight and despite her being confused she picks up quickly - strong young female characters I'm generally a fan of, especially when authors don't fall into cliche's.  I will say that this is the first of a series, and does end with a cliffhanger. We've discussed that this drives me insane. I get why authors do it, I think they have to do it, but you know. Insane.

I think generally this is a book that teens can grab on to - first person shooter games, anime, MMO are all aspects that will grab the reader's interest. The originality of the book is also a draw - I certainly haven't read a book with a similar plot and I read a lot. I've recently been on a young adult specific book kick, and this one's plot stuck out (in a good way) when it comes to originality. I liked it because the book started out a bit slow, but that makes sense because the reader grows and learns with Miki - the pacing actually ended up being fantastic. I would basically throw this book at any teenage reader - it's a refreshing change from the outright supernatural (even though I admittedly do love the supernatural).


**I recieved an ARC copy at OLA Super Conference.