Friday, October 12, 2012

Out of Sight, Out of Time--Ally Carter

Title: Out of Sight, Out of Time
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney
Pages: 294 p
Source: Library
Compensation: None

In this latest book in the Gallagher Girls series, Ally Carter takes Cammie out of the classroom and throws her into the very real dangerous world of spying. Cammie spends her summer vacation tracking down the traitorous Circle of Cavan. Unfortunately she cannot remember any of it when she wakes up in a convent in the Alps. With the help of her friends and her unofficial boyfriend Zach she slowly pieces together her missing summer and learns that some things are better left forgotten.

I love the kick-ass Gallagher spy girls. Carter has done a great job of creating a character we truly care about, one who juggles the normal teenage girl problems of boys and bad hair days with the high stakes world of international espionage. We worry about Cammie but also want to see her succeed. She gets close in this fifth book but still doesn't have all the answers, which is good for us because we'll get another book!

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bitterblue--Kristin Cashore

Title: Bitterblue
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 563 p
Source: Library
Compensation: None

Bitterblue continues the fantasy story Kristin Cashore set up in both Graceling and Fire. The story takes place eight years after the events in Graceling. Bitterblue is now a young adult and Queen of Monsea. Her people are no longer under the control of the evil King Leck, but they are not without problems. Determined to break free from her restrictive advisors Bitterblue sneaks out of the castle disguised as a baker and learns someone is murdering people who are trying to discover the truth about King Leck's horrific reign.

While it is not necessary to have read Graceling or Fire to enjoy Bitterblue, readers familiar with the first two books will enjoy the references to those stories as well as reconnecting with the popular characters Katsa and Po.

Bitterblue is a strong but vulnerable heroine. Cashore has written yet another engaging female character and fans of Katsa will not be disappointed in this latest offering. If you loved Graceling, you'll love Bitterblue too. It is beautifully written and hard to put down.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Confusion of Princes, A--Garth Nix

Title: A Confusion of Princes
Author: Garth Nix
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 352 p
Source: Library
Compensation: None

It's been a while since I've read a book. I have a stack of books that have been sent to me from publishers and authors, but I really wanted my return to reading to be one that I grabbed off the library shelves because I *wanted* it. It's fitting that the first one that leapt out at me was Garth Nix's latest, A Confusion of Princes. If you don't know about my obsession love respect for Garth Nix, just take a gander at his other books I've reviewed. You can find them by searching for Garth Nix in the little search box up there.

I wasn't quite as enamored with this one as I was with the Keys to the Kingdom series or the Sabriel trilogy. It took a while for me to get into, but that was most likely my EXTREME SLEEP DEPRIVATION right now. Once I did get into it, I enjoyed it.

Prince Khemri is not a royal son of a king, but is treated like one. In this world there is a supreme Emperor who chooses hundreds of people to be Princes and fight to become hier (neither his or her, but both) heir to the throne. Princes can have alliances but in the end it's every Prince for him or herself. It's a bit reminscent of Highlander. Princes are stronger than humans, they have technological advances implanted in their bodies, and they are immortal in the sense that if they die but are deemed worthy they may be reborn. Very few Princes ever truly die, but it does happen, so they must always be aware of threats and act accordingly. Prince Khemri thinks being a Prince means being captain of a spaceship and exploring and is disappointed to learn it means being on constant high alert and having to do exactly what the Empire hive mind demands. Throughout the novel he becomes more and more disillusioned with his fate and looks for a way out.

Nix has once again created a unique universe. The blending of technology and psychology and biology is interesting. Prince Khemri starts out a whiny snob and truly transforms himself by the end of the novel. He comes to an understanding of what life is really about and is no longer confused. A Confusion of Princes is a good stand alone speculative fiction story well worth reading.

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