Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Beginning by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson-4 stars

Johnson, Jenna Elizabeth, The Beginning. pgs. 379. CreateSpace, 2010. ISBN n/a
It’s been 12 years since Jahrra was found by the dragons. She’s now fifteen and still has no idea who she is or her role in the prophecy. Upset by the way she’s treating at school, Jahrra seeks refuge and advice from a mystic called Denaeh. After helping Jahrra to trick some girls at her school into believing there’s a monster at the bottom of the sea near Oescienne, she asks Jahrra to repay the favor by going over Ehnnit Canyon and getting her some magical apples from an apple tree. The canyon, however, is considered dangerous and cursed. Creatures are following her every move and not all of them want her to succeed. Will Jahrra succeed in her mission to get the apples? Are the apples somehow connected to her real destiny? Will she find out what she really is and her role in the prophecy?

A great adventure for fantasy fans. The characters are entertaining and likable. The plot is unique and does a good job of holding the reader’s interest. Readers who like fantasy, mystery, and adventure books will enjoy reading this book.

Grades 5 to 9. 4 stars

Prime Evil by Chris Lynch-4.5 stars

Lynch, Chris, Prime Evil. Scholastic Press, 2010. pgs. 160. ISBN 9780545027953

In a world where everyone is wired, computers are, in some ways, smarter than their humans, and evil scientists are valued, lives a boy named Zane and his dog, Hugo. In Cyberia and Monkey See, Monkey Don’t, Zane thwarted Dr. Gristle’s evil plans. As punishment, the evil doctor and the government are exiling him to a camp in the middle of nowhere. When Zane gets there, he discovers that not only is the man who runs it the evil scientist’s brother, but that he and his wife are also evil scientists. Experimenting with “Cattlelivid Converters” as an alternative energy source, the two camp scientists are purposely trying to make the animals hostile. Unfortunately, Zane’s roommates are the hostile animals. Can Zane survive his camp experience and thwart the Gristles’ evil plans?

A great science fiction book for reluctant readers. The characters are well-developed. The plot is uniquely crafted and does a good job of holding the reader’s interest. Full of slapstick humor and fun adventure, this book will appeal to readers who like science, animals, adventure, and survival stories.

4.5 stars. Grades 4 to 8.

Artemis the Brave by Joan Holub-4.5 stars

Holub, Joan, Artemis the Brave. Aladdin, 2010. pgs. 240. ISBN 9781416982746.

Artemis is know by her friends for being brave and a great huntress. To her brother, Apollo she’s not only a friend but a friend in arms. When a mortal named Orion comes to school and catches her eye, she starts to think that she might be able to have a boyfriend too. Orion, however, is making everyone at the school mad and keeps trying to rewrite Principal Zeus’ play to fit his image of what a lead role should be. Could Artemis have made an error in judging Orion?

A great novel for anyone who likes mythological fiction. The characters are likable and recognizable figures in Greek Mythology. The plot does a good job of holding the reader’s interest. The story is easy to relate to even though they are mythology characters. Readers who like realistic fiction, mythology, fantasy, and school stories will enjoy reading it.

4.5 stars. Grades 4 to 8.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Daughter of the Centaurs by Kate Klimo-3 stars

Klimo, Kate, Daughter of the Centaurs. Random House Books, 2012. pgs. 369. ISBN 9780375869754

When the Leatherwings hit her village, Malora is forced to flee with her family's horse, a few provisions, and the clothes on her back. Three years later, she, and the horses she rescued along the way, fall into a trap set by her people's enemies, the Centaurs. Forced to become their "guest" and adopt their ways, Malora feels unsettled. She likes most of them, but their ways are strict and stifling to her. When a group of rogues start attacking people on a well-used trade route, innocent people begin dying and deep secrets about her race's past with the centaurs begin to emerge. Will Malora save the centaurs? Will she find a place she can call home?

This book is really slow to start and doesn't have much of a plot until about pg 200. Still, the characters are likable and the spread-out action does keep the reader wanting to read more. Readers who are fans of fantasy, books that take place in the future, or who like books that are more character-based than plot-based might enjoy reading this book. MS, HS. 3 stars

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins-5 stars

Collins, Suzanne, The Hunger Games. Scholastic, 2010. pgs. 384. ISBN 9780439023528

When Katniss Everdeen agreed to take her sister's place as District 12's girl tribute for the Hunger Games, she promised her sister that she would do everything in her power to return home alive. Not so easy a task, when the whole point of the Hunger Games is to be the last one alive and standing. At the training center, she trains hard in survival skills and attempts to win the judges over. This is hard to do, however, since there are other tributes stonger and faster than she is. Her only hope is to team up with Peeta, the boy tribue from her district. When the games begin, Peeta seems to have other ideas and teams up with the tributes who spend their whole lives preparing for the Hunger Games. With high stakes and the feeling of betrayal looming over her, can Katniss win?

A great book fo reluctant readers. The main characters are well-developed and likable. The author does a great of job of intermixing a romance, survival, and suspense into her novel. Readers who like dystopian literature or man versus nature stories will enjoy reading this book. MS, HS. 5 stars