Koalafications

I love reading like a Koala loves eating eucalyptus


Leave a comment

Catching Fire

Cover of "Catching Fire (The Second Book ...

 

So I’m pretty sure everyone knows that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire just recently came out in theaters.  I went the day it came out to a double feature of Hunger Games and Catching Fire in IMAX.  It was great.  Now I’ll admit that Catching Fire is my least favorite book in the series.  I just really dislike books that cannot stand on their own as a story.  It is one thing to need some of the background information from an earlier book, but it really bugs me when a book has no conclusion to its story.  Suzanne Collins ends this book with a huge cliffhanger.  It actually seems like it is the beginning of something rather than the end.  However, I feel like the movie does a great job of bringing the story to life.  It stays very true to the book.  Obviously there are some things that are left out because they don’t want to movie to go on forever, but overall this was pretty good in terms of an adaptation and much better than the first movies in that regard.

 

I was disappointed by some of the things that were left out.  The story of Haymitch’s experience in the Games is one of those things.  This story gives us a look at Haymitch as well as finishes the explanation of where Katniss‘s mockingjay pin comes from.  I enjoyed knowing that Haymitch also showed up the Capitol in his Games by using the force field around the arena to help him win.  I do realize that the story of the mockingjay pin in the movies is completely different from that in the books, but the story in the books is so great that this is a real disappointment.  The pin comes from Madge (the one friend Katniss has other than Gale).  She tells Katniss that it belong to her aunt, Maysilee.  Maysilee was close friends with Katniss’s mother and was reaped to compete in the 50th Hunger Games (the year that Haymitch wins).  Haymitch and Maysilee had an alliance for part of the Games.  There is so much more meaning to the importance of the pin when this background is known.

 

The movie also leaves out a lot of what happens in District 12 prior to the 75th Hunger Games.  The wedding dresses, Katniss getting trapped outside the fence, plotting with Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch, the cheese buns, Gale’s mom working for Haymitch. So many important things for setting up the story and the motivations that these people have for doing what they do.  Also, the three victors training for the Games.  The movie also gives a different reason for Gale being whipped making him seem more heroic rather than just a guy with some turkeys.  Plus, it still makes me mad that they don’t have Peeta lose his leg.

 

What is included in the movie is done very well.  I also saw the movie before I reread the books.  I think this helped me to appreciate the movie more because I wasn’t nitpicking it right away.  All I know is now I’m super excited for Mockingjay and can’t wait for part I to come out next year!

 

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Unbreakable is the first book in the Legion series.  Kami Garcia co-authored the Beautiful Creatures series, and this is her first book on her own.  I really enjoyed this book.  It was easy to read, and it stayed interesting the whole time.  It did have some of the characteristics that are kind of common in YA lit (new/confusing situation, love triangley, etc.), but the story itself was one that I have not really seen before.  The story follows Kennedy just as her world is falling apart.  She discovers that her mother has died.  As she is spending her last night in their house, she wakes up with her cat on her and unable to breathe.  Two young men come in and destroy the vengeance spirit that is using the cat to steal Kennedy’s breath (basically the spirit is trying to kill her).  The next day, Lukas and Jared (the two young men) are waiting for Kennedy outside her house.  They all are in her kitchen as the boys try to explain what is going on when a poltergeist starts attacking them.  It throws knives at them, locks them in the house, and pretty much destroys the place.  All three are able to escape, and Kennedy starts to believe Lukas and Jared and some of the craziness they are telling her.

They are part of a secret society called the Legion that was created to fight an evil demon that they ancestors accidentally summoned.  There are always five members of the Legion with membership being passed through family members.  Lukas and Jared believe that Kennedy is the fifth member.  They take Kennedy to meet up with the other two members of the Legion.  The current members are all teenagers because the previous members were all found dead in the same way on the same night.  It was the same way that Kennedy’s mother died, adding to their belief that Kennedy is also a member.  Kennedy is skeptical because her mother never mentioned anything about the group or its history.  She also never had any of the training that the others have had and had no idea that this responsibility was being passed to her.

The basic plot involves the group trying to find the pieces of a weapon that they believe will allow them to destroy the demon.  This involves them battling different types of spirits that are protecting the pieces.  The spirit protecting the final piece causes Kennedy to question whether they are doing the right thing because he tells her it will allow the demon to fully come out in the world.  The others do not believe the spirit, so Kennedy finishes putting the weapon together.  It seems the spirit was telling the truth as the building they are in crumbles and basically all hell breaks loose.  Kennedy is found by the police (it has been believed through the story that she was kidnapped) while the rest of the group gets away.  Kennedy still feels like she is not truly a member of the Legion.

I’m excited to continue this series, and hope that I don’t forget about it when the next book comes out.  I think a good premise has been started and that the rest of the series could be pretty great.

 


6 Comments

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

This book is so much fun to read.  I really connected with the characters because none of them were perfect.  Colin is a child prodigy that thinks he is all washed up and won’t matter the rest of his life.  Colin’s best friend, Hassan, is a hefty Muslim who mostly tries to live by his faith but sometimes he doesn’t quite make it.  Lindsey feels like she is never herself around anyone and doesn’t quite know who she really is.

Be warned while An Abundance of Katherines is a fun, pretty easy read, there is a giant math formula that Colin works on creating.  There is no requirement to understand the math itself, just what Colin is trying to do with it.  John Green had Daniel Bliss help him with creating the formula.  Bliss also writes an appendix that helps explain how the formula is used and what everything means in it.  They do try to make sure people realize that the formula is not something to take seriously.  It is just for fun.  I did try it though (at this website: http://www.palegreenthings.net/) and it worked for my most recent relationship, lol.

Green does a great job getting the reader to like a fairly unlikable main character.  Colin has only one friend, Hassan, and is fairly self-absorbed.  During a fight these guys have in the book, Hassan calls Colin out for ditching him every time a new Katherine comes along (which is 19 times although some of them happen before their friendship begins).  Hassan also tells Colin fairly often that what he is saying is not interesting.  Because Colin is a child prodigy, he has a lot of facts floating around in his head.  He does not realize that most people do no care about most of what he knows and decides to share.  Even though Colin and Hassan seem like unlikely friends and have troubles with their friendship, they understand each other and it is actually a great relationship.

A lot of the extra stuff Green includes in the book is what creates the humor.  The main source of jobs in Lindsey’s town is to work at a factory that produces tampon strings.  The main attraction is the tomb of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which turns out to just be an anagram (which is Colin’s favorite things to do with words).  Lindsey’s house is completely pink and her mom drives a pink truck.

If you are looking for a light, easy, fun read go with this book.  I have also found it interesting to look at some of what John Green has to say about it which you can do here: http://johngreenbooks.com/katherines-questions/

Cover of "An Abundance of Katherines"


1 Comment

Holy Cow! A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This book……..wow!  Now I know I’m late to the whole Game of Thrones thing, but better late than never.  When I first heard about the show and the books it went with, I didn’t really think that it was something I would be interested in.  I could not have been more wrong.  George R.R. Martin does a great job of balancing all the action with the character and story development.  This allows the reader to connect with the characters (which there are a lot of) and not just overwhelm them with killing.  Martin also does not shy away from doing harm, emotionally hurting, and even killing characters that the reader will have formed a strong connection to.

 

When I first got A Game of Thrones from the library, I was a little intimidated by its size.  Be warned that this book is a commitment, especially since it is the first in a large series.  I was willing to spend the time and lug its heft to and from work to read on breaks.  It was completely worth it since I started reading it all the time and didn’t have to carry it around too long.

 

Normally, I would include a summary of the book in my blog, but I really don’t want to ruin anyone’s first reading of it.  Plus it would take forever to summarize the book in a way that made any sense.  Just know that it is worth it and that I highly recommend it to everyone.  The worst part of this book?  Having to wait until I can get my hands on the second one.

 

 


Leave a comment

Light: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant

I am so excited to have finally been able to read the final book in the Gone series.  It is probably one of the weirdest premises for a book that I’ve read recently, but Michael Grant does a pretty good job of creating this world, making it as believable as possible, and maintaining it throughout the series.  Even though this is the sixth book, Grant was still able to surprise me.  He also did a decent job with the ending when so often series ending just can’t compete with the anticipation and expectation for them.  He even kills characters that people care about and that are major players in the series.

I would really recommend this series to anyone who enjoys science fiction.  It is a really interesting concept where we see what life would be like for kids if there were no adults around.  They have limited resources and really have to struggle to survive.  They try multiple different systems for coping with their lives, and they continually have to adjust as the situation changes and what is available changes.  Grant presents what seems like a fairly realistic depiction of this (even with all of the science fiction craziness he includes).

Michael Grant's Gone

Michael Grant’s Gone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


2 Comments

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

The Clockwork Prince is the second book in the Infernal Devices series.  This is a book where what you expect to happen is not what happens. What is really great about this book is that we finally get to have a better understanding of Will Herondale and why he acts how he does.  Will approaches Magnus Bane for help with a curse that he believes was put on him 5 years earlier.  When Will was about 12, he opened a pyxis that he found in his father’s things.  A pyxis is used to hold a demon captive.  By opening it, Will freed a demon that had been prisoner for many years.  His older sister Ella comes in to help him with the demon.  The demon tells Will that he has cursed him by making it so anyone who loves him will die.  The next day, Ella dies.  This prompts will to leave his family and seek out the London Institute so that nothing else will happen to those he loves.  He has spent all of his time at the Institute being mean and rude and trying to keep people at arms length to prevent them from being harmed by the curse.  Will hopes that Magnus will be able to help him find the demon so that the curse can be lifted.

While this is happening, Tessa Gray and Jem Carstairs start growing closer.  This ultimately leads to Jem proposing to Tessa and her accepting.  This is right about when Will finds out that the curse he thought was put on him never actually existed.  After being captive for so long, the demon is not strong enough to place a real curse on him.  Will hurries back to the Institute tell profess his love to Tessa and she tells him that she has already accepted Jem’s marriage proposal.  Tessa says she does not love Will to protect both him and Jem.  She loves both boys.

Charlotte Branwell is faced with opposition to her being the head of the London Institute.  The Lightwood family wants to take over for her.  The Consul gives her two weeks to find out as much as she can about the Magister.  This is how we find out all sorts of stuff about the Magister.  He was adopted by two warlock parents and raise as their own even though he is mundane.  He learns from his warlock father about how to make the automatons.  His parents are eventually killed by Shadowhunters.  The Magister is able to escape.  A few years later he seeks reparations for his loss but is denied.  He decides that he will exact revenge on all Shadowhunters, which is why he builds his Infernal Device army of clockwork automatons.

This also leads to information about the Lightwood family being found out by the Institute Shadowhunters.  Benedict Lightwood (who is the main proponent for having Charlotte removed as head of the institute) is discovered to have demon pox.  This disease is spread to Shadowhunters who have sexual relations with demons.  It is also discovered that he is working with the Magister.  Charlotte using this information to her advantage to remain the head of the Institute.

A plan to get information from Tessa’s brother Nate goes awry and he ends up being killed.  Jessamine gets sent to the Silent City to be investigated by the Silent Brothers because she married Nate and was helping him set up Tessa and Charlotte.

What is great about this book is that most of what happens you don’t see coming.  Sometimes that is a little disappointing but more often it is exciting and drives you to continue reading.  It is really a great book.  My only real issue with the first two books of the Internal Device series is that they cannot stand on their own as a story.  Neither of them have an ending that really provides any kind of conclusion.  Other series are able to have each book tie up their own stories while still being part of the series.  But these books don’t really tie anything up.  There are some minor plot lines that are resolved but the main story is obviously not over.  While it helps make readers want to continue the series it also makes finishing the book a little disappointing because it seems unfinished.

 


1 Comment

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare also wrote a trilogy as prequel to the Mortal Instruments series.  The first book in the Infernal Devices series is Clockwork Angel.  This series is set in the 1800s so pretty far in advance of the Mortal Instruments books.  Many of the last names are recognizable although it is hard to place what relation they are to the Mortal Instruments characters.  This book centers around Tessa Gray.  She has traveled to London from New York because of a ticket her brother sent her.  Before she is ale to reunite with him, she is imprisoned by the Dark Sisters.  They are interested in a power Tessa wasn’t even aware she had.  She can change into anyone as long as she has an object that belongs to them.  She is also able to tap into their thoughts and memories which allows her to act as they would have.  The Dark Sisters treat Tessa very poorly, giving her terrible living conditions and pushing her changing abilities to the brink.  She is physically and emotionally exhausted.  Will Herondale breaks into the Dark Sisters home looking for someone else but helps Tessa to escape.

Tessa stays at the London Institute where she meets numerous other Shadowhunters.  She gains a great amount of information about herself.  Her changing power is similar to that of others but her ability to tap into thoughts and memories makes her power unique.  She has powers like a Warlock but does not bare the same demon mark.  Basically, her existence is unique and she is unable to get specific information about herself.

The Magister wants Tessa for her power and is furious when the Dark Sisters allow her to escape.  He creates an army of animatrons (robot people) to help him try to capture her.  The Magister also has Nathaniel, Tessa’s brother, on his side.  With Nathaniel’s help the Magister is able to infiltrate the Institute.  However, Tessa is able to overcome and trick the Magister, and Will arrives just in time to scare him away.

So far I like this series.  I like that Tessa is a strong and confident woman.  She is very good at sticking to her guns and not being swayed from what she wants.  Will is kind of annoying, but I have hopes that he will grow on me.  I think he is confused and a little more back story on him will explain why he acts like such a jerk sometimes.  I have the next book on hold at the library so hopefully I get to read that soon.