Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Abandoned

I am in a young adult "beggars can't be choosers" rut right now, but even so, I was unable to finish Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony.

I am not a fan of Artemis; I know the point of his character is that he is a child evil mastermind, but he is not written in a way that makes me like him. There are plenty of antagonists that I adore, but his character leaves me flat.

I'm sending the book along to my old school in The Bahamas, and am curious to learn if the students are able to get into it more than I was.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Knife of Never Letting Go

It seems there is a tower of books which I have heard a lot about but haven't had a chance to read yet. At the top of that list was the intriguingly titled The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first in the Chaos Walking series. Finding a used copy in Seoul bumped Patrick Ness' fascinating novel to the top of my reading list.

Todd lives in an alternate world of only men where there is no privacy. Everyone's thoughts are broadcast in an ever-present noise which allows Todd no peace. As the youngest member of Prentisstown, he will undergo a mysterious ritual at his approaching 13th birthday; it is then that he will get answers to some of his "asks". When a sudden discovery makes it impossible for him to stay in Prentisstown, he sets out on a harrowing journey with a surprising companion and his ever-present knife.

Ness' novel is stylistically appealing: the bold font which expresses the villagers' thoughts helps immerse the reader in Todd's world of noise. One of my favorite aspects of the fantasy genre is that authors are encouraged to challenge what the readers holds as fact. Ness' revelations unfold beautifully. At times I was eager for the plot to give more explanations, but know that Ness was pacing the story for the second book in the series, The Ask and The Answer. I am scouring Seoul's bookstores for a copy, so that I can get some answers of my own.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Ear, The Eye and The Arm

A fantasy novel set in 2194 Zimbabwe? How did Nancy Farmer know what I wanted to read before I did? The title The Ear, The Eye and the Arm had intrigued me for awhile, but it wasn't until my Thailand vacation that I got to enjoy this novel.

The children of General Matsika live a privileged life, but crave experiences outside of their robotic compound. When the opportunity presents itself, Tendai, Ruth, and Kuda set out for an adventure. Multiple kidnappings and interactions with nefarious characters teach that every adventure has its price.

I love the premise of the novel, which takes its name from three supernaturally gifted detectives who set out to find the children. Farmer blends her knowledge of Africa (phrases, customs, tribes) with futuristic elements like a mile high building and plastic only existing in museums. None of these elements is overwhelming; rather, it will hook fans of historical fiction, mysteries, and fantasy into reading something they may not have tried on their own. No classroom library should be without it.