Book Reviews

I've always enjoyed a good book, thus the reason I love to write so much. Plus, the fact that I work at a book store leaves me with endless opportunities to read some great stuff. Here are my reviews of the past four books I read in August:

Peter and the Secret of Rundoon by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry - Truth be told I only finished this book in August, it took me a much longer time to read and get into. I don't blame it on the book though, I was just preoccupied with many other things during that time. I loved this book. I loved the series. It's something I never thought that I could enjoy because it dealt with Peter Pan. This series takes you to the beginning of Peter Pan. It tells the origins of every character from the J.M. Barrie's masterpiece, and the story really works. Again, I was never really a huge Peter Pan fan, partly because I had a qualm with the fact that the character was generally played by a woman in the plays, something very hard for me to find cool as a young boy. But this story explains so much. Why are there so many strange things occurring in Neverland? How is it that Peter can fly and really no one else? Why is there a pirate ship in the middle of a lagoon? You receive all of the answers in this trilogy and often you'll find yourself pausing to reading something over again as you realize it. One thing that it had that I wish other books had was shorter chapters (some of them were less than a page.) For some reason, I could find myself speeding along page by page, because I was completing whole chapters in a matter of minutes. I give the series 4 swats out of 5 (see the Fly-swatter Journal for explanation of swats.) Read the others first.

Out of Bounds by Jeff Benedict - This was a nonfiction book about the violence and sex crimes that occur in the NBA and how easily the players get away with practically murder. This book was well written and it definitely managed to get my blood boiling over the topic. We really do take immature and mostly ignorant athletes, shower them with unlimited amounts of money and then treat them like gods. Our society creates these monsters and then they have sufficient funding to pay for the best legal teams that cause their cases to continue on for so long that the prosecution has no choice but to settle out of court. Luckily, most of the players mentioned in the book were ones I really didn't care about so it failed to ruin the sport for me, but it came pretty darn close! 3.0 swats out of 5. Plus, I met Jeff at a convention just recently and he's a total stud (did I just use that word?)

Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer - I don't have anything but praise for the Artemis Fowl series. I got into these books around the same time my interest in Harry Potter was at its all time high and I thought that I would never enjoy another book again. Fortunately, Eoin Colfer is a genius and he wrote some really awesome books. This is more for teen readers , but the characters are so unique and often hilarious that I just couldn't put these books down. This was #5 in the series (#6 is already available in bookstores,) and although it wasn't my favorite (I think #3 holds that spot) I still loved every bit of it. Artemis Fowl starts as an 11-year-old criminal mastermind who discovers the existence of fairies (elves, goblins, gnomes, trolls, etc., etc.) and devises a brilliant plan to exploit their powers. Of course the fairies are for more technologically advanced then humans, and have amazing weapons, thus the plan doesn't work as smoothly as Artemis hoped it would. The result is a hilarious romp through both our world and the fairy world (underground.) Along the way you're introduced to the main characters of Artemis, his assassin-like bodyguard Butler, Holly (pretty much the most skilled military fairy in their world) a genius Centaur, and a dwarf that uses his bodily functions in an almost lethal way. I give this book 3.5 swats because it wasn't my overall favorite, but the series as a whole earns 4.5 swats.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy - This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. McCarthy is always writing about death, violence and a much darker world than I see from day to day, (he also wrote No Country For Old Men which won the Academy Award for Best Picture last year.) Although the book was well-written, it wasn't my favorite. You have to have patience to enjoy McCarthy's books and it takes a good chunk of your time to truly get into them. For starters, he doesn't write like any other author I have ever read. And he has the most amazing vocabulary which can be a tad intimidating for someone from Kentucky (me!) Not for the light of heart. The story itself is about a father and his young son (probably about 7 or 8, though it never says,) trying to survive and make it to the coast during a post-apocalyptic world. These two are never safe and are always hungry. Everything is dead, you never see any animals and hardly ever any living plants, plus most of the people they end up bumping into are a part of a murderous horde of cannibals. Ah, nothing like a pleasant story to uplift you. Its a travelogue with no chapters, just straight writing page after page and very little dialogue. Despite all of those reasons that would normally turn me off to a book, I found The Road to be very fascinating. The true point behind the story is the love the father and son have for each other and there are times throughout its pages that are very moving. Still, I think I liked No Country for Old Men better and so I give this story 3.0 swats.

1 comment:

the_never_fairy said...

Though the Barry/Pearson novels are fun, they contradict Barrie's original stories. A lot. They're more a prequel to the Disney version. The sequels contradict him, too...except one. And it's based on Barrie's idea for more.
Thanks for the reviews and suggestions.