Books, YA (Young Adult)

The Last Man by Tobias Wade Review

I accepted a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from the author.

This book was published February 1st so you can buy it now if you so desire!

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Title: The Last Man
Author: Tobias Wade
Publisher: Incandescent Phoenix Books
Page #: 173
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Now Tobias Wade, the author, contacted me on tumblr (which means you know he’s cool) and asked if I would like a copy of his book to review. I read the description of it and found it delightfully quirky so I agreed to review it. I am glad I did.

Many of you know I have been complaining about reading too much fantasy lately because I have been finding it dull and repetitive. Why then was I able to enjoy this fantasy book? I think it is because it is telling a different story in a way. While it at its core is still the nobody becomes a somebody along the way story it is different in a couple key features.

The hero the book sets up at the beginning is kidnapped and his sister decides it is her job to save him. So it was not her destiny, it is something she chose. Always something I like. It isn’t someone doing just what they believe they were destined to do, but someone who is trying to do right because they want to.

Also, and I’m going to give Taylor credit for this because as I was talking about it he said, “Ah it takes the David Wong approach of making everything so weird you just except it.” I have to agree. The author said he enjoys creating surreal worlds and this definitely is that. It pulls elements from ancient mythology, eastern religions, classic fantasy, modern fantasy, young adult tropes, middle grade tropes. It wraps it all up into one bundle and ties it neatly there. I kept saying, now it is reminding me of this, now it is reminding me of that. I was completely okay with it because it wasn’t a rehashing of any one of those stories it somehow took all of those elements and blended it into something new that I really enjoyed.

I do have to say that a lot of the things it reminded me of were stories that I particularly charished as a child, even though I was not the biggest reader of fantasy, and still am not, this reminded me of the fantastic stories that I did hold dear when I was younger. Stories like Alice in Wonderland, anything by Jules Verne, Taylor said some parts reminded him of Terry Pratchett books and while I never read him I do know that what I have heard of them they sound like something I would enjoy. All in all I was delighted to see that there is some hope in the genre.

Now saying all that, this isn’t a perfect book. I had some problems with some of the characters, especially those who appear earlier in the book being a bit confusing or bland. The parents were standard archetype parents who said standard archetype parent things and then were promptly forgotten until their mention was needed again. We have the wise grandmother figure, who I did quite enjoy but honestly has appeared in so many stories before hand. Then of course the original hero who couldn’t seem to decide whether he was a kid or a sassy teenager, and while he is at an age where he would be transitioning between the two, I am not sure these two identities meshed quite enough for me.

I have seen some people complain about the romance aspect of this book and I agree it also not very strong.  It is kind of … bland.  A lot of showing and not telling and insta-love if you ask me, but it wasn’t something I paid much attention to if I’m honest.  It wasn’t that big of a feature in it, and while I do wish it was a bit less of a feature, I can’t really fault it for being there when I have definitely read worse in young adult literature, at the very least it was not abusive or romanticizing the dangerous bad boy.

While I had my problems with it I was still able to really enjoy it in the end. I definitely think this is a good addition to the YA genre and I especially think this would be a good one to hand over to young boys who want something before they leave the cocoon of middle grade and are thrown into adult fantasy and science fiction as apparently is our custom. YA is pretty gendered and I think this is a great book that would appeal to both. It bridges the gap nicely and I definitely think more books like this should come out. I just wish it existed in physical form in order to entice them. However, I guess the tweens of the future would prefer tablets to paperbacks. Who knows? Not me.

In any case, there you guys go.  There is my review.  I liked a young adult book.  I liked a young adult book despite the problems I had with it.  I actually quite enjoyed it in fact.  Weird.  Unheard of almost.  Next you will hear from me is with the weekly wrap up.  I hope you guys enjoy.

 

Bibliomancy For Beginners, Books, YA (Young Adult)

The Falconer by Elizabeth May Book Review (Bibliomancy for Beginners)

This week we are a tad late because of my getting my wisdom teeth out and being in too much pain to talk properly, but we are here to meet about another Assassin book … this one in old timey UK.

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)

Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Page #: 378
Genre: YA Fantasy

 

Next week we will be meeting on Probably Tuesdayish to discuss The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury it is Taylor’s pick and we may or may not have a guestmancer … the world may never know.

Books, YA (Young Adult)

Hollow City:The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs Review (Plus Bonus Review from the Dregs)

This review is the reason I found all of those old reviews.  I went and found my first ever video review.  It is absolutely cringe worthy, trust me, however it has my thoughts on the first novel in this series and so it can be found at the bottom of this post.  While normally I like to put the books in the order they should be, I don’t want you to run away from this post screaming because I have improved over the years.  Honest.

Title: Hollow City
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Page #: 396
Genre: YA Fantasy

Alright, ladies and gentlemen my first review post Spring Semester.  Unfortunately I am not enthralled with this book.  I remember really enjoying the first novel.  I preordered Hollow City though I only had enough time to get around to it now.

Ransom Riggs definitely created an interesting world and enhances it ten fold with all of the found photography.  I love that this novel explores the way his world works and I was captured by the ins and outs of peculiar life, even if it was on the run.  However there were a few inconsistencies that pulled me out of the story, nothing major but enough to make me stop and wonder.

I think one of the strongest points in Riggs writing is his ability to create characters with individual personalities.  All of the peculiar children have very unique perspectives despite having spent so much time together.  All of their little quirks make them all the more lovable and I often found myself reading solely to figure out what was going to happen to everyone.  There was only one moment in this book where I felt a character did something unlike himself for plot reasons and it was very near to the end of the book.  If this had happened sooner in the book it could have been a deal breaker for me however, it was toward the end and it was fairly obvious why this was happening.  This is one of my pet peeves though and definitely colored the way I thought of the book overall.

Plot-wise, I wasn’t enamored with this either.  This was definitely a book that was meant to be exciting and gripping, I should have been sitting at the edge of my seat turning each page as if my life depended on it.  Instead I was turning pages to figure out how things worked or if any of the characters would be injured.  Some of the events of the novel seemed forced to me, like they were added in to make it more exciting.  I guess I just felt that the plot was being told to me as if I was a young child.  Perhaps it is intended for a younger audience who is willing to follow his every word more intently.  I’m not sure.

The writing definitely seemed like it was meant for a younger audience.  This is a young adult book but a young adult book doesn’t need to be simplistic.  I could also say that the simplistic dialogue comes from the ages of the characters within the novel but the protagonist is an older teenager and even those young children in the novel are sometimes hundreds of years old.  I wasn’t satisfied with it completely.

All in all, I am a bit disappointed with this novel. I wanted more from it.  I like the world and the characters and it might even be enough for my to pick up the third book, however I’m not sure if I will be pre-ordering it or if I will just read it opportunistically.  It definitely has its own aesthetic which I like very much.  I gave it three out of five stars on Goodreads, not terrible, but not outstanding either.

If you want to know what I thought about the first novel when I first read it stay tuned for one of the most awkward videos ever created ever.

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Page #: 348
Genre: YA Fantasy

If you haven’t read this yet I recommend watching the book trailer because it was created by the author himself.  It is on YouTube here.  It is one of the best book trailers I have ever seen.  I wish more people did this because the trailer alone made me want to read it.  Plus it was blurbed by John Green, because they are old schoolmates.

 

 

Oof.  So Bad.  Cringing.  So much cringing.  Don’t look at any of those other posts.  It is a scary hole.

Next week marks the return of Bibliomancy for Beginners.  We will be meeting to discuss Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest so if you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend you do and join us for our live chat.  I will be tweeting out the link to the video when we go live so be sure to follow @piedpipercalls to know when and where, or wait until I post it to my blog the next day.

If you want to know what the bookclub will be reading in the coming weeks be sure to check out my Bibliomancy for Beginners page for the schedule.