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Tag Archives: Young Adult

Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series The Underland Chronicles

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
The Forth Book in The Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Listening Library, Listening Length: 7 hours and 20 minutes (343 pages), ASIN: B001FVJHWU

What is the mysterious Prophesy of Time and how does it concern Gregor? Gregor’s mother is recuperating in the Underland and Gregor and Boots go often to visit her, while there, Gregor trains with Ripred to improve his rager skills. Soon Gregor and Luxa receive word that the mice are in trouble and sneak off to help with the aid of a few friends.

This is the fourth of five books in The Underland Chronicles. It is a fantasy book aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but can also be classified as Young Adult. The story primarily takes place on earth in the Underland, far below New York City. The story is told in the third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, 12 year old Gregor. Suzanne Collins has also written The Hunger Games plus a couple of other books written for youths.

This series follows a great story line. It continues in this book which was interesting and captivating from the first page. Gregor and Luxa’s relationship deepens and solidifies. Gregor faces and has to deal with his own fallibility. Once again Ms. Collins explores discrimination and she even deals with the idea of genocide. There was plenty of action, some of it pretty gruesome.  The material is pretty mature even though the story is aimed towards children.

Gregor and the Marks of Secret is not a standalone story, it was more like the end of a part.  In order to see what happens next, we will need to read the final book in the series, Gregor and the Code of Claw.  I will  be quickly picking it up to read as I am quite anxious to see how everything unfolds.  I highly recommend this series and I really enjoyed this fourth installment.  Hopefully, the series will have a great ending.

To Purchase: “Gregor And The Marks Of Secret” from Amazon, click here or on picture above.

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The Dragonfly Prophecy by Jacquelyn Castle

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Class Act Books (July 19, 2011), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 432 KB (290 pages), ASIN: B005DJA6QG


Lexi is an average teenage girl, with the dream life until she discovers that in fact she is very different and things are not what they appear.  First she wonders what is wrong with her, why does she keep fainting?   Then things soon start coming apart. Before long she realizes she has super powers and she needs to come to turn with what is happening to and around her.

The Dragonfly Prophecy is Jacquelyn Castle’s debut novel.  It is a contemporary fantasy, but instead of the usual vampires, etc, the heroine has super-powers. The setting is on today’s earth but it also includes an alternate universe and the story alternates back and forth.  The story is told in the first person narrative with the voice and thoughts of the main protagonist, Lexi, a 17 year old girl.

The story was interesting and kept me guessing right up until the end. The story centers around her conflicting love between two boys, each in a different universe. As the story unfolds, we get a feeling that one of them is not who he says.  The story is a good effort by a new author, but I felt that some of the writing was forced. I would have liked to see more adjectives used to describe Lexi and her friend’s communications other than shrieking and yelling. I found that the ending seemed to be cut a bit short and the whole episode revolving around Evangeline seemed forced. This book is a good Young Adult fiction with an original concept in contemporary fantasy.

I was engaged right up until the final conclusion with what was going happen and how Lexi was going to resolve her conflict. There was plenty of action and the plot line was well executed. If you are looking for something different in this genre, then I recommend you try out this new author.

To Purchase: “The Dragonfly Prophecy” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series The Underland Chronicles

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Third Book in the Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Listening Library, Listening Length: 7 hours and 47 minutes (368 pages), ASIN: B000DN5UQI


The plague is killing people in the Underland in a very gruesome and horrific manner. When Gregor and Boots where called to the Underland, Gregor’s mother insisted on accompanying them, but she became ill with the plague while visiting. It is up to 12 year old Gregor, as the warrior, to find the cure and save his mother and friends from death.

This is the third of five books in The Underland Chronicles. It is a fantasy book aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but can also be classified as Young Adult. The story primarily takes place on earth in the Underland, far below New York City. The story is told in the third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Gregor. Suzanne Collins has also written The Hunger Games plus a couple of other books written for youths.

This book examines discrimination and it shows the evil that can come about when people are influenced by the terrible belief that others are inferior. Gregor is given hints that the cure for the plague may not be quite what it seems and as the story unfolds we are able to see that this is true. The characters are endearing, especially Gregor and Boots. The story is well told and grabs our attention from the first page and keeps us engaged right up to the last page.

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods is a standalone story, but it also left a few loose ends.  I will be reading the next book in the series to see how these all tie together.  I recommend this series, but it is quite graphic and at times sad, so I do not recommend it for young children.

To purchase: “Gregor And The Curse Of The Warmbloods” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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Blood’s Voice by Áine P Massie

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series House Millar

Book Review: 0 treasure box/trash can
First book in House Millar
Publisher: Geas Publishing; 1 edition (June 1, 2011), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 491 KB (400 pages), ASIN: B005405MYK

Anya Millar has been a vampire for several hundreds of years, but she has amnesia and cannot remember her past, all she knows for certain is that she will not feed off humans. One of her special gifts is her voice, and not because she can carry a beautiful tune, but because it is a weapon that can be used to control or even kill people, including other vampires.

Blood’s voice is the first book written by a new author and it is the first book in a proposed series. It is a contemporary fantasy told in the first person narrative by the main protagonist, Anya Millar.

I think it is admirable that Ms. Massie is trying to portray the vampires of House Millar as nice, considerate creatures, albeit still showing how dangerous they can be. I find it hard to believe that vampires who have been around for hundreds of years would talk and act like teenagers. The book was really slow to get anywhere. Everyone calls everyone silly; it was used at least 49 times. The editing and grammar were unpolished which I found distracting. At times, I thought the story was derivative of Twilight, but it did have a few original and interesting ideas.

I thought there were some redeeming qualities about this book, but I also found a few problems which is why I gave it a zero rating. If you are a big Twilight fan, then you might enjoy this book, since it is similar in numerous ways. Both are kind of slow moving and aimed at young adolescents, in both the vampires can walk around in the daytime and the vampire protagonists do not feed on humans. I will not be reading the next book in the series.

To purchase: “Blood’s Voice” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

 

 

 

To purchase: “Blood’s Voice” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Gregor and the Prophecy of Bain by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series The Underland Chronicles

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Second Book in the Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Listening Library (December 15, 2005), Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 6 hour(s) and 32 min. (304 pages), ASIN: B000DN5UQ8

Things are rough for Gregor and his family, but at least his dad is home now even if he is really ill.  Gregor takes his baby sister Boots to Central Park to go sledding, she is kidnapped by The Underlanders and Gregor has to go back to save her.  Once there, he gets drawn into another prophecy and is forced to go on another dangerous adventure.

This is the second of five books in The Underland Chronicles. It is a fantasy book aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but can also be classified as Young Adult. The story primarily takes place on earth in the Underland, far below New York City. The story is told in the third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Gregor. Suzanne Collins has also written The Hunger Games plus a couple of other books written for youths.

I was hooked from the first page and found the story captivating, exciting and sad. The prophecy was interesting and the story had a number of twists.  There was lots of action, some of it a bit gruesome and frightening. This is a standalone story and it came to a good conclusion, but it also hooked us to read the next book in the series.

I recommend this book, but it is for older children as it is quite scary. I am going to read the next book in the series: The Curse of the Warmbloods because I am curious to find out what happened.

To Purchase: “Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series The Underland Chronicles

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The First Book in The Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Listening Library (January 1, 2005), Audio CD (paperback 320 pages,) ISBN-10: 9780307282699, ISBN-13: 978-0307282699

A young boy, Gregor and his baby sister get drawn into a creepy world under the earth, where there are huge rats, cockroaches, bats and humans who all talk and communicate with each other. Once there, Gregor finds
clues that his missing father of two years has also fallen down into the Underland. Put into the mix a prophecy and you have an exciting adventure.

This is the first of five books in The Underland Chronicles. It is a fantasy book aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but can also be classified as Young Adult. The story primarily takes place on earth in the Underland, far below New York City. The story is told in the third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Gregor. Suzanne Collins has also written The Hunger Games plus a couple of other books written for youths.

This is a good, interesting story which grabs your attention from the first page and keeps you engaged right up to the end.  I liked the characters and I was really cheering for Gregor throughout.  The denizens of the Underland talk in a unique manner, which I found charming.  I thought the mystery of the prophecy really added to the overall excitement of the story. Although Gregor the Overlander is part of a series, it is still a standalone book with a good conclusion.

Although it is aimed towards children 9 – 12 years old, I thought that some of the action scenes were a bit scary and there is a fair deal of violence, but none of it was too graphic. If you enjoy a good, young adult fantasy involving a quest with plenty of action then you should read Gregor the Overlander.
To purchase “Gregor The Overlander” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series The Hunger Games

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Final Book of The Hunger Games
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (Aug 24 2010,) Hardcover: 400 pages, ISBN-10: 0439023513, ISBN-13: 978-0439023511


The districts and The Capital are at war with each and Katniss was the catalyst. This story centres on Katniss as the rebels prepare to fight. The only problem is The Capital has Peeta and they are torturing him. This is a story of how the slaves try to correct the unfair balance of power and the resulting consequences, which include both revenge and redemption.

Mockingjay is the final book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. It is a young adult, dystopian science fiction that takes place on Panem, which was once the continent of North America, at an unknown futuristic date. The story is told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. Suzanne Collins has also written The Underland Series plus a couple of other books written for youths.

I did not enjoy this book as much as the first two, but it still held my interest right up to the last page. Even in the last chapter I was not sure where the story was going. Once Katniss was brought into district 13 and introduced to President Coin, I began to question how different are the rebels to the Capital? Yes, The Capital is filled with privileged people whose comforts and entertainments are all at the expense of the districts, but District 13’s treatment of its prisoners, shows that they really are no different. I was surprised at the ending, but felt that Katniss’ decisions perhaps addressed some of my questions.

Mockinjay is a good ending to a good series. If you enjoy reading dystopian science fiction books that are aimed at young adults, then you should give this series a try. Just be sure to read the books in order.

Questions to ponder:

As the story unfolded, I began to wonder just what kind of world will it be if The Capital is defeated?

Will the slaves in the districts really become free, or will they just become new slaves to the new president and district 13? (I know this was answered somewhat by the book, but still something to think about.)
To purchase: “Mockingjay” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

 

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series The Hunger Games

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
The Hunger Games Trilogy: Book 2
Publisher: Scholastic Press; Reprint edition (July 1 2010), Paperback: 384 pages, ISBN-10: 0439023521, ISBN-13: 978-0439023528


For the first time in 74 years there are two survivors in the annual hunger games. Katniss and Peeta have just beat the system and came out as victors, just to face the games once again but this time with shocking results.

Catching Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. It is a young adult, dystopian science fiction that takes place on Panem, which was once the continent of North America, at an unknown futuristic date. The story is told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. Suzanne Collins has also written The Underland Series plus a couple of other books written for youths.

The story started out a bit slow, but quickly built up steam and the pressure kept building and building to an exciting, shocking and unexpected ending.  I enjoyed the writing, especially the detailed pictures describing the arena and the events that occurred within.  This is an original series with an interesting look at what happens when a small group of elitists suppress the masses into slavery.

I enjoyed this book, I am curious to see where the story is going so I will read the next book in the series. If you enjoy reading dystopian science fiction books that are aimed at young adults, then you should give this series a try. Just be sure to read the books in order.
To purchase: “Catching Fire” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Hunger Games

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Hunger Games Trilogy: Book 1
Publisher: Scholastic Press; Reprint edition (July 1 2010), Paperback: 384 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0439023521, ISBN-13: 978-0439023528

 

How would you feel to be forced to watch your children murder each other in an annual televised event? The Hunger Games is a futuristic novel about an oppressive state abusing its people and how they respond to this treatment. First we meet Katniss, a resourceful 16 year old girl, who is solely responsible to keep her family fed and alive. She does this by illegally hunting wild animals in the forest surrounding their village.

As the story unfolds we learn that once a year two teenagers from each district are selected to engage in the hunger games.  This is where twenty-four youths are made to compete against each other in the Capital in a staged arena until just one child is left alive. Katniss becomes one the participants and we experience this horrific situation with her as she struggles to stay alive.

This is the first book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. It is a young adult, science fiction book that takes place on Panem, which was once the continent of North America, at an unknown futuristic date. The story is told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. Suzanne Collins has also written The Underland Series plus a couple of other books written for youths.

The tale is well told and interesting. I was captivated from the first page and I felt intrigued right up to the end of the book. I really came to care about the main character Katniss. I was curious to see what she was going to do and how she was going to respond to the terrible environment she was forced to live.

However, I found the premise to be unbelievable based on the world that was created. I did not think there was enough justification to enforce people to watch and endure their children’s death in a meaningless game. In addition, there were also a couple of plot holes.  At times, Katniss comes across as very resourceful and smart. Other times, she is really dense. This is a standalone story which builds to a suspenseful but somewhat transparent ending.

I enjoyed this book, I am curious to see where the story is going so I will read the next book in the series. If you enjoy reading science fiction books, and you have some spare time, then you should give this book a try.

To Purchase: “The Hunger Games” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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