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All Book Reviews by Genre: Fantasy

before I fall by Lauren Oliver
Oliver, Lauren
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Until, Friday, February 12, Samantha Kingston has a perfect life; she has great friends, a hot boyfriend, and is one of the most popular girls in her school. She never thought that February 12 would be her last day, but it is.
However, she gets a another chance at a last day. For one week, Samantha relives her last day, trying to right the wrongs of her past. In that week, she realizes what really caused her death, and the true value of her life.
This book is a really good read. The characters are surprisingly human, and the issues that Samantha struggles with are unusually real. I loved how my opinion of Samantha could developed throughout the story. I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to people that like realistic fiction.

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
everlost by neal shusterman
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Over the past year or so, Neal Shusterman has quickly become one of my favorite authors, which can probably be attributed to this fantastic novel.

Everlost is the first of three novels, which follows the story of two teenage characters, Nick and Allie, who have just awoken in a ghostly parallel to the real world after drying in a car crash. They are somewhat like ghosts, and retain the exact appearance they had when they died. The book follows these characters as they traverse through this ghostly world, and try to find their purpose among the other dead children, known as the "afterlights". Along the way, these two characters encounter many lifelike characters, and Neal Shusterman is able to effectively depict each event with imagery and descriptive language. I found myself actually excited to read the next chapter, which is coming from someone who is not typically an enthusiastic reader. Therefore, I would recommend this book to anyone who has spare time and is willing to delve themselves into a truly great book.

Reviewer is in grade 11.

Reviewer's Name: Alex K.
Awards:
Kingdom Keepers Power Play
Pearson, Ridley
2 stars = Meh
Review:

I recently read Kingdom Keepers: Power Play by Ridley Pearson. This book is the fourth in the series. Unfortunately, Power Play wasn't the best book in my opinion, because it is quite confusing and I feel only appeals to a certain reader.
Kingdom Keepers is a series about a group of teenagers who volunteered to be a part of a revolutionary invention.The Kingdom Keepers consist of five
members: Finn Whitman is the leader of the group, Philby is the brains, Charlene is the athlete, and Willa and Maybeck are the more normal kids. DHIs (daily holographic imaging) was invented by the imagineers to supposedly help guide guests around the parks, but the real purpose of this was the teenagers would actually have to take part in the battle against the Overtakers, a group of Disney villains, set to take over the park, and potentially the world. Power Play begins in Disney Quest, a kind of virtual theme park where the Kingdom Keepers went for a school fundraiser. When a ride the Keepers’
leader Finn goes on with his friend Amanda goes out of control, they find the Overtakers are behind it. Finn goes to the prison where the overtakers are held and tries to stop an Overtaker escape from happening.
I liked the fact this book takes place in the real world, but at the same time seems very futuristic and it's a good story about friendship and courage. Holograms at Disney World is a cool concept, but I think the author makes the story too complicated. There are multiple plots and twists going on at once, I sometimes forget things that happen. There are only 13 chapters in the 400 page book, sometimes up to 60 pages at a time, and most of what's happening in the chapter is completely unnecessary. These unnecessary parts make no difference to the story, other than the fact it leads the characters to the right place at the right time in an interesting way. Also, he uses very unspecific wording when it comes to talking about the characters in the group and you don't always know who he's talking about.
I wouldn't recommend this book, because of how confusing it is.
Unless you are a hardcore Disney fan, in that case you might want to give it a try. There are other books in the series and I think the first three tend to be a better read, it's more fun and the author doesn't get carried away with the story. The first book is the best in my opinion. So, if this type of book appeals to you, then I would definitely give it a try, but if you’re looking for a good or quick read, I wouldn't recommend.
To sum up, Kingdom Keepers: Power Play, the story of friendship and courage, is not the best read for the general audience. If you are sure you want to read I would definitely recommend the first couple books. The first stories tend to be better and less confusing. I am glad I read some of this series, to check it off my list of books to read, but I don’t think I would read this book again.

Reviewer's Name: Mason H.
Artemis Fowl
Colfer, Eoin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I loved this book because it tells the story of a boy no older than 13 being a super genius mastermind who can outsmart anyone. The books author (Eoin Colfer) adds to the miraculous tale of this boy by adding in the existence of fairies and other beings of fairy tales such as the leprechaun.
Review Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob M.
Awards:
Genres:
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Patterson, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I loved this book, the reason why is because most people throughout their life would wish that they could have a superpower to assist them. in this book it tells the story of seven different aliens from a planet that has been invaded by a evil force and their adventures as they fight and avoid the "Mogadorians" as they try to fit in. Many struggle to fit in and constantly move to avoid detection while also wishing for away home.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob M.
Wild Born
Mull, Brandon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I liked this book because it featured a world when instead of a
phone or something like that when you turn 12, no you get the chance to call on a spirit animal. I liked how Brandon Mull(the author) described the journey throughout this story as if it where a history book of some awesome new world that you are discovering with the characters. While I read this I felt as though the characters and scenery where right in my backyard.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Jacob M.
Clockwork Angel
Clare, Cassandra
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Clockwork Angel is the fantastic first book in the Infernal Devices Trilogy, a series set in the Shadowhunter's universe. When Tessa Grey arrives in London, she is simply looking for her brother, Nate, however she quickly is drawn into London's Downworld, where fey, vampires, and demons run wild on the streets. Taken in by the London Institute, she meets Jem and Will, Shadowhunters that are devoted to the fight against downworlders. As she begins to realize the depth of her own power, a plot comes to light that could threaten the safety of the world.
This is a great book filled with just enough romance, action, lore and adventure. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoyed Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument series or generally likes historical fantasy. As a whole, this book is an amazing read that draws you in immediately.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
Vessel
Durst, Sarah Beth
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Vessel, by Sarah Durst, is an amazing, yet highly unusual book. Since she was a young child, Liyana has known her destiny. Because she is the vessel, she will summon the goddess of her clan, and give up her body. In return for her offering, the goddess will give her clan the water they need to survive. When Liyana does the summoning, and the goddess does not come, she is abandoned by her clan. She then sets out on a quest to find the lost deities with the help of the trickster god and the other vessels. Vessel is a fantastic book that incorporates many interesting topics such as, loyalty, magic, politics, and how no destiny is set in stone. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys fantasy and doesn't mind some political drama.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Hailey K.
Awards:
The Thief Lord
Funke, Cornelia
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In Cornelia Funke's "The Thief Lord", the most famous thief in all of Venice is a young boy who goes by the name of The Thief Lord. He has recruited a large band of misfits to aid him in these crimes -- including runaway orphan brothers Prosper and Bo, who are being pursued by a detective hired by their aunt and uncle. The story had a great pace and was fun and engaging. The setting was described vividly and could be considered a character of its own.
The only flaw I saw was in the ending, which seemed out of place and didn't flow right with the rest of the story. But, the book was still great. I'd highly recommend it to readers of all ages.
Review Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
red queen
Aveyard, Victoria
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard reminds the reader that anyone can betray anyone. At the beginning of the book, Mare meets Farley, the leader of a group called the Scarlet Guard, a group that strives for equality between those with silver blood and those with red. Later, Mare, a red, gets a job at the royal palace because she talks to the prince, who decides to hire her. On her first day of the job, a freak accident causes her to get the power to create and control lightning. Because only silvers are supposed to have powers, the royal family decides to lie about her backstory and have her become the new princess. Mare and her new fiancé, Mavis, join the Scarlet Guard in order to give reds and silvers equal rights. In the end, Mavis reveals to Mare that he had been using her all along and attempts to kill her, but fails.

Red Queen was a total disappointment. I have heard so many people saying that it is a great book, and I know it was nominated for the Blue Spruce awards, but I don’t see why. It’s like the author combined the plots of Hunger Games, The Selection, and Divergent. I love all those books, but I was hoping for something more unique. It was the most like Hunger Games, with the people in the districts like the reds, and the people in the Capital are like the Silvers. Also, most of the main characters were annoying, unlikable, and impossible to grow attached to. I thought it was fine at the beginning, but it lost my interest as it went on. I thought that the parts with the Scarlet Guard were very boring. The book in my opinion would have been much better without the Scarlet Guard. Also, the book does not provide any information of how their society came to be that way, something that should be included in any dystopian novel. I want to know how the Silvers came to be, and how they got their powers. I didn’t like how they wanted to fight against the silvers because of inequality between reds and silvers, holding all the silvers responsible for what only a few government officials did. Red Queen was hugely overrated, and I will not be finishing the series.

Reviewer in Grade 8

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Tiffany, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Harry Potter and the Cursed child invites the reader into the life
of Albus Potter, Harry Potter’s son, as he and his friend attempt to save Cedric Diggory by going back in time. The book starts at Kings Cross station, where Albus and his cousin, Rose are about to board the Hogwarts Express, exited to finally learn magic. On the train, Albus makes friends with Scorpius, Draco Malfoy’s son, a kind boy whose only goal is to make friends. Later, everybody is stunned to see that Albus is sorted into Slytherin and is terrible at Quidditch. Over the years, Albus becomes resentful of his father because he was so much better than him socially, academically, and athletically in his youth, making people have unrealistic expectations for Albus. In an act of rebellion against his father, he goes into the past with Scorpius to try to save Cedric Diggory’s life, leading to disastrous consequences that they and their parents must fix. In the end, Albus learns to be grateful for and love his father, despite their differences.This book was very entertaining. I loved how it was written like a play, showing the director’s notes. This was a wonderful book.

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
Genres:
Emissary
Locke, Thomas
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A fantastic world of adventure and legions come alive. Elves and dragons and ethereal powers colliding together in this fast paced journey where EVIL again is trying to 'take over'. It was an easy read and kind of a fun romp. A 'page turner' as they say that left me with a desire to get the next book quickly. It's also another '1st book' so it makes it easy to know what to read the next time. (check out my other "1st books" in the staff reviews. The main character has a noble upright spirit in him and his quest in part is about him becoming all that he can be. Many friends join him along the way and he soon learns that without them he will fail. If you like The Lord of the Rings series; you'll probable like the books that I read.

My curiosity is up about these reviews - so If I could get some feed back (at least 7) - I'll tell you the next "best fantasy saga", I have found, after the Lord of the Rings.

Reviewer's Name: Bruce
A Cast of Stones
Carr, Patrick W
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book starts out really slowwwwww, but hang in there 'cause it starts picking up speed about a third of the way through. Errol Stone lives in a barrel of ale most of the time, he's an orphan and the one who was raising him was killed. It's a hard luck story that lifts you up at the end. He discovers he has hidden talents and true friends that help him overcome life. He has to fight through with work and is discovers a great adventure to live. Most of the stories I like are about people that overcome the odds and learn how to live uprightly. This is another '1st book' and I'm looking forward to the next. I read books that are "clean" from bad language and lustful sex. There's plenty of those, no challenge to find them, so I seek out those that are not. A little Romance and a Noble Spirit, mixed into a great Adventure are what I enjoy. The Return of Sir Percival and The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman are other '1st books' I have read, reviewed and enjoyed recently.

Reviewer's Name: Bruce
Heartless
Meyer, Marissa
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In Marissa Meyer's (The Lunar Chronicles) new standalone novel, she explores the Queen of Heart's origin story. Lady Catherine Pinkerton wants nothing more than to open her own bakery with her maid, Mary Ann. But as the Kingdom of Hearts operates in a style similar to that of Victorian England, Catherine finds herself without the money or permission to do so. Worse yet, she's being courted by the king, a silly man that she has little interest in marrying, though she is under constant pressure from her mother to accept his advances. And then, at a royal ball, a hot new court jester with murky motivations appears alongside a Jabberwock and Catherine's life and the Kingdom of Hearts will never be the same.

This was a pretty hotly anticipated read for me, as I adored the Lunar Chronicles. And a lot of the best things about the Lunar Chronicles were present here too: Wonderland and its delightful, sinister, and delightfully sinister characters are definitely a part of the story without overwhelming the character development or seeming trite. It was brilliantly executed. The romance, for me, was just a bit overbearing, and I had a hard time investing in Jest, the love interest. He was introduced as a magician, and then all I could envision whenever he was around was GOB Bluth dancing around to Final Countdown. Decidedly not sexy. We also didn't really learn enough about him for me to ever really care about his fate. I really enjoyed the other parts, though - Catherine's struggles to do right by her parents while preserving her dreams of opening a bakery were realistic and relatable, and her transition from hero to villain was pretty believable in the context of everything that happened. Warning: the food is well described - this book will make you eat any and all baked goods in your house. Oh, and the last 100 pages, the end game, was fantastic. It's a lot of fast paced action laced with emotion, and it's marvelous.

While there was a bit too much romance in this one for my taste, I think those that enjoy a bit more romance in their fantasy reads, or those that love a well-written, somehow inventive fairy tale retelling will love this one. I liked it - 3 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Eldest
Paolini, Christopher
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Taking off from the ending of Eragon, Eldest follows Eragon on his journey to defeat the evil king Galbatorix. After arriving at the Vardon, also known as the resistance, Eragon plans to leave to find the Cripple Who is Whole and learn magic from him. Unfortunately, the leader of the Vardon is killed in an Urgal operation and his friend Murtagh also vanishes. The leader’s daughter, Nasuada, becomes the new head of the Vardon and as Eragon departs with his companions to the land of the elves, we follow the story of Eragon’s cousin, Roran. Roran returns to his home village in order to take Katrina’s hand in marriage, unfortunately he finds out the village is under the control of Galbatorix and that he is wanted because of his connection to Eragon, whom the King is looking for. Katrina is taken by the Ra’zac and Roran decides to assemble his community and lead them on a journey to join the resistance. As the story progresses, we find out much about Eragon, the Dragon Riders, and more importantly the whereabouts of Murtagh. I recommend this book to fantasy readers, especially those who were caught by Paolini’s first novel, Eragon.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
Genres:
The Return of Sir Percival
O'Keefe, S. Alexander
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This Arthurian tale is about noble knights, impossible quests and miracles. Camelot has fallen. King Arthur Pendragon and his Round Table of invincible knights have been destroyed. For tens years now the land has spiraled into chaos and destruction. Ruled by the evil Morgana and her hired barbarians, the people have no hope - all is lost. Guinevere, the Queen of the Britons, is hidden away in a far away abbey, safe from the assassins of Morgana - or is she? And where is Merlin the Wise, Arthur's trusted adviser? That old wizard was at the Battle of Camlann when the King fell, but has disappeared. Morgana's spies are searching the land for him and has vowed to take his head. A merchant ship approaches the shores of Albion hoping to avoid the Saxon Sea Wolves that hunt these waters now. But they're spotted, boarded and the butchering begins. Then two passengers emerge from the ship's hold. Like banshees from hell they move in deadly unison, destroying everyone in sight. Sir Percival, the last Knight of the Table, has returned.

Reviewer's Name: Bruce E.
Book Review: The Tale of Despereaux
DiCamillo, Kate
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I started off in love with this book. However, as it progressed I lost a little bit of interest in it. I guess Miggory Sow and Roscuru didn't appeal to me as much. But it finished strong. Great narrative voice and well paced. Well done overall.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
Saunders, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

“The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip” is a mere 82 pages, and features the witty lyricism of George Saunders, National Book Award finalist, and the whimsical illustrations of Lane Smith. One might call the story an adult fairy-tale, but I believe both young and old will find it humorous and intriguing.

The story introduces the reader to round, baseball-sized creatures called gappers. They are bright orange, not particularly intelligent, and simply love goats. Saunders explains that, “when a gapper gets near a goat it gives off a continual high-pitched happy shriek of pleasure that makes it impossible for the goat to sleep” (2). For the three families that make up the town of Frip, this is bad news. Goats are their livelihood and so the children of these families must brush gappers off their goats eight times a day to keep their goats happily producing milk. The gapper trouble increases for Capable and her father when a slightly more intelligent gapper takes charge of the goat-loving critters. He decides that the whole lot should gang up on a single house rather than splitting themselves between the three houses of Frip. The other two families rejoice in their gapper-less good fortune, but poor Capable and her goats are quickly overrun by the united forces of gappers.

This story is funny, very creative, and poignant in its understanding of human nature. It expresses the importance of community and kindness, and in a way that sounds only a little preachy. Overall, “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip,” is definitely worth a read. It requires a single sitting to finish, and rewards the reader with plenty of laughs and a renewed sense of what it means to be a neighbor.

Reviewer's Name: Becca B.
Awards:
Genres:
Book Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Scamander, Newt
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Cute cute cute! This is a fun book that is chock full of imagination. I liked that is was inscribed as Harry Potter's copy but Ron Weasley had amusing handwritten notes in it. I think this book may be best enjoyed by devoted Harry Potter fans. If you've seen the Fantastic Beasts movie, you may enjoy trying to pick out the beasts featured in it. Fun!

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
eragon
Paolini, Christopher
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Eragon is a small farm boy living in a small corner of the vast country of Alagaesia. His family having little wealth, Eragon roams the woods in search of anything worth selling, and one day he finds a strange blue stone in the middle of some wreckage. Hoping he can sell it for money, he takes it back to his Uncle Garrow and cousin Roran. Unfortunately, no one buys the stone and Eragon is in possession of the stone for good. However, one night the stone hatches and a baby dragon emerges from the stone. Eragon is frightened at first, but when he pets the dragon the two establish a mental connection, he is now its owner. He names the blue Dragon Saphira and he hides her in the woods, secretly training and raising her. Expectedly, two men come to the town asking of the dragon, so Eragon and Saphira fly away, as if in exile.
Returning to town, Eragon finds that the village is destroyed and his Uncle dead. The town storyteller, named Brom, tells Eragon that the two men were called the Ra’zac and they work for the King of the land, Galbatorix.
Together Brom, Saphira, and Eragon set out to find the Ra’zac and seek revenge, as well as restore peace to Alagaesia. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to fantasy genre readers, but it’s a good starter for anyone wanting to get into fantasy books.
Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
Genres:

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