Other Award(s)

Book Reviews: The Obelisk Gate

The Obelisk Gate
Author: 
Jemisin, N. K.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I’ll admit that reading The Fifth Season had a bit of a learning curve for
the Broken Earth series. Not only did I have to learn about the vastly
powerful magic system based on rocks (and other rock forms), but I had to get
used to a second-person point of view (POV). Jumping between timelines with
similar characters who had different names was a bit confusing, but I was
able to figure it out by the end. Fast forward to the sequel, The Obelisk
Gate, and most of my qualms with the first book were smoothed over or solved
outright.

One of the things I enjoyed about The Obelisk Gate was the increase in the
scale of the magic system. Including the moon in these calculations makes
perfect sense considering the nature of the orogeny magic. I also appreciated
how the story seemed to focus on a single POV, which made for a more intimate
experience as we followed only one or two individuals instead of four. Now
that I was used to the second-person writing style and the character it
described, it didn’t bother me as much as when I read The Fifth Season.

While The Fifth Season set up the world-building for this trilogy, The
Obelisk Gate’s only weakness is that it finally set up the climactic plot
for the third book. Sure, there was plenty of character development and
intriguing twists in the plot in The Obelisk Gate, but they all seemed to be
hinting at something much more significant that wouldn’t take place in this
book. I do appreciate an excellent three-act structure, so this slight
weakness can be seen as merely an artifact of the second book in a trilogy.
In fact, because it was more focused, I liked this book more than its
predecessor. After all, it’s a strong concept with solid execution.

A focusing and foreshadowing of the Broken Earth series, I give The Obelisk
Gate 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Guts

Book Review: Guts
Author: 
Telgemeier, Raina
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Another great graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. As Raina deals with friends, food, and changes in school she begins to find herself. This is a great book that many teens would find relatable and fun to read. The art in these books is so detailed and colorful. I have read all of Raina Telgemeier's books and I love her stories of finding your way.

Reviewer's Name: 
McKenna B

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451
Author: 
Bradbury, Ray
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Fahrenheit 451 follows the story of a fireman, Guy Montag, who lives in a dystopian society. His job as a fireman is to locate all books around the city and burn them. Books are banned from any individual and is considered to be an inferior type of entertainment in comparison television, which are more supported by the public. As Montag continues to burn more books throughout his job over time, he deals with a variety of external factors that changes his brainwashed and disillusioned perspective to considering books and their significance to society. Being a firemen in this dystopian society, Montag must deal with a plethora of barriers that are blocking his way before he can truly understand the importance of books and to keep them.

Fahrenheit 451 is an intriguing book that takes a different approach in a dystopian society. Instead of implementing a militaristic and governmental style, Bradbury uses firemen which encapsulates a unique and captivating plot line. Fahrenheit 451 demonstrates a story that everyone can enjoy, especially for those who enjoy reading dystopian novels. Bradbury effectively relates character development of Montag to the series of events that occurs. This coherent relationship that virtually happens side-by-side further produces a sense of immersion for the reader.

Personally, I enjoyed Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 novel. It is considered to be one of his best, and most iconic books that he has written to date. I highly recommend any average reader to consider reading Fahrenheit 451. The book is not too long, but it will still produce an immense amount of quality and satisfaction in the end.

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T.

Book Review: Alice in Zombieland

Book Review: Alice in Zombieland
Author: 
Showalter, Gena
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Alice Bell thought her father was crazy, at least until she saw the monsters herself. On her way home from her little sisters dance recital her life is turned upside down when she awakes on the side of the road barely conscious. They were in a car accident, and before she blacks out she vaguely sees a monster eating her father. "There is no way, zombies don’t exist" Alice thinks, but then she remembers the stories her dad used to tell her about them. She wakes up in the hospital with her grandparents standing next to her with sad looks on their face. She knew before they told her, her parents and sister were gone. She starts to see visions or images of zombies she can’t get them out of her head, so when she meets a bad boy named Cole at her new school she can’t help but think he knows more than he lets on about the monsters she sees. When it comes time to fight Alice and Cole must trust each other, but this fight is for Alice it's time to avenge her family. This was a book I couldn’t put down, I had to immediately pick up the next book in the series.

Reviewer's Name: 
Madison S.

Book Review: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

Book Review: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Author: 
Patterson, James
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Maximum Ride is probably one of the most interesting and exciting books I have ever read. The novel starts with a group of children living in a house on their own, the one who watches out for the younger children is sixteen year old, Maximum Ride (Max). The children are not like other normal kids though; they can all fly. When the kids were younger they were all kidnapped by scientists and were experimented on. While they were experimented on they were given genetically attached wings. The children all escaped with the strength they all had together but now the scientists want them back. They can fly and they are stronger than most humans and they each have
individual powers unique to only them and they are not easy to find. The scientist also created what Max and the other children call “Erasers”, which are genetically mutated humans half wolf, half human with the sole purpose of finding the missing flying children. The novel follows Max and the children on their journey to freedom. I honestly think that there is something for everyone to enjoy in this book: romance, science fiction, action and adventure. I love this book and would highly recommend reading it.

Reviewer's Name: 
Madison S.

Book Review: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Author: 
Lewycka, Marina
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

A short history of tractors in Ukrainian is a very entertaining tale of the vastly different experiences and perspectives of Ukrainian immigrants post-WWII to post-Cold War in Great Britain. It's a story that also explores the challenges of caring for aging family members. Well worth the read - it'll completely broaden your horizons. Also, it's very funny.

Reviewer's Name: 
Krista

Book Review: Good Omens

Book Cover
Author: 
Pratchett, Terry & Gaiman, Neil
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book contains a captivating world in which angels and demons exist, and there are two in particular we follow who roam the Earth. Their goal: to stop the apocalypse. Their respective sides endeavor for the apocalypse to occur, but the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley have grown very fond of Earth.
The story follows several humans as well, including the Witchfinder Newton Pulsifer, the witch Anathema Device, and the Them. It also follows the story of the Antichrist, and the four horsemen. It is an absolutely spellbinding read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Settare R

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: 
Schwab, V. E.
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

A co-worker of mine suggested I check this book out, and I have now finally gotten around to it. While he gave this series of books a glowing review, I can only hope that the other books in this trilogy fare better than this one. For what it was worth, A Darker Shade of Magic didn’t seem to be original enough for me to care much about what happened in it. It’s filled with so many fantasy and YA tropes that I could almost swear I’d read the same book somewhere else before.

Perhaps part of my problem comes with the audiobook production of this story. I generally liked Lila, except when she was particularly annoying. There were quite a few times the narrator made her sound like Audrey Hepburn in the early part of My Fair Lady (1964), and that’s not much of a compliment. Overall, though, I can understand how the first book in a series can be dry just based on the fact that it has so much exposition and world-building to do to lay a foundation for the next books.

And maybe the “generic” feel of this book comes from the logical nature of a magic system closely tied to blood? I like the concept of the parallel Londons, and the action sequences near the end were reasonably exciting, so there is some merit to this book. It’s more that everything felt so flat and uninteresting, even with a compelling topic like blood magic tying everything together. While I wasn’t necessarily impressed with this book, I’ll continue to be my stubborn (or perhaps masochistic) self and continue with the rest of the series to see what all the commotion is about.

A generic YA fantasy with a few shining moments, I give A Darker Shade of Magic 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

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