All Book Reviews by Genre: Fantasy

Priest of Bones
McLean, Peter
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

It took me a good long time to read this book. I started reading it and I
would stop, then I’d try to start it again. Then I decided to just buckle
down and read the book. I have to say it was a pretty darn good book.

I wasn’t expecting it to be the first in a series, but as I started coming
closer and closer to the end, I realized that it may well be part of a series
– and I was right, it is. The book takes you on a journey of what happens
in a medieval style world when someone comes home from war and realizes that
a new war is brewing and it’s starting in his own city. The book is rather
slow to start and at times doesn’t make sense, but anything that doesn’t
make sense at the time will be clarified later in the book.

This particular novel is written memoir style – the narrator refers to his
having written things which is an interesting concept. Usually you don’t
see novels written as memoirs with the narrator stating that he or she had
written something earlier. I fully expect that if this series were to become
movies, that you’d find an old, wizened man at the end closing a notebook
in which he’d written the entire sordid tale.

The book was well written and I have to admit, although it isn’t normally
my type of book, I was into it. The characters were developed as much as they
needed to be and the ones that aren’t, well, there’s a reason for it.
Some of them don’t need it, some of them don’t need it right now. Read
the book and you’ll see.

Reviewer's Name: Charity
Genres:
The Power of Six
Lore, Pittacus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The sequel to I am Number Four is just as thrilling and action packed as the first. John, Sam, and Six set out as fugitives and work to find the others as we meet Seven. Seven is also known as Marina and lives in a convent/orphanage in Spain while she convinces her Cepan to rejoin the fight and develops her legacies. Complete with numerous battles, close escapes, incredible powers, and fun characters, The Power of Six is an excellent read for any middle or high schoolers.

Reviewer's Name: John B
Saga
Kostick, Conor
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book gives its audience a look into a virtual world that has run without human intervention for many decades. In this world the many NPCs have developed intelligence and personality, becoming almost human. This world is run by a strict, class based society, where each class is separated by “color”. Originally used to represent levels like in a game, it now is used by the matriarch of this society to suppress the many artificial intelligences that make up this world’s citizens. One of these citizens, Ghost, fights back against the system which eventually ends up with her in a bit of trouble. Soon after this, some familiar characters show up, such as Erik and from then on the story continues. In this virtual world shown in Conor Kostick’s book, the real world concepts of artificial intelligence interweave with the many dynamic characters’ actions and thoughts. Due to this and the premise of the story, this book has turned out to be one of my favorites so far. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a blend of dystopia and science fiction.

Reviewer's Name: Liam G
Epic
Kostick, Conor
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book presents a colony world far from Earth, in which power in a virtual reality based game means everything. The protagonist, Erik, lives in a less privileged community suppressed by the policies of the ruling administration. In an attempt to get even at the unfair treatment of his parents and their community, Erik attempts to best them in an in game arena with a team of his friends. The team they are against doesn’t necessarily play fair and Erik loses. Angry with this loss, Erik creates a new character completely on a whim, focusing on other attributes people typically don’t use. Having gone against the status quo Erik has some mysterious encounters that lead him on a quest to rediscover this virtual world. In this work of science fiction, Conor Kostick introduces his protagonist and the many other characters into a living breathing world. The openness of the world and the protagonist’s dual nature were some of the main aspects I enjoyed about this book. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction, particularly one that revolves around virtual reality.

Reviewer's Name: Liam G
Throne of Glass
Maas, Sarah J.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Throne of Glass is the first of many in the series by Sarah J. Maas. The story follows Celaena Sardothien, a young woman assassin who was imprisoned for a year by the King of Adarlan. The King’s son, having heard of who she is, requests her to become the King’s champion, but first she must compete with all the other assassins and thieves to get the title officially. If she wins, after she serves for 4 years, she will be granted freedom. But there is something more going on when as the competition goes on, bodies start piling up.

The reason I enjoyed this book is it has a very well done mystery aspect to the book along with an immersive fantasy setting with a land of magic, fantastic creatures, and being unpredictable with what’s going to happen next. What I enjoyed the most about the book is the mystery involved because it was the perfect addition to a story that already had my attention. My reasoning for picking the book is the same for why I enjoyed it. I wanted a fantasy book with a story that’d keep me reading and that’s exactly what I got, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best book I’ve read this year, but it did introduce me into the series that keeps getting better as you read it.

While the book itself felt as if it hadn’t been written well in the beginning, the story was entertaining and intriguing enough, that kept me reading through the full book and onto the next in the series.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Gregory B
Genres:
Artemis Fowl
Colfer, Eoin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

With the movie adaptation of this book coming out in a few months, I figured the premise of Artemis Fowl looked interesting enough that I’d want to read it before seeing the film. After all, a child genius going up against fantasy forces sounded like it would be entertaining. Overall, this was true. Granted, this book starts one of those classic Young Adult series that’s actually meant for children, so I can forgive a bit of its bathroom humor—but only to a point. Still, I found the fusion of modern technology and fantasy elements to be the strength of this book.

Much in the vein of the science fantasy genre, Artemis Fowl uses scientific principles and concepts to explain the numerous phenomena connected to creatures like fairies, dwarves, and trolls. It only makes sense that these creatures would evolve technologically along with humanity. Being able to explain how these creatures could remain undetected for thousands of years was nearly as engaging as the technology used to find them. The fact that this book only gave me a taste of what’s capable in this universe makes me want to come back and read the rest of the series.

Aside from the aforementioned bathroom humor (and some more adult jokes that probably aren't for children), my one qualm with this book is that the titular character doesn’t seem to play a huge role in the proceedings. I mean, I get that he’s a criminal mastermind working from the shadows, but I found the character so interesting in the few moments where he appears that I wanted more of him. Instead, many chapters focused on the military-fantasy world of the fairies, and I’m not that into military-based stories anyway.

A classic YA military science fantasy, I give Artemis Fowl 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Awards:
Genres:
Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire
August, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Having already read Arlo Finch in the Lake of the Moon, I decided to go back and read the book that kicked off this series. While I already knew what had happened in Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire—as the sequel frequently referenced it—I still appreciated reading the details myself. I had a few questions and concerns that I hoped this book would address, and only about half of them were answered to my satisfaction. Still, I did enjoy this Harry Potter and Boy Scouts mashup, even if it is literally that.

In the sequel, I definitely got the Harry Potter vibe, but I fully realized the almost 1-for-1 influence of the J.K. Rowling series on this series when I read this book. Unsuspectingly powerful main character with a unique physical trait? Check. Overachieving female friend? Check. Somewhat bumbling male friend? Check. Different groups categorized via character traits? Check. All I’m saying is that it would have been nice to see something that wasn’t so entirely derivative of the Harry Potter formula. As it is, I’d recommend the Arlo Finch series to anyone who loves the Harry Potter series.

While I also really enjoyed the infusion of the Boy Scout-esque “Rangers” to the Harry Potter formula, I’m still not sure I believe this book’s explanation for why most people aren’t aware of these supernatural happenings. Sure, they can’t be photographed, but when the uninitiated families of these kids are brought together for a Court of Honor where they hand out merit badges for “Wards” and other supernatural activities, I
can’t help but think that the parents would get suspicious of what’s really going on in this organization. It’s kind of hard to keep all these magical things a secret when you’re giving out awards for them.

A solid Harry Potter adaptation wrapped in the trappings of the Boy Scouts, I give Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Genres:
Red Rising
Brown, Pierce
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Red Rising adds maturity and depth to the dystopian novel genre, culminating into something more interesting and deep than the average dystopian series. The plot is set on Mars in a society separated into castes with the lowest of castes being extorted into serving the higher ones. The story is raw, emotional, and overall a worthwhile read. However, at times the plot progresses at a slower pace than desirable and occasionally the main character is rather robotic. Taking this into account the book remains enjoyable and I would recommend it to people looking for more out of the dystopian genre.

Reviewer's Name: Evan T
World War Z
Brooks, Max
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After finding myself slighlty underwhelmed by the movie; the book proved a welcome change. World War Z manages to capture the spirit of the zombie apocalypse trope while still remaining original. The story is told through chronological, short, personal naratives and expertly paints a large picture of disaster while continuing to feel intimate. People in the story act realistically and despite revolving around a fantastical event, the book always seems like a series of believable recounts. The story replaces continuous characters with a narrative of humanity as a whole and the reader become invested in this larger concept. Overall, the book is an entertaining read and completely worth the time.

Reviewer's Name: Evan
Awards:
Genres:
Storm Front
Butcher, Jim
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Strom Front serves as a stellar introduction to the exciting world of Harry Dresden. The first book in a long series of great books, Storm Front showcases Butcher's writing prowess. The story is full of interesting characters, well developed story, gritty mysteries, and the overarching wit of the main character. Storm Front is at once entertaining, humorous, and occasionally touching. It is one of those books that somehow becomes glued to your hands and only relinquishes them upon arrival at the back cover.
Overall, the book will most definitely be an enjoyable read and make picking the next three to four books to read an easy choice (although I recommend not attempting more than a few in a row for the sake of variety).

Reviewer's Name: Evan
Genres:
Lord of Light
Zelazny, Roger
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Lord of Light, winner of the 1968 Hugo award for best novel, is a fascinating excursion into a expertly crafted science fiction world involving both Hindu mythology and the struggle to free humanity from the oppressive rule of false gods. This book is exciting as well as thought provoking and an overall interesting read. The characters are well flushed out, the setting is both believable and fantastical, and every instant of the book engaging. For those not familiar with Zelazny's writing style, the book may become confusing at certain points. However, the reader is never lost completely and can easily catch back up with the story. This book is a must read for those interested in the science fiction genre.

Reviewer's Name: Evan
Good Omens
Gaiman, Neil
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Good Omens is humorous take on Armageddon and the final battle between Heaven and Hell. Complete with an angel and a demon, who get along better with each other than with their immortal counterparts, two witch-finders, Satanic Nuns of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl, aliens, and an eleven year old Antichrist, Good Omens takes a completely different take on the Apocalypse. All predicted by a witch that lived 300 years ago, Good Omens is full of sarcasm, humor, fun, and adventure along with a moral that tells us to look for the good in everyone, even demons. I highly recommend this book for any high schooler or adult looking for a little bit of humor in life.

Reviewer's Name: John B
Genres:
The Exorcist
Blatty, William Peter
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

One of the greatest horror novels of all time, The Exorcist was a genre-defining piece of literature. It's story has set the precedent for horror, and is the novel that essentially invented the modern possession in horror. It's story follows Chris MacNeil as she struggles to get help for her daughter, who has been possessed by a powerful demon. The book is intense; it moves at a breakneck pace, and is truly terrifying. What makes it scary is the premise: someone you love being invaded by an unknown being that you do not understand. This idea is consistent throughout the whole novel -- in the first half or so, her condition is thought to be scientific in nature, but is soon proven to be false. What do you do when you have a problem, but do not know how to fix it? This question is concurrent with the novel, and forces us to face humanities greatest fear: the unknown. I would highly recommend this novel to horror fans, or anyone who is looking for a truly terrifying read to keep them up at night.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Genres:
Epic
Kostick, Conor
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The world of New Earth is one where the game Epic decides all. Wealth, social standing, even access to resources and medical care. Erik Haraldson has become tired after dying one last time to the red dragon, a kill that would earn him and his family money beyond their wildest dreams. Erik decides to go against the normal conventions of Epic and decides to create a female swashbuckler with all points in beauty, a trait unheard of due to its uselessness in battle. But when the game itself starts talking to Erik, he soon discovers that there is a lot more at play in Epic then just grinding and wasting away.

Reviewer's Name: Ryan
 Renegades
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Nova Artino feels betrayed. The Renegades, a group of superheroes functioning as law enforcement celebrities, promised her family protection from a villain gang. Instead, Nova saw her family slaughtered before her eyes, one by one.Now, she’s part of a group of villains bent on destroying The Renegades. In order to do so, she has to infiltrate them and dismantle them from the very bottom.

Reviewer's Name: Ryan
Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the exciting conclusion to the "Hunger Games" series, "Mockingjay" follows Katniss Everdeen after she defied the Capitol in the Quarter Quell and fled to the underground city of District 13, where she is haunted by the idea of an impeding war and thoughts of her fellow tribute (and now captive of the Capitol) Peeta Mellark. In order to win this war against the Capitol, she must become a symbol of the rebellion -- the Mockingjay -- and unify the districts. Just like the others in the series, this book was phenomenal. I was completely invested in all the characters and had to see their journeys through to the end. The plot twists were even more shocking than ever. I cannot say enough about this series -- it is absolutely amazing. However, there is one thing about this book that made me enjoy it just slightly less than the others in the series. While the writing style of the other two books is relatively straightforward and direct, there were several parts in this book that left me confused, especially during action scenes -- which happened almost too quickly to follow. I didn't always entirely understand Katniss's motives (most particularly at the end) or why certain decisions were made.
This may've been on purpose, since Katniss is disoriented and suffering from mental problems during this time, which distort her sense of reality. Either way, I found it a little difficult to follow. Regardless, this book was amazing. I highly recommend the entire series. It is utterly legendary, and unlike anything I've read before.
Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wade Watts, a high school student like any other, starts his journey off in the slums of a world on the verge of economic and social collapse. In an attempt to escape the seemingly bleak world, many turn to the Oasis, an augmented version of virtual reality where the impossible is possible and people can become something other than what they are in the real world. The creator of the Oasis meets his untimely death due to a terminal illness, and in turn leaves behind his fortune and most prized possession, control of Oasis. The catch is, all you have to do is find his little “Easter Egg” within the vast world of the Oasis by finding keys linked to his favorite pastimes, such as old arcade games. It having been a long time since the announcement of this and now leads found, very few still pursue the egg. Wade Watts is one of them.

After discovering the first key on an online school’s virtual planet, Wade and the many others he meets along the way race to find the egg before the other hunters and the huge corporation, IO; in this science fiction world designed by Ernest Cline. I greatly enjoyed this book due to the vast worlds within his virtual one that he has illustrated for his audience.

Reviewer's Name: Liam G
Six of Crows
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In a town of thieves and murderers, one man is feared as the most brutal, the most wicked, and the most intelligent: Kaz Brekker. Willing to kill as much as he needs to, and able to pick any lock, Kaz is the perfect man for the greatest heist ever: Stealing a hostage from the high security Ice Palace. He gathers a crew to help take on the toughest challenge he’s ever faced. Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows follows the viewpoints of a vicious leader, a spider-like assassin, a gunslinger, a disgraced soldier, a heartrending mage, and a runaway rich boy to create a wonderful story where death is around every corner and only the strong survive.

Reviewer's Name: Ryan
Genres:
Renegades
Meyer, Marissa
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Nova, one of the few gifted with powers after their emergence, struggles in the societal aftershock and ruin left behind by the collapse. Now in the place of the governments that once stood, is a new organization, The Renegades, that provides stability and safety through the use of powers.

Before them was a time when groups of “villains” reigned over the weak, Nova was a member one of the most powerful groups referred to as the Anarchists. Now she attempts to infiltrate the Renegades to help bring back the waning power of the Anarchists, and along the way meets many who teach her just how vast the moral grey area is.

I enjoyed this book, given its science fiction/dystopian world that Marissa Meyers gives to her audience and the surprises that might come from just turning a page.

Reviewer's Name: Liam G
Morning Star
Brown, Pierce
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Darrow was captured and his identity revealed, the leader of the Sons of Ares was killed, and now the future of rebellion looks bleak. Darrow, now in a state of grief and failure, his body withering away as he waits for his execution, is rescued and given a second chance to realize Eo’s dream; to topple the corrupt society that stole everything from him. Now the leading force and face of the rebellion, Darrow has many struggles that await him in the final book in the Red Rising Trilogy. I greatly enjoyed this book due to how the many underlying plots are tied off in the end of the series as well as the resolution of each character’s internal struggles. Pierce Brown builds on many previous sub plots that as the reader you might forget, marvelously tying this book in with the rest of the series.

Reviewer's Name: Liam G

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