Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Title: The Reformed Vampire Support Group

Author: Catherine Jinks

Summary: Instead of the dark, sexy, and powerful image of vampires present in protagonist Nina Harrison's Zadia Bloodstone novels, vampirism is a disease. Affecting dead people, this disease causes light sensitivity, brittle skin, and digestive problems. Nina is forever 15 and stuck living with her mother, and participating in the Reformed Vampire Support Group (to help vampires adjust and to promote an alternate diet), when a member is staked and shot with a mysterious silver bullet. So in an effort to prove vampires aren't weak, Nina embarks to solve the mystery with fellow Support Group members, former-punk-rocker-turned-vamp Dave, and a human, sympathiser Father Ramone. In the process they also encounter the underground werewolf trade, giving her her first trial at resisting the scent of human blood and fanging hamsters to deal with the alternate nutrition.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed the alternate to the forever young, sparkly love tales that dominate vampire fiction. These tales are also inject the all superhuman vamp into the story in the form of Nina's Zadia Bloodstone novels. The disease-like form of vampirism was also let us see the characters as real people rather than super-beings with no repercussions. Nina is a witty realist and made the book incredibly funny. Calm, regular Dave was also a good balance to the unusual mix of the group. The suspense and action was well balanced and the novel in general was well paced. The dynamics between the group member were excellent. The dialogue between the lot is hilarious. I enjoyed Nina's realisation that vampires don't need to be Zadia to get what they want from life, and that along with the ending was immensely satisfying. Readers who want to be subverted from the usual vampires will enjoy this dark, witty, mystery.

Cover: I like the cover, its cute but I wish all the members of the support group were shown rather than the skeletal group. The alternate cover is black and white but also quite nice.

Rating: 5 Stars

PS: Hope everyone is having a lovely summer.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Summary: Jenna Fox is 17 when she awakens in a new town from a car accident a year ago, remembering nothing but bouts of encyclopedic knowledge. She can remember entire book passages but not if she had ever had a best friend. As she begins to remember snippets of her life, she begins to wonder about the accident, and her family's bizarre behavior.

Thoughts: I loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox! Jenna, her family, and classmates are fascinating, as are the dynamics between them. While the novel is science fiction, it blends seamlessly into the current time period. Nothing about this novel is outrageous in any way. The most interesting point is what makes us human. Jenna's father had invented a substance that serves as artificial blood or organs, and the book looks quite thoroughly at the ethics of the practice. IWhat I love most about the novel was that it was impossible to peg what was going on until Jenna herself knew. The ending was also great!

Cover: I like the image. There seems to be a lot of these hands-holding-something type covers lately, but this one is treated more softly than the others.

Rating: 5 Stars

PS: The website for the book is really nice too!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Demons Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title: The Demon's Lexicon

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Summary: Nick and his brother Alan are always on the run, along with their crazy mother, from the magicians and their demons that killed his father. Before they leave their latest home a girl and boy come to him with a problem. The girls brother has been marked by a demon and will be possessed without their help. Alan then gets marked also, so they set out to hunt down the magician responsible for unleashing the demon. Through this Nick begins to suspect his past isn't as everyone says.

Thoughts: I loved The Demon's Lexicon. The characters are brilliant. I liked Nick's narration, and his insistence that Alan was the good one, and how important Alan was to him. I also liked Alan who is the nice, bookish, older brother with quite a lot of secrets. Their relationship was so important to Nick that the revelations shocked him, even an obvious one, as he had just accepted Alan's word. This book was unusual in the magicians being cruel, and evil rather than the wonderful, and strange qualities usually associated with them. The book is quite twisty, there is one obvious revelation (about their mother), and a series that really surprised me. The pieces fit together perfectly and I can't wait for the next book in the series!

Cover: The cover is lovely, I would really have liked to see perhaps a figure of Alan in the background.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

PS: This is going to be a series, yay!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tithe: A Modern Fairytale by Holly Black

Title: Tithe: A Modern Fairytale

Author: Holly Black

Sequels/Companion Novels: Valiant, Ironside

Summary: Sixteen-year-old, Philly resident, Kaye Fierch ends up shipped back to her grandmother's house after her mothers boyfriend tries to stab her mother. However once she gets there she sees the reappearance of her imaginary friends from childhood. Faeries are real and she is one of them. Her friends tell her that the Unseelie court has selected her for their next tithe (human sacrifice) and she should pretend to be human until the they removed her glamour and reveal her. This will allow her friends freedom from the sinister Faerie courts for seven years. Unfortunately she is also in love with a knight of the dark court who would rather make alliances with the light. Adding the interference of a few of her human friends the tithe may not go as planned.

Thoughts: It's not very often I find myself liking faerie books but this one was great. I found Kaye a bit abrasive at first but I love how strong she is as well as her ability to take things in stride. Kaye is also very clever and inventive in dealing with her troubles. I also found the rules of the faerie courts dealt with in a neat, matter-of-fact way. I also enjoyed the contrast between the modern world (which was full of Stark Trek, comic, and literary references), and the beautiful (but cruel) faerie world.

Cover: The cover is lovely and matches the companion novels well.

Rating: 5 Stars