Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Howard Lovecraft and The Fozen Kingdom by Bruce Brown

In order to properly review this book and understand the graphic novel I would like to give a brief overlook of Howard Lovecraft.
Bruce Brown -with a twist- has written the childhood story of one of the first great horror writers of the modern age, Howard Lovecraft, aka H.P. Lovecraft. The series focuses on a fictional tale of Howard as a child, growing up in England in 1894.
This particular book opens up on Christmas Eve as Howard goes with his mother to visit his father, who is locked up in a mental ward. When left alone with his father Howard is to told to destroy a book and shortly finds himself holding the book. This book holds the secrets to another world. Howard doesn’t understand the book at first but quickly learns that the book his father had written for him maybe should be destroyed. Will Howard get rid of the book before the book gets rid of him? Through a journey to another world Howard will face danger, and could very well get lost in the great expanse of the universe.
I felt the novel was well laid out with an easy to follow plot; though it was slightly on the simple it did have a couple of twists. I feel the book would be perfect for a diverse age of readers, anyone ages 10 and up. One thing I didn’t really care for was the vocabulary, the use of basic terms like ‘gobble’ multiple times within a couple of pages got a bit boring, but that is a rather minor detail.

With quick easy to read text and mysterious pictures the graphic novel was very well laid out. The chapter breaks were good distances apart and I feel the 73 pages of the book were a proper size for a quick read before bed.
Though it has some simpler qualities, plot and vocabulary, for younger readers The Howard Lovecraft series is good book for a comic fan.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Unraveling of Wentwater by C.S. Lakin

With a twist on the familiar tales of sleeping beauty and rumpelstillskin combined C.S. Lakin tells the story of Teralyn, a girl of great beauty and skill with music, who was foretold as a babe to cause the destruction of Wentwater before her eighteenth birthday. For her own survival she was hidden away in the mountains surrounding the superstitious village, but on a visit to the little town below she meets a man that will change her life, but will also cause the destruction of the village.
The story of Wentwater features Teralyn, a gifted girl who goes through great lengths to save the town of Wentwater. I feel that her character started out very well shaped and strong, developed throughout, and carried through till the end; showing Mrs. Lakins skill. The young man Former is Teralyn’s lover and I honestly feel he should have been better shaped, we learn of his character and such, but for his roll in the story, which is a large roll, he was underdeveloped. Honestly, at first review of the book I was surprised to see how much the plot rotated around him. The amount of time given to him is minimal, causing him to be slightly on the “flat” side. The person I connected to the most was Justyn, which is odd but true. Justyn is an educated young man from the Heights—a college like set up in the mountains near Wentwater—who has left his superstitious family in the village to learn all that he can about the physical world. I understood his views and, though I didn’t agree with his reactions to his circumstances, to a degree sympathize with him.
The book’s pace started out nicely, though it dragged slightly through the middle “The Unraveling of Wentwater” ended with a quicker pace for the reader. As far as originality goes for a fairy tale I thought the book was well done. There were enough things that remind one of the fairy tales we have grown up on, the Sleeping Beauty beginning and the Rumpelstillskin like ending for example, but it with the unique characters and other features Lakin had me wondering and interested from cover to cover. The story felt homey, and familiar but with twists that kept it fresh; the book is perfect for a relaxing read before bed.
In Mrs. Lakin’s past books she had written great plots that tie up all the lose ends and I was slightly disappointed to find this story didn’t. I was left with a couple of questions, menial questions granted, but the lack of understanding of bits of the story took away from the overall enjoyment of “The Unraveling of Wentwater”.
C.S. Lakin has once again written a wonderful story that isn’t a fast pace action novel but more of a wondering walk of enjoyment for a person to relax to. Though not my favorite in “The Gates of Heaven Series”, “The Unraveling of Wentwater” still is a wonderful book showing great writing style.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Temptation By Travis Thrasher

He’s given up. What can he do? Summer is here but he can’t spend his time having fun with friends for a of couple reasons.
First, he has Summer school. Yeah! Just what every graduating Senior thinks of doing over his last Summer break.
Second, what friends does he have? Rachel, Poe and, of course, Jocelyn have all left him in one-way or another. Iris is gone, his mom might as well be gone--as she falls deeper and deeper into her need for vodka—and his father never was there to begin with.
So why fight? “Keep low”, that is what Chris has been told. So he is. Keeping low. He is staying out of trouble, giving up, going with the flow. Until Lily walks into his life. Following the same routine of the previous two books Chris falls for the new high school beauty. Chasing Lily around Chris keeps out of trouble but when their relationship goes sour Chris has time to get himself into trouble. Learning of the town’s history, his ancestors and the people in the town, Chris once again finds himself in trouble. But with visions, relationship/family problems, and of course the mystery of Solitary Chris will learn more then he wanted to, yet feel utterly lost in the book Temptation.
I can’t decide if I like or hate Lily, Chris’s new girl friend. She toys with Chris and gives the most predictable plot yet in “The Solitary Tales” making this book perhaps the most disappointing so far. I was ready for another gripping, creepy, thrilling, adventure with Chris Buckley but was disappointed and surprised by the turn Thrasher took with this novel. It was the happiest story so far; lots of warm happy feeling moments compared to the last two books. I also feel the ‘temptation’ part of the book was not needed for a young adult book, it didn’t add to the plot in the long run. (I want to make clear with that statement, this book is perfectly PG but does hint at some things that are not G.)
Now the reader does learn why things are happening, and what makes Chris so special in Temptation. These few answers do help one to understand what has happened and is happening better but it also (like Travis Thrasher has done before, in an amazing way.) opens the door for even more, deeper, questions.
Thrasher ends Temptation well though, with a promise for a race against the clock ending for Chris I am looking forward to the last book in “The Solitary Tales”.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Gravestone by Travis Thrasher

I was able to receive an advance copy of Temptation, the next book in "The Solitary Tales" by Travis Thrasher and will be posting the review for it April 1st, Temptation official release date.  If you would like to read the review for Solitary, book 1, simply click HERE

Did that just happened? The cliff-hanger ending of Solitary left me wanting more of Travis Thrasher's young adult series and eager to read the second book in the series, Gravestone. Thankfully Gravestone did not disappoint. Filled with mystery, discovery, action, love and fear Gravestone is a perfect sequel to Solitary.
Starting up right where Solitary left-off, one continues the journey through Christ Buckley’s normal day-to-day life, or lack there of. On top of what every 16 year old must face Chris has to deal with his parents divorce, mother’s alcoholism, lack of trustworthy friends, turmoil over Jocelyn, and a deep seeded fear that seems to cover the small town of Solitary. Chris needs help; that is a fact. He also needs a license and a job; that too, is a fact. So when his mom finds him a job in a small tucked away inn, that pays extremely well, he takes it. The little old innkeeper starts asking Christ uncomfortable questions when Chris’s cousin, Jared, comes to the rescue. Finally Chris has someone to rely on and answer some of his dying questions about what is going on in Solitary.
Lastly, where would Chris be without some emotional conflict on top of this adrenaline filled lifestyle he has? Enter adorable young Kelsey and another interesting girl to create a love triangle that is almost depressing.
Thrasher, once again, did a great job with his characters. Sticking to many of the people we have come to love (and hate) from Solitary I was able to pick up quite easily from where I left off. Also the introduction of new characters; Iris, Kelsey, Jared, Mike, and others kept the book fresh.
The dinky little hick town Solitary is expanding a bit as well. We visit a few of the suburbs that surround the town and learn about what goes else is around and under town. This was well done; otherwise, we would have a book filled with flashbacks from past scenes instead of learning new facts with these new places.   
Lastly the plot was amazing, fast, creepy and gripping. Even though it was over 400 pages long I don’t think any part was overly slow, especially the bits about Aunt Alice or the Inn.
Gravestone is a great sequel that keeps the past relevant while making the reader look ahead to try understanding what is going on in Solitary and why is Christ so special.