Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games trilogy is an awesome book series by Suzanne Collins and includes The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. When I read the first one, I didn't realize it was the first of several, so when I got to the end, I was pretty surprised. I went straight to the library to get the others, but unfortunately the third wasn't being published for another six months. It was torture, especially because the end of the second has a huge cliffhanger.

The main premise of the trilogy is in a post-apocalyptic society divided into twelve districts (the thirteenth has supposedly been destroyed), each which produces or manufactures something different. Every year, each district has to send teenaged a boy and girl to the Hunger Games, a live-broadcast television event where the participants must kill or be killed. The winner basically gets a new house and food and money for life. The story follows Katniss Everdeen as she fights for survival both inside and out of the games.

This is a fabulous trilogy of books. For the most part, it is full of action and is quick-paced. It became even more suspenseful when I realized the author wasn't afraid to kill off characters I really liked. I read an article that said Collins began writing this because she thought students should be exposed to the realities of war, and she certainly succeeds here. There is a lot of death, and it is not for younger readers.

Monday, February 20, 2012

World War Z

I absolutely loved this book. World War Z was published in 2006 and is by Max Brooks, who also authored The Zombie Survival Guide, which I have not read. The Z, of course, represents the zombie hoards that humans are trying to destroy before the whole race is consumed.

The reason I love this book so much is because it doesn't feel like fiction at all, which makes it all the more terrifying. The narrator is a journalist who travels the world and interviews people on the early days when zombies were first discovered, the war itself, and the aftermath. The book is basically divided into these three sections, and has a very matter-of-fact voice. It is basically told through the eyes of the survivors, and has varying levels of anger and reflection by the interviewees, and almost none by the interviewer.

The fact that very few characters are repeated was a little disconcerting at first, since each chapter has a new set of characters, but it works very well. This felt just like a real war, with all the violence, emotion, and language used by people who are fighting for their lives and losing loved ones. The interviewees range from scientists to vigilantes to soldiers and everyone in-between.

This book is not for the faint of heart or people who can't handle bloodshed and violence. I would not recommend it to younger readers. I do recommend it to anyone who like zombies or war stories.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief is the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, by Rick Riordan. The main premise is that 12-yr-old Percy discovers he is a half-blood, which means one of his parents is one of the Greek gods. In this case, it is Poseidon. Percy then has to go to a camp for half-bloods to learn how to defend himself against the monsters that will try to harm him in the regular world. Once there, Percy is given a quest in order to clear his name against a charge of thievery from Zeus.

I thought this was a pretty interesting book. I recognized all of the Greek gods and monsters who were mentioned, although sometimes it felt like the author was just trying to make as many references as he could. However, it made me feel smart every time I recognized another one, or predicted who someone was going to be before their name was given, so bonus points for that.

The story itself kept my attention. I think the dialogue was as close as it could be for an adult writing from the perspective of a twelve-year-old, although some of the words he chose to use instead of profanity or a harsher insult were pretty funny. This book is geared a little more toward middle school since the protagonist is so young, but I enjoyed it, and I think it would be a good read for any age person who likes either mythology or adventure.
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