Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Passage by Justin Cronin

I had seen Justin Cronin on GMA promoting this book. What interested me was a phone call from Stephen King as Mr. Cronin is being interviewed. Stephen King said that Justin Cronin had brought the vampire genre back to where it was meant to be. I had to read the book. It wasn't what I expected, however.
Justin Cronin's writing is lyrical and full of flavor. While the book did have vampires it's not the sort of story you'd expect. The vampires are not your every day Draculas but more Nosferatu - feral and bloodthirsty. I will not kid you - the book is long. I was amazed at it's length because it just didn't feel like a nearly 800 page book.
The story starts out with the Army working with a scientist who is trying to uncover a cure to death. What he discovers is a virus that turns people into vampires. The Army sees an opportunity to make new soldiers and supports the experiments. Unfortunately, the vampires escape and infect the world. The story becomes less about the vampires and more about surviving this new world that is haunted by vampires in the dark. The characters are forced to make a journey in search of salvation. I can't say it's a happy book or that everyone will appreciate the ending. But the journey with the characters is well worth it all.
The book is reminiscent of many Stephen King stories - The Stand, The Dark Tower and even a little Langoliers. It also has a taste of Michael Crichton with his government ruins the world feel. It's not a horror book in the sense that it's bloody and heartracing. You get swept into the book but it's tasteful - the characters are real and the story is not convoluted with sex and violence. It has a touch of passion but mostly a strong pull into the lives of those who are in the story.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Unfortunately this is another sequel but I highly recommend this series. The back of this particular book has a quote about this being an heir to the Twilight throne. This series is so much better than Twilight could ever be. The books follow Rosemarie Hathaway as she attends a secret school for Moroi (vampires) and dhampir (guardians). Rose is a dhampir and her best friend Lissa is a Moroi, but not just any Moroi - the last of a royal blood line. This book has some teenage romance but follows the girls as they struggle to survive in a changing world that is filled with dangerous vampires they call Strogoi.
This particular book is the 5th of the series and it is heartbreaking. Not to spoil too much but Rose is stuck trying to make her relationship with a Moroi work while trying to save Dimitri, her former and greatest love. It has a little teen drama but this is so much more serious than Bella and Edward's little on again, off again relationship. More importantly Rose is a strong character and is not afraid to take a few lives as she fights to find her place in this world.
The first book is Vampire Academy and I really strongly suggest giving it a try.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Keys to the Kingdom - Garth Nix

Unfortunately, this is a time of sequels - not the easiest books to share. The Keys to the Kingdom is a series of 7 young adult fantasy books that start with Mister Monday and end with Lord Sunday (as you can see the books are titled after the days of the week). Young Arthur is approached by a strange man one afternoon as he is having an asthma attack during a PE run. Arthur is going to die and so has been selected as the Rightful Heir to the Architect. In true fantasy form, Arthur is transported to another dimension and has to fight the ruler's of the seven days to give back control of "the House" to the will of the Architect. The book is full of mystery and suspense as this young boy (who's about 12) is forced to give up everything to save the world he loves.
The book is reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time and The Neverending Story - giving a new breath to an old genre. Knowing how it ends only encourages me to share this series. I will say the ending is not what I expected and not as happy as I would have pictured but it reminded me of the stories of my childhood.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Silver Borne is the 5th book in the Mercy Thompson Series. I have to say I love this series. Mercy Thompson is the ultimate woman - she's an auto mechanic who can't see to stay clean and pretty. She doesn't wear heels and yet she seems to function in the dating world just fine. She's dating her neighbor who just happens to be the Alpha Wolf of the local Werewolf pack. Oh, did I mention she can turn into a coyote. For those who love fantasy books - this is a great one and definitely therapy for those into the Twilight saga. Mercy is all woman and yet she's strong and her men are not stalkers (well unless they are stalking her but she doesn't date those guys). She literally kicks butt. The trouble she gets into is action packed and filled with all sorts of fantasy. It also helps that this is set in Washington (Tri-cities in the better half of the state). I love seeing my home state referenced in books and this one is my favorite. Silver Borne may actually be my favorite so far but then it's the freshest in my mind. For those who have not read any of the books I won't go into any details that might spoil prior books (sorry about ruining the dating part but you know early on he's the one she's going to pick). There is something about Werewolves that are better than Vampires in the dating world - they are loyal, fierce, warm and may even fetch your slippers - what else do you need in a man.


I am an avid reader and love to share the books I read. Most people tire of hearing me talk about my latest book (I challenge myself to read 100 books every year so it's a lot of book talk). This year I have not been reading as much as I would normally and needed motivation to read again (okay - who really needs motivation to read a really good book). I will share the good and the bad of all that I read here. I hope you enjoy this as much as I will.