Monday, August 18, 2008

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane Austen fits into the Juvenile Fiction genre. It was written between August 1815 and August 1816 and first published in 1817 after the death of Jane Austen. It is recommended for ages 16 and up.

I've had this book on my shelf for a while and I didn't realize that I hadn't read it until last month. I really enjoyed it because I get lost in the language. It is more difficult to read than some of the other things I've read lately because I have to think about what I'm reading instead of just plugging along and turning the pages. However because of this amount of concentration it feels more rewarding to read something like this than a quick read. I feel smarter too for reading a classic that everyone has heard of at least the author if not the title. The plot was interesting enough, Anne Elliot is the second of three girls born to a Baron who cares only about himself and his title. She is generally ignored and while cared for she is not pampered like the eldest. When she was in her late teens she met and got engaged to a man that her family did not approve of and she was persuaded by a good family friend, Lady Russell, to break off the engagement. They were both brokenhearted and Captain Wentworth left to go find his fortune. Eight years later they meet again through Wentworth's sister who was renting the family house which was rented out to save the Elliot family from growing debt. The rest of the book follows their meetings with each other as each of them tries to figure out what the other is thinking and feeling. It ends happily as they decided to forget the persuasion of others and make their own choices.

This book would be great for a discussion group because there is so much to think about. Lady Russell tells Anne not to marry Wentworth. She wasn't trying to be vindictive or to hurt Anne she just thinks that she knows what is best for Anne and her family. At the time Wentworth was a poor man with no position. He was convinced that he could make his fortune but there was a chance that it wouldn't happen. Anne trusted Lady Russell and puts aside the love that she feels but ends up being miserable. If she would have trusted her heart she would have married him earlier but she wouldn't be the same person so which is better? There are more topics of discussion but this is the one that stuck out most to me.

Other reviews available:

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Monday, August 4, 2008

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer fits into the Juvenile Fantasy Fiction genre. It was first published in 2008 and is recommended for ages 14 and up.

So I'm going to try to review this book without giving away anything that Stephenie didn't give away before the book was published so if it's a little cryptic I'm sorry. If you've read it you'll know what I mean if you haven't read it yet pick it up today!

Breaking Dawn is a masterpiece of emotional and intellectual writing. The story was captivating from the beginning and it is a deserving finale to a truly awe inspiring saga. While there were some typos (like there seem to be in all of her books) they didn't bother me as I was so absorbed in the story line. Before the book was out to the public Stephenie gave away that there would be a wedding. I loved that scene in the book. It was just magical and the emotional detail from not only Bella but also her family made the scene even more real and heartwarming. A little after the wedding something happened that weirded me out, if you've read it you probably know what I mean. It was an interesting plot line and didn't bother me as much as the story developed but when it first came in I wondered how it fit. In the end Meyer pulled it off majestically and created, I think, the best book in her career so far. I think everyone can be happy with not only the ending but the book as a whole. I highly recommend the entire saga for those who love to read especially but also those who haven't read in a while, it will suck you in.

Other reviews available:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima fits into the Juvenile Fantasy Fiction genre. It was first published in 2007 and is recommended for ages 14 and up.

So often when encountering sequels we compare the books to each other and pick one as better and since this is book two in the Heir series I found myself in the same place. If I had to choose I would pick The Wizard Heir over The Warrior Heir but they are both fabulous. Wizard Heir is a more internal book there is less action and more of a moral struggle. We learn about sixteen-year-old Seph McCauley and his life as a wizard, which has been a struggle when the book opens. He was told that his parents died when he was very young and then his guardian passed away as well. He was kicked out of one school after another when mysterious things kept happening. Seph started a fire that ended up killing one of his friends and he wondered how his life could get any worse. Little did he know that was just the beginning. Seph was transferred to the Havens, a boys school in middle-of-nowhere Maine. The headmaster agreed to teach him magic but after learning the cost Seph refused. The refusal started a unimaginable feud and in the end Seph and his friends were able to take down a large cell of dangerous wizards. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It stretched my imagination and surprised me with it's attention to detail.

Other reviews available:

The Warrior Heir by Cinda WIlliams Chima

The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima fits into the Juvenile Fantasy Fiction genre. It was first published in 2006 and is recommended for ages 14 and up.

This book was full of surprises. I picked it up after a recommendation from my sister but I wasn't too jazzed about reading it. The big sword on the front was a turnoff for me. I know the old saying, “Don't judge a book by it's cover” but I was guilty anyway. After reading the first chapter I was intrigued and after the second I was hooked. The plot is fascinating. It follows the life of sixteen-year-old Jake, a seemingly normal boy whose only difference is he has to take medication daily for his heart, which underwent surgery when he was just a baby. One day he forgot his medication for the first time in his life and weird things happened. He noticed his vision was clearer and he was more powerful than before. Little did he know that this was the start of his new life. He later discovered that he was part of a magical community and was to serve as a warrior in an ancient tournament to determine who would rule that community. Along the way he gets into trouble a lot, trains fiercely, falls in love, and learns the truth about his world. It's a magnificent piece of fiction and a wonderful accomplishment for Chima, a first time writer of juvenile fiction.

Other reviews available:

The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima