Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey.

When I originally picked up this book and started reading it, I knew very little about it.  Only that it was this new dystopian Young Adult novel.  If I had a nickel for every book that thought it could cash in on the Hunger Games phenomenon...but it wasn't entirely like The Hunger Games, although I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to fans.  First of all it's actually about alien invasion.  I can hear your collective groans.  I groaned too when I discovered this, but it is done in an interesting way and it's not like the aliens have lizard faces or anything (I'm looking at you V: The Miniseries and the trauma that ruined my childhood).

If I had to liken this to any book it would probably be Ender's Game, although the main protagonist is female.  There are kids, there a war games, and they are tasked with saving what remnants of humanity from the alien invaders.  It is told in first person point of view, although it is told from the perspectives several different characters to keep things interesting.  It's very well done, and the fast past action keeps you hooked.

Although it is long, this is a very quick read and once you think you have everything figured out, it changes and you don't.  There are at least two major plot twists.  Give it a read to see if you can figure them out yourself before they are revealed.

I would recommend this to young adults and adults as well.  There is a little language, and some pretty mature themes, but it's good for teens.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman is his latest adult novel and most recent since the release of Anansi Boys in 2005.  It is an absolute delight of a modern fantasy novel.  It is a quick read clocking at only 181 pages, but never seems too short covering exactly what the author wants you to know and still leaving a sense of mystery.  The story is told from the point of view of an adult male looking back on certain events of his childhood that are both supernatural and terrifying.

The three main female characters, Lettie Hempstock, her mother and her grandmother, are endearingly sketched and unforgettable.  The novel encompasses a time when the narrator lived in a house close to the Hempstocks.  It covers the horror when the boarder who live with the narrator's family, an opal miner, committed suicide, and the surrounding supernatural aftermath.  This part of the book was actually taken from Gaiman's own childhood, when his father's car was stolen and the thief was discovered to have committed suicide in the vehicle.  There is also a delightful photograph on the rear of the book of Gaiman himself as a child standing atop a drainage pipe.

Alas if you are interested in more of the plot, you will have to read the book yourself.  I found it wonderful, so you will not be wasting what little time it takes to finish.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane is another successful entry in Gaiman's pantheon of  modern day fairy tales, and certainly worth a read or two.