Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth | by: Carrie Ryan

When I first saw this book the title immediately intrigued me. Later on, I heard that The Forest of Hands and Teeth is about zombies. This turned me away since I've never cared much for the idea of zombies. If this fact also makes you want to stray from reading this, do not let it. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is scary and sophisticated.

In The Forest of Hands and Teeth, the world has turned horrifying. A small fenced-in village lies in the midst of the Forest and it is dominated by the ideals of the Sisterhood. Mary can only dream of life outside the Forest, for she has been told that they are the last of humankind, that only the Unconsecrated lurk in the Forest outside of the fences, trying to get in and kill off the rest of them. Still, Mary questions the Sisterhood as she makes a few discoveries about them and the outside world, which she refuses to believe is nonexistent.

Mary is quite unhappy with this confusion as well as the confusion of having two men in love with her. But when the Unconsecrated manage to slip through the fences, pandemonium spreads, and everything Mary believes is tested as she strives to survive.

Wow. That word pretty much sums up this reading experience. This is a gripping page turner that is both suspenseful and sad. It's kind of a combination of The Village and Clive Barker's The Plague, only done much better and will appeal to much more people.

From the very first page I knew that this novel is darkly and wonderfully well-written. It was so epicly beautiful and really fit the storyline and situations throughout the entire book. I can't stress the practically perfect writing enough! Carrie Ryan is an artist with words! It's part of the reason why I love this book so much!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth had an effect that I don't recall ever experiencing while reading... I actually got scared. And I don't scare easily. But the Unconsecreated never rest, and I kept jumping at noises I heard while reading and had eerie dreams if I read too late into the night. The general setting kind of creeped me out even though I loved it (I'm a fan of forests), and it's all because of the Unconsecrated.

Everything in this book is so different than others I've read. Although it's dystopian, it feels more like you're going backwards in time by the way the community functions under the Sisterhood. (Might I add, the Sisterhood also scared me!) Even the love theme was atypical. It isn't a typical love triangle, it's more of a love square, but it's not always the most evident thing in the storyline. It seems that Mary knew who she wanted, but the question of what was more important hung with her: Fulfiling her childhood dreams and her curiosity, or love? I've never read about this sort of thing before since in most books nowadays love isn't questioned unless there's more than one man involved. I'm happy for this refreshing change of feel, and it fits Mary's character and showed that she really valued exploration. She's is a curious wanderer surrounded by tragedy, and I felt for her.

The ending was satisfying, but I'm still anxious for more! I recommend this frightening apocalyptic tale to just about anyone... Go buy it and read it NOW!

5/5 Stars

Ryan, Carrie. The Forest of Hands and Teeth
London: Gollancz (imprint of Orion Publishing Group)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Classics: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Classics is a little thing I started where I talk about classic novels (or older novels that have no need of being reviewed in this day and age). I do not necesarily review the books, just give my opinion and talk about why they're important, whether I enjoyed them or not.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger may be one of the most widely read and questioned classic novels ever written ever since its release in 1951, as it deals with teenage angst, depression, and sexuality. However, many see that there's not much that happens in this story when you look at it through a general perspective. It's a novel that you have to look deep into in order to understand it. For that reason, some people do not care much for this novel. Personally, it's one of my favorites. I love it.

Holden Caulfield, the strange yet wonderful main character, has flunked out of college again and is headed for home. The story is led by his string of thoughts about how "phony" so many people in the world are and the reader sees he is oftentimes overcome by depression. It seems that the only people he really does care for is children, for they aren't phony like most adults. He finds realizations in the midst, and feels sad for those fake people he can hate so easily.

With that, some may think that it's odd that I can relate to Holden. I felt like I could understand him and agree with him on certain terms in ways I've never been able to relate to any other character or person. Holden may have taken those similarities between us to extents that are more extreme than I reflect them, and because of those extreme feelings of his, he's someone that I easily felt sorry for right away. I was depressed when he felt depressed, and I felt sorry for him when he was sorry for everybody - even people he didn't like.

It's too bad that The Catcher in the Rye isn't always understood. That such a marvelous piece of work is often challenged and even banned. There's something so much deeper to it. But I guess not everyone can be quite so peculiar as Holden nor as strange as me. Maybe that's why this book is so special to me; it speaks to me in a way that no other story ever has and others simply don't understand. That connection has to be rare, right?

I cried a couple of times while reading The Catcher in the Rye since it moved me so. It was a lot of firsts for me, and the way I could relate to some of the elements of this book wasn't the only first for me either. Immediately after putting it down, I wanted to read it again. That's never happened to me before.

This book is something that I can't even talk about in a way that conveys how I feel.

5/5 Stars

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 | Directed by David Yates | Written by Steve Kloves

Well, this is it. It's over.

We all picked up J.K. Rowling's final novel of the beloved series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows knowing that it would be the final book. There would be no more after that. But honestly... it didn't even feel over after the last page had been finished because we all knew that a marvelous movie would be made of it (in this case, two movies) and we could hold onto the magic for a little while longer. I, for one, could never really get the idea to sink in that at some point there wouldn't be anymore Harry Potter books or movies, and having grown up with this series... It's hard.

David Yates, the director of the last four films, only impressed me when it came to the Deathly Hallows films. He had the pressure of the Harry Potter loving world on his shoulders. Let it be lifted.

Action engulfs the entire film, but the emotions that are struck are even more potent. Everything that happened in the novel comes to life and is magnified in the most spectacular way in two senses: Seeing and feeling. The special effects could not have been better, and the story is depicted... basically, perfectly - and that's what we diehard fans are all about. And of course film scores are extremely important to me, and I immediately fell in love with this one. It had old, innocent themes as well as new dark themes that gave me chills. (Thank you so much, Alexandre Desplat, and John Williams for the creating the origins of the sound of pure magic.)

But this film had to be perfect. It had to be, otherwise majority of the world would have been cheated. Disappointment would have settled in me and turned to rage. Yeah, maybe people think I'm overdramatic, but honestly, this is the best series in the world. Hands down. None other book series nor film series will ever move the world as Harry Potter has moved us.

I know this isn't much of a review, but I really think that this occasion cannot be typical. How is the world going to even function without looking forward to another Harry Potter film? Will the records ever be topped? Because I personally hope they will never be surpassed.

The ending will not disappoint at all. Harry, Ron, and Hermione can ONLY be depicted so well by Daniel, Rupurt, and Emma... Thanks to them for being as fantastic as the series itself.

For the last hour of the movie, I cried and cried consistantly. Not only because of the mere fact that this was the ending of it all, but because of the touching story itself. Oh, Snape...

Farewell, Harry Potter. Forever.

5/5 Stars

And for the record, if they ever decide to recreate these film in the future, don't expect me to watch them. When it's perfect the first time there's only room for disappointment when someone tries to do it over again.

Thank you J.K. Rowling. I don't think you'll ever realize the impact of your story on the world.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Illusions | by: Aprilynne Pike

Aprilynne Pike's latest release, Illusions (note that the UK title is Wild), is the third book in her wonderful series of friendship, love, and faeries.

Laurel has gone through quite a bit in the past couple of years, for she has learned that she is a faerie and that trolls are a threat to her life. But, luckily, no trolls seem to be lurking or causing any trouble lately. So when Tamani returns to the human world, saying that the trolls have not been absent as she has believed, it is a surprise that sends Laurel's world upside-down. Not only because of the peril the trolls will bring, but because Tamani's return reignites the love triangle between him, Laurel, and Laurel's human boyfriend named David.

Plus, there's a surprise you never saw coming.

Illusions is a great installment in this series! Aprilynne Pike did not let me down! I adored both of the previous books in the series, Wings and Spells just as I adored this one, but Illusions definately has the most unexpected twists and turns. Also, it was nice to have the third-person narration set on Tamani as well as Laurel.

At this point, I'm positively sure of which side I'm on as far as the love triangle, and it really gets heated in Illusions. Things are starting to get a little out of hand between Tamani and David, and Laurel's mixed feelings will leave readers frustrated. Tamani seems to stop at nothing to have her, and of course David has a problem with it. But David really irritated me when he got so out of line.

The love theme is strong in this novel, stronger than in the previous books of this series. However, that does not mean that there wasn't any room for action. It may not have been quite as suspensful, but definately the most mysterious of the three books in the series. This is my favorite element of the book. We are introduced to a new character, Yuki, and much of the book is about figuring her out as well as understanding how the trolls seem to get by, leaving little trace. All of this probably sounds like chaos, and it kind of is. Laurel has a lot to worry about and readers will have plenty of entertainment in front of them.

Although the chaos in Laurel's life doesn't feel quite so chaotic, because Aprilynne Pike is a writer that knows what she's doing. The only time I've ever had to re-read anything in this book is because of something in the plot that surprised me. That being said, Aprilynne keeps everything crystal clear and flowing quite nicely.

Of course... Aprilynne left us with a cliffhanger... A cliffhanger that's basically a couple sentences after the intense climax. I feel as though more and more authors are doing that these days. I wonder if they enjoy our suffering, waiting for their next book to be published like the overly eager fans many of us are. We get some general idea of what's going on, what's behind the mysteries, but not the specifics. There's still so much to know about the trolls, Klea, and Yuki.

I loved Illusions. It's magical, it's romantic, and it's interesting. I just wish the final book was waiting for me on my shelf...

4/5 Stars

Pike, Aprilynne. Illusions
New York: Harper Teen