Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Review ~ A Great and Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, book 1) by Libba Bray
Published: Sept. 2007
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Gemma, 16, has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy. (Ages 12 up) -Patty Campbell

YA Staff Review:
I really enjoyed this book. There are parts that make me think of Harry Potter (discovering you’re something more than you thought you were), Mean Girls (new girl dislikes the main clique of girls and the way they treat others but joins them to try), and Ghost Whisperer but is enough different to not be annoyingly copycat.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Review ~ Immortal Rules

Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, book 1) by Julie Kagawa
Published: April 2012
Genre: Fantasy/Horror

My vampire creator told me this: "Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being. Accidentally or as a conscious, deliberate act, it is unavoidable. The question is not if it will happen, but when. Do you understand?"

I didn't then, not really.

I do now.

YA Staff Review:
Human’s have become cattle to the vampires and they know it. Registered humans are required to give blood to the vampires in exchange for food, shelter and protection from the rabids, mindless monsters that will attack and devour any living thing. The unregistered humans refuse to be the vampire’s cattle and must beg, trade and steal to survive. Allison hates all vampires for killing her mother. She is an unregistered human and she refuses to support the vampire prince of her territory. On a scavenging run finds her life turned upside down. She has only seconds to decide…Die as a human or live forever as the thing she most despises.