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Showing posts from October, 2015

Fromt the Archives: Books 21, 22, and 23: The Gemma Doyle Trilogy By Libba Bray

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Books 21, 22, and 23: The Gemma Doyle Trilogy By Libba Bray Don't read this series if you know anything about Victorian culture- or if you tend to pick books apart, as I do. The Gemma Doyle series is a young adult historical fiction/fantasy trilogy by author Libba Bray. The trilogy consists of the three titles "A Great and Terrible Beauty", "Rebel Angels", and "The Sweet Far Thing". I read this series having never heard a bad review of it. Well there's always a first. I'm not saying the series was the worst I've ever read, I did finish it after all, but it wasn't great or even good, just average.
There are reasons behind this opinion, of course. But first I will give you a short summary of what these books are about.
Gemma Doyle, the protagonist, has inherited the power of a secret society of women, named The Order, who carry the ability to transcend realms. She is the last remaining person with this power, as her mother is killed early …

From the Archives: Book 20: "The Strain" by Guillermo Del Torro and Chuck Hogan

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"The Strain" by Guillermo Del Torro and Chuck Hogan
Verdict: Really liked it. Okay, for all of you twilight lovers, this is not your kind of vampire, don't read this book. I was excited to pick up this book and see what Del Torro (writer/director of Pan's Labyrinth) would do to vampire legend. I want to make it clear that these are not even close to the sexy, intelligent, pretentious vampires our society has created. These are vampires based loosely on the South American succubus legends. "The Strain" is book one of a trilogy. The book is horror fantasy. Here's the summation. Vampirism is a plague that is taking over New York City. Transferred any time a vampire feeds, the host is transformed by parasitic worms into more of an insect than a person. Unless you are one of the seven elders or a direct descendant, the host is victim of a hive mind mentality and functions more as a zombie would than a traditional vampire. The main plotline of the story is tryi…

Book 140: "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" by Victor Hugo

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Title: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Author: Victor Hugo
Publisher: Smithmark Publishers 1981 edition
Read in: Hardcover
Genre: Classic, Victorian/Gothic Literature

This book has been on my "to-read" list for a very long time; I'm glad that it isn't any longer. I did not love or hate this book. There are some things I really enjoy about it and others that I despise. Overall, I find myself underwhelmed. I have two words to describe the vast majority of this book: depressing and tedious.

My biggest problem with the book is the author, Victor Hugo. Hugo decides, quite often, to take the reader off on tangents that are completely unrelated to the story. I have to admit, I quickly began skipping these sections entirely; they were not only irrelevant, but incredibly boring. Hugo, as narrator, also has a very condescending tone; he is obviously assuming that his readers are all far less intelligent than he.

My next main issue with this story is the characters. The vast majority o…

Book 139: "Lullaby" by Chuck Palahniuk

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Title: Lullaby
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Read In: Trade Paperback
Genre: Literary Fiction

I finished this book just under a week ago, and I really still am not sure what to say. I really enjoyed it, as I do the majority of Palahniuk's novels. The concept (as they usually are) is very intriguing. The story is based around two main characters; each has discovered that there is a culling song in a popular children's book that actully works. A culling song is a song, primarily in African cultures, that is sung to herds and animals when they are in need of population control. Basically, it's meant to kill, painlessly and without a mark, mass numbers. This book is wonderful to pick apart. It addresses:
-materialism
-the meat industry
-reality
-human nature when given the power to kill without consequence
-grief
-power structures
-religion, especially pagan
-And probably other things I missed.

Palahniuk is a master at addressing or touching …

Book 138: "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

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Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J.D. Salinger
Read In: Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult

This book has been on my "to-read" list for a very, very long time. It is the pioneer of the young adult genre, which doesn't actually come into shape many years later. According to Wikipedia, the book was first published in 1951 and was written for adults. I can see how it quickly became a favorite of teenagers. I have never read a book so full of angst. Seriously, the entire book is just teenage angst. The main character, Holden Caulfield, is the teenage son of an obviously very wealthy family in New York. He obviously has some anger issues, probably due to several things in his personal life. But, basically, he goes around New York City doing whatever he feels like and hating everything and everyone he comes into contact with.

I can see why the book was banned in the 50s (not that it should have been). It is full of swearing, …