All things teen library

Reviews, notes and useful links...

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Review - Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Publisher: Walker books

Publication date: 3 May 2010

Pages: 603

Monsters of men is the final book of the groundbreaking Chaos Walking trilogy, read it!

I could end the review there, but I would not be touching on the serious challenges and issues the book enables young readers to vicariously experience. In this final book Todd - our main protagonist - and his girlfriend Viola's relationship is tested more than ever. Mayor Prentiss - the President of the new state New Prentisstown, gains Todd's trust and exercises mind control techniques to manipulate him. A frightened Viola watches Todd change beyond recognition and as the peacemaker of the story, tries to move the planet towards peace. Her efforts are repeatedly thwarted by the Mayor and Mistress Coyle, leader of terrorist organisation the Answer. Both underhandedly vying for leadership of New Prentisstown. Atrocities of war, acts of terrorism and the serious consequences of personal revenge appear again and again. Executed with extreme sensitivity by Ness who focusses on the character's emotions and personal development.

The most exciting element of Ness' recent offering is the third voice of the earth. The introduction of a new angle on the troubles motivates and excites the reader as you move through the book, which for the most part concerns war and tactics.

Ultimately the fighting leads to devastation and destruction in New Prentisstown, as none of the groups will work together. New hopes for a peace die and the battle for survival is on.

Although the book did not end as I would have liked, the concluding chapter was emotional and shocking. Monsters of Men ended on a note of hope, though, and with a new, powerful voice for peace. The book made me gasp. laugh and cry, again and again. A poignant and exciting book, not to be overlooked.


Sunday, 13 June 2010

Review - The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Publisher: Atom

Publication date: 5th June 2010

Pages: 178

The most common question asked by fans and critics of any 'spin off', whether that be TV, book or film would be: is it as good as the original series? The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner most definitely lives up to the first four Twilight books.

I enjoyed the return to Meyer's dreamy prose. I was easily swept away into the story. The book was still as innovative as the first due to featuring a new kind of vampire we hadn't met in the Twilight saga. Fans have been used to well behaved 'vegetarian' vampires with a conscience, like the brooding Edward Cullen. Bree Tanner takes us to meet a newborn coven through the eyes of a sixteen year old girl, the thirsty coven take no prisoners and drink the blood of humans without caring of the consequences. Bree is a characteristically good role model for girls like Bella in Twilight, an intelligent reader who takes on board the game playing and characteristics of these dangerous vampires.

Essentially this is another love story. Meyer introduces the character Diego, a male vampire two years older than Bree and he acts as her protector until she can look after herself. Their dedication to each other towards the end of the book is heartwarming, however shortlived.

It was interesting that so many young poeple and adults alike rushed to buy this novella on it's release day, despite it being available for free online within a couple of days. Dedicated readers of Eclipse would have known how Bree's story ends. This demonstrates the power of Meyer's work in delivering something unique in every story, her stories appeal to the reader and are lifted off the bookshelf again and again.

I have just one criticism of the novella, would it not have been better to include more of Victoria, Bella's enemy? Aside from a scene in a hut in the middle of nowhere there was very little more learned about the character and little connection with the new born vampires at all. The army are supposedly Victoria's in Eclipse.

Overall I loved the book and I hope Stephenie writes more in the future exploring background characters from the Twilight Saga.