Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Bit of Eclectic Reading

Inheritance (Inheritance Cycle Series #4)

Okay, everyone in the world has already reviewed this, so I am not going to go into much detail. I just have to ask...does anyone else feel like it could have easily been 200 pages shorter, without hurting the story any? I was looking forward to this long-awaited conclusion as much as anyone, and I generally have no problem with good, thick books. By the last THIRD, however, I was reading just to finish it. I even said out loud, several times, "Oh, get ON with it, will you?" Oh, and if you missed the nods to Tolkein in the first books, you can't possibly miss them in this one. My patrons seem evenly split - some thought it was fine, others (saying this in a whisper) didn't even finish it.

Cold Cereal

Adam Rex is an incredibly talented writer suffering under the curse of really awful titles. "The True Meaning of Smekday"? What does that tell me about the book? Why would I want to read it? This title is just as bad. To compound the problem, it's really hard to describe the book in a book talk and make it come out right. "See, there are these twins, only they aren't really, and their guardian gives them these tests all the time. Oh, and everyone in this town works for the cereal company, including the mother of the new boy, who can see things. Like the pookah named Harvey. And this really obnoxious clurichaun - do NOT call him a leprechaun. And there's something sinister about the cereal company. Oh, and the new boy, Scott, his father punched the Queen of England, except that she's - wait, I can't tell you that part."

See? Sounds cheesy. But it's not, I promise you. Fortunately, bad titles and difficult descriptions did not hurt The True Meaning of Smekday any, so I doubt this one will suffer when it is released in February. We will definitely be getting a copy. It's a zany fantasy/mystery that reminds me of some of Daniel Pinkwater's books. My ARC (received from publisher) only had a few rough sketches in it, but so far the art looks appealing. I am looking forward to seeing the artist's rendering of Mr. Biggs, the butler.

Now, I read the two previous titles at the same time - one at work, one at home - during the same time period our pastor was getting into the history of Rome. Makes for some confusion at times (so, Herod had a dragon, and it was pink, and he made everyone swear in the ancient language, at the top of the man-made mountain, that they would feed his cereal to their firstborn sons...) After finishing all three, I needed something light and silly.

Beauty Queens


A plane load of beauty pageant contestants crash-lands on a desert isle, where strange things are going on - think a mash-up of Lost, the Clique novels, and High School Musical, with as much political-correctness as you can squish into almost 400 pages. The characters start out as one group stereotype, and branch off into individual stereotypes. Definitely fits the bill for something you don't have to think about. I'm assuming it is supposed to be campy and groan-worthy, in which case it works. Some good one-liners, but one of those books that is funnier in the telling about than the actual reading.

Last, we have:

The Always War

I'm generally a fan of Margaret Peterson Haddix, but lately it seems her books are requiring more and more 'suspension of disbelief', as they say in the theater world - that act on the audience's part of being willing to accept things at face value. There was SO much in here that just didn't make sense. For 75 years people have become so brainwashed they don't question obvious problems, but in one telecast the heroes convince them all otherwise? The characters are all one-dimensional and unbelievable. The book tells us one is exceptionally bright, but he comes across as dumber than a box of rocks. Very disappointing.

All of these except Cold Cereal are available at the library now, and we should be getting that one when it comes out in February.

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