Book Review: “Virals” by Kathy Reichs

From the looks of my book reviews you would think all I ever read was fantasy, but I promise I read more than that! However, this book too is a fantasy / science fiction book. It is also considered “Young Adult” by this particular librarian.

It seems that more and more Adult Fiction authors (especially mystery writers) are turning to the Young Adult level of writing as their new creative outlet. In the past couple of years we have seen John Grisham, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer; James Patterson, the Dangerous Days of Daniel X series and Witch and Wizard series; Faye Kellerman, Prism; and Ridley Pearson, Steele Trap and the Kingdom Keepers series. Now Kathy Reichs has joined this genre with her newest series, Virals.

Most people would recognize the title Bones from television, but what is not quite as well known is that the series is based on the Temperence Brennan books by Kathy Reichs. Reichs who really does have the background of forensic anthropologist has had her Brennan series firmly grounded in mystery, intrigue and scientific fact. Her new book, Virals, steps outside those bounds and is more mystery, intrigue and scientific fantasy. The book Virals is not about Dr. Brennan, but there is a link to her in the form of her niece Tory Brennan.

I liked this book. I had put off reading it because I was afraid that it would be the typical cliché of young adult novels. Girl meets weird guy, finds out weird guy is some fantasy creature, falls in love with him. Angst ensues. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised; the story does not fit the recipe at all!

Tory has recently moved to an island outside Charleston, S.C. where she lives with her father, a scientific researcher for the University of Charleston. They in turn live in a compound with other scientists and their families. There are only four teenagers on this island and they stick together, sort of like a pack. They go to school together, by boat. They are ostracized together, by the other kids at the exclusive school they attend. They hang out together, in a secret, underground bunker. They invent their own entertainment together, like visiting the remote facility where their parents work to visit the wild monkey population and the wolf dog pack. It is at this facility that the mystery begins, where an animal is rescued, where they are exposed to the virus, and where there are secrets that some would prefer to keep buried.

Are you intrigued? You should be.

Tory is a likable heroine, and the rest of the member of her pack play their parts well. There is the bad boy (Ben), the clown (Shelton), the brain (Hi) and Tory. While the story revolves around Tory, the other characters are key and you learn a bit about them and how they think. I’m not sure exactly how to go into detail on what I really liked about this book without spoiling it for you, and I’m not gonna do that (this time). But, another thing I liked was that while you read the book it becomes obvious who the real bad guy is, but you get a HUGE surprise during the big action scene! Someone is very involved in sinister happenings that you do not and will not expect! I was shocked (and that takes a lot). The ending implies that this is only the first in a series of books. I, for one, am looking forward to book 2.

This book should be on most AR reading lists (if you have to ask what AR is, you probably don’t need to know). If it’s not on a list now, it should be soon (after all, the book did just come out last November). I would recommend this book for pre-teens (who are advanced readers) and up who like a light fantasy / science fiction. It is what I would consider a pretty clean read, although they do allude to a sexual situation by one of the supporting characters (not one of the 4 main characters). Nothing graphic.

This book should be found at your local library, and is also available in several mediums including paper, eBook and audio formats from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. If your library does not own this book, you should ask if they have a book adoption program or if you could donate this title to their collection. It is a book that kids will read because they want to and not because it’s being forced down their throats (if they happen to like this genre).

This photo is from Amazon.com.

 

Book Review: Rick Riordan “The Red Pyramid: The Kane Chronicles, Book1”

I may have mentioned that I like to read.

If not, consider yourself informed.

I read a LOT!

I read EVERYTHING!

I L-O-V-E Young Adult / Teen novels.

The Ranger says it’s my mental level, the eternal teeny-bopper.

I say that they are just fast, easy and uncomplicated to read.

I L-O-V-E Rick Riorden YA novels (he has some adult novels, but I haven’t read those).

So, who is Rick Riorden?

Mr. Riorden is a former teacher turned author from San Antonio, TX.

He is most well known for the Lightening Thief series.

That was a fabulous series.

If you’ve seen the movie, the book is much better!

But this review isn’t about the Lightening Thief.

This is a review of one the books in one of his newer series, The Red Pyramid. (He has several series going on at once).

The Red Pyramid is book one in the Kane Chronicles trilogy.

I liked The Lightening Thief, but I L-O-V-E-D
The Red Pyramid.

The book follows the mystery surrounding the lives of 14-yr old Carter Kane and his sister, 12-yr old Sadie. The pair have been separated since their mother’s death 6-yrs prior to the beginning of this book. Carter has lived a life on the go with his father, an Egyptologist, while Sadie has lived a stable life with their maternal grandparents in London. By court order, the family is allowed to be together only once a year, Christmas. However, this Christmas things go wrong, their father goes missing as the Rosetta Stone is destroyed and Sadie and Carter are thrown together in a race to find their father and save the world from a group of Egyptian gods who escape their jails during the chaos. The book travels the world taking readers to England, Egypt, the United States and even to the lands of Egyptian mythology.

What makes this book great? Well, where The Lightening Thief deals with the Greek gods, The Red Pyramid brings in the Egyptian gods. (I’ve always had a soft spot for ancient history and the beliefs of the people who lived in those eras; and I’ve also always had a love for Egyptian history). Another things about this book is that it is one of the few books I’ve read that portrays a strong, smart African-American hero. I like that the book is written from multiple viewpoints. While that can be confusing other books, in the case of this series it is written from the points of view of both Carter and Sadie. It clearly defines the speaker at the beginning of each chapter. I also found that I did not have to spend a lot of my time flipping the pages in the book back and forth trying to recall who was good and who was bad.

This book is a good read for those who enjoys adventure / fantasy books. It could easily be read by pre-teens, around 12 and up. It should be on most Accelerated Reading lists, and no one who has read this book on my recommendation has been disappointed.(And as a librarian, I’ve recommended HUNDREDS of books!). This book could also be used as a learning tool to supplement any non-fiction lessons on Egyptian mythology. The characters played by the gods in this book are true to their nature in Egyptian mythology.

The Red Pyramid was published last May. However, it is a great time to pick it up! The second book in the series, The Throne of Fire is to be published in May 2011. In the meantime, if you have not read them yet, you should pick up some of his other books. More information about Mr. Riorden and his work can be found on his website, http://www.rickriordan.com/home.aspx.

Wonder what I’ll read next.

*There are no pictures to this particular blog because I didn’t want to infringe on any copyrighted materials.

Book Review – Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series

You wanna know something?

I like to read.

I like to read A LOT!

When I pick up a new book, I swear I can hear the angels in heaven singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

I have the best career possible for someone who likes to read.

Technically, I am a librarian! No, my hair isn’t in a severe bun and I don’t “Shush!” people very often. I do however wear glasses that are usually perched on the end of my nose (they slip a lot)

One of my favorite things about being a librarian is introducing people to new books and authors so don’t be surprised if you come across book reviews when reading my blog. (If I can ever figure out how to set up new categories, Book Reviews will be one of them).

For today, Class, I will be talking about Patricia Briggs and her Mercy Thompson series. The series isn’t exactly new, there are 6 volumes so far, but it was new to me! The three I have read (so far) are: Moon Called (Book 1), Blood Bound (Book 2), and Iron Kissed (Book 3).



(all images for these books are from Patricia Biggs official website http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/)

Those who are fans of Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, and Laurel K. Hamilton should give this series a try!

This series takes place in my home state of Washington in the Tri-Cities area and in a world where the Fey have come out of hiding the fairies are living alongside the average human beings. This series has fairies, vampires, werewolves, coyotes and other creatures that go bump in the night.

No, don’t go back and read that again, I did say coyotes. Mercy Thompson, the main character, is a mechanic and a “Walker” who can change into a coyote on whim. It could be considered fantasy smut, but the first three books don’t really have much in the way of smut.

Book one, Moon Called introduces Mercy and a core cast of characters that you will see throughout the series. Unlike many series, the core cast in these books don’t make you flip back and trying to wrack you brain to remember who is who!

The cover of the books are a little iffy – chick with tons of colorful tattoos and sometimes a car. If I went by the cover alone, I probably wouldn’t have picked them up. But I liked the that the books moved along at a fairly good pace. I have a tendency to skim read the parts that get boring and these held my attention fairly well. I liked that the main character was strong and independent. She is sort of typical for a “supernatural romance” heroine, but she was different enough that I didn’t feel like I was reading a cookie cutter book.

You know, cookie cutter, every story is the same – strong heroine with special skill, insert vampire / werewolf, insert problem, insert solution of which the heroine plays a strong part, insert happy ending. It does follow this recipe to a point, but it was still a good read.

Now, if I can just get my hands on the next three books! FAST!

For a complete list of Patricia Biggs books and sample chapters, visit her website at http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/.