Book Looks are mini reviews where I attempt to review books I have read in one of two formats, inspired by two lovely lady bloggers.
The first format inspired by Kate's Book Views at the Neverending Shelf attempts to review books in 75 words or less.
The second format was inspired by Staci's Six Sentence Saturday reviews (gotta love the alliteration) at Life in a Thumb. In this format like Staci, I will expresses my thoughts on a book using only six sentences.
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
(six sentence review)
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead. Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for. (Publisher's summary from Powell's Books)
What is not to like about this cleverly, dark urban tale based loosely on Little Red Riding Hood? The plot is fast-paced and the prologue vividly grabs you. After you read Sisters Red, you will leave behind any romantic notions you might have about werewolves because the Fennis are just plain evil. I loved how Pearce built the sister’s relationship, their closeness and their differences. But make no mistake this story is very plot driven, and while I predicted some of what happened, I was still engaged throughout. This is a great read, and if you have not read it yet, I urge you to pick it up. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
The Gardener by S. A Bodeen
(review in 75 words or less)
Like many science-fiction novel Bodeen uses issues that face mankind as a jumping off point for this somewhat bizarre story. The Gardener is a short, fast read that keep me turning pages as the plot unfolds. Bodeen creates tension and suspense forcing readers to asks the question: How far is too far when it comes to the good of the masses over the individual? The story is definitely more about plot than character.Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children's book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into autotrophs--genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forms who don't need food or water to survive. And before he knows it, Mason is on the run with the girl, and wanted, dead or alive, by the mysterious mastermind of this gruesome plan, who is simply called the Gardener. ( Publishers summary from Powell's Books)
Final Thoughts: A good plot with enough suspense to engage readers. Characters are not well-developed, but are interesting. The main theme is thought provoking. Wasn’t thrilled with the ending.
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
(review in 75 words or less)
When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past. The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever. (Publisher's Summary from Powell's Books)
An exciting and well-written debut novel about magic. Characters are well-drawn as is the setting. A strong conflict drives the plot. I really liked Syd, who was strong and independent. I felt the romance between Wayland and Syd was a little hard to accept at first but by the end of the story it did make sense. I was impressed with the magical aspect. Bracken’s writing is a terrific mix of vivid description, realistic dialogue, and action.
Final Thoughts: A great debut novel and fantasy. Held my attention throughout the story. The magic, while low key, had some interesting elements and quite believable. Hope to read more from Bracken in the future.