Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Look/Mini Reviews
Trapped by Michael Northrop
The Ancillary Mark by Daniel A. Cohen

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Looks are mini reviews of books I have read. Today I will be using a format created by Staci at Life in a Thumb  and attempt to review two books using only six sentences for each review.

The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive....

Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision. (Publisher's Summary from Goodreads)

I was looking forward to reading Trapped by Michael Northop as part of the Contemps Challenge. I loved the cover and thought that the premise of the book was quite original. It was a fast read, not because it was action-packed, but because it has enough suspense that I wanted to find out whether or not the kids would make it through the nightmare they found themselves in. As with all survival stories their is a certain amount of tension that is ratcheted up between the characters. I  especially liked how Northrop positioned the bad boy bully and the weird kid at school and showed how perceptions can be wrong. Scotty was a good narrator, and the dialogue felt authentic. I did feel the ending was too abrupt for my tastes and wished I had been given more of a wrap-up.

The legend of the Ancillary flower has existed for centuries. Foretold to bring out the limitless potential of its bearer, the flower and the legend have been forgotten by many. Recently, strange events in a shrouded Tibetan town have sparked rumors among those who still believe Jacob Deer is a quirky young man, bound for college, with an eccentric old librarian for a best friend, an obsession with sitting down in elevators, and a strange birthmark on his hand that's shaped mysteriously like the markings on the Ancillary's petals. When Jacob's mentor Mr. Maddock reveals to him his connection with the legendary Ancillary, it sets in motion a series of events that sends Jacob and friends across the world. Alongside an alluring young woman, a marine-reject, and a Tibetan kid obsessed with comic books, Jacob must face off against a vengeful maniac for the fate of the flower, the legend, and all mankind.  (Publisher's summary from Amazon)

I have very mixed feeling about The Anchillarys Mark. First, while I had a difficult time getting into the book, once the action picked up Cohen managed to keep me engaged till the end. Secondly, there were several little inconsistencies with characters that left me scratching my head and going huh? For example, when Jacob the MC meets Sophie, she is aloof, bored, and definitely seemed less than enthralled with being in Jacob's company, but this changes way too quickly as they set off on their quest. I thought the antagonist was way over the top, and that the inclusion of Jacob's, mother confusing since her existence did not move the plot anywhere. I did, however, like Jacob's character a lot, and I thought the quest for the Ancillary flower compelling and suspenseful, Cohen's humor well placed, and the story extremely imaginative. 

Source: Received copy for review from author


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I like The Ancillary's Mark a lot more than I liked Trapped, which was surprising. I thought Trapped was just bland and uneventful...and crass. Too MG for my taste.

Great mini reviews! :)

Karen said...

I have the Ancillary's Mark for review. Good to hear your thoughts about it.

Crystal - Princess of Pop Culture said...

I haven't heard of Trapped before, but it sounds really interesting. I might have to pick that one up!

This is completely unrelated, but I got my post up today about the Harry Potter read-along, so I figured I'd let you know about it:

Feel free to pass the info along, anyone is welcome to join up :)

Pisinat said...

These two books really intrigue me... Thanks for your mini reviews, they made me even more curious ;)

thebookfairyhaven said...

Gosh, rather disappointed to hear that Trapped didn't live up to its expectation. There's nothing worse than books with abrupt endings - definitely takes away from the overall experience of the book. Have never heard of The Ancillary's Mark before, but might go and check it out at the library.

Jenny said...

I'm in the middle of the Ancillary's Mark as we speak and I'm trying to figure out what I think about it. I agree with you on Sophia though, she did a complete 180 for no apparent reason. I'm interested to see how it ends though:)

Staci said...

Wow..I need to take some notes from you!! Great 6 Sentence reviews...Trapped intrigues me, probably because we've often joked about being snowed in at school!! Let's hope that never happens!

Kristin said...

Great reviews! New follower:) Stop by and say hi if you get a chance!

Darlyn said...

I'm looking forward to read the ancillary mark.And, I think I have start writing short reviews like this. Straight forward and absolutely what I want to hear fast about a book!

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