Teaser Tuesday: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I know, I’m a day late, but I know it’s still Tuesday somewhere out there, so it’s not really late…right?

Yeah, excuses. Anyway, today’s Teaser Tuesday for yesterday comes from Graceling by Kristin Cashore, the sequel/companion novel to Fire.

Graceling by Kristin CashoreDeadly Grace

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I’ve just started reading it, and I’m liking it so far. Maybe I am a bit biased on this now because I loved Fire so much. But it’s turning out to be really good so far, and I can’t wait to find more time to sit down and just read this. Probably this Sunday, on the 14th. Heh.

Anyway, onto the teaser!

“Bitterblue,” he said into the trunk. “I’m your cousin Po, the son of Ror. We’ve come to protect you.” (p. 280)

And that line is about as vague as it can get. Interestingly, the title of Kristin Cashore’s next book is Bitterblue. :) Obviously, that would be the sequel to Graceling, sort of.

Anyway I better get back to work. :P Sshh, yes, I’m blogging at work! Oops! :P

Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Hush, Hush # 1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Number of pages: 391

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

* * *

I first learned about this book while I was on the MRT. As the train passed by SM Megamall, I saw a huge billboard with Twilight on one half, and I thought it was just another Vampires vs. Werewolves thing. But instead, it asked, “Are you on Team Vampire or Team Angels?” Then I saw the cover, which, as everyone says, is one of the really good covers of YA books lately.

It only took me until now to actually sit down and read the book, since I’ve been wary of Twilight like novels ever since I finished reading Breaking Dawn (oh the horror), so I’m not too keen on reading stories about a girl who can’t stop being attracted to a guy who she knows is bad for her.

But eventually this book found its way to me, and last weekend got me reading this after I finished reading the last book I read. And what do you know — I finished it within two days.

I guess I really can’t stop comparing this book with Twilight because they have the same elements inside: girl gets attracted to a guy who has a “bad” side, and everyone’s telling them not to get together. Still the girl gets together with the guy, who turns out to be supernatural, and more or less wants to kill the main character. Then there’s the climax, and then more stuff happens and the guy and the girl end up together. It’s basically the same.

Here are the main differences I saw in this novel from Twilight:

  • The main character is not weak, or totally helpless or stupid. Sure, Nora made a lot of wrong moves in the story, but at least she had a personality. Bella Swan irritated me from the start, but Nora Grey had more spunk than Bella. She had her own looks, her own personality and she actually resisted Patch almost all throughout the novel until the end. Plus, Nora had actual, normal friends, who are not another supernatural creature. :P
  • The main guy is not really that attractive. Well, at least for me. I admit to liking Edward Cullen on Twilight…but Patch is different. There is something seemingly sexy about him, but I wasn’t attracted. Of course we know what he is from the start, based from the cover, but that’s it. It’s not that I don’t like him; I just don’t feel him that much. He is kind of stalker-ish, but I really didn’t get to know him that well in the story, except on how Nora described him. But at least he didn’t have “marble arms.”
  • The story had a climax. Well, at least some kind of climax. I found myself holding my breath on the high part of the story. The thing with having a first person story is that when the narrator blacks out, all we can see is what happens after. But at least this one had a lot of action on the climax, which I really appreciated.

It’s actually a lot better than Twilight, although the ending felt a bit anticlimactic. But the concept is good, and I was in the dark until the last part of the story when the reveal is done — I actually thought it was the best friend for a while. It’s not my favorite book, but I’m not sorry I read it. And I’m curious to know what the sequel, Crescendo will be about.

Rating:

Percy and Harry

ALTERNATE TITLE: How I tried to separate Percy Jackson from Harry Potter ;)

PThe Lightning Thiefercy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

One of my favorite topics in Science when I was a kid were the planets. I love naming all the planets and describing each of them and their properties. If you think that’s geeky, wait until you hear this: I was so enamored by them that I cracked the encyclopedias open to read about Greek and Roman mythology.

See, geeky. :-B

I didn’t really pick up the Percy Jackson series immediately as soon as they came out. I had no idea they were out, anyway, until a friend told me about it. I wasn’t interested in it until I saw the trailer of the movie. Children of gods and goddesses? Okay, I’m in!

The only problem? I couldn’t find a copy of the first book anywhere. There’s always book # 2, 3, 4 and 5, but never book # 1. Oh dear. Where to find Percy now?

Well, I already wrote the story of how I found the book, so now let’s go to the actual review.

So let me get it out now: Percy Jackson reminded me a lot of Harry Potter.

Let me count the ways:

  • Protagonist are both males
  • Both have dark hair and green eyes
  • Both found out that they were “special” and had to go through some weird stuff before they arrive at a place they can be safe
  • Both had to go through some kind of quest or else things will fall apart and there will be chaos all over
  • Both had two friends — a smart girl and a sort of bumbling guy — to support him and help him during his adventure
  • The story of the first book both had to deal with three-headed dogs.

I think I may have forgotten some similarities, but yes, they are quite similar. I’m not saying that Percy copied Harry all the way, but there’s just the similarities in the main character and in the story. Of course, anyone who hasn’t read Harry Potter will not think of that, so maybe it is just me.

But don’t get me wrong — the first book of Percy Jackson was a very good read. :) The story was written in first person, so it was fun being inside Percy’s head. I personally think Annabeth is more feisty and stronger than Hermione, and Grover is not exactly human. It was fun reading through the story and trying to figure out whose son or daughter was who, and getting to know the gods and goddesses as they were portrayed in the book.

I like the Harry Potter series a lot, but I was able to absorb Percy Jackson far easier than the latter, most probably because of my interest in mythology. :) I can’t wait to read the rest of the series (so I hope the fifth book’s paperback version would be released soon!).

Rating:
→ Pretty fun and interesting take on Greek mythology. Has a bit of similarities to HP, but not so much that it’s a rip-off. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series. :)

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 5 out of 100 for 2010
* Book # 3 out of 20 Fantasy books for 2010

→ Get The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan on Amazon.com
→ Percy Jackson and the Olympians website
→ Rick Riordan’s website

Hello Percy and Artemis

Today my family and I found ourselves at Bonifacio High Street to have lunch with my family. It’s my treat because I just got paid, but since we’re all following certain diets, we didn’t have to eat in an expensive place.

But that’s not the point. Going to Bonifacio High Street meant I could drop by the huge Fully Booked there and look for the books that I couldn’t find in Fully Booked in Eastwood. I swear, being in that branch of Fully Booked makes me giddy all over. I mean, five floors of books (including the basement) and other things? Heaven. Plus I’m sure to find the books I’ve been looking for there.

I was supposed to accompany my mom to the comfort room first before roaming around but I got distracted by the books at the Young Adult section on the second floor — and there I go. Sorry Mom.

Anyway, I went home with these two books:

Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl

Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl

Hello, young adult fantasy!

Ever since I saw the movie trailer of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief when I watched Avatar before Christmas, and after I’ve read Myk‘s review of the Percy Jackson series in his 2009 year-ender post about books, I was super curious about this book. Of course, as luck would have it, I could not find a copy of the first book anywhere near me. All I could see were copies of books 2-5, and book 5 is in hardcover, too. I was sort of glad that I finally found a copy of the first book in High Street. Sort of only, because I’m not too keen on movie covers. I want the old cover…but this would have to do for now. I could always find one next time…when I have extra budget. Or ask for a boxed set for my birthday.

Ooh, and I don’t know if there’s anything special about this, but there’s a free card inside the movie cover version of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. I got Nico — whoever he is:

Nico

I don't know who you are Nico, but you'll be a bookmark for now.

I was planning to buy Books 1 and 2 of the series, but when I went down to the first floor, I saw a bunch of other YA books there and looked at them first. I found the Artemis Fowl series there, and while I have never read any of them, I know Paolo recommended it to me for my 2010 Fantasy Reading Goal. Of course, for every series, I just have to get the first book. Lo and behold, there was only one copy of the first book of the Artemis Fowl series there — I just had to pick it up. :)

I went home with not much damage on the wallet — any book that costs less than Php 300 for me is kind of cheap for me already, especially if I bought it in a bookstore. Plus I have a 5% discount for using my HSBC card, so it wasn’t that bad.

There was another book that I really wanted to buy earlier: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (thanks to Adele again for her review on this). The title is kind of morbid, don’t you think? But come on: it’s young adult fantasy…with zombies! Who wouldn’t want that? ;) Anyway, I wanted to buy it, but the paperback version is not available here yet — strange because it’s already out in the US. I could buy the hardcover one, but if I would, I’d rather buy it in Eastwood after two weeks, at 20% off too. But…let’s see. I can wait…it’s not like I’m going to read it immediately anyway.

That reminds me: Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl would still have to wait because of Persuasion. Not that I mind — I am loving Persuasion now, probably even more than when I read Pride and Prejudice! :)

Meridian (Amber Kizer)

Meridian by Amber KizerHalf-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.

Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

My teammates and I saw this book while browsing around Fully Booked and the concept of the book got me hooked immediately. After vampires comes angels and I think angels are more interesting than vamps, right? (Feel free to disagree haha)

So when I finally got a copy of this book, I was excited to read it. The first few pages were really interesting, as Meridian tried to explain the deaths around her and why she was always alone. It was a very captivating start for a novel, good enough to get me hooked and try to find out what was up with Meridian.

But that was it. It was a good start, but as the story went on, it wasn’t that good anymore. I felt like I wasn’t really into the story, like I was watching it from the sidelines. I liked the idea of the Fenestras and the Alternocti and the Sangre, but there wasn’t enough explanation on the background of things. I just know that the Fenestras are good and the Alternocti are bad and that was it. There were some references to religion and a possible background or mythology of why they were that way, but it still lacked.

I liked Meridian as a character, but I wished there was more depth shown to her. Tens as a protector is a good character too, but his background wasn’t explored either. He was called a prophet, but there wasn’t much of him being a prophet in the story except for his dreams. And the romance between Meridian and Tens? Sorry, didn’t work for me.

I still liked the concept of the story, though, and I hope it gets explored more if there is a companion novel coming out.

Rating:
→ Somewhat disappointing. Could have had a lot of good concepts to explore, but it failed to live up to expectations. I won’t stop you from picking this up, but I’m not recommending it, either.

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 2 out of 100 for 2010
* Book # 2 out of 20 fantasy books in 2010

→ Get Meridian by Amber Kizer from Amazon.com
→ Amber Kizer’s website