Bookworm Burrow

Book reviews on over 125 different books from several different genres. Use the search or categories to see more.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins November 6, 2009

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fantasy,Fiction,Juvenile,Preteen Fiction,sci-fi — Julie @ 5:12 pm

catching-fireCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2009. It is recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

I first stumbled across the Hunger Games shortly after it was published in 2008 and waited, very impatiently, for the sequel to appear. I purchased Catching Fire the day it was released and finish it closely thereafter. I loved it even more than the first book, which I didn’t even think would be possible. It begins about six months after the Hunger Games ended. Katniss has returned to district 12 but nothing was like she expected it to be. Peeta, still hurt that she was pretending to be in love, spends as little time with her as possible. Gale, also hurt by what happened during the Hunger Games, won’t really talk to her either and avoids her as well. Everyone wants to move on with life and celebrate that everyone is still alive but they must do the Victory Tour, which is where the winner of the games goes to all the districts and makes a speech, reminding those districts that they lost not only the games but two of their children as well. Another hitch in the moving on plan comes when the president of the Capitol comes to visit Katniss and tell her that he was not convinced of her love for Peeta and that he thinks she is trying to start a rebellion. She must now prove that he’s wrong on both counts while battling the capitol and in a surprising twist the other victors as well. Through a series of unbelievable events and by trusting people she barely knows Katniss not only finds the truth about the rebellion and the districts but also commits herself to a side. Catching Fire is a fabulous book further exploring the ideas of societal unrest and the amazing things that one can do with the right friends. I highly recommend it as a quick and satisfying read.

Other reviews available:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fiction,Juvenile,sci-fi — Julie @ 5:03 pm

Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury fits into the juvenile science fiction genre and was first published in 1953. It is recommended for readers ages 14 and up.

I first read this book when is was assigned in my ninth grade English class and instantly fell in love with it. As an avid reader a book about book burning seems like an odd one to love but it is so well written with so many subplots and interesting ways to analyze it that the possibilities seem endless. I have read it probably five times by now and can never seem to get enough. Guy Montag is the main character. In Montag’s world firemen find people with books, which are illegal, and not only burns those books but their homes as well. On his way home from work one day he meets Clarisse McClellan, a 17 year-old girl who questions everything and who wants to experience the simple things in life that so many forget to notice. This mindset leads Montag to wonder more than he already had about his life and where the world was going. Upon arriving home he finds his wife Mildred has, again, attempted suicide, which has become so common they have men with portable machines that come in to pump her stomach much like a carpet man would come to clean the carpet of a house.

After that Montag begins to act strangely and decides to skip work to read a book that he took from a house they were burning. Unexpectedly his boss Captain Beatty appears at his house and almost catches him. Beatty notices Montag’s change in behavior and tries to set his mind at ease telling him why they burn books. People just didn’t take the time to read anymore. They wanted everything in a shortened version. Which totally reminded me of Cliff Notes and the people who come to my review site who have a test or a report but haven’t read the book but hope to be able to pass by working off what I have done. Beatty also mentioned how the world is more connected and thus there is a bigger group of minorities to deal with than before. People couldn’t write about whatever they wanted to because someone was always getting offended. His final reason was that intellectuals do not currently run the world. Those who were not the brightest in their class tend to feel threatened by the smart kids. By banning books it kept everyone on their level. Beatty gave this speech knowing that Montag had a book hidden and gives him 24 hours to burn they book or they will do it for him.

After Captain Beatty leaves Montag takes out the books he’s hidden over the years and tries to decide which one to burn. Montag then meets with Faber. Faber is an old former lit. professor who wants to rebel but is too scared to do anything. He is shocked when Montag produces a copy of the bible, maybe the last one in that part of the world. Faber then said something that really struck me on page 81 of my copy. Speaking of the bible he said, “They’ve changed it in our ‘parlors’ these days. Christ is one of the ‘family’ now. I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down?” They have Christ “making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshiper absolutely needs.” It amazes me how often and how clearly Bradbury saw our day. That was just another example that struck me as right on the money.

Montag ends up going back into work but is shocked when the house they go to burn is his own. Several people called in to report him including his wife. Montag manages to burn his own house but in an argument with Beatty burns him too. Later he realized that Beatty wanted to die but it didn’t ease his conscience about it. Through a series of close encounters Montag manages to escape and eventually finds a group of people who go around memorizing books in the hopes that one day people will want them again and they will write them down so the world can learn from their past.

I know I more or less summarized the entire thing but it’s still worth the read to experience it. It is a truly amazing and inspired book that I have not found it’s equal in the literary world.

 

Shadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card January 19, 2009

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fiction,Juvenile,sci-fi — Julie @ 4:19 pm

shadow-of-the-giantShadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card fits into the juvenile science fiction genre and was published in 2005. It is recommended for readers ages 16 and up.

Shadow of the Giant is, as far as I know, the last book in the subseries that began with Ender’s Shadow. It follows the story of the battle school graduates as they try to gain control of the countries of the earth or as they try to create peace. The book follows the stories of Bean, Petra, and Peter Wiggin the closest. We learn the fate of the embryos that were created for Bean and Petra and the challenges that this fate brings to them. We also learn about Peter’s role as the Hegemon and what he plans to do with this title and how it will affect the world. Other Battle School graduates like: Virlomi, Han Tzu (Hot Soup), and Alai are also followed in great detail as they lead India, China, and the Muslim worlds respectively. Overall I really enjoyed this book but it was also a bit difficult. At times I had to think entirely too much, in my opinion, to keep up with the plot line and who all the characters were. This is probably mostly due to the fact that I haven’t read the other Ender books for so long that I had a hard time remembering who the people even were. It was a fascinating portrayal of the events that shaped the battle school children in to powerful world leaders. I would recommended this book to anyone who liked the previous Ender books but make sure you at least review the plot from the previous books first.

 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins January 13, 2009

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fantasy,Fiction,Juvenile,sci-fi — Julie @ 11:46 am

hunger-gamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2008. It is recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

I first heard of Hunger Games from Stephenie Meyer’s website where she recommended it to all her readers. I thought that was interesting and I put it on my list of books to read at some future date. Then a friend of mine left a comment on my blog telling me I should go pick it up and that she couldn’t get the story out of her head so I decided to give it a go. I was quickly captivated and devoured this book. The story follows Katniss as she competes for her life in the Hunger Games. These games are run once a year and a boy and a girl from each of the twelve districts compete not only for their lives but also for a comfortable and luxurious future. Katniss must use all of her talents to win but even that at times isn’t enough because of her loving nature that got her into the games in the first place when she volunteered to take the place of her little sister who was originally chosen to play. It was a mesmerizing story that I, like my friend, still can’t get out of my head and I eagerly await the publication of the sequel.

Other reviews available:

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

 

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer November 16, 2008

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fantasy,Fiction,Juvenile,sci-fi — Julie @ 5:28 pm

time-paradox-theArtemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer fits into the juvenile science fiction and fantasy genres and was published in 2008. It is recommended for readers ages 12 and Up.

The Time Paradox is the most recent Artemis Fowl novel and it surely lived up to my expectations and anticipation. Once again we are given a well thought out story with interesting plot twists and unexpected elements. Although no new friends or foes are introduced, the story is not the least bit redundant. In fact it made me want to go back and read the other books with the new perspective I have after completing this one. The story, as is to be expected, follows Artemis Fowl whose mother recently became ill with a magical disease. The only cure for this disease lies in the past and thus Artemis and Holly must travel back in time to get the cure. Unfortunately the cure is something that the ten-year-old Artemis also wants so they must compete with a younger and more ruthless Artemis while struggling against a deadline that if they miss they will be stuck in the past. As always with a plan hatched by Artemis Fowl it seems easy enough but complications arise along with old enemies. Overall it was a extraordinary story filled with a vocabulary and plot that made me feel at the same time intelligent and engaged.

 

2001 A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke November 8, 2008

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fiction,Juvenile,sci-fi — Julie @ 4:28 pm

2001-a-space-odyssey2001 A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke fits into the science fiction genre and was published in 1968. It is recommended for readers ages 16 and up.

Having never seen the movie I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up the book. Of course I’d heard of the movie and the theme song but that’s where my knowledge base ended. The book started out a little slow for me. It follows the life of the man-ape named Moon-Watcher. The reader learns of his lack of knowledge and vocabulary. Then one night a transparent rectangular slab falls from the sky and teaches him and his friends to use tools and to kill animals for food, thus ending starvation and changing their lives forever. The book shoots ahead a few million years and then follows Dr. Floyd, an astronomer on his way to the moon to investigate what has been labeled TMA-1. It was found during a typical survey of the moon when a peculiar magnetic field alerted the moon colonists to its presence. Again it was a transparent rectangular slab but this time it was buried under the surface of the moon set to alert its creators when the sun touched it. The final shift follows David Bowman and Frank Poole aboard the Discovery as they head out with their intelligent computer Hal to a mission that is secret even to the crew. When things begin to go wrong on the ship David must make quick decisions to save his life and the mission. After the tragic loss of the other members of his crew he is informed of the true mission, to investigate one of the moons of Saturn for signs of alien life. As strange as this mission may seem it is nothing compared to what happens when he actually reaches Saturn. He finds another transparent rectangular slab and through this is magically transported through space and goes through a type of grand central station leading him to a dying sun. He lands on the sun and is suddenly inside a hotel room where he eats mysterious food, takes a shower, and then goes to bed. While sleeping he is magically reversed through time and becomes a baby once more and as a baby travels through space and back to earth in time to prevent a nuclear attack. It was a bit hard for me to not only follow but to swallow the ending. Not having seen the movie I was a little weirded out by how the book ended and found clips of the movie to see if it was a weird as the book. The one major selling point of the book was that it moved much faster than all of the movie clips that I saw today. It was also quite interesting with the random facts and bits of science that Clarke inserted into the book. Overall, I thought it was a good read, even with the odd ending, and something that I think others into science fiction would enjoy.

 

Extras by Scott Westerfeld May 17, 2008

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fiction,Juvenile,sci-fi — Julie @ 4:03 pm

Extras by Scott Westerfeld fits into the Juvenile Science Fiction genre. It was first published in 2007 and is recommended for people age 14 and up.

Summary and Review: Like many of you I was surprised by this forth volume in the Uglies trilogy that was dedicated “to everyone who wrote to me to reveal the secret definition of the word ‘trilogy’”. It’s been over three years since the cure for the brain lesions was released and the world is slowly regaining what it has lost. Unlike the first three books we are guided through this gripping adventure by Aya Fuse a fifteen-year-old Japanese girl whose one ambition in life is to be popular by “kicking” an interesting story about something important. In a world were popularity buys you everything including the best house, clothes, and friends Aya must do something great to change her mediocre life. In her search for this amazing story Aya meets up with the Sly Girls. These seemingly ordinary girls live on the wild side by riding on top of a super fast mag-lev train while trying to stay away from the kickers. Aya is forced to sacrifice her hovercam Moggle to be a part of their clique so she can gain access to their story but later rescues Moggle and uses him to unlock the greatest story every kicked. The one problem is that she got it all wrong. She has some help getting it right from her famous brother Hiro, her tech friend Ren, her boyfriend Frizz, the always-helpful David, and three of your favorite cutters and mine, Shay, Fausto, Tally. These eight people discover the truth behind the metal shortage and the inhuman “freaks” while once again trying to save themselves and the world from destruction. Extras is an interesting commentary on a world not far from our own where popularity is literally money and people must discover what matters most to them and what they are willing to do to overcome life as an extra. Westerfeld is spellbinding and awe-inspiring as he takes a different angle in this adventurous book with a hint of love story.

Other reviews available:

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Specials by Scott Westerfeld