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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Book reviews

In the last week and a half, I have gotten a lot of reading done. Along with looking for a job, I am trying to keep my mind active so that when I return to school I will still be able to form complete sentences. Thus follows my book reviews for your reading pleasure:
The Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen is a cute picture book. I have a special spot in my heart for children's books that take place in libraries. This one is worth reading. The illustrations by Kevin Hawkes are also worth a look. Double Helix by Nancy Werlin is a science fiction book about the use of cloning and genetic engineering by todays scientists. While the main character, a teenage boy, is well written, the book does not stand out as anything to shout about. It was also strange for the writer to put a teenage romance in the middle of science fiction mystery. It seemed a little out of place and made me wonder if most non-LDS teenagers sleep around as much as this character. While an adequate book, I wouldn't really recommend it.
Two books about genetic engineering I would recommend are both by James Patterson. When the wind blows and Maximum Ride: the angel experiment are both well written with levels of suspense and thoughtfulness. Both have some language but are well worth the read. When the wind blows was written first and is told from multiple points of view. In fact, the only problem I had with this book is that it may have too many points of view. It tells the story of a veterinarian, an FBI agent, a group of evil scientists, and several genetically engineered children who can fly. This book, while not connected by characters, brought about Maximum Ride: the angel experiment. The preface of Maximum... explains that there are no characters in common with When the wind blows even though they both have children who can fly and a main character with the name of Max. Maximum Ride: the angel experiment and its sequel are both books that I would highly recommend. There is an occasional swear word in both but the plot is tightly written, the characters real and accessible, and the action intense. For those of you who like science fiction mixed with scientists run amok and government intrigue, I would advise you to read this book. As a person who has always dreamed of having wings, I really liked this book.
Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn is a futuristic retelling of Jane Eyre. Since I have read Jane Eyre twice, I thought I would give it a try. It was well written although I could see what was going to happen because it so closely paralleled Jane Eyre. I am always fascinated by the retelling of classic stories, especially fairy tales. This was an excellent read and anyone who liked Jane Eyre will appreciate this book as a science fiction companion piece. One piece of caution though, Jenna seemed to be in more mortal danger than Jane ever was. Jenna comes close to death several times. If you are the type that gets very attached to your characters, your heart might beat a little faster than normal during these brief but trying times.
I would like to thank Jen for recommending The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig. This book meanders through the childhood recollections of a boy as he grew up in Montana during the first decade of the 1900's. The stories of his family, new housekeeper, and one room schoolhouse were charming. My only complaint is that four or five times during the story, he referenced his current status as narrator in the book. His childhood stories were great but his mention of being superintendent of the school system were distracting. Doig's characters were so well drawn that a reader could see the mean trapper, the honorable father/farmer, and the exuberant younger brothers of the narrator. The prose is sometimes a bit poetic, especially when describing nature, but is worth reading so that it can bounce around in your head when you are taking a walk through the park later. Although slow in serious action or suspense, this book was a good study of farming life and the ties that bind.
The next book I plan to read is Beast by Donna Napoli, who is a master at the retelling of fairy tales. It should be good. Thus ends this former librarian's review.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I love that Library Lion book. There's a new book about a boy raised by librarians. I think it's by a Provo librarian.