Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: The Scorpio Races

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Version: Hardcover
Published: 2011 by Scholastic Press
Obtained: Library

Some race to win. Others race to survive.

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Some riders live.

Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

First Sentence:
It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.”

Oh my. This book was in my possession for SO long. I was very hesitant to read it for some reason I can’t remember. Now that I finally have, I’m ready to read more by Maggie Stiefvater.

The Scorpio Races is a novel of dual narrations and a unique mythology. Think killer mermaids, but as horses. Water horses swim underwater and come to shore around October every year. People try to catch these human-hating horses so they can ride one for the Scorpio Races on November 1st. For this island, the races are their only tourism pull. It’s a huge deal, which is a bit morbid because quite a few people die every year. So we have our two characters: Puck Connolly (real name is Kate) and Sean Kendrick. They both desperately need to win for specific reasons, and yet they find themselves working together.

After reading the synopsis, I assumed this was a Hidalgo-like race. One that would take a few weeks to complete. I WAS COMPLETELY WRONG. It takes until page 380 out of 409 pages to start the race. However, this does not mean the book is boring. No way. The racers are required to spend two weeks training on the beach. And trust me, it gets exciting.

Also along the way to the race, the reader gets to see the different motives that drive Puck and Sean to race. We see Puck’s family life (I want Finn to be my brother) and Sean’s love for “his” horse, Corr. And because they both are so perfect for each other, Sean and Puck begin to fall in love. Their romance in NO way dominates the storyline. The plot continues to revolve around the coming race. However, their connection gives them a different opinion on their desired outcomes.

I was concerned about the ending, but Maggie worked it out smoothly in a way I wasn’t even considering as an option. It’s refreshing to be unsure of a book’s ending. The writing style was fine, nothing much to complain about except that the action scenes were sometimes very confusingly written. I found myself having no idea of what just happened.

Hopefully there won’t be a sequel because it really doesn’t need one.

Definitely read this. I highly enjoyed it and found it entirely compelling.

Content Warning: Occasional language and kissing.

4 Pigs

Blog Sig.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Review: Beguiled

Title: Beguiled
Authors: Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand
Published: 2010 by Bethany House Publishing
Version: Paperback
Obtained: Bought

Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her. Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything.As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?



First Sentence:
Something wasn’t right.”

Ugh. I’m just going to say it right up front: I did not enjoy this book.

Imagine this scenario. Take Christian aspiring romantic fiction novelist. Combine her with an “acclaimed, yet has only written one book” Christian suspense writer. Now have them write a book combining both of their interests: suspense and describing attractive people.
Yeah. It didn’t work.

Not only was the descriptions of both Rylee and Logan cringingly awkward, but their entire romance was just…ehh. They were cute together and I appreciated his concern for her safety, but they went from zero to ninety in a week or two. Annoyingly, unbelievably fast. Obviously they were attracted to each other. I had to spend half the book listening to them moon on about each other’s stunning muscles, long legs, attractive figures, tempting lips, etc, etc, etc. It was like a trashy romance novel turned Christian.

The underlying message was not particularly compelling and the final moment of tension (like all intense novels have) was rather lame. The only reason I kept reading was to get closure about the mystery. With so many options for the culprit, I could not even begin to assume my guess was correct. Honestly, once I found out who it was…it was just disappointing.

But if you like an interesting suspense/mystery novel that’s Christian, and can cringe past the terrible descriptions like I did, read it. The portions that Mr. Bertrand contributed do work, while Ms. Gist needs to work on her writing.

Content Warnings: Kissing

1 Pig

Blog Sig.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer #1
Published: 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Library

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.


First Sentence:
"The ornate script on the board twisted in the candlelight, making the letters and numbers dance in my head."

As you may have guessed from the vague summary, this book relies on confusion, surprise, an unreliable narrator, and the reader never knowing what the heck is going on.

I don’t want to ruin too much of the plot for you because the book needs you to be confused, but essentially this is the concept: Mara Dyer has come back from a stint in the hospital after a terrible accident that she can’t remember. They’ve changed states and everything because of her, and now she’s going to a new high school. She has these really weird episodes where she sees things that aren’t there, and relives the accident (which you don’t fully understand until the end). At the same time there is tension with everyone in her life, her family, new friends, and potential boyfriend, Noah.

All of these little “episodes” just make the book SO CONFUSING; you don’t know if something really happened or not. Because Mara is telling us the story, it’s hard to understand what’s real and what’s not. There are certain long extended sequences (one in particular) which, even at the end of the book, aren’t revealed to be true or false. This type of story can be very annoying for the reader. . .

But, as it was supposed to, this book drew me in. I became immersed in Mara’s messed up mind and wanted to know all her secrets and find out all that she had forgotten. Noah was a great match for her. Even though his character was a bit of a cliché, he was still a good guy who turned out to be very helpful to her sanity and emotional health.

I might not have loved this as much as many others did, but I did enjoy the suspense and the ending was crazy and cliffhanger-y. I look forward to reading the sequel soon!

Content Warning: Kissing. A bit of language.

4 Pigs

Blog Sig.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...