The Exiled Queen

Cinda Williams Chima

What I’m about to review is something called a sequel, ladies and gentlemen. In other words, read The Demon King (and possibly my review of it), before you read this. Got it?

Well, anyways, The Exiled Queen is the second book in the Seven Realms series. We follow the path of Han “Cuffs” Alister, a descendant of the infamous Demon King, as he learns how to use his magic. Problem is, virtually the whole magic using society as a whole hates his guts, so he doesn’t have it easy.

We also follow Princess Raisa as she flees her kingdom and her sorcery bound (and possibly moronic as well, its kinda hard to tell) mother, the queen, learns about the world, and generally prepares herself to deal with the upcoming wizard revolt that will destroy her life, her freedom, and possibly her world as she knows it.

Dark secrets, betrayal, and intrigue await them as they struggle to find their way in the world, making this a book worth reading.

Editor’s note: I’m working on this book right now. I’ll try and comment on my full book reaction later, but I have to say, Cinda Williams Chima doesn’t disappoint.

Unwind

by Neil Shusterman

Neil Shusterman is one of my favorite authors. His books aren’t mainstream; in fact, some of them are almost a little off. That’s why I like them so much.

Unwind is one of those books that’s just a little off.

It’s a future version of the world where implanting organs and the harvesting of them is taken to the horrific extreme, what they call “unwinding”. Your entire body is taken apart and implanted into other people. You’re a hundred percent alive, so you don’t die at all, it’s just… a “retroactive abortion”. That can happen to you at any time up to the age of 18.

Fun, huh?

The world in Unwind is well thought out, with a futuristic society similar to our own and yet different. Not the book for those who want happiness and love and such, but if you’re looking for a slightly darker book, Unwind is for you.

Editor’s note: I read this book a while ago and it was amazing. It is creepy and weird and, as Josh said, a little off, but highly recommended. Pick it up for a good winter break/snow day read that will leave you captivated.

The Beast of Noor

Sometimes you get in the mood to read something with a serious, creepy feel, but you’re not quite at the stage for a full out scary story book. And after a binge of books from a horror author, that was me.

So I picked up The Beast of Noor.

You probably know of the Hound of the Baskervilles, right? Big scary ghost dog that haunted a family? Meet his big bad brother, the Shriker. At the dark moon, he comes and leaves a trail of death in his wake in revenge for the act of betrayal that led to him being cursed three hundred years ago. Its a dark moon again. And the protagonists are the descendants of his betrayer.

Sucks to be them, huh?

I love the story; the brother goes down dark paths in search of power to end the curse, the sister goes down an unexpected path to save him. Same old, same old, right? Not quite. For example, the brother’s hunt for power is a relatively  noble goal originally, and he stays true to his original goal the whole story. He doesn’t lose it, he doesn’t suddenly wanting to murder his family or friends or anything in an dramatic fashion, and the plot twists actually are surprising.

The world of Noor is rich, filled with magic, mythology and legends, and a delight to learn more about as the story progresses, the characters and plot are definitely not one dimensional, and the Shriker is freaken’
awesome.

Seriously, the dog monster is my favorite part of the whole book. It’s nice to have a monster you can get behind, not over done and over rated, yet actually something that could command some respect.

So yeah, The Beast of Noor? You should look into it.

The Ring of Solomon

by Jonathon Stroud

Have you ever read the Bartimaeus Trilogy? If the answer is “yes,” for you this review is practically over. The Ring of Solomon is the same vein of fun, mayhem filled craziness as the trilogy. If you liked the trilogy, what are you waiting for? Get up and obtain a copy to read ASAP.

Go on, get.

Now if you have read the trilogy, but DIDN’T like it, I have something important for you to do too. Slap yourself across the face once or twice, take a serious look at yourself and see if your sick or something, and take another look at it. And feel ashamed.  Shame on you.

Ok, we’ve established this book’s cred for those who have read the trilogy before, but what if you’ve never heard of Bartimaeus? Well, The Ring of Solomon is good place to start, since it’s a prequel to the original trilogy, and unlike Star Wars, you don’t get the later books ruined for you by watching them in chronological order.

The main character is, of course, Bartimaeus, a type of spirit known as djinni. In the great rankings of spirits and such, he’s pretty much dead center on the power scale. However, his attitude, lack of respect, and ability to deal sarcasm and dry wit is second to none. The series as a whole deals with his misadventures on Earth; mainly using his brains to get him out of the insanely ridiculous messes his mouth gets him into.

So the plots intriguing and the characters are interesting. Not enough for you? The world of Bartimaeus has a deep, rich mythology that is improved upon with every book, and top of that you get witty comments from Bartimaeus himself in the form of footnotes, which ether explain a scene to you in a more satisfying way than could fit into the plot’s flow, or give you some background info.

So, conclusion. The Ring of Solomon is a great book, with great characters, a great plot and (you guessed it) great one-liners you wish you had an excuse to use, but probably never will.

Zombies vs. Unicorns

Zombies verses unicorns. A war (among many) that is being waged right now on the internet.

Apparently.

I say that because I sadly only learned of the war about ten days ago with the book, Zombies vs. Unicorns. This annoys me to no end because I would have thrown my hat into the ring for Team Zombie the moment the war started if I had known, so I’m making up for it now.

The stories are great. There’s some serious stories, some comedies, and some that make you stop and do a mental double-take. Plenty of surprises in them I’d LOVE to spoil for you (but won’t).  For those who hate the classic zombies (you should be ashamed), not all the zombie stories are about ends of the world or mindless monsters (but on the other hand there are some present of those as well). For Team Unicorn I must admit I am biased against them…. though I have to say this: only one story had a rainbow farting unicorn. In fact, they weren’t that bad, despite their story topics. I must say my favorite unicorn story was by far “The Care and Feeding of your Baby Killer Unicorn”, for obvious reasons. Plus, it’s easily organized so you can avoid a side’s stories if you want.

On top of the stories, the intro has a nice comment section/war between the leaders of Team Zombie (Justine Larbalestier) and Team Unicorn (Holly Black) that sets a nice tone for the book and continues in the intro of each story.

All in all, this is an essential read if you feel you support  zombies or unicorns, or if you just like to read great stories by some great authors.

GO ZOMBIES!!!

The Demon King

I was trolling through the library looking for books, when I saw the end of a trilogy I had been reading. I as lunged for it (subtlety, but I did lunge), I noticed something else by the same author that wasn’t any of the preceding books to the one I had just snatched. So I snatched it too. Lo and behold did I find a new series to read! (Though honestly, even without the author pointing it out to me, I would have given it a look just for that picture on the cover. I mean seriously, look at it. It. Is. Sweet.)
As it turns out, the picture and my expectations of Cinda Williams Chima did not lie. I like the book even more than her first series, and between the war between magic traditions, treachery in the royal household, ominous echoes to the mysterious “Breaking” which nearly destroyed the kingdom, and the main characters whoyou root for and understand, I am eagerly waiting for the next Seven Realms novel. Oh, and I forgot to mention the plot twists. You have GOT to love the plot twists.