December 3, 2015

The Week of All Over Reading| Mini Reviews

I went into the book The Just City with knowing almost zero about what it was about. What drew me to it was the understanding that it had something to do with Greek gods and I am a sucker when it comes to books that involve them.

Boy, was this book more than that!

The premise of this book was the Greek goddess Athene decided to perform an experiment and create the city that Plato wrote about in The Republic. I will admit, I have never read the book so that is probably why some of the things that were being explained didn’t quite make sense to me. Either way, it was a deeply philosophical book that wove together several famous people throughout time, two Greek Gods/Goddesses, and original created characters to answer the question of would a society like Plato wrote work. As a lover of history it made my heart sing with the ability

As much as I loved the plot of this book and how much I thought it was such a wonderfully original story  I don’t think that I’ll be reaching for the sequel The Philosophers King. The reason being is the writing style. I believe that this book would have worked a lot better if it was done in 1st person and gave the readers a more sense of individual personality. As it was written, I had a hard time telling the difference between the characters from a bland bowl of oatmeal. Yes, it was that bad. This book was a prime example of “telling instead of showing…” that overpowered the story until it left me pretty frustrated in the end.

three-stars

The Week of All Over Reading| Mini ReviewsThe School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1) by Soman Chainani
Published by HarperCollins on May 14th 2013
Pages: 488
Goodreads

The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.
This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.
But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?
The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

I have been hearing a lot about this book lately in the blog-osphere and since I was on a fairy tale kick I decided to pick it up. I don’t normally branch out and read MG but this one seemed particularly interesting.

What I loved most about this story was the theme of friendship in this story. The story follows two very different girls; Sophia who has dreamed of her happily ever after for as long as she can remember and Agatha, who is too smart not to see through Sophia’s friendship as more than her Good Deed, she doesn’t want to see her small bit of happiness disappear. When the time comes, Sophia’s wish is granted, but also Agatha’s worst nightmare. Things don’t go as planned—Sophia finds herself in the School of Evil, whereas Agatha lands in the School of Good. Even though the girls will do everything to fix the wrong that they believe happened, in their own ways, it might not have been as much of a mistake as they believe.

Personally, I loved this story for the theme of friendship and not judging things and most importantly people by what they seem on the outside. As a future teacher I am going to see if I can get this book incorporated as a fun way of teaching these themes with a touch of fun and fairy tales. It is sure to keep them entertained. While it was a little predictable for adults, it was still quite a good read for what I was expecting!

four-stars

The Week of All Over Reading| Mini ReviewsNever Never by Brianna Shrum
Published by Spencer Hill Press on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Goodreads

James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up. When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child - at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children's dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up. But grow up he does. And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate. This story isn't about Peter Pan; it's about the boy whose life he stole. It's about a man in a world that hates men. It's about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan. Except one.

In this retelling of Peter Pan, we gain a fresh perspective of Neverland through the eyes of James Hook. When the story begins, he is nothing more than a boy. He longs for the attention for the father and growing up and following in the footsteps as a sailor. After being disappointed he runs into Peter Pan and gets whisked off to Never Land for what he believes is just a small vacation. It turns into a much longer and darker journey to becoming Captain Hook.

I didn’t quite connect to James throughout Never, Never, but I sympathized much of the book and understood his frustration throughout the book at how he was treated by Peter. It was very clear that Brianna Shrum knows her Peter Pan facts and was able to weave them into a story that made sense (to those who might not know them.) The most frustrating part of this story was that I just wish that in some places there was more description and slower pace and in some parts it went faster. It was a good book despite these hiccups and I recommend it if you are a Peter Pan fan!

 

three-half-stars

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