Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bravo to Eoin Colfer for writing a book that is fun, engaging, exciting, and yet still reads like a sophisticated piece of literature. Colfer manages to retain the integrity of good writing while creating a world young people will truly enjoy reading about.

Organized crime, kidnapping, mysterious disappearances, robbery, high-tech weaponry, and...fairies! This is not some rainbow-hugging, frilly, dancing unicorn book. This is a suspenseful adventure novel that appeals to all gender identities while including soldiers and creatures of fantasy.

Artemis Fowl comes from a long line of high-class criminals. He lives the posh life in Fowl Manor in Ireland, which has been in his family for generations. His housemates include his bodyguard (Butler), Butler's sister (Juliette), and Artemis' delusional mother (Angeline). His father has been missing ever since the Russian Mafia sunk his boat filled with Coca-Cola merchandise somewhere off the Kola peninsula.

Artemis is a 12 year old genius with an IQ to rival Einstein. He is also a master criminal. He also has proof that fairies exist!

The Fowl Family fortune has been depleted as of late and Artemis is determined to replenish it by any means possible. He needs more money to try and look for his missing father, whom Artemis refuses to believe is dead. He plans to use his unique knowledge of The People (fairies) to garner a large sum of gold ingots. His plan is to force The People (fairies) into giving up their gold by kidnapping one of their best officers, Holly Short. However...Holly is not your average elf!

Artemis may have met his match.

This is the first of 8 books in the Artemis Fowl series. I highly recommend this series to avid readers who love fantasy and adventure.

Ages 12+

The Sword of Summer

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1)The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so let me begin by saying that I get why kids love Rick Riordan books. He mixes mythology with relatable characters and a lot of humor. The vocabulary is basic, easy to read, and the books are full of action. I get it- they're fun.


I am not a Rick Riordan fan.

I have tried. I read the first 3 Percy Jackson books and now have read the first Magnus Chase book. I gave it a shot. I just don't like them.

I feel as if Riordan's content is developmentally at a 7th grade level, while the reading level sits somewhere around a 4th grade level. The humor is very juvenile but there is violence and content that is not really suited for elementary school.

I also feel as if the humor detracts from the story- making the characters seem silly and lacking in depth.

My son enjoys these books and, since we listen to them together, I will probably read a few more. I get it- kids like them. I am just personally not a fan. I will continue to recommend Riordan books because I see their value...but I don't have to like it.

The Sword of Summer gets 3 stars from me. Kids will learn a lot about Norse mythology and find Magnus Chase to be someone they can completely relate to. There are other endearing characters throughout the book as well, such as a deaf elf named Hearthstone and a fashion designing dwarf named Blitzen.

Magnus has been living on the streets ever since strange wolves murdered his mother in their Boston apartment. He has learned to survive as a homeless teen. On his 16th birthday, Magnus is reunited with an estranged Uncle who warns Magnus that he is in danger and must find the "Sword of Summer." Events go awry, and Magnus winds up dead- but reincarnated as a soldier of Valhalla. He goes on an adventure to reclaim the Sword of Summer and defeat the fire-giant named Surt and the Wolf, Fenris. Hilarity occurs throughout.

Maze Runner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is actually a review of books 1-3: Maze Runner, Scorch Trials, and Death Cure. So, be advised there may be spoilers.

The series is a well-written, engaging, Dystopian story with a far-fetched premise.

Sun flares have scorched the world killing millions of people. Those who remain have been exposed to a biological weapon that seems to have accidentally been released from a government facility. Anyone infected becomes an insane, cannibal.

The existing government has selected teenagers to be a part of a psychological experiment which is meant to map out brain patterns to reveal why some people are immune to the disease (called "The Flare"). The experiment requires the teens to have their memories wipes and then be abandoned to an artificial environment called "The Glade" in which they have to avoid murderous monsters and solve a maze to survive.

How this experiment could map out a cure for a disease escapes my understanding. The scientists claim the situations they force the kids in to reveal brain patterns of those who are immune and this will help them to create a cure. To me, this seems quite a stretch.

In the Scorch Trials they have left the glade and are forced into a desert filled with infected people. They have to survive this as part of the experiment.

In the Death Cure, they are fighting against the very organization that put them into this experiment.

There are two prequel books, Fever Code and Kill Order, which I have not read. They may help to clear up how the experiment could actually lead to a cure. However, after completing the series, I lost interest.

Again, they are engaging and well-written. I just could not get past what I considered a weak plot thread.