Audio Review: Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 2) by Veronica Roth

insurgentReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Audiobook
Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Grade Reading Level: Grades 9 to 12

Summary: War looks more inevitable by the hour. The Dauntless faction is split. Some have sided with Erudite, the faction that brainwashed them into becoming murderers, and the rest are seeking sanctuary wherever they can. Tris and Four search out Amity and Candor and find out that every faction is facing problems… and then there is the factionless, those who have been forced out because they couldn’t pass initiation rites. Now is the perfect time for them to flex their muscle and rise out of the shadows. Danger is everywhere… who will Tris trust?

Why I started this book:

I started the series at the recommendation of a friend and continued because I liked the first book.

Likes:

  • The natural growing pains of Tris’ and Tobias’ relationship.
  • Tris’s natural fortitude to resist serums. You should never take or succumb to mind-altering drugs. I understand the author implies the resistance is due to genetics, but it’s also a choice.
  • I like that Candor and Amity factions are equally messed-up. The author has really developed the world in which the trilogy takes place.

Toss-up:

  • Four/Tobias joining Tris in Erudite. On one hand it’s incredibly romantic… sort of… because on the other hand, it’s completely selfish.  “You want to turn yourself in? Fine. So will I.” Now they’re both stuck and nobody is left to rescue them. Clearly, Tobias is not the brains of the operation/relationship.

Dislikes:

  • Tris’ brother is an idiotic, self-righteous, numbskull. How was he smart enough to get into Erudite when he’s got the common sense of a pea-brain and the compassion of a snake-in-the-grass?
  • I’m not a fan of the psychological torture in the book. It does make the situation more bleak and desperate. I’m not saying it doesn’t add drama… the idea is repugnant that someone supposedly intelligent would feel the need to go to such lengths to protect themselves and their way of life that abusing kids is considered okay. Why is the rest of the faction equally moronic and morally corrupt?
  • All factions rely on serums to rule and control. Clearly the ideology is that the more medicated the population is the better for those in charge.

Buy: Insurgent (Divergent Series), Insurgent: Divergent (Audiobook)

Rating: 2.5 Treasure Chests
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Review: The Spirit Rebellion (The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 2) by Rachel Aaron

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: The Spirit Rebellion (The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 2)
Author: Rachel Aaron
Format: Digital ebook
Page Count: 464 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 15+

Summary: Eli Monpress is a brilliant thief who can charm any spirit into helping him which just so happens to make him a brilliant wizard as well. His next target has to be big – because how does one top kidnapping a king? Well he’s found just the thing with the Duke of Gaol’s famous “thief-proof” citadel. It is most definitely a trap, but one Eli can’t wait to break into and out of it anyway. Life isn’t worth living without challenges. Plus the Duke is hideously wealthy, which makes the heist even better and more alluring. As Eli is hunting for treasure and fame, Miranda is preparing to capture him and perhaps reclaim her spot in the Spirit Court.

Likes:

  • Eli is forced to rely on talent and not charm in this book, because the trap that was set neatly around our favorite thief was very magic sensitive. One flirtatious encounter and the whole city threatens to crush our trio from its bricks to its doors to its roads to its currency. It’s one big booby-trap waiting to spring!
  • It’s interesting to see how one wizard can control everything in a city because of his inherent need for control and what he’s willing to do to get it. The book’s message is clear—when someone has power and is abusing it, don’t give yourself into their hands because you become another tool they use to get someone else to follow orders.
  • I love the background story of Eli as it’s revealed, we’re left with whetted appetites to learn more, but Wow! Who knew his father was head hauncho of the Spirit Court? Or that Eli took his mentor’s last name as his own? I still want to know why exactly and how Eli lived with and then left the White Lady.
  • Favorite quote: “It’s probably an impostor,” he decided for the second time in as many hours. “Someone banking on my fame.” Josef chuckled. “Don’t you mean robbing on your infamy?”

Dislikes:

  • Nico’s story as a demonseed gets more spotlight. I figure it’s important, and it’s obvious the character speaks to the author, but I love me some Eli. Nico isn’t sympathetic to me yet despite the author’s attempts. She’s a ticking time-bomb. Can we just diffuse her? Please?
  • Josef doesn’t kill crazy swordsman. You know he’s coming back in the next book. Arg!

Buy: The Spirit Rebellion (The Legend of Eli Monpress)

Rating:4 Treasure Chests

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Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

prisoner of azkaban

Reviewed by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Format: Hardback
# of pages: 435
Grade Reading Level: 5.9; Ages 11+

Summary: School hasn’t even started and there’s and escapee from a high security wizarding prison out to kill Harry Potter. He has been warned not to be looking for Sirius Black by Arthur Weasley, but as Harry said to Arthur, “Why would I go looking for someone I know wants to kill me?” At school the Ministry of Magic has put a guard in place made up entirely of Dementors. The Dementors are only suppose to be in charge of the wizard prison, but Cornelius Fudge seems to think their presence will inspire confidence in the populace. Though how we do not know as Sirius Black has escaped the guards once already! Harry’s life is in danger in more ways than one this year.

Why I Started the Book:

I read this book because I’m continuing to reread the Harry Potter series.

Likes:

  • I liked it when Malfoy got his “just desserts” for insulting Buckbeak the hippogriff.
  • Rowling came up with a really fun artifact– the time turner. I especially enjoyed its use and the turn of events at the end of the story. I thought Dumbledore’s omniscient handling of the predicament to save Buckbeak and Sirius Black was excellent.
  • The Marauders Map was awesome! I liked how it showed where everyone was and where they were going. Now if only it showed the difference between a person in Animagus form and the normal human form.
  • The Dementors were scary, but awesome, and I loved reading the parts where they were mentioned.
  • Remus Lupin is a fantastic character! He was helpful, knowledgeable, and patient. The best Defense Against the Dark Arts teach to date in the books!

Dislikes:

  • I greatly disliked Draco Malfoy and his father. Yes, they’re characters to love to hate, but it really is unfair what they can get away with because they’re Malfoys. For instance when they got Hadgrid in trouble after his first Care of Magical Creature lesson. It clearly wasn’t his fault.
  • I didn’t like Hermoine deceiving and depriving Harry of his new Firebolt. She could have handled her concerns better instead of going above Harry to a teacher.

Last Minute Thoughts: This book is where the series takes off and fleshes out.

Buy: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Paperback), Harry Potter Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-7), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Audio Book), Harry Potter 1- 7 Audio Book Collection

Book Rating: I give this book 5 treasure chests for cleverness, creativity, and creepy creatures!
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Review: The Dark Side of Nowhere by Neal Shusterman

by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: The Dark Side of Nowhere
Author: Neal Shusterman
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 192
Grade Reading Level: Grades 6-9

Summary: Jason has always lived in the same town his whole life and thinks it’s so boring. But when Jason’s friend, Ethan dies from a burst appendicitis everything changes. Not only is everyone sad that he’s gone but something really weird happens. Grant, the janitor tells Jason that Ethan isn’t dead. Is he right? How is that possible? Then Jason is given a robotic-like glove by Grant and finds out that his whole life has been a lie. Everybody he knows, including himself, are aliens!

Why I Started the Book:

I started this book because it was a book we were reading in class before school got out for the year. We didn’t get to finish it so I decided to cheek it out of the library.

Likes:

  • The writing in this book was phenomenal! I was at the end of my seat after every chapter. I could understand how the characters felt and their whole experience. It was like I was there in the same situation.
  • I liked how his parents never lied. He told Jason the truth about them through a bedtime story, he just didn’t know it was true.
  • The cover of this book is way awesome and fits the suspenseful  haunting quality of the story.
  • The book’s main point is what it means to be human.

Last minute thoughts: I wouldn’t suggest anyone under sixth grade read this book. It’s very dark and I don’t know if they would understand everything or just be completely creeped out.

Neal Shusterman is my favorite author at the moment! I look forward to reading more of his books!

Buy: The Dark Side of Nowhere

Book Rating: I give this book 5 treasure chests!

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Review: I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

by Second Mate Embry, guest reviewer

Title: I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls)
Author: Ally Carter
Format: Hardcover
# of pages: 288
Grade Reading Level: 7-10 Grade

Summary: Cammie Morgan goes to a school for geniuses (but really it’s a school for training spies). Cammie’s schedule is just like a regular kid’s – she has PE, sure it’s advance martial arts, but it’s still PE. One of her class assignments is to go to a carnival and find out what one of her teachers likes to drink with a funnel cake. There she meets Josh – which is both wonderful and terrible!

Why I Started the Book:

I started this book because it had an interesting premise. I like the idea of a teenage spy in training. It sounded very cool to me, sort of like Agent Cody Banks, but for girls.

Likes:

  • I like the training that they did and their class schedules. It actually seemed very spy-like, which was good. I was afraid that it would be kind of hokey.
  • I like the character Cami a lot. She wasn’t a valley girl or a drama queen which was refreshing. She was smart and capable.

Dislikes:

  • They had to mind-wipe Josh at the end which I hated!
  • The romance between Cami and Josh was kind of weird. Cami and her friends aren’t sure if Josh is trying to infiltrate the academy or if it’s “true love” so they investigate him. They even went through his trash … gross and weird!

Buy: I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls)

Book Rating: I give this book3.5 Treasure Chests!

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Review: Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

by Second Mate Embry, guest reviewer

Title: Igraine the Brave
Author: Cornelia Funke
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 212
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: As a daughter of two magicians, Igraine is expected to follow in their footsteps, casting spells and concocting potions, right? Actually, all she wants to be is a knight and have adventures. She gets her chance when Osmund the Greedy tries to take over the castle, and her parents are turned into pigs! Luckily her brother is making a potion to turn them back, but he needs one more ingredient. Will Igraine become a knight, save her parents, and beat Osmund? Or will Osmund the Greedy rule over the castle with an iron fist forever?

Why I Read This Book:

I read this book because I have enjoyed other books by Cornelia Funke and thought that I would try it. Also, that back blurb caught my attention in the library and sounded interesting.

Likes:

  • I like the idea of a 12 year-old knight. She’s fighting for us pre-teens!
  • I liked the magic used by Igraine’s brother and parents; it seemed unstoppable.
  • So we know Igraine wants to be a knight, right? Well she would be a knight with one fear: Spiders. I thought it was hilarious that out of all the fears she could possibly have, her ONLY fear was spiders.

Dislikes:

  • I found myself skimming this book to get it finished. It didn’t really hold my interest and more than anything I just wanted to finish it. Some parts of the book I enjoyed, but I like to be totally captivated during the whole book, not just good parts here and there. I’d be all excited about something that happened and curious to read on, but then instead of finding more rising action it was more of a plateau and that got very dull very quickly. I think Cornelia Funke could have made this book a lot more intense by keeping the rising action strong.

Buy: Igraine The Brave

Rating: 2.5 Treasure chests!

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