Once again I find myself falling behind on my book reviews. I am miraculously keeping up on reading goals but can't seem to say the same about blogging goals. In an effort to catch up I offer shorter reviews of several recently read YA books.
Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner is an adventure story set in the fantasy land of Attolia and Mede, The book is heralded as the fifth book in the Queen's Thief series but also works as a stand-alone book with characters introduced in earlier books but whose stories are flushed out much more in this book. Kamet, a slave of a master in Mede, is whisked out of his country and his safe life by an Attolian soldier who is sent by his king to capture Kamet and bring him to Attolia. The two embark on a very long and dangerous journey, one filled with all kinds of adventures, near misses, and narrow escapes. It is a fun and exciting read from start to finish.
I haven't read the other four books in the series and I did fine with Thick as Thieves without knowing much about the world and the characters from the other books. But I confess I now want to go back and read them. Turner's writing is strong and the imagery is strong. I liked everything about this book and the reading experience and wouldn't mind repeating it again with the earlier books. In fact, this is the first book I've read all summer which had that wonderful can't-put-down quality.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Target Audience: Middle School and up
I found myself to be quite captivated by the story in the Spill Zone and got totally caught up in the tension in this book, the first in a series. I am not the hugest fan of graphic novels but was really charmed by this book and will wait with expectation for the second installment in the series. I think that teens will become fans of this book (series) and hope it will win wide distribution with them.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Target audience: Grade 8 and up
In my estimation this book is a partial graphic novel with occasional drawings of characters from the Monstrous Sea webcomic included. I like illustrated books if the illustrations advance the story or help explain some concept more succinctly than words. I didn't find this to be the case in Eliza and Her Monsters. The illustrations seemed to be randomly placed and did little to enhance the story except to give us an idea about Eliza's drawing skills. I also found the relationship between Eliza and Wallace to be on a fairly predictable trajectory right down to the inevitable breakup. For these two reasons I don't think this book will be seriously considered by award committees. I predict, however, that the book will be quite popular with teen readers.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Target Audience: Grades 9-12