Friday, April 16, 2010

Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull (Fablehaven Book 5)

Since ancient times, the great demon prison Zzyzx has protected the world from the most dangerous servants of darkness, including Gorgrog, the Demon King. After centuries of plotting, the Sphinx is on the verge of recovering the five artifacts necessary to open the legendary prison. Facing the potential of a world-ending calamity, all friends of light must unite in a final effort to thwart the Sphinx's designs and find a safe home for the five artifacts. To this end, Kendra, Seth, and the Knights of the Dawn will venture far beyond the walls of Fablehaven to strange and exotic magical preserves across the globe, where the end of every quest becomes the beginning of another. In this explosive series finale, allegiances will be confirmed and secrets revealed as the forces of light and darkness collide in a desperate struggle to control the keys to the demon prison.

As it says in the description, this is the final book in the series. Knowing that makes me a little sad, especially now that I have read it.

I love the characters in this series. Each book, I became more and more attached to them. I loved how they grew and developed as the story progressed and I loved the new characters that were added throughout the series. I think Brandon Mull is possibly a character genius.

That said, I am VERY  a little bugged with the ending. Is there anyone else who invested all that time into 2500+ pages NOT annoyed with how the series concluded?? It reminded me of the Twilight saga. All that bulidup in the first 3 books and 3/4 of Breaking Dawn and then... nothing. The book just ends. Like they got sick of writing about the same characters for years upon years. Well, guess what??? WE DIDN'T GET SICK OF READING ABOUT THEM SO GIVE US A DECENT ENDING!! (I love how the "problem" was solved though and the new arrangements they made. I thought that wrapped up nicely. I just didn't like how things were left open with some of the characters.)

I know that Brandon Mull's publisher is linked to Deseret Book and "clean" books are their "thing" which I love and hate at the same time. I mean, he couldn't even sneak in one little kiss in the last book? I really wanted to see where things go with Kendra and her new love interest, and knowing that this is the last book and that won't happen bums me out. :( At the end of the book, there was a page titled (something alond the lines of...) This is Really the End?!?!?! in which the author says he is for sure done with Fablehaven, but he may revisit some of the characters in other books. So, I want to offically put my vote in for Kendra and "Joe" (we're calling him "Joe" because I don't want to give anything away!).

If you haven't read this series, and even if you "aren't a fan" of fantasy, READ THESE! They are about humans whose lives cross with mythical creatures. I always said that I "wasn't a fan" of fantasy, but I absolutely loved this series. And, as I said before, it is ABSURDLY clean (wink,wink) so even younger readers could love them. Discover Fablehaven! You'll be so glad you did.

Better Luck Next Time...

This year I thought it would be fun to participate in Dewey's Read-a-thon. They host a 24 hour read-a-thon twice a year--in April and October. It was scheduled for the 10th of April starting at 5AM and I didn't have any plans. I was SO excited to try it out. Until.... I had to pickup food (that was LATE!) from a co-op I participate in, do my sister-in-law's hair for her engagement pictures, attend a family birthday party, and do 3 haircuts. So, as you can probably guess, in the first 13 hours, I didn't do so great. I read 13 pages to be exact. GO ME! (Sarcasm.) Later that night, my husband went out of town for the night and my son had a sleepover at Grammy's house. I finally thought, THIS IS IT! Now I have 8 more hours until it ends and I can read to my little heart's content! Not the case. I was exhausted and fell asleep reading. :( I did try though! Like the title says, better luck next time!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Beastly by Alex Flinn

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

I have mixed feelings about this book....We put this month's book club pick to a vote and this is the one I voted for.

It was actually quite slow at first. It just wasn't what I was expecting. In the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, you get the little 60 second rundown of history on the beast-- He is a handsome prince that is rude to some old hag who really turns out to be a foxy witch who turns him into a beast to teach him a lesson on seeing "inner beauty", blah, blah, blah, and then it cuts to Belle and it's focused on her story. That's the only way I've ever thought of Beauty and the Beast.

This retelling is ALL about the beast. What his life is like immediately after the transformation, how it changes for the worse or for the better. His dad, who wasn't ever around anyway, buys him (the "beast" is 16) a "castle" in another city and cuts off all communication. He pawns Kyle off on a blind tutor and a elderly maid. Sad.

The book does have a few random "chat sessions" which I thought were a little... lame. But the book gains major potential when a junkie breaks into the "castle" and Kyle catches him. In exchange for not turning him in to the police, he offers Kyle his 16-year-old daughter. Seriously. Like a payment. What is it with these parents?? However, his daughter doesn't turn out to be a stranger. Not to Kyle anyway. It takes a long time to find his "Beauty" but once he does the story picked up the pace quite a bit. Overall, I liked this book. It tied up loose ends nicely by the final page, even if it was a little cheesy. It's not one I would buy--I wouldn't read it again and again, but the library should have plenty of copies.

This is a fun retelling of a story everyone knows from a viewpoint few think of. Enjoy!