Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson is a strange tale set in the pre-Revolutionary colonies. Octavian is a young boy whose mother was a princess in Africa. They both now live in Boston among men constantly conducting experiments. Octavian has the finest of educations, and is a beautiful violin player. As the Revolutionary War approaches, Octavian becomes aware of his real purpose in this strange house with these strange men. Several turning of events take place throughout the book which change Octavian's circumstances and thoughts. The book is written in the form of letters and journal articles and all in the voice of pre-Revolutionary English which can make it difficult to follow. Read this book if you're interested in historical fiction, if you like books that are written in interesting prose, or if you like difficult books that have big vocabulary words. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine's Guide to Life and Love

Dear Jane Austen by Patricia Hannon is a work of fiction in which Jane Austen answers "Dear Abby" like letters from her female fans. The book opens with Jane's running commentary on her day along with conversations with people who visit her. Between these conversations, she takes the time to answer questions from fans about what it means to be a woman in the twenty-first century in terms of love and life. Using examples from her famous novels, Jane explains that women should be independent. Honestly, I didn't even get past the first chapter of the book. I feel this book is meant more for people who are very familiar with Austen's novels. I've only read Pride and Prejudice many years ago. Therefore, the constant references to her stories and characters were more annoying and drawn out than inspiring and reminiscent. I had to put the book down, because it wasn't holding my attention one bit. Reading shouldn't feel like a chore. Perhaps I'll return to it one day after I've read more of Austen's novels. Read this book if you're familiar with Austen's works, if you're interested in biographical fiction, or if you are studying Austen in school. I give it a 3 out of 10.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer is a young adult sci-fi novel about Matt, a young boy who finds out he's the clone of the wealthiest and most powerful drug lord in the world. El Patron runs an entire country called Opium which sits between the United States and what used to be Mexico. El Patron loves Matt, and, even though clones are usually treated as disgusting livestock, gives Matt a quality education and showers him with love. Matt later finds out the real purpose for his existence and struggles with what he shall do in order to escape his terrible destiny. Matt comes to realizations about the world, about people, and about himself. Read this book if you like sci-fi, if you enjoy coming of age novels, or if you're interested in books that might give you a scary glimpse of the future. I give it an 8 out of 10.

This Lullaby

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen is a teenage love story centered around newly graduated from high school Remy. She is so ready to tie up any loose ends at home the summer before she heads off to Stanford for college. This includes dumping her boyfriend, finish planning her mother's wedding, and spending time with her three best friends. While she gets all of this done, an unexpected "summer boyfriend" named Dexter comes along and screws with Remy's plans to leave her home without ever looking back. Remy's cynical take on relationships and love center around her mother's five failed marriages, and her father's only attempt to reach her through a sappy one hit wonder titled "This Lullaby." Remy must decide if her faith in love can be restored of if she can continue living her life as if she doesn't care. Read this book if you like chick lit, if you enjoy love stories, or if you're a sap for happy endings. I give it a 6.5 out of 10.