Blogging Leave of Absense

Unfortunately, time for book blogging has been rare lately. With prac throughout October and my intention to participate in NaNoWriMo in November things have been ragged. As such, I'll be going to be on light mode until November is over, but will be back come December and will no doubt be chanting at the bit for some nice relaxing reading and reviewing.
Until then, I'll leave it off with a challenge update. Nothing like depressing myself with how behind I am before I run off to get even further behind.
Initials Reading Challenge (November 30)
1/5 - I'll give it a go, but it's probably a right-off
100+ Reading Challenge
89/100 - probably fine
A-Z Reading Challenge (Dec 31st)
40/52 books read - hopefully doable
Mythopoeic Challenge (Dec 31st)
2/7 - hmm. Probably not.
Arthurian Challenge (March 2009)
11/12 - The minimum only calls for five items, so I'm technically done, but I think I can handle one more book.
Book Awards Challenge (June 1, 2009)
1/10 - no problem
42 Challenge (ongoing through 2009)
21/42 items completed - no problem
Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card
226 pages; published 1977

"I am your enemy, the first one you've ever had who was smarter than you. There is no teacher but the enemy. No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong. And the rules of the game are what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. I am your enemy from now on. From now on I am your teacher."

After two invasion strikes from an insectoid alien race, the "Buggers", Earth's reluctantly allied nations and militaries are fearful of the next, and likely final, strike to come. Their best chance of success, they feel, is in the training of a whole generation of amazingly gifted children.
And so it is that, at the age of six, Andrew "Ender" Wiggins is removed from his home (his parents signing him over to the government) and taken to Earth's orbitting Battle School, never to step foot on Earth again until the age of sixteen. Unlike the rest of his extraordinarily peers, however, Ender has caught the eyes of those in charge. He's not just another would-be soldier; in Ender is the potential for so much more. The potential to plan, the potential to lead ... the potential to win.
Ender's days at the Battle School are filled with trial after trial, each worse than the one before as the ones in control hack away at his childhood, sculpting him into the war commander they need him to be. The war commander they need to save Earth. 4/5

Other Reviews
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Dead Until Dark
Charlaine Harris
326 pages; published 2004

For a second I felt ashamed at calling Bill to rescue me: I should have handled the situation myself. Then I thought, Why? When you know a practically invincible being who professes to adore you, someone so hard to kill it’s next to impossible, someone preternaturally strong, that’s who you’re gonna call. (255-6)

Sookie Stackhouse lives in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Her life is ordinary – she lives with her grandmother, works at the local bar, and has a brother who lives nearby. Problem is, despite her lifestyle, Sookie herself is anything but ordinary. Ever since she was a young girl, Sookie has had the ability to read the minds of those around her.

Normality never sticks around for very long though – at least not with a character like Sookie in the lead. Bon Temps starts to wake up with the revelation of the reality of vampires (they’re “coming out of the coffin”). With the development of a viable synthetic blood, vampires no longer have to feed on humans to survive, and many are seeking a more human lifestyle.

When one such vampire, oh-so-scarily named "Bill", moves to town and, incidentally, next door to Sookie, her life suddenly gets turned upside down. Bill is tall, dark and handsome - and definately dangerous - but, most appealing of all, Sookie cannot hear his thoughts. Around, she does not have to endure the aching strain required to simply afford people their privacy. She is free to just relax.

But when a local woman dies under suspicious circumstances, Sookie finds herself dating a prime suspect. At what cost does her freedom come?

Vampire romances are a dime-a-dozen at the moment. Everywhere you turn you find yet another one creeping up behind you. Despite this, I found Dead Before Dark, the first of the Sookie Stackhouse series, to be an enjoyable light read. While still maintaining the romantic coupling of the moment - a (relatively) normal human girl with the dark scary vamp - it does mix it up a bit by ensuring that she herself is not entirely normal. Sookie doesn't belong in Bill's world ... but she doesn't really fit in her own either.

Harris' writing was a little slow in places; I felt like I was wading through it at times to get to the next part. Having said that, I would still recommend it to fans of the genre. Harris' humour comes into play quite strongly, leaving the book with a slightly oddball air to it, only to be effectively cut down when some of the darker elements come to the surface.

A fun read, the sequel of which I'm looking forward to reading. 3.5/5

Other Reviews

Second star to the right...

Posts have been a little sparse lately, sorry bout that. Being on prac, means I haven't really had the time to read (sad) let alone review, but I've got some done, so I'm gonna try to spread them out to cover my time away.

Peter and the Starcatchers
Dave Barry and Ridley Scott
463 pages; published 2006
Peter was the leader of the boys, because he was the oldest. Or maybe he wasn’t. Peter had no idea how old he really was, so he gave himself whatever age suited him, and it suited him to always be one year older than the oldest of his mates. If Peter was nine, and a new boy came to St. Norbert’s Home for Wayward Boys who said he was ten, why, then Peter would declare himself to be eleven. Also, he could spit the farthest. That made him the undisputed leader. (13)
The first in a trilogy chronicling the events before J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, Peter Pan and the Starcatchers is a suprisingly delightful read. Why suprising? Well, as a firm believer in the 'original is always best' school of thought, I had not expected this prequel to be both as interesting and charming as it was.

Peter and his band of loyal friends (the origins of the Lost Boys) are wards of London's St. Norbert's Home for Wayward Boys. Taken away from the home in an mystery only achievable by unexplained midnight outing, the young boys are boarded on a ship, the Never Land. They soon learn that they are being tansported to the island of Rundoon, to be slaves to island's ruthless king - a man more likely to feed the boys to his snake than offer them any real or home or employment, let alone kindness.

But even before they get to Runddon things are prety rough. The Never Land's crew runs the gamut from incompetent to downright villainous, their quarters are cramped, and the food literally has things living it - not exactly a luxury liner. The only source of friendship found onboard by Peter is in the form of Alf, a kindly deckhand and the curious secretive young passenger, Molly.

Downtrodden and disgusting the voyage may be, but it doesn't lack for excitement - for it is not long before a pirate ship, captaied by the infamous 'Black Stache', starts to run them down, determined to retrieve a crumbling trunk in the Never Land's cargo.

Why are these pirates so intent on retrieving the trunk? What is inside it? And just how is Molly involved?

As I said, Peter and the Starcatchers was a lovely read - both funny and moving in equal parts. Young Peter and the others were true enough to their original counterparts to be a faithful retelling, yet fresh enough to be of interest. There were times that I felt the story to be a little on the long side - at over 400 pages, it is rather long for the start of a children's trilogy - yet despite this, there was no real dragging of the story.

My only real issue ith teh book - and it was an extremely light one at that - was that the almost ultra-realistic tone of teh start led me to beleive that it was going to be a realistic reinterpretation of the book. It's magical elements returned quickly and, while executed well, I thought it would have been interesting to have it go down the other route.

A wonderful read for lovers of Peter Pan and new readers like. 4/5

Other Reviews
Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!