Genre: YA Science Fiction/Adventure.
First Sentence: "Otto woke with a start as the whole world seemed to tip beneath him."
Summary: Otto is an extremely conniving 13-year-old boy with a photographic memory. After pulling a rather public stunt that embarrasses a very powerful man, he is recruited to H.I.V.E., the Higher Institute of Villainous Education. At H.I.V.E., Otto and his fellow classmates learn how to become Evil, taking classes about world domination and doomsday devices. But after a while, Otto comes to realize that the school is more like a prison, and he decides that he and his friends need to escape.
Review: What's not to like about Evil? I have personally always been a fan of the "dark side." I love Draco Malfoy, Cersei Lannister, and Loki. The bad guys are always so much more interesting than the good guys, in my opinion. So of course I was very excited to read this book.
The plot is great. Otto and his friends are invited to attend H.I.V.E. for six years, learning how to dominate the world. But instead of being thrilled at the opportunity, Otto and his friends decide that they want to escape from the school and return to their previous lives. Don't get me wrong - they're all about Evil, and they're very good at what they do. They just don't like being told what to do. (Fight the man, man.) So yes, it was fast paced and fun. And very clever, with all the references to Evil-doing. I very much enjoyed reading about their classes and homework. Walden included a lot of the standard villain tropes, which I enjoyed picking out.
What I did not find so great was the writing. This is the author's debut novel, and it really shows in my opinion. Some of the characters were very one-dimensional and stereotypical (like the fat Germany boy who said "Ja" all the freaking time). The book also jumped around to different points of view a lot. It would be one thing if every big break or chapter was about a different character, but I would often get different characters' perspectives within a paragraph or two of each other. It was a very jarring experience.
Overall, though, I found it to be just a fun read. While the book ended on a rather cliched cliffhanger, I will probably still read the rest of the series.
tl;dr: Kids go to Evil School, but then want to leave. Fun read, amateur writing.
Haha, this is fantastic. I love the look on Tyrion's face. It's perfect.
- H.I.V.E., Mark Walden
I lol'd. Unfortunately, I'm not 100% sold on the book, yet. Hoping things start to pick up here soon.
Genre: YA Fantasy.
First Sentence: "At dusk, the enemy lit their campfires one by one, in greater profusion than on any night before."
Summary: It has been a few years since Nathaniel and Bartimaeus last met, and since then, Nathaniel has made a name for himself in the British government. He has been tasked with putting a stop to the Resistance, a rebel group that has been embarrassing the government with their raids and attacks on the magicians. Although Nathaniel had promised Bartimaeus he would never summon the djinni again, Nathaniel finds himself in need of a competent demon in a hurry, and the only one that comes to mind is Bartimaeus.
Review: While I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem's Eye did not live up to my expectations. Nathaniel is 14, and is going through an awkward stage in his life. This teenage angst combined with the fact that he has lost sight of his morals while moving up in the government made him a rather annoying character to read. While the chapters that were told from his point of view were interesting, that was more due to what was happening to Nathaniel, as opposed to how he reacted to the events.
I was also hoping for more camaraderie between the characters. Nathaniel and Bartimaeus bicker quite a bit, just as in the last book, but they didn't exhibit a lot of team work while trying to bring down the Resistance. The one character interaction I was interested in (Kitty and Bartimaeus) was too brief and located at the end of the book. The relationship those characters had was what I wanted to see between Nathaniel and Bartimaeus.
Some people will probably say, yes, Anna, that's the point of this novel, and perhaps the third one will be about them all coming together and growing up and sticking to their ideals. Well, whatever. It was too much of a drag for me, personally, which is a shame because I thought the first book was pretty fab.
The plot was great, but dragged on a bit at the beginning. Altogether, not a terrible book, but definitely a let down.
tl;dr: Magicians, demons, a rebellion, and angst.
Just a test post until I figure out how this whole thang works.