Review: Forest of Secrets (Warriors #3) by Erin Hunter

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We join up once more with Fireheart as he tries to get to the bottom of some clan drama, in specific the death of Redtail. He has risen in power within the clan, but there is still a lot of uncertainty as the Queen uses up almost all of her 9 lives, and Fireheart has to decide who he can trust.

While romance had never played much of a part in previous books, this time it was almost at the forefront. Not a bad thing, but I wasn’t expecting it. Not only is it romance, but it’s forbidden romance. It brings about some very important lessons but also made the book feel a bit more ‘adult’ in nature. Combine that with the violence between clans, murder, betrayal, and treachery, and I wonder what this book would be rated had it been written about humans instead of cats.

Even though the book is aimed at a younger audience, I enjoyed reading it this far. Some of the story resonated with me, especially the parts where no one believes Fireheart and his assumptions about the dangers that are going to befall the clan. It is difficult to know you are speaking the absolute truth, and yet not have people listen.

I did enjoy this book more than the previous one. It moved along at a steady pace and it was an enjoyable read. I haven’t decided if I’m going to continue on with the series or not, but that has more to do with the fact that I need a break from reading the same series.

3/5 stars

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Into the Wild – By Erin Hunter

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I’m not sure what enticed me to start reading this series. A few friends had been reading them with their kids, or their kids were interested with them. I think that combined with a great sale Amazon was having finally spurred me into action. Despite the fact that these books are written for kids around 8-10 years old, they deal with some tough subjects, and were a pleasant read.

There are four clans of cats that live side by side (separated by boundaries) in the forest. Close to these clans lives Rusty, a kittypet, owned by humans. One day he runs into the ThunderClan cats, and they invite him to join up – if he can prove himself a warrior. He has to overcome trials and tribulations while the clans are also overcoming trials and tribulations. He’s trained as a warrior, has to handle death, being made fun of for being a kittypet, and making new friends.

The book isn’t overly complex, but I did like the attention to detail that the author provides when describing life as a ThunderClan member. It’s easy to follow along, and because of the way the books are written you tend to forget that this is a clan of cats until something like grooming happens. I enjoyed the book enough to continue on with the series, and just recently learned that the name ‘Erin Hunter’ is a pseudonym for four people who are writing the novels together.

One thing that bothered me was that every single character in the book has a compound name. Lionheart, Bluestar, Tigerclaw.. you get the point. It made it difficult to figure out who was who and at the beginning all of the names just blurred together. Others have mentioned that the cats don’t actually behave anything like cats, but behave more like dogs (with bonding together, courage, etc) which I can agree with but I don’t think of these as actual cats living out in the woods, more like magical creatures on some alternate universe who are similar to what we perceive as cats. If you suspend some of that reality, it really is a pleasant read.

3/5 stars

 

Review: Lingering Echoes by Erica Kiefer

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I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review, my thanks to the publishers.

I’m not sure what sparked my interest in this book, I think it was a whim more than anything else. Perhaps the fact that it showed up listed in a NetGalley email which should say something for those types of promotions working at least.

Readers first learn about Allie Collins and her family through a lot of bickering between them all. She has been sent to her family’s summer cottage with a friend of hers, and her extended family. All her and her family does is fight. The cottage is the location of a pretty horrific accident that happened a previous year so it is no wonder that she doesn’t want to be there. She meets Damien while she’s there, but you’re introduced to him because of the way he keeps stalker Allie. Well, perhaps stalking is too harsh a word, he just ‘turns up’ wherever she is.

I had a really hard time believing any of the characters. It felt like they weren’t completely fleshed out, and their conversations and even actions felt lacking. When I first began reading the book it felt as though I had been thrust part way into some other novel without any real explanation on what was going on or why these people were acting and reacting the way they were.

In a very ‘Twilight-esc” way, Allie starts to get interested in ‘bad boy’ Damien. While there are glimmers of a strong female character in there, her actions constantly leave me frustrated. Try as I might I just could not get into the writing style or the story. Things do pick up later on, as you start to realize what’s going on and the mystery surrounding the main characters, but you have to read through a good portion of the book before that starts to happen.

One thing to keep in mind is that it is a young adult book. While the story is ‘romance’ at its core with some pretty heavy themes, the writing style is meant to appeal to a younger audience, and it shows. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just wasn’t the book for me.

2.5 / 5 stars

Review: Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, by David Barnett

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Reading this book reminded me of reading an older, golden age comic book – but not the kind full of heroes with wondrous powers. Instead, it conjured memories of The Phantom, The Lone Ranger, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In fact, many of the heroes we meet are of the famous (and infamous) variety.

While not always featured in the book, several characters are introduced that awaken your imagination of the era in which the story is set.

Bram Stoker (and Dracula). Jack the Ripper. Einstein’s father. Indiana Jones’ grandfather!

Together with the young protagonist Gideon Smith, a strong willed fisherman’s son, from a fishing village out in the sticks, the author weaves a quick-paced tale that reads like an old pulp fiction.

Its a fast paced tale that intertwines magic and steampunk themes, and it does it fairly well.

Gideon finds himself on a mission to find help from a renowned adventurer, Captain Lucian Trigger. Along the way he befriends allies and adventurers alike, learning about himself and what it means to be a hero.

Its a very quick read, but it was throughly enjoyable.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Thanks for reading!