Monday, October 17, 2011

"The Power of Six" by Pittacus Lore

406 pages

This sequel to "I Am Number Four" picks up right where the first book left off. John, Sam, and Number Six are on the run, wanted for murder in the wake of the destruction they left behind in Ohio when they fought the Mogadorians. John feels lost without Henri, but Number Six has been on her own for a while and she begins to show the boys the ropes, which includes intense combat training to prepare them for future battles. Meanwhile, in Spain, Number Seven--Marina--hides with her Cepan, Adelita, in a Catholic orphanage. She follows the events in Ohio through the Internet and realizes that John must be Number Four. She wants to join him to help, but she has a big problem. Not only does she not know how to find him, but Adelita seems to have given up. She wants nothing to do with the Loriens' war with the Mogadorians and would rather stay hidden with the nuns. When John, Six, and Marina open their Chests, it appears that the time has come for all the scattered members of the Garde to come together and unite.

I liked this book more than "I Am Number Four," which I didn't expect because I usually enjoy sequels less than their predecessors. I like that this story is told from two perspectives and that we are introduced to new characters but still keep up with the old ones. There's plenty of action but it's not confusing--I think the pace is just right. There are some big surprises that helped parts of the first book make sense and kept things interesting. One thing that I didn't like was the love triangle--two love triangles, in fact (is that a love square?). Those almost always get on my nerves because there are just so many of them in pop culture these days and they are often overdramatic. That was my only really big problem with this story, though. The ending left me dying for the next one to come out (unfortunately, the next book, "The Rise of Nine," is not expected until August 2012).

"Delirium" by Lauren Oliver

441 pages

Several generations before this story takes place, scientists and politicians decided that love is a disease that makes people heartbroken, irrational, and sad. It was believed that if love was wiped out, no one would suffer the pain that comes with losing a loved one. They developed a medical procedure that could remove peoples' capacity for loving others, but it can't be performed until the age of 18 or serious brain damage is likely to occur. Seventeen-year-old Lena is counting down the days until her procedure is performed so she can finally be "safe" from the threat of being infected with love. But when she meets Alex, a mysterious boy who makes her question everything about the society she's grown up in, from the destruction of love to the regulation of music to the government's practice of choosing everyone's occupation for them.

I have some friends who really liked this book and some who really didn't, so I wasn't sure what to expect. That put my expectations a little lower than average, trending toward the lower side since this seems like a really lovey-dovey book and I'm not usually a big fan of those. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, though. I really like the characters, especially Lena, Hana, and Gracie, and the dystopian world Oliver's got going on here is pretty interesting. The logic behind the government's policies sounds really bizarre at first, but when it's explained Isort of understand where it's coming from (of course, in no way am I saying it would be better that way!). The ending is totally not what I expected at all, and it's a nice cliffhanger for the second book in the series, "Pandemonium," which is expected to be published in March 2012. This book seems like a good introduction to dystopia for people who like romance or shy away from super-technical science fiction.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Forever" by Maggie Stiefvater

390 pages

This third and final book of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series picks up right where "Linger" left off: Sam is finally cured and no longer turns into a wolf...but Grace has accidentally become a werewolf herself. Sam is waiting for her to turn back into a human for the summer so they can figure out what do. Isabel and Cole are still not speaking to each other. Everything seems to be in limbo, but then the stakes are raised: another teenager is killed by the wolves, and Isabel's father starts an aggressive campaign to wipe them out. Sam, Cole, and Isabel don't have much time to find Grace and get the rest of the pack to safety.

I've felt sort of indifferent about the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. The wolves-and-humans love thing is a little out there to me and the characters seemed to fall flat in my opinion, but something made me keep reading. The ultimate ending was fairly predictable, but I wanted to see how it got there and there were some interesting twists along the way. When I'd finished the trilogy, I felt about the same as I did all along--it was entertaining, but I definitely won't read it again or even think much about it after this.