Monday, January 16, 2012

book review: iron fey series by julie kagawa, the giver by lois lowry, and ordinary people by judith guest

My winter break has finally drawn to a close. Sad as it is, I look back fondly on it. In an attempt to recall the month, this post is dedicated to the one activity I've spent most of my time doing to fill my days:  reading.

When my break started, I declared, "I'm going to be busy this break! I have a strict reading schedule." Overall, I think I stuck to it. In little less than a month, I have completed 6 books! In chronological order, here they are with a brief synopsis, written by yours truly, and a short glimpse at my thoughts on the story.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

When Meghan Chase discovers that she is actually the daughter of King Oberon of the faery Summer Court, her best friend Robbie is Robin Goodfellow (aka Puck), and her mortal half-brother is exchanged for a nasty doppelganger faery, our heroine decides to enter the Shakespearean world of the Nevernever to fetch her brother. With an Iron Realm that threatens the existence of the Summer and Winter Courts, she takes more than she bargained for in the end as a love triangle between a star-crossed lover (Prince Ash of the Winter Court) and a best friend (Puck) arises.

I was intrigued by the cover of this book for awhile and had it on my radar. Not having extensive knowledge about A Midsummer Night's Dream or anything pertaining to the faery world, I dove in maybe not prepared but incredibly excited. Julie Kagawa happens to be a phenomenal writer, and her words are like butter. So smooth. So descript. A dark-twisted plot in the realm of faery left me hungry for more!

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase is dragged back into the Nevernever to appease the Winter sidhe Ash, who she's clearly in love with. When the Sceptor of the Seasons goes missing, the whole gang goes on a death chase trying to destroy the Iron Fey once and for all.

The second installment in Julia Kagawa's Iron Fey Series, The Iron Daughter is just as phenomenal as the first. A closer look at the Iron Court definitely was in need, as it was a new concept, and I thoroughly enjoyed the twists that it held. Ash controlled by a bug? Puck comes in to save the day? I definitely agree. Worth the read!

Ordinary People by Judith Guest

In the aftermath of the death of a son and brother, the Jarrett family, comprised of father Calvin, mother Beth, and son Conrad, deals with the trauma the death of Buck has inflicted upon the entire family. Conrad, who attempted suicide after Buck's death, tries to heal and figure out his role in the world. Calvin, the struggling father figure who longs for control and honesty, tries to make things the way they were and understand. Beth, the perfectionist caretaker, withdraws herself from the situation, upset about those who dwell on the past as she tries to move on.

I LOVE this book. The story is so rivetting, so life-like and real. The grief-process is nailed as well as two different points in life, as it is told in the perspective of Conrad and Cal back and forth. After reading it, I watched the movie starring Judd Hirsch, Timothy Hutton, Donald Sutherland, and Mary Tyler Moore. Amazing. They each performed out Guest's characters with such grace. I think this book is a purchase I'm willing to make, as well as a read that you should consider.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Soon-to-be 12-year-old Jonas lives in a society where the sex appeal is taken from everyone, everyone is assigned a job, and only certain people can do certain things. One job title, the Receiver, holds the emotions and memories from times past. When Jonas is given this responsibility, he learns of the injustice of the system. What will he do? Is his entire life a lie?

I read this book when I was in 4th grade, but I didn't really get the full effect. When I came across it on a top-banned sci-fi book list, I just had to read it again. It ended quite abruptly for my taste, but it's a wonderful story to get kids thinking about society and the things a society structure can force on its citizens. Moving and intriguing, it's more of a sprint than a marathon.

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

This last book in the series narrated by Meghan Chase ends with a bang. Banished from the Nevernever, Prince Ash and Meghan Chase learn of a war looming between the Winter, Summer, and Iron Courts. A false king has risen, forming a civil battle between the Iron Kingdom. Will Meghan Chase bring peace to the Nevernever?

I had to order this online as my local Barnes and Noble did not hold it. Nevertheless, the wait was great. Not only did I read the previous two books on this list, but my anticipation only grew. The Iron Fey Series was to be a trilogy before it became a four-book wonder. What a thrilling and fast-paced end to a phenomenal read. :) For those YA readers out there, I highly recommend it.

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

After being banished from the Iron Kingdom, the home of his beloved, Prince Ash of the Winter Court seeks to become immune to the threat iron holds over Winter and Summer faeries alike to rejoin his love interest, Meghan Chase. If that means traveling to the Testing Grounds, beyond the Ends of the World, he's fine with that. A couple new (and new-ish) characters join in on the journey in the final book of the Iron Fey Series.

This book was a bit slower moving than the others, but when the action hit, it hit hard, beautifully, and heart-wrenchingly (is that a word?). The last 100 pages are the perfect glimpse of Kagawa's prose. This finished out my winter reading boom with a bang!

Total # of pages read over break: 1866

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