Review: Steelheart

Steelheart Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun, yet juvenile, action-adventure romp. I never developed any kind of empathy with the characters. David, our narrator, is 18 but reads more like 13. Cody is that irritating guy at the party who is always "on". Each of the characters is a cliche, but with the volume turned up. I would have loved to see some depth or intrigue to these folks, but that may be asking too much from a YA title. Speaking of YA, I am going to highly recommend this book to my 11 year old. I think he would love it. It is fast paced and full of action with big heroes and bigger villains. There are a few moral dilemmas that are lightly touched on, but they do not bog down the story in such a way that a young reader might be put off.

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Review: Animal Farm

Animal Farm Animal Farm by George Orwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A timeless tale of the corrupting power of power. This is clearly an allegory to the Bolshevik Revolution, but I think it could be applied equally well to many situations where one subjugator is usurped by another. The pigs succeed in achieving and maintaining their power by controlling the information permitted to the 'lower animals'. It is an excellent reminder that we must always be wary when we allow others to lead us.

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Review: The Other Side of Dawn

The Other Side of Dawn The Other Side of Dawn by John Marsden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The conclusion of the Tomorrow series is fully of action set pieces and closure for our pack of war torn teens. Ellie and her crew are met by a kiwi facilitator who provides them with the tools they will need to turn their mischief up to 11.

I enjoyed seeing how the tale wound down, but I also get the sense that the author was hesitant to inject real grit into the story that could have made it that much better. Perhaps it is due to the YA target audience that the atrocities that Ellie is exposed to are given a soft focus. Perhaps, as this tale is told by Ellie as she collects her notes from the war, the author is simply emulating what he believes she would decide to note, and what she would decide to omit. In the end, I'm left feeling an absence of texture from the story, and I think it keeps me from truly feeling like I've walked in their shoes.

That all said, this entire series has been fun, light reading. It could easily be turned into a sort of television series. If you've enjoyed The Hunger Games series, you might enjoy this one as well.

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Jade Mason