callistahogan: (Books)
Hmm. Lately I seem to be finishing two books at a time. My last two books are short, though, so it's not that hard to imagine. And, suiting the books, my reviews are shorter than usual, just because I'm having a bit of trouble concentrating today. But hopefully they're still coherent!

Currently Reading:
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren
callistahogan: (Default)
Book: The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Science fiction
Length: 619 pp.
Grade: A

Amazon Summary: Stephenie Meyer, creator of the phenomenal teen-vamp Twilight series, takes paranormal romance into alien territory in her first adult novel. Those wary of sci-fi or teen angst will be pleasantly surprised by this mature and imaginative thriller, propelled by equal parts action and emotion. A species of altruistic parasites has peacefully assumed control of the minds and bodies of most humans, but feisty Melanie Stryder won't surrender her mind to the alien soul called Wanderer. Overwhelmed by Melanie's memories of fellow resistor Jared, Wanderer yields to her body's longing and sets off into the desert to find him. Likely the first love triangle involving just two bodies, it's unabashedly romantic, and the characters (human and alien) genuinely endearing. Readers intrigued by this familiar-yet-alien world will gleefully note that the story's end leaves the door open for a sequel—or another series.

My Thoughts: I didn't believe that I could like Stephenie Meyer more than I already did after Breaking Dawn, but after reading this book, I see that I was wrong. Now Meyer has sky-rocketed to my top five favorite authors list, and I am looking forward to reading every single book she comes out with. The Host truly is science fiction for non-science fiction fans. Before reading this book, I wasn't quite sure about the science fiction genre, but this book really brought it to life for me.

I had originally wanted to read this book a few months ago after coming across it being talked about in school, but didn't get around to requesting it from my local library until July or so. And, of course, it took until now for my library to get a copy in again. During that time, I heard so many great things about this book and, frankly, I wondered if it could live up to the praise. After all, it seemed to have everything, and I know for a fact that no book is perfect. However, as soon as I started reading it, I knew all the praise was well-deserved.

From the very first page I was hooked, although it was a bit hard to get into. Once I got past the first few chapters, however, I couldn't put it down. Although it wasn't the fast-paced, good-versus-evil novel that I was expecting, it was still a marvelous story. It combines action, romance, intrigue, and conflict in a way that makes you ask the question: "What makes humans... human? What does it truly mean to be human?" I was skeptical of the book's power to do that at first, but it truly does. 

At the beginning of the book, I immediately liked the "souls," especially Wanderer. The rest of the souls can't seem to comprehend what they're doing, but Wanderer does—or at least she does by the end of the book. She really grows as a character, from a soul who just wants to smother her resistant host, Melanie Stryder, to someone who would actually want to give herself up in order for Melanie to have the life she had before. It really strikes me the way Stephenie made me adore Wanderer. Instead of hating her and her kind for "invading" our planet, I came to really like her. 

In fact, I liked the rest of the characters, even the souls. Probably the reason why I do is because... well, they think what they're doing is for the greater good. Commonly, they don't know how to comprehend that what they're doing might not really be the best and, as such, they can't stop. Also, that makes me feel pity for them, rather than hating them. In a way, the souls have it right, but then, the humans have it right. The dynamic between soul and human was masterfully written so that you can't side with one or the other. Or at least I could not.

And the humans. Jeb, Ian, Jared, Jamie, Melanie, even Kyle... I couldn't help loving every single one of them. The love triangle (square?) between Melanie, Jared, Ian, and Wanda couldn't have been written better. In the Twilight series, I ended up despising one of the characters in two of the books, but in this book, I loved both of them. And it all worked out in the end, which made me love them even more.

Wow, I can't even explain how much I liked this book. To me, it was Stephenie Meyer at her finest. I thought I liked Breaking Dawn the most out of all her books, but I think The Host just knocked it out of its first place spot. Like Ridley Pearson said on the back of the book, this is "a fantastic, inventive, thoughtful, and powerful novel. The Host should come with a warning label: it will grab you and keep you reading well into the wee hours of the night, and keep you thinking, deeply, hauntingly, well after the final word." 

I tend to gush about books I like as much as The Host, just because it was so gripping and thought-provoking. It's books like this that make me want to shove the book into everyone's hands and get them to read it. It's for more than science fiction fans; to me, it's for everyone.

So, highly recommended, as you can see. If you haven't already, go out and read this book. You won't regret it, I'm sure.

Next Up:
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Maybe I'll actually be able to finish it this time...
callistahogan: (Default)

I know, I know, two posts in a day spams the friend-lists, but I just finished the second book of the Planet Pirates trilogy, and I had to do a book review on it.

Book: Sassinak, Anne McCaffrey
Genre: Science fiction
Length: 280 pp., according to my version
Grade: B

Barnes and Noble Summary: Sassinak was 12 when the raiders came. That made her just the right age: old enough to be used, young enough to be broken. Or so the slavers thought. But Sassy turned out to be a little different . . . and bided her time to become the fleet captain of a pirate-chasing ship of her own. 

My Thoughts: I'm not sure what my opinion of this book is, frankly. It was written well enough, it had enough action, some suspense, some character development... but something was missing. I'm not sure what it was, but the book just didn't grab my attention the way it should. 

Sassinak was the only character that was really developed and, honestly, her character didn't appeal to me. She seemed a bit like a Mary-Sue, and her character development wasn't all that intriguing. The description in the book says that she was "different," but I didn't get that... different-ness in the book itself, if that makes sense. It was said, but it just didn't seem believable to me.

However, through all that, I enjoyed reading the book. I only had one favorite part that really made me want to read on, so I probably wouldn't reread this anytime soon. I'm still going to read Generation Warriors, but only because I don't want to leave the series when I've already read two of the three.

So, all in all, it was a fairly good book, and I might pick it up again sometime.

ETA: Finished Generation Warriors, but didn't think I should do another post just for that particular book.

Book: Generation Warriors, Anne McCaffrey
Genre: Science fiction
Length: 207 pp., in my version
Grade: C

Barnes and Noble Summary: Lunzie, fresh from her adventures in The Death of Sleep, has discovered that the one good heavyworlder she ever met isn't so good after all...

Fordeliton, sent off to investigate the connection between the super-rich and the planet pirates, is now dying of a mysterious slow poision. His aunt's spiritual advisor wants to give him her "special cure."

Dupaynil, having made the mistake of pushing Sassinak too far, has been exiled to Seti space aboard a tiny escort vessel--where he's discovered that the crew are in the pay of planet pirates...

Aygar, the idealistic young Iretan, is out to prove he has brains as well as heavyworlder brawn... but there are plenty who'd like to blow them out before he can learn to use them.

Then there's Sassinak, ordered to report to FedCentral for the trial of the mutineer Tanegli. She'd been told to disarm her ship when it enters restricted space; she'd been told her crew can't have liberty or leave; and she'd been told to follow all the rules. You remember Sassinak...the only person who might be able to stop the disaster ahead has never been one to follow the rules...

My Thoughts: I think my reaction of "FINALLY!" once I reached the last page says it all, really.

Don't get me wrong, the book was well-written, but it wasn't just for me. I found myself skimming past the last one hundred pages or so just to get done with it, and ended up yelling at the book because I wanted it to be over already. My favorite parts were with Fordeliton and Dupaynil, as well as some scenes with Lunzie. Sassinak gets on my nerves, even though I have no clue why, and I just... really didn't like the book.

However, that's a matter of personal taste--it's written well enough, but it definitely wasn't for me.

Next Up: Liberal Fascism, by Jonah Goldberg

callistahogan: (Default)

Title: Death of Sleep, Anne McCaffrey.
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 302 pp.
Rating: B+

Summary: YA-- Like Dan Davis in Heinlein's Door into Summer (Ballantine, 1986), Lunzie Mespil is a victim of cryogenic sleep and future shock. On three separate occasions following a deep-space disaster, she is placed in suspended animation totaling almost 90 years while awaiting rescue. Like Ripley in the film Aliens , she has lost not just her friends and loved ones, but everything familiar to her. Her story is a study of struggle against adversity as she tries to put her life back together. Because her medical knowledge is obsolete, Lunzie returns to school and becomes the medical officer on an exploratory vessel for the Federation of Sentient Planets. While routinely surveying the prehistoric life of the planet Ireta, she is caught in the middle of a violent racial mutiny. While not as strong a book as The Ship Who Sang (Ballantine, 1976) or most of the "Pern'' novels, McCaffrey has created a feisty, likable character in Lunzie Mespil. -- Barnes and Noble

My Thoughts: This is the first book in the Planet Pirates trilogy and, so far, it looks to be fairly promising. Since I probably won't read the Pern series, since [info]mercuryblue144 pointed out that it entails something that I don't agree with, I wanted to read something by Anne McCaffrey, and this caught my eye--probably because we're studying planets and such in my Science class.

This was fairly well-written, and I liked the character of Lunzie Mespil a lot. McCaffrey really made me feel for the character--I can't even imagine what it would be like if I was in her place. I certainly wouldn't be as strong as she was. She seemed like a real character despite her strongness, and she seems to have a presence in the book unlike any other character I've read, really. That's probably because it doesn't fall into the typical "you end up with the first person you're attracted to and grow dependent on them" nor does it have the stereotypical family-support system. She's essentially on her own, although she meets a lot of life forms on her journey (I can't say people, because most of them aren't human... at least in the traditional sense) and forms friendships with them.

The only flaw in this book is that it seemed to get into all the different technology that is around in the 2800s too much, but that's necessary or else we won't get the story. I'm reading this trilogy in one long three-in-one book, so I'll probably have another book review tomorrow (or even today). Like I said, this series looks promising, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

So, off to read Sassinak...


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