Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Am the Messenger

While I have nothing else to do, I figured I might as well do another book review. After all, I've spent about a month letting a small list accumulate of books that I've read. In fact, my Post-It note list of books I've read this year is sitting right by my bed as I speak.

Speaking of Post-It notes, they truly are more brilliant than I've ever given them credit for. I had my mom pick me up some from the store the other day and already I've found a need to use them for just about everything. I have six stuck to my wall on the side of my bed right now with notes about the different characters and plot ideas from Memories of a Star. I realized that for as well as I think I know my main characters, Morgan and Altair continue to surprise me. I also realized after rereading Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever (which, I will review eventually) that I needed to develop my other characters a bit more. For the most part Altair's family (all 8 of the children and his parents) are pretty well developed. It was just Morgan's family that I really needed to work on.

I have also decided to restart my writing for about the millionth time (okay only the 3rd). I really like everything I have in my current version, and so most of it will probably find its way into whatever I write next, but I realized that I wanted the relationship between Morgan and Altair to begin a little bit differently. I had always known that they originally didn't get along very well, but I had yet to actually show that in my book so that's what I am attempting to do now. I'm probably just making things worse for myself by not finishing what I start, but I couldn't keep writing knowing that I needed to make such a big change in my books.

Anyways, here's the book review I promised.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak has been an author I've been meaning to check out for sometime, but didn't until I borrowed this book from the library, and I'm certainly glad I did.

I Am the Messenger is the story of Ed Kennedy. Ed is an ordinary 19-year-old taxi driver who spends his nights playing cards with his best friends.

Until the day he is caught in the middle of a bank robbery. When the entire ordeal is over, Ed receives a card in the mail. Not just any card, but the Ace of Spades. With this card and the ones that follow Ed must help others who need it, all the while not knowing who he is working for.

I'll admit, the premise of the story as I've described it sounds slightly strange, and perhaps a little more mystery-esque than it really is, but trust me when I say that this book is a must read. Perhaps its because Ed is such an ordinary character that his story is so interesting. All I know is that I was thoroughly intrigued whenever Ed went looking for the next person on the list of mysterious addresses that came with each card. Plus the ending to the story was really interesting/unexpected.

Definitely one of the best books I've read in awhile.

Rating: 9.2/10

Friday, March 5, 2010

Book Reviews etc.

You know, at one point in my life, I made deadlines. Really, I did. Back when I still did my newsletters on Fridays, Josh on another day and Brad on a third day. Ever since junior year started however, this has seemed to go right out the drain. AP US History may very well kill me. This week alone we had 2 outlines do and 3 documents to analyze. Not to mention the million other things I have to do in my spare time (the little time that that is)

Ahh well, I promised you (whoever you are- for all I know, its only me reading what I'm writing) book reviews. Though the main reason I'm doing this, even though I read these books weeks ago, is because I promised myself that I would review every book I read this year (in my spare time- I don't think I'll review books read for school, not that we read any in Murphy's class)

So here goes nothing.

First off, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. There are 5 books in the entire series and I have bought and read all of them. I even went with my father to see the movie. For ease I'm just going to review the entire series as a whole.

The first thing you should know about these books is that they are for younger teens/older children. But that hasn't stopped them from being an interesting and worthwhile read.

Quick summary of the series:
Percy Jackson is a demi-god. His mother is human, his father, one of the Ancient Greek gods. When Percy's life is put into danger, he is brought to Camp Half-Blood, where other children of the gods spend their summers. The 5 books revolve around Percy and his close friends Annabeth and Grover and the various quests they go on. Although each book has its own storyline, there is a bigger storyline involving a prophecy that may or may not be about Percy, which comes to fruition in the 5th and final book.

I was a little skeptical when I first started these books. The main character is 12 in the first one (although he has aged to 16 by the final book) and I wasn't sure if the books were going to be good. They definitely were. The great thing about these books is that they are fast-paced and exciting. I loved the different characters, and through reading these books have learned a ton about the different Greek gods and goddesses. Not only this, but the author Rick Riordan, knows how to keep the reader interested. The series only manages to get better as it goes along, and the fifth book is the best.

I would recommend these books to anyone, as long as they realize that they might not be as long or as sophisticated as other books they've read. Also, Riordan has another new series involving I believe the Ancient Egyptian gods/goddesses coming out this summer and another planned series involving different demi-god characters at Camp Half-Blood.

Rating: (series as a whole) 8/10

Also, quickly I want to talk about the movie. The movie is Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. My opinion on the movie is slightly split. Although the cast is a little old to be playing 12-year-olds, I am actually a fan of who they cast for the different roles. Also the special effects are really cool. The only thing I didn't like about the movie was their need to change the plot. Its strange, the movie takes a different route than what happened in the first book, but essentially didn't change any of the meaning or screw things up for potential movie sequels. So although the plot did have a lot of changes, none of them hurt the actual storyline at all. I really did like the movie though so I'd give the movie a 7.8/10.

Next book review (I think I'll only do one more for today, but I have more to come)

Dear John, written by Nicholas Sparks

This was the first book by Nicholas Sparks that I've read, although I've seen both The Notebook and A Walk to Remember based off of his novels and enjoyed both of them (especially the latter). I had hoped that I would like this book a lot, just based off of that. Unfortunately, I didn't, at least not as much as I had hoped.

Dear John is the story of John and Savannah. John is a soldier in the army, when the story starts (prior to the 9/11 attacks). John meets Savannah at the beach, where she and others are staying, while they build a house for Habitat for Humanity. They fall in love but are separated when John has to go back to serve in the army.

While this story does a good job portraying what the life of a soldier might have been like, and the decisions they must have had to make regarding their lives and their families when 9/11 occurred, there wasn't much about this story that I really found that great. The romance between Savannah and John was nice, but short. The ending I found a little bit unexpected, although I actually did think it fit the story nicely. All in all, Dear John was an enjoyable read, but definitely not the greatest.

Rating: 6.8/10

Now, as I'm in the writing mood, I think I'm going to go work on my own story. I've recently decided that I need to make a few major changes to some of the character interaction between the main characters Morgan and Altair and slow down the pace of the story a little bit, so I think I will probably be restarting the story. Honestly this book has been in my head since the beginning of freshman year and I just want to finish it so badly. Unlike the many, many other stories that I have started, this is the first story where I know exactly how it is going to end. It is also the first story I've ever started that has a real title "Memories of a Star" and where I know most of the plot. Now I just have to get that plot down on paper, and make it good. Easier said than done.

Also a college student I know is trying to raise money for a film project he is working on (he's a film major, so he has experience) I've seen some of his stuff and its really good. His name is Mattson and the name of the project he's working on is Solomon Grundy. Check out this link here if you want to pledge money to help him fund this project or become a fan here on facebook-!/pages/Solomon-Grundy-Born-on-a-Monday/311568597447?ref=ts

Ok, well thanks for reading!