Thursday, 19 August 2010

Three Mini Reviews

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Publisher: Harcourt
Released: February 1st 2009
My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction. (from Goodreads)
I know I'm in the minority here, but Jessica's Guide failed to really impress me. It started off promising; I thought Jessica was pretty witty, and it was funny to read about her spurning Lucius' advances. But I felt as the book progressed, she got a little predictable and slightly annoying, and her character just fell flat for me. Lucius also started off with a good sense of humour, and I enjoyed his initial interaction with Jessica, but again, as the book progressed he became less funny and the plot became more melodramatic; with both characters doing crazy things, desperate to protect each other. I just thought some parts were quite cliche and over the top, and I couldn't get into the story. I found myself not really caring what happened at the end because both characters were getting on my nerves. The relationship progressed unrealistically for me, from hate to love in a short period of time - from avoidance to willing to die for one another in a matter of a few weeks. I don't know, maybe I read it too quickly, but it didn't work for me. However, that being said, I did read the book in one go, only putting it down once, and it did keep me entertained. The writing was quite engrossing, and I did want to keep reading despite the fact that I didn't exactly love the characters. I think fans of Twilight and the House of Night series will probably enjoy this book.

Glee: The Beginning by Sophia Lowell
Publisher: Headline
Released: August 5th 2010
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Calling all Gleeks!

Get more of your favourite characters in this official Glee prequel!

All great performances deserve a warm-up! Enroll early at McKinley High--before New Directions was even a glimmer in Mr. Schuester's eye. When did Rachel first decide Finn was more than just a jock? When did Puck and Quinn start their secret romance? And how did the fledgling Glee Club function without a fearless leader? Hint: It wasn't exactly a perfect melody.

Break out the gold stars and refill the slushies: It's time to find out what happened to all your favorite characters before the show-mance began. (from Goodreads)

Glee: The Beginning is a short, fun read chronicling the events of McKinley High before Mr Schuester takes over Glee Club. I really liked this book because we get to learn more about our favourite characters from the TV series. Every wondered why Rachel is so determined? How long Kurt and Mercedes have been friends? How Puck really feels about Quinn? All these questions and more are answered in this prequel, and we get to see Glee Club at its first stages; where confidence is practically non-existent and motivation is just a ten letter word. It’s also great to see how the Glee Club start to improve and the members start to believe in themselves, and how Rachel begins to see Finn in a new light. We get to discover more about each main character in the series, helping us to understand why they do the things they do. In conclusion, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something quick and enjoyable, and for all Glee fans, this is a must read!
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: First published 1995, this edition published May 6th 2003
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Who will guard the living when the dead arise? Sabriel is sent as a child across the Wall to the safety of a school in Ancelstierre. Away from magic; away from the Dead. After receiving a cryptic message from her father, 18-year-old Sabriel leaves her ordinary school and returns across the Wall into the Old Kingdom. Fraught with peril and deadly trickery, her journey takes her to a world filled with parasitical spirits, Mordicants, and Shadow Hands -- for her father is none other than The Abhorson. His task is to lay the disturbed dead back to rest. This obliges him -- and now Sabriel, who has taken on her father's title and duties -- to slip over the border into the icy river of Death, sometimes battling the evil forces that lurk there, waiting for an opportunity to escape into the realm of the living. Desperate to find her father, and grimly determined to help save the Old Kingdom from destruction by the horrible forces of the evil undead, Sabriel endures almost impossible challenges whilst discovering her own supernatural abilities -- and her destiny. (from Goodreads)

Sabriel is, and there are no other words for it, an epic fantasy. Everything you'd expect to be in a great fantasy novel is in this book, lots of magic, other-worldly places, strong characters, great description - everything. I actually didn't think I'd like it this much, but that's me proved wrong, because I can safely say this book is very, very good. Sabriel is a great heroine; she (begrudgingly) accepts her responsibilities and does everything she can to find her father. Mogget is probably my favourite character, he's a cat that always appears to be unconcerned and he adds a lot of humour, and often sarcasm, to the book. However, there are some pretty dark tones to Sabriel, and some parts are pretty creepy. It's not for the faint-hearted. In conclusion, if you're a fan of fantasy, then you have to read this book.


  1. i really should read sabriel. i see it every time i go to the library - i'm more of a contemporary girl, but i've heard awesome things about it (and it's by an Australian!)

    nice reviews. i read fantaskey's other book (jekel loves hyde) and it really wasnt my thing, so i dont think i'll try jessica's guide :)

  2. I thought the same thing about Sabriel. I don't usually like things set in old time periods, but then I decided just to read it anyway and I really liked it! And Garth Nix is awesome :P.

  3. I HEART Sabriel. One of my favourite series ever. Shame about Jessica though. I have it to read on my kindle, but haven't gotten around to it as yet.


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