Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

The GiverSource: Purchased
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Series: The Giver Quartet #1
Edition: Paperback, 240 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Purchase:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

The Giver is one of those books I’ve heard about for years but avoided because everyone insisted that I needed to read it. (Seriously, that’s the best way to make sure I don’t ever pick up a book or watch a movie). It’s not that I was actively avoiding it, it just became one of those “I know I’ll enjoy it so I’ll put it off till later” kind of things. I watched the movie and had the strong desire to try out the book and see what they changed. The answer is a lot, but that’s not a bad thing because the book is vague in a lot of areas that the movie gives clarity.

It lost a star due to that vagueness, which I think would have worked for me if I had read it well before I started reading Dystopians all the time, but in a world where backstory has become a necessity for me I found myself with a ton of questions and almost no answers. So this is definitely on that I’ll be reading the next books to see if anything is fleshed out.

I loved the concept of their society and the extreme lengths they’ve gone through to make sure everyone is the same as everyone else. It was even better to see Jonas become more and more self aware, as well as notice things he’s seen his whole life in a completely different light. I liked that the memories were some tangible and could be passed on, but I kind of confused on the how. Jonas was a likeable character but it’s safe to say we know just as much about him as he does, which isn’t a lot given the situation.

Though I rarely ever say this I actually appreciated  watching the movie first, because those things that I had so many questions about in the book had a bit of an explanation in the film.I didn’t agree with the changes they made in Jonas’ friends but given that a movie would be boring with such loose attachment like they have in the book it’s understandable.

Overall it’s a quick and addicting read that sucked me in and refused to let me go until I finished it. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next three books!

4 stars

Review: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

A Clash of KingsSource: Purchased
Publisher: Bantam
Series: Song of Ice and Fire #2
Edition: Paperback, 1009 Pages
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Purchase:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4.5/5

In this eagerly awaited sequel to A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin has created a work of unsurpassed vision, power, and imagination. A Clash of Kings transports us to a world of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare unlike any you have ever experienced.

A comet the colour of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk at night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

Audacious, inventive, brilliantly imagined, A Clash of Kings is a novel of dazzling beauty and boundless enchantment—a tale of pure excitement you will never forget.

Oh George what have you done to me?! You have made me fall in love with new characters and wish horrible (intensely painful) deaths on other characters…you have me forming attachments to people I know are going to die. Not to mention the fact that you have me committed to a series that has books big enough to render a man unconscious if wielded as a weapon.

This would have been a perfect five like the first book but there were two problems with this one and their names are: Catelyn Stark and Theon Greyjoy. Their chapters were torture on my poor eyes. Mind you it wasn’t because it was poorly written, if anything it was written better than other chapters because of how much I hated these two. Catelyn says awful stuff and feels she justified because her family is broken. Theon can’t keep it in his pants. If it didn’t have the names of the characters at the top of the chapter I’d be able to point his chapters out without having to read more than a few lines because he always seems to be having sex with someone.

Those two aside this was just as good, if not better than the first book. Everything is brewing at a quick pace and things are almost always heated, but believe it or not if I literal clash of kings isn’t enough for you then you’ll be happy to know things are getting even worse. Tyrion, Dany, and Arya remain my favorite characters and chapters to read. Jon’s chapters are pretty good too, but Jon has a knack for being foolish. This does have a slow build toward the middle as the different Kings start their advances for the throne, but once things get started it becomes hard to put down. The chapters that offered insight on Stannis were really good too…and that Red Lady is the stuff of nightmares.

I’m so ready to see what happens in book three. Does Dany finally get to cross the Narrow Sea? Does Tyrion get to slap Joffery again? Does anyone get to slap Joffery again? Do the dragons get to eat people? I must know!

4.5 Stars