Thursday, December 8, 2016

Guest Post!
Carter Shuck, one of our fabulous MMS students has graciously written a guest review for us!

Carter is reviewing one of his favorite reads from our library

Magyk (Septimus Heap, #1) Magyk by Angie Sage

Sudden spells cast into the night.
A thunderflash the light is blinding.
The shockwaves knock me down, and the noise breaks the quiet of the night.
An assassin cremated with only a thought, run! Flee! Save the princess!

This is only a part of the awesome book Septimus Heap book 1 Magyk. In my personal opinion Septimus Heap is a very good read for people who are at a medium level with their reading it is a book that looks very short but is actually very well put together and it is also a very good read.

The book is very detailed and every detail has a place in the story but is still very whimsical with hidden jokes and enhanced humor that is hard to understand if you haven’t been interpreting everything you read and going over confusing details the book is definitely interesting and wears its heart on its sleeve in regard that it has clear emotions, themes, and details.

Now for a short description of the book: a wizard family has born a seventh son of a seventh son and he has died at birth but the details of the death are mysterious and now there is a plot to kill the queen and her daughter the princess with twists and turns it follows the life of the heap family and the princess closely.

To summarize it is a good book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes 

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Really enjoyed this one! Great YA choice, even for adult readers. A little bit more of a mature read, due to the honest portrayal of the cost of human trafficking...but nothing I'd hesitate to recommend to most of our upper Middle School students.

Six of Crows is set in the same world as Bardugo's earlier Grisha series...a very Russian-esque world. Only this is more of a Victorian-era setting (think Oliver Twist).

The pacing was brisk, the action was taut, and the dialogue was very witty. There is a heist (oh, how I LOVE a well-planned heist that goes all kinds of sideways!!!) There is a revenge plot as well (love those too!). There are deeply flawed characters, but they are all multidimensional so no one is perfect and no one is a total villain.

The romance was there, but it was more of an undercurrent. It was there, providing motivation for characters' actions...and I loved watching the characters begin to realize how their feelings were unfolding. No one spent chapters making cow eyes at each other, and none of the characters compromised who they were as a person, to impress someone else...

I loved the diversity of the characters. You have several characters that have experienced some deep trauma, that shapes how they relate to the world and to other people within the story; but they are survivors, and while their trauma influences doesn't define them as victims. 

I loved that there were female friendships portrayed here. That is something you almost NEVER see in SciFi/Fantasy. The interactions between Inej and Nina and between them and the rest of the crew felt very authentic. I liked that they were both very strong young women; but not the bitter, overcompensating alpha-female trope. They just felt...very real.

I loved the point of view shifts, so that you got a deeper perspective into each character. I know for some of my students, this will be the first time they experience a novel with multiple POV...but I would encourage them to stick with it! The story continues in a straight line (it doesn't go back and re-tell the story over when the POV changes!)

I can see real growth in Bardugo as an author. I enjoyed her earlier series, but this just felt more polished and the pacing was much tighter, the characters much stronger.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mistborn Book One, The Final Empire

Why did I wait so long to read this???

Oh, yes! Believe the hype! This was a fabulous, totally immersive novel! The world-building is firmly established by the end of the prologue...but not with lots of heavy background dumping. No, you are stirring up trouble with Kelsier in the skaa camps (don't worry, you'll totally get it by page 5). Then just as quickly, you are hiding in a thieves lair with Vin...and boom, the stage is set.

Luthadel lies at the center of a post-apocalyptic world controlled by an evil overlord who claims to be a god. Kelsier and his crew launch an insane plot restore a broken world. There are spies, thieving gangs, fight scenes that rival the best martial arts movies, and a hint of romance for good measure! 

Mistborn is fast-paced, and Sanderson is a very direct writer (you won't have five page descriptions of meals and dresses or lengthy atmospheric passages introducing you to different types of silences), but is still incredibly effective at making you feel as if you are really  there. This makes it a good choice for recommending to teen readers...Language is very minimal, there are some violent, bloody passages, but I'd say it's PG-13.

This will claim a well deserved spot on my all-time-favorites shelf!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Welcome fellow book lovers! We're blogging to share our love of YA and Middle Grade books at Mexico Middle School! Over the coming months, I'll be blogging some reviews of books in our library that I'm crazy-excited about. I will also welcome student and staff Guest Contributors to share reviews on our blog!