October 2015 Wrap-Up

Reading

In October I didn’t have much time to read, so I only read four books. Two were middle grade, one was either middle grade or young adult depending on how you define the audiences, and one was adult. Of those three were fantasy and one was science fiction.

Short Synopsis: Book two in the Magistarium series. To learn more read my review of book one here.

Thoughts: For some reason the plot twist this series centers around is one I can’t seem to get enough of. This book was a lot of fun.

Rating:

 4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: When her underground home is destroyed Eva Nine finds herself surrounded by creatures she hadn’t even known existed.

Thoughts: Read this book thinking it would make a nice comparison title for the writing project I’m working on this November. I was right. The artwork is also stunning.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: Fifth book in the Mistborn series, and second book in the Alloy Era of Mistborn. Read my review of the first book of the original trilogy, Mistborn: The Final Empire, here to learn more about Mistborn.

Thoughts: I liked Alloy of Law, but not nearly as much as the original trilogy. I think part of that had to do with the stakes being so much lower. In this book the stakes were raised, and I was much more invested in the story from the beginning onward.

Rating: 

five blue jays

Short Synopsis: When Magnus Chase dies on his sixteenth birthday he discovers his life is far from over.

Thoughts: This book was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t completely blown away.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Writing

I’m now finished with my rewrite of the first third of my high fantasy work in progress. Part one ended up being exactly 21,461 words long. My target for part one was 20,000 words, and I almost never go over my target length even though I often want to so this is great.

I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month for November and (as it is November while I am writing this post) am working on a middle grade sci-fi project about a twelve-year-old girl who thinks she is a robot.

Blogging

Yes, I am well aware that I am still terribly behind on my tags. I really do appreciate it when people tag me, it’s just hard to find the motivation to write up tag posts sometimes. I’m also terribly behind on my reviews as well. Hopefully I’ll get around to posting more in the next few months.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare Review: 4 Stars

20578940Title: The Iron Trial

Authors: Holly Black, Cassandra Clare

Publication date: September 9, 2014

Genre: Middle Grade Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: Most children will do anything to get into magic school. Not twelve-year-old Call, he wants to fail. Call grew up being told mages and magic were evil and the cause of his mother’s death. The last thing Call wants to hear is that he has an affinity for magic. Call does everything in his power to fail the Iron Trial, the test to get into magic trial, and he does. Call has the lowest score in the Trial’s history.

When it is determined Call failed on purpose he is forced to go to magic school anyway. There Call will discover the truth about his past. The real reason his mother was found dead next to a message that read “kill the child” all those years before.

Review: I have been reading many classics lately and am planning to start more soon, but I really needed to read something light and fun before reading another. This book was what I was looking for.

Most middle grade novels I read I find predictable, but not so with this book. I had always thought a somewhat predictable plot was necessary for middle grade novels so I am interested to learn more about how this book was received by its intended audience.

Call is a bit of an antihero. This is something I haven’t seen before in the middle grade novels I’ve read. Call still has many redeeming qualities the reader can sympathize with including his loyalty to his friends, and love of animals, especially one animal in particular. I don’t have entirely positive comments about Call. Sometimes his decisions seemed illogical as though he was acting purely to move the plot further, but for the most part this was something I was able to overlook.

I feel that in most middle grade novels Call’s friend Aaron would be the main character. His personalty and back story as an orphan is more like what I have come to expect from a middle grade protagonist.

I have heard a lot of comparisons between this book and Harry Potter, and throughout the book I was reminded of that series, but I feel J. K. Rowling’s world building was more complex and thought out than the world building in this book. While I do feel that this book was inspired by Harry Potter it was different enough that I don’t feel there are any plagiarism issues.

What readers should know: Most of the violence is confined to the prologue, and even there the story starts after the battle was fought and all the reader sees is what remains afterwards. One secondary character does die, but this death isn’t extremely detailed or emotionally impactful.

Rating: I give this book 4 out of 5 for an interesting plot twist and an entertaining story. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a light, quick read who doesn’t mind the resemblance to Harry Potter.

4 blue jays