Review of “Up in Smoke” by Pittacus Lore

Title: Up in Smoke
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: The Legacy Chronicles #3
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 185
Published: 2018, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 ships

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

This is the third 100-page novella, continuing the exciting story of fan favorite characters Six and Sam. Following their dangerous battle in the mountains of Montana, the couple has now been ripped apart.

Sam is imprisoned aboard a ship that’s miles off the coast of Mexico. His Legacies have been taken away from him. He doesn’t have any back-up. And if he can’t find a way to free himself soon, he’s going to become a lab experiment.

Although safely recovering at the Human Garde Academy, Six has had her abilities stripped as well. Ignoring everyone’s warnings, though, she decides to mount a rescue mission with the help of Nine and her young charge Nemo. But it’s three of them versus who knows how many teens with Legacies who may be working for their enemy….

Six and Sam may no longer have their powers, but does it mean they’re truly powerless?

 

MY REVIEW

Interesting to have a full novella following Six and Sam, but both completely powerless. It is still as action-packed, still as funny and still as realistic as these stories all are. I find it very easy to relate to all the characters and am so impressed with the author who manages to create so real characters, the things they sare feel real and so easy and so right according to all the different personalities. How does he do it? I basically only have written about one person so far in my own book and I find that hard to make her belieavable. It will be tough when all the other characters around her should be as alive.

I really like this world that Pittacus Lore has painted. But I have to admit that the original story, following the Garde on Earth, trying to run for their lives from the Mogadorians, is better. Now the Mogs are dead and the bad guys are rogue Human Garde (teenagers with newly-developed Legacies) being controlled by manipulative adults who are grumpy because they couldn’t get a Legacy themselves. It is a good way to keep the story goind, for sure. But it doesn’t get it all the way up to a 5, I stop at a 4.

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Review of “Mortal Coil” by Derek Landy

Title: Mortal Coil
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #45
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 604
Published: 2010, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 remnants

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Following the shocking revelations of DARK DAYS, get ready for the fifth instalment of the bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series — guaranteed to contain at least 40% humour, 50% action, and 100% thrills!

The blonde girl with the black lips turned to Valkyrie. ‘We know,’ she said. ‘We’ve seen the future. We know you’re going to kill the world!’

Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain are back — just in time to see their whole world get turned upside down! While they struggle to protect a known killer from an unstoppable assassin, Valkyrie is on a secret mission of her own. This quest, to prevent her dark and murderous destiny, threatens to take her to the brink of death and beyond. And then the body-snatching Remnants get loose, thousands of twisted souls who possess the living like puppets, and they begin their search for a being powerful enough to lead them. Facing such insurmountable odds, Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Ghastly and Tanith can trust no one. Not even each other!

MY REVIEW

Not even halfway through this series and it is already going very very badly for everyone. How will it end?

It took me almost a month and a half to finish this. Perhaps I wasn’t in a reading mode this summer, or I actually might have gotten a little tired of it. I enjoyed it and I smiled widely at some remarks but I found it hard to concentrate. Was it too much action? Too much going on all the time? I generally feel that fighting scenes in books are hard for me to follow. And there were a lot of them in this fifth book in Skulduggery Pleasant series. I will take a break now from it because another book was just released and other books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. But, Landy is so good at writing cliffhangers. It’s insane. The last one, in the fourth book, was intense and very surprising. And so was this, not as strong though.

Many people died and one thing that bothered me was that it was so casual. As a reader, I barely even noticed that they died. Some books have made me cry out in the open while reading about someone who almost died. But this, with characters I liked, nada. Neither did the characters left alive feel anything. It felt unreal.

Something Landy is really good at, is connecting everything. I didn’t really look for plot holes, but it is very obvious that he has put in a lot of thought into everything. Everything written has a meaning and that is very enjoyable. There most likely are some plot holes, but they are hidden and not very noticable.

I will take a short break in this series and read a couple or three other books. I hope I will have something more constructive to write about #6 when I haven’t almost straight-read all previous ones.

It gets a four out of five.

Review of “The Time Paradox” by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Time Paradox
Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #6
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 391
Published: 2008, Puffin Books
My Grade: 4 out of 5 monkeys

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

After disappearing for three years, Artemis Fowl has returned to a life different from the one he left. Now he’s a big brother, and spends his days teaching his twin siblings the important things in life, such as how to properly summon a waiter at a French restaurant.

But when Artemis Fowl’s mother contracts a life-threatening illness, his world is turned upside down. The only hope for a cure lies in the brain fluid of the silky sifaka lemur. Unfortunately, the animal is extinct due to a heartless bargain Artemis himself made as a younger boy.

Though the odds are stacked against him, Artemis is not willing to give up. With the help of his fairy friends, the young genius travels back in time to save the lemur and bring it back to the present. But to do so, Artemis will have to defeat a maniacal poacher, who has set his sights on new prey: Holly Short.

The rules of time travel are far from simple, but to save his mother, Artemis will have to break them all.and outsmart his most cunning adversary yet: Artemis Fowl, age ten.

MY REVIEW

Another Artemis Fowl book devoured but different than the rest. I think I was a little bit afraid that all the books would be the same. The young, criminal master mind who was selfish like no other, always coming up with new schemes, the next one more thoroughly thought through than the last. But no. This was what I assume that I thought after reading The Arctic Incident three years ago. I am glad I was wrong and took up this series again. It is really good!

The Time Paradox is kind of obviously about time travel to save his dying mom. And for once, he dives headfirst into this adventure without having a real plan. I am guessing that he is truly stressed about his mom and therefore acts recklessly. It turns out well in the end anyway, obviously, but it takes a while and many events to get there. It was entertaining to read about an Artemis who didn’t have a plan yet still solved everything, after many ifs and buts. I also like how he is developing into a young adult who have feelings.

Even if it was good, it does not quite feel like a five, so it gets a 4.

Review of “The Eternity Code” by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Eternity Code
Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Published: 2003, Viking Press
My Grade: 4 out of 5 wings

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Artemis Fowl has constructed a supercomputer from stolen fairy technology. In the wrong hands it could be fatal for humans and fairies alike. But Artemis has a plan. He’s not going to use the computer – he’s just going to show it to an American businessman with Mafia connections. What could possibly go wrong?

MY REVIEW

I can’t remember why I didn’t finish this series exactly three years ago. Oh my, it has been three years since I read the first two?! No wonder I can’t remember them. But I am glad that I decided to continue.

Artemis Fowl has always been a child series to me. But just because the main character is a kid, doesn’t mean the book does not suit grown-ups (or young adults as I still see myself as a 27-year old).

It was not hard to pick this series up again after three years. Most authors are great at doing a short recap at the beginning of a new book in the series. Which can sometimes be annoying when you read them back to back, but in this case it was perfect. There are still some questions though, but a quick search on google cleared that up.

The language is very well-written. Easy, but sophisticated. It must be hard to manage to grown-upify a story about high technological fairies and dwarves and a kid who is overly smart. What really made me realize this was when Mulch, the dwarf was going to rearange a CCTV camera with a very concentrated fart. How is it even possible to write that without making it sound ridiculous? Colfer does it.

The Eternity Code (I can’t remember if it was the same with the first two) circulated around basically one event. And it doesn’t make it boring or less interesting because of it. First an introduction to the plot, then the master plan, Artemis then getting “caught” but it then turns out that that was planned all along. I think the other two were similarly built. It works brilliantly and never gets boring or dragged out. It is full of details and humour hidden behind the well-written language.

It’s definitely a 4.

Review of “Playing with Fire” by Derek Landy

Title: Playing with Fire
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #2
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 389
Published: 2008, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 ecplises

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Skulduggery and Valkyrie are facing a new enemy: Baron Vengeous, who is determined to bring back the terrifying Faceless Ones and is crafting an army of evil to help him. Added to that, Vengeous is about to enlist a new ally (if he can raise it from the dead): the horrible Grotesquery, a very unlikable monster of legend.

Once Vengeous is on the loose, dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland. Now pretty much everybody is out to kill Valkyrie, and the daring detective duo faces its biggest challenge yet.

But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home?

MY REVIEW

The second book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series was very similar to the first one except that it didn’t need the whole introduction to the world. The action came right away because the characters were already known.

I think the level of sarcasm was a little bit lower than the first? It felt more serious. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the thing that sold me to this story, was the sarcasm and witty dialogue. So that was a small bummer.

On the upside though, the story is very much alive and I was extra surprised in the second half when I actually realized that Landy doesn’t write about details. Like for instance, Valkyrie wears a dress, but there is not a single descriptive word about it. Yet, he totally makes it realistic and visible somehow. Very good job, Landy!

This sums up to a grade of 4.

There was also this short story Gold, Babies and the Brothers Muldoon. Refreshing short story of 26 pages with lots of funny dialogue. I guess it is easier to make a short story incredible with 85% sarcasm. In a whole novel, it shoulnd’t take over. What good would a book be if it was only great because it was funny? There has to be a great story to be told as well. But in a short story, it wors perfectly.

Review of “Into the Fire” by Pittacus Lore

Title: Into the Fire
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: The Legacy Chronicles #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 113
Published: 2018, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 puppeteer

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

After escaping from their sabotaged plane and avoiding a crash, Six, Sam, and their new charges manage to make it to the Human Garde Academy and meet up with Nine. Instead of continuing their investigation, though, the Garde decide they must take on the dangerous new foe who has abducted their friends and allies.

But the trail has gone cold, and the only way to find their enemy is to infiltrate his organization. Against Six and Sam’s better judgement, they send Rena and Nemo undercover. But things take a frightening turn when the two young teens are forced to play a deadly game, and Six and Sam may not be able to reach them in time.

 

MY REVIEW

Another action packed story by Pittacus Lore. Like I have said in my previous reviews of books by the Loric Elder, it is as good as the long novels, except that all the stuff happens in only 100 pages. What differs this side-story series compared to The Lost Files that accompanied the original I am Number Four series (The Legacy Chronicles follows Lorien Legacies Reborn, a series which follows the new Human Garde at the Academy rather than the original Loric who had numbers), is that this is not stand-alone novellas in the world describing events that take place alongisde the main events of the main series. This is a story with cliffhangers. A whole new side-story which I guess could be put into a full book. But it works perfectly when the short novellas are released in between the longer books. Otherwise it could be confusing to which order to read them all.

It is a very exciting story and we get to follow Six and Sam more who didn’t have too big roles in the first series. It’s great. But I do miss following John Smith. He is pictured as an almighty god now in the aftermath of the war on Earth between Lorien and Mogadorien.

So to sum up, this is not a standalone novella in this side series. Read Out of the Ashes first. After reading the full Lorien Legacies series. And The Lost Files. And probably also Generation One. Read them all, they are great! 4 out of 5!

 

Review of “Skulduggery Pleasant” by Derek Landy

Title: Skulduggery Pleasant
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 392
Published: 2007, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 scepters

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant

Ace Detective
Snappy Dresser
Razor–tongued Wit
Crackerjack Sorcerer
and
Walking, Talking,
Fire-throwing Skeleton

—as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.

These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world?

Over his dead body.

MY REVIEW

A friend of mine told me about this book series probably four years ago when we started working at Liseberg together. It has been on my to-read list since then. I am stubborn and very selective when it comes to books. Four years is a long time to read something that someone told me I had to read because she/he loved it. I can give three clear examples of book recommendations that I eventually picked up. First we have Throne of Glass, it probably took me two years, but it turned out to be my absolute favorite series (well, one of the many, but it is truly amazing). So that was a good recommendation. The second one was Illuminae and it might have taken me a little less than a year to pick it up? She who told me about it appraised it so much. It was good, but not that good. And now this. Skulduggery Pleasant, the skeleton detective. So weird. And perhaps a bit childish? Four years was definitely too long to wait, but I did read it when I really felt like it, instead of forcing myself to read it when I had tons of other books I felt that I really had to read. I am not disappointed, it was really great!

First of all, I did not get the childish impression of it as it had first given me from the description on Goodreads. Sure, the main character is 12, but that seems to be a good start for characters in a long series. Compare it to Harry Potter.

It is also comparable to Percy Jackson in the way it is written. The whole book is basically 83% sarcasm and witty dialogue and I love it! It makes it fun to read. It makes it easy to read and the pages just flew by. That’s how I like it, easy to read without unnecessary poetic descriptions and metaphors in every other sentece to describe something as simple as breathing in spring air for example. A book should be entertaining yet relaxing to read. If I wanted to learn stuff, I would have read something else than fiction.

At the end of the book was #1.5 in this series, The Lost Art of World Domination. Only a couple dozen or so pages of just one scene where Skulduggery had been captured by a sorcerer who wanted to take over the world. And the way Skulduggery completely defeat that man psychologically was hilarious all the way through! Don’t skip out on it!!

A very enjoyable book, and I honestly can’t really say why I only give it a 4. It just doesn’t feel like it belongs on the shelves where all my fives are. Maybe it should be a 4.5? Eh, doesn’t really matter. A reall good book and I suggest you read it if you agree with what I wrote in the review.