Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book of the Month - March 2011

The Book of the Month award for March 2011 goes to...

...The Enemy by Charlie Higson!

You would think that with only two books to choose from this month that the choice of Book of the Month would be really easy, but I think that this has been the hardest one to decide on for a while, and I'm still not even 100% sure that this is the right choice.

The thing that edged this book out over Pathfinder was that the story was faster and the characters were more believable. I liked Pathfinder more in the fact that it made me think more, but sometimes Rigg's exceptional ability to deal with adult situations seemed a little too far, kind of like Paul in Frank Herbert's Dune. In The Enemy, the characters all had many faults and acted like young teens. On the other hand, The Enemy was definitely a teen-oriented book, whereas Pathfinder could be enjoyed by an older audience as well. As a teen looking for a fun book to read, I would have to say that The Enemy just edges out Pathfinder, even though Pathfinder may be considered to have more literary worth.

Expect a short Blog Update in the coming days!

Please leave any comments on the book, or your personal book of the month as well!

Follow Corey's Book Talk on Twitter!

Like Corey's Book Talk on Facebook!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Enemy

The Enemy

Charlie Higson

Nearly a year ago, everyone over the age of sixteen caught a terrible disease that either killed them or began rotting their bodies, turning them into mindless cannibals, wanting nothing more than to eat the children they once knew and loved. Arran and Maxie have been trying to keep a group of kids alive in the shelter of an old shopping center, but supplies in the nearby buildings are running out, and the bloodthirsty Grown-Ups are getting more and more daring, snatching a kid nearly once a week. When a stranger shows up at their gates claiming to be from a safe haven, filled with food and medicine, the group decides that it is time to move on. But when what should have been a few hour trek to the fabled safe Buckingham Palace is stopped by an army of grown-ups, the kids realize things are worse than they ever thought...

My Thoughts:
Any more, because of games like Call of Duty, killing zombies has been the hot topic, but mainly for gamers. When I saw this book, it looked like I would get some of the action form these games along with actual plot line and character development, and I wasn't disappointed. All of the main characters in the book are very well thought out; none are created as the "perfect character", everyone has enough faults for skills. Also, there was a good balance of action and discussion. Even durring some of the action, thoughts from characters like Maxie who have a more peace-desiring perspective keep it from being all blood-and-gore battles. The book was also very realistic in that main characters die. It sucks, especially because it starts happening quickly, but in life the good guys don't always live. I do wish that there was a little more time to get attached to the characters before they died, but because of the pace of the story, I think that the author did the best that they could. The interactions between characters and the way that the reader sees the different characters' viewpoints of each other does help make up for the lack of time to develop, because you can get an all-around picture of the character. I'm glad that even though you find out that Arran and Maxie liked each other that it didn't really change the way they acted, because in that kind of situation a relationship would be impractical, but I am also hopeful that Blue and Maxie will become more than friends. I just don't want it to turn into another Empty. The final thing that I really liked about the story is that there were many references to current TV shows, games, music, and other items of pop culture. At least for now, it makes the story seem more tangible to the reader. Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It was very well balanced, and I hope to be able to get my hands on the companion novel, The Dead, very soon!

Questions for Thought:
1. Had the sickness just taken hold and all of the grownups began going crazy, where would you go? Would you try to meet up with friends? Would you hole up in a house, a store, or hit the road and escape to the rural areas?

2. What do you think your most valuable skill would be if something like this happened?

3. Would you vote to head to the country, head to Buckingham Palace, or stay at the Waitrose? Why?

4. Do you think that the museum will be any better than Buckingham Palace?

5. Based on what happened to Nick, do you think that the kids will eventually get the disease once they get old enough?

Please leave your comments and answers!

Follow Corey's Book Talk on Twitter!

Like Corey's Book Talk on Facebook!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Pathfinder Series 1

Orson Scott Card

For as long as he can remember, Rigg has been able to see the paths of every animal that has ever lived. He lives with his father in the woods, constantly being tutored, quizzed, and tested over many skills that seem useless for their trade as trappers. But when Rigg's father is mortally wounded by a falling tree, he tells Rigg to journey to the ancient capital of the wallfold to meet a sister Rigg never knew he had. Rigg leaves the small town he occasionally called home with a friend, Umbo, who also has a special gift: the ability to speed up a person's mind, making time appear to slow down. When Rigg and Umbo try cashing in some of Rigg's inheritance to get travelling money, Rigg learns a startling secret about his true identity that puts his life in grave danger...
Read the first three chapters here!

My Thoughts:
This was an absolutely AWESOME book. Many people are familiar with Card's Ender's Game book/series, which is well known science fiction that deals with aliens. This science fiction story, at least in my opinion, is much better and applicable to people. At the beginning of each chapter, you follow (for a few paragraphs) the space journey of Ram, a commander that is the first human to attempt to reach light-speed and bend space and time to reach a destination 31 light-years away, instantly. I am in Physics class this year, so I have heard a few of the theories about why or why not this is considered possible. I love contemplating these kinds of scenarios, and with the special abilities of characters make it more so. Once Rigg and Umbo learn to time travel, another interesting theoretical ability is brought into question. As I said with The Tomorrow Code, I love considering the possibilities and impossibilities of time travel and the paradoxes that ensue, so this book was right up my alley. I was able to make many predictions that came true throughout the book, and I like when the author gradually leads the reader to an assumption that is later stated as correct without making it obvious. The book definitely made me think, but it was also a very enjoyable story, and I am excited for the continuation of the story!

Questions for Thought:
1. Which of the special abilities in the story do you think is the most useful?

2. Were you Loaf and realized that the boy in your tavern had a ton of wealth on him, would you help him and risk your own safety?

3. If you were Rigg, would you try to escape from the hands of the Council, simply let them do what they want with you, or try to find a way to become king?

Please leave your comments and answers!

Follow Corey's Book Talk on Twitter!

Like Corey's Book Talk on Facebook!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Book vs. Movie - I Am Number Four

Well, as I just mentioned on my twitter feed (yeah, it's still there....even though I forget....) I saw the movie for I Am Number Four today! This is my first Book vs. Movie in a LONG time, so I might set things up differently for now, see how I like it, and stick to it in the future.

Movie Review
Overall, the movie itself was decent. I think that had you not read the book, things could be kind of confusing, but not so bad that you couldn't follow the story. The movie seemed kind of rushed, so you didn't really get attached to the characters (I am mainly referring to Henri), but the high school kids did a great job as acting like high school kids. Especially Sam. The movie didn't have terribly intense fight scenes, the main characters were usually able to win without much trouble. (One funny thing was that John has the same text ring-tone that I do, so the first few times that he got a text, I checked my pocket before realizing that it was his phone, not mine.)

The Good
The only actor that really seemed to fit the look of the character was Sam. He definitely looked the right age, talked like a high school student, and was good at being picked on. He didn't wear his NASA shirt or his dad's glasses, but those are minor details.

I am very glad that they started the movie with the death of Number Three. I'm not meaning to sound morbid, but this was an effective beginning to the book, and I'm glad that the movie kept it. They messed up a few details, but every movie will.

The haunted hay ride was pretty good. It was supposed to have more people on the ride, and the fight was supposed to last a little longer, but it was one of the more accurate scenes.

My last thing to add is that I LOVED Bernie Kosar (The dog, not the poster. Come on, that should be obvious.) I am definitely a dog person, so the happy little dog following John made me happy. (I didn't like his morph to the giant dog monster though.)

The Bad and the Ugly
I must say that the choice in actors was very poor in this movie. Not that they did a bad job, but they didn't look the part. John was supposed to be fifteen years old, just a sophomore in high school, and he looked like he should be a sophomore or older in COLLEGE. Personally, I pictured him being a little less muscular, a LOT less popular, and obviously much younger.

Henri should have been older and in my opinion, bigger. Not like fat, but just big. Also, he and John needed to be much closer to each other.

Sarah just wasn't what I pictured. I'm not sure how to describe how she looked, but something was off for me in her character. Also, she was supposed to be more popular in general. As for her personality, she should have been less mysterious and more outgoing, friendly, and open about her feelings.

Number Six wasn't the worst character, but she was trying to be way to cool/sexy. I definitely pictured her on that side of the spectrum, but it was overdone. She needed to be more normal and a little less rude.

That is about it for me ranting on characters.

I am really frustrated that they gave NO back-story on Lorien. John and Henri were supposed to have the dreams about it as well as frequently talk about it. Also, the two had very little training time, and John lacked a few legacies....that was a very bad mistake.

The fact that Henri died early really bothered me, but not as much as if would have if they actually developed him as a character in the movie to make the viewer actually care about him! In the book I was crushed, but in the movie I didn't really care.

Aside from the whole story being rushed, and the movie could have added another 45 minutes without being too long, my main disappointment was the final battle with the Mogadorians. The only thing I liked about the way they were portrayed were the awesome coats. Those are exactly what I pictured, but as for the weird tatoos and nose slits, I'm not buying it. I saw them as big, and still probably bald, but their eyes to me were dark and they had big red marks around their eyes, like they got punched really hard by some tough Lorien. And their monsters were pathetic. Honestly?!?!?! They were big, mutant bats! To me, they were like giant, three-story tall humanoid beasts that were incredibly strong but not particularly smart or agile. And Bernie Kosar was supposed to be a giant lizard if I remember correctly. The whole fight scene was WAY too short and left out a TON. This could have made the movie, but they messed it up.

Closing Thoughts
When I left the movie, I really thought it was okay, as a movie. As I sit here and remember all of the things they screwed up, I am liking it less and less. Many things that I didn't even mention for the sake of time were left out of the movie or just not explained. I think that someone who hasn't read the book would be a little confused, and those that have will be disappointed. Will I watch it again? Yeah, most likely. I love the story enough that even a messed up variation makes me happy, but I would rather just get the next book.

Hope you enjoyed the post, and please tell me what you thought of the movie!

Follow Corey's Book Talk on Twitter!
Like Corey's Book Talk on Facebook!