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The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

(Ali)

This is a tough one to write about so, of course, I had to start with it as the first book.

I have read a couple books by Dan Brown, this being the first one. His writing style is, if nothing else, really predictable. There's not much surprise in his deliveries and the way he likes to end every chapter with a cliff-hanger ending gets redundant. But, in his favor, it works. You want to keep reading.

This book, I personally liked. I am not a big fan of religion (a sordid argument I will leave elsewhere), including the Christian faith, but I liked the book. I liked the idea behind the book. I love mysteries and this book presented one of the main mysteries in one of our biggest modern day religions. It was fascinating, if nothing else.

I admit, though, that it has been a while since I read the book and a more recent reading would be better suited for such a review, but this is what it is.


Everworld series by K.A. Applegate

(Ali)

I grew up reading Animorphs with the rest of my age group. I also had a little competition going with my older sister on how fast we could read the books. But what can impress a seven year old is a lot different than what it takes to impress a 20-something year old.

I started reading the Everworld series when I was about 17. I finished every book but the last three (I think they were missing from the NG library). I realize that the reading group for Animorphs was directed towards children, so the writing style does not have to be truly refined. Everworld, however, is written for young adults. In that respect, the writing style was highly disappointing.

I read the books because I liked the premise of them. All kinds of mythological gods from "olden times" are actually real and living in a more-or-less parallel universe? Awesome! I loved the idea. And I continued reading because I loved the idea. But, in all honesty, there was nothing else but the main plot line of the book that kept me reading. The writing was not up to par where it should be if written for a young adult level. There was nothing challenging about reading the books; half of the sentences and paragraphs had no structure to them at all. It was almost as if, to save time, K.A. Applegate skipped the editorial process and sent it straight to the printers.

I also didn't care for any of the characters. They were sadly two-dimensional and predictable and set up a perfect stereotype. And once that labeling was established in the storyline, there was very little in the way of character development to challenge those stereotypes. If those labels were meant to be an artistic comment, it didn't show. It seemed more like she wanted those characters to be nothing but mere circumstances in the story.

All in all, I love the ideas that author comes up with, but I don't like how she tried to execute them.


Clockwork by Philip Pullman

(Ali)

This is one of my favorite books of all time by one of my most admired authors. This is a very short book and one of the most chilling stories I have ever read.

The basic plot is surrounded by clocks. Which seems a little odd, when you first encounter it. If I remember correctly, it starts out with a little introduction to clocks. But the more you read the story, the more you realize that everything is just your basic clockwork. All the characters, events and plot twists are all intertwined.

The way the story is written is brilliant. It is supposed to be a horror-thriller piece, and it is a bonafide ghost story without the ghosts. It's creepy and odd and mystifying. It's also, apparently, very hard to explain anything without giving away key points of the plot.

Since it is a short read, I really recommend this book to anyone who likes a good horror story. And anyone who has read any other books by him (either His Dark Materials series or the Ruby in the Smoke collection), you will enjoy this one.


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