Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thirst by Christopher Pike

Thirst by Christopher Pike

Ever since I read my first book by Christopher Pike, Bury Me Deep, I’d been a huge fan. Except for the Spooksville books, I’ve probably read every single book he’s ever written.

Thirst No. 1 and 2 are actually compilations of the six books in his The Last Vampire series, which I read when they came out more than 15 years ago. 

In the series are:

  1. The Last Vampire
  2. Black Blood
  3. Red Dice
  4. Phantom
  5. Evil Thirst
  6. Creatures of Forever

I’ve read a lot of vampire stories since then, but Pike’s The Last Vampire series remains my favorite of the genre. Alisa, who is 5000 years old and whose real name is Sita, is the ultimate vampire that every vampire should be. She was the first one that I knew of that didn’t die if exposed to the sun, and didn’t need to drink blood everyday, and had the ability to compel people, and had super cool powers.

Since then there are many other vampire books that have followed some of Pike’s ideas of what a vampire ought to be, but I believe Pike’s Alisa was the first quintessential modern vampire.

Seeing that they were actually written for Young Adults 15 years ago, and they were six individual books, it’s easy to feel that the stories are a little disjointed when reading them as omnibuses.

Enough time has passed that I’ve forgotten much of the stories so it’s as if I’m reading them again for the first time, and I’ll admit that because it’s six different books compiled into the first two books of Thirst, it feels like there’s not much of a flow with the stories. It’s six different stories, connected by Alisa’s pasts and a couple of regular characters.

Thirst No. 3 however, is more like what a novel should be. It feels like Thirst No. 1 and 2 are only precursors to Thirst No. 3, and here is where the real story begins.

Thirst No. 3 takes place 15 years after the first two books. It’s also written 15 years after The Last Vampire series, so that totally makes sense.

It’s times like these that I love vampire stories. Alisa never ages even after 15 years. She still looks as young and hot as ever, and is even more powerful because a vampire gets more powerful as they age.

Thirst No. 3 is even more exciting than Thirst No. 1 and 2, and I really can’t wait for Thirst No. 4! Yes, there’s gonna be a fourth book!

All in all, this series is one of the must-read vampire books for any true vampire lover.


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Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 Support Your Local Library Challenge

I’m finally ready to participate in reading challenges again! It’s been a long time since I last participated and 2010 was a bad year for reading. I’m hoping that reading challenges will motivate me to pick up more books.

Anyway, starting with this challenge:

2011 Support Your Local Library Challenge

  • There are four levels to this challenge...Pick your poison:
    --The Mini – Check out and read 30 library books.
    --"Fun" Size – Check out and read 40 library books.
    --Jumbo Size – Check out and read 50 library books.
    --Mega Size – Check out and read 51+ library books.
    (Aim high. As long as you read 30 by the end of 2011, you are a winner.)

I’m aiming for the Mega Size Challenge. Since I’m borrowing almost all my books from the library anyway, it’s actually only a question of how many books I’m going to read this year. =)

  • Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – basically any book counts just as long as it is checked out from the library. Books MUST be checked out like with a library card, books purchased at a library DO NOT count.
  • Crossovers from other reading challenges count.
  • Challenge begins January 1st 2011 and goes thru December 31 2011.

Yayy! Can’t wait to start! =)

Books Read and Borrowed from Library:

1. Pegasus by Robin McKinley 2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead 3. Frostbite by Richelle Mead
4. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead 5. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead 6. Thirst No. 1 by Christopher Pike
7. Thirst No. 2 by Christopher Pike 8. Thirst No. 3 by Christopher Pike  

2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge

Here are the rules:
1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. 

2. There are four levels:
--The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
--The "Fun Size" YA Reading Challenge – Read 20 Young Adult novels.
--The Jumbo Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 40 Young Adult novels.
--The Mega size YA Reading Challenge – Read 50+ Young Adult novels.

3. Audio, eBooks, paper, re-reads all count.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. The Challenge starts on January 1, 2011 and goes until December 31, 2011.

Go to For The Love of YA to join.

I’m going for the Fun Size level of the challenge. I figure that since I’m gonna be reading mostly non-fiction books in most of my other challenges that I deserve this one fun reading challenge. =)

Books read:

1. Pegasus by Robin McKinley 2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead 3. Frostbite by Richelle Mead
4. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead 5. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead 6. Thirst No. 1 by Christopher Pike
7. Thirst No. 2 by Christopher Pike 8. Thirst No. 3 by Christopher Pike  

Vampire Academy Series 1-4

The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

There’s been a huge vampire fiction resurrection in recent times, and I have to say, I was actually pretty bored with all the vampire hype, especially since I don’t think much about the Twilight series or The Vampire Diaries

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Stephanie Meyer’s or L. J. Smith’s works, and in fact, if you look through the archives for my older reviews, Meyer’s The Host is one of my all time favorite books, and L. J. Smith is one of my all-time favorite authors.

I’m also a big fan of vampire fiction, so it’s not the problem of subject matter. I guess with any story, what compels me is the characters, the way the story is told, and most importantly, the believability of the story.

Suspension of belief has been a huge topic of conversation for me lately, and sure we can say, “Hey, we’re talking about vampires here, it’s a given that the story isn’t real, so what are you going on about with believability?”

Well, you know, I’m completely willing to believe that we live in a world secretly filled with vampires, but then what?

Tell me your story; tell me what they do, tell me what’s important to them, tell me what makes them “human”, because that’s what’s important to me.

It’s been a long time since I found a vampire story I really cared about and now I’ve found it with Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. I honestly had no idea that I’d love it this much, but I really do!

How do I even start? In Vampire Academy, Rose is a dhampir, a half-vampire, half-human, who’s bound to Lissa Dragomir, a princess of the Moroi, the good vampires.

All Moroi are magic users, but they’re not allowed to use it for violence or protection, and that’s where dhampirs come in. Dhampirs are the Moroi’s bodyguard, against the evil vampires, the Strigoi.

As far as I know, there are 6 books in the series, and then a spin-off, but I’ve only read the first four books.

There are great sub-plots in each of the books, but the main story line so far (no spoilers, you can probably find all this info in the synopsis of the books on is that Rose is Lissa’s guardian and protects her from any harm that might come to her. Rose met Dimitri in the first book when he came to bring them back to the Academy, and he became Lissa’s other guardian and Rose’s mentor.

He teaches Rose as much as he can about being a guardian and fighting the Strigoi. Inevitably, they fall in love, but they can’t be together as they would put Lissa’s life in danger as her guardians. So they fight their feelings as long as they can, but eventually they both give in to it.

Unfortunately, there was a Strigoi attack not long after, and Dimitri is turned into a Strigoi. Well, to the Moroi world, that means he’s as good as dead, but Rose feels that she has to kill him before she can truly let him go. So she sets off to find and kill him.

It’s all very exciting and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. I’m on the waiting list in the library system, so I have to wait a while, but not too long I hope.

What I like about the way Mead tells the story is the way it seems to have just the right combination of childishness and maturity. I feel that’s what we all as humans basically are; people trying to find the right combination between having childish fun and enjoying life, and being responsible and mature adults. It also completely applies to our behavior; when do we act mature and classy, and when do we act petty and childish?

Growing up is hard to do, as Rose and her friends find in Vampire Academy, but a lot of the times you find that growing older, even when you’re legally an adult, doesn’t mean that you’ll actually act like one. Even when you’re 80 years old, there are times when you’ll still act childish, not necessarily in a bad way.

The irony is, all the time I was reading these books, I was actually supposed to be studying for a huge exam this week! Serves me right, because I didn’t do very well in the exam! I’m just hoping that my other projects and assignments will pull me through.

But what could I do? When a story pulls you in like that, you just have to let go and go with the flow! Sometimes, escapism is more important than exams, says my childish side while my mature side disapprovingly shakes her head. I just really hope I pass! I don’t need to get an amazing grade, but please just let me pass!


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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Echoes by Melinda Metz

Echoes by Melinda Metz

Echoes is a reprint of the first three of Metz’s Fingerprints series. There are more, but I haven’t been able to find out how to get them yet.

Echoes is about Rae Voight, who hears people’s thoughts through the fingerprints they leave behind. All she has to do is touch something that they have touched before with their bare hands, and she will be able to hear what they were thinking while they were touching the object.

At the start of the story, she doesn’t know about her ability and believes that she’s going crazy hearing voices in her head, but with the help of her friend Anthony, they soon figure it out, and not a moment too soon. Someone out there knows what Rae can do, and they want her dead. Rae and Anthony have to find out who it is before she gets killed.

Since this book only consists of the first three books in the series, I don’t know what happens in the end yet, but I have loved the journey so far. I do have my theories on who it is that wants Rae dead, and I believe that it’s quite obvious, but I don’t want to give out spoilers here. I could be totally wrong and have been fooled by Metz, but at the moment, I think I’m probably right.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the books and find out if I am right. I have missed reading YA books, and I really enjoyed this one more than most. More sophisticated readers may feel that YA books are sometimes too simple and not realistic enough for them, but I find that I’m more able to suspend my belief when reading YA than when reading more serious novels.

I finished this book before 2011, but have only been able to review it now, so I won’t be adding this into the list of YA books I’m reading for my challenge.


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Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Pegasus is a story about two completely different races living in a symbiotic relationship together. The humans kill the natural predators of the pegasi, and the pegasi’s presence always bring abundance to the humans.

The royal family and their cousins have been bound to their own personal pegasi when they turned twelve for dozens of generations, but the two races are so different that they can barely communicate or understand each other without the help of the magicians and shamans. That all changes when Princess Sylviianel and her pegasus, Ebon, find that they can speak directly to each other through their minds.

I usually either find myself loving McKinley’s work or being really ambivalent about them. The problem is, I’m not sure yet if I think this is a great book or a really meaningless one. Apparently, there is a sequel to this book, so I can hardly make my decision until I read the sequel because this book definitely can’t stand on its own.

To say that the ending was abrupt would be an understatement, and I honestly feel that the break didn’t work at all. McKinley and her publishers should have waited until the whole story was finished and published the whole thing together. If they couldn’t wait, they should’ve found a better way to bridge this book into the next.

Some people have said that they found the story slow going, and I would agree, but I did enjoy a lot of the back history and description of the differences between the races. There was a lot of beauty to the story, and a lot of nuances to the differences between the culture of the two races and the way they saw things differently. The truth is, I really did enjoy the story, even if I don’t like the way McKinley ended, or rather, didn’t end, it.

I am pretty invested in the story, so I will be looking forward to the sequel to see how everything turns out. I don’t recommend getting started on this book until the sequel is out though.

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