Sunday, 22 March 2015

Book Review: Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Among the Hidden (Shadow Children, #1)Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

SHADOW CHILDREN Luke has never been to school. He's never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend's house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.

Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He's lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family's farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.

Then, one day Luke sees a girl's face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he's met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows -- does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford "not" to?

This is the first in an intriguing series that takes place in a dystopian future where it is illegal to have more than two children. The third children are called shadow children, and they and their families are at risk of being punished with death if they are found out.

This is an excellent start to this series. I really felt for Luke, the main character, as he was placed in moral dilemmas. His fear and frustration and confusion were palpable as he tried to figure out his life and the risks he could take without hurting his family.

I also like how the author is clearly setting up something bigger, as well as touching on interesting subjects such as power and control, food security, class structure, propaganda, and freedom.

The book is also quite short and fast paced, which will appeal to even reluctant readers, both boys and girls. I think the age range is pretty broad too, though some of the content could be scary; for example, just the idea that shadow children would be put to death by the government.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Book Review: Missing You by Harlan Coben

Missing YouMissing You by Harlan Coben

It's a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancĂ© Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.

As the body count mounts and Kat's hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancĂ©, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.

This is the first Harlan Coben novel I've read and I understand that he is wildly popular. However, I was disappointed in this book.

I did like the main character, Kat, and I enjoyed the mystery of the book. But there were a great many characters and subplots in the book as well. I could see how they all eventually came together and I do enjoy that in a novel. Still, Missing You took a long time to really get going. It felt like the first half of the book was spent setting up the various plots and subplots, and introducing characters, to the point where I would have put it down if it hadn't been for the author's reputation.

The second half of the book moved way more quickly and was way more suspenseful.

Overall, there was something disjointed about the book. It had a good premise, but the descriptions were repetitive and it was hard to get in to.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Book Review: In The Woods by Tana French

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1)In the Woods Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French

Dublin 1984 dusk, three children vanish in the woods. One, Rob Ryan, grips a tree trunk in terror, unable to recall any detail of previous hours. Twenty years later, the detective on the Dublin Murder Squad keeps his past a secret. But when a girl 12 is killed in the same woods, Rob and Detective Cassie Maddox — partner and best pal - investigate present and past.

I really wanted to like this book -- the premise sounded great -- the idea of two murders somehow connected but years apart. And the writing was really good, full of rich description and beautiful phrasing. The author obviously did lots of research and made interesting characters.

Despite all of this, I found this book hard to get into, and by half way through, I stopped caring about the characters. It was disappointing. I kept reading because I really wanted to see how the whole situation was resolved.