Sunday, February 28, 2010

Midnighters - The Secret Hour

Strange things happen at midnight in the town of Bixby, Oklahoma. Time freezes. Nobody moves.

For one secret hour each night, the town belongs to the dark creatures that haunt the shadows. Only a small group of people know about the secret hour -- only they are free to move about the midnight time.

These people call themselves Midnighters. Each one has a different power that is strongest at midnight: Seer, Mindcaster, Acrobat, Polymath. For years the Midnighters and the dark creatures have shared the secret hour, uneasily avoiding one another. All that changes when the new girl with an unmistakable midnight aura appears at Bixby High School.

Jessica Day is not an outsider like the other Midnighters. She acts perfectly normal in every way. But it soon becomes clear that the dark creatures sense a hidden power in Jessica . . . and they're determined to stop her before she can use it.

Here's a fast pace and original new story by Scott Westerfield, acclaimed author of the Uglies serie.

Westerfield seems to never be short on neat plots and ideas. I really loved the whole setting of the story; the 25th hour, all the things related to the number thirteen, the power of metal against the Darklings... The book has a very errie and supernatural feel to it.

This book's characters are very interesting and intriguing. They are very likable with their different personalities and attitudes. Only Jessica seemed a bit flat to me. Contrary to the others, she's very plain. There isn't anything about her that bugged me to a wide extant, though. She's not mary-sueish or annoying, but there isn't anything standing out about her either. She also holds the status of 'the one that every antagonist fears', but she doesn't even live up to this status with her plainness. In my opinion, she could have been more developed. It's a good thing the point of view changes from character to character, because I would have gotten enough of her after an entire book.

I liked how the story centers on a new generation of teens with special aptitudes, and how they are digging for knowledge in the past, around the mid of the 20th century, and how the plot is linked to the beginning of industrialization and how it affected the way of people. Westerfield always uses subjects that directly impact and make the readers reflect.

On another note, the writing is as enthralling as always. Descriptive, engaging, smooth. The Secret Hour is a book you read fast and that lets you asking for me. I can't say it's better than Uglies and its continuation, but it's another good work by Westerfield.

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfield
Rating: 8,2 /10

Friday, February 26, 2010


Can the future ever erase the past? Rose has a Cross mother and a Nought father in a society where the pale-skinned Noughts are treated as inferiors and those with dual heritage face a life-long battle against deep-rooted prejudices. Sephy, her mother, has told Rose virtually nothing about her father, but as Rose grows up she becomes determined to find out more about her parentage. As Rose takes her first steps away from Sephy and into her father’s world, she finds herself drawn inexorably into danger.

Here's Malorie Blackman's last installment in her trilogy, the first volume being Noughts & Crosses and the second Knife Edge.

Well, I must say I enjoyed reading these books very much. In Checkmate, the story relates Callie's childhood, switching from the present to the past. It's actually concentrated on merely a few hours in the present, and most of Callie's life in between.

The book, just like all the others,has many point of views, Callie's and Sephy's mainly, but also Jude, Jasmine and Meggy. I found that it was a very interesting thing to spin the POV's around, letting the reader have a clear view of how every character was feeling and reacting. It also avoided getting the reader bored with one character.

I found Sephy annoying, though. She was being a terrible mother, making all those ridiculous mistakes and making the situation even worse. Nonetheless, I think that this kind of attitude was needed to make things unravel the way they did. The story wouldn't have held the same impact if everything had solved out too early.

What I liked about Checkmate was how Callie lived through her childhood, and how her attitude changed with everything that happened. It was interesting to see the evolution of her vision on certain things as the story progressed. Sonny was ridiculous, though. I didn't really understand his issues and why he acted as he did.

The descriptions improved once again. The writing is as always concentrated on feelings and emotions. Checkmate didn't cover striking issues, or at least not as Noughts & Crosses did. It was more subject to the power of love than discrimination and racism. Rights have actually been slightly readjusted for the Noughts at the time when the story takes place, and equality is on its way for everyone.

In any case, it was an enjoyable read. A very good serie I recommend to both boys and girls. Checkmate covers the cliffhangers of Knife Edge, so fans of the two previous books absolutely need to read it! It has such a nice ending, too. Very satisfying.

Checkmate by Malorie Blackman
Rating: 9,1/10

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray

The wych-kin have roamed the streets of London for the past twenty years. Young Thaniel Fox, son of the famous wych-hunter Jedriah Fox and a hunter himself, is out to get them. One night, as he is hunting a Cradlejack, a wych who steals infants in their sleep, he encounters a half-crazed young girl called Alaizabel Cray. As the story unfolds and she regains memories, the plot thickens and soon, it is made obvious that something larger than man is watching the world. And it isn’t benevolent.

For an odd reason – I cannot begin to fathom why – I found it hard to get into the story at first. Maybe it was my state of fatigue, or the setting in which I was reading it, because this novel quickly proved itself to be a remarkable book that is a must for all readers. I was drawn in almost immediately after my first, first impression, and could hardly set the book down.

The writing is excellent, with many elaborate descriptions and a beautiful, yet strange imagery. Also, even the most useless characters were lengthily enough described to give them a past, a physique, a mentality, without at all boring the reader.

The story itself was excellent, with new, interesting elements added on every page. The plot just kept getting thicker and darker. New places and characters were nicely introduced, and even though the excuse “My father was his friend” was slightly overused, the storyline was overall excellent. Even if the story did end up being of a we-must-save-the-world type, the author did it well, and it only became evident that the fate of the world was at stake rather late into the book.

I loved how the wych-kin weren’t your typical, invulnerable demons. In fact, they were quite vulnerable and not the brightest lot. They weren’t super-beings and humans could kill them, with the right weapons. There was an actual explanation behind their existence, too; this made me intensely happy. Too often, mysteries in books were left unresolved, and this frustrates me greatly.

The characters weren’t cliché or Mary-Sues. They were unique, had their own weaknesses, knew their limits, and were sometimes actually wounded. They were excellently developed, and beautifully described with the author’s usual talent. They lived, for the duration of the novel. Not once did their character falter or change abruptly, they stayed in character all along.

I also greatly appreciated how, without stating any explicit facts, the author told us the approximate era in which this book took place. Quite early on, it was established that the events took place in a fantasist London of the industrial revolution era. Because of this, it had a very steam punk feel to it, and was highly enjoyable. The explanations were subtly introduced and given away slowly, almost as if reluctantly. The book let the knowledge previously acquired seep in before throwing out more information. This gave suspense to the story, and the reader desired the missing bits and pieces greatly before understanding finally.

The realities in this book are brashly displayed. The lives of people aren’t necessarily perfect and beautiful. There is prostitution, death, violence, sickness, disfiguration, crippling, blood. The realism of it all, even if it is sometimes sickening, makes this novel even more enjoyable.

A little drawback was the titles of the chapters; they were like short résumés of the chapter and often contained spoilers. I jumped over them systematically to avoid the deception of knowing something beforehand.

Finally, there was an actual explanation to the wych-kin. This made me intensely happy, as some books would not even provide vital information of the sort.

With a feel-good aftermath and just the right amount of moral, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding was an excellent novel that I passionately loved.

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding Rating : 9,4/10

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Catching Fire

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, is just another amazing piece of drama, romance and gore. I can't say it was better than THG, the previous volume dealing with much heavier issues and having more of an impact to the reader, but has its own share twists and turns.

I think that Catching Fire's story line wasn't as good as THG's, it was repetitive actually with Katsa and Peeta going back into the arena for the 75th anniversary of The Hunger Games , this time called the Quarter Quell. I thought this second book would be more about political issues, yet it is pretty much of a recap from the first volume; ceremonies, interviews, training and then the games. Only the good action, the new dangers in the new arena, the drama, twists and the cliffhangers payed that off and so I was at ease with the rest of the reading.

Katniss is as strong as ever, and she's probably the strongest female protagonist I got to meet in a long time. Even if she weavers between her feelings for Peeta and Gale, she's determined, strong, and straightforward. She's sometimes as naive as Peeta and also, as he says, pure. It's really a pleasure to read through a book where the protagonist is so well mannered and actually witty.

Peeta is as adorable as ever, and even if Gale is the handsome brooding manly type that also fits my liking, I prefer Peeta. He's just so sweet, loyal and protecting. Makes you go all bwaaa. The book also covers a lot of Katniss' love triangle, which I'm sure many have and will enjoy, but I personally want it to end. I hope that in the third book, Katniss will finally decided for who she goes, and that she chooses Peeta.

I also loved Finnick, a previous Game winner and the new addition to the character crew, with his enchanting beauty but strong mind. Cinna and his crazy crew come back, and so does Effie and Haymitch with his sarcastic humor. We also get to know a bit more about Haymitch in this book!

The action is constant and Collins never seems at loss for dramatic and amazing events. Her writing is as good as in the last book, and maneuvers all the action amazingly. I don't know how someone can be bored with Catching Fire's reading. This book also contains the worst cliffhangers ever. Or maybe the best. Depends how you see it. It's literally a pain to try not to devour the book down and every chapter has you standing on edge for what comes next. It's as if Collins enjoys torturing us with all the suspense and her own characters that can't seem to have enough drama and action. The ending leaves you gasping for the sequel and the last book. I don't know how I'll survive through those months of wait for The Mockingjay, the last book in this trilogy.

Catching fire by Suzanne Collins
Rating: 9,2/10

Read The Hunger Game's review here, the first volume in this serie.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Knife Edge

Warning, this review contains spoilers regarding Noughts & Crosses, the first volume in the serie.

Persephone (Sephy) Hadley, now an 18-year-old single parent, is raising her biracial daughter in a sharply divided alternate England, where black Crosses suppress the white Noughts. She faces pressure from both her less-than-understanding Cross family and her disintegrating Naught family, and everyone in between. When her brother-in-law's violent behavior leads to murder, Sephy provides a false alibi to save Jude, but doing so irreparably damages other lives.

This time the story is told by many points of view; Sephy and Jude mainly, but also by Minerva, Meggie and Jasmine (Sephy's mother).

After Callum's death, Sephy wishes harder than ever that her daughter Callie Rose was dead and that Callum was back. Yet, she loves her daughter so much, which is the proof of her and Callum's love for each other. We see how mature she has become since the events of Noughts & Crosses, how she takes things with a cool seriousness and determination. I liked Sephy a lot in this book until depression gained over her. After she received Callum's letter - which contents you will only know if you read the book - foolishness heaved a bit too much on her actions. Seeing in what state she was and what she was going through, it's understandable, but still irritable to me.

Jude was deliciously cruel, mean, arrogant and bad-boyish than ever. His side of the story was very interesting to watch and so was his character. I really loved how he tried to be indifferent and cold to everything and how he failed against what he considers his biggest enemy. I was disappointed that he didn't succeed in seeing things properly and didn't give in his true feelings (those who read the book, you know what I mean. ;] ), but I guess that with such a story he just couldn't.

I found Jasmine and Meggie a bit too 'out-of-character', or at least I didn't see the peculiar touch that distinguished them from other characters originated from Noughts & Crosses. They were too soft. Yet again, I guess their personalities have been altered after the dramatic events of the previous volume, and just like every one else, they were trying to start from the beginning.

I found the ending strangely-described though. Not described enough, actually, which left me perplexed on the unraveling of those last moments.

This second book had its own share of drama that I enjoyed greatly. There was less romance, more doubt, fears and sadness. There were also more details this time without forgetting the evident underlining of emotions and feelings. I drank it as fast as I drank the first book, and Malorie has a talent of presenting the most atrocious things gracefully. I think fans of Noughts & Crosses will enjoy this second volume even if it wasn't as good as the first, and will be impatient about reading the follow-up.

Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman
Rating: 8,9/10

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Book Blogs Roll

Here are links to some other great book review blogs and sites we like to hang around:

YA reads
A Flight of Minds
Bookworming in the 21st Century

We'll hopefully be adding more soon!

-The PIB Crew

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Leviathan Appetizer

Hello all! Do you know Scott Westerfield, author of the Uglies and Midnighters series? If you have enjoyed his books as much as we have, than you'll surely enjoy this little appetizer from his next book; Leviathan!

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. The Leviathan is a living airship, the most formidable airbeast in the skies of Europe.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way and taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

We all can't wait to read his next book which just looks so enticing! Steampunk is very dandy to both of us, and we hope it is to you too! And so, here's the first chapter posted online. You can also watch an amazing trailer here.

Also be on the look out for our upcoming review!

-The PIB Crew

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Noughts & Crosses

Sephy is a Cross - a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought - a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that’s as far as it can go. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum - a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?

Have you ever wondered how life where black is rich and powerful while white is despised and miserable would look like?

Sephy Hadley is the daughter of an important and successful politician who is managing his way up toward the highest point of the parliament while his wife drinks away her loneliness. Sephy doesn't really realize the discrimination the Noughts endure and of how well she lives compared to them.

Callum McGregor is just another Nought who can only clench his fists every time a Cross looks down on him. He tries hard to create a path through the prejudices attributed because of his pale skin color and wishes to receive an education that will help him become someone. Now that he has succeeded in getting accepted in Sephy's college, he hopes his chance has come.

Spehy and Callum are friends, and as they both grow older and more mature, their love grows as well.

I read the book in french, and I think its cover is very interesting too, so here it is. ->

Malorie Blackman offers an intriguing and gripping novel presenting one of our world's prejudice in a most original and spun-around way. She tried, through her novel, to show how ridiculous this old-age discrimination game is, and that skin color doesn't arbitrate one's intelligence and talent. Some people might think that Malorie is trying to present black folk as the bad guys and the white ones as those worth sympathizing for, but that's not true. After reading Noughts and Crosses, readers will see how nothing is truly good or bad.

The story is told by two different point of views; Callum's and Sephy's, and adduced by strong feelings and emotions. Sephy's foolishness and ignorance is evident and so is Callum's strong desire to become someone respected. Their friendship and love for each other is nonetheless embodied in both of their narrations, and together they shows how easily children are ready to love despite prejudices.

The writing of this books is somewhat simplistic, minimizing the details and centering on the feelings and emotions mainly. This read is quick and fluid, the chapters are sometimes hurried, and the story doesn't bother turning right and left into unnecessary details. As a reader, I prefer very descriptive texts, but I think that Malorie's writing style might be fine for younger attention spams.

I simply loved this book. It was deliciously cruel and unfair, and yes, tragic. It doesn't need to be situated in a precise world to affect the reader and realize what consequences a human's actions can create. I strongly recommend it to young adults.

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Rating: 9,3/10

Read Knife Edge's review, the follow up to Noughts & Crosses.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Luxe

A big, sumptuous tale of catty girls, dark secrets and windswept romance unfurls in this compulsively readable novel of late-19th-century New York City socialites. Godbersen weaves a tenuous web of deceit, backstabbing and pretense that follows four teens: Elizabeth Holland, a prim and proper lady of old-money society, is betrothed to one man, though furtively loves another; Henry Schoonmaker, a debauched playboy who must marry Elizabeth or be disinherited; Diana Holland, Elizabeth’s younger sister who is in love with her fiancé; and Penelope Hayes, a member of the nouveau riche who will stop at nothing to win Henry’s affections. As Elizabeth and Henry’s wedding approaches, the spectacle unfolds in a wondrously grandiose scene, making for a fun, though not entirely unexpected dénouement.

Gossipgirl meets the 1800s.

After having read A Great And Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, I was set tight on getting my hands on another Victorian-flavored book. The cover of The Luxe itself is very hard to ignore, and so I picked it up.

With a large variety of point of views, this story could have been hard to follow. Anna Godbersen succeeded in spinning the story around everyone in a comfortable and interesting way, maintaining the balance through out the staggering spins and twists.

The character crew is very interesting, my favorite being Diana with her spunk attitude. Elizabeth is our common Victorian girl, keeping a goodey-goodey profile in public, pulling out the snappy attitude with her maid and relaxing and acting in a more honest way toward her beloved Will. It's a very good protrait of girls' behavior during these times and how they had to put on different expressions at appropriate times. Elizabeth, however, didn't hold my interest as much as her sister Diana who was less girly and more straightforward, standing out from the crowd of fancy girls. Penelope, the Queenbee, is simply the character 'you love to hate', and Henry the bad boy most girls would have liked to have. It was also good to have a maid as a protagonist who later ends up on the streets for it gave a nice approach to the less 'classy' side of New York, presenting the real 'trade' of the rich city.

Anna Godbersen's writing style is exquisite and detailed, bringing to life the Victorian's era colors and fashion. I enjoyed being able to imagine everything so well, and even if her details tend to be tenuous, they are not overloading.

The Luxe, however, is not an action book. There isn't as many thrill as I usually enjoy in books, and this is why for some this book might not be your cup of tea. The story, just like Gossipgirl, centers on circulating rumors that hinders people's lives or make the pleasure of others, harboring themes such as forced marriage, the austere reality of young girls during the end of the 1800s and impossible love. The storyline might seem dull to those who don't bite into stories featuring twirling girls, puffy dresses and dramatic romance.

Each chapter of this book is started with little clippings from various journals, newspapers or book that remind you of the society's rules. I found this very educative, for it helped me understand the Victorian era even better. It's also a reminder of the society's consciousness, expectations and constant gaze upon the classes and gossip.

The books starts a bit slowly, but once you are gripped to the characters, the storyline becomes confident and strong. It might not suit to everyone because of its girly and gossip-centered plot, but will surely please many teen readers.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Rating: 8,2/10

Monday, February 8, 2010

Our Reading Piles

Beryl's to-read book pile

Catching Fire



Coffeehouse Angel


Eyes Like Stars

The Body Finder




Dear John

The Forest of Hands and Teeth



Beryl Sasna Kiaznius's favorite books »



Aithen's to-read book pile





I Am Legend

The Umbrella Conspiracy



On Wings, Rising

Aithen's favorite books »

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Hunger Games

In an unspecified future, all what is left after the destruction of North America is a super high-tech and rich nation called Panem. Panem is divided into twelve districts, each subduing one of the country's economical activity (such as mining, agriculture, etc) and surrounding the Capitol.

The citizens of the those twelve districts live in poor conditions, suffering from starvation and persecution, their freedom limited with strict rules and grave punishments. The Capitol, on the other side, shines with wealth and luxury.

Their once used to be thirteen districts, but the thirteenth was destroyed when they all rose against the Capitol. Since then, 'The Hunger Games', a very prevailed televised event, take place each year. One boy and one girl from each district are chosen at the reaping and then sent, by force of course, to an outdoor arena where they have to fight to death until only one victor is left. The Hunger Games are to remind the districts of their failed rebellion, and what rebelling against the Capitol costs.

Katniss, a fatherless sixteen year-old despises the Capitol and The Hunger Games. She's not the only one, but there isn't much she can do. Speaking disapproval publicly can result into severe punishments. Even death. Instead, Katniss focuses on hunting and feeding her family and living through the hard days with her best friend Gale.
Only, on the seventy-fourth Hunger Games, Katniss' twelve year old sister Prim is chosen as District 12's girl 'tribute'. Katniss volunteers herself instead, and joining her is Peeta Mellark, a boy who once saved her life back when she had nothing to bring back home. From there on start their journey to the Capitol and into The Hunter Games, where all that matters is to say alive and make sure the rest isn't.

Amazing books seem to fall into my hands these days, and here's another book I read in less than a day! The Hunter Games by Suzanne Collins is an amazing page-turner, where action, drama and romance combine magnificently!

I don't think that many who read The Hunger Games can disagree with the fact that Katniss is a very lovable character. She's strong-minded, quiet and a rule-breaker. She's smart, but not cocky, independent and humble. She's one of these characters who care for their family and friends, but aren't afraid of relying on themselves. I couldn't find anything in her that I disliked.

Oh and Peeta. He's such a nice and smart boy. He's probably my favorite character in this book, with his good humor and warm attention but by still being resolved and quiet. There's this slight touch of naivety to his character, which might annoy some but I found it cute. It's too bad it turns against him...

Aha, romance, girls, is exquisite. It's one of the best books that carries romance so well and in such a pleasant way, without the lovey dopey that today's books seem to be filled with. Too bad the aftermath isn't made of sugar and rainbows. Yet, it only makes you want to know what happens next!

The boys will certainly love the action, and the fact the story is told by a girl's point of view doesn't bother for Katniss' character is so likable and straightforward.

I have trouble finding something to criticize. I usually always give the up and downs of books, but I really can't find anything to say. Blood, gore, action and romance combined together in good writing always dim my judgment.

With a well-crafted character crew and a fluid, engaging and definitively not prosaic writing, this book is a real treat! For many it will be a book hard to put down. Katniss' world is truly cruel, but that's where all the fun is, isn't that right?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Rating: 9,3/10

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Lovely Bones

Stones and bones,
Snow and frost,

Seeds and beans and polliwogs,

Paths and twigs, assorted kisses,

We all know who Susie misses...

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

Heaven has become Susie's new home, a heaven where all her desires can become true as long as she understands why she wants them, and a heaven where everyone's heaven is different in its own way. And so starts Susie's story, and of how she watches her family back on Earth from her gazebo and of how she's powerless before its deteriorating state. As much as she would want, Susie cannot heal her father's deep wound for his lost child, nor prevent her mother from straying away from her family, nor soothe the pain her sister is locking deep inside her. Neither can she put the police or her father on the track of her murderer, Mr. Harvey, her neighbor, who has become and expert at putting an innocent face and covering his tracks. But Susie can watch. She watches, standing beside the living, how the tragedy of her disappearance and the search for her murderer unravels.

This book had me hooked since the first lines. Alice Sebold's novel is the kind of novel you cannot put down. Literally.

Susie's murder is no mystery, and it is announced and described in a blunt and honest way since the first pages of the book. It makes us realize that those women and girls that are murdered, those people just like us, had a life. Friends. A family. The Lovely Bones is the story of such family who lives through the tragic murder of their daughter/sister/child and told by the ghost of their girl watching from heaven.

It is a deep and heavy story presenting Susie's family who is trying to bring itself back together, not that it is an easy thing to do, mind you. Susie describes how each member of her family tries to live on, and how some, like her father who desperately tries to prove Mr. Harvey is the murderer, just cannot let it go, and how others, like her mother, simply don't want to hear any more and diverge farther away from what matters most.

The Lovely Bones is a very enjoyable book to read with its quick pace, lyrical feel and tragic nature. It's always Susie who narrates, but she turns around everyone so the story doesn't loose its interest. Sebold succeeded in turning the telling of a life that could be qualified as 'mundane' into something amazing and passionate, something so very true.

I felt very heart broken when Susie was watching everyone she knew grow old and go on with their lives. She never stopped watching them, though, and they never stopped thinking about her. I loved her dad. He was the perfect example of a parent who loves his child so deeply he just simply cannot let go. And then we have Mr. Harvey, who is a true murderer; he enjoys what he does.

Working with the after life can turn up to be very difficult. It's a theme that can be manipulated very easily but that has relatively a lot of impact on some readers and can sometimes bring controversy. The description of the 'heaven' in The Lovely Bones was left slightly blurred, unclear, maybe for that matter. The main focus was on earth and on what happened there, and so I didn't get enough of this heaven as much as I would have liked to. I think that it should have been more explored, more described. I wanted to see it impact more on Susie. I was disappointed to see that Holly, a friend Susie meets in heaven, was left very unsubscribed. We don't even get to know how she died.

Another thing that I disliked was Susie's nonchalant attitude right after she died. I mean, she has been raped and murdered and it seemed as if she didn't really stop to realize what had happened. She did mention a few times her remorse about not being able to grow up and live her life, but I felt as if she accepted her fate just a bit too quickly. She's still a very lovable character who, even if able to cope with her short life and sad ending quickly, harvests deep love for her family and friends and becomes a caring watcher.

I found the ending of the book somewhat... shocking. Not in a bad way, actually. It didn't end the way I thought it would, and after having finished the book and sat down, I realized that The Lovely Bones is not the story where we are sunk into the heavy search for a murderer, but the story about how life goes on after someone is gone and how wounds heal with time.

Finishing on that, this novel is a must read for young adults and beyond. It presents murder, blood, rape and lust in their true appalling natures, but also love, struggle, joy, and determination at their strongest. It's a reading most will devour in a few days, heck, even one.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Rating: 9,5/10