ngtjill: Book Review #1

…in which I rave and rant about two books on my challenge list and rave about one of my favorites EVER.

So far I’ve only read two books on my list for the challenge (way to go, Lindsay, for already having 3 done!).

graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa was born with a Grace to kill.  At the age of 8, she strikes a man in self-defense and unintentionally kills him.  Because her parents have died, she is under the control of her uncle, the King Randa of Middluns, and forced to grow up serving as his torturer/killer.  Nearly everyone fears her.  She does her best to do good among the seven kingdoms, and when the book begins, she and two other members of Randa’s court secretly rescue the kidnapped grandfather from Lienid.  Then she meets Prince Po from Lienid, who also has a Grace, and her life begins to change.

I loved this book!  I think it’s kind of like a cross between The Hunger Games and The Lord of the Rings – but it’s still unique!  If that makes sense…  But really, it’s awesome!  I read all but 3 chapters yesterday, and it’s not a short book.

messengerI Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

One day pathetic Ed Kennedy stopped a bank robbery.  After that he receives his first card in the mail with three addresses on it.  He soon learns that it’s up to him to go around solving the problems of the people on the cards.

I read Zusak’s The Book Thief about a year ago and hated it.  But my older sister loves it and told me after reading When You Reach Me that I might like I Am the Messenger.  Um, NO.  I hated this book too.  Lindsay, I think this book is on your list, so you should go ahead and try it, but I just hate Zusak’s style of writing.  It seems like he’s trying too hard to be a good writer.  In grade school, did your teacher ever tell you that when writing, you can mix long complex sentences with short sentences to create surprise or sarcasm or just a variation in your writing?  Zusak uses way too many short sentences and it REALLY annoyed me.  Also, Ed is a total loser through most of the book, and yes there are some good moments, but it mostly just annoyed me.  I almost quit reading.  I know this book is popular – it’s an Abraham Lincoln Award nominee (IL award) – and some people do enjoy it but not me.  So Lindsay if you do still read it, definitely review it.  I’d be really interested to know if you liked it!

extremelyExtremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Ok, so this isn’t even on my list for the challenge and I haven’t even read it lately, but I kept being reminded of it while reading I Am the Messenger.  Extremely… is one of my all-time favorite books (and it’s my favorite adult book)!  It’s amazing.  You know how you might read a book one time & love it?  That happened when I first read this about three years ago.  Then I read it again a year ago to see if I still liked it – yep, still amazing!

This book takes place after 9/11/01.  Nine-year-old Oskar has lost his dad in the attack, and one day he discovers something that leads him on a mission all around NYC.  Mixed in with Oskar’s story are two other stories that eventually all connect.  The reason I kept being reminded of this while reading Messenger is that the writing style seems similar – yet were totally different.  Foer’s writing is beautiful, funny, etc etc etc.  Somehow he succeeds where Zusak failed.  As I was telling my old roommate last night who’s about to start reading it, this is the only book I have ever dog-eared and underlined lines.  I think it’s always kind of risky telling friends about books/movies/songs/etc that you truly love because they may hate it (at least I feel that way), but I really want everyone to read this.  Ok, I’m done gushing now.  :)

- Jill

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6 Responses to “ngtjill: Book Review #1”


  1. 1 ngtlindsay September 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Jill, I do have The Book Thief on my list…I’ll try to read it sooner than later so I can post a review soon! I get what you’re saying about writing style. Sometimes I can dislike a book just because the writing style jerked me around and left my head feeling fuzzy. We’ll see what happens.

  2. 2 kay September 22, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    I have Graceling to read and it sounds excellent! I’ve tried reading “I am the messenger”, too, but I just. Couldn’t. Get. Into it. It was painful and I let it go, so now I’m scared of trying “The Book Thief”.

    • 3 ngtjill September 22, 2009 at 11:58 pm

      Graceling was sooo much better than I was expecting! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who felt that way about I Am the Messenger. Good luck with The Book Thief if you do try it! Some people do end up loving it, so maybe it will surprise you.

  3. 4 ngtjennifer September 22, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    GRACELING!!!! I will have to look for the red-hand cover book at the IC library next time I am there.

    • 5 ngtjill September 23, 2009 at 12:00 am

      Jen, what’s your opinion of the soon to be released Fire? Are you excited? I have to admit, I’d be more excited if it were a sequel about Katsa & Po.

  4. 6 ngtjennifer September 23, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I am approaching Fire with caution…..one of my friends was not that thrilled by it but two of my other friends read it and LOVED it!

    I am very sad that it isn’t about Katsa and Po…….man, I really need to read Graceling again.


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