Sep 4 2008
This is a slim pickings month for Dear Author. There were quite a few of competently written entertaining books but very few that we were excited about. Maybe the readers can use this as an open thread to discuss the books that they liked and didn’t like this month.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Set in the future, The Hunger Games takes place long after natural disasters, war, disease, and famine destroyed society as we know it. From the ruins of North America rose the nation of Panem, which consisted of a powerful Capitol ruling over thirteen surrounding Districts. The Districts didn’t like the Capitol’s oppressive rule very much and soon rose up together in a rebellion. Katniss is one of the strongest heroines I’ve encountered in YA fiction. She’s smart and clever. Her skills in illegal hunting and foraging gives her an advantage in this year’s Games. She can hunt her own food. She knows which plants are safe to eat. She knows what she needs to do to survive.
I admit I have a fondness of half-feral girls and Katniss is definitely that. She’s not soft. She can be hard. But I don’t think her life’s allowed much for it. She does what she must to survive, so that she can return home to her sister, even if it means taking another life, even if it means pretending to be in love. I thought the romantic subplot in which Katniss pretends to love Peeta in order to gain the audience’s sympathy was very clever, even if it becomes rapidly apparent that it was never an act for Peeta. But despite it all, not once does Katniss lose her humanity. I could feel her hunger to return home. Recommended by Jia. This book is officially due out on September 14 but appears to be In Stock at Amazon now.
Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh. Ashaya Aleine has been secreted in a lab formulating a secret Psy chemical that could make a radical change in the world. But Ashaya is no ordinary Psy.
All Psy’s are deemed to be emotion free and go through a rigorous brain washing scheme from the earliest age possible until all emotions are drummed out. Those who do exhibit emotions are considered to be flawed and removed to asylums. Ashaya does experience emotion but has been able to hide it because she has a secret link to her sister. Through this conduit the twins have exchanged emotional responses under the watchful eye of the Psy governing body. They are both brilliant scientists and brilliant deceivers. They’ve used their personal link to further their own plans. Ashaya’s plans are to get her son out of the Psy network to safety. The plans Amara, the twin, has are not so benevolent. While the relationship arc of Ashaya and Dorian, the Changeling, is strong, romantic and satisfying, it is all of the other parts of the story that make this series so compelling for me. Recommended by Jane.
Sand Chronicles 3: The Sand Chronicles is the kind of romance I love best, one that focuses on the characters and draws all the drama and comedy from their foibles and how they learn to work past them. This one follows a girl from the divorce of her parents at age 12 through adulthood and marriage. The story won an award in Japan for best girls’ series. Recommended by Jan.
This book can be purchased in paperback from Amazon.
WAIT, WAIT, There’s More (TM SB Sarah). Robin reminded me that I had raved about Goodman and yes, that is a great book, but I forgot it is a September release.
The Price of Desire by Jo Goodman There are some books that you gulp down and there are some that you savor. This work is one I like to savor, like an expensive bit of chocolate that I open carefully, making sure that I do not mar even the wrapper before tasting the delicacy the wrapper holds. It does not have alot of snappy exchanges but what it does have is characterizations that are so vibrant that I felt I was inside the book, following the characters around, watching them become vulnerable to love.
The two, Olivia and Griffin, had to grow up too fast and, as a result or due to what made them age so quickly in spirit, the two are alone. Olivia, the abandoned daughter. Griffin, the motherless boy, too soon a viscount. Olivia is alone because she has been disowned and she has forsworn her father. Griffin is alone because as the head of the household, he had to take action to save his four sisters who barely talk to him currently. Two islands in London floating about seeking anchors. Griffin recognizes that Olivia is his treasure and he seeks to keep her, disarming her with honesty. He admits that he has wanted to kiss her from the first. He tells her that his great fear is her and that he is striving to overcome it. By making himself vulnerable, he shifts power to Olivia, inviting her to trust in him.
Because Olivia and Griffin had sacrificed and been hurt and survived, their coming together, their love, and ultimately their happiness is rewarding for the reader. The best thing about this book is the leisurely way in which we watch Olivia come into her own, grappling with her demons along the way. Because it is not rushed, the reader believes in the end not only in Olivia’s personal victories but that the ever after part is authentic. Recommended by Jane.