Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Dragon Mage

Finally got up to this point... I finished this book at the end of 2010... it's taken me three months to finally post this up...



Review: #50
Title: Dragon Mage
Series: Dragon Magic (not official name) - 2nd book
Author: Andre Norton and Jean Rabe
Read Before: no
My Comments: You need to survive a fair bit of the beginning in order to enjoy the overall plot, since it builds up momentum, and gets really really interesting once the main character, Shilo, gets sent to a completely different world. For some reason, as the book went on, this has really captured my interest and I could not put it down. When I think about it, the plot is not exceptionally good (mainly the stock standard stuff, person goes back in time, gets given a task, and after some setbacks manages to achieve it and gets back home), nor is the writing great, but the content is just very fascinating. There are some suspense elements that are really well done (the suspense is only a very minor part) and I found myself racing through the latter half the book, just anticipating what could happen, and how it would all work out. Even to the last moment I really liked the book, but I found it hard to pinpoint exactly what made it so attractive.
Rating: 8/10
Rereadability Factor: 7/10 (something I would want to reread later)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Review: Into the Gauntlet



Review: #49
Title: Into the Gauntlet
Series: The 39 Clues - 10th and final book
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Read Before: no
My Comments: It started pretty well and keeps you in, the books are getting more interesting as the series go, and I was a bit surprised that this book a bit thicker than other books in the series, and so this allows it to develop a plot better. The story just gets better and better, probably the best book in the whole series, as everything gets wrapped up nicely. The suspense does get a bit too much as it does get the reader frustrating that nothing gets revealed when something is very evidently happening (especially at every clue site all the teams get tip offs to come and you’re wondering what was the point). The ending was especially interesting as you find out the final prize, and who is going to win. The parts that are bogged down would be the whole “people have died” reflections, it’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that they’re overdone. I do wish that there would be more explanations as what the author has provided just doesn't feel enough. It is a nice ending to The 39 Clues series, but for some reason, I just cannot get myself too into this series, it doesn't have that much charm.
Rating: 7.5/10
Rereadability Factor: 5/10

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book Review: The Black Circle



Review: #48
Title: The Black Circle
Series: The 39 Clues - 5th book
Author: Patrick Carman
Read Before: no
My Comments: This book is actually quite interesting from the start, and yet, it still gradually gets more and more exciting and the suspense gets higher (but it’s not too bad). It makes you really eager to get to the end so you know what is happening. The puzzles in this one are better, but yet it relies on the person knowing quite a bit of history and geography, and not a “brain teaser”. I do find the notion of everyone important to be from the same family a bit absurd (albeit the family is huge and branched off a lot during history). The ending is a bit disappointing, as it didn't reveal that much, and the clue that they found in the end didn't have it’s meaning explained. There were a few amusing bits and but I guess it is quite frustrating when there are more questions in this book than answers.
Rating: 6/10
Rereadability Factor: 3/10

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Check out my other review of another book from The 39 Clues, Storm Warning

Monday, March 7, 2011

Transformers: Animated (Season 1 and 2)

I never picked it up the first time, but Transformers: Animated (or at least the first two seasons) was a very enjoyable series. I had seen Season 3 but I only recently (well today) just finished the second season on DVD, and since season 3 has not been released on DVD yet, it’s not fresh in my memory like 1 and 2. So it was way more enjoyable and funny than I remembered, probably coz I have seen nearly all of the series before it and so I get the references, and plus, I’m older now (I was just a young kid when I watched Animated and I have matured greatly in three years), so it was fun, while kiddie enough for me to enjoy it. The aesthetic still annoys me a bit but I quite like most of the character designs (and it’s great how they captured that look with the toys), and I like how each episode is a standalone story, so you can safely skip some episodes and stuff get what is happening overall (which you can't do in the latter part of Armada and Cybertron, you can start anywhere or watch the whole of Energon and there will be no difference, you’re still lost). I like the use of human villains and the abundance of them, and the stories themselves aren't that preposterous and realistic, considering the environment that they are operating in. I like the background they had created for this show, and each character’s personalities, with Megatron being suitably evil and awesome, at least this Megatron is more cunning and actually have a properly developed plan, instead of just smashing stuff and fighting the Autobots (or stealing whatever they happen to have). My favourite would still have to be Prowl, and Ratchet’s warming up to me as well. I admit this series is a bit more kiddie (in both the story and aesthetic) but if you can get used to that, then it should be ok. Overall, loved both Seasons, the second one more so as it’s established itself and really gets ahead with the stories, a great series to watch and one of the better Transformers series.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Last Airbender


The Last Airbender is a movie that is based upon the (much better) tv series Avatar: The Last Airbender, and, yes, I’m going to go with the majority of people and speak that repetitive statement, the series was so much better (6% at rottentomatoes). Seriously, I was thinking throughout the whole of the movie, when will this movie end, I was hoping it was going to end soon too, as it was a pain to get through it. Coincidentally enough, the only episodes I had ever seen of the cartoon (it’s on my to-do list to watch it completely) were the arc that this movie was based on, the first season. I don't know if they adapted it faithfully, all I know is that they adapted it in a way that it loses all the good things about the series, the humor, the fun, and the awesomeness. Frankly, I think it was a waste of my time watching it, they way that they had made the special effects and how the actions that accompany them look so lame, honestly, I cringe every time they do it. Since this is a life action adaptation, there will be liberties taken with the actors to portray the animated characters, I can live with it, but the person that they had chosen to play as Aang, the title character is just a plain bad choice. I don't know about you, but I do think he did a pretty bad job, probably something to do with the script as well, but this Aang is so much less fun and there is practically no emotion on his face at all time, a very bad job. The climax of the movie, and the way it’s resolved is boring, everything about this movie is boring, and there is nothing interesting, although I guess it does a good job of explaining to the viewer with no knowledge of the cartoon what this movie is about. Hopefully there won’t be a sequel although it is set up for one, so I doubt it, I am seriously telling you, it is not a movie worth watching (it’s actually not half as bad as I have explained it, but it just left a very bad experience, since it is a bad movie and not worthwhile).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Review: The Lake of Tears



Review: #47
Title: The Lake of Tears
Series: Deltora Quest - 2nd book
Author: Emily Rodda
Read Before: yes
My Comments: I love the puzzles and riddles in this book, they are really well thought out and contain a twist, the answers, as always, once you know it, seem so simple. The story and events are spell binding, it’s really nice and keeps you in a little suspense at what the end holds, and what type of monster is the guardian of the gem. The monsters and animals in Deltora (the fictional world the book is set) is just amazing, and you just keep wanting to know more about it. The ‘final battle’, if it can be called that, is somewhat lacking as in all books in the series, but it makes do and isn’t too bad, the series is more about wits and puzzles anyway, not action.
Rating: 7/10
Rereadability Factor: 5/10 (it’s good enough to reread, but depends if you really want to or not)

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Check out my other Deltora Quest reviews such as The Forest of Silence, The Maze of the Beast and The Valley of the Lost here

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Astro Boy


Watched another animated film (I just love these, doesn't matter that people call them kiddie, they are still really awesome movies), Astro Boy, apparently another one that isn’t that good (49% at rottentomatoes.com) and I can see where they are coming from. It’s not terrible, I can tell you that, and the visuals are really nice as well, seems like all computer animated movies are great nowadays, and there’s really not much you can fault them (to me anyway, although I’m just a casual movie viewer). The plot in this movie is quite weak and there’s not much happening, yet again, it’s a bit everywhere though and the villains seem really weird, they don't have a real motive for being evil, their reasons are weak and ineffective, you don't understand why they are doing this. I got a little bit confused at the start because I didn't know Astro Boy was a real kid once but that confusion soon passed. There’s no real character development or chemistry among the characters, and it’s not as fun as you would think it would be, I found many parts to be boring or unnecessary, as I said, the events seem a bit random and not adding much to the story overall. I just find it really weird how the villains act, and the hypocritical way they act, especially Hamegg. The very end was… unusual and a bit lame, an alien attacks and Astro Boy go and fight it, wtf, did it have to be an alien?!?! That’s not to say it’s not worth watching, it’s just that it can be a lot better, and a good way to pass the time.
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