Sunday, October 20, 2013

Two reviews in one post.

I've read two YAish books in the past two weeks and I thought I'd do reviews on them! Enjoy.

Title: City of Ember

Author: Jeanne DePrau.

Synopsis: Those who are left of the world's civilization live underground, in the failing City of Ember. They know nothing of the outside world and know only that more and more blackouts are happening around the city, that the food is running out, and that trouble will inevitably fall.
Lina and Doon are students at the school, and they receive their assignments - their jobs for the rest of their lives. Lina is happy to be a messenger, running all day long. Doon is happy to work in the pipeworks, near the generator. He thinks he can fix Ember's problems.
The two discover a set of instructions... could it possibly lead out of the city? Could it possibly save Ember, and solve all it's problems?

My rating: 8 out of 10 stars.

What I didn't like/things you should know: I can't really remember anything specific... I'm sure there were one or two little things, but I really can't remember.

Things I liked: This is a really good book. The plot is really cool, and I really liked the characters. Doon and Lina were well done. Even baby Poppy was portrayed as a little baby would have been!
The author created an amazing underground world. The people didn't know what the sky looked like, or the sun, or grass. They didn't know about animals. Their underground world functioned on it's own, and it was really cool. The world building was magnificent. The writing style was really cool too.
I don't know why I couldn't get through this before... It's a wonderful book.

Would I recommend this book? Yes!

Title: The Clockwork Three

Author: Matthew J. Kirby

Synopsis: Giuseppe is a street musician with a cruel owner who beats him and demands all his money. All Giuseppe wants is to go back to Italy, to his brother and sister. When he finds a green violin that earns him more money than he could have ever dreamed of, Giuseppe thinks he might have found a way to pay the fare home...
Hannah is a maid at the Hotel, and she is assigned to be the personal maid of a strange woman and her Russian golem for the duration of their stay in the city. Hannah finds out about a treasure and becomes is desperate to find it to save her family from being thrown out of their house, and to pay for medicine for her sick father...
Frederick is an apprentice clockmaker with big dreams and a past that haunts him. He must work past his painful upbringing and learn to trust others...
These three children meet each other seemingly by chance, but each holds the key to the other's problems.

My rating: 8 out of 10 stars.

What I didn't like/things you should know: There are some fight scenes... mostly having to do with Stephano, Giuseppe's ward, who is a very cruel man.
Also, the woman Hannah works for is said to commune with spirits and read palms and such. She does this in two or three scenes.
I wish that the author had told us which city the children live in, and what year it was. Since places in the city - like streets and parks and rivers - had names, I felt that it was kind of incomplete that the city itself didn't have a name.
Another petty thing like that... I wish that the author had told us how old Hannah's sisters were. Were they babies, toddlers, or eight-year-olds? I couldn't tell.
And a final petty thing... There were some really odd descriptions that made the book feel like it had been translated from a different language.

Things I liked/my general thoughts: Oooohh this is a good book! It has mystery and action and a hint of Steampunk. I thought all the pieces of the story fit together wonderfully.
The characters really became my friends. My favorite was probably Giuseppe... Because he's Italian, a musician, and I LOVE the name Giuseppe. I'm stealing it for a character in my NaNo novel.
I really liked Yakov, the Russian bodyguard/golem of Madame Pomeroy, too.

It was super cool how all the characters were friends... There was no romance/love triangles. That was nice. It was just some kids being friends. They all helped each other and cared for one another.
There were great secondary characters too... such as Alice, and Walter (I wish I knew what happened to him), and Pullman, and Mr. Branch. I really liked Mr. Branch. And Reverend Grey.
The author really seemed to know his city and his setting (despite the lack of a city-name). He had characters running down familiar roads and giving each other directions. Plus, there was a super cool chase scene on a roof (reminded me of Mary Poppins).

(I apologize for all the Sherlock pictures.)

The world-building (city-building?) was really great, as was the character development. At times, the plot did seem a little thin... and the solutions seemed a little too easy for all the trouble the characters went through earlier in the book, but I think that's true of real life. And, actually, I do that quite a bit in my own writing. My characters go through tons of horrible stuff, and then the answer is right in front of their face the whole time.
It was super cool to see the different class structures in the novel... You had Madame Pomeroy, who was very rich and mystical. There was also Mr. Twine, the rich hotel owner. Then you had Giuseppe, who was starved and beaten on almost a daily basis. There was Frederick, who wasn't super rich, but he was well-fed, taken care of, and doing what he loved - building clocks.
Ah, the clockwork... Clockwork had a big part to play in this book. Frederick is trying to build himself a clockwork man, but he can't figure out the head... until he comes across - but you'll have to read the book to find out. It's pretty cool.

Would I recommend this book? Yes! I think that Miss Jack would really really like this book. I highly recommend this to her.

Guess what arrived the other day? The trial copy of my book! Eeep! It's so exciting! I was so worried that something might be wrong (like the cover being blurry) but thank goodness everything looks amazing! All the insanity and craziness and anger and stress that editing brought on is made up for in holding the book in my hands.
My dad took a video of it for my mom, who was out of town when it arrived. You can watch it to, if you like. (I editing out parts that showed my mailing address... and also the awkward silence parts. Ignore Rosey's whining in the background. Hee hee. Music is by The Beatles... Paperback Writer...)

Live long and prosper!


  1. I've read both of those books, and as far as I can recall, I'd agree mostly with your reviews. It's been a few years for both. I had to read City of Ember for school, though, so I also got to analyze the snot out of it. (And nearly four years later, I remember nothing of said analyzing.)
    Yay for the trail copy!

    Congratulations...Now, I want to read it too sometime.
    What will your next book be about?

  3. The comment was from Grama, not mom and dad. Sorry.

  4. I've read most of City of Ember and watched much of the movie ... really cool book and everything. Haven't heard of the other though.

    And your book is LOVELY. I can't wait to read the whole thing. You are going to put it on kindle, right? Eh ... as much as I love paperbacks, my budget just can't afford them ...

    Wow. Lulu ships in large boxes ...