It’s been fun doing the 2010 A-Z Challenge, but since I’m currently reading another book that starts with S, and tomorrow is the last day of 2010, I think it’s time to wrap things up and give some love to the last books I read and didn’t post “reviews” on.
I got through 21 of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Not bad, considering the 4/5 I missed were Q, X, Y and Z. I read far more than 21 books this year (Heck, the Animorphs alone had 54!), but I’ve noticed I read a lot of books of the same letter over and over. I had a lot of Ss. Surprisingly, a lot of Bs. Lots of Ps, too. But evidently no Ks. Weird.
There are 3 series that contributed my list that I have yet to write about. So, without further ado, my (brief) thoughts on them:
The Homecoming Saga by Orson Scott Card
Card has long been one of my favorite, go-to authors. He wrote Ender’s Game, a fantastic introduction to sci-fi writing that is widely admired and known by sci-fi readers and normal people alike. His books are typically solid and enjoyable, with well-developed characters and a well-thought-out plot. The Homecoming Saga was no exception. I reread the whole series this year, including The Call of Earth and The Memory of Earth, which were added to my list. The books are about another world, Harmony, where humans have lived and developed a new society after basically destroying Earth. The Oversoul watches over the people and has become a kind of god, keeping them safe and answering their prayers. Then, the main character’s family is called out into the desert to begin a pilgrimage, leaving all they’ve known. We watch the characters grow and develop, and by the fifth book watch their children take over. The society on Harmony (in the main character’s hometown) is fascinating, if for no other reason than that it’s matriarchal. If you want another reason, their marriage structure is completely unlike anything I’ve ever heard of. It’s not a super-challenging series, but it does bring up great questions, as I feel any good book should. I definitely recommend it to people looking for a good read that’s not too heavy but more than just fluff.
PS Yes, I am aware many claim this is basically a re-telling of the story of The Book of Mormon (Card is LDS). I. Don’t. Care. I don’t know how true it is. It doesn’t matter. Even if the over-arching plot is similar, the details are unique and the characters are fabulous. Plus, couldn’t the same criticism be made of most of the Bible? It’s still popular.
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
OK, this is a series I was led to kicking and screaming. I promised my friend I’d read the first four books if she’s read the Twilight saga (which come to think of it, I don’t think she ever completed…hey!) Of course, once I was that far in, I was too stubborn not to read all 11 books that are currently out. Death Masks, Fool Moon, and Grave Peril all made it on my list. The books are about Harry Dresden, a private investigator operating out of Chicago who will look into magical happenings for you. Oh, and he’ll also use magic to solve some cases, like to find missing objects. Because, you see, he’s a wizard. Butcher has created a parallel world in our modern-day existence in which magic is happening all around us, and magical creatures regularly visit. We follow Dresden, the protaganist, through many cases, battles, and personal struggles throughout the course of the series. It is very slow to get started, and at first while I found Dresden endearing the books just didn’t pull me in. By the end, though, I’m definitely hooked and intrigued by the world that was (slowly) created, and I would recommend the books to anyone who has the patience to get into them. The continuity is great, and the depth of thought given to the world is really fascinating and makes me enjoy exploring it more. I can’t wait for the next book to be released!
The Animorphs by K.A. Applegate
Oh, Animorphs. This is a children’s series. A children’s series that is 54 books long. And it’s great. I mean, OK, you’re clearly reading kids books. They’re about 160 pages long, and each took me only about an hour to read. But they’re good at exploring a lot of questions about right and wrong, relationships, how to fight an enemy without becoming them, and at raising awareness and empathy for all kinds of animals.
The Animorphs is about 5 junior-high-school kids who come across a dying alien whose ship has crashed in an abandoned construction site they were cutting through. He was shot down in a battle over earth, defending humanity from a race of parasites who wanted to take over. The parasites won the battle, and the good guys aren’t coming any time soon. To give earth a chance, the alien gives the 5 kids the power to morph into any animal they can touch for 2 hours at a time. The series is about the kids’ battle for earth against a secret invasion being carried out by these parasites, who crawl into your brain and completely take over. The people they control are indistinguishable from normal humans, and the kids try to slow the infiltration until the good aliens can come back and save the day.
The stories are fun, fast-paced, and will suck you in. The characters are believable, and every book it rotates who is telling the story. You get to know all the kids very well, and each has their own way of viewing the fight. Over the 54 books they each develop tremendously, and you see it from all angles. I can’t wait until I have kids I can share these books with, and kid or adult I think these books are an enjoyable read.