Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: Death Sentence (Escape from Furnace 3) by Alexander Gordon Smith


Alex's second attempt to break out of Furnace Penetentiary has failed. This time his punishment will be much worse than before. Because in the hidden, bloodstained laboratories beneath the prison, he will be made into a monster. As the warden pumps something evil into his veins - a sinisterly dark nectar - Alex becomes what he most fears . . . a superhuman minion of Furnace. How can he escape when the darkness is inside him? How can he lead the way to freedom if he is lost to himself? 


Published August 2nd 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

The Elliott Review:

This book had me dying to read it and waiting for it to come to me. I knew horrible, horrible things would happen to Alex in this book, but I still couldn't avoid it. As it turns out, the process of Alex being turned into a super-powered monster a la Frankenstein on steroids was not as graphic as I thought it would be which was great! As he is pumped full of the dark nectar created by Alfred Furnace, Alex is indoctrinated into the ways of Furnace, trained to be a blacksuit - one of them. Remembering only that he can't forget his name, he manages to hold onto some semblance of himself, only stronger.

After his transformation is complete, Alex goes psycho on the warden and attempts another escape with Zee and Simon. Alfred Furnace still has some horrible tricks up his sleeve as he begins to squash the riot caused within the prison.

This book is just as suspenseful and heart-wrenching and disturbing as the others in the series. I am DYING for the next book to come out in the US.

Young Adult Notes:

Violence, psychological violence, mind control

Source: Library

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.


Published October 18th 2011 by Scholastic Press

The Elliott Review:

This book is a book of substance. There is love, excitement, danger, and all the things that make books amazing, but I don't feel that the book is just about any one of those things. It's a life book, depicting the two main characters in crucial times in their lives. Are they falling for each other? Yes. Is the book only about that? No. It's definitely about a whole lot more.

The characterization and gradual release of the plot does a lot to make this book feel so realistic, like the characters are actually living and breathing entities you might actually meet could you  go to their island. Even the mythology of the water horses is so deftly and simply drawn that I had to Google cappail uisce to make sure that I hadn't missed some strange breed of horse that actually does exist (to save you the time - it really is mythological. I don't feel stupid or anything...).

I love the way the characters are revealed gradually. How we come to know what really matters to Sean Kendrick, how we see Puck gathering her courage to do what she has to for the family. The way the two lives begin to intersect because of the Scorpio races is just beautiful. It's very subtle, the way they start to feel for each other, and in that way it's very real.

When Sean can only buy Corr, the horse he loves like a family member, from his boss if he wins the races and Puck can only keep her house from being foreclosed on if she wins the races, the stakes in the book are raised so high. Throughout the whole ending I was preparing to be heartbroken in one way or another. I won't give that away. But I will say that, to me, the ending was just perfect. It's the sort of ending that's my favorite!

Young Adult Notes:

Mild violence

Source: Thanks to Scholastic for providing a copy of this book at ALA.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Greetings From NaNoWriMo!!

Hey everyone!!! I may be a little scarce around here during the month of November! I'm currently trying to finish a novel in a month! I'm writing my "big" idea that I think can go somewhere someday... This won't be easy with work being stressful, being preggo and EXTRA tired, and, well, actually getting over the inner critic is never easy.

Anyway, my username at the NaNoWriMo site is: sicaelliott ... if you would like to join me over there!! 

Anyone else writing this month???