Saturday, October 10, 2015

Review - Westly: A Spider's Tale by Bryan Beus

This is tale of a caterpillar named Westly who is destined to be a Monarch butterfly and the next king of the butterfly kingdom. But sometimes things don't turn out the way we plan. When Westly emerges from his cocoon he is nothing like he expected. As a spider he must rediscover who he is. Adopted by the "dirt eaters," Westly is determined to make a difference. He is determined to belong, to be loved, and most importantly, to become who he was born to be.

4 stars

Westly is a book for younger readers.  It has a bit of an Ugly Duckling feel with a member of a society being vastly different than everyone around him.  In this case Westly is a slightly different caterpillar that comes out of his cocoon vastly different than all of his peers.  

The book has a strong message about alienation and self-worth, Westly is actually his greatest enemy.  His butterfly family could have been quicker to accept him, but he left them before they even really got a chance to adapt to the new situation.  He also feels worthless to the gardener society on the ground, even though he proves his worth after a short time.  

The pictures are mostly small, but do a good job of conveying enough imagery to give the reader an idea of what is going on while still allowing plenty of room for imagination.  

This book was an enjoyable read and something I look forward to reading to my daughter soon.  I also hope that she will read this book herself when she is a bit older.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review - Fires of Invention (Mysteries of Cove) by J. Scott Savage

Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and invention is a curse word.

Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosion an event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the danger of creativity.

Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlikely anything they ve ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded on and quite possibly their very lives.

3 stars

Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage is a dystopian story for young adults.  Trenton is a brilliant boy who is cursed with an imagination and a desire to build and tinker with machines.  Those are normally good traits, but when you live inside a mountain with a people who fled the world and consider invention and innovation high crimes it doesn't go well.  

This is the first book in a new series and it felt a bit slow to me.  There is a lot of information that needs to be communicated to truly set the stage for the world that Mr. Savage has created.  This leads to a gradual build of the story and the characters.  Kallista is by far the most interesting character and I'm very curious to see where the series takes her.  

I'm very interested in seeing where the rest of the books in this series go and especially what kind of mischief Kallista and Trenton get themselves into.