Thursday, March 8, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

by Seth Grahame-Smith
Barnes & Noble Summary:
Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's beside. She's been stricken with something old-timers call "Milk Sickness."
"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.
Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.
When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.
While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.
Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

My Review:
My husband had to spend a great amount of effort in convincing me to read this book. I kept putting it off, thinking that it was such a cheesy concept. I mean, really-the iconic 16th President of the United States- a vampire hunter? Well, I admit, I was wrong.
After reading many books where vampires are depressed teenagers, this takes an awesome twist towards excitement. Grahame-Smith doesn't just take Lincoln and make him a vampire hunter. He uses everything that we know about Lincoln, especially his heartache from his family and drive to end slavery-and shows how he was motivated by revenge against the vampires he so hated. With great voice and fast-paced action, I would recommend this to anyone (as long as they can stomach the violence).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Across the Universe

by Beth Revis

Goodreads Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. 

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.  

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

My Review:
I need to be upfront-there are parts of this book that might be too intense for some students. The story does not get lost in these parts; they are vital to the understanding and movement of the plot.  I also need to make it clear that while there is romance in this book-it is a sci-fi, dystopian, mystery. Not a romance novel. 

Okay-now for my review.

One of my favorite aspects to this book is the two main characters-Elder and Amy. There are so many sides to this story, it is fascinating to hear from both a boy and a girl's point of view, who alternate with narrating each chapter. As a reader, you feel suspense build because you are privy to information when reading from Amy's POV that Elder doesn't know, and vice-versa. Also, during that character's chapter,  you totally agree with and feel for that character. Then the next chapter completely changes your opinion! The premise is different and the twists are mostly unexpected (I was able to predict a few things).  The best thing about this book, however, is its sequel A Million Suns which seemed to amp every good thing about Across the Universe up, and lose the things that I was not fond of. I can't tell you much about it, since I think it would probably ruin some of they mystery of Across the Universe, but I was definitely glad the story continued.