Welcome back to the RealityLapse Christmas Countdown 2013! We’re on day five, awesome characters, where we showcase books with the greatest, sweetest, most likable and relatable characters. We’re eight days closer to Christmas and I hope you’ve enjoyed the countdown so far! Starting off day five is the man himself, John Flanagan.
They have always scared him in the past — the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied…
I read this back when I first read SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT and The Percy Jackson series. To this day, those books still stick out in my mind. John Flanagan is amazing. I love his world of the Rangers, Will and Halt. The fantasy in this book is well-crafted and I love the way he builds up his characters and the world in which they live in. There’s not only the great fantasy, action and adventure themes though. There’s also a lot of trials and journeys that Will goes through so that he learns and grows as a character. The themes teach not only Will, but it’s target audience and even adults. I think Flanagan’s characters are awesome, especially Will, who is super sweet, smart and full of heart.
Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she’s been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father’s too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he’s not a hero in any way, or else he’s stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.
To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad’s “flying lessons” that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city–despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights–thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she’s his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.
I really did not expect to like this book as much as I did, and the reason why I did was Damien. Damien is rebellious, sometimes acts out and doesn’t really appreciate much of how things are changing around him. At the same time though, you can’t help but sympathize with him and begin to appreciate his humor and the sweetness to his personality. As time goes on, he begins to realize what is really important to him, and the growth in him throughout this story is great to see, because even though he becomes more open-minded, he still retains who he is as a character. Even beyond his character, I loved Chelsea M. Campbell wrote the plotline to his novel and the way that she based her story around her concepts–but more importantly, Damien. To see my full review, click here.
THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
The first time I read this book, I was completely blown away by the ending. Every little thing that Jennifer A. Nielson had written in THE FALSE PRINCE had led up to that ending, but I completely missed it. It wasn’t even that, though. It was Sage. His clever personality, his loyalty and his nature as a character. The twist he pulled was nothing short of awesome for me. I loved every minute of this book, and while I didn’t like the rest of the series as much–this book will always be great in my mind. To read my full review, click here.
Rosemary Goode is smart and funny and loyal and the best eyebrow waxer in Spring Hill, Tennessee. But only one thing seems to matter to anyone, including Rosemary: her weight. And when your mom runs the most successful (and gossipy) beauty shop in town, it can be hard to keep a low profile. Rosemary resolves to lose the weight, but her journey turns out to be about everything but the scale. Her life-changing, waist-shrinking year is captured with brutal honesty and humor, topped with an extra large helping of Southern charm. A truly uncommon novel about an increasingly common problem.
Why did I like this book so much? It’s simple. It says it right there in the first sentence of the blurb. Rosemary Goode is smart and funny and loyal and the best eyebrow waver in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Okay, maybe not the best eyebrow waxer part. But still. She is smart and funny and loyal. With the very first paragraph, Suzanne Supplee had me hooked on this story and I loved reading it. Rosemary is a great character to read about, and her journey is both heartwarming and hilarious. You can read my full review here.
Venture Delving is a bonded servant, a member of the lowest class in the world. Already fatherless, when he loses his mother, he veers from energetic to out of control. But when Venture’s rage saves the life of Jade, his best friend and his master’s daughter, Venture finds himself in the last place he ever expected—a center renowned for training young boys to be professional fighters.
When Venture realizes he’s fallen in love with Jade, he knows that the only way he’ll ever have her, the only way he’ll ever be free to live the life he’s meant to live, is to defy convention, common sense, the trust of those he cares about most—and sometimes the law—and become the best fighter in the world, the Champion of All Richland. Venture must battle not only rival fighters, but the ghosts of his past and the members of a privileged warrior class who stand between him and his dream.
This was one of the books where I wasn’t sure what day to peg it on. It was either awesome characters or action and adventure. I decided upon awesome characters, because that’s what Venture and Jade are. I have to say, I loved the way that R.H. Russell wrote the fighting scenes, especially. But Venture and Jade… they just grew on me. Their characters are so tough, sweet and loyal. It wasn’t just that though, R.H. Russell’s writing style and the way that he formatted and showed off Venture and Jade was really impressive. I loved the first Venture book, and I hope that it’ll be really popular with it’s target audience, as well as the MG crowd. You can read my full review here.
Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.
As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.
Fortunately, they are now more than friends. They’re a pack. They are Virals.
This book ended up being one of my five star books. This story, while it does have an intense thriller-esque feel to it for the latter half of the book, it is a slow burn in the beginning. Kathy Reichs lays down a lot of groundwork in this first book, getting everything down there so you know exactly what’s going on. For me and for this book, that was the perfect way to do it, despite the fact that at the time, I had no idea why she wasn’t just getting on with it. Truly, I loved Tory and the Virals. Even Chance, who crumbled a little bit in my mind at the end of the book, but still was pretty great. All of Reichs’ characters have their own special qualities and traits that set them apart from each other. While I didn’t enjoy SEIZURE nearly as much, that doesn’t discount VIRALS at all. To read my full review, click here.
Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.
An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.
After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.
Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.
I loved the crew to this book. Every single one of the characters in this story was great. Well, except for Fiona’s dad. I didn’t like him. But that aside, really. I loved Fiona’s brothers, her mom, her new friends, all of them. Despite some of their faults, they really grew on me. I enjoyed the ending to this book and the twists in the end of the story. I’m still debating whether I want to continue to the next book (not because I didn’t like this story enough, but because I don’t want to ruin the ending Natalie Whipple left off with in TRANSPARENT), but we’ll see. To read my full review, click here.
Appearances can be deceiving.
In the Community, life seems perfect. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited Lyla’s family to join his group and escape the evil in the world. They were happy to be chosen, happy to move away from New York and start over in such an idyllic gated community. Now seventeen, Lyla knows that Pioneer is more than just their charismatic leader, he is their prophet . . . but his visions have grown dark.
Lyla is a loyal member of the Community, but a chance encounter with an outsider boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community—everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. Her family and friends are certain in their belief. Lyla wishes she could feel the same. As Pioneer begins to manipulate his flock toward disaster, the question remains: Will Lyla follow them over the edge?
This book is not happy, but it is amazing. The first time I read this story, I was really impressed. Amy Christine Parker really showed off her stuff in this book, and while these characters are not the most likable or funny, no one can deny the fact that Pioneer and the way he was written through Lyla was incredible. The little snippets of quotes from him at the beginning of each chapter was simply the beginning of showing his true nature. I loved this book and for all those of you who enjoy psychological thrillers, I highly recommend this book. You can read my full review here!
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home―and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.
Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin―a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.
This book was pleasantly surprising and simple in the best way for me. I loved the characters and this book just continually gets better and better. I really liked the way the characters impacted the ending and how so many of them really grew on me–even though I didn’t like them in the beginning. Pia really grew as a character and I felt like she became so much more over the course of the time I knew her. Her strengths, her weaknesses, curiosity and endurance were endearing and I learned to really like those parts of her. Eio was sweet, honest and kind. He’s intelligent and caring and the way the romance grew between them was great. I hope to get my hands on a copy of VITRO soon! 4.3 stars. You can read my full review here!
What are some of your favorite characters? I hope you enjoyed day five of the RealityLapse Christmas Countdown! Check back tomorrow for Day Six: Zombies.
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