Monday, March 15, 2010

Woods Runner

By Gary Paulsen
Genre: Adventure/Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Paulsen adds to his stable of survival stories with this historical piece set during the American Revolution. Samuel and his parents live out on the frontier and Samuel is at home in the woods, hunting. But one day he returns from his day in the woods to find the entire settlement burning and ransacked, with many dead and others taken prisoner. The British and Iroquois had torn through the area, taking or killing as they may. Samuel immediately sets off in pursuit to rescue his parents, but how can a 13 year old take on a squad of soldiers and natives by himself? His path will lead him nearly to his death, and onto New York City in the attempt at a desperate rescue of his family. Fans of adventure and historical fiction will be drawn into the bluntly told tale and may even seek out more information about what happened in the background of the Revolutionary War besides the big battles.

Monday, March 8, 2010


By Kristin Cashore
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4 3/4 stars

This book is a companion to the fantastic Graceling, which deals with the same world but different characters. Fire is from the Dells, a kingdom in the midst of turmoil. King Nash clings to the throne but has serious threats to his crown from various parts of the kingdom and the land is on the edge of civil war. Also in the Dells are monsters--creatures in impossible colors that are so gorgeous, they enthrall humans--often to their deaths. They may be as innocent a creature as a kitten, or as dangerous as a raptor, and monsters prey upon other monsters. Fire is a human-monster hybrid, the only one of her kind, impossibly beautiful, with the ability to enter into and read your mind. Her dead monster father, Cansrel, used his own powers of influence for pleasure and evil. She has lived her entire life far away in the north, as safe as she could be with her friends Archer and his father Brocker. Fire has been trying to avoid using her mental powers, and hides her beauty as it has the power to drive others mad with love, hate or envy. But then a summons comes from the king--will she come to the royal city and use her powers to help them avoid this war? The army commander and prince, Brigan, arrives to escort her, and Fire feels his powerful dislike and his ability to shut her out of his mind. Yet she is drawn to him anyway when he proves to also be kind towards the monster she is. When Fire arrives at the palace, her choice is before her--will she use her powers for the greater good? How like her father is she? Can a monster really prevent a war? Readers will love this deeply layered story of secrets and lies and will be eager to see how Fire grows into her powers and how she ultimately uses them. A very big thumbs up!