Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sets the Bar High for Other Books by Estes

The Sun Dwellers (The Dwellers/Country Saga #3) by David Estes (Self-Published, 2012, 398pp.)

The Sun Dwellers finds Adele, Tristan, and the gang setting off on a mission to kill the egomaniacal Sun Dweller President Nailin and end a war that is wreaking havoc in the Lower Realms. By the end of the story, there will be more death, more innocence lost, and an awesome secret revealed that changes everything.

What can I say? It’s a good book. The pacing is quick, the tension is almost painful, and the ending climax is pretty epic. That said, like the other books in this series, it isn’t great. The author gets a little heavy-handed at times about the socioeconomic disparities between the Sun Realm and the Lower Realms, and certain supporting characters remain as flat as they were the moment they entered the story. That said, it’s still a very good end to The Dwellers Saga, and sets the bar pretty high bar for its sister series, The Country Saga. Recommended for Ages 15-Up.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Romeo + Juliet: 2014

Source: Author Website
Anyone But You (Twisted Lit #3) by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes (Merit Press, 2014, 224pp.)

In this third installment in the “Twisted Lit” series, the authors pay due to Shakespeare’s best-known play, Romeo and Juliet, by modernizing it and setting it in 20th century Chicago. Anyone But You follows two love stories separated by decades of history: in 1933, young Nick Monte struggles to thrive despite anti-Italian sentiment, while 80 years later, Gigi Caputo, daughter of impoverished restaurateurs, is forced to decide between familial duty (obeying her parents by dating the son of a snobby venture capitalist), or following her own heart (which is telling her to pursue her crush, Roman Monte). By entwining two stories of prejudice, thwarted love, and family, the novel succeeds by virtue of honoring the spirit of the original story rather than the letter, allowing the authors to explore modern, relevant ideas while still keeping the story fresh. Recommended for readers ages 14-Up.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Satisfactory Second Installment

The Star Dwellers (The Dwellers/Country Saga #2) by David Estes (Self-Published, 2012, 374pp.)

By the end of The Moon Dwellers, heroine Adele has busted out of juvie with her new friends, Cole and Tawni, saved her little sister, Elsey, from an orphanage, reunited with her renegade father, Ben, and has finally met up with her love interest Tristan, the Sun Dweller president’s rebellious son. In the beginning of The Star Dwellers, the group has been scattered. Cole has been killed by Sun Dweller forces. Adele and Tawni have embarked on a mission to spring Adele’s mom from the Star Realm prison, while Tristan and Adele’s family work with the Resistance to convince the Star and Moon Realms to unite against the Sun Realm.

Overall, The Star Dwellers is a very satisfactory installment. Since I normally roll my eyes at teen romance, I was pleased to see that the lead couple (Adele and Tristan) show their maturity by focusing on their various missions, rather than mooning over each other’s absence. Some of the supporting characters, like Tawni, still remain a little flat, but I’m hoping that this will be amended in later installments. Recommended for Ages 14-Up.