Here are some books that are either very excellent, or they don’t quite hit the standard that one might think they would have. For the record, I do own all of these books, so that means there is some worth to potentially rereading them. The only one I got rid of was Fifty Shades of Grey.
The Lord of the Rings (Trilogy) by J. R. R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
So, the ever famous The Lord of the Rings series. Many people have high expectations of this series (I know I did). Here’s the problem: If you are absolutely hooked on the movies and you think they are the most wonderful thing, then the books are not for you. It has taken me a very long time to mull through the book series. Now, it’s not that Tolkien is a bad writer; in fact, he’s fantastic! But the novels are very dry and the fight scenes are not done in a way that really shows the battle for me. It was a struggle to get though the novels because it felt like there was rarely any kind of action. One of the major differences between the books and the movies, as of The Two Towers, is that you will see all of Aragorn and company, as well as Mary and Pippin for the first ten chapters, and then the second ten chapters you finally get to see what Frodo and Sam are doing concurrently with the first ten chapters. That makes it kind of hard to focus without the switch to see what everyone else is doing at the same time. Let’s not forget the end of the book where the Hobbits fight in yet another battle for the Shire…what? Yes, that was a thing before the Gray Havens.
So basically, I would say this series is only worth the read if you are a major literary buff, because it is very hard to get through. On another note, The Hobbit is a fantastic novel, quick and fun, has wonderful illustrations, and isn’t as dry as the main series, so I would highly recommend The Hobbit for any The Lord of the Rings or fantasy fan. On yet another note, if you are looking for the information that bled into The Hobbit movie series, then you should probably look at The Silmarillion.
The Lost World by Michael Crichton
As some of my readers may know, I have already done a review on Jurassic Park, which can be found here.
The reason why The Lost World does not get its own full review is because it is not up to par with the first novel. Don’t get me wrong, it is still interesting, but it just seems to take too long for the action to really pick up. This book features Richard Levine who believes there is a lost world of dinosaurs out there when a carcass washes up on the shore of Costa Rica. Levine seeks out Ian Malcom, who denies that there could possibly be a lost world out there. Other memorable characters appear, such as Sarah Harding, Kelley, Eddie, and some new characters too. The huge entourage of people going through the island is not a thing, rather, Dodgson (from book one, the guys who wanted the embryos) is the main antagonist. He returns to this island with a plan to take eggs from every species of dinosaur on the island; he has all the nests mapped out and he and his partner are ready to go. The tyrannosaur-versus-trailer scene is the leading point into the climax, which is basically survive the entourage of velociraptors until the helicopter arrives for them. Sorry guys, no San Diego stuff, that’s all cinema.
Some interesting things about this book: there are dinosaurs that use chromatophores for camouflage (like what they did with the Indominus rex). Also, they end up getting off the island via river boat (similar to what we see in the third movie.) Once again, ideas are taken from the original novels and adapted into ideas for the films.
Like the first novel, I would say read this one if you have an interest in science and evolution, because there are a lot of technical terms and the novel is like reading a science journal rather than a novel rotating around events. Overall, it was an interesting read.
The Martian by Andy Weir
I have not seen the movie yet, but I am big on reading the book before seeing its movie counterpart. Therefore, I read this book and hope to see the movie…eventually. The interesting thing about this novel is that it is one of the rare successes that began as a SELF-PUBLISHED novel. Getting a self-published novel picked up the way Weir’s debut novel was is very rare indeed.
This novel features Mark Watney, an astronaut who is stranded on Mars in 2035 by his team, by accident. Something goes wrong with one of their experiments and the team leaves, assuming Watney had died. NASA notices from its Mars images that Watney must still be alive based on the things going on outside of the Hub. When they realize he is still alive, they come up with a bunch of different plans to retrieve him.
Watney must survive until a team can come and get him, but all the options seem to take too long and Watney may not be able to hold out with growing food and making water, because eventually, he will run out.
There is a lot of scientific math in this novel and it is presented in a very humorous way (a way in which I have been told the movie didn’t do so well on). Watney does calculations of how long it will take for his potatoes to grow, how many he can grow, and how many he will need to survive. He must use his own feces for fertilizer, and make water from the air around him.
Overall I would say YES, you should read this book. It is a fine debut novel about survival and the meaning of humanity when nations come together to save one single man.
Fifty Shades of Grey (Trilogy) by E. L. James
So this book review is here because of the popularity not only of the novel itself, but because of the popularity of its film adaptation as well. For the record, the film did tone out many things. I tried to start this book many times and couldn’t get past the first page mostly because of the way the book is written: not very well. The language isn’t very expansive, which made it hard to read through.
This novel has a nice girl-meets-boy tale with Anastasia Steel and Christian Grey. Anastasia is an average literature major about to graduate and go into publishing, while Christian is a billionaire with many companies underfoot. When Anastasia meets Christian, Christian pursues her as a submissive for his secret fetish, but Anastasia doesn’t want to be just a submissive for three months; she wants to be his girlfriend and do couple-type things. This book is full of sex scenes and issues that many relationships have to go through.
This book is not quite at the level of smut, because there is an overarching story, which books 2 and 3 address, but it isn’t exactly a book that needs to be read multiple times. There are books out there with sexual scenes that are far better written that deserve to be read more than once. The only reason this novel gets a 3/5 is because of the little storyline that exists within.
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
This novel is a companion piece to Lois Lowry’s The Giver, a phenomenal novel. While Gathering Blue is not up to par with its original counterpart, it is still an interesting addition to children’s literature.
This book features Kira, a girl who has a crippled leg, something looked down upon in her society. When Kira’s mother dies, Vandara goes to the Council Edifice to have her removed from their village now that Kira is not protected by anyone or anything. Instead of banishing her, the Council has made note of her weaving and sewing abilities, giving her a place in the Council building to sew on the Singer’s robe, an extremely important artifact that tells the story of their civilization. The only color Kira doesn’t have is blue, because it if found “yonder.” When someone unexpected comes from “yonder” bringing her blue, Kira must decide whether or not to stay in a society that she begins questioning, or whether she should run away to “yonder.”
This book was not as breathtaking as The Giver, but it is definitely worth the short time it takes to red, to see how other parts of the world in The Giver universe thrive and survive.