Book Review #17: Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith

34808110Disclaimer: Received a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review!

STORY:

“Don’t let what your eyes tell you disrupt what your heart already knows” (pg 209).

In Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume (468 pages), the book opens with a girl named Betony and her non-talking animal sidekick, a blackbird called Ronan. One chapter later, our real main character is revealed (Guess who. Really, it’s easy. There’s an obvious hint in the book title). Ewan Pendle’s a normal boy with a not so normal ability. He’s being raised by non-affectionate foster parents, so unimportant that their names are John and Jane Doe, and bullied and ignored by his four brutish foster brothers. Ewan’s life has dragged on monotonously until the appearance of a strange lady who announces that he will be shipped to Firedrake Lyceum, a school with other children that see monsters just like Ewan. While there, an assassination attempt made on the Queen of England’s life (not the one you’re thinking of) fails, and it’s up to Ewan and his friends to prevent another one.

Reminiscent of HP’s four houses, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith has five cliques, Witch (magic-users), Pyros (explosive-users), Stealth (in a sense, ninjas), Vanguard (think knights/swordsmen), and Martial (wrestlers/martial artists). I had assumed everyone would practice magic, but the cliques have their own unique twist. I would most def be in Stealth clique.

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I am not used to so many female characters in a novel centered around a boy hero. Usually, it’s just mom, sister, and female love interest. At one point, I wondered had Ewan been dropped off to an all-girls academy. I think it’s awesome and essential that the girls of this book each played a meaningful role.

“The man wasn’t just old, he looked ancient like his face and body had died a long time ago, but somehow there was still someone home” (pg 21).

There’s also a bunch of old people that aren’t relegated to only all-knowing wise roles.

I have mostly praises for this book, but I have to acknowledge that there were annoying tidbits for me. Way too many references to “coal black dreadlocks” and “liquid black eyes.” You could make a drinking game out of it whenever this character was mentioned. You can’t think for a minute that the girl’s gone bald or wonder what color her eyes were. Also, one of Ewan’s friends Carrie was sweet, but I can’t really stand sickly nice characters.

CHARACTERS:

Ewan’s adorably a bit shy and awkward and definitely confused about his monster-seeing ability, lineage, and Firedrake Lyceum. He’s a little plain like white bread, but when you add his ingredients of cheese (courage), tomato (loyalty), and lettuce (cleverness) he makes an alright sandwich.

One of Ewan’s friends, Mathilde was fun! Bubbly and so optimistic, it’s no surprise her classmates were ignorant of the home life that she was glad to escape from.

Enid, the pirate girl, had a tough disposition and a major attitude in the beginning that stemmed from her upbringing. She hailed from a very large and poor pirate family. I didn’t like her much when she appeared, but she ended up as my favorite character. Little girl can pack a punch!

The Rosethorn twins, Sneath and Scarlett, were a nasty, demonic pair of kids. It was as if someone perpetually spat in their cereal each morning. Just awful!

Enola, the strange woman that brought Ewan to the academy is strange. Ewan could do no wrong in her sight, and I have no clue why. She was a cool lady with a strong air of authority around her with just enough kindness.

OVERALL:

It’s a little long but once you get to know the characters you won’t be bored. I liked the twist at the ending too! Word of advice: If someone offers you a pirate kiss, say no and run away. You don’t need context but just remember that.

I have never read any Harry Potter books (I know the gist of the story though), so I’m not sure if this will excite or disappoint an HP fan. Just have an open mind! Also, I gotta raise my hand because I had no clue what a wraith was until now. Anyway, maybe it’s good I’ve never formally read HP. I was able to read this unbiased and thought it was a fun adventure. I give it four stars!

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Mini Review #3: Off the Page

29358306So, I stayed up until 1 am last night (or day? I don’t know, man) because I just had to know what happened in the last book. Did the book redeem itself? Would I actually care about Deliah and Oliver’s love? How would Oliver be in the real world?

“The really crappy thing about being a teenager is that even if you have a legitimate, monumental problem– the sky is falling or the zombie apocalypse has begun or you’ve contracted the plague– you still have to do your geometry homework” (pg 295).

Well, Off the Pages by Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer (368 pages), got better and worst.

What did I like? I thought the death in the book was handled pretty good. I know it sounds morbid to like a fictional death, but I hadn’t expected it in such a cookie-cutter book. Thankfully, there were no do-overs either! Some of Oliver’s confusion of the real world was somewhat fun. The author (the real one) tried to add some last-minute depth to the mean girl, Allie but it was like trying to add pecans to an already cooked cookie. You know what I’m saying?

I thought some scenes in this book could have been condensed like Deliah helping Seraphima pick out a bra at Victoria Secrets because all her fat goes to her breast! Yeah, that was an actual line in the book.

The romance was dry. Oliver and Deliah are just too perfectly in love. I don’t feel anything for them.

The ending was going to be unsatisfying either way. I don’t want to say it, but the ending was a bit on the garbage end. It was so unrealistic… And I am someone that loves happy endings!

I still liked Edgar (and Jules) the most as they had the most personality out of everyone.  Chris was a cool one-note character!

OVERALL:

Off the Page gets 2 stars from me. Should you read this book? I don’t think anyone over the age of ten would be amazed by this story. It’s a cliche book (but the premise is not) but some might find it fun and innocent!

Book Review #4: Zahrah the Windseeker

 

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I was super excited to read this book even though I had to wait for my local library to order it. Well worth the wait! I adored Akata Witch and Nnedi Okorafor has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I can always connect with her characters.

“You don’t have to explain. It’s OK to care about what other people think, but you should give a little weight to what you, yourself, think.”

STORY:

In Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor (308 pages), Zahrah’s fourteen and Dada, so she doesn’t fit in well at the Kirki village of the Ooni Kingdom. Her Dada heritage gives her long dreadlocks embedded with plants and an undeveloped wind power. Because Ooni people are so image-conscious, she sticks out like a snake with fingers. After Zahrah gets her first period (menstruation cycle), her wind powers begin to fully develop. Through a series of events surrounding the forbidden Greeny jungle, Zahrah’s best friend Dari gets injured. The cure for Dari’s comatose state is in the jungle, and this is where the story truly begins. I felt so bad for Zahrah in the jungle like why did my baby have to go through so much pain?

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Another quote I like, taken from when Zahrah was on her journey:

“Look at you. You’re just as strange and misunderstood as the jungle. It’ll welcome you, I’m sure of it.”

As much as I like romance, I love the fact that the story is dedicated to Zahrah’s growth as a character. That’s not to say there aren’t any adorable hints thrown in.

I love the names, Zahrah and Dari, they are so pretty!

I also enjoy the fantasy elements. Flower computers! Zahrah has a lot of plant technology in her world. A person can plant a seed and water it to grow a computer. Very imaginative.

I could tell early on that I would like this book. Black people in a fantasy setting? Adorable characters? An innocent friendship? Nnedi is cruel; She wants me to buy this book and parade it on my bookshelf.

What did I dislike? Hmm… If I had to nitpick, the ending could be considered a bit anticlimactic. Also, certain stuff at the hospital was dragged out a little long.

CHARACTERS:

Zahrah! I completely sympathize with her. She’s an adorable crybaby, who doesn’t yet know her potential. Her journey is not only through the Greeny jungle, but to grow more confident. She’s my fictional baby! Zahrah has a real “aww ” factor.

Dari, the best friend, is my favorite. He’s a middle-school activist, who has a talent for talking. The village people and everyone at Dari (and Zahrah)’s school hang onto his every word. Since he found an interest in Zahrah, as a bold little kid, the two have been friends ever since.

I like the mentor angle Nsibidi provides for Zahrah. She’s one cool chick! I almost wish she had been featured more.

The simplest characters, like the frog, all play an important part in the story and Zahrah’s life.

OVERALL:

Read this. Read this. Read this.

I liked this book a lot and will add it to my bookshelf when I get some extra cash.

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