Archive for the ‘Old School Reviews’ Category

Old School Review: Ender’s Game

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

A quick admin note: we’ve shifted some things around over here. It shouldn’t disrupt your reading in any way, but the review blog is now found at active-voice.net/books. Okay, carry on.

Ender's GameBy Orson Scott Card [LibraryThingGoodreads]

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. Brilliant young Ender Wiggins is the best solider the school has ever seen, with skills that make him a respected leader in the battle room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. But growing up in battle school isn’t easy, and Ender is under so much pressure he might snap at any moment… and if he does, will anyone else be able to stop the next alien attack?

(Massive unhidden spoilers behind the cut.)
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In Memoriam: Brian Jacques, 1939-2011

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

[Brian Jacques at LibraryThingBrian Jacques at Goodreads]

One day in fifth grade when I’d exhausted all of the skinny, middle-grade books in our classroom library, my teacher handed me something much thicker, with a smaller font and harder words and a heavier subject matter. “Try this,” she said. It was Brian Jacques’s Mossflower.

I admit I struggled through the first half. There was a lot of plodding through deep snow, a lot of British dialects, a lot of long descriptive passages where not much happened – hard for a hyper kid to sit through. But the more I read, the more engaged I became, and the easier the reading went. It took me months to finish Mossflower. It took me days to finish the other four books in the series.

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Old-School Review: Half Magic

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

By Edward Eager [LibraryThingGoodreads]

It’s shaping up to be a perfectly boring summer for Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha, until they find a strange coin on the sidewalk that grants wishes…sort of. The coin grants half wishes, so you must wish for twice as much as you want, lest you end up with half a talking cat or half a safe journey home. Figuring out how to double most wishes is simple, but when it comes to finding a happy ending for themselves and their mother, the siblings need something more than just a little arithmetic.

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Old School Review: The Dark Is Rising Sequence (Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark Is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King, Silver on the Tree)

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

By Susan Cooper [LibraryThing]

On his 11th birthday, Will Stanton learns that he not merely human; he is the last of the immortal Old Ones, destined to protect the world from those that would destroy it. Since time immemorial there has been a constant struggle between the forces of the Light and those of the Dark. Now the Dark is rising, gathering for a final push, and the chances of stopping it for once and for all rest with a small group of children: Will, youngest of the Old Ones; Simon, Jane, and Barney Drew, powerless but clever and resourceful; and Bran Davies the Raven Boy, with a secret magical heritage of his own.

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The Song of the Lioness Quartet

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Alanna: The First AdventureAlanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like A Man, Lioness Rampant
By Tamora Pierce [Pierce at LibraryThingPierce at Amazon]

Women in Tortall are not warriors, but 11-year-old Alanna would much rather become a knight than a lady or a sorceress — so she hatches a plan to trade places with her twin brother. Disguised as a boy named Alan, she enters training as a page, hoping to become a knight before she is discovered. As Alanna works to prove herself, learning both fighting and magic, she becomes friends with Prince Jonathan — and with George Cooper, a rogue who is the King of Thieves. But all of her friendships and new skills may not be enough when only Alanna realizes that the prince’s cousin, a powerful sorcerer himself, is plotting to take the throne to Tortall… And it seems like only Alanna will be able to stop him. (Very mild uncovered spoilers behind the cut.)

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Old-School Review: The Chronicles of Prydain

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Mea culpa.

prydain1 By Lloyd Alexander [series on LibraryThingseries on Amazon]

Taran longs to be a hero, but he seems destined to be merely an Assistant Pig-Keeper. However, even that’s a pretty big responsibility when the pig in question can tell the future, and when the evil Horned King, agent of the Death Lord Arawn, has his eye on her. With a ragtag bunch of companions, including the spirited Princess Eilonwy, the bumbling bard Fflewddur Flam, the loyal beast of indeterminate species Gurgi, the grumpy dwarf Doli, and more, Taran must fight first the Horned King, then Arawn himself – and discover who he is and what he really wants to be in the process.

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Two Mini-Reviews: Bruce Coville’s “Alien Adventures” and “Unicorn Chronicles”

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

By Bruce Coville [Coville at LibraryThingCoville at Amazon]

I’m going to do something a little new, here. It’s no secret that Bruce Coville is my favorite author, and I can’t pretend to be objective about his books — I get too caught up in fangirling. I read all of these books in marathon sessions over the course of a week, so I wasn’t pausing for deep thoughts. Basically, I just want to get these book reviews out there, so I’ve decided to include two short reviews here: one of Bruce Coville’s series The Unicorn Chronicles — including the newly-released book Dark Whispers — and one of his Rod Allbright’s Alien Adventures series.

The Unicorn Chronicles: Into the Land of UnicornsThe Unicorn Chronicles: A strange man begins following Cara and her grandmother, and the incident sends her from her home town into a whole new world — literally. Cara finds herself in Luster, the land of unicorns, where she must deliver a message the unicorn’s queen. But that’s harder than it seems: not all of Luster’s creatures like humans (or unicorns). Cara soon finds herself in the middle of a centuries-old war between the unicorns and a clan of humans who have sworn to hunt them into extinction.

Aliens Ate My HomeworkRod Allbright’s Alien Adventures: Rod Allbright is a typical kid — albeit a clumsy one. Then a group of aliens crash-lands in his science project, and reveal that the school bully who torments Rod is actually a villain wanted galaxy-wide for crimes of unspeakable cruelty. Things get even worse from there when it turns out Rod’s enemy may be the only one who knows what happened to Rod’s long-missing father.

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Old-School Review: The Protector of the Small Quartet (First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight)

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

First TestBy Tamora Pierce [Pierce at LibraryThingPierce at Amazon]

Though for ten years, it’s been legal for girls to train as pages and aspire to Knighthood, Keladry of Mindelan is the first one who has actually done so — and being legal doesn’t make it easy. She’s put on probation as a page, something never done with a boy; she’s hazed by bullies; she’s treated unfairly by the training masters. No one, it seems, wants to see a lady knight. But Kel is determined, and she won’t let anything — or anyone — stand in her way.

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Old-School Review: The Nina Tanleven Series (The Ghost in the Third Row, The Ghost Wore Gray, The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed)

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

We’re introducing a new feature at Active Voice! Usually we review books that have come out in the past couple of years, but with our Old-School Reviews we’ll be talking about the books from our childhood and before. Our first Old-School Review features the fantastic Mr. Bruce Coville.

The Ghost in the Third Row By Bruce Coville [Coville at LibraryThingBook One at Amazon; Book Two at Amazon; Book Three at Amazon]

Nina “Nine” Tanleven is thrilled to be performing in a local play, but the excitement gets to be a little too much when she and her new friend Chris both start seeing the Woman in White, a ghost who may be trying to sabotage the show. And the adventures don’t stop there, because exposure to the Woman in White has made the girls more sensitive to ghosts, and they soon find themselves solving mysteries about Confederate soldiers and mad painters, hidden treasures and lost masterpieces…and more than a little bit of danger.

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