Audiobook Review: Acceleration

Acceleration

by Graham McNamee

Narrated by Scott Brick

Published 2005 by Laurel Leaf

accel

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s a hot, hot summer, and in the depths of the Toronto Transit Authority’s Lost and Found, 17-year-old Duncan is cataloging lost things and sifting through accumulated junk. And between Jacob, the cranky old man who runs the place, and the endless dusty boxes overflowing with stuff no one will ever claim, Duncan’s just about had enough. Then he finds a little leather book. It’s a diary filled with the dark and dirty secrets of a twisted mind, a serial killer stalking his prey in the subway. And Duncan can’t make himself stop reading.
What would you do with a book like that? How far would you go to catch a madman?
And what if time was running out. . . .

My Review: 

This was a fun read. I think it tapped into every teenager fantasy to be a hero.

When Duncan finds a killer’s journal he has to face his demons. The story captures readers right away. First, McNamee leads the story with Duncan’s motivation to be a hero. It’s obvious he’s not much of a hero to start with, but at least he’s not as bad as his friends.

There’s not a lot to really like about Duncan’s friends so I won’t talk about them. They’re flat characters with little development. Even Duncan lacks a certain amount of depth, but where character development lacks, it is made up for in action. Which truthfully is the premise of this book.

I was definitely on the engrossed in the story during the high action scenes. It was a little slow building up, but McNamee entertains readers with some light comedy and a few flashbacks. It was fun to imagine with Duncan. He was completely captured by the journal he found – Roach’s journal.

I’m going to keep this review short because there’s not too much to say about it. It was a quick, light read. I would recommend it for the action, but other than that there’s not a lot of depth to it. A great summer read!

As far as the audio, I think Scott Brick was fantastic. It helped that he only had to narrate male voices, but I think he captured the teenager’s attitudes very well.

I give Acceleration by Graham McNamee a 3 out of 5 Stars.

3 Stars

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Book Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Pages: 332

Published by Razorbill, 2007

Goodreads Synopsis:

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger…

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever

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My Review:

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I’m not certain where to begin on this review. Vampire Academy was a quick, fun read, but nothing great. I doubt I’ll carry on with the series unless the later novels are adapted to screenplay as well.

First, this book started out in a whirlwind of action and ambiguity. I mean, I love jumping right into a story, but there was absolutely no character development or speculation about plot development prior to the start of the novel. You’re just thrown in trying to figure out why everything is happening.

Being thrust into a developing story I can handle, but things only went downhill from there.

The foreshadowing of this novel was so painfully obvious. I only read to the end because I was hoping that I was wrong in my prediction of the ‘big reveal’… nope. I was right. It was as boring as I expected. This novel might read like a suspenseful mystery, but Mead puts the answers right in front of her readers the entire time.  And also, besides having very little character and plot development, this story relies much too heavily on the always ill-fated love triangles. I know these are popular in YA fiction, but Mead’s were just too unoriginal. It didn’t help her book stand out any. And beyond even that, Mead played another classic YA device – humor. Except the humor was weak and as a reader I felt that I was expected to rely on Rose’s lame comebacks for her character development. It only made me even more annoyed with her.

So let’s talk about Rose and Lissa, our main characters. They’ve run away from school for some mystery reason and are dragged back. You’d think two years living as self-sufficient adults would have done something for their teenage vanity and jealousy. Nope again! These girls, Rose especially, are obsessed with shopping, boys, and gossip. Fine, whatever. The real kicker though? Rose is oh-so-good-looking and she knows it. I don’t think multiple descriptions of how great she looks in a bra really counts as character development. Her vanity not only disrupts any redeeming qualities she may have offered as a female protagonist, but it completely shrouds the only good qualities she had – her ability to kick ass and care about her friend. Turns out, Rose is weaker than she thinks. She even lets her own jealousy nearly ruin the only good thing Lissa had going. So much for being a guardian.

I can’t even talk about Lissa, she was such a bland character. She’s too fragile to do anything on her own and she’s a freaking vampire! I know it’s fun to play around with mythological origins, but Lissa was the worst vampire in history. All of the weaknesses, none of the strengths

Don’t worry, this book wasn’t all bad. Let’s end this on a positive note. I of course liked Rose as a female heroin. She wasn’t as fragile as Miss Bella Swan (Twilight), but still she’s no Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games). Regardless, Rose had a mission – to protect Lissa – and she worked her tush off to be strong enough to do so, taking many beatings in the meantime. Now that’s some devoted friendship. Also, as much as sex was a part of this book, Rose was a virgin throughout the book. Good work, Mead. Rose might have been reckless, but this proves that she at least had some self-control. A redeeming quality indeed. 

Along with some redeeming qualities in our protagonist, the writing was actually quite good. It is an easy read with enough description and action to let readers focus on the story and not the writing. AND, I was appreciative that there were no werewolves involved. I never understood the tie between vampires and werewolves.

So there it is. If you need a quick, easy read this is a good one. I know this book got a lot of good reviews so it’s probably one you’d want to check out for yourself. It just wasn’t for me. Have at it! You really can’t go wrong with reading.

I give Vampire Academy two out of five stars.

2 Stars