Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Review: The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw (League of Princes #3)

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw
by  Christopher Healy
Date Read:  6/17/16
Rating: ★ ★ 
★ ★ 

I am sad to see this series end. I have really enjoyed it. Christopher Healy has created such a humorous world and lovable characters.  All of our heroes and heroines are on the run since they have become the prime suspects to Briar’s purported murder!  All of the princes and princesses have a lot of story time in this novel – which is awesome, but at times cumbersome to keep track of who is where and doing what.

This was a pretty long book for a middle-grade book, but there were very few parts that were slow. One specific part that I thought was slow and took up a lot of time was when every single one of them made a wish from the genie… while it was one of the more humorous scenes, it also took up a lot of time all in one place without actually gaining much from the scene.

New characters are met in this book on a pirate ship, and old characters arrive again, either to help our heroes or to hinder them. Who is working with Rundark against the princes? How are they controlling all the different kingdoms?  I love that their plans never work out the way they are planned, although they somehow always win anyway!

I think Lila and Gustav were my favorites in this book. They had some good storylines and character development.  I wasn’t as big of a fan of Liam in this book as I was in the first book. Duncan is still just as annoying as he always has been.

I really liked that this was a group of unlikely heroes who want to do good and manage to do so in unique ways. Each one has their strengths and they always find a way to use that in their favor. It was a really good story and satisfying ending. 

I am fairly happy with who everyone ends up with at the end. I liked that it wasn’t necessarily the girl they originally started out with. Although I feel that relationships could have been handled differently, I liked that series showed that you need to complement each other – rather than be exactly alike or very different.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Book Review: How to Betray a Dragon's Hero (#11)

How to Betray a Dragon's Hero (#11)
by  Cressida Cowell
Date Read:  5/31/16
Rating: ★ ★ 

I am having a hard time typing up a review for this book. It was just so good that it’s hard to put my finger one what I loved about it.

I really liked how it focused on Snotlout.  The entire story you are wondering which side Snotlout is going to choose and how Hiccup will deal with Snotlout’s decisions.  You get to get inside Snotlout’s mind a little more in this so you can really see where he is coming from and why he is struggling to pick the right side. It was really very well done.

I can’t believe that the final two books happen within a 48 hour period. It just seems like so much to cover! But it means that it will be fast paced.  Hiccup fails a lot in this book – but you keep cheering for him and feel bad for all his failures. But it is those failures that makes him such a good hero as he keeps persevering.

Some things worked out really well for him tho, and it was humorous. Camicazi and Fishlegs had to work together in this book and it was utterly humorous. I absolutely love Camicazi – her bravery and loyalty make her lovable and then her strength and wisdom helps them move through this book. I love that she never loses faith in Hiccup.  Fishlegs’ new dragon is pretty awesome too!

Snotlout gives a really long speech in this book at the end when he is interacting with Hiccup. You really learn more about where Snotlout is coming from and you can see the change in his heart. It's the first time you really can connect with him.

The ending of the book is pretty grim. There is a death which is one of the most impactful deaths I’ve ever read.  I expected a death since they killed off Stoic in the second movie…but the way it happened was so well done. This death also has a huge impact on Hiccup. It will definitely help shape him to who he becomes after this series is over.

I am so bummed that the audio book for the final installment hasn’t been released yet! Now I have to wait a month for it to be released!  I need to know how it ends and what happens to the dragons!  How are Hiccup and his friends going to make it to the island when it has a magical border around it now? Will the Woodensfang follow through on his promise and bring the King to the Dragon Furious?  Will that be Alvin??  I can’t wait to get answers!

Book Review: How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel (#10)

How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel (#10)
by  Cressida Cowell
Date Read:  5/18/16
Rating: ★ ★ 

Apparently I never wrote my review for this one either!  It’s been a while since I listened to it, but it was also really good. We spend most of the time worrying about Fishlegs.  While I was never truly worried about him, we never had any idea what had become of him.

I really liked the new character that shows up in this book in the form of the little girl. I don’t expect to see her again, but I hope she made it back to her mom!

I think the best part of this story was Gober’s speech to Snotlout.  Snotlout has really become a terrible person and Gober has a really good speech about whether Snotlout has been a good leader to earn loyalty from his tribe:
'We are about to leave you here alone,' said Gobber calmly. 'So you will have plenty of time to think. And what you should think about is this: what have I done as a Chief that will make someone here want to come back and save me?'
There is also a great speech from Valhallarama at the end as well.  The shift in power makes the world very interesting and to see some of the tribes switch sides is amazing.

This story also completes Fishlegs' story. We never knew how he came to be on Berk floating in a lobster pot. You have no idea who his parents were. We finally get all those answers in this book. What a delightful and sad story. It's nice to know where he came from and where he inherited some of this quirks and talents from, but it is sad to know his family is gone.  But Fishlegs gets an awesome dragon!!!  I've been waiting for this, so it was rewarding to finally get this information!

This book really starts to set up the final climax of the series as you continue to cheer on Hiccup and his supporters against Alvin and his mother and also the Dragon Furious.  What will happen to the dragons? I’m just not sure how it’s going to all play out!

Book Review: The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle (The League of Princes #2)

The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle
by  Christopher Healy
Date Read:  6/2/16
Rating: ★ ★ 
★ ★ 

I am so happy that I decided to pick up this audio book from the library.  They are very humorous and the story is good.  We get to see more characters in this one, for instance Snow White and Rapunzel are a much bigger part of the story, as well as Briar Rose.

In this story Liam begins to have a lot of self-doubt about his heroic past after discovering that his father had orchestrated the fight that saved Briar Rose when he was 3 years old.  He was by far the most interesting character in this book. We see him learn to live with himself and that just because his heroics when he was 3 was set up, it doesn’t mean he can’t be a hero now.  He also treats his friends differently as he struggles with this fact.

Liam and Gustav are still my favorite characters. Although Liam wasn’t as heartwarming in this one as he was in the first while he was dealing with his issues. Gustav is just hilarious. I absolutely love him.

Briar Rose was obnoxious. But you were always wondering throughout the book whether she would come around or not.  She always acted in a way to help herself.

The bad guys are pretty bad in this book. The Warlard of Dar, Rundark, is a pretty scary dude.   And of course Rauber is still in it also.

The love triangle between Ella and Frederick and Liam is getting annoying. I hate love triangles. But this one seemed to focus on what love is really all about. So I guess I can live with the love triangle right now if it shows that a relationship is built on trust and compromise; that you can’t be too similar or too different – you need to compliment each other.  I hope everything works itself out in the final book.

I’m looking forward to what happens to our League of Princes!
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