Teen reads: Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex / The Changeling / Insurgent
Every so often I really like to just sit and read some teenage/children's fiction. There is something about the plot lines that seems to have a bit more creativity than a lot of adult stories, and when i want to rest my mind and free it from thinking a bit too much about who killed whom I reach for my young adult shelves.
Now that does not mean to say that these pieces of fiction are any less complicated than an adult piece, they just provide a different form of escapism. Here are a few reviews from the genre.
If you haven't read an Artemis Fowl book, you might want to skip this review and instead go and pick up the first in the series as this review is for book 7, but for a quick brief on the story, Artemis Fowl is a millionaire child prodigy who discovers that there are fairies and other similar beings living beneath the earth's surface.
In The Atlantis Complex, Artemis and Co. are faced with a new problem, Artemis has contracted the deadly Atlantis complex, a fairy disease which presents itself as a blend of multiple personalities disorder, paranoia and OCD. This causes all sorts of problems as the general mastermind behind the teams problem solving is currently out of action, and Holly and the rest of the team must find their way out of their sticky escapades themselves.
When I read this I really wasn't sure if I would enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the other Artemis books as I had let my reading of them lapse a little, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It often made me chuckle and kept me interested. The characters are fun, likeable and each very distinct personalities, making it easy to follow, and the plot was both clever and imaginative, especially suited to keeping young imaginations well exercised.
A thoroughly enjoyable light read: ★★★★
As you know I have been reading a lot of Philippa Gregory over the past year or so, and when I heard she was going to be releasing a young adult book I knew I had to give it a read. The story is a bit of a departure from the norm, as it is not based in historical fact but a work of almost complete fiction, and the characters are a complete figment of her imagination.
Changeling follows Luca a young investigator sent by Pope Nicholas the fifth to seek out other worldly events and discover what they are all about. Along his way Luca meets Isolde, who is accused of witchcraft, but whom he helps to escape her imprisonment. The two along with their companions set about to investigate further strange occurrences across Europe.
While I was reading this book I felt a bit confused, it was hard to get to grips with and understand where the story was going, however at the mid point I began to feel like the story was actually a pair of shorter stories, like there were two separate adventures. We have Luca's story and Isolde's story and then their adventures together. Knowing that this was to be a series, I began to treat it as a series of connected shorter stories and it began to read a bit easier.
Unfortunately you can tell that Gregory isn't used to completely inventing her characters herself as they seem to lack depth and conviction, she does seem to be much better at adding to existing historical figures. I know it could be excused because she researches those historical characters in great depth, but I feel generally that young adult characters should be as complex if not more so than those in adult fiction.
One strength of the story that is consistent throughout all of Gregory's works is her attention to historical detail. As always she has made sure that we as readers can perfectly picture the places where the drama happens, and you know that she will have researched those details extensively to ensure that they are correct to the time period. For that I cannot help but recommend her.
The story is the first in a trilogy, the second of which, Stormbringers was released earlier this year. I haven't rushed to read it myself but for a young person who would like to try some of Gregory's writing before embarking on one of her epic series, this would provide a good taster.
I'm bouncing you back again, but if you haven't read Divergent, I recommend you pop over to my review here, and then buy a copy here (or any other good retailer), it is set to be the next big teen dystopian film series in 2014, so I recommend you get clued up!
In Insurgent we kick off right from where Divergent ended, with war looming over all factions. As Tris, Four and the other refugees flee the Erudite, they discover more about each of the other factions, and also discover a good deal about the force that is the factionless.
I was swept away again by Insurgent as the plot is fast paced and action packed, but I didn't love it as much as I did Divergent. I won't call it sequel syndrome, because I don't think that Insurgent could have avoided being "filler" purely because second books always have to pave the way between the development of the world and the solution to the problem, so the events in the story had to take place for there to be a resolution, but I didn't enjoy the read as much as Divergent.
I did love that we got some answers to some questions, and that we have more of a direction for the series throughout this book. It did feel a little choppy as we moved from plot point to plot point, but this added to the unstable feeling that runs throughout the series so far. This is mirrored by Tris's attitude throughout too, she feels a wide range of conflicting emotions which show range for a character who initially had been raised to exercise no self indulgence. I felt it added a level of discomfort to the story and would help a teen reader to identify with the seriousness of the situation.
Overall I felt this was weaker than Divergent, but still left me eager for Allegiant, and excited for the films.
And that film that is coming out for Divergent? Here is the teaser trailer. Looks good!