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    1. Fahrenheit 451
    $5.99 $2.95
    2. Tangerine
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    3. Straken (High Druid of Shannara,
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    4. Tanequil
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    1. Fahrenheit 451
    by RAY BRADBURY
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345342968
    Catlog: Book (1987-08-12)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 976
    Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Nowadays firemen start fires. Fireman Guy Montag loves to rush to a fire and watch books burn up. Then he met a seventeen-year old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid, and a professor who told him of a future where people could think. And Guy Montag knew what he had to do....
    ... Read more

    Reviews (969)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Burning on the mind
    Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, a thought-provoking book about censorship centered around book burning, seemed to get off to a slow start by following the life of the main character, Guy Montag, a firefighter who does not put out fires, but rather burns books for a living. Some of the descriptions given at the beginning of the book were confusing at first, like those of the parlor walls, which really turned out to be futuristic video screens, and the mechanical hound, a robot which is used to track and kill people by the chemical scents they leave behind. However, as I got into the book more, I felt that the almost boring way Bradbury wrote the introduction helps give the reader a sense of what Montag's life was normally like, and allows the reader to see the vastness of the changes he encounters in his lifestyle.
    I also felt that as the plot thickened, Bradbury did an excellent job of giving Guy human qualities, such as making him impulsive and sometimes hot-tempered, and showing how he strove to do what he thought was right. His interactions with other characters are very real, especially those with his boss, Beatty. When Montag starts to regret burning books, and starts to perceive that there is more to the books he burns for a living than he and most other people believe, Beatty senses Montag's change in emotion, and does his best to set him straight, telling him that books are only filled with useless thoughts and people and places created by writers that are long gone. This is the main conflict that leads to the rising action of the novel. Montag is told that books are bad, and thus by human nature becomes even more interested in them. However, the conflict is greater than this, as it is not just Montag versus Beatty. Besides also trying to get his ditsy wife interested in books, Montag faces an internal battle with himself. He has to weigh the consequences of getting caught with books with the rewards of what he could possibly gain by reading. I especially appreciated the effort Bradbury went through to bring the feelings and emotions Montag goes experiences to the reader by his word choice, and the way he showed the reader how Montag was playing a sort of tug-of-war in his mind.
    I think Bradbury did a good job surprising the reader whenever possible, such as with Montag's actions. Just when you begin to think that you might see how Guy will act in a situation, Bradbury twists the outcome, keeping you on the edge of your seat in some cases, or at least wondering what will happen next. Such is the case with Faber; a man Montag becomes friends with who also has interests in the forbidden world of books. Just as Bradbury leads the reader to believe that Faber will be somewhat in control of how Guy responds to the remarks of his boss Beatty, Montag leaves Faber in the dust, taking matters into his own hands and acting on impulse.
    Bradbury uses a serious tone throughout the novel, which helps to bring forth the importance of the subject at hand. I liked the serous way in which Bradbury presents the world Montag lives in, a world without books or leisure reading material. This made me question what I would do if I were in Montag's situation, even though in this day and age it is quite unlikely that books would suddenly be totally banned. It really got me thinking about censorship in general, and how at times in the past we made steps toward making Montag's world a reality by banning books from libraries and bookstores. On the other hand, in brought to light the fact that the bans placed on many books were lifted after such acts were declared unconstitutional, which somewhat renewed my faith in the ability of our government and society to recognize and correct some of its mistakes.
    The novel is still thought provoking, however, because no matter what kind of society we live in today, we can all imagine living in one that is totally different, one we do not feel comfortable in, one that we let our imaginations run wild in creating it, making it painful to think about let alone live in. I enjoyed how the novel made me realize how many freedoms we have nowadays, and how they can easily be taken away.
    Without spoiling the ending, I just want to say that I thought it was very fitting. As Granger says near the end of the novel, "You're not important. You're not anything." Montag and his group would have appeared to be insignificant to any unsuspecting stranger, even though they were the keys to a vast world of knowledge, one they hope someday the world will get to experience again.
    Though I do think that Ray Bradbury did a very good job of writing Fahrenheit 451, I feel that it has a few weaknesses. First would have to be a shortness of description, especially at the beginning of the novel when the reader is trying to form an image of the world Montag lives in. His short initial description of things such as the parlor walls and the mechanical hound left me somewhat confused about what they really had to do with the novel. Another case of confusion occurred with the mechanical snake that was used to empty Montag's wife's stomach and change her blood while she was sleeping after Montag found out that his wife, Mildred, had swallowed some thirty sleeping pills. It is not so confusing how this event happens but rather why it happens, and it does not seem to be important later in the story.
    Despite some weaknesses, the main point of Fahrenheit 451 is clear, and makes the book a definite "must-read."

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Prophetic Novel of Censorship
    Guy Montag is a firefighter who burns things. Specifically books, and the houses they are found in. He lives in a state where books, and possesion of them, is illegal. Guy enjoys his job until the day he meets Clarisse McClellan.

    Clarisse makes Guy doubt his motives and he soon becomes daring enough to break the law and read a book. He finds he loves litereature, he keeps steals books from the houses he's burning and reads them at home. He finally goes as far as to skip work one day, and his Fire Department Captain, Captain Beatty, shows up at his home. He tells Montag that it's normal for a Fireman to go through such doubts at a stage in his life. Then proceeds to go through a long monologue as to the history of banning books. According to him, special interest groups objected to books that criticized, belittled, or undermined their causes. For this reason, books became more and more neutral in order to avoid offending anyone. However, this still wasn't enough. So society agreed to outlaw books.

    Montag is not convinced and begins to plot with a professor he had previously met named Faber. They plan on planting books in the houses of Firemen as a way of discrediting the profession and destroying the governments unit for censorship. However, thing go when the alarm sounds at the firestation and Montag goes to the last house he'll burn in is career, his house.

    Unlike its fellow dystopia-themed predecessor, 1984, much of Fahrenheit 451's depiction of modern society came true almost prophetically. Although not outlawed, literature now holds a narrow audience. And the brainwashing televisions Ray Bradbury depicts aren't far off of today's one-eyed-boxes.

    Ray Bradbury's adjectival descriptions in this book are strong, even at times; on occasion, one could even say they became monotonous. However, the books never crawls forward for to long; the progress, although not quick, still moves fast enough to keep the reader's attention.

    Overall a strong novel censorship. Although not perfectI would recommend Fahrenheit 451 to any reader interested in either mere science-fiction, or one actually interested in a political criticism of censorship. Both will find their time well spent, the latter will definitely get more out of it, as for the previous. . .
    Maybe you would enjoy Star Wars??

    5-0 out of 5 stars Definition of a classic...
    I've heard so many people say they've been influenced by Bradbury (writers and others) and I can see why--this is simply a great novel. Bradbury is really a national treasure. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, don't miss him. His stories are priceless. (Especially the one about his anger at people telling him for years that he was crazy to believe man would set foot on the moon in his lifetime. He said he called up every person who laughed in his face the night Neil Armstrong did--and pretty much laughed in their faces!) There is a fantastic one-on-one interview with him in the Walt Disney Tomorrowland-Disney in Space and Beyond DVD (interviewer is Leonard Maltin). His friendship with Disney (a fellow futurist) was fascinating. But it's the sense of wonder and child-like curiosity and optimism (not childish or blind optimism as he clearly understands what can create a dystopia) that make you realize why he is a national treasure. He's inspired me to look to the future, to look up, to look forward, to always be wary and alert to what can go wrong, (and the dangers of closed or lazy minds) BUT not to let any of that stop you--that anything is possible in a world willing to believe, in a free world with open and curious minds.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book that continues to touch on modern life
    Though I was long familiar with many of Bradbury's works, I had put off reading "Fahrenheit 451" in favor of other books until a friend lent it to me recently. After reading it, I'm angry with myself for having taken so long to pick it up. This book is a fantastic tale of a future society that abandons intellectual development and destroys its books. Like all great literature, it offers insight into our society today despite having been written over a half-century ago, and it continues to reward reading today.

    This book is more than a seminal work of dystopian literature, however; it is also one of the most elegant meditations on the value of literature in modern society that I have ever read. In envisioning a society that destroys books, Bradbury has to explain what is lost as a result. His answer, as we see in Faber's expositions during Montag's visit, is the exact thing which makes this book worth reading - the insights we gain into our own world and our own lives through reading. Integral to this process, of course, is the fact that people must read them and put what they take from them to good use for a society to thrive; as Bradbury notes, the first step towards the world of his novel was taken when people stopped reading. It is this message which makes "Fahrenheit 451" essential reading, especially in a society where entertainment today bears an ever-closer resemblance to the noise-dominated media depicted in Bradbury's nightmarish future.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Reply to a response
    How does someone miss the point of a REVIEW by such a vast margin? I agree with your and Mr. Bradbury's alarm about the state of politics and culture, but my review was not concerned with his message, but with his storytelling. Just because one agrees with an author's stance does not mean that one has to like the way in which the author conveyed that stance. Mine was a literary critique, not a political one, and those who rate this book so highly simply because of the gravity of the message are deeply misguided. Message aside, it's an awfully cheesy and childish book. Admit it.

    Anyway, I said the DIALOGUE was wooden. The characters were flat. ;) ... Read more


    2. Tangerine
    by Edward Bloor
    list price: $5.99
    our price: $5.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0439286034
    Catlog: Book (2001-06-01)
    Publisher: Scholastic Signature
    Sales Rank: 7848
    Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Paul Fisher¹s older brother has always been the football-playing hero of the family. But when the Fishers move to Tangerine, Florida, Paul enters a place where weird is normal. And suddenly the blind can see. TANGERINE as named a 1997 American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, an ALA Top-Ten Best Book, a Horn Book Fanfare Book, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and an Edgar Award Nominee. ... Read more

    Reviews (311)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Tangerine
    Peter Pan
    Genre = Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
    Tangerine
    Edward Bloor
    6th - 8th grade

    Paul Fisher is a 12 year old boy who has just recently moved with his family from Houston, TX to Tangerine,FL. The town is smaller then Houston and the people seem all the same. Paul's older brother Erik, the star football player, finds himself right at home in Tangerine because of the extreme passion for football in the area. Paul feels that his parents pay more attention to Erik than they do to him and his soccer career. Paul attempts to play for his school soccer team but because of his visual impairment, supposedly involving an incident where Paul stared at an eclipse, he is not able to play. When Paul sees the oppurtunity to go to a new school he jumps at it. When he starts befriending people at his new school, a downward spiral of unspeakable events begins to unfold. If you want to find out what happens to Paul and his family, read Tangerine by Edward Bloor.

    I would recommend this book very much to anyone looking for a good story full of rich imagery. This story shows people how it is to be visually impaired and tells a great story all the while. **** out of ***** stars. Also this book can be used in the classroom too. It is a good way to teach description and metaphor to your students. Because of the great character building, you can also do a character analysis activity with it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Tangerine
    Tangerine, by Edward Bloor, is a novel that is not like any book I'v ever read. It tells the story of Paul Fisher, a seventh-grader who has just moved form Houston to Tangerine County, Florida. Paul is legally blind- he has to wear "Coke-bottle" glasses so that he can see. His parents tell people that Paul's eyes were damaged because he didn't listen and stared at a solar eclipse too long. Paul has always been overshadowed by his older brother Erik, placekicker extrodinare. He plays a part in the "Erik Fisher Football Dream"- but just what his part is remains to be seen.

    When Paul moves to Tangerine, everything is different. Lightning knows where to strike. Schools get sucked up by sinkholes. People get killed- and no one really does anything about it. With the help of some friends, Paul sees the truth in things that other people seem blind to. Can Paul finally shake off the shadow of his older brother? In Tangerine, anything is possible.

    Edward Bloor's first novel is well written and the plot keeps moving, keeping you constantly interested. I would reccommend it to any young adult looking for a good read.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Let down by the touted Tangerine. WARNING: SPOILERS!
    I finally read this after having many people recommend it to me. I was pretty disappointed in the book for several reasons. One, I did not find the writing that great. I felt it needed to be edited, probably by 100 pages or so. There are so many repetitive passages, such as Paul trying to remember over and over how he became legally blind as a small child. Also, the plot wanders at many times, with too many quirks. Mud fires, lightning, and sinkholes all occur in this small town much too frequently, leading the reader to wonder, *WHY* would anyone ever move there?!

    The main reason I was disappointed in the book, though, was the plot line with the older brother, Eric Fisher, the football star. Erik is a star football kicker with many dark secrets. In the end, he is exposed, Paul's parents express their regret, and life is good.

    Having grown up with a violent sibling, I know that the family dynamic is never "cured" so easily. A lot of times, parents are aware of what their children are up to, but simply feel helpless. The Fisher family are all characterized as one-dimensional, and therefore, any problems and resolutions simply feel like a nice little tale, not reality.

    My advice, avoid this well-intended but disasterous book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best book since "Holes"
    Here's a blow by blow of my experiences while reading, "Tangerine". After twenty pages I said to myself, "Hm! The man can really write!". After fifty pages I said, "Wow! This book is as good as 'Holes'!". After one hundred and fifty pages I was fully engrossed. After two hundred and fifty pages I was bodily grabbing people off of the street, forcing copies into their hands while chanting something along the lines of, "One of the greatest kid's books ever written!", or words to that extent. Now that I've finished the book and given myself a little time to reflect I can clearly decide whether or not this initial euphoria was short lived or not. Ladies and gentlemen, I am more than a little pleased to report that I was right all along. "Tangerine" is one of the greatest children's books to be written in the last ten years. It is brilliant, socially conscious, filled to the brim with sympathetic (and uniquely unsympathetic) characters, and funny to boot.

    Paul Fisher is moving again. His father is a civil engineer by trade, so Paul's a little used to picking up and leaving for the next town. In this particular case, the family's moving to Florida to live in a gated community. Once there, each member will be able to start doing what they enjoy best. His brother, Erik, will continue to wow everyone with his football skills, his father will continue to worship those skills and spend all his time with his eldest, his mother will join the community's neighborhood association, and Paul will join his school's soccer team. Paul's a goalie by training, and despite his eye troubles (he has almost zero peripheral vision due to a mysterious accident in his youth) he's the best. Not like anyone notices, of course. The rest of the family is too caught up in what Paul has wryly dubbed the Erik Fisher Football Dream. The fact that Erik is a seriously disturbed individual seems to go entirely unseen by Paul's parents and it becomes clear that when his brother's activities go from threatening to criminal, Paul's the only one who can come out with the truth. Along the way he has to battle lightning storms, sinkholes, underground fires, flash frosts, and angry neighborhood associations.

    That's the plot in its barest form. As I've copied it down here, I haven't even begun to delve into the fact that Paul transfers himself from his local hoity-toity school in the suburbs to a far more rough and tumble public facility. He makes friends with the kids in that school, faces racism on the part of his old school chums, and begins to understand a little more about white privilege. What other school age novel deals with racism, classism, social consciousness, and environmental concerns and so well at that? The precarious nature of Paul's new home becomes clearer and clearer when expensive koi fish are eaten by the native ospreys, muck fires spring up regularly in the backyard, and termites start eating the houses. The more the humans attempt to bend nature to their will, the funnier the situations become. This would not be a bad book to pair with the similarly Florida set story, "Hoot".

    I was a little surprised at the psychopathic nature of Paul's brother. Having just finished reading Diana Wynne Jones's excellent, "Archer's Goon", which contains the most evil little sister in literature, I was amazed to find that my next book, "Tangerine", contains the world's worst elder brother. Erik and his brother have exactly one conversation in this entire novel. Beyond that, all we know of Erik comes from Paul's slowly clearing memories about the accident that damaged his sight and Erik's own actions. As Paul's parents strive to prove that they're a perfect family, things become worse and worse. I liked that Paul was as mature a kid as he was. Though he certainly says words and thoughts that are a little old for a seventh grader, you feel safe with him as your narrator. When he overreacts, you understand why. The same goes for when he doesn't react at all.

    I'll skip telling you about the symbolism that also went into this tale. Needless to say, if you've a kid that needs to read a book that's rife with it, just pick this one out. I'm still amazed that this was Edward Bloor's first novel. The level of the writing is not only impressive, but also intense. This is the first book I've read (outside, I'll admit, of Harry Potter) that actually made me interested in sports. I loved reading about Paul's soccer games and how he compares them to football. Best of all are the characters in this tale. Even Paul's parents, horribly flawed but earnest, are at least trying to be good people. The book is, above all, honest. And I appreciated that.

    The highest praise I can offer "Tangerine" is this: Long after I finished a chapter or two I would find myself puzzling over the multiple meanings and layers of the text. Whole sentences and ideas kept popping up to be reread and regurgitated. If you want a children's book that will make you think about a host of different ideas and points of view, read "Tangerine".

    3-0 out of 5 stars Tangerine
    Sally Pickles
    Genre: Contemporary Realistic Ficton
    Title: Tangerine
    Author: Edward Bloor
    Publisher/ ISBN: Scholastic Inc. ISBN: 0-439-28603-4
    Grade Level: grades 6th-8th
    Gist: Paul is a twelve year old boy who has recently moved to Tangerine Florida. Paul lives wih his dad, mom , and older brother. Paul plays soccer and his brother Erik is a bug time football star. Paul enrolls in a new school and begins making new friends. Everthing seems to be going fine until a series of bad events begin to take place. If you want to know what happens to Paul and his family then read Tangerine. It is a great book and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
    I would recommend this book because it is very realistic. It shows that anything can happen that you least expect. It is also scary and keeps you on the tip of your seat. All together it is a great book and I hope you read it.
    Classroom Uses: You ould do many activities with this book some of the thigns could be; a sinkhole activity where you find out how a sinkhole works. Also, you could do a character analysis activity. This would help you if you were a teacher. ... Read more


    3. Straken (High Druid of Shannara, Book 3)
    by Terry Brooks
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345451120
    Catlog: Book (2005-09-06)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 2161
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    4. Tanequil
    by Terry Brooks
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345435745
    Catlog: Book (2004-08-31)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 782
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    Amazon.com

    War threatens the Four Lands, and Shannara's only hope lies in Penderrin Ohmsford, but it's a dreadfully slim hope. To save his world, Pen must restore his aunt, the former Ilse Witch, to her rightful position as High Druid of Shannara. But first Pen must free his aunt Grianne from the Forbidding: the world of the demons. To have the slightest chance of freeing her, he must find the mystical tree called the Tanequil, and somehow craft a talisman from its wood. But Shadea a'Ru, the treacherous usurper of his aunt's position, will do anything to stop Pen--and she has already captured Pen's parents and forced them to reveal their son's whereabouts. Sen Dunsidan, the monstrous Prime Minister of the Federation, has armed his greatest airship with a horrible new weapon. And Pen is just a boy, accompanied on his dangerous quest by only a Dwarf, a young Elf, and a blind Rover girl.

    Filled with action, treachery, and sacrifice, Tanequil will enthrall Terry Brooks's millions of fans as it roars to a shocking conclusion. However, newcomers to the Shannara series should not begin with Tanequil. It's the middle book of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, and the thirteenth novel of a complicated high-fantasy series with numerous characters and sentient races. Newcomers should start with Jarka Ruus, the first book of the High Druid trilogy--or, better yet, with The Sword of Shannara, the first book of the series. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more


    5. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
    by TERRY BROOKS
    list price: $7.50
    our price: $6.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345434110
    Catlog: Book (2000-02-29)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 35732
    Average Customer Review: 4.03 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Terry Brooks's novel, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, is being released with four distinctive covers--each featuring a different character from the film. This special collector's pack gives you a full set of four books with one copy of each of the four different covers. Each embossed front cover features a different Episode 1 character: Anakin Skywalker, Queen Amidala, Darth Maul, or Obi-Wan Kenobi. (Available May 3)

    **Please note: the content of each book is the same, but the covers are different. ... Read more

    Reviews (402)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Read it for the backstory you won't get in the film
    I usually stay away from Star Wars books in general. For me, if it's not by Lucas, it's doesn't exist in the Star Wars universe. After seeing TPM multiple times, however, I was so hungry for more about the characters, I had to pick up the book. For that reason alone I give it three stars. If you are at all interested (like I am) in more detail on the history of the Sith, in Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's father/son relationship, in Padme's growing bond with Anakin, then you'll appreciate much of this book. However, if you're looking to read a well written sci-fi book, or to re-create the visual spectacle of TPM, go elsewhere. The dialogue is OK (actually, some of it is better than the film), in terms of describing the "feel" of the film, there are Internet fan-fic writers with a better sense for detail. Brooks fails at interpreting many of the scenes that made the movie appealing. The final lightsaber battle especially lacked punch compared to the intensity of the film. Get it only if you're an obsessive SW fan in desperate need of a fix, and even then, beware. You'll likely be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
    I loved this book. Personally, I've seen the movie 3 times already (due to change to higher number soon). The 2nd time I saw the movie, I went and brought the book. It was worth every cent. Now, I was introduced to Star Wars when I was four. My grandmother had it at her house and I thought it was scary as anything. My brother got it for his 7th birthday (when I was nine) and we watched all of them straight through and I finally understood the plot. Then I was hooked. My dad started to let me read the Star Wars books. I enjoyed most of them (save some Kevin J. Anderson books). Until this day, my favorite SW book is "Jedi Under Seige", surprisingly by Kevin J. Anderson/Rebecca Moesta. When the new movie came out, my friend and I skipped school to see it. For those of you who haven't seen it, get off the internet, get your shoes on, and haul your butt to the nearest threater showing Episode One. The book, in my opinion is just as good as the movie, which was killer. Terry Brooks is a talented writer (unlike some. I'm not mentioning any names, Ms. J. V. Jones. And Mr. Kevin J. Anderson (Adult Star Wars)) and keeps strictly to a plot line. He doesn't give away any secrets about the movie until they're supposed to be given (Sound familiar, Ms. P. C. Wrede?).The one problem I had was that the battles could have been more descriptive. As an unpublished novelist, I'll say firsthand that battles ARE hard to do, but when you're doing Star Wars, blood and gore, and lightsabers, and ships, and big explosions work. Thank you and have a nice day.

    3-0 out of 5 stars kind of boring
    Author Terry Brooks was given the task to write the book adaptation of the first Star Wars prequel movie: "The Phantom Menace". The novel is based on the screenplay by George Lucas. As with any other book there are good things and bad things about this novel. In this case, the good and the bad are the same thing: Terry Brooks must stay close to George Lucas's screenplay. This is good because Brooks must stay close to what the movie would end up being. This is bad because the screenplay wasn't very good.

    The story is obviously the same as the movie (though fleshed out a little bit more). Two Jedi are sent to negotiate with the Trade Federation over the Federation's blockade of Naboo. The Neimoidians, under the power of Darth Sidious, try to kill the Jedi (Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi). The Jedi escape and travel down to Naboo where they end up rescuing Queen Amidala and a few select Nubians. To hide from the Trade Federation they land on the planet Tatooine where they meet a boy named Anakin Skywalker. Their ship is damaged and to get the parts they need Anakin helps them win something called a podrace, which Anakin is a driver in (the only human who is able to do so). Qui-Gon believes this boy is strong in the Force and is the one mentioned in a prophecy about a boy who will bring balance to the Force. The novel has two primary focuses: the time spend on Tatooine with Anakin and freeing the Naboo from the Trade Federation.

    There are some things that this novel does very well. The opening of the novel is different from the movie in that we see Anakin in the podrace where he is wrecked by Sebulba (alluded to in the film). We see how Anakin is able to race the pod so well and this is the hint of how he is able to use the Force even without knowing what it is. Because we have more of Anakin's thoughts, we see his actions in a different light. We also get to see more of the Sith and their origins (though I prefer "Shadow Hunter" for that). Darth Maul does not come off very well in this novel. He is still an excellent fighter, but he doesn't get to speak or think here. The two Jedi come off the strongest as we get to see more interaction between the two and with more explanation of their relationship.

    There are also some things that do not work very well. While Anakin is better explained as the potential child of prophecy, he is still not very interesting as a character. Also, both Darth Maul and Padme Amidala are given short shrift in characterization. Worse, I was bored throughout the novel. Sure, I knew the story so there were no surprises, but I can re-read a book or watch a movie a second or fifth time and still be entertained. With this novel I felt that I was just dragging myself along and the only benefit was that I did already know the story so I could skim at times. I have long been a fan of Terry Brooks and his Shannara novels, but this one was rather weak.

    3-0 out of 5 stars "Clouded This Boy's Future Remains..."
    Terry Brook's most famous contribution to bookstores is his "Shannara" series, which I personally found a bit too close to the Tolkien formula to find particularly interesting, much preferring his more original "Running With the Demon" saga. But in novelizing George Lucas's screenplay "The Phantom Menace", Brooks has found the perfect arena to instigate his clear, graceful style of writing.

    It seems pointless in relating the plot, since I can't imagine anyone reading this book who isn't a Star Wars fan and hasn't already seen the movie (perhaps several times), but just in case, "The Phantom Menace" begins the Star Wars saga against a backdrop of political manouvering. The planet of Naboo has been invaded by the greedy Trade Federation, but Queen Amidala is able to reach the Republic and its Senate under the protection of two Jedi: Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi in order to seek aid for her home planet. On route to the Republic's base in Coruscant however, the company must make a stop on the desert-planet Tatooine, where they meet with Anakin Skywalker, a young slave with enigmatic origins, the makings of a great Jedi, and an uncertain future. This fateful meeting sows the seeds of all that is to pass...

    As mentioned, Terry Brook's style is perfect in order to present the sometimes-complicated subject matter clearly and concisely. Whilst watching the movie for the first time I was often confused at the fast-paced unfolding of events that occured, but on reading Brook's narrative the screenplay became clearer. Likewise, his depictions of the characters are very true to what unfolded on the screen and we can finally get a look inside their heads and see what truly makes them tick. This is especially true of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and Brook's commentary on their opposition concerning their interpretations of the Force: Qui-Gon is more attuned to the "living-Force" that stresses the importance of each individual, whilst Obi-Wan holds to the "unifying-Force", that tends to look at the bigger picture. It is the two Jedi that benefit the most from Brook's narrative and thus come across as the main protagonists. Unfortunately, Anakin does not fare quite as well, with many similar sections of character insight devoted to boyhood dreaming, and Brooks seemed so determined to keep Amidala's true identity a secret that we never get inside her head at all.

    Throughout, Brooks takes the opportunity to add little scenes that weren't on the big screen: either intended and deleted scenes, or from the author's own imagination, it doesn't matter, as they serve to flesh out the story a bit more and slow the pace. Thus the story opens with Anakin in the desert and continues adding little scenes of his life before he meets Qui-Gon (otherwise the reader would not have come across him until chapter nine). One particularly evocative scene that bears more weight after watching Episode II involves Anakin helping an injured Tuskan raider. Recalling Anakin's later involvement with this species in the following movie leads me to believe that Brooks may have had knowledge Lucas's entire story, and so it pays to watch out for other bits of foreshadowing that Brooks sprinkles throughout, such as: Anakin's dream of Padme leading an army, Yoda's doubt at Obi-Wan's ability to properly train Anakin, and a secret smile on a politician that hints he may have a secret adjenda going on *cough*Palpatine*cough*.

    Brook's descriptions of scenery, machinery and characters are beautifully done, and since only example can convince you, take a read of: Qui-Gon - "a tall, powerfully built man with prominent, leonine features. His beard and mustache were close cropped and his hair was worn long and tied back." Or of the Jedi Council room: "The room was circular and domed, supported by graceful pillars spaced between broad windows open to the city and the light." See what I mean? It is all very brief, but clearly and simply told. The only weak areas are the action sequences, but whether it's Lucas Jedi matches or Rowling Quidditch games, such things will always be more exciting to watch than to read, and I must confess I skipped over the pages concerning the Pod-Race.

    Though it's hardly essential reading, Terry Brook's adaptation is an excellent literary version of the movie, that keeps in the spirit of the Star Wars saga, whilst adding little touches of its own. If you were confused by some of the drama on the screen, this will sort you out, and for veterans there's enough originality to keep you interested: the history of the Sith, the background of the main characters and a look into the workings of the Force that suggest it is more complex than simply a Light and Dark Side.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Go beyond the film with Episode I's novelization......
    Every saga, proclaims the tag line for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, has a beginning, and every Star Wars movie has a novelization. Following in the footsteps of Alan Dean Foster, Donald F. Glut and James Kahn is acclaimed fantasy writer Terry Brooks (The Sword of Shannara, among 14 novels), who adapted George Lucas' original screenplay into novel format.

    Although the Star Wars novels all stick to the basics of their source material, their authors are often able to tack on extra material to set up the situation shortly before the true beginning of the movie. In Brooks' The Phantom Menace, for instance, the first two chapters give the reader more details of young Anakin Skywalker's life in the weeks prior to his fateful meeting with Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Brooks describes, for instance, the incident when Anakin's archrival, Sebulba the Dug, intentionally flashes young Skywalker's Podracer with his vents and nearly kills the boy in the resulting crash. Afterward, Anakin, his best friend Kittster Banai, and the young Rodian Wald encounter an old spacer in the town of Mos Espa. The grizzled veteran amazes the youngsters with his tales of flying fighters and starships, and of missions involving Jedi Knights. Anakin, even at the age of nine, decides that he will not settle for the life of a slave on Tatooine.

    "[He] thought about what it would be like to be out there, flying battle cruisers and fighters, traveling to far worlds and strange places. He didn't care what Wald said, he wouldn't be a slave all his life. Just as he wouldn't always be a boy. He would find a way to leave Tatooine. He would find a way to take his mother with him. His dreams whirled through his head as he watched the stars, a kaleidoscope of bright images. He imagined how it would be. He saw it clearly in his mind, and it made him smile.

    "One day, he thought, seeing the old spacer's face in the darkness before him, the wry smile and strange gray eyes, I'll do everything you've done. Everything.

    "He took a deep breath and held it.

    "I'll even fly with Jedi Knights.

    "Slowly he exhaled, the promise sealed."

    From the third chapter on, Brooks follows the plot of Lucas' screenplay, starting from the failed attempt by Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi to negotiate an end to the greedy Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo. Despite their reputation for cowardice in the face of a strong challenge, something -- or someone -- is enabling the Neimoidian leaders of the Federation to stand up against the Galactic Republic's attempts to tax the trade routes. Using a fleet of battleships, the Trade Federation's viceroy, Nute Gunray, threatens to interdict all shipping to the small backwater planet of Naboo, home planet of both Queen Amidala and its representative in the Senate, the unassuming man named Palpatine.

    Confident that turmoil in the Senate will hinder any response by Supreme Chancellor Valorum and knowing they have the support of a Sith Lord named Darth Sidious, the Neimoidians attempt to dispose of the two Jedi ambassadors and boldly invade Naboo. Their goal: to capture the teenaged Amidala and force her to sign a treaty that legalizes Federation control of her planet. Even when the Jedi escape to the planet surface, Gunray and his henchmen don't fret much...until Amidala's cruiser -- with Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Jar Jar Binks, the Queen, and a small group of handmaidens and security personnel aboard -- runs past the Trade Federation blockade.

    But the cruiser's hyperdrive is damaged during the daring breakout, and the escapees must head to the nearest system not under Trade Federation control. The only one within range is the desert world of Tatooine, a rough-and-tumble planet controlled by the vile Hutts. There, the Republic has no presence and scum and villains live side by side with moisture farmers, jawas, and the nomadic and violent Tusken Raiders.

    The Phantom Menace fills in some of the blanks in the Star Wars backstory, answering such questions as:

    What were the roots of Anakin Skywalker's anger?

    How did Artoo Detoo and See Threepio meet?

    How did Jedi Knights serve as guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic?

    How did Palpatine rise from sectoral Senator to Supreme Chancellor?

    Star Wars fans know, of course, the future fate of the major characters of The Phantom Menace and the changes to come in the galaxy. Palpatine will someday be the Emperor, Obi-Wan Kenobi will end up on Tatooine as one of the last surviving members of the Jedi Order, keeping an eye on Anakin's future son Luke. Anakin Skywalker, of course, is destined to become the Sith Lord named Darth Vader, and young Queen Amidala will grow up to be Anakin's wife and mother of his two children. Yet Brooks focuses on this transitional time in Anakin's life, when he's still a child with good instincts and big dreams, dropping subtle hints here and there that foreshadow the events that will turn a heroic Jedi into one of the most iconic villains in movie history. ... Read more


    6. The Illustrated Man (Grand Master Editions)
    by RAY BRADBURY
    list price: $7.50
    our price: $6.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 055327449X
    Catlog: Book (1983-11-01)
    Publisher: Spectra
    Sales Rank: 9351
    Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    That The Illustrated Man has remained in print since beingpublished in 1951 is fair testimony to the universal appeal of Ray Bradbury's work. Only his second collection (the first was Dark Carnival, later reworked into The October Country), it is a marvelous, if mostly dark, quilt of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. In an ingenious framework to open and close the book, Bradbury presents himself as a nameless narrator who meets the Illustrated Man--a wanderer whose entire body is a living canvas of exotic tattoos. What's even more remarkable, and increasingly disturbing, is that the illustrations are themselves magically alive, and each proceeds to unfold its own story, such as "The Veldt," wherein rowdy children take a game of virtual reality way over the edge. Or "Kaleidoscope," a heartbreaking portrait of stranded astronauts about to reenter our atmosphere--without the benefit of a spaceship. Or "Zero Hour," in which invading aliens have discovered a most logical ally--our own children. Even though most were written in the 1940s and 1950s, these 18 classic stories will be just as chillingly effective 50 years from now. --Stanley Wiater ... Read more

    Reviews (75)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Really does earn all five stars
    This was an extremely good one-day read. It's short, entertaining, and completely worth devoting a few aimless hours to. This was my first exposure to Bradbury, and it did not disappoint in the least. Though probably classified as sci-fi due to the overall themes and the author's writing history, this book belongs, in my opinion, in the horror genre. Not all of the stories are particularly frightening, but many of them convey such a sense of dread and terror, much appealing to the psychological aspect, that it left me a bit less prepared to sleep in a dark room that night. One in particular that stands out is 'the Veldt', in which future-modern home technology turns devastatingly bad on some of its owners' intended victims. This book is worth a look, for certain, but can be picked up in most decent used book stores for much less than the new list price.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Illustrating Human Nature
    Sometimes it's hard to remember that Ray Bradbury approaches the art of the short story in a very unconventional way. His collections of short stories are often tied together by common sub-themes or settings, although each story could also stand on its own. Such is the case here, though the running theme to the Illustrated Man collection is mostly an abstraction. Apparently the stories here are told by a man's haunted tattoos, but don't worry about that too much. The true theme holding this group of stories together is examinations of human nature and mankind's place in the universe. Bradbury's frequent use of Mars (and occasionally other planets) as a setting, with the obligatory spaceships and technology, is merely his method of creating alternate realities to bring human nature into bold relief.

    Bradbury's classic examinations of the dark and melancholy side of humanity are well represented here as always, with his trademark poetic writing style and underlying sense of creeping dread. The classic virtual reality tale "The Veldt" is found here, with the typical misuse-of-technology theme presented in an unexpectedly haunting fashion. More evidence that the stock sci-fi themes are merely a thin backdrop can be seen in "The Other Foot," a chilling examination of race relations; or "The Rocket," which deals with the yearning of regular people to reach beyond the confines of Earth. Other winning stories include "Kaleidoscope" and "The Long Rain" which are haunting tales of how human nature can still undermine the greatest achievements of cold technology. So don't concern yourself with the typical sci-fi backdrop, and get in tune with what Ray Bradbury is really talking about.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Poignant Tales of Yesterday¿s Future
    This group of highly imaginative tales, written in 1948-51, do nothing if not illustrate that 1) it's extremely difficult to predict the future and 2) no matter how much we struggle against it, we probably are doomed to reflect our own times and cultural environment. Over half a century after Ray Bradbury wrote these entertaining stories, we have a lot of answers to questions about the (then) future thanks to hindsight. Bradbury's characters still smoke like chimneys, they still use clunky mid-20th century machines for the most part---lugging electrical equipment and card tables across the light years in their bronze spaceships. There's only the vaguest hint of a computer ("The City") and then of the giant, controlling variety. Above all, there is no vision of the infinitely varied America of today---the space explorers in these stories are nearly all white Anglosaxons who speak and behave as white people did in the early 1950s. The cultural oppositions and arguments in the stories are those of mid-century America. While it is true that Bradbury writes of human nature it is also true that the nature he describes is as we saw it half a century ago.

    However, Bradbury covers a wide range of topics: child psychology; machine vs. man; imagination and emotion vs. cold science; religion; time travel, and race relations. Some of the stories are unbelievably poignant. In fact, I would say that poignancy---the ability to bring out that quality without being sappy or twee---is Bradbury's strongest suit. If you don't like science fiction, this book probably isn't for you, but it certainly has made its mark on American culture, with 47 printings through 1990. One story, "The Exiles", probably laid the basis for his later "Fahrenheit 451". Bradbury wrote many stories which featured the "wrap-around-comfort, totally mechanized houses" that appear in several works in this volume. How many Hollywood movies of the last 15 years owe a debt to "The Fox and the Forest", a story of people escaping through time from a bad future to a quieter or more prosperous present ? THE ILLUSTRATED MAN is a minor American classic in a perennially shortchanged genre, science fiction. The dated technology and cultural styles may seem primitive today, but even they add a dimension of telling us about the times in which they were written as well as about the future as they saw it then.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you don't like Science Fiction......
    read this and change your mind.

    The narrator met a man covered in tattos, tattos that moved to tell stories, eighteen of which are told in this volume. The stories, many of which have been published separately, are:
    THE VELDT - overindulgence is bad for both parents and children
    KALEIDOSCOPE - doomed astronauts floating in space
    THE OTHER FOOT - reverse discrimination with a vengence
    THE HIGHWAY - sometimes life passes you by and sometimes it doesn't
    THE MAN - is it the journey or the destination that matters?
    THE LONG RAIN - sometimes madness is the answer
    THE ROCKET MAN - career vs. family
    THE FIRE BALLOONS - is religion the answer or the question?
    THE LAST NIGHT OF THE WORLD - the end with a whimper not a bang
    THE EXILES - do people live for art or does art live for people?
    NO PARTICULAR NIGHT OR MORNING - again the answer could be madness
    THE FOX AND THE FOREST - you can run but you cannot hide
    THE VISITOR - sometimes you don't know what you've got 'til its gone
    THE CONCRETE MIXER - Mars invades
    MARIONETTES, INC. - machines can be asked to do too much
    THE CITY - revenge can be served very cold
    ZERO HOUR - parents need to parent
    THE ROCKET - Desire, envy and the triumph of the human spirit

    Although these tales are hauntingly disturbing and many contain rather gruesome images Bradbury writes with a gentleness that takes material that could be shocking in another writer's hand and instead makes it poignant. He allows the more subtle message of the stories to come through by taking the edge off the sensationalism.

    It is particularly interesting to read these stories and rember (or discover) what life was like in the fifties and then reflect (investigate) what changes took place in the subsequent fifty year.

    For those who have read this and didn't like it try it again in a few years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bradbury is a master storyteller
    These are stories that go beyond "science fiction." The technology aspects are part of the canvas, but these stories are powerful because Bradbury paints with emotion and metaphor. He builds more empathy with characters in a few short words than other authors do in an entire novel, and his descriptions return us to a time when we were young, and simple objects filled us with awe and wonder.

    There is something here for everyone. Read them for yourself. Read them for your children. This short book is a celebration of the art of storytelling. ... Read more


    7. Dandelion Wine (Grand Master Editions)
    by RAY BRADBURY
    list price: $7.50
    our price: $6.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0553277537
    Catlog: Book (1985-04-01)
    Publisher: Spectra
    Sales Rank: 16989
    Average Customer Review: 3.88 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    World-renowned fantasist Ray Bradbury has on several occasions stepped outside the arenas of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. An unabashed romantic, his first novel in 1957 was basically a love letter tohis childhood. (For those who want to undertake an even more evocative look at the dark side of youth, five years later the author would write the chilling classic Something Wicked This Way Comes.)

    Dandelion Wine takes us into the summer of 1928, and to all the wondrous and magical events in the life of a 12-year-old Midwestern boy named Douglas Spaulding.This tender, openly affectionate story of a young man's voyage of discovery is certainly more mainstream than exotic. No walking dead or spaceships to Mars here. Yet those who wish to experience the unique magic of early Bradbury as a prose stylist should find Dandelion Winemost refreshing. --Stanley Wiater ... Read more

    Reviews (204)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Realistically Delightful
    Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine can only be described in two words: Literary Triumph.

    Dandelion Wine tells the trials and tribulations of Green Town (known in the real world as Waukegan), a small town in Illinois. Set in the 1920's, the action primarily revolves around young Douglas Spaulding...a good friend, a loving brother, and a poet at heart.

    Like most Bradbury works, Dandelion Wine is not exactly a complete novel. Rather, many short stories pop up within the action...from a suspected witch that lives down the street, a trip into the country, and the purchase of new sneakers, each is a story within itself. Each of these stories is recorded by Douglas Spaulding and his faithful little brother Tom. They long to hold onto these memories and make the most of them.

    Dandelion Wine is more than guaranteed to excite the senses as well. Bradbury has such control over sensory imagery that the reader can easily smell the sweet scent of dandelions on every page, breathe the small town air with every word, and hear the faint jangling of a trolley in the distance. The book is also chock full of meaningful symbolism, witty metaphors, and unforgettable similes.

    Although it is in Illinois, Green Town could be any lonely town, and Douglas Spaulding could be any young child who longs to hold onto his memories and treasure them forever in a bottle of Dandelion Wine.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Book
    So far I have enjoyed reading Dandelion Wine. It is an excellent book that keeps you wondering and wanting to find out what happens next, full of magic and mystery. Young Douglas Spalding in the summer of 1928 has discovered that he is alive; he is learning to truly treasure life and to love his childhood as well as anticipate the years to come. Bradbury has a very poetic writing style which makes the book a nice read. Read this book to go on a wonderful summer journey, Bradbury's use of descriptive words will help you to feel like your actually seeing all the excitement going on in little Green Town. You'll learn to think about the small things in life and appreciate nature, You'll notice all kinds of things that you never really took the time to see before.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Dandelion Wine
    This is without a doubt, the absolute worst book i have ever read in my life. Let me tell you i have read some horrible books that are pointless and have no relation whatsoever to life. However this one takes the cake. This isn't just a boring book. I have read books that were well made but are just boring to me such as Rebecca, Kidnap, and Great Expectations, but this book has no plot. Dandelion Wine is 239 pages of description. Some of the chapters include the character Douglass buying a pair of shoes, picking grapes, and brushing his teeth. This, as you can see, is quite "thrilling". I would rather take medicine than read this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Favorite
    This is one of my top 5 favorite books. Bradbury rocks.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A series of metaphors about life in an active summer
    This is a chronicle of a simpler time in Middle America, often presented in the form of a metaphor. It is the summer of 1928, from opening day until the school supplies are readied for the first day of school in the fall. New sneakers, packed with enormous potential for running, jumping and general activity are one of the opening traditions of the summer. The title comes from the making of dandelion wine, which is considered to be a way to pack the emotions of summer into a bottle. Since the dandelion flower is yellow and round, it bears some resemblance to the sun.
    As the story moves through the days of summer, there is the pain of a friend moving away, the fear of a major summer illness of a child, the death of a great grandmother, the concern over a haunted area of the town, and a women's social society. Through it all, there is a note of underlying mysticism, but it is simply humans in a small town doing what people did in small towns in those days. The introduction of the supernatural forces is clearly meant to be a set of metaphors for the usual unusual events over the course of an active summer. The best example of this is the happiness machine. One of the inhabitants builds a machine that mentally takes you to many of the exotic places in the Earth. However, the wife of the man who built it points out that it is a bad thing, because it makes you want to go places you can't. Furthermore, it doesn't make the supper, mend the clothes, clean the house, or do any of the routine, but necessary tasks of daily life.
    One of the most moving segments was the death of the great grandmother, who dies contented, considering it just another event in a long life filled with many happy routines. The segment begins with a recapitulation of her life, all of the actions of cleaning, cooking and taking care of children. She makes one last sweep of the house to check on things, and then goes upstairs to her bed to die. She dispenses some last-minute advice about how to carry on, commenting that she will live on in her descendents. With that last act out of the way, she curls up in bed and quietly and peacefully dies.
    Reading it took me back to the days when I was twelve and growing up in Iowa. We had our summer rituals, the places we avoided because of the spooks, our favorite fields and swimming places and we also let the doors slam behind us. Bradbury writes very well, but you cannot appreciate these stories if you take them too literally. However, if you are capable of thinking metaphorically, then this is the summers of my youth as well as the youth of millions of other active boys. ... Read more


    8. The Sword of Shannara Trilogy
    by TERRY BROOKS
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345453751
    Catlog: Book (2002-08-27)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 9669
    Average Customer Review: 3.84 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Twenty-five years ago, New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks wrote a novel that brought to life a dazzling world that would become one of the most popular fantasy epics of all time, beloved by millions of fans around the world. Ten more Shannara books would follow. Now, for the first time in one elegant collector’s edition hardcover, and featuring an introduction by the author, here are the first three novels of that classic series: The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara, and The Wishsong of Shannara—the beginning of a phenomenal epic of good and evil.

    The Sword of Shannara
    Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil ruined the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. But the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races.

    The Elfstones of Shannara
    The magical Ellcrys tree is dying, loosening the spell that bars the Demons from enacting vengeance upon the land. Now Wil Ohmsford must guard the Elven girl Amberle on a perilous quest as she carries one of the Ellcrys’ seeds to a mysterious place where it can be quickened into a powerful new force. But dark on their trail comes the Reaper, most fearsome of all Demons, aiming to crush their mission at any cost.

    The Wishsong of Shannara
    An ancient Evil is stirring to new life, sending its ghastly Mord Wraiths to destroy Mankind. To win through the vile growth that protects this dark force, the Druid Allanon needs Brin Ohmsford—for she alone holds the magic power of the wishsong. Reluctantly Brin joins the Druid on his dangerous journey. But a prophecy foretells doom, as Evil nurses its plans to trap the unsuspecting Brin into a fate far more horrible than death.

    Thus begins Terry Brooks’s thrilling Shannara epic, an unforgettable tale of adventure, magic, and myth.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (44)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good, entertaining reading
    I first read the Shannara books in junior high (early 90s) and instantly fell in love. They were the first epic fantasy books I'd ever read, the only other real fantasy book I'd read at that time being "The Hobbit." For the next decade, I'd read the Shannara books as they emerged, never feeling inclined to pick up the LOTR trilogy. For some reason, it looked boring to me when I was in high school. Then, in 2001, I decided that I'd better read the trilogy before the "LOTR: Fellowship" film came out. I really wanted to see the movie but felt that it would be bad form to see the film without having read the book.

    So, I galloped through the trilogy, and it completely reframed how I viewed the Shannara books. In short, the LOTR trilogy completely blew me away. Aftwards, it almost made me sad to compare the two series. I spent a while feeling pretty negatively towards Mr. Brooks for what I felt were unforgivably blatant Tolkien rip-offs: Allanon/Gandalf, Elessedil/Elendil, Shady Vale/the Shire, wonderful elves/wonderful elves, etc., and all the other issues that Amazon reviewers have taken umbrage with.

    I've since changed my tune. When all is said and done, when I go and re-read the Shannara books, they never fail to keep me up til 2:00 a.m., just as the LOTR trilogy does when it assumes a place on my night table. Mr. Brooks's works are, simply put, darn good pieces of storytelling -- when I'm lost in the pages of "The Elfstones..." at 1:30 a.m., it's not because I've been awake mentally critiquing Brook's characterization of the hero in the epic journey.

    It is not Brooks's fault that he must write in Tolkien's shadow; Brooks certainly knew that his work was bound to draw comparisons (favorable and not so) to LOTR, and I think he has made the best of it. A recycling of themes, tropes, stock characters, etc., is inevitable in any literary tradition, movement, or genre, so I cannot fault Mr. Brooks for creating & populating the Four Lands in the manner that he has. When I re-read the books in the Shannara series, I do so to enjoy them on their own terms and for their own merits.

    My main criticism of the Shannara franchise is the sheer number of books. I suspect that the quality of Mr. Brooks's writing in the most recent books falls below that of the original Shannara trilogy & Heritage series. I should say that in fairness, I've not read the latest one; I tried reading the "Ilse Witch: Voyage..." and could not make it through. I just couldn't read it for some reason, and I haven't tried the other two. All good things must eventually come to an end, and perhaps Mr. Brooks would have done well to end Shannara with "The Talismans...". Extending a series just to extend a series is not always a good thing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Now THIS is what Fantasy is ALL about!
    The Sword of Shannara came out in 1977, but I waited a whole year before a friend of mine challenged me to read what was (at the time) the largest book I had ever opened. I wasn't much of a reader at the time, but what little I did was mostly science fiction, and I didn't really have any kind of interest in fantasy whatsoever. However, it was a challenge I took, and one I am truly glad I accepted. This was the book that seriously hooked me on a lifetime of reading. It was JUST what I was looking for, but I didn't realize it until I started to read it. I will always love books, and Terry Brooks novels in particular, but if it weren't for his original novel, I'm not entirely sure I'd be a reader today.

    In the Sword of Shannara, we learn of Shea Ohmsford & his brother Flick in quiet Shady Vale in the Four Lands...an area virtually sheltered from the rest of the Country, and one where manifestations of dark magic rarely (if ever) come to light. But one day the peace that Shea & Flick have known all their lives is suddenly shattered when Allanon, last of the magical Druids stops to talk specifically to Shea about his bloodline and how he is the last of the Shannara line who can wield the fabled Sword of Shannara against the Warlock Lord. One of the reasons I LOVE this novel was the beginning where Allanon relates a great deal of history of the Four Lands and the creation of the Sword to destroy the former Druid, Brona. The story is quite detailed all without losing the urgency for the need of Shea to act quickly. Reluctantly Shea takes off on the adventure of a thousand lifetimes to help rid the world of the Warlock Lord on his quest to subjugate all within the Four Lands.

    The Elfstones is personally my favorite of all the fantastic Shannara novels. If you read the original Sword you know that the Elfstones were given to Shea Ohmsford, and subsequently passed on down until Wil Ohmsford now has them. Again Allanon makes an unscheduled surprising visit to convince young Wil that his help is absolutely VITAL to help in banishing the hordes of demons who are about to pour into the Four Lands. What many just don't realize is that the sacred tree, The Ellcry's was created thousands of years before by Elvin Magic to banish the demons behind a magical wall called the Forbidding. The Ellcrys is finally beginning to die out, and chooses one of its caretakers to go on a quest to restore it back to life...all with the help of Allanon and Wil Ohmsford and the Elfstones. This quest is simply fantastic. Allanon makes his most visible appearance in the Elfstones helping to lead an army of Elves against the onslaught of demons breaking free of the failing wall of the Forbidding into the Four Lands. The battle scenes are incredible and tremendously entertaining. Simply one of the greatest Fantasy stories in print in this, or any other generation.

    The Wishsong is mighty close to the Elfstones, but falls short by a tiny margin. Again a decendant of the house Ohmsford is asked (again) by Allanon to assist in helping the Four Lands battle a new incarnation of evil. Mord Wraiths have control of the Ildatch, ancient tome of evil magic, and are using it to poison the Four Lands, beginning with the Eastland. This time our protagonist isn't a man, or even a boy. SHE'S an Ohmsford, but Brin is anything but your typical girl. She was born with the gift of the Wishsong (or curse, depending on how you look at it). Brin & her younger brother, Jair have this gift, which manifests itself differently in each of them. There are many memorable characters introduced in the Wishsong, including Slanter the Dwarf, Garret Jax the Weapon's Master and Kimber Boh (yes, related to Walker Boh, future Druid). Both Brin AND Jair begin a journey to help destroy the Ildatch -- but separately -- Brin believing she left her young brother home, and Jair believing that somehow he MUST help Brin otherwise her quest with Allanon is doomed to fail.

    ALL 3 stories are incredible tales told to near perfection. Recently I read an interview with Terry Brooks when he was asked if he is a better writer today than he was when he first started 25 years ago. He responded by saying, (in effect) 'I'm a better writer, but not necessarily a better storyteller' and while his writing improves with each tale, he has been hard pressed to improve upon his first three books. Epic Fantasy done RIGHT... THIS is what Fantasy is ALL about.

    5-0 out of 5 stars amazing
    This book, and all the books Terry Brooks have done, are simply amazing. like a mixture of Tolkein and contemporary fantasy, they've entertained me since childhood, and even now as an adult.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good, But Closely Resembles LOTR
    I must agree. This book is very good and is worth buying. But it very closely resembles Lord Of The Rings. Could be more origional, but still a great set of books all together.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Generally a good read
    Firstly, I want to say that I do like this book and found it an enjoyable read. However:
    Allinon = Gandalf
    Shea = Frodo
    Flick = Samwise
    Balinor = Aragorn
    Brona = Sauron
    'Skull Bearer' = Ringwraith/Nazgul

    Need I say more...? ... Read more


    9. Something Wicked This Way Comes
    by Ray Bradbury
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0380729407
    Catlog: Book (1998-03-01)
    Publisher: Eos
    Sales Rank: 7533
    Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.

    Few American novels written this century have endured in the heart and memory as has Ray Bradbury's unparalleled literary classic SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin.The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.

    Few American novels written this century have endured in the heart and memory as has Ray Bradbury's unparalleled literary classic SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. ... Read more

    Reviews (149)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic.
    I first read this book ten years ago when I was 13. At the time, I didn't understand the metaphors and symbolism that Bradbury's books are known for. I enjoyed it at the time, but it still wasn't one of my favorites. But now as I reread the book, I realize how great of a book this is. As I mentioned, like other of his books like Fahrenheit 451, this book uses a lot of metaphors.

    Anyways, I've been re-reading many of his books recently, and this is one of my favorites. I couldn't put it down and I read it less than a day. It's not really extremely scary, but the atmosphere and dialogue is masterful and tends to make the book have a mysterious and somewhat creepy feeling. It doesn't resort to violence and death to create this atmosphere as too many of today's "horror" novels do.

    It is essentially the tale of two boys, Jim and Will, who discover that the carnival that has come to town is evil. It is run by Mr. Dark, and a bunch of freaks that are pretty much actually souls that he captured. The two boys and Will's father much get rid of the carnival before it "destroys" more people.

    Overall, this book is excellent. While it isn't extremely scary, it is still a great piece of literature with a creepy atmosphere. It is as much a book about growing up as it is about terror and horror. I would recommend it to almost anyone who will understand the Bradbury metaphors. Another Bradbury classic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ray Bradbury's the Coolest
    Perhaps I am a bit biased, but I just can't say anything bad about Ray Bradbury. I have read the reviews of "Something Wicked This Way Comes" both positive and negative. I agree with both sides to an extent. "Something Wicked this Way Comes" IS a dated novel. And while dialogue at times seems straight from "Leave It To Beaver" (Gee whiz!) and the ending can be deemed corny, I feel that this book and Ray Bradbury have stood and will continue to stand the test of time.

    Bradbury's style of writing may not be appreciated by everyone, but to say that his work is a waste of time seems way to extreme to me. I love Bradbury's works FOR the metaphors, FOR his long descriptions. Bradbury does not allow his readers to be innocent bystanders, instead he places them right there standing next to Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway, witnessing fisthand the evil that is Dark and Cooger's traveling carnival. It is a perfect combination of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. For this, Ray Bradbury is definitely one of a kind.

    As for the ending, I was happy to read a novel with such a simple message at the end. There was no big complex (often ridiculously impossible) solution to ridding the town of evil, rather a pure, simple fix. For me, "Something Wicked This Way Comes" is a welcomed stray from modern horror fiction.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Classic That I Actually Liked! How Could That Be!?
    Something Wicked This Way Comes(1962).

    Ray Bradbury, author of such renound classics as The Martian Chronicles and Farenheit 451, took a stab at the horror genre in 1962. Much like Mary Shelley(Frankenstein) and Bram Stoker(Dracula), Ray Bradbury helped in the shaping of the Horror genre, now ruled by such authors as Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Combining Horror and Classical Literature, with a plot of Greed and Deception, Bradbury created what today would be known as a Horror Classic, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and also one of the most recognizeable novels in his catalog. Bradbury was the first Horror author to use children, the most unlikely heroes, that Stephen King later used in his commercial smash IT and his short story "The Body", and have been used by numerous other authors and directors of popular culture. Based on a famous quote of Shakespeare, Something Wicked This Way spawned a popular movie of its own, and Modern Day Metal Artist Iced Earth even used it for the title of their popular album. In the next paragraphs, you will read just what made Something Wicked This Way Comes such a timeless classic, and one of the very few classics I can stand!

    Plot-
    During the time before Halloween, in the cold Autumn of October, a Train seemingly spawned out of hell comes into town, a dark omen of the days ahead. As a calliope crackles mysterious doomy tunes, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show, a carnival of sorts, unloads their dark materials, tents, animals, and sideshow freaks of equal gruesomeness. Jim Nightshade and Will Holloway, two young curious 12 Year old boys, seemingly are the only ones to hear the hellish calliope(FYI, an organ) music at Three in the Morning, so they set out to see where all the noise is coming from. Soon they find out, and flee back to their homes to await the coming storm. The next day, The Carnival is out in full force, and most of the entire town is there, to view such rides and shows as A Mirror Maze, a Ferris Wheel, seeing Skeleton Men, Dwarfs, Fortune Tellers, Mr. Electro, and Mr. Dark, the Amazing Illustrated Man. Their is also a Merry-Go-Round, but it is strangely Out of Order. After the crowd leaves and the carnival shuts down, the crowds subsided totally and all is quiet, Jim and Will stay behind, hiding, waiting to learn the mystery of the carnival. Soon they are thrusted into a world where their wildest dreams are imaginable, and their worst nightmares are staring them right in the face, and they are the only ones who can subside the Growing Storm...

    Writing-
    Since this is my first Ray Bradbury novel I've read(And probably not the last), I won't compare Something Wicked This Way Comes to his other works, but instead rate his writings as my observations as a reader. The most memorable part of Bradbury's writing, is his descriptive writing, which, even such a simple act as running, Bradbury lets you Feel, Hear, See, Taste, and almost makes you think you can reach out and touch what isn't there. Although many times his descriptions run-on for too long, other times he hits the right notes in the right amount of space, and his genuine talent for writing and descriptions bring the story and the characters alive. Something Wicked This Way Comes, along with Stoker's Dracular, is one of the few classics I can stand, because too much emphasis in other classics is placed on descriptions rather than plot, but Bradbury's plot is deftly place Center-Stage here, and the Reader never feels bored or let down.Many times his ideas may seem unreasonable, but against the other material it doesn't take too much away from the book to me.

    Overall, Something Wicked This Way Comes left a strong impression on me for Bradbury, and this won't be the last book I read by him. If you noticed the 4 star rating, it's mostly because of the things that plague classics so much for me. Overlong descriptions. I must emphasize though Bradbury isn't nearly as inconsistent as many authors, so this is just minor. Also some of his plot ideas seem odd and leave the reader thinking "Huh?", but most of the time the plot is easy to follow.

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! A GREAT HORROR AND CLASSIC NOVEL NOT TO BE
    MISSED BY ANYONE! BRADBURY MAKES THE CARNIVAL SEEM MORE EVIL THAN
    IT DOES IN REAL LIFE!

    Also Recommended-

    Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
    IT- Stephen King
    Dracula- Bram Stoker

    Thanks For Reading!

    4-0 out of 5 stars A classic that I actually liked! How could that be?!
    Something Wicked This Way Comes(1962).

    Ray Bradbury, author of such renound classics as The Martian Chronicles and Farenheit 451, took a stab at the horror genre in 1962. Much like Mary Shelley(Frankenstein) and Bram Stoker(Dracula), Ray Bradbury helped in the shaping of the Horror genre, now ruled by such authors as Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Combining Horror and Classical Literature, with a plot of Greed and Deception, Bradbury created what today would be known as a Horror Classic, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and also one of the most recognizeable novels in his catalog. Bradbury was the first Horror author to use children, the most unlikely heroes, that Stephen King later used in his commercial smash IT and his short story "The Body", and lods have been used by numerous other authors and directors of popular culture. Based on a famous quote of Shakespeare, Something Wicked This Way spawned a popular movie of its own, and Modern Day Metal Artist Iced Earth even used it for the title of their popular album. In the next paragraphs, you will read just what made Something Wicked This Way Comes such a timeless classic, and one of the very few classics I can stand!

    Plot-
    During the time before Halloween, in the cold Autumn of October, a Train seemingly spawned out of hell comes into town, a dark omen of the days ahead. As a calliope crackles mysterious doomy tunes, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show, a carnival of sorts, unloads their dark materials, tents, animals, and sideshow freaks of equal gruesomeness. Jim Nightshade and Will Holloway, two young curious 12 Year old boys, seemingly are the only ones to hear the hellish calliope(FYI, an organ) music at Three in the Morning, so they set out to see where all the noise is coming from. Soon they find out, and flee back to their homes to await the coming storm. The next day, The Carnival is out in full force, and most of the entire town is there, to view such rides and shows as A Mirror Maze, a Ferris Wheel, seeing Skeleton Men, Dwarfs, Fortune Tellers, Mr. Electro, and Mr. Dark, the Amazing Illustrated Man. Their is also a Merry-Go-Round, but it is strangely Out of Order. After the crowd leaves and the carnival shuts down, the crowds subsided totally and all is quiet, Jim and Will stay behind, hiding, waiting to learn the mystery of the carnival. Soon they are thrusted into a world where their wildest dreams are imaginable, and their worst nightmares are staring them right in the face, and they are the only ones who can subside the Growing Storm...

    Writing-
    Since this is my first Ray Bradbury novel I've read(And probably not the last), I won't compare Something Wicked This Way Comes to his other works, but instead rate his writings as my observations as a reader. The most memorable part of Bradbury's writing, is his descriptive writing, which, even such a simple act as running, Bradbury lets you Feel, Hear, See, Taste, and almost makes you think you can reach out and touch what isn't there. Although many times his descriptions run-on for too long, other times he hits the right notes in the right amount of space, and his genuine talent for writing and descriptions bring the story and the characters alive. Something Wicked This Way comes, along with Stoker's Dracular, is one of the few classics I can stand, because too much emphasis in other classics is placed on descriptions rather than plot, but Bradbury's plot is deftly place Center-Stage here, and the Reader never feels bored or let down. Many times his ideas may seem unreasonable, but against the other material it doesn't take too much away from the book to me.

    Overall, Something Wicked This Way Comes left a strong impression on me for Bradbury, and this won't be the last book I read by him. If you noticed the 4 star rating, it's mostly because of the things that plague classics so much for me. Overlong descriptions. I must emphasize though Bradbury isn't nearly as inconsistent as many authors, so this is just minor. Also some of his plot ideas seem odd and leave the reader thinking "Huh?", but most of the time the plot is easy to follow.

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! A GREAT HORROR AND CLASSIC NOVEL NOT TO BE MISSED BY ANYONE! BRADBURY MAKES THE CARNIVAL SEEM MORE EVIL THAN IT DOES IN REAL LIFE!

    (...)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
    Something Wicked This Way Comes, is one of the most amazing books ever written ever! "By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes." Every time I hear that saying I think of this book written by Ray Bradbury. Also I think that it was kind of odd how Mr. Dark used the diguise of being the lightning rod salesman, and how Jim and Will found out all the secrets of the mirors and the mazes and the fariswheel. All that Mr. Dark and Mr. Cooger were trying to do were to take the peoples souls and trade them for what they (the people) wished for the most as in their sins. To all that haven't read this book should really read it because it will make you interested in it more and more...page after page. This book is one of the best ever written and it will make you more interested in it because of all what happens it makes you wander whats going to happen to Jim and Will next, so it keeps you gessing, and it makes you wander if Will and Jim will make it out alive or dead!! Who know till you read it, so go out and read it for my sake and for yours. ... Read more


    10. Morgawr (The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, Book 3)
    by TERRY BROOKS
    list price: $7.99
    our price: $7.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345435753
    Catlog: Book (2003-08-11)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 10642
    Average Customer Review: 3.31 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks became the master of epic fantasy with the publication of his legendary debut, The Sword of Shannara. Since then, each new novel in the Shannara saga has brilliantly built upon and deepened the world of breathtaking magic, adventure, and intrigue he created. In The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara—his third enchanting series—he literally took his legions of loyal readers soaring to new heights as a colorful contingent of characters took to the skies aboard a magnificent airship on a quest fraught with wonder and danger.

    Now in Morgawr, the quest at last draws to its climactic conclusion, as the forces of good and evil vying against each other to possess an ancient magic race towards an explosive clash—and whatever fate awaits the victor . . . and the vanquished. Harrowing confrontations with the merciless Ilse Witch and the monstrous Antrax have already taken their toll on the intrepid heroes of the Four Lands. But their darkest adversary now snaps at their heels, in the form of the Morgawr—master of the Ilse Witch, feeder upon the souls of his enemies, and centuries-old sorcerer of unimaginable might.

    With a fleet of airships and a crew of walking dead men at his command, the Morgawr is in relentless pursuit of the Jerle Shannara and the crew that mans her. For the Morgawr, the goal is two fold: to find and control the fabled ancient books of magic, and to destroy the dark disciple who betrayed him—the Ilse Witch. But the Ilse Witch is already a prisoner . . . of herself. Exposed to the awesome power of the Sword of Shannara, and forced to confront the truth of her horrifying deeds, she has fled deep into her own mind. Now at the mercy of those who seek vengeance against her, her only protector is her long-lost brother, Bek Ohmsford, who is determined to redeem his beloved sister . . . and deliver her to the destiny predicted for her by the Druid Walker Boh.

    Once again, Terry Brooks weaves together high adventure, vividly wrought characters, and a spellbinding world into an irresistible story of heroism and sacrifice, love and honor. In Morgawr, fans of the Shannara mythos will find both a satisfying finale and the promise of new wonders yet to come.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (74)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Well written as always, but little new
    Terry Brooks can frequently create some of the most memorable fantasy novels - with imaginative new characters and worlds and down to the last minute suspense.

    The first of the Jerle Shanara books fulfilled this promise with an exciting voyage to the unknown, a mysterious and deadly enemy, and the final battle scene and capture of walker. The second book, Anthrax, also did superbly well in developing the extent of the threat and a surprising battle where Walker sacrifices his life.

    But, this third novel doesn't add anything new over the first two books. When I ordered it, I was hoping to find out how well Grianne would take the revelations of the sword of shannara to heart, and I guessed that the plot would revolve around her becoming a new druid and a final battle with morgwar.
    I wanted to hear that story.

    Instead is nearly entirely about the relationship between bek and grianne, some non-interesting escapes from morgwar, and an easily predicted victory on the journey back home. There was almost no new characters at all. My guess is that Terry just wanted to put full closure on the series in an easy manner, and is holding the interesting stuff for the next book. A nice plan, but this is one of the few Terry Brooks novels that I will not read a 2nd time.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fighting For Survival
    To me, the pinnacle of this series was the portion dealing with the computer, Antrax, but I also wondered very much how the situation with the Morgawr was going to be resolved and how Grianne, formerly the Ilse Witch, would confront and accept her evil deeds. Bek displays a true tenderness as he helps her in her time of vulnerability.

    I was also secretly hoping that at least one elven ranger would make it. But alas, out of principle, they had to be killed off to the very last. And oh yes, I quite understand that Mwellrets have GIMLET eyes. I was reminded of this on numerous occasions. But these were but small points of contention as I observed the corrupt politics of the Federation and wondered how the good guys could possibly survive the Morgawr's fleet. The heroes have failed in their mission in some ways and succeeded in others. Now they have been reduced to raw survival and the reader waits to see how the battered remnants of the crew will ever reach home alive.

    5-0 out of 5 stars They Get Better And Better!
    I loved this book. It was such a marvelous way to end one of the best series of all time. I love how Brooks incorporates new and unusual characters in his books. I think that Truls Ruhk was one of the most unusual and most interesting characters I've encountered. I like how he and Bek become such good friends but then he has to decide the fate of his life. I find that there are a lot of feelings of love and hate towards one another in this book such as Bek and Little Red (Rue Meridian) and their love story, and the hate towards Grianne (The Ilse Witch) from the company that has lost so much because of her. Perhaps this book was so intriguing because it summed up the previous two but it seems like with each book Terry Brooks writes, the better they get. I'm waiting impatiently to buy the next one.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!
    I have always been a great fan of Terry Brooks. I have read all the books written by him and I loved every one of them. However, this last one to the end of the series was very disappointing. The plot was rushed through and the old-world technology was not even talked about. Two main characters in this book died, and one of them happened to be my favorite. Almost all the characters are from the previous books. For example, Rovers, one Leah, one Druid, two Omsfords, bad guy, elves, and a dwarf. The brave elves will sacrifice themselves, the druid will be stubborn, the druid will lead the Omsfords around, and finally the courageous Leah will protect the Omsfords. I did like the fact that technology was brought into this book. The airships were pretty interesting and Anthrax¡¦s artificial intelligence was very interesting. It is fun to read about magic versus science, but I still wished that Brooks would emphasize more on how the technology and old-world people were lost. It is too bad that Brooks didn¡¦t write more about it. The plot was rushed because they didn¡¦t do anything in Anthrax except wonder around getting scared and then leaving the island. Then, stopping midway from home to fight the bad guy who sucked anyways. Morgawr was just a power-hungry warlock that got defeated quite easily, and he himself was very boring and not interesting. Also, the Isle Witch was barely talked about in this book, she was just a tired and withdrawn little girl that does practically nothing in this book. In conclusion, if you haven¡¦t read the Isle Witch Series, don¡¦t read it. On the other hand, if you already read the first two of the Isle Witch Series, go ahead and buy this one, as it concludes the series nicely.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Who wrote this book?
    I have been a fan of Terry Brooks and the Shannara series from its beginning. I bought each book read and reread them then lent them to friends. Not so with this latest add-on. Did someone get paid to write 400+ pages out of a story line of perhaps 100? Snore......its unlike these characters to whine and snivel about adversity..but here they seem to bubble over with it. Seems I would read a page or two and then skip a page or two so I wouldnt have to reread all the life stories. The only other books I have ever had to do this with is Swords of Time and White Gold Wielder (you guys know what i mean.."I'm a leaper....") ... Read more


    11. FOREVER : A Novel of Good and Evil, Love and Hope
    by Judy Blume
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0671695304
    Catlog: Book (1989-08-01)
    Publisher: Pocket
    Sales Rank: 15823
    Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    "Going all the way" is still a taboo subject in young adult literature. Judy Blume was the first author to write candidly about a sexually active teen, and she's been defending teenagers' rights to read about such subjects ever since. Here, Blume tells a convincing tale of first love--a love that seems strong and true enough to last forever. Katherine loves Michael so much, in fact, that she's willing to lose her virginity to him, and, as the months go by, it gets harder and harder for her to imagine living without him. However, something happens when they are separated for the summer: Katherine begins to have feelings for another guy. What does this mean about her love for Michael? What does this mean about love in general? What does "forever" mean, anyway? As always, Blume writes as if she's never forgotten a moment of what it's like to be a teenager. ... Read more

    Reviews (235)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not that good
    This book was not all the reviewers hyped it up to be. I was disappointed by the lack of plot, poor character development, and trite storyline. It basically seems to serve as an over-sexed book for teenagers to read. The characters fall in love and then, 3/4 of the way through the book, fall out of love. Big deal. They're teenagers. The reader is given no reason to feel particularly bad, and it just seems like you spent all this time reading and then they just break up. Yes, it may be "exciting," if you get the picture, but I think it is only written because Blume knows that horny teens are going to read it. It's supposed to be her first adult book, but adults would be bored by it. It's obviously just tagged as that so that thirteen year-olds can feel naughty reading about Katherine's sexploits. Blume was so great with Superfudge and Blubber and the like, but I think she should stick to kids' books. I fear that if any mother reads this book, she will not let her children read Blume's kids' books. That will be a true loss. Go back and read Superfudge, it's a lot more entertaining than this book. I read it in an evening, however, because the plot was so thin that I could skip pages and pages and not miss much...

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring and Extremely Touching Novel...
    Forever, a book written by Judy Blume in the 1970's, is a genuine and extremely touching account of first love. Existing in print for some time this book still is an admirable novel by teenagers, like myself, of the current generation and I imagine many generations to come. I read this book in less than three days and I found it to be exceptionally realistic as to what the perspective of love through a teenager's eyes is really is like. It also immensely related to my own life and personal experiences of tragic and seemingly true love. This book emphasized the true emotions and feelings a young girl experiences following the "first time." I believe that too many adults have criticized this novel for the seemingly small of amount of detailed sexual content. Sexual intercourse is an issue that we, as teenagers, all deal with and talk about. Sex , today especially, is a highly controversial subject but we, as teens are all still curious and experience things for ourselves. Like the characters in Forever, Michael and Kathryn, do. Blume writes with no shame about a beautiful thing such a sex and of teenage first love. This novel hid nothing of the reality of it all. It is an inspiring story of love, sex and the difficulties of being a teenager, in the simplest terms written with great passion. I would highly recommend any high school student to read it, especially girls. It is a warm, "feel good" book that I would and will eventually read again. I know it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Themes of Forever
    Forever is a realistic and graphic book. Some people have suggested that the book is about how high school love
    or first love never lasts forever. That is a huge overgeneralization and I don't think that is the point of the book. Besides I know of a married couple who met in their freshman year of highschool.The point of this book is not that highschool love cannot last forever but rather that it usually doesn't last forever and that as someone said only the test of time will tell whether a relationship lasts or not. It is also is about how sex can change a relationship and the consequences that sex has. If your first love lasts and somehow survives your immaturity then you are lucky but if it doesn't then life will go on and you will love again.That is what I got from the book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Cute.
    Michael and Katherine meet at a New Year's party and start dating. Their innocent dating turns into a sex life. Even though Katherine claims she loves Michael, I and even if he does care for her too, I think he pushes her into sex too much. Every time they go out, it's always feeling as if he wants to sleep with her. He makes highly suggestive moves, until finally she agrees. When their parents command they separate for the summer, Katherine is distraught until she "gets the hots" for a tennis player in her camp. Will the love Katherine and Michael share last forever?

    I gave this book four stars because the characters in it are a bit bland and some of the descriptions are a bit vague and you are expected to assume things, or so it seems.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Forever can be an awfully long time
    My husband once told me this story: When he and his best friend were in their first years of college, they spent a week-end at a friend's home. The friend allowed them to sleep in his bedroom, and there on the shelf was the infamous Judy Blume book, "Forever". Remembering the whispers and rumors surrounding the novella, the boys immediately snatched it up and tried to discover its secrets. Says my husband now, "I had thought in Middle School that the government had banned the book. That it was an officially banned book". It was, after all, the most sought after of all the forbidden works out there. After flipping through (and locating the sexy passages)the boys were a bit disappointed and perplexed. There's nothing particularly shockig in this book. From the hype it receives you'd think it was a slightly modified version of "The Story of O". Instead, what you have is a well-written story concerning the course of a single relationship and the consequences of young love.

    Katherine is in love with Michael. And Michael is in love with Katherine. As we read, the book follows their growing trust, from their early tentative days, to a growing dependence, to their final words together. Katherine's life is easier than most. She has two wonderfully caring parents, a talented younger sibling, and a wise-in-the-ways-of-the-world grandmother who always gives her good advice. Katherine is eighteen years of age, and privy to all the advantages and problems that such an age entails. Just the same, she understands that her relationship with Michael is special and different. No one is going to keep them from loving one another. Except possibly themselves.

    To be honest, I have a hard time figuring out why teens enjoy this book as much as they do (apart from the sex). To me, the adult reader, Katherine is consistently remarking that adults like her parents don't understand her situation or that they're needlessly thoughtless and uncaring. Any reader with a lick of sense will notice that Katherine's assessments are, like many teens', skewed by emotion. She IS rather innocent in the ways of the world. Fortunately, one of Blume's hallmarks is that she remains a distinctly understanding writer. Being young and hormonally screwed up does not mean that your average young adult is incapable of making thoughtful intelligent decisions. This idea is part of the reason Blume's books are banned as often as they are. I mean, honestly, let's consider "Forever" today. At this moment in time there are teen books out there named things like, "Doing It", that are far more graphic and sexually liberated than the relatively tame "Forever". These books (appealing in large part towards young male audiences) have proliferated like mad and are particularly obsessed with sex rather than love. In this light "Forever" is almost an innocent ingénue. It is certainly one of the first books to have spokenly openly about teen sexuality, but why is it still being banned in certain schools and libraries today? Personally, I suspect that it has to do in large part with the fact that it is dealing with a GIRL's sexual feelings. Books about boys and sex are as old as the hills themselves. But put a book like this with a female narrator and her friends discussing getting laid with all the frankness and intelligence they are capable of... well friends, that's a heap o' trouble for a lot of folks. In an interesting side note, the more recently published copies of "Forever" have included a note by author Judy Blume discussing sex, and how the face of sexuality has changed since the advent of AIDS. She even goes so far as to include contact information to Planned Parenthood. And when you consider that the grandmother in this tale works for that self same institution, there's little doubt left that Blume's a gutsy gal. Plenty o' adults will bristle at the very thought of giving kids that much information. Plenty more will approve.

    As you can see, if nothing else "Forever" is a great book for starting discussions with teens about sex. But I'd be dishonest if I said that was the focus of the book. It's not. The book is about relationships in general. How they grow, how they change, and how they end. After all, the title of this tale wasn't (the aforementioned) "Doing It", but the wistful "Forever". It's a promise that no one should ever be held to while young. As for people who want to dislike this book based solely on its content, nothing I write here is going to change their minds that this book isn't the spawn of Satan, a corrupting influence, should be in the adult section of the library, etc. For as long as there are talented writers like Judy Blume out there (and let us hope that it's for a very long time) there will be complaints by overprotective adults. Just read through "Forever" before you judge it. You may be shocked to discover that it's a rather tame ride into the heart of the American teen. ... Read more


    12. The Wishsong of Shannara : (#3)
    by TERRY BROOKS
    list price: $23.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345318234
    Catlog: Book (1985-04-12)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 368197
    Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Horror stalked the Four Lands as the Ildatch, ancient source of evil, sent its ghastly Mord Wraiths to destroy Mankind. Only Druid Allanon held the magic power of wishsong that could make plants bloom instantly or turn trees from green to autumn gold. But she, too, was in mortal danger, and Ildatch waited for Brin to fall into his trap....
    ... Read more

    Reviews (63)

    3-0 out of 5 stars I WAS going to give this FOUR stars. . .and then. . .eek!!!
    I honestly did like this last book of the Shannara trilogy the best. And then I thought, now wait a minute! Brooks, instead of copying Tolkien's plots, has now decided to copy his own plots! I mean, I loved that this was FINALLY more original work from Terry Brooks, there are original characters, new types of magic like the wishsong and the Ildatch that I've never seen in a book before. It was refreshing to see, Brooks did get better at originality and creativity as his writing career progressed.

    However, copying the basic outline of your former plots is like making re-fried re-fried beans! (Yes, I meant to type re-fried twice!) The Ohmsford family is being called on AGAIN by, who else, the last Druid Allanon whom everyone still mistrusts, and AGAIN, they must go on a hopeless quest into the depths of the evil kingdom and AGAIN fight dark, hooded, evil creatures with only glowing points of light for eyes. It gets tiresome to do the same thing all over again with different characters!!! Sword, Elfstones, Wishsong, all are elven magic used to make something impossible happen. When one considers JUST the basic plot, one finds that all three books of the trilogy are IDENTICAL.

    But, as I said, I did like this one the best. After rewriting his story three times, Brooks came up with some very original things! I mean, imagine being able to sing and make trees explode, poison rise from a dying body, and control a large cat! I also like that this book involves Brin and Jair, the children of Wil and Eretria. I didn't like how Elfstones jumped from Shea to his grandson, I was happy to see, at least briefly, some characters I was familiar with. Also, Allanon was not completely dark, angry and mistrusted this time. Brin felt a sort of kinship with him and he treated her very gently and kindly at times, there was an understanding between them I liked and for the first time I saw how Allanon's life must be very lonely and thankless. Plus, I liked the new characters better. Slanter, Helt and Garet Jax were more believable, trusting and they all worked together, there wasn't so much mistrust in this book. The characters were more multi-dimensional than ever before.

    Brooks at this point was beginning to come into his own more as an author. His dialogue was better too. And, we can see Brooks' improvement throughout. For example, I liked the end of the Sword of Shannara better than the beginning, the beginning of Elfstones better than the end of Sword, the end of Elfstones better than the beginning, the beginning of Wishsong better than the end of Elfstones and the end of Wishsong better than the beginning!!! So, Brooks' improvement is visible. In fact, I'd say this book could almost stand alone without the preceding two.

    There were moments of brilliance as well: "The past carries forward and becomes what is to be" as the King of Silver River said. I'm glad we finally got to meet him too. As I have said before, Brooks does have some good points, he tells that if people don't unite to destroy evil, the evil will overwhelm them and they cannot hide. This rings true even today. Also, this trilogy is full of the truth that if we do not change our dependence on chemicals, fuels and nuclear weapons and energy, we are doomed to fall into a near non-existence and lose everything and more we have gained.

    Brooks is not an idiot, he definitely has some knowledge of the practical world. I'm going to keep reading his works, possibly start on the Heritage of Shannara or The Voyage of Jerle Shannara next. I believe those books will be better than this trilogy, I saw his improvement throughout this series and am sure he will continue to get better. I just hope he stops with the endless hopeless quests, it is a TOTALLY overused theme! But, don't give up on him yet!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An utterly brilliant hack-and-slash fantasy!
    Terry Brooks burst onto the fantasy scene in 1977 with his Tolkien rip-off "The Sword of Shannara". Despite an unoriginal plot, the book was fast-paced, well written, and throughly gripping. In his second book, "The Elfstones of Shannara", Brooks proved he could write an original, compelling story. Despite the extraordinary success of these two books, though, they don't hold a candle to "The Wishsong of Shannara", which proves that Terry Brooks is, without a doubt, the finest hack-and-slash fantasy novelist there is.

    I have read every single book Brooks has written, and I believe that Wishsong is his best work, bar only "The Elf Queen of Shannara". The plot is the strongest element in the book, which throws in some very intriguing twists to the standard "reluctant hero saves world from bad dude". His characters also are much more compelling than those in his first two books. But beware getting too attached to them: Brooks has a tendency to kill off some of his characters.

    Anyone who purports to be a fan of hack-and-slash fantasy (ala Terry Goodkind or David Eddings), who hasn't read Terry Brooks yet is in for a real treat. Brooks is a master of the genre, and "Wishsong" is Brooks at his absolute best.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WOW! The best yet.
    The Wishsong of Shannara is about Jair and Brin Ohmsford.They embark on seperate adventures,Brin to destroy the Ildatch a magic book hidden deep in the Maelmord and Jair to save Brin at Heaven's Well from death fortold by the King of the Silver River.On their way they fight Mord Wraiths,ancient beasts,and other mysterious creatures.I like this book because it has lots of action and adventure.Plus it has a great plot and keeps you on the edege of your seat.I think it's the best book out of the ones that I've read.(I've read The First King through The Scions and I'm reading The Druid)

    4-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT!!
    Everyone is saying how this book is the same as all his other ones, i really disagree with them. The whole idea behind the Shannara books is the repetitive type of plots. Yes they are repetitive, but they are all unique and better then the last. If you truly like Shannara novels, then you'll like this book. GO SHANNARA!! (woot woot)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Repetitive
    I first came across the Shannara series in the library in June, where I had the luck to find all 3 books in the Voyage series. I took them home, fell in love and devoured them. Having finished them in the space of three days, I was gagging for more Terry Brooks, and rushed to buy the Sword trilogy from the bookstore. I found that I had to force my way through Sword, but then enjoyed Elfstones immensely. Then I came to Wishsong. And gaped in disbelief as I realised that it was exactly the same as the other two, but with a slightly different storyline, and protaganists with slightly altered names. But even they had the same traits as previous Shannara heroes. Rone Leah was Menion Leah with a better sword. The elf and the dwarf were just that, an elf and a dwarf, with as much personality as a piece of stale bread. Even the trademark borderman was exactly the same as all the others i.e an underdeveloped, cardboard cutout with sword action when needed. So much could be done with the world of Shannara, yet each time I pick up a new Shannara novel, I am dissapointed and left feeling cheated becausse they are all the same. Plot details are rehashed, characters, bloodlines and relationships are always the same. It seems that Terry Books is taking part in a bet to see how many times he can get the same story published as a new book.
    On the other hand, dissapointments with the characters and plot left aside, Wishsong was still an entertaining read, and kept me occupied for a few days. But it could have been so much more. Please Mr Brooks, do something different with the Shannara universe.I would be incredibly happy never seeing another blasted Ohmsford again. ... Read more


    13. Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books
    by Francesca Lia Block
    list price: $12.00
    our price: $9.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0064406970
    Catlog: Book (1998-05-31)
    Publisher: HarperTrophy
    Sales Rank: 53433
    Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Lanky lizards! The slinkster-cool novels in Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat series have finally been compiled into one delicious volume. All of the ethereal, mesmerizing titles are here--Weetzie Bat, Witch Baby, Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys, Missing Angel Juan, and Baby Be-Bop--together like the big, beautiful family described on their pages. Block's unique, poetic style immediately draws readers into an intoxicating magical-realist world populated by empathetic, original characters (as well as a few ghosts, fairies, and genies): "He kissed her. A kiss about apple pie à la mode with the vanilla creaminess melting in the pie heat. A kiss about chocolate, when you haven't eaten chocolate in a year. A kiss about palm trees speeding by, trailing pink clouds when you drive down the Strip sizzling with champagne. A kiss about spotlights fanning the sky and the swollen sea spilling like tears all over your legs."

    We cheer for these young women and men as they struggle with the universal trials of growing up, finding love, and letting go--all within the vivid, glittering, urban embrace of Los Angeles. Block's stories about finding yourself, being true to your dreams, and believing in what might seem impossible will inspire teens and adults alike with the resounding messages of hope and the transformative power of love.--Brangien Davis ... Read more

    Reviews (116)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Love is a dangerous angel...
    I'd read the whole Weetzie Bat series before purchasing this book, but the problem was that no-one I'd loaned my individual copies of the stories to ever returned them. (Which may, in and of itself, be a testament to the kick-butt slinkster coolness that is intrinsically a part of this book.)

    So anyway, as I was falling in love with a girl with whom I go to college, I read her Weetzie Bat. It was really cool. Especially the part in which My Secret Agent Lover Man expresses his undying love for Weetzie (I liked the part about "You are my martini..."). Since that time (about a month ago), however, this person has emotionally crucified me, and started dating an extremely goofy-looking boy.

    Alas, that's the life portrayed in Ms. Block's novellas: hartbreaking and inspiring, exhilirating and melancholy. Read as modern day fairy-tales, they are wonderfully crafted pieces of fiction. Not surprisingly, however, I've read many scathing reviews of this series on Amazon.com. I think that for people to review it poorly, they have to miss the point--that these are fairy-tales. I wouldn't want a 13-year-old kid reading this as an instruction guide to life, but then again, how many people take fiction that seriously? (At least a few people do, as evidenced by the reviews.)

    As with all fairy-tales, there is a moral behind the narrative: that love and universal acceptance goes a long way to make people happy, to heal hurt, and to generally make the world a better place--but also that things that some people take for love (that is, sex) can be devastating and hurtful. Love *IS* a dangerous angel. On that level, this book is not only a beautiful piece of prose, but of perhaps immeasurable value to a world torn by conflict, hurt, and hate. I just wish that more people would see the good in this book, instead of the bad.

    (Good for high-school aged and up readers, but I'd probably have it tempered by parental guidance for anyone younger than, say, 15.)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lanky Lizards, it's a strange world!
    When I first set eyes on this in a mid-town book shop, I put myself under the impression that it was going to be a mystical fantasy type book. I bought it. A few pages in and i'm thinking "What have I gotten myself into?" but I continued on and next thing I know i've read the first two Weetzie Bat books and am in awe. It's a strange world Francesca Lia Block creates for us. It's a mixed scene of retro 80's punk glam and spiritual awakening. Very odd indeed. Not only that but she has an amazing way of describing things that at first make you go "Who the hell speaks like that?" and then you re-read and think "My God! That makes perfect sense". There is one particular description of the first time Weetzie Bat kisses My Secret Agent Lover Man that really just made me sort of melt and laugh at the same because really is that not how kisses are? I don't know how she does it but she manages to find the words that you would never think of to say and describe things.

    My only small complaint is the lack of timeline. With each new book time has passed between since the last one but yet we are never told how many years, months or whatever it has been. We're only given a vague idea. That made it somewhat frustrating and confusing.

    I have read in some places of the suggested reading age being 12 and up but I think I would probably raise it more to somewhere around 14-16 as a good starting age for Weetzie Bat books. Not graphic or anything but there still is sex, drug abuse, self-mutilation and other things that I think make it more appropriate for teenagers than pre-teens. And though designed for young adults I do think anyone older could read these and still be just as thrilled with the world of Weetzie Bat.

    4-0 out of 5 stars good
    Well i havent quite finished this book yet... but so far it is kinda confusing. It is a really good book tho. It has love in different kinds of places. It tells about homosexuals, regular love, and different kinds of things about finding yourself and who you are. But i do plan on reading this book fully. It seems very good and the author is great. I plan on reading Girl Goddess #9.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Tapestry Of Eye Pooping Words
    While some characters may seem shallow and flat. Block does a beautiful job with her writing.
    This is a very good strange romance series. I love it because it's so off beat and not like other romance novels.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Angels
    I loved this book. My grandmother bought it for me on the 16th and I was done reading it on the 17. I read the entire book in two sit down sessions. The story is very realistic with just the right touch of fairy tale for it to be wonderful. I know this is a bad reviev but I'm only 13!! ... Read more


    14. The Lost Years of Merlin (Lost Years of Merlin, Bk. 1)
    by T. A. Barron
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 044100668X
    Catlog: Book (1999-10-01)
    Publisher: Ace Books
    Sales Rank: 11819
    Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Washed up on the shores of ancient Wales, the boy had no home, no memory and no name... he was determined to find all three.

    This best-selling series follows the adventures and training of young Merlin on the mist-shrouded isle of Fincayra, an enchanted land between earth and sky that is being destroyed by blight.With this land's inhabitants to guide him, the boy will learn that Fincayra's fate and his own quest are strangely interwined.

    He is destined to become the greatest wizard of all time--known to all as Merlin.

    "Fans who have followed young Merlin through his many adventures will still enjoy trekking with him." (The Horn Book)
    ... Read more

    Reviews (153)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Merlin's Beginnings
    The book The Lost Years Of Merlin, by T.A. Barron, is the story of a seven year old boy who is thrown onto shore by a storm and, in the process, hits his head resulting in amnesia. A woman named Branwen, who claims to be his mother, takes him in and lives with the boy, Emerys, for six years. During this time, he discovers he has mystical powers. Since Branwen won't explain his past, Emerys finds he must travel to a world named Fincayra, a place Branwen claims to be from, to find out. Emerys sets out on a raft and reaches the coast of Fincayra. Emerys discovers that this land is in grave danger and he may be the only one who can save this world. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure, fantasy, mystical powers, and the possiblility of other worlds. You also get the chance to watch a boy's life unfold and discover his past along with the character himsself. It's wonderfully suspenseful as you meet new characters and discover the effect each one has on Emerys, who risks his life every step of the way. It is a very well written book that creates a perfectly woven image of a mystical world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book for seven-year-olds who like fantasy
    This book is absolutely brilliant! It begins with a boy who doesn't even know his name, washed ashore on the rocky shore of Gwynedd. He cannot remember his past, but he sees a woman, who may be his mother. The story gets properly started when Emrys finds out the name of the strange pendant that a person who claims to be his mother always wears. The pendant is called Galator, and turns out to have vast magic powers. But evil forces are looking for it. Always surprising, with exciting twists and turns, this book also has a great central character in Emrys. You can't help liking him because he's lost and lonely, but kind to growing things. This book and its sequels are for people who are thoroughly interested in Arthurian books, and in what happens to Merlin in his young life. It should be especially interesting for people who like magic and fantasy.

    1-0 out of 5 stars just so shallow...
    Spoiler Warning.

    There are few books that I can find that I could personally find a better way to write it - this is one of them. It was painfully predictable - and get this. The dude is practically blind, and plainly says it's hard to see - then lists a million details. Is it just me, or is that wrong? In addition, I didn't like the writing style. At all. Randomly, our of the blue, things happen. Two characters were chatting, and boom! Six heavily armed goblins appear! Me, here's what I would have done. I would have built up the suspense - let the reader know something's out there before I introduce them. Next, the mom of the guy - the author plainly stated she wasn't the mother. I mean, come on! Be reasonable! A scene that just killed me what when a whole sequence was about eating. God. It's food. Get over it. What else can I say? Oh yeah, when the main character finds out who his dad is, it's just so cliche. Is this Star Wars? The sad thing is, in Star Wars, it worked! In this... it just didn't fly. If you actually want depth, don't read this book. You won't get any.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Runescape Crooker
    "This magical story is a great journey for the discryptive things young Emry's see's and does are extraordinary, "He goe's from small normal town with mean kids to a mystical island full of goblins and talking tree's. T A Barron does a great job of putting you in the driverseat, you can almost feel everything that happens.
    The technoligy is not advance in Emry's world and he as many difficulty's traveling. he has an accident that change's him forrever, now he walk's through woods,grasslands,mashlands,and more.
    I wood rate this book 10 out of 10 becaus of the challenge and conflicts of a (290) page story full of adventure.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good Read
    I picked this book up at my library because I had nothing else to read, thinking that it might be interesting. It was better then that, T.A. Barron did a wonderful job of bringing Emyrs (Merlin) to life. A young boys journey to discover the truth about himself, it was great and I couldn't put it down until I finished reading through it. ... Read more


    15. The Martian Chronicles
    by RAY BRADBURY
    list price: $7.50
    our price: $6.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0553278223
    Catlog: Book (1984-06-01)
    Publisher: Spectra
    Sales Rank: 4620
    Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    From "Rocket Summer" to "The Million-Year Picnic," Ray Bradbury'sstories of the colonization of Mars form an eerie mesh of past and future. Written in the 1940s, the chronicles drip with nostalgic atmosphere--shady porches with tinklingpitchers of lemonade, grandfather clocks, chintz-covered sofas.But longing for this comfortable past proves dangerous in every way to Bradbury's characters--the golden-eyed Martians as well as the humans. Starting in the far-flung future of 1999, expedition after expedition leaves Earth to investigate Mars.The Martians guard their mysteries well, but they are decimated by the diseases that arrive with the rockets.Colonists appear, most with ideas no more lofty than starting a hot-dog stand, and with no respect for the culture they've displaced.

    Bradbury's quiet exploration of a future that looks so much like the past is sprinkled with lighter material.In "The Silent Towns," the last man on Mars hears the phone ring and ends up on a comical blind date.But in most of these stories, Bradbury holds up a mirror to humanity that reflects a shameful treatment of "the other," yielding, time after time, a harvest of loneliness and isolation. Yet the collection ends with hope for renewal, as a colonist family turns away from the demise of the Earth towards a new future on Mars. Bradbury is a master fantasist and The Martian Chronicles are an unforgettable work of art. --Blaise Selby ... Read more

    Reviews (253)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dated sci-fi/Classic as a human story...
    This is one of the most fascinating explorations of man-alien contact, and even man-man contact, ever, if a bit dated.

    When reading the Martian Chronicles (or, in my case, listening to the excellently read book on tape), the key is to keep in mind the context of the time in which it was written. In the post-war 1940s, the prospect of nuclear holocaust was all too real. More than 50 years later, the book is far too pessimistic about humanity and its future, while at the same time far too optimistic about the ease of travel to Mars.

    Regardless, this is not the kind of science fiction that most are used to reading. For starters, it's a very literary book. The language is beautifully crafted; we're not talking pulp fiction here. Also, it's not a book about the rockets, or even Mars, per se. Bradbury spends no time explaining how the rockets are able to easily traverse the millions of miles to and from Earth, for example. It merely uses those conventions to tell incredibly poignant stories about man's paranoia and selfishness. One of the stories echoes the censorship-mad society in Fahrenheit 451, for instance. It just happens to occur on Mars.

    The end result is somewhat depressing, yet profound. Think of the Martian Chronicles as the opposite of Star Trek's touchy feely Hollywoody SciFi.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular
    I was originally inspired to read Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles mainly because of the critical acclaim and praise my father said it has received; it isn't very often a science fiction novel is accepted and enjoyed so widely. The most unsettling thing about this novel (or, this collection of short stories) is the fact that there are not any characters or events which Bradbury centers upon. The first chapter, "Ylla," grabs the readers attention very well, though I found myself a bit disappointed when the characters of that chapter did not return. As a whole, however, the overall message and talent bound within the pages of The Martian Chronicles is too important to miss due to something as insignificant as characters. The vast majority of novels out there contain central characters, and many of those very same novels are character-driven. That said, The Martian Chronicles is completely plot-driven. This makes the book not only extremely refreshing, but one need not go through the utter pain of seeing one's favorite character die, because it is very unlikely you would have a favorite character!
    My personal favorite features of The Martian Chronicles were the chapters "Usher II," "There Will Come Soft Rains," and "The Green Morning." As is with most Bradbury works, according to my father, the author tips his hat to his favorite authors with excerpts from poems, songs, and even the fabulous parallel to Edgar Allen Poe's The Cask of Amontillado in "Usher II." Bradbury's use of language and description of fantastic settings and creatures was impressive, to say the least. The descriptions of the Martian race were so intricate and unique each time that one could certainly picture the fictitious peoples, as well as their "chemical baths" and "sand ships," the levitating pirate ships with sails of blue mist. The wonderful aspect of science fiction is the new and refreshing imagery introduced, and Bradbury used this to his advantage.
    In a nutshell, The Martian Chronicles is not only thought-provoking, but a real fun book to read. The reading level is good for any high school student, and is neither slow nor complicated in the beginning or abrupt at the end.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not science fiction... But does that make it bad?
    Certainly not. Admittedly there are a few bland points but one must get over the fact that it really _isn't_ a science fiction book. By all means that does not make it bad. Sure, it's off a category or so but that's beside the point. To judge we must judge by quality and meaning, not simply a genre miscalculation.

    The Martian Chronicles portrays human behavior, ideas, and even fears. There are bland chapters and there are really exciting chapters. It's the feeling in the book that counts. Most books that involve other planets focus on technology, war, or a conflict that is external to the inner most thoughts and feelings of human beings. Bradbury changes that with his unique style in The Martian Chronicles. It doesn't ruin literature with modern literary devices that are overused or overanalyzed, yet applies them when appropriate - without disturbing the quality of the book.

    Unfortunately it's rather rigid. From discussion with others about the book, you either like it or you dislike it. There isn't a middle ground for The Martian Chronicles. It's worth a read so if possible rent it at your local library. I ended up buying a copy because I find some of the stories rather interesting. Try to make sure to obtain the book that has all the chapters - since I recall in a few versions there is a lack of a certain chapter.

    Final rating: 3.5 - It's a nice read but isn't a MUST have. The bland chapters are in bad places - it sometimes makes it seem like the book is dragging on instead of progressing smoothly. Overall, I can find enjoyment with little qualms.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ray Bradbury is phenomenal...as always!
    The Martian Chronicles is an important book, especially now. It is a whatif, a maybe and a possibility. We are just now coming to grips with the reality that Mars will someday be inhabited by humans, but what of the Martians? Who were they? What did they call themselves? What would they think and how would they feel about us taking over their planet? This book left a lot to ponder. I read it in elemetary school, and recently picked it up again and it's still spellbinding and even a bit scarey. This could be our future, our present...or maybe even our past. I recommend this book for any and all scifi fans, Bradbury fans, and people who just want to read something that stirs the heart as much as the mind.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another great work by Bradbury!
    Even under the guise of a sci-fi book, this book, as other reviewers have pointed out along with the editorials, it is a comment on humanity it the human condition. Even to the point of Man bringing his fears and strong desires to Mars and, after "conquering" the Martians, becoming "Martians" himself. A great work, just like the other sci-fi works I own and love, both new and old: "Stranger in a Strange Land", "Puppet Masters", "Foundation", "2001", "2010", "Rendezvous with Rama", "Ringworld", all the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" books, as well as books as new to the genre as "Advent of the Corps" and others. ... Read more


    16. Bradbury Stories : 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales
    by Ray Bradbury
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $18.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 006054242X
    Catlog: Book (2003-08-01)
    Publisher: William Morrow
    Sales Rank: 5283
    Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    For more than sixty years, the imagination of Ray Bradbury has opened doors into remarkable places, ushering us across unexplored territories of the heart and mind while leading us inexorably toward a profound understanding of ourselves and the universe we inhabit. In this landmark volume, America's preeminent storyteller offers us one hundred treasures from alifetime of words and ideas -- tales that amaze, enthrall, and horrify; breathtaking journeys backward and forward in time; classic stories with the undiminished power to tantalize, mystify, elate, and move the reader to tears. Each small gem in the master's collection remains as dazzling as when it first appeared in print.

    There is magic in these pages: the wonders of interstellar flight, a conspiracy of insects, the early bloom of love in the warmth of August. Both the world of Ray Bradbury and its people are vivid and alive, as colorfully unique as a poker chip hand-painted by a brilliant artist or as warmly familiar as the well-used settings on a family's dining room table. In a poor man's desire for the stars, in the twisted night games of a hateful embalmer, in a magnificent fraud perpetrated to banish despair and repair a future, in a writer's wonderful death is the glowing proof of the timeless artistry of one of America's greatest living bards.

    The one hundred stories in this volume were chosen by Bradbury himself, and span a career that blossomed in the pulp magazines of the early 1940s and continues to flourish in the new millennium. Here are representatives of the legendary author's finest works of short fiction, including many that have not been republished for decades, all forever fresh and vital, evocative and immensely entertaining. This is Bradbury at his very best -- golden visions of tomorrow, poetic memories of yesterday, dark nightmares and glorious dreams -- a grand celebration of humankind, God's intricate yet poignantly fallible machineries of joy.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wistful, Melancholic, Whimsical, Articulate
    This is a great collection of Ray Bradbury's short stories, with 100 stories totaling 888 pages (gives you an idea of just how short they are). Some of these short stories are part of "The Martian Chronicles", some are set in the past, some are set in the future, and some are set in our-past-but-Bradbury's-future. While there is definitely a datedness to some of the details of the stories, it seldom interferes with enjoying them.

    When one reads a collection like this, one gets a flavor for the writer's likes, dislikes, and beliefs, through repetitive themes. Ray Bradbury wanted to bridge the gap between the old and the young, and he saw children and the elderly, at times, as being more in touch with each other than non-elderly adults were in touch with anyone but themselves. Bradbury loved writing and reading, and believed in the power of imagination. He appears to have been a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, of Thomas Wolfe, and of Laurel and Hardy. Time travel intrigued Bradbury, as well. Ireland and the Irish were important to Bradbury and, not surprisingly, many of these short stories are melancholy and wistful. As much as Bradbury loved books, that's how much he seemed to loath television.

    This is an excellent collection to have around, to read a bit at a time. If you read it straight through, though, watch out for overdoses of wistfulness, whimsy, and melancholy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Collection of Inventive and Deeply Felt Tales
    If any twentieth-century American writer deserves a revival, it's Ray Bradbury, king of the dime novels and refiner --- if not the inventor --- of mainstream science fiction. Unlike contemporaries H.P. Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick and disciples like William Gibson and Stephen King (who has greedily borrowed Bradbury's otherworldly horror + local color equation), Bradbury isn't very widely read by people beyond their teenage years. His novels THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES and FAHRENHEIT 451 are mainstays of junior and senior high school reading lists across the country, and therefore have acquired the stigma of youth-oriented fiction (which seems ironic now that so many adults are giddy like schoolchildren over Harry Potter). As if out of spite for being force-fed his work so early, many people seem to ignore Bradbury as they grow older, consigning him to the world of adolescence.

    All of which is unfortunate, for Bradbury stands as a singular chronicler of the second half of the twentieth century, peeking into our dark corners to see what scares us. BRADBURY STORIES: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales presents these demons anew, collecting pieces from every stage of his long career, from his dime novel beginnings to his work in Hollywood to his recent resurgence with original books like LET'S ALL KILL CONSTANCE and ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD. For those who haven't read Bradbury since high school, this collection serves as a fitting introduction to the surprisingly wide range of styles and subjects he has addressed; for longtime fans it is a reminder of the author's ability to evoke "the monsters and angels of my imagination" through dreamy prose and unforgettable imagery.

    As well as any other American writer of the last century --- and certainly better than any other "genre" writer --- Bradbury creates a particular mood and setting in his stories that is best described as eerily autumnal. In THE OCTOBER COUNTRY, arguably his best collection, he describes this setting as "that country where it is always turning late in the year, that country whose people are always autumn people, thinking autumn thoughts." In the cycle of seasons, fall is the season of death --- falling leaves, browning grass, chilling winds, early darkness --- before rebirth, and in Bradbury's stories death always lingers nearby, tracking and chasing characters and greeting them in unsuspected places.

    Whether or not they conjure the supernatural, the stories in this large collection show that this narrative texture, this October country setting, transcends that one collection and informs almost everything Bradbury wrote.

    Furthermore, the October country Bradbury evokes is a flip-side America, one where the American dream has been subsumed by collective nightmares. If nothing else, BRADBURY STORIES demonstrates the writer's talent for heatedly and unpretentiously addressing social and political ills through his imaginative stories.

    "And the Rock Cried Out," for example, follows two wealthy travelers in Africa who discover they're the last white people on earth. Their punishment for the West's constant imperialism is the loss of all worldly possessions and a life devoted to menial labor.

    In "The Garbage Collector," a man learns that if a bomb hits the city, he will have to collect the dead in his truck. The title character must decide whether to quit his job and assuage his conscience or keep working to support his family. To Bradbury's credit, it's difficult to tell which crime is more outrageous --- the civic government viewing its citizenry as refuse or making its employees compromise their morals for family.

    Any collection of this size is necessarily defined by what it omits as much as by what it includes. BRADBURY STORIES contains so many wonders, but where are "The Scythe," "The Crowd," and "Homecoming" from THE OCTOBER COUNTRY? What happened to "The Picasso Summer" and (a personal favorite) "Some Live Like Lazarus"?

    Such glaring oversights are certainly not the fault of Bradbury, unless you count prolificacy and quality among the most grievous of literary sins. Nor are they the fault of the editors and compilers, who doubtlessly had to make many painful cuts. Instead, they serve as a cry for another volume, perhaps entitled 100 MORE BRADBURY STORIES. It is maybe only a slight exaggeration to say that he could fill 100 such volumes with highly inventive and deeply felt tales.

    --- Reviewed by Stephen M. Deusner from Bookreporter.com

    4-0 out of 5 stars His future is our past; but his stories still worthwhile
    Ray Bradbury, through longevity, has reached the stage of being called "beloved science fiction writer" and that should be the tip-off that the stories here are kindly precyberpunk SF ghost stories, many of which, like old Twilight Zone episodes, deal with well-worn themes (last man on earth; taking a train back to your boyhood home to find it unchanged from the day you left; stop watch that stops all time, etc.) that were fresher when they originally appeared half a century ago.

    Bradbury's strengths include his sensitivity to the human condition and how he weaves his characters through extraordinary -- often supernatural -- conditions: his stories can be quietly lyrical and benign, pleasantly undemanding while entertaining.
    But they can also pack a wallop. I imagine a first time reader of "A Sound of Thunder" will still face the dénouement with surprise, if not awe. Many of his stories have lessons attached and the classic SF type warnings about what might happen if we don't mend our ways, etc.
    This collection is like a handsome and well-oiled grandfather clock that still has no problem telling us the time even though the mechanism's own time is long past. ... Read more


    17. High Druid of Shannara: Jarka Ruus
    by TERRY BROOKS
    list price: $7.99
    our price: $7.19
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345435761
    Catlog: Book (2004-08-31)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 6333
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    18. The Sword of Shannara
    by TERRY BROOKS
    list price: $7.99
    our price: $7.19
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345314255
    Catlog: Book (1983-07-12)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 10788
    Average Customer Review: 3.87 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revaled that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destory the world. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara--Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him....
    ... Read more

    Reviews (442)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely Entertaining!!!
    I look below and see all the comparisons to a Lord of the Rings. Well, hang me, but I haven't read the Lord of the Rings, so I can't make that comparison. The main reason I picked up this book was for two reasons: One: I've heard others I know speak highly of it. Two: Brooks is writing the novelization of the next Star Wars novel and after reading an interview with him about that, I knew I had to pick it up.

    Once again, I don't know about all this comparison stuff, all I know is that I wanted to be entertained, and this book delivered that big time! Personally I could relate to Shea, he's probably about the age I am right now and he made some of the same desicions I probably would have made in his situation. So I felt like I was there with them, and I cared deeply about each and every character. Despite their flaws, each proved to be heroic by the end. The battles were well described and I never bored while reading the action scenes.

    So, all I'm saying is that if you're not worried about the comparisons to other certain works and merely wished to be entertained, I could hardly recommend a better book. After all, no one ever gripes at George Lucas for lifting from other works and ancient myths to put in his Star Wars movies, because they are so entertaining on their own, like this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best books ever!!!!!!
    The Shannara books are my all time favorite! The whole series is packed with suspension and adventure. It keeps you turning pages late into the night! If you're looking for some books with magic swords and talismans, good and evil battles, and twists to keep you wondering, you're looking in the right place.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good but a major Tolkien ripoff.
    After hearing much praise of the Shannara series at my school, I picked up this book with high expectations. Unfrotunately, I was let down, not because of the way the book was written but the story itself. If you have read LOTR you have pretty much have read this book. You have Frodo(Shea), Sam(Flick), Borimir(Balinor), and Gandalf(Allonon). Then you have a problem common in most Shannara books, the Ohmsfords. Flat, boring, goody goodies, and have as much depth as a shoe, I found almost no difference between them all. Wren(in Elf Queen) is more interesting than Wil, Shea, Flick, Coll, etc.. However, what saves this book is Brooks' highly entertaining style of writing. The seige of Tysris, the fight against the Warlock Lord, and the trials the characters have are all great to read. So read this book so you can understand the next books which have far more originality than this one. Somewhat recommended.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Why can't we rate things ZERO stars?
    Please, PLEASE! For those of you who have given this book a rating of four or five stars, PLEASE READ TOLKIEN! It is obvious that the people who have loved this book have never truly read Tolkien, even though some claim to have done so. Can they NOT see the copyright infringement here? Brooks basically took the Lord of the Rings trilogy, tore it apart, ran it through boiling water and a strainer and used what was left to compose this so-called novel! He could have had the same exact story as is in this book with half the pages! Why does he feel the need to describe every pebble, tree, speck of dust, etc?

    Look, I know that Tolkien will always be copied to a degree by many who wish to write fantasy. Not always (read Robin McKinley) but it is hard not to be slightly Tolkien-esque when writing an epic fantasy novel. However, one need not copy a book ALREADY WRITTEN in its entirety! I have read all three books of this trilogy and have found that after The Sword of Shannara, Brooks manages to make carbon copies of this book with the other two of the trilogy! Is he trying to see how many times he can publish the same storyline with new character names?

    Lets have a run-down of the similarities between Brooks and Tolkien:
    Allanon =darker, meaner version of Gandalf
    Shea =Flat, uninteresting version of Frodo
    Flick =Whinier, more simple version of Sam
    Menion =More impulsive, dumber version of Aragorn (complete with the famous Sword)
    Durin & Dayel =Less interesting versions of Legolas (yep, they're elves)
    Handel =Crabbier version of Gimli (yep, another dwarf)
    Orl Fane =Equally crazy, skinny, obsessive version of Gollum (you guessed it, small with bad skin tone)
    Sword of Shannara =One Ring of Power
    Brona =Sauron + Saruman
    Skull Kingdom =Mordor (big scary mountains in both)
    Tyrsis =Helm's Deep (seige behind a walled city, etc)
    Eventine =Less enigmatic version of Elrond
    Shirl =Arwen
    Gnomes =Slightly less-gross versions of Orcs
    Skull Bearers =Nazgul (Black robes, chilling, flying, etc)
    Burial Place of the Kings =Mines of Moria
    Rock Trolls =Cave Trolls (both part of Dark Lords armies)
    Poison tree that catches Menion =Rotten willow that absorbs Sam, Merry and Pippin
    Mist Marshes =Dead Marshes
    Black Oaks =Fangorn Forest without talking trees
    Paranor =Orthanc (Wizard's keep surrounded by forests and overrun with the evil army, of course!)
    Big Water Monster outside of Burial Place of Kings =Big Water Monster next to entrance to the Mines of Moria

    And does anyone besides myself get annoyed with the constant title-naming when people are being talked about or addressed personally? "Valeman" "Highlander" "Druid" NO ONE would EVER do that under any circumstance! I mean, do you go up to your friends or companions and say: "How's it going Countryman?" "What were you thinking Citygirl?!" I didn't think so.

    Let me also mention the artwork, who the heck are the Brothers Hildebrandt and why did they ever get paid for their artwork? I'm an artist and I can see that they did NOT study human physical forms, everything is disproportionate and the noses are atrocious. Is this what radiation did to humans?

    I am still amazed I even remember the characters' names, I had to think a bit about characters like Panamon Creel as I was reading other reviews before I actually realized who he was. The memory that came trickling back was NOT pleasant.

    Please, someone buy Terry Brooks a Thesaurus and hire an editor for him who actually has an INKLING of talent as a writer! This is what my college English professor would have called "sloppy, run-on, high schoolish, unedited, etc" and would have put a big, red REWRITE BEFORE TURNING THIS IN AGAIN note on the front page!

    Finally, I am happy to see so many bad reviews of this book, in fact, they outnumber the good reviews! It warms my heart to see readers who still are able to discern the difference between a good book and a stolen generic version! To the rest of you: For Shame!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Is this even legal !?
    It's been said already but I still can't beleive how much this plot is copied from LOTR. I mean there's even the two huge statues of soldiers holding a sword. I'm not done reading this book yet and for the first time in my life I'm considering not finishing a book. This book really lacks originality in my opinion. ... Read more


    19. Doing It
    by Melvin Burgess
    list price: $15.95
    our price: $11.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0805075658
    Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
    Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
    Sales Rank: 19167
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Melvin Burgess, author of Smack, has written what is potentially the most controversial young adult novel ever. Doing It is an honest and funny book about three teenage British boys learning about themselves and life through their sexual experiences. But here's the catch: the story is told from the point of view of the hormone-sodden young males, naughty bits and all.

    Gorgeous Dino thinks that equally gorgeous Allie should realize that they belong together and is puzzled and frustrated when their passionate lovemaking always ends with her refusing him. Jonathan fancies sensible, sexy Deborah but can't admit it to his friends, even after several steamy grope sessions, because she is…well…plump. And Ben is living every teenage boy's dream, an affair with a lusty teacher--but somehow it's getting to be too much of a good thing.

    Nearly all YA novels about love and sexuality are told by and for girls, like Judy Blume's groundbreaking classic, Forever. The contrast here is striking--as Burgess said in an interview, "I wrote Doing It because I do believe that we have let young men down very badly in terms of the kinds of books written for them. This book is my go at trying to bring young male sexual culture into writing." The result is surprising but educational for female readers. Wisely, the publisher has kept the British slang terms for sexual acts and body parts, rather than using the American four-letter words, a factor that will make the book less of a hot potato for librarians and teachers, but not diminish the reading pleasure for the inevitable hordes of young male readers. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superior Book--Genre Busting...
    An incredible look at teen life. Amazingly honest and frank. This is how it is. It is not like the babysitters club! The English setting is universal. This is being made into an ABC series--should be interesting. Still, read this book. Your age does not matter.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Richies Picks: DOING IT
    Last year many of us got to read the highly publicized and highly charged essay in The Guardian by British author Anne Fine about the new Melvin Burgess novel DOING IT. (If you haven't read the essay, Google "Guardian Anne Fine Doing It" and you'll find a link.) To put it mildly, Anne Fine was unable to find the appeal in DOING IT.

    Reading Fine's attack, along with statements by other writers about Burgess's proported attempts to "push the envelope" by having the male, high school characters so candidly discussing issues of male sexuality, left me somewhat squeemish about the prospect of reading the book. I'd heard lots of "Wows," but not any "Really great story!"

    DOING IT is, in fact, a really great story about three male high school friends and their obsessions about and relationships with females. It is well-written and compelling, fun and honest and occasionally heartwarming. Those three high school boys are a self conscious, vulnerable, and sensitive lot. And while I cannot necessarily see myself as any one of those three characters, I had friends in high school who were dead ringers.

    To argue that normal high school boys don't spend a lot of time thinking about girls and girls' bodies would make my high school experience abnormal. (It could be argued that Richie's Picks began in the late 1960s when I kept a secret, hidden list, updated weekly, of the ten girls at school I'd most like to be with.) To argue that boys aren't fearful about their adequacy, that they don't worry about whether their bodies are normal, or that they don't say truly gross stuff on a regular basis is, of course, ridiculous. And to argue that boys won't go crazy over this book is something that even Ms. Fine didn't even have the...um...nerve to claim.

    My point is this: DOING IT is a primo Growing Up Male book. High school and public YA librarians absolutely need to forget about Anne Fine's fears of DOING IT. Instead they need to read DOING IT and need to buy it for their collections whether or not it is their cup of T (as in testosterone).

    I'm recommending this book for all high school and public library YA collections.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Did IT
    What can I say? Basically this book captures the teenage mind at it's best......and worst for matter!I has everythin' a teenage boy and possibly some girls want from a book. It's all about hormones and well SEX and is a must read for teenagers and young adult readers! ... Read more


    20. Blubber (Yearling Books (Paperback))
    by JUDY BLUME
    list price: $5.99
    our price: $5.39
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0440407079
    Catlog: Book (1976-04-01)
    Publisher: Yearling
    Sales Rank: 4528
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Blubber is a good name for her, the note from Caroline said about Linda. Jill crumpled it up and left it on the corner of her school desk. She didn't want to think about Linda or her dumb report on the whale just then. Jill wanted to think about Halloween.

    But Robby grabbed the note and before Linda stopped talking it had gone halfway around the room.

    That's where it all started...there was something about Linda that made a lot of kids in her fifth-grade class want to see how far they could go...but nobody, Jill least of all, expected the fun to end where it did. ... Read more

    Reviews (72)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Judy Blume Endures
    I can remember as a child reading Judy Blume's books and Blubber was one of my favorites. Now, as an adult, I have read the book again and it is still one of my favorites (and my 4th grade daughter's favorite, too). Blume touches on a topic, specifically, bullying, and I suppose one of the reasons that some ignorant people still try to get this book banned is because they just can't believe that their child could ever be as mean as the girls are in this story. Children can and will be mean to each other and as a parent, it is our job to teach our children empathy. This book is great way to teach it. We can see how mean the other students are to Linda and then just as quickly we see how easily they can turn, like they did on our narrator, Jill. In the end, their is no resolution with the gang leader, Wendy or with Linda, but sometimes this is just how life is. Sometimes there are no silver linings, no pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, Judy Blume's book teaches this lesson in a way that children can relate to.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wow
    This book portrays the tradgedies that are occuring within the youth these days...the sad part is its not far from everyday life. I am a 12 year old and I see these kind of things happening all of the time.
    In this book the main charcter is a girl named Jill. When the kids in her classroom want to have 'fun' they decide to call her blubber due to the fact that she is overweight. The main ring leader is a girl named Wendy who seems to be an honorable kid. People think that bullies are these unahppy kids. In reality they are more liekly to be "wendy". the girl who has everythign she wants and will use her power how ver she wants to.

    This book is not a nice read for children. IT IS NOT FUNNY as some of the previous reviewers have said. You have to be shallow to find it funny. Its upsetting. Last time i read it I threw it into a fire in the middle i was so upset. Its sad but it will teach all of you shallow people to stop being such witches. The swearing isnt even bad so grow up parents!

    4-0 out of 5 stars A lesson to all people to learn
    I liked reading this book. I think everyone should read it. It helps to show why people need dignity and compassion towards other beings.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Blume has done it AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This book is amazing! It is about a girl who is made fun of because she is overweight. Lots of kids are mean to her, and do awful tricks to make her cry. But it turns out in the end, this girl becomes powerful and ......................... READ THE BOOK TO FIND OUT!!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars People please wake up!
    I first read this book when I was 9 and loved it and laughed in spite of myself. I knew it was very mean and cruel. As I reached the climax I suddenly realized that what was happening in the book to the victims (Linda "Blubber" and later Jill) was happening to me all the time with my groups of friends from the time I started school! Even preschool and in neighborhood situations, sadly enough. I have been at the middle (like Jill) and bottom (like Blubber) of the pecking order in cliques so I know what it's like. I have been picked on, beat up, tortured, teased, bullied. I was shy and quiet but more outspoken then the passive Linda "Blubber" in the book.
    The victim Blubber is portrayed as a bland character with not much to stay who lets people walk all over her so she becomes a victim.
    A few of these reviews sound very mean and almost sick by saying this was a "funny book" about a group of animalistic kids ganging up on someone. I get the impression that those reviews were written by very young readers. I don't recommend this book for young readers at all because of that. They may not understand it. (believe me, i didn't entirely either when i first read it at 9 either!)Also readers too young to understand feelings of others may copy the bad things about the negative characters (Wendy and Carolyn, the follower) like I did at times when I was young (I felt bad about it later and found myslef on the receiving end afterwards). Also the fact that some may not like the idea of a somewhat un-satisfying ending which is disturbing to younger readers.
    I didn't get the point at the time, but the reason Linda is singled out as a victim is not just due to her weight (although doing a report on a whale may have opened her up to ridicule), contrary to popular belief. If you read chapter 1 about when Jill introduces us to Linda as she is giving her whale report, you notice she just mentions Linda as the "pudgiest girl" in the class but says she's not the largest kid in the 5th grade; there's students who are fatter but not singled out as victims. So obviously that's not the thing that makes her the target. Apparently she's at the bottom of the pecking order because of her lack of personality and initiative.
    Wendy the ringleader is this overpowering, very pushy, aggressive manipulator. I knew quite a few "Wendy"s in my time. They're the people in who are sorta the homewreckers in your circle of gradeschool friends. They disrupt the peace and break up your friendships by stealing your friends. This book sorta hit home with the issue of loyalties with childhoold friendships and friction between them. I admire Jill and Tracy for standing together. Tracy was so good to Jill even if she probably didn't always agree with what Jill's inappropriate behavior. I had a friend like Tracy who defended me when I was being bullied and kept track of my abusers to tell my mom so we could report it.
    A lot of time the "Wendy"s get their way even with adults if they're allowed to. I knew a juvenile delinquent who beat me up and mostly got her way even when I ended up taking her to court on charges of harassment and battery.
    One reviewer stated that there is nothing adults/teachers/principals/school authorities, etc. can do and please, please please listen. I hope y'all will please read this. I am not criticizing anyone but I've been to hell and back. Trust me and don't believe the lie that there's nothing they can do and it's just up to the individual. You can't do it alone and feel like an outcast. It is the teacher's job to protect you and they are getting paid anyway. It sickens me to think of all the teachers striking for months on end in some areas. Some do deserve it if they're good teachers but they aren't even working an 8-hr shift and get weekends and vacations, and what about the ones who won't protect their student's? They need to wake up and pay attention to what's going on around them in class. Teachers need to be tuned in to the students and be on the ball.
    For this reason I'm glad Judy wrote this book because in jr high and high school I was harassed and wondered why! I was average size in grade school but picked on in jr high when i put on a few lbs. yet I'd see larger girls who apparently weren't victimized. I tried being loud and boisterous to be popular and that didn't work so I tried being quiet as a mouse and they still teased me--could not figure it out!! It wasn't the weight that was an issue! I read an interview with Judy Blume on Blubber and she explains that Linda was passive and kind of brought it on herself; She didn't stand up for herself. I was like that at times and needed to learn to do that. PLEASE do not fall for the lie that children "Ask for it". At school, very often when I'd go to teachers or principals for help and they acted uninterested, their response was that I must have done something to provoke the behavior. This is baloney. The truth is you have a right to an education free of harassment and torment. Some say it's just life and you can't expect much more but that is a crock. Life doesn't have to be like that! Believe me, I have had wonderful teachers who knew how to meet student's needs and teach respect and then again I've had bad teachers with no control and it was chaos. I've seen the good, bad and ugly so i'm not naive. I'm talking about a healthy learning environment. A teacher's job isn't simply to teach 2x2=4 and Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Think about it: 30 years from now; do you remember that stuff or are you more likely to remember the teacher who touched your life by making a difference with kind words, ect. it's more than just knowledge, it's about teaching the golden rule and respect.
    I loved the book but I have mixed feelings about it so i can't classify it in one category.
    One reviewer said that parents think this book is realistic and I certainly hope to God this isn't true because it happens all the time in school. Pay attention to what your children are doing and how the teachers are handling things. They say "kids can be cruel". Well that's true. Some pass it off as "kids being kids" but please. We need to train a child in the way they should go. Where are the parents and teachers who are supposed to teach them manners and respect? Instead they act like animals and hoodlums. They say this is just a sad fact of like but this is a fact that needs to be changed. One reviewer said that "apologies rarely come in real life". That's true. I was raised with "good breeding" and always taught manners and if children were taught from birth the civalized way maybe they wouldn't behave this way.
    Like I said I wouldn't recommend to children under 12 and I'd read it with my kids and discuss feelings with my kids if I did.
    Like a reviewer said, what comes around goes around. What you sow, you will reap. But what doesn't make sense in the story is Wendy the ringleader is the instigator of the Blubber business. Wendy is cruel and ruthless.If you read original editorial review, note that it was WENDY who passed the note that started the whole thing saying "Blubber is a good name for her" and Jill isn't even thinking of Linda at the time; she's preoccupied with thinking of her plans for Halloween. She doesn't get drawn into it till Linda talks about whale blubber in her report and Wendy starts to laugh. By then word gets spread and everyone is laughing. Jill becomes a willing participant but not the true leader. Not to excuse her; she's just as guilty. But we see how far one person's meanness can get spread. Wendy's influince is all over the class and effects even the principal. Oddly enough when the tables turn it's Jill who becomes the victim, not Wendy.
    Wendy dosen't switch roles and remains the tormenter but Jill becomes victim and Wendy becomes her bully. Everyone begins ganging up on her. Linda isn't gracious towards Jill's gesture to sorta "rescue" her from the supply closet as Wendy's prisoner. Instead, Linda, a weak, subordinate character, becomes Wendy's "friend" and joins in the gang of tormenters who turn against the new victim, Jill.
    This book lacks some emotional depth in that it fails to totally identify with Linda's feelings. People think of her as a zombie. But she's a person and we all have feelings. Jill's mom did tell her to put herself in Jill's position but the parents seem so distant in this book! My mom was much more involved! She'd say "How would Linda feel?" and more! Jill has no sympathy for Linda and when the tables turn just has sympathy for herself...
    I was glad Judy wrote this book and it's a must-read some. It should be banned from some young readers though. It's a message that you can make a difference and you do have the power. It's not about a saccarine lala land. it's about doing your best! ... Read more


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