Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chris Wooding

Interested in Chaos engines, personal universes or unimaginably terrible wych-kin that can turn your wildest nightmare into reality? Chris Wooding's books have it all. I have read three of his books- Storm Thief, a brilliantly pictured adventure about two slum kids fighting for freedom away from ruling Thief Lords and the unpredictable Chaos Engine, generating probability storms where anything is possible. Moa and Rail (the slum kids) get unlikely help from a Golem, Vago, who is tormented by a past he doesn't know anything about. The three of them struggle to break free from a future that was knotted into the past.
The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is another inspiring read. Based in London, sometime in an alternative past, wych-kin dwell and feast on human pray. Yet there is a plot whiring up some far more fearsome foes. Wych-kin Hunter Thaniel finds himself teamed with a motley crew determined to stop nightmares capturing the city. I liked this book for its quirkiness and interesting ideas, and the ending is sublime- the extreme last bit. Out of three books,Poison is the one I enjoyed the least- not to say it isn't good. I think because this book is so much more different from the others; it plays more with the idea that your whole life is a story, and you cannot know what is real and what is not. Based in an land possessed by gruesome creatures, Poison, a rebellious teenager sets off to rescue her sister, kidnapped by a monster. While this might sound cheesey it's not a bad read, and doesn't come across nearly so corny.
All of Chris Wooding's book are written with flair and capture interest immediately. Plots twist and turn and the one thing i love above all else in these books is that you never know what is going to happen. Definitely recommended!
Other books by Chris Wooding: The Broken Sky Series- Crashing, Endgame, Kerosene and Catchman. Click here for the official site.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Our Universe

Here's a few theories about the universe, and sorry if its not explained satisfactorialy- i'm doing my best to wrap my head around the theories. Quirky fact number one is we know that the universe is expanding because of the colour of the stars. Confused? let me explain...the stars at night have a slight red tint to them- not very visible, but it's there. Red is very low down on the colour spectrum, so the stars are moving away. If the stars were coloured with somthing higher on spectrum we would be able to tell they were moving towards us. This is called the Doppler Shift.
Another quirky fact is about a sort of Multiverse theory (that there are many universes) and black holes. It involves that instead of Black Holes just eating up matter and squashing it down really, really tightly, matter in black holes is actually shooted out to make another universe.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Jellyfish! what funny little blobby things! Ok, so, not too technical...But here's some real stuff: Jellyfish belong to the class Scyphozoa and they are invertebrates. They live in EVERY ocean around the world and even in some freshwaters. Basically, they are made up of bell-shaped jellyish flesh substance (ectoplasm) plus some tenticles...lovely. And get this: Jelly fish LACK a brain and organs, but they do have a nervous system that allows them to respond to stimuli (light, sound, prey -yummy-, predator-eeek-) effectivley. In other words, they have no brain, but...Jellyfish have feelings too!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The End

Lemony Snicket's novels, A Series Of Unfortunate Events, have become a huge hit, not just because of the movie...especially not because of the movie....
The books are about the Baudelaire Orphans, who are time and time again pursued by Count Olaf, who wishes to steal their fortune. The fortune was left by their rich parents, who died in a fire lit by 'mysterious' circumstances. However, there is also a secret society involved, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The Orphans are sent to all sorts of weird relatives, or secret society members, all of whom end up being murdered by the Count Olaf.
After reading the first one i was interested. Not hooked, but interested. By the thirteenth book i was fed up with the unbelievable plot line, 'evil' counts and 'evil' deeds that were supposed to be so horrific...the thing is, if you are going to write a scary book, you are going to have to make it scary, instead of just writing during various points, "this book is so sad you aren't going to want to read it. You should put it down."
Increasingly throughout the series the books lost their unique touch, and long lists were compiled in them, simply, i thought, as page fillers. I can say that the first few books are OK as some light reading, but honestly i wouldn't inflict the rest of the series on anybody.
If you're still interested, here's the official site.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Noughts And Crosses

Society has been reversed. Its an alternate course of history, and the simple swap of making white people (noughts) discriminated against and black people (crosses) have the majority of power powerfully demonstrates the unfairness of such discrimination, and the stupidness of rascism. The message that I got is that people are people no matter what colour skin they have, how old they are, where they come from. It doesn't matter. Irrelevant, and anybody who takes such differences to be a blight or mark is nothing more than a school yard bully on a grand scale.
Noughts And Crosses, written by Malorie Blackman is the most emotional book I have ever read. I cried at the end. Persephone Hadley, or Sephy, is a cross, and friends with callum. As their friendship deepens and evolves into a ferice love they are met with society's block. What will prevail; their love, or the social barrier that has been constructed?
People are driven to the extremes in this book because society cannot accept that each race is equal to another, and somebody pays the ultimate price.
I cannot see how anybody can NOT get anything out of this book, even if love stories aren't your thing, because i found this book briliantly written and confronting in opinions and social injustices. Read it!


Twilight is one of my favourite books. Written by Stephanie Meyer (click here for the official website) It is the highly realistic teenage love story- with a catch. Unique Bella Swan, the main character, is in love with a vampire. The 'vegetarian' vampire, Edward Cullen, feeds off animals instead of humans and a relationship with Bella takes most of his self control. He is terrified by the possibility of ever hurting Bella, and the book portrays all the emotions superbly. I found it one of those rare books that you literally can't put down, and it was very well written with light humour and a captavating plot. It is the first in the series, followed by New Moon, Eclispe, and the lastest is to be released on the 2nd of August. Stephanie Meyer is releasing another book, The Host, which also sounds like a great read.

The Running Man

The Running Man, by Michael Gerard Bauer, is a book about a hunated vietnam survivor and his slowly and awkwardly developing firendship with an aspiring young artist, Joseph. The pair both have dark secrets which they hope to keep hidden, but have to confront in order to continnue their least, thats what the book is supposed to portray, with powerful conviction and feeling. I found the book drear and it was a struggle to convince myself to finish reading it. Although the book is not long, it is slow reading and i find that there is not much of a climax. It would be of more intrest to younger readers, and although as a powerful story it doesn't get very far, it does effectivley make a mental picture of the huantings war survivors have to face, and is an insight to the horrific repricutions of war, spread far beyond the battlefeild.
The Running Man was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Literay Awards and was also shortlisted for The Childrens Book Council Of Australia. Michael Gerard Bauer has written other books, apparantly funny ones...