MandaBerry's Books

One person's thoughts on a whole lot of books

Tag Archives: YA

Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld  (Uglies Series #1)

From the back of the book

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait.  In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty.  And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.  But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty.  When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world – and it isn’t very pretty.  The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all.  Tally’s choice will change her world forever…

My Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Bookshelf: Yes, at least for now Not Anymore

How I got it: Bought


I thought this was just ok.  The plot sounded really interesting, and I really wanted to like this more than I actually did.  There are a few issues that I have with this book.  The main problem is that I feel like this is written specifically for the teen audience.  I know it’s a YA/teen book, but I was expecting more.  There are some books that blur the age boundaries (Harry Potter, for example), and there are some that fit nicely into the prearranged classification. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not what I’m interested in.  I also didn’t really care for the main character.  She was just a little too whiny for my personal preference. There were a few instances where the character surprised me and rose to the challenge, but more often than not she whined.

I try to keep up with what our customers are reading, and I can see the appeal this would have for the teen reader.  The appeal, though, is pretty much specifically for teens. As far as age appropriateness, I would say this is suitable for those as young as 13/14.  There’s not really much violence, the romantic subplots are very tame, and the only thing that may be noteworthy to some parents is the discussion of who should be considered beautiful.  While I consider this to be ok, I won’t be reading the rest of the series.


Review: Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines Series Prequel #1)

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines Series Prequel #1) 

From the front flap of the dust jacket

Fever Crumb is a girl who has been adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb, a member of the order of Engineers, where she serves as apprentice. At a time when women are not seen as reasonable creatures, Fever is an anomaly, the only girl to serve in the Order. Soon though, she must say goodbye to Dr. Crumb to assist archeologist Kit Solent with a top-secret project. The assignment involves a mysterious room that once belonged to Auric Godshawk, the last of the Scriven overlords, and Fever must help unlock it.  The Scrive, not human, ruled the city some years ago but were hunted down and killed in a victorious uprising by the people.

As Fever’s work begins, she is plagued by memories that are not her own, and Kit seems to have a particular interest in finding out what they are. All Fever knows is what she’s been told: She is an orphan. But whose memories does she hold? And why are there people chasing her, intent on eliminating her? Is Fever the key to unlocking the terrible secret of the past?

My Rating:4 out of 5

Bookshelf: Yes

How I got it: Bought


This prequel is set quite a few generations before the Hungry City Chronicles begins – before cities become Traction Cities. There are quite a few references that foreshadow events and characters from the rest of the series, and readers not familiar with the series may not understand these references.  Fans of the Hungry City Chronicles will find the familiar, fun and descriptive writing style of Reeve, along with the random references to Ancient History (our present time). There was one in the first twenty or so pages that made me laugh out loud. I mean it’s one thing to smile to yourself while reading something entertaining, but quite another to giggle out loud. 

The first part of the book was a little slow, but it picked up quickly.  I didn’t care too much for the character at first, but as the story went on, Fever grew on me and I was cheering for her towards the end of the book. The gadgets and inventions are as interesting as ever, though not as plentiful as others in the series.

This can be read without reading the Hungry City Chronicles, but keep in mind that you may not pick up certain details in Fever Crumb that you would have if you read the series beforehand. I personally wouldn’t recommend reading Fever Crumb before reading the Hungry City Chronicles, but since the series is so hard to find in the States, if you want to start with Fever Crumb you’ll still be ok. The Hungry City Chronicles should be available in libraries, but, as of right now, it’s out of print in the States. (Scholastic was supposed to put out a reprint this year, but it hasn’t happened yet.)

The Hungry City Chronicles is composed of Mortal Engines (#1), Predator’s Gold (#2), Infernal Devices (#3), and A Darkling Plain (#4). 

Review: Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Hungry City Chronicles #1)

Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles) Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Hungry City Chronicles #1)


from the back of the book

London is hunting!

The great Traction City lumbers after a small town, eager to strip its prey of all assets and move on.  In the not-so-distant future, mobile cities consume one another to survive, a practice known as Municipal Darwinism. Tom, an apprentice in the Guild of Historians, saves his hero from a murder attempt by the mysterious Hester Shaw – only to find himself thrown from the city and stranded with Hester in the Out Country.  As they struggle to follow the city, the sinister plans of London’s leaders begin to unfold…

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bookshelf: Yes, definitely

How I got it: Bought


Fantastic! I heard such great feedback from people who have given me the best recommendations, so I had to try this. When I asked what it was about, however, they started sputtering about Municipal Darwinism and at that point I started tuning them out. I hope I can explain it better. This takes place far in the future, but there’s an Industrial Revolution/Victorian feel about the time period. The cities have become mobile. They roll around in search of smaller towns they can “eat” for parts, supplies, labor, and trade. There’s an evil plot put in motion by certain Londoners and it’s a race to see if anyone can stop them.

There’s definitely a Steampunk feel to this book, but it’s not for the sake of being Steampunk. Did that make sense? There are certain books that have been written to appeal specifically to the Steampunk crowd, and you can tell. This, however, feels like Steampunk but without being blatantly targeted for it. I appreciate that.

I liked that action and excitement throughout the book.  While Tom and Hester are our main characters, there are quite a few subplots going on throughout the book and they definitely added to the emotional impact of the story.  The world building is also really well thought out and intriguing. The descriptions of the Traction Cities and the Stationary Cities were great, and there were some really neat descriptions of the mechanics of the Traction cities.  I also enjoyed the various throwbacks to the ancient past, which is actually now.  While there was much to enjoy about this book, there were also many sad and depressing parts. I only mention this because sometimes this is promoted as a kid’s book, but really I think this is more of a YA (mid to upper teen) novel.  Not necessarily for the subject matter itself, but for the way it’s discussed between the characters in the book.

This has become one of my favorite series, and not just for a YA series. This is one of those “Jeez, I wish they had this when I was growing up” books.