Thursday, February 11, 2010

Girl in the Arena

I took a self proclaimed snow day today, and I used it to finish up Lise Haines novel Girl in the Arena.

With a hook like:
Neo-gladiator could I walk away from it?
It's compelling. Haines kept me turning pages right up until the end.

Lyn is our main character. She has had seven gladiator fathers in her lifetime. When the seventh father is killed in battle, due to an odd circumstance, Lyn finds herself betrothed to her father's killer. Rough day.

Her mother has been a proud Glad wife and has always lived the Glad culture. She doesn't know anything else. With the death of her seventh husband, she is forbidden, by the code book, to marry another. She isn't able to handle that.

While Lyn is busy managing so many other things: the household, her mother, her brother with a disability, a seed begins to take root in her mind. She should fight her "fiance" for her freedom.

Page turning.

I will say the end was a little too pat, but don't let that detract from the book as a whole. I think Haines is on to something here...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Woods Runner

Gary Paulsen has long been a favorite of mine. His best work, in my opinion, is still his autobio My Life in Dog Years...some may disagree, but that is my truth.

This month he is speaking at the DMA's Arts and Letters Live Event, and I have tickets. The focus of his talk will be on his newest release, Woods Runner, so I decided to give it a read.

Set during the Revolutionary War, Paulsen weaves part story and part historical data into a fascinating plot. Our main character, Samuel, returns home from hunting to find his family has been taken captive by the Red Coats. Without much choice, he follows their trail across the country, hoping to find them still alive. Along the way, he encounters several characters and events that force him to think about the war and what revolution means. Between every chapter, Paulsen includes historical data about the Revolution and other wars, factual reading that is compelling but true. This formula keeps the pages turning!

While it's not one of my all time favorite books, I wasn't disappointed in Woods Runner. It is classic survivalist Paulsen literature.