Street Rats of Aramoor by Michael Wisehart

streetratsofaramorWhile I enjoyed Michael Wisehart’s first book, The White Tower, I found I enjoyed his newest series – Street Rats of Aramoor – far more. It was simply less violent and more fun.

This series, so far consisting of two books – Banished and Hurricane, takes place before Wisehart’s The White Tower. It follows a 13-year-old boy named Ayrion, a character you meet as an adult in The White Tower, and tells of his life before he ended up serving as the king’s protector. You learn where he came from and how he ended up in Aramoor.

While the series at this point stops short of telling how  Ayrion first meets the king of Aaramoor, I would not be surprised if there are more books to follow, and if there aren’t, as it stands now, the ending of the second book will leave you satisfied.

This is definitely a book worth reading (or listening to if you prefer audio books), and it will be added to my “favorites” list.

Michael Vey 2: Rise of the Elgen

Rise of the Elgen.jpgMichael Vey 2: Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans is the second book in the Michael Vey series. It is an engaging story and drew me in a lot faster than the first book, but it is rather violent for a children’s book series, and some of the violence even bothers me. I think it is mainly the fact that the children (not the main characters) are truly bad and don’t seem to have a conscience. I’m not used to that kind of callousness from teens. If you had a problem with The Hunger Games and the children killing children, you will have a problem with this book series. (Although, this book is much better written than The Hunger Games.)

I do want to point out that in this series, the “bad children” have been brainwashed by Dr. Hatch. They have been conditioned from a young age to believe they are superior to everyone because of their electric abilities and to see nothing wrong with taking lives. The good children – Michael Vey and the Electroclan – were not “broken” (that is the term used in the first book to refer to the process that Dr. Hatch puts the children through) by Dr. Hatch because they were older and had a formed conscience. As a result, these children rebelled against Dr. Hatch and joined Michael to form the Electroclan. So it is not that the “bad children” are intrinsically evil, it is how they were “raised” by the evil Dr. Hatch.

Anyway, the scenes with Dr. Hatch and his gang of bad children is too violent for me, and this is not a book series I am going to finish reading. It is one that I would cautiously recommend to people who don’t get quite drawn into the lives of the characters as much as I.

P.S. I do like that one bad kid in the first book had a chance of heart, and that there are signs in this book that a couple of the other “bad kids” are coming around. So I think there may be potential for some character’s to re-deem themselves, but since I’m not finishing the series, I won’t know.

The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey #1)

Michael VeyThe Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans is the first book in the Michael Vey series. It was entertaining and is a series I am currently enjoying. It started off a really slow, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I was looking for a book for the family to listen to when we went on vacation, I probably wouldn’t have continued listening to it, but I’m glad I did. Right now, I’m on the second book, and it starts off a lot faster because you don’t have to get to know the characters. Unfortunately, this is not a book series that you can’t just start with any book, you need to read the first book. But, I highly recommend putting up with the slow speed of the book. It’s worth it.
I will say that it was a little more violent than I had anticipated from a kid’s book, and I think the reason was I’m not used to there actually being kids who are villains. There are a couple kids in there who seem to lack a conscience (and the reason being is thoroughly explained and understandable), and whose maliciousness when it came to hurting people surprised me. Again, I think it is because I’m not used to kids being the “evil” ones. Although !SPOILER-ISH! one kid does change his ways.
I also really appreciate that the main character has turrets syndrome. I think it brings a nice aspect to having a hero/main character who isn’t perfect (like Thor or Captain America). This is just a normal kid (who actually !SPOLIER-ISH! has an electric power). However, he is living with turrets which gives him an aspect of humanity, more than your average super hero; he is more relatable because we all have struggles in our life wither physical, emotional or neurological, etc.

The White Tower

The White TowerThe White Tower by by Michael Wisehart is the first book in the series The Aldoran Chronicles.
This is now one of my favorite books. Below is my review that I posted on Audible.
Would you consider the audio edition of The White Tower to be better than the print version?

I’ve only listened to the audio version. I will say that as much as I love the narrator, I’d probably prefer it in hard back. This story switches between A LOT of characters, which I find frustrating at times. I like to follow the character arcs of only one or two characters at a time. The print version would allow me to follow one character and then go back and read the stories of the other characters (or skip the character’s I don’t care about). It is too hard to do that with the audio book.

What other book might you compare The White Tower to and why?

This is my favorite book since Michael J. Sullivan’s “Riyria Revelations” (also narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds). I consider both books a “page turner”, and I have a hard time putting either of them down.

I will say this book is more violent than the Riyria Revelations; it is not really graphic in its violence, but the torture instances make me a little uncomfortable, so very sensitive readers might get a bit squeamish, again not graphic, just the description of the pain that the character’s face is kind of uncomfortable.

Have you listened to any of Tim Gerard Reynolds’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I’d actually even say this is his best narration yet, but then again, I’ve never listened to a bad narration of his. There are a lot more characters in this book than in others he’s narrated, and he does a superb job making each of them unique.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The torture scenes make me a bit squeamish when the pain the people are experiencing is described. The scenes aren’t graphic like rated-R films; there is no graphic blood or extreme description of torture techniques, but the thought of the torture and the people’s pain still makes me uncomfortable (as it should).

I will say that during heightened intense moments, the author knows how to throw a bit of humor in there. So, there are definitely some nice laughs along the way.

Any additional comments?

I think the author does a great job of capturing the human person, showing a wide range of emotions from all characters. The character’s are human despite being set in a fantasy world. I think this is one of the first books I’ve listened to/read that you really connect with and empathize with the characters, even those that make questionable decisions. (Not so much the truly evil characters; they are evil, but some that border evil or simply make questionable choices – those you really get to empathize with or at least understand why they did what they did.)

Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter

Disappearance of Winter's DaughterDisappearance of Winter’s Daughter: Riyria Chronicle #4 by Michael J. Sullivan is by far the funniest of the four Riyria Chronicles yet. Loved it! It has a very good message of hope.