Category Archives: Twilight

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (film)The Hunger Games is probably as big as Twilight and Harry Potter. All three have been made into films and have all sold 50-450 million books. Phenomenal when you see series’ such as Discworld have sold over 55 million copies and have been written since the 80’s. The power of film has done this for these. Harry Potter would always have been a high grossing book series but Twilight and The Hunger Games have hugely benefited from the films. Having said that, I read this series long before it became a film.

Plot

We meet Katniss, our heroine, and discover a few important things. One, when her father died it was left to her to raise herself and Prim (sister) due to their mother’s depression. Two, she did this by hunting in the forest by her district. Three, the Captiol makes the district “give up” two of its teenagers to compete in a bloody and barbaric “Hunger Games”. These three points are important in understanding the start of this trilogy and indeed the end. Katniss loves her sister, can shoot with a bow Cover of "The Hunger Games" and arrow and the Capitol leaders are evil. During the reaping (the choosing of the teenagers), Prim’s name is called. Katniss volunteers for her sister and in doing so puts herself into the Games. The boy tribute for District 12 is Peeta. They journey off together, along with their mentor, Haymitch, and battle against 22 other young people to be crowned victors. In a twist,  Katniss severely undermines the Capitol and becomes the face of the rebellion.

During Catching Fire Katniss is in no better a position than before the Games. Yes, her family is now rich and have a fabulous new house but she is under severe scrutiny. Her freedom to chose who she wishes to be her husband has been taken away from Cover of "Catching Fire (The Second Book ... her. District 12 now has new law keepers and is punishing the whole district for Katniss’ success. Snow wants her dead and makes it so Katniss has to enter into her nightmares, a second Hunger Game. This time she makes it her mission to keep Peeta alive, knowing she will never have a life with the Capitol in power.

Mockingjay brings us to the final and ultimate climax of the series. Katniss has been rescued from the Mockingjay
games but at the price of Peeta. She becomes the poster girl for the rebellion. Katniss is once again used by higher powers in their games of dominance when all she wants to do is stop fighting and live a normal life.

Opinion

I loved these books. Obviously had to like the first one to keep reading the series. The films are pretty good too. This is a world not to distant to us. Humanity has basically torn itself apart and the Capitol is the area that won at the end of it. The Hunger Games were designed to keep the districts subdued and it is a very feasible path that is not out of the realm of possibilities humanity could take. I think the moral and political issues behind the book are very intricately woven into the plot and hold a hidden meaning; humanity could almost wipe itself out and what we are left with won’t be pretty.

The love triangle is exquisitely done and you never feel that it is forced or contrite by Collins. The fight scenes are detailed gruesomely and you feel Katniss’ pain and revulsion for what she witnesses and what she is forced to do. I definitely didn’t see the ending coming and was shocked when it occurred. However here comes my main vital flaw for this trilogy. The last chapter. Horrendous. It was almost as bad as “And they all woke up and it was just a dream”. Collins had built up this epic suspense and had us all on the edge of our seats and then boom, a very wimpy way to end it. However, I don’t really see any other end to the books. She wrote herself into a corner and this is the result. Unlike the Harry Potter books where I felt a kind of closure for the characters, here I just felt loss and confusion. If it wasn’t for this ending these books are excellent and very much a 10/10. Due to this my verdict is: 8/10. Still epic but just not there.

The symbol of the revolution. The Mockingjay.

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Filed under Book Review, Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Twilight, Young Adult

List of Best-Selling Book Series

Hello readers! This is a quick overview of the top book series sales from across the globe. You can find reviews of some of these books on this blog. Happy reading 🙂

Over 100 Million Copies
Book series Author First published Approximate sales
Maigret Georges Simenon 1931-1972 853 million
Harry Potter J.K.Rowling 1997-2007 450 million
Perry Mason Erle Stanley Gardner 1933 — 1970 300 million
Goosebumps R. L. Stine 1992–1997–present 300 million
Berenstain Bears Stan and Jan Berenstain 1962 — present 260 million
Sweet Valley High Francine Pascal and ghostwriters 1983–2003 250 million
Choose Your Own Adventure various authors 1979 — 1998 250 million
Robert Langdon Dan Brown 2000–present 200 million
San-Antonio Frédéric Dard 1949–2001 200 million
The Railway Series (spawned Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends) Rev. W. Awdry, Christopher Awdry 1945–2011 200 million
Nancy Drew various authors as Carolyn Keene 1930 — present 200 million
Noddy Enid Blyton 1949–present 200 million
The Baby-sitters Club Ann Martin 1986 — present 172 million
Star Wars various authors 1977 — present 160 million
Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter 1902–1930 150 million
Chicken Soup for the Soul Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen 1997 — present 130 million
Frank Merriwell Gilbert Patten 1896 – 125 million
Mr. Men Roger Hargreaves, Adam Hargreaves 1971 — present 120 million
The Chronicles of Narnia C. S. Lewis 1949–1954 120 million
American Girl various authors 1986 — present 120 million
宮本武蔵 (Musashi) Eiji Yoshikawa 1935–1939 120 million
Dirk Pitt Clive Cussler 1973 — present 120 million
Twilight Stephenie Meyer 2005–2011 116 million
Clifford the Big Red Dog Norman Bridwell 1963 — present 110 million
Martine Gilbert Delahaye, Marcel Marlier 1954 — present 100 million
James Bond Ian Fleming 1953–1966 100 million
Between 50 million and 100 million copies
Book series Author First published Approximate sales
Nijntje (Miffy) Dick Bruna 1955 — present 85 million
Fear Street R. L. Stine 1989 — present 80 million
The Vampire Chronicles Anne Rice 1976-2003 80 million
Pippi Longstocking Astrid Lindgren 1945-2001 80 million
OSS 117 Jean Bruce 1949–1992 75 million
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney 2007–present 75 million
Winnie-the-Pooh A. A. Milne; illustrated by E. H. Shepard 1926–1928 70 million
Magic Tree House series Mary Pope Osborne 1992–present 70 million
Fifty Shades of Grey E. L. James 2011–2012 70 million
Left Behind Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins 1996 — 2007 65 million
A Series of Unfortunate Events Lemony Snicket aka Daniel Handler 1999–2006 65 million
Little House on the Prairie Laura Ingalls Wilder 1932–2006 60 million
Jack Reacher Lee Child 1997–present 60 million
Discworld Terry Pratchett 1983–present 55 million
Where’s Wally?[164] Martin Handford 1987–present 55 million
Millennium Trilogy Stieg Larsson 2005–2007 53 million
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus John Gray 1992–present 50 million
The Hardy Boys various authors as Franklin W. Dixon 1927–present 50 million
The Bobbsey Twins various authors as Laura Lee Hope 1904–1979 50 million
Tarzan Edgar Rice Burroughs 1914–1995 50 million
The Hunger Games trilogy Suzanne Collins 2008–2010 50 million
Between 30 million and 50 million copies
Book series Author First published Approximate sales
A Child’s First Library Of Learning various authors 1980 – 45 million
Junie B. Jones Barbara Park 1992 – 44 million
The Wheel of Time Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson 1990 – 2013 44 million
Harry Bosch Michael Connelly 1992 – 42 million
Harry Hole Jo Nesbø 1997–present 40 million
连环画 铁道游击队 (Picture-and-story book Railway Guerilla) original author: Liu Zhixia 1955–1962 36.52 million
Paddington Bear Michael Bond 1958–present 35 million
The Inheritance Cycle Christopher Paolini 2002–2011 33 million
徳川家康 (Tokugawa Ieyasu) Sohachi Yamaoka 1950–1967 30 million
Ramona Beverly Cleary 1955–1999 30 million
The Dark Tower Stephen King 1982-2012 30 million
The Destroyer Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir, various authors 1971–present 30 million
Between 20 million and 30 million copies
Book series Author First published Approximate sales
ノンタン (Nontan) Sachiko Kiyono 1976–2006 28 million
Curious George Hans Augusto Rey andMargret Rey 1941–present 27 million
グイン・サーガ (Guin Saga) Kaoru Kurimoto 1979–2009 26 million
Captain Underpants Dav Pilkey 1997–present 26 million
三毛猫ホームズシリーズ (Calico Cat Holmes series) Jirō Akagawa 1978–present 26 million
Rich Dad, Poor Dad Robert Kiyosaki Sharon Lechter 1997- 26 million
Kurt Wallander Henning Mankell 1991–2002 25 million
Sagaen om Isfolket (The Legend of the Ice People) Margit Sandemo 1982–1989 25 million
The Sword of Truth Terry Goodkind 1998–2007 25 million
鬼平犯科帳 (Onihei Hankachō) Shōtarō Ikenami 1968–1990 24.4 million
The Shadowhunter Chronicles Cassandra Clare 2007–present 24 million
Brain Quest series various authors 1992–present 23.7 million
かいけつゾロリ (Kaiketsu Zorori) Yutaka Hara 1987–present 23 million
South Beach Diet Arthur Agatston 2003–present 22 million
竜馬がゆく (Ryoma ga Yuku) Ryōtarō Shiba 1963–1966 21.5 million
Artemis Fowl Eoin Colfer 2001–2012 21 million
ズッコケ三人組 (Zukkoke Sanningumi) Masamoto Nasu 1978–2004 21 million
Shannara Terry Brooks 1977–present 21 million
Redwall Brian Jacques 1986–present 20 million
Maisy Lucy Cousins 1990–present 20 million
Dragonlance various authors 1984 — present 20 million
幻魔大戦 (Genma Taisen) Kazumasa Hirai 1979–1983 20 million
青春の門 (The Gate of Youth) Hiroyuki Itsuki 1970–present 20 million
The Foundation Trilogy Isaac Asimov 1950–1953 20 million
Horrible Histories Terry Deary 1993–present 20 million
Rainbow Magic Daisy Meadows 2003–present 20 million
Morgan Kane Louis Masterson 1966– 20 million
The Southern Vampire Mysteries Charlaine Harris 2001–2013 20 million
Between 15 million and 20 million copies
Book series Author First published Approximate sales
科学のアルバム (Kagaku no album) various authors 1970–present 19 million
剣客商売 (Kenkaku Shobai) Shotaro Ikenami 1972–1989 18 million
Erast Fandorin Boris Akunin 1998–present 18 million
吸血鬼ハンターD (Vampire Hunter D) Hideyuki Kikuchi 1983–present 17 million
涼宮ハルヒシリーズ(Haruhi Suzumiya Series) Nagaru Tanigawa 2003–present 16.5 million
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams, plus a final book by Eoin Colfer 1979–2008 16 million
Bridget Jones Helen Fielding 1996–present 15 million
The Riftwar Cycle Raymond E. Feist 1982–present 15 million
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Rick Riordan 2005–2009 15 million
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Alexander McCall Smith 1999–present 15 million
ぼくらシリーズ(Bokura series) Osamu Soda 1985–present 15 million
His Dark Materials Philip Pullman 1995–2000 15 million
銀河英雄伝説 (Legend of the Galactic Heroes) Yoshiki Tanaka 1982–1989 15 million
Der Regenbogenfisch (Rainbow Fish) Marcus Pfister 1992–present 15 million
A Song of Ice and Fire George R. R. Martin 1996–present 15 million

All sourced from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books

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Filed under Book Review, Christopher Paolini, Eragon, Stephanie Mayer, Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Twilight

Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

I first found Beautiful Creatures as a film. Although it took me a while to get into the film, I found it to be very enjoyable so obviously, once I saw the film was based on a book, I had to have it. I then found out it was a book series of four; Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption. As I bought the series as one for my e-reader I shall review them as one.

These books are written by two authors. Unusual but not unheard of. In fact, some of my favourite series’ are written by two authors. Women’s Murder Club has two and PJ Tracy is the mother/daughter writing duo. Therefore this duel authorship is nothing to deter readers.

When deciding whether to buy the books as a whole or see if I should just buy the first to see if I liked it and would want to carry on reading the series, I stumbled onto a review. This reviewer said if you liked the Twilight Saga and  The Hunger Games Trilogy then these were the books for you. I agree and I’ll add my own to that mix too. If you like these and the Inheritance Cycle, then you will also like Beautiful Creatures. Its an epic love story, a struggle against evil/darkness, mythical creatures, a mythical world and much more.

Plot

We start of meeting Ethan Wate living in a small country town in the heart of America’s Southern states. Mainstream bible basher belt. Like all towns in this area, change is slow and hard to adjust too. Ethan is a high school jock who plays basketball but has a secret love of reading. His best friend, Link knows all of his secrets and just rolls with them all – a true best friend! One day, the niece of old man Ravenwood arrives and joins school. Ethan has literally met the girl of his dreams and obviously wants to know more about her. He tries to do so and ends up falling in love. Little does he know that she is really an adolescent castor, waiting until her 16th birthday to find out if she will go “dark” or “light”. Alongside this main storyline, there is the story of the “curse”. One that involves Lena’s ancestors and Ethan’s. This adds an extra twist to Lena’s future moral compass.

Beautiful Darkness carries on from the last and we see the town dealing with the shock of Macon Ravenwood’s death. In particular, we see Lena struggling with her Uncle’s death and obviously blames herself for his death. This puts a strain on Lena and Ethan’s relationship and she begins to hang around with Ridley and another boy, John. Liv moves to town and becomes a trainee Keeper under the tutelage of Marion. Lena runs away with John and Ridley, leaving Ethan little choice but to follow his one true love. However, Liv and Ethan begin to have feelings for one another and Ethan realises that if this secret world never existed, he and Liv would have been soul mates. Lena also realises this and this hurt sends her further away from Ethan. We discover that Ethan is a Wayward in this world, a mortal who can find a way to things in the castor one. A human SatNav. Handy when no one knows where Lena is going. We end up at the edge of the magical world, once again fighting for Lena’s moral compass, Dark or light?

Beautiful Chaos again carries on where the last one left. Lena has chosen to be File:BeautifulChaos2011book.jpgboth Dark and Light, Link is now part Incubus, Ridley is mortal, Liv is no longer a Keeper in training and Macon is living his second life, this time as Castor. The world is now in Chaos and mortals even recognise this to be so. Link’s mum believes it to be the final reckoning from God. Ethan keeps having dreams about himself. However, he and Lena are now back together though still unable to touch for longer than a few seconds without Ethan’s heart stopping (a problem when a Castor and Mortal try to be together romantically). This problem seems to be getting worse. Ethan’s mother is once again sending him messages through songs and this time it seems to be telling him that the one who is two is the only one to save earth by killing themselves. Ethan also learns that he left half of himself in the underworld when he died and Lena brought him back. John Breed thinks that he is the saviour so he throws himself off the water tower. However, fate does not agree and Ethan discovers that it is him.

File:BeautifulRedemption2012HBCover.jpg

In Beautiful Redemption we find Ethan in the afterlife. We also meet his mother. Aunt Pru, who passed away in the previous book, tells Ethan of way to return to the living by taking his page out of the Caster Chronicles and destroying it. However, he needs a few things from the world of the living so he sends messages to Lena via the crossword in the local paper. Ethan continues on his journey through the underworld.

Opinion

Like I said, these books are a mixture of Twilight, The Hunger Games and The Inheritance Cycle. Star crossed lovers from different backgrounds trying to be together under impossible circumstances. An epic battle against the laws of the Castor world. A unique connection between two people. All of these throw hints at the previously said books. However, these are unique in their own right. The duo of Garcia and Stohl have a good partnership and their writing as a team is almost flawless. Lena and Ethan’s connection is excellent and does remind me of Eragon and Saphira’s from The Inheritance Cycle. Each character brings something unique to the story. Liv and Link are some of the best supporting characters I have ever seen in a book. I found book 1 to have confusing elements and certain aspects to not be explained well. Maybe because of the duel authors but something wasn’t quite right. The editing team should also have picked up on this so perhaps they were changed for the remaining three as there was nothing similar in them. Seeing as how that is my main gripe with these books, it’s doing something right.

My verdict; 8/10 if not for the first books inconsistencies it could have been higher. Great books overall and well worth a read!

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Filed under Beautiful Creatures, Book Review, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Twilight, Young Adult

The Twilight Saga – Stephanie Mayer

I have decided to review all four books as one. This is because I find the saga as a whole difficult to analyse. Twilight is a phenomenon but why? Don’t get me wrong, I do have a fascination with them and read the whole series more often than I care to admit. I also read these books before they were the phenomenon they became (the perks of working in a library). The storyline is intoxicating and uses a tried and tested topic. Vampire stories have always been popular since Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. Our fascination of the undead can be chartered throughout literature, whether it be Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” to Elizabeth Kostova “The Historian”, Vampires and Monsters hold our attention. Mayer has drawn on that and I feel that it wouldn’t take much writing ability to make it a story people would happily want to read. It isn’t a subject matter that has to engulf you fully to make you want to carry on to the bitter end. Having said that, Mayer obviously got something right to keep us intrigued and glued to the pages.

Plot

In “Twilight” we meet Bella, our heroine. She is leaving her desert home of Arizona to the rainy, green land of Forks. Here she now lives with her father, the local sheriff and attends the town public school. This is where we first meet the Cullens. An extraordinary family. They are all intelligent, beautiful and have golden eyes. The youngest boy is in Bella’s science class and she seems to cause a very strong and powerful reaction within Edward Cullen. So much so that he tries to change his classes so he is never with her and then does not return to school for numerous days. When he returns, he seems much more amiable to Bella, though he does warn her away. We later find out why as Bella discovers his secret after talking to the local Native Americans and her childhood friend Jacob Black. The answer is simple, he and his family are actually a coven. A coven of Vampires. The rest of the book goes on to describe how Vampires came into existence  how the Cullen family came to be and shows the growing love that Edward and Bella have for each other. It ends on a battle of Edward and a stranger vampire fighting for the right for Bella or rather, the right to keep her alive or drink her blood.

“New Moon” begins barely after “Twilight” finishes and Bella’s birthday causes alarm as she suffers a paper cut in the middle of a Vampire Coven. This causes Edward to re-evaluate his relationship with Bella and makes him leave her for her own good. Bella is heartbroken and takes comfort in the friendship she has in Jacob Black. However, this friendship is also fraught as a Vampire called Victoria vows to kill Bella for Edward killing her mate at the end of “Twilight”, meaning the Quileute children become shape-shifters who take the animal shape of a wolf. Jacob joins in this pack and we have Bella once more involved with dangerous creatures. Edward believes Bella to be dead (due to a prophecy of Alice and pig-headedness of Jacob) and tries to commit suicide by revealing his presence in the home town of the Volturi (Vampire Elite and police). Bella and Alice race off to Italy to rescue him, in the process revealing  Bella to the Volturi.

Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse“Eclipse” again begins a short while after its predecessor and we see Bella forcing Edward and Jacob to accept that they are both important to her and that they are both in her life. Hard as they are sworn enemies. However, Victoria is back and this time making an army of new-born vampires to try to kill Bella. The Quileute wolves and Cullen vampires join forces for the first time in history to destroy this invading army and save Bella. Bella asks Edward to changer her into a Vampire but Edward will only allow her to be changed by him if she agrees to marry him first. He was after all born in a different era where virtue was honoured.

“Breaking Dawn” could easily be two books as the two films based on it show. The first half we have the wedding, honeymoon and Bella’s pregnancy and the second half we have Bella being a newborn vampire, Renesme being seen, building up an army of witnesses and the Volturi descending on the Cullen family.

Opinion

As I mentioned briefly above, I am not fully convinced by Mayer’s writing ability after the Twilight Saga (However, “The Host” proves she can for me). I wasn’t enthralled by the prose of Mayer. Some of her writing is confusing and didn’t always make sense. The problem could be due to her writing from a 16-year-old perceptive. Her dramatic improvement in writing for her book “The Host” suggests that this might be the case. This doesn’t reprieve it though. Many books can be written from a teenager’s point of view or 1st person and still be well written. Writing prowess aside, this book has the ‘X-Factor’. Maybe that Edward is just so darn romantic or that Jacob is your best friend turned hot boyfriend type that we are kept entertained or the fascinating friendships and relationships that take you on a roller-coaster, Twilight has something. You are invested in each of these character’s lives and whether it be the romantic triangle (Team Jacob by the way) or the bonds of loyal friendships, Mayer has stumbled on to something great. All in all one great storyline that keeps you for 4 books and one you can re-read.

My verdict is 8/10. Worth a read though I don’t believe the films do the books any justice and I prefer to keep the characters separate in my head as Pattinson and Stewart just aren’t my idea of Edward and Bella (I know I shall be stabbed by many Twihards for the Pattinson comment!).

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Filed under Book Review, Stephanie Mayer, Twilight, Young Adult