An Abundance Of Katherines

41dmcwlqdnl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Title: An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green

Number of Pages:

Fiction

Plot Overview: Colin is a prodigy. A prodigy who isn’t quite a genius and who has been dumped by 19 Katherines (always K-a-t-h-e-r-i-n-e, never Catherine or Kathryn) in a row. Most recently, it was K-19, kind and wonderful, who’s totally driven Colin off the rails. So Colin’s best friend, Hassan, drags him out the door and into the car for a road trip, ending up in Gutshot, Tennessee. There they meet Lindsey Lee Wells, her boyfriend TOC (The Other Colin), TOC’s friends JATT and SOCT (Jeans Are Too Tight and Short One Chewing Tobacco, respectively), and a town struggling to stay afloat. There Colin begins work on his masterpiece – the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which attempts to chart the course of any relationship.

What I Liked: The characters were decently strong; Colin definitely grew on me as the book went along. Green is excellent at developing his characters. The routes they take throughout the story are unusual and worth following. The use of footnotes in this book is a nice touch, distinguishing it from the average YA road-trip novel. Speaking of which, I love the world this story operates in. From anagramming to hog hunting to secret caves to Katherine predictability to storytelling, it’s so fun to live in for 215 pages. The plot is different, yet not incredible. In terms of writing style, it’s classic John Green: natural, funny, yet occasionally pretty.

What I Didn’t Like: The characters were stereotypical: the nerd, the lazy, sarcastic best friend, the not-exceptionally-pretty yet still attractive girl, the terrible boyfriend. They started predictably and ended predictably. I have the same quibble with this book as I have with most road-trip stories: some of it feels far-fetched. Staying with a stranger? Just being allowed to up and leave on a trip? That’s somewhat outside the realm of possibility. Also, the story was unspectacular. Boy goes on road trip to get over broken heart and falls in love again.

Other Notes: John Green is an exceedingly successful author – he’s behind titles such as The Fault in Our StarsLooking For Alaska, and Paper Towns. Alongside his brother, he runs a YouTube channel, Crash Course, where he teaches pieces of classes such as English, World History, and American history.

Other Reviews: The New York Times has published a decent review of this book, which can be found here.

Final Verdict: Fun, alternately lighthearted and serious. Worth picking up.

The Demon King

Title: The Demon Kingdk_cover_md

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Number of Pages: 506

Fiction

Plot Overview: Hanson Alister goes by many names. Han. Cuffs, his street name, for the silver bracelets locked around his wrists. Hunts Alone, when he stays in the Spirit Mountains, among the native clans of the Fells. With a mother and sister to support, he makes a living however he can, be it hunting, running errands, or stealing and killing. Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir to the throne of the Fells (the crown passes through the female side of the family) realizes that she may be a mere pawn in a deadly fight for power between Lord Gavan Bayar, the High Wizard, her clan-born father Averill Lightfoot, and her mother, Queen Marianna ana’Rissa. Raisa battles for her freedom. Han battles for his life. The Kingdom of the Fells teeters on the brink of disaster.

What I liked: This book checks all of the major boxes required for a excellent book.

  • Characters: Well-drawn and relatable. Extra props to the smooth, only slightly evil Micah Bayar (son of Gavan) for his suave arrogance – he was a royal pain but so fun to dislike. Amon Byrne, Raisa’s childhood friend, earned points (P.S. The point system is completely arbitrary) for his steadfast loyalty. Han wore so many faces throughout this novel, making it hard to pinpoint exactly what he was like, but his sarcastic, dry wit was a delightful constant. And Raisa! Witty, intelligent, brave Raisa, determined to rule wisely and be an effective queen by herself. She’s one of my favorite female characters in literature.
  • Story/Plot: The world felt fully detailed. The story was unique, and the plot unpredictable. Chima was smart to hide her plot twists as secrets: since the focal characters were unaware of what was to come, so was the reader.
  • Writing style: Descriptive while not overly flowery. The writing was just icing on the proverbial cake; it added another dimension to an already rich story.

What I disliked: The only thing I found annoying was the sometimes blatant nature of Chima’s exposition. Occasionally, she resorted to unabridged moving along of the plot, even if it meant a character asking an obvious question. Other than that, I really enjoyed it!

Other Notes: Cinda Williams Chima has also written the Heir Chronicles, which I took up briefly, then stopped. The Demon King is the first of four books. The middle two (titled The Exiled Queen and The Gray Wolf Throne) are not terribly exciting, but worthwhile, because the fourth book (The Crimson Crown) is breathtaking. She’s just released another novel, Flamecaster, set in the same world as The Demon King, which I’m so excited to read.

Other Reviews: Thea James, at thebooksmugglers.com, has published a longer review (as well as reviews for the other three books), which can be found here.

Final Verdict: Read it! I loved it.