The Jester book review

The Jester

James Patterson

Historical Fiction/Adventure

470 Pages

 

I’ve read a lot of James Patterson books, but none quite like this one. This one had almost a The DaVinci Code or The Last Templar feel to it. It takes place during the Crusades, and begins in 1096 A.D. It follows the life of a simple bondsman, Hugh, who finds the desire to leave his wife and go fight in the Crusades. He promises he that he will return no matter what. He leaves and fights hard, learning to be a soldier and doing things he never imagined himself doing. Finally, one day, he decides that he can’t be away from his wife any longer fighting for a cause he’s not even sure he believes in, and he deserts his army.

 

He makes his way home, excited to see his wife again and show her the souvenirs he has brought back with him. However, upon arriving home, he discovers the terrible truth that his wife has been taken captive and everything he loves destroyed. Everyone in his town fears that she is certainly dead, but Hugh cannot accept this and sets off to find her and return her safely home. With the help of new friends he meets, he devises a plan to implant himself close to where he believe he will find her, and bring justice to those who have destroyed his life.

 

This book was exciting to read about, because although it is fiction, it was fun to learn about how things could have been during this time. These is a lot – and I mean a lot – of violence, and very descriptive acts of torture and murder. There was also a surprising amount of sex and sexually related content included, which I had not expected, so I would certainly not recommend this for younger readers. There was a lot of humor strung throughout the novel as well, which is not surprising considering the title. Overall, I found it to be a very entertaining book, although it isn’t my favorite of the work that Patterson has put out. Especially if you are interested in this time period, I think you will enjoy it!

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The Face of Fear book review

The Face of Fear

Dean Koontz

Horror/Suspense

306 Pages

 

This is one of Koontz’s older books, first published in 1977. It is about a man with a clairvoyant ability to see visions. Harris had a head injury, and since then has been blessed with, or cursed with, the ability to see sometimes very disturbing visions. He can see murders, sometimes as they are taking place, and can gain impressions about the killer. He doesn’t like his gift, and often finds himself watching the life drain out of a person as they are victims under their killer’s hands. Harris has been consulted by police on different occasions to help them solve crimes of murders. In this story, the police are seeking his help to identify a killer terrorizing New York known as “The Butcher.” However, as the Butcher starts to fear that Harris is getting too close to discovering him, he becomes the killer’s next target.

 

Harris is working late in his office at night, when he has a vision, for the first time, of himself being shot. He becomes worried, which fear intensifies further when he realizes that his phone lines have been cut and the elevators in his building aren’t working. Together with his girlfriend, Harris must find a way to escape the building that they are trapped in with a serial murderer. Unfortunately, they are on the 40th floor with no escape. Harris used to be an expert climber, but since a terrible fall and injury, has been too scared to climb again. However, with the killer closing in on them, Harris decides that the only escape may be to go straight down the building during a howling blizzard.

 

Koontz often has some sort of phenomenal quality within his books, in this case, Harris’ clairvoyant visions. They often make interesting reads because you never know what might happen. This isn’t my favorite Koontz book that I’ve read, but it was interesting to read. There was a lot of factual information about climbing, which I’m sure is now somewhat outdated, but not being all that interested in climbing myself, that part dragged on a bit for me. However, there was definitely tension and suspense while Harris and his girlfriend were devising ways to stay one step ahead of the brutal killer. Again, this isn’t a book that I would recommend for younger readers. There are some sexual themes as well as descriptive murders. Overall, I would say it is an OK book, but not the best Dean Koontz has put out by any means. If you are a Koontz fan, I think you will like it. If you are unfamiliar with his work, I think there are other, better ones out there that you could start with.

Rules of Prey book review

Rules of Prey

John Sandford

Crime Thriller

353 Pages

 

I have so many books I want to read that I don’t often reread any. However, I didn’t want to exclude this series of books from my review, or start at the end of it for those who are unfamiliar with the work of John Sandford. Rules of Prey was first published in 1989, and Sandford is still writing books in the same series today. It was interesting to go back and read the start of it all, after having recently read the latest ones as well. This series is awesome. If you are into cop/crime thriller books and you haven’t ever read Sandford, then you are missing out. However, a word of forewarning: his books are always filled with strong language, and often with sexual themes and descriptive violence, as they are usually about serial killers. So, if those things are offensive to you, stay away from the Prey series. I would definitely not recommend these books for younger readers.

 

This novel starts out by introducing us to the hero of the Prey series, Lucas Davenport, who is a detective in Minnesota. Lucas is investigating a series of murders by a man who refers to himself as the maddog. In this book, we get to look inside the maddog’s head and understand how he sees himself and the things that he is doing. I think this was one of the first books I read where I got to really see the psyche of the killer and how they justify their actions. The maddog is hunting down the “chosen ones” and slaughtering them brutally. He has the police department stumped so it is up to Davenport to anticipate his moves and catch him before he kills half the women in St. Paul.

 

Sandford uses the knowledge he acquired during years of being a crime journalist to give unique perspectives within the police department as well as aspects of the media that most of us would never think about. Davenport does what he can to control the media and help bring out the desired outcome while he is hunting this killer. Davenport is so fun to read about because he will do whatever it takes to catch the killers he is tracking. His methods aren’t always purely ethical, but he doesn’t let anything stand in his way. If I were a criminal, I would be terrified of a man like Davenport trying to bring me to justice.

 

Things really start to heat up as the maddog focuses on a reporter for the news as his next target. The police watch and covertly guard her, but he wants his next prize. As he plans his attack, will Davenport be able to beat him at his own game?

 

If you are looking for an awesome series to begin in this genre, look no further than Sandford. He has enough books to keep you going for a while, and I have enjoyed them all. I recently finished the 20th book in this series, and I think his writing has improved greatly over the years. So, if you give this one a shot and like it, you’ll love all of his other ones in the Prey series as well. He also has other books that branch off from these ones as well. Sandford is a skilled writer with a lot of books and a lot of experience. Again, if things like violence, language, and sometimes sexual themes are offensive to you, don’t read these. If not, crack one open and check it out!

The Kite Runner book review

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

Historical Fiction/Coming-of-Age

371 Pages

 

I picked this book up because I had seen a lot of people reading it which made me curious. It was not what I expected. The book is largely about a boy growing up in Afghanistan shortly before the invasion by Russian forces. His name is Amir and he lives in a house with his father, as his mother has passed away. The novel gets its name from an activity very popular at this time, a kite tournament. Amir’s closest companion is a boy named Hassan, who is actually the son of his father’s servant, and thereby the younger servant of the family as well. Although Hassan considers Amir his best friend and would do anything for him, Amir doesn’t even consider them friends. He is very aware of him importance and “rank” above Hassan.

 

When Amir enters the kite tournament, he desires to win to hopefully make his dad proud so that the awkwardness between them can end. His loyal companion Hassan is running kites for him and promises to bring the last kite back. As he is running to find it, his path is intercepted by some old rivals who have vowed revenge. The boys are abusing Hassan, and Amir finds him just in time to be able to intercede and stop them, but he is frozen with fear and does nothing. When Hassan finally returns with the kite, Amir is so ashamed with himself that he cannot even look at Hassan, and things between them are never the same.

 

This novel then follows the course of Amir’s life as he grows up and his life changes in ways he never could have imagined. He comes to America and his father, who was once a successful businessman struggles to make ends meet. He finds some happiness, but Hassan in always there in the back of his mind. He can’t help but wonder how things could have been different if he had found the courage to stand up for the boy that would have done anything for him that day. This is a sad story filled with drama and despair, but it is a good book. In the end, Amir is presented with a dangerous opportunity to possibly redeem himself, and it will take all the courage he can muster to face it.

 

There are definitely some situations and content that might not be acceptable for younger readers. This novel is a sad tale of things that you hope aren’t true as you’re reading it. It addresses topics such as bullies, courage, and standing up for others, with an overall good message in a powerful book that you will remember.

Michael Vey The Prisoner of Cell 25 book review

Michael Vey The Prisoner of Cell 25

Richard Paul Evans

Science Fiction/Adventure

336 Pages

 

This book was awesome!  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started it because I had never even heard of it, but I really enjoyed it.  Michael Vey is a high school kid with a secret.  He’s electric.  He has the power of electricity running through him, but he must keep it a secret to ensure nothing bad happens.  When he starts to get stronger though, it becomes harder to contain his power and those who have been searching for him since his birth finally discover him.  Michael is catapulted into a new world of danger and adventure as he must fight to protect the ones he loves.

 

This book had some similarities to other books where kids discover they have powers, such as Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, but it was certainly its own story.  Also, some of you reading might think, “electric kids, really?” and in some cases, I would be right there with you.  However, Evans has come up with a way to explain these powers that seems plausible enough, so that it makes sense that something like this could happen in a normal world, without the explanation of something supernatural, like magic.  There are very few kids similar to Michael, but they are out there, and Michael must discover who his allies are and who his enemies are.

 

Michael must confront those behind the organization looking for him and causing his family pain.  With the help of his friends, both new and old, Michael must get to the bottom of the organization and fight to get his life and freedom back.  Friends become enemies and enemies become friends in this thriller that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.  I got so excited when I finished this book to continue on with the adventure that I went out to search for the next one in the series.  I was sad to find out that it isn’t out yet.  However, it is coming out in August of this year, so it will shortly be here, and I will be anxiously awaiting its arrival.  This book is great.  It’s not too out there, like some books in this genre, and it is full of adventure and excitement.  It is a book that is suitable for any age, but in my opinion, even a very entertaining read for adults.  So pick it up and check out this new name in teenage adventurers!