Saturday, November 27, 2010

iDrakula by Bekka Black

What would Dracula be like if he lived in today's world instead of in Bram Stoker's imagination?

Well, I still can't tell you. While this book is a retelling of that great classic, you don't spend much time with the Count. This book is told entirely in text, email, and web browsing. Most of the story comes from Mary who talks to Jonathan Harker, her boyfriend, Lily, their friend, and Abraham Van Helsing, a pre-med student.

Renfield, their friend, has been committed to a mental hospital after some bizarre behavior. He had been setting up a business deal with a Count from Romania, so Jonathan is sent to Romania in Renfield's place. There he finds himself cut off from technology and almost a prisoner during the day. He manages to escape but is captured and sent back home to the hospital, as he's contracted a rare blood disease.

Mary, learning some uncomfortable truths, decides to learn all she can about the Count and what could have happened to Jonathan. Lilly is then attacked and everything seems to point back to the Count. On the advice of Renfield, Mary and Van Helsing work together to learn the Count's secret and destroy him to save the lives of Lilly and Jonathan, and soon, their own.

I was a little worried about trying to read iDrakula in its strange format. I found the story moves forward at a much faster pace when told in text or email. When Mary browses through airline tickets and recognizing vampire websites, I had to go back and check each screen print to get all the details. I enjoyed the story a lot more than I thought.

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

So, I'm probably the only one who hasn't read the Alex Rider Adventures series yet, as I believe there are 8 now. Well, I've started now and I am ready to read the next in the series!

Stormbreaker sets up the story for the sequels to come. Alex lives with his uncle Ian, who is killed in a car accident late one night. The story the police give him and the housekeeper doesn't make any sense, and Alex is determined to learn the truth. When he sneaks into the junkyard and actually looks at his uncle's car, he knows he's right. The driver's side of the car is riddled with bullets. His uncle was murdered.

Alex has more secrets to learn. His uncle didn't actually work for a bank, but was a spy for MI6. His current assignment is to investigate Herod Sayle, who invented a new computer Stormbreaker and plans to distribute it to every school in England. This unusual generosity has MI6 worried and Ian Rider was to find out the truth.

Now that his uncle is gone, Alex has been asked (forced) to take over his mission. He is to infiltrate Sayle's headquarters and learn what's really going on. While he may learn the truth, the question becomes whether he can stay alive to tell someone about it.

Alex is a likeable and smart character, and the book is full of action, adventure, danger, and spying. While it seems a little unbelievable that a spy organization would hire a 15-year old to work for them, it works. I was thinking the books were a little bit more like a young James Bond, and while Alex is great at getting into impossibly sticky situations, it isn't exactly the case.

Empire of Night by Justin Somper

This is the 5th book in the Vampirates series. I don't want to say too much about what happens, but once again, we're following Grace and Connor as they deal with the secrets they learned in the last book--The Blood Captain. Each of them has been sent on a mission to help end a situation that is spiraling out of control. They both have issues they need to overcome which may prove impossible as the stakes get higher.

I did enjoy returning to Grace and Connor's lives as the 5th book got started. It ended on a cliffhanger of sorts, which means there will at least be a 6th. There is a lot of action, adventure, pirates, and vampires to satisfy anyone looking for any combination.