ARC Review: Team Human

Team HumanTeam Human by Justine Larbalestier & Sara Rees Brennan
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal
Received: Amazon Vine
Originally Reviewed: February 20, 2013
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Description (via Amazon):

Readers who love vampire romances will be thrilled to devour Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. Team Human celebrates and parodies the Twilight books, as well as other classics in the paranormal romance genre.

Mel is horrified when Francis Duvarney, arrogant, gorgeous, and undead, starts at her high school. Mel’s best friend, Cathy, immediately falls for the vampire. Cathy is determined to be with him forever, even if having him turn her could inadvertently make her a zombie.

And Mel is equally determined to prove to her BFF that Francis is no good, braving the city’s vampire district and kissing a cute boy raised by vampires as she searches evidence in this touching and comic novel.

*****

As I started reading Team Human, I couldn’t help but feel this was written as a good-natured poke at Twilight and all the vampire ridiculata left in its wake. However, the story leaves its parodying fairly early on and becomes a book in its own right, with characters who have flaws and an interesting world with its own set of rules. All the while written with wit, feeling, and reality.

Mel Duan is the protagonist of the book, who is full of character flaws. She is prejudiced against vampires, rude, thinks she always knows the right thing to do, and is a big buttinsky (I call her Meddling Mel). She’s also caring, loyal, helpful, well-meaning, funny, and charming in her own way. Basically, Mel is a real human being. There are two main storylines in the book, the first one about her BFF, Cathy, and her relationship with an uptight vampire. The other dealing with a mystery involving another close friend and her parents. Both are incorporated into the story well, as are the smaller B-plots. Mel doesn’t always come across in a very good light, which helps me fall into the world and believe it could be true. Nothing takes me out of a story more than an unrealistically perfect character. Not one of the characters in this book is like that, even Cathy, who does come close. I also love the fact that Mel would typically be the sidekick in any other story and Cathy the main character who falls in love with a vampire. Instead it’s the other way around, so we see the over-the-top relationship from the outside, and also from Mel’s rather small-minded point-of-view. It’s a great idea that luckily works thanks to the talented authors.

The book moves along nicely without seeming hasty, it has lessons that aren’t heavy-handed, it features love aspects but it isn’t a love story, and most importantly, it has character evolution and believable characters, mainly Mel herself. In the end I was surprised that I had gotten so caught up in outcome of the story and actually cared what happened to these people. Kudos, I’ll definitely be reading more from both Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier, and can only hope they conspire to write another book in the future.

Kindle Review: Alien Invasion of the Zombie Apocalypse

Alien Invasion of the Zombie ApocalypseAlien Invasion of the Zombie Apocalypse by Ford Forkum

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An amusingly abnormal apocalyptic alien adventure awaits!

Alien Invasion of the Zombie Apocalypse tells the tale of a species of bored aliens who spin a wheel to decide which planet they want to invade. Well, guess what lucky planet the wheel landed on this time. Yup, good ol’ Earth. Unfortunately for the Zyrplexians, they pick the wrong day to pick onon the third rock from the Sun and their plans go awry, to say the least, and that’s all I have to say about that. For more, read the story, it’s much more fun that way.

This is goofy, humorous, absurd satiric short story that doesn’t require any deep thinking to read. The ragtag group of characters aren’t written about in any great depth and the plot might rocket by, but that’s part of the story’s charm; there’s no reason these need to be more fully explored (unless it ever expands into a full-length book, naturally). Besides aliens, zombies, and humans, vampires also poke their non-sparkly heads into the fray too. It’s a silly bit of fun that I had a great time reading, with the occasional guffaw bursting forth at a one-liner or nutty situation.

If you like passages such as these:

From inside the warship, they hardly looked like a rabble of troublemaking thugs. They appeared more like a bunch of uniformed teddy bears on a cheer-up mission to planet Lollipop, where they would launch an attack of hugs.

or

“I never would have imagined that if vampires turned out to be real, I’d be more repelled by their personalities than their appetite for human blood.”

…enjoy B-movies, and adore alliterations (all of which are right up my alley), then you might enjoy this off the wall story and the harmless, campy entertainment value it provides.

A bit of trivia: This is the first book I read on my Kindle Touch. I so happy I got a tear in me eye. ;P

Originally Reviewed: September 10, 2012
Received: Kindle freebie