Thursday, May 20, 2010

Viking Aliens Go Hunting

Jennewein, Jim and Tom S. Parker. RuneWarriors: The Sword of Doom.
Sequel to Runewarriors: Shield of Odin (Which had a WAY better cover.)
In a mysterical, quasi-Viking world (there are Norse gods and creatures, but the language is very modern) Dane is back, and this time he is is equipped with the magical sword of his father's, which he needs when his mother is kidnapped and he sets off with his ill-prepared band of goofy comrades to rescue her. The plot on this is predictable, and the language walks the line of appropriateness, but that is exactly why middle school boys love this series. Armpit lice, vomiting, and a romance with a kick-butt maiden warrior all make this a book that will keep boys going through the 413 pages.

Klass, David. Stuck on Earth.
Fun science fiction! Ketchvar comes to earth and takes over the body of the ill-fated Tom Filber-- by crawling through his nose and implanting himself in Tom's brain. Ketchvar can access Tom' thoughts if he needs them while he is evaluating whether or not the earth should be destroyed, but does act and talk in decidedly alien ways while he isn't. Tom wasn't a good choice for a host-- his family life is impossible, and he is a target of bullies in his school. Ketchvar reports back to his planet, hiding his files under names no human would take the trouble to decode-- How to Saute a Skunk, Old Hip-Hop Songs That Sucked-- and comes to the eventual conclusion, helped along by his budding relationship with the pretty Melissa, that the inhabitants of Earth should not be destroyed. Klass already has big hits at my library with You Don't Know Me(2002), Danger Zone(1996) and Wrestling With Honor (1990), and I would LOVE to see him do more humorous books. This was great, and the cover is shiny and much more attractive in person.

Willis, Cynthia Chapman. Buck Fever.
When Joey turns 12, his father is very pleased that he will continue the family tradition of going deer hunting, and hopes that Joey (clad is his father's old, stinky hunting clothes) will shoot a buck. When he gets the chance, however, he freezes, misses, and enrages his father. The trouble is that Joey doesn't want to kill the deer; he wants to draw them. His father, one of the most annoying and dysfunctional father's in teen literature, is bent out of shape because Joey's mother is traveling for her job, and he has to take care of the children, cook AND do laundry. It's too much! Luckily, Joey's sister (who has cross country practice in December for some inexplicable reason) and neighbor are supportive, encouraging him to enter an art competition and helping his father understand (after Joey sneaks off to hunt and shoots himself in the foot) that hunting isn't the only masculine pursuit.

This was very well written and atmospheric, but I had two problems with it. One, Joey's father needs to suck it up. I could see a father having this much trouble taking care of children in a book written in the 1980s, but not now. Two, boys who want to read about hunting don't want to read a book about a boy who does not want to hunt, and boys who don't want to hunt certainly don't want to read about it. Thanks to the Toledo Lucas County Public Library for sending this one through SearchOhio for me.

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