Monday, October 23, 2006

Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light

I have in my possession, dear readers, TWO of the books for this months contest. My lovely mail carrier delivered unto my mailbox this Saturday a package that contained BOTH the Jennifer Scales books, SIGNED by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi and they threw in a very cool Jennifer Scales pin. So, it is with great regret I must now say to you, there will no longer be 5 books up for grabs. Nope, only 3. I MUST keep these books for myself. I have found myself so enamored of Jennifer and her life, that I cannot bear the thought of parting with the sacred signed books. Oh calm down! I'm KIDDING! Not about having the books, because I do have them. I'm kidding about not giving them away. I will, no doubt, shed a few tears for what could have been mine, BUT, on October 31st, when the winner is announced and I have their snail mail address, I will head to the Post Office and bid farewell to the new, never been read, completely signed, and absolutely fabulous books and pin. I will be consoled with the knowledge that the books will be going to some one who is completely fabulous - one of our readers! And now - on with the review!

Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi

Where would you find weredragons, beaststalkers, and werachnids? You guessed it. MY family reunion...

Getting through high school is hard enough. Then add my weredragon life, with the trips to Crescent Valley to morph into a dragon under the constant threat of enemy attack. What's worse, I'm also half beastalker from my mom's side. Beastalkers and weredragrons are mortal enemies, and tension is growing over some suspicious deaths lately. I must prove to both sides that they can live in harmony, just like my family. Well, most of the time...

And get this: I have a half brother with a few too many legs. Too bad he's bent on some payback for a lifetime of abandonment and my dad is his number-one target. my life's starting to look like a daytime talk show. Somehow I have to convince everyone to get along, before they take matters into their own claws...

I give up. I like this BCC, too. I stand by my assumption (yes, I know what happens when one assumes, in fact, I'm counting on it, I need fodder people!) that publishers of YA novels feel that tricking young readers would be far too detrimental for sales.

After reading Ancient Furnace I had very high expectations for this book, and am pleased to announce - all expectations were met and exceeded. The writing was stronger than ever in this installment, the plot had so many twists and turns, that I could not wait to see how everything would unfold. Yet, I found myself wanting to read slower, to savor the words and to live in the world they created for just a while longer.

Jennifer Scales is looking on her 15th birthday in awe of the turns her life has taken the last year. She had discovered she is not only a weredragon, but The Ancient Furnace, a legend of her people that believe the furnace encompasses the source of their power. She has also discovered that she is half-Beaststalker on her mother's side. Not only must Jennifer master her dragon skills, she must also master the skills of the Beaststalkers - the skills to kill other weredragons and werachnids.

And as the BCC suggests, deaths start to take place and they all seem to have one thing in common - her family. Tired of the secrets that make up her life, Jennifer rebels by bringing a "younger" weredragon with her to the sacred Cresent Valley, and ends up reveling her Beastalker half to the rest of her peers, when that friend finds herself in danger. As you can guess, the other weredragons do not take too kindly to finding out that a Beaststalker is among them. Jennifer must prove herself worthy to the weredragons by undergoing the Fifty Trials.

I want so badly to tell you all about this book, unfortunately, there is no way to do that without completely filling the review with spoilers. There were two particular things I liked about this book. One - Hope. Having hope for a better future - a future where all kinds (even mortal enemies) can live in peace, was a BIG theme in this book. With everything going on in today's world, I think Hope is something we could all use a little of. The other was the fact that Jennifer was dealing with secrets, HUGE, life altering secrets, and she realized that it was hurting her more to keep them, than to share them with her friends. That is a tough lesson in life to learn, when to keep the burden on your own shoulders and when to share the load. Exceptionally done!

I want to share some bits of the book right now, the following is a group of quotes from the book that I think the publisher could have used for the BCC. I know, I liked this BCC, but when Jennifer comes clean of her secrets to her best friend sums up beautifully the essence of the book. "....So I'm part beaststalker, too........Also, um, funny thing, ...a half brother. Kind of a half-dragon, half-spider thing...Yeah. Um, one last thing. The half brother's from a completely different dimension...and he wants to kill everyone close to my dad. Including me..." I've obviously pieced together a few different sentences up there, but I didn't want to spoil some of the events in the book up to this point. But as you can see, Jennifer is up against some very difficult things in this book.

"I will enjoy hunting you tonight. What is it you beaststalkers like to say? "Ready yourself, or ready your soul." Sister. "

That's another one of my very favorite parts. This is where Jennifer finally faces off against her half sibling and the tension the author's write into the scenes is amazing. As I've said before, the writing in this book was so very strong. We get insights into the past and see them fused with the present. Phenomenal.

The book wasn't all suspense and secrets though. There were several times I laughed out loud and felt my heart touched by the people and circumstances in Jennifer's life. There was also a point in the book when I cried. I love a book that can do that to me. Touch me in all the right emotional places, and Messenger did that.

Jennifer has a rough task set out for her at the end of Messenger and I cannot wait until June to get my hands on the next installment (hint hint MJ and T, *cough* ARC *cough*). I will leave you with some sage advice given throughout the book, the last, coming from Jennifer's mom.

"...mark my words: Boys are sad..."

Go get this book! You will not be sorry you did. And don't forget to enter this months contest, you have until the 29th. Just leave us a comment or send us an e-mail, to telling us what paranormal trait or super-power you would most want to have and why. You could WIN these books! Also, don't forget the mini-contest and give me a snappy title to this post!

Take Care


angela said...

Have read the first one (and loved it), but this one wasn't at my library yet..

Anonymous said...

Super powers, eh? I think I would like to be able to shape shift. I have always loved horses and I think it would be so cool to be ale to change into a horse... Just picture it: high mountain meadow, wildflowers spilling over the hills on every side, a bubbling creek running through the middle of it. At the edge of the trees stands a wild horse. Sunlight glistens off her golden hide as she surveys the open space before her. Head up, she tests the gentle breeze that blows gently through her white mane, alert to any danger. Satisfied that she is safe, she steps delicately into the meadow. Thirstily, she dips her muzzle into the stream, blowing and snorting as the cold water tickles her nostrils. Having drank her fill, she nibbles at the succulent blades of grass, a mouthful here, a morsel there. The wind shifts and she raises her head, ears twitching, alert to a hidden danger. With a aqueal she wheels away from the creek and gallops swiftly into the safety of the forest, and she is gone...

Hmmmm....That would be me, all right! But I would only want to be a wild horse--no saddles for me!!

I would also want to be able to shift into ANY shape--how cool would THAT be?! Just think, I could literally be that "fly on the wall" everyone always talks about! Or the stapler on the desk--who would suspect a stapler of being able to spy?!! It could be fun!

kay said...

"...mark my words: Boys are sad..."

AAAHHH! I loved that saying! It was all throughout the book, and it was my favorite (among many, I just can't think of them) lines. (I even wrote it on my pants for all to see.) Because it is soooo true it's not even funny. All right, maybe it is. Just a little, though. Yeah, this one was good. And I thought that the first one was! Y'know how I started reading and looked at the clock and three hours passed? Well, this one was more like four or five. I know! It took so long! But like you Charity, I wanted to savor it. And it was WONDERFUL! Thank you sososososo much for sending the first one! Cos if you hadn't, I would've been missing out on a great series. But when I finished Messenger, I was upset because I couldn't quite figure out if there was going to be a third book or not. And I was going to ask you as soon as mom would let me on, but I read the review (thankfully!) and am now delighted to know that there is indeed a third. And so now my only disappointment is...


kay said...

ARC? What is ARC? I must know cos I can't figure out anything that could be ARC for a Jennifer Scales book. hmph. Hint wasnt much of a hint. But I WILL find out. It is driving me CRAZY! lol