Links for 2009-2-3

2009 BIP: Week 3

bip This week’s Blog Improvement Project is a little different from the earlier weeks. Week 3 is BLOG POST BINGO!

Here’s the details:

* Take a look at the 10 types of blog post below. Over the next two weeks, try to write as many of these different kinds of posts as you can.

1. A Link Post – share a series of links your readers might find interesting
2. A Short Post – less than 200 words
3. A List Post – simple as it sounds, a list of some sort
4. An Opinion Post – take an event, news, or another blog post and share your opinion on it
5. A Poll or Question Post – post a poll or ask your readers a specific question for feedback
6. A How-To Post – You’re an expert in something; big or small, share how to do it
7. A Long Post – more than 700 words
8. A Review Post – self-explanatory, I think :)
9. A Definition Post – show your expertise about a topic related to your blog
10. FREE SPACE – a type of post of your choice (that is not the same as one of the previous posts)

The person who finishes all 10 posts wins a fabulous prize, and obviously I want that to be me. ;) Keep an eye out for the various kinds of posts I’ll be doing over the next week and a half. I’ll link my posts to the list below, so you can check them all out at once if you’d like.
1. A Link Post
2. A Short Post
3. A List Post
4. An Opinion Post
5. A Poll or Question Post
6. A How-To Post
7. A Long Post
8. A Review Post
9. A Definition Post
10. FREE SPACE

Completed: 7/10

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Review: SilverFin by Charlie Higson (2005)

Silverfin US SilverFin by Charlie Higson
Publication: Miramax (2006), Paperback, 368 pages / ISBN 0786838663
Genre: Action, YA
Rating: 3/5
Find @ Amazon
Challenge: Read Your Own Books 2009 (#6)

Okay, so, I’ve never read any of the original Bond books (yet), but I have seen a few of the movies. For someone who’s only vaguely familiar with the Bond canon, I enjoyed reading this book, even though it did have a few problems.

Summary from Amazon:

What does it take to become the greatest secret agent the world has ever known? In this thrilling prequel to the adventures of James Bond, 007, readers meet a young boy whose inquisitive mind and determination set him on a path that will someday take him across the globe, in pursuit of the most dangerous criminals of all time. When we first meet young James, he’s just started boarding school at Eton in the 1930s, and from there, the action moves to the Highlands of Scotland, where Alfie Kelly, a local boy, has gone missing. James teams up with the boy’s cousin, Red, to investigate the mystery, and they soon discover that Alfie’s disappearance is linked to a madman and his sinister plot for global power.

The story starts off really slowly– I don’t think the action-y parts start until more than 100 pages into it. However, I did like seeing Bond adjusting to a new life at Eton, getting used to that world and starting to obtain skills which he’ll later use as a spy. The action-y bits, once we got to them, were extremely exciting and suspenseful. I always thought those were the best bits of the Bond movies, so that made me happy. There’s a few more typical Bond things in SilverFin as well, which pretty much made me love the book, even if the rest wasn’t up to snuff.

There’s a Bond girl, of course, named– wait for it– Wilder Lawless! Ha! Another character was called Red Kelly, and yet another had the unfortunate nickname of Meatpacker.

There’s also weird science, Nazis, crazy killer animals, a mad villain who can’t resist talking about his plans before he tries to kill Bond. There’s an Aston Martin, a car chase (kinda), horrible deaths, and uncomfortable uniforms. Also, rash promises– Bond says he won’t ever smoke, but considering he seems to have a 60+ cigarette a day habit once he’s a spy, I think we all know he’ll change his mind later.

So that’s all the good stuff. The rest of it, unfortunately, was kinda bad. The writing wasn’t horrible, but it had problems. For instance, one sentence started with “let’s face it, he” blah blah blah. SO AWKWARD and I think even wrong. There’s also a few problems with punctuation: one paragraph consisted of about six or seven ellipses, which slowed it down when it should have been quick– it was an action sequence!

I also couldn’t help noticing that a lot of scenes seem to have been chucked in there for no reason, like the thing with Meatpacker, or were really long when they needn’t have been. For instance, a few pages were spent on explaining to Bond how an electric engine worked. It wasn’t, I think, entirely necessary to spend that much time on it: why exactly do I need to know about pistons? It doesn’t bring anything to my understanding of the story! It doesn’t even really play a big part in the story itself; it’s necessary that Bond learns to drive, not that he knows the inner workings of an Aston Martin. Surely those pages could have been condensed down into a paragraph or two of exposition.

It was things like that that decreased my enjoyment of the book overall, but, once I got past them, I did have a good time reading about Young Bond. And I did like that the characters had some depth to them, and that they weren’t just cardboard figures saying their lines (though I admit, it was close).

I have an audiobook of the second book in this series, Blood Fever. I’m thinking that if listen to it, I might be able to ignore the slow, useless bits more than if I had to read it. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Edit: OMG! I just learned that the US edition of SilverFin was edited for content from the UK version! What content? Just British slang, or something else? I know that this sometimes happens in YA books (see: Harry Potter), but still! Now I feel all uncomfortable. I bet some of the problems I had with the book– one of which was that Bond didn’t really seem British– is fixed in the UK version. Gah! So annoying!

Other reviews: Chicklish | Contemporary Literature @ About.com | Library Pooks

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Links for 2009-2-2