London Under

London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets
By: Peter Ackroyd

Challenges: What's in a Name

Published: 2011

# of pages: 240

Official description:  London Under is a wonderful, atmospheric, imagina­tive, oozing short study of everything that goes on under London, from original springs and streams and Roman amphitheaters to Victorian sewers, gang hideouts, and modern tube stations. The depths below are hot, warmer than the surface, and this book tunnels down through the geological layers, meeting the creatures, real and fictional, that dwell in darkness—rats and eels, mon­sters and ghosts. When the Underground’s Metropolitan Line was opened in 1864, the guards asked for permission to grow beards to protect themselves against the sulfurous fumes, and named their engines after tyrants—Czar, Kaiser, Mogul—and even Pluto, god of the underworld. 
To go under London is to penetrate history, to enter a hid­den world. As Ackroyd puts it, “The vastness of the space, a second earth, elicits sensations of wonder and of terror. It partakes of myth and dream in equal measure.”
My opinion: I found this book to be very fascinating.  I only wish it was more detailed!  The author jumps around a lot, but it's not so frustrating since it isn't a novel.  However, he spent a lot of time writing about the underground train system, which I don't think qualifies as "secret history."  I wish more time had been spent on the parts of underground London that aren't as well documented in other sources.

I love archaeology and so enjoyed reading about the civilizations that made up London before it was even London.  And the underground rivers were also fascinating.  It's pretty crazy that so many different things exist under the city.  Ancient artifacts, natural formations, and modern improvements.

I just hope someday I will be able to visit London and see this complex city in person!

Why I gave this book 3/5 stars: Interesting non-fiction, but not detailed enough in the actual "secret history."

Other reviews:  
Reading and Writing and Movies, Oh My!

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By: Mark Ethridge

Challenge:  50 States Challenge

Published: 2012

# of pages: 266

Official description:

Josh Gibbs decided he was through with investigative reporting when controversy derailed his Pulitzer Prize ambitions in Atlanta. Now editor of a weekly paper, he gets two pieces of news from Dr. Allison Wright that change everything. The first is that his daughter has cancer. The second -- that a mysterious condition is plaguing Wright's patients -- leads the widowed newspaperman and divorced physician in pursuit of an unimaginable danger. Fallout is the story of their journey -- a journey through an Ohio River town's myths, heroes and oddities, from Indian curses to rat fishing to an alternative view of George Washington. Above all, Fallout is a story of corporate irresponsibility, of political self-interest, and of a potential catastrophe that looms in most American cities. Written by Mark Ethridge, author of the novel Grievances, now the major motion picture Deadline, starring Eric Roberts.

My opinion:  I was very interested when I discovered this book was written by an author from Charlotte, NC, where I live.  This was a well paced book with plenty of mystery and action.  However, I was unsatisfied with some of the jumps in the story.  I felt that some of the conclusions the character Allison comes to were a little too convenient.

I also hated the formatting of the book.  Weird, I know, but it really bothered me.  The author's last name and the title of the book were at the bottom of each page instead of the top.  Before I got used to it, my eyes kept going to it because it seemed like something else to read at the end of the page.  Also, there were several times in the book that there was a change in character without any kind of break in the page.  It would go to the next paragraph, but be a different character's point of view.  Usually you'd have a space between the characters or even a line to separate the paragraphs.

Overall the story wasn't anything special, but it kept my attention and was an easy read.

Why I gave this book 3/5 stars: Good pace and story, not very well-written, a little too "perfect" of an ending

Other reviews:
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The Kill Order

The Kill Order
By: James Dashner

Challenges: Dystopia Challenge 2013, 50 States Challenge

Series: Maze Runner

Published: 2012

# of pages: 327

Official description:

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.
Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.
Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.
Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.
My opinion:  I was a little confused because I misread the "Thirteen Years Earlier" and thought it said "Thirteen Years Later" for some reason.  However, other than that the book was good.  It's definitely geared to young adults like the other books in the Maze Runner series, but it's an action filled, quick read.  I thought the ending was original, not your typical happily ever after.  This is the prequel, but I read it after the other 3 in the series and that's probably how I recommend reading them.  I think it makes this first one easier to understand.

Why I gave this book 3/5 stars:  It was nothing super special, but I liked the main character, Mark.  I think young adults, especially boys, will enjoy this a lot.

Other reviews:
It's All About Books

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Wife, mother, bookworm.
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