Title: Yellow Line
Author: Sylvia Olsen
Synopsis: Where I come from, kids are divided into two groups. White kids on one side, Indiands, or First Nations, on the other. Sides of the room, sides of the field, the smoking pit, the hallway, the washrooms; you name it. We're on one side and they're on the other. They live on one side of the Forks River bridge, and we live on the other side. They hang out in their village, and we hang out in ours.
Yellow Line is a very...educational book. There are some books that you just know that they were designed to teach a lesson about life and to deal with teenagers in a way in which they will understand. That being said, Yellow Line was well written, but kind of boring. It's like..okay, the lesson here is that skin-color doesn't matter and that Native Americans and white people should get along, despite their tendency to be racist towards each other. Personally, I was pretty offended by some of the stuff that was said. I know that is what the author was going for, but even as a kid I would never have dared say some of the stuff these kids do. Not to mention the parents! I sincerely hope America's parents are not as racist as those in Yellow Line, or else the entire country is in trouble when it comes to interracial marriages (by the way...IR marriages rates went up FIFTEEN percent in the last 5 years...so I'm just saying that it doesn't look like America is as racist as this book makes us out to be...)
The whole line of Orca books are very short...most of them hover around 100 pages, and that makes it very difficult to find a connection to the characters. There is enough plot and a story to get behind, but because everything happens so quickly you kind of blink and then the story is over. The plot revolves around relationships...mostly that a Native American and a white girl start dating and it stirs up the small town where they live in. Vince, a white kid, gets upset because he kind of had a crush on the girl and starts causing trouble with the NA kids. Those kids in turn try to beat him and his friends up, causing everything to spin out of control until someone gets hurt. Like I said...good story, but not enough substance for my tastes. I literally finished the book in 20 minutes and haven't thought about it until I sat down to write this review.
Title: Above the Veil
Author: Garth Nix
Series: The Seventh Tower #4
Synopsis: The Underfolk are restless. For a long time, they have kept quiet, occupying the lower levels of the Castle. But now they are going to be heard... Tal and Milla are no longer alone in their quest for the truth about their world. They have been joined by Crow, a rebel Underfolk, and his band of conspirators. They know many secrets about the Castle--and are on the verge of uncovering the greatest secret of all. The darkness is growing deeper. The shadows are growing stronger. And Tal and Milla are in greater danger than ever before.
Above the Veil seems to be the true turning point in the series. Throughout the series there have been a lot of mysterious occurances and puzzling side-stories but in this book we finally get some questions answered and the over-all plot finally solidifies into something more than just...run from bad guys! This book sees an addition of characters as well as we actually meet some Underfolk (Free Folk if you wanna get specific because these are the Underfolk who want to fight the Chosen's reign.) Crow was a dastardly dude...but to understand the reason to his twisted psyche you have to look no further than his handicapped brother...made so by uncaring, cruel Chosen. Both Tal and Milla continue to grow, but occasionally fall back to their own ways. For instance, in a fit of pig-headedness, Milla decides to give herself to the ice to make up for her misdeeds in the Castle. She is only saved by a certain set of circumstances. Tal also has a few moments of chosen arrogance which could turn the Underfolk against him, but he eventually deals with it and learns to work together with Crow and the others.
Shadowmaster Sushin never fails to freak me out. He's an absolute CREEP. From the shadows moving beneath his skin, to his ability to take mortal wounds and laugh about them, he's one of the best villains I've seen in YA literature. Also commendable, is Sushin's ability to thwart Tal and Milla's plans every step of the way. It just seems like he's always one step ahead of the pair and it makes their situation even more dire as the series goes on. I love the tension, the suspense, and of course all the shadow/light fighting action!
My only problems with this book were kind of petty. For one thing, I got irritated with the constant obstacles. Every chapter would end with the characters in some dire straights, then the resolution would come in the beginning of the following chapter and immediately after the resolution, something even worse would happen. It left a constant up and down of emotions that kind of tired me out rather than kept me entertained. Also, like most of the others in the series, there is absolutely no resolution to the story at the end of Above the Veil. The book ends abruptly with huge cliffhangers and questions bouncing around in your skull. You've got to have the entire series on hand when you read The Seventh Tower, or you will find yourself insufferably angry when you realize that you will have to wait days/weeks/etc. to get your questions answered.
~~~I read these two books as part of the All Male Review challenge going on at the Unread Reader's right now! You still have time to sign up and this week there is also a giveaway hop going on so make sure to check it out!!