Book Review: The Lord of Opium – Nancy Farmer

Published: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Format: Novel
Genre And Themes: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance, Drugs, Death
Length: 411 pages, Hardcover
Ebook ISBN/ASIN: 1442482540 (ISBN13: 9781442482548)
Characters: Matteo Alacran, El Patron, Tam Lin, Maria Mendoza, Chacho, Fidelito, Ton-Ton, Celia, Mirasol

Now, The Lord of Opium may not have the same literary awards received by its predecessor – The House of the Scorpion but it’s still as strong, story-wise.

This book started a good few hours during the funeral of El Patron and from thereon, Matt’s young life is about to really change because he is technically The Lord of Opium (still no spoiler) thus becoming the most powerful man in the world (by default).

This one is as riveting as the first book. I loved the characters of the “Lost Boys” especially little Fidelito. He is my favorite character here aside from Matt. I really connected to his character because he kinda reminded me of my 6 year old nephew.

Then there’s Mirasol. The author really knows where to give us the feels. The ‘relationship’ between her and Matt was just heartbreaking. I dare you not to feel anything for her. You’d lose.

There are tons of things here that maybe a bit too much for some I think. I mean, I loved every single details of it although some readers may find it too crowded. Nevertheless, it’s good to imagine such things and wish for a possible third book.

The relationship of Matt and Maria was finally rekindled here and I loved that Matt was finding his own identity separate from El Patron. It’s odd that he is basically the same person but different at the same time.

I just want to dissect everything about this book, including the zombie-like eejits, the drug lords, the countries surrounding Opium and more importantly – how Mattero will run it as a totally grown man! Man’ I’d kill for a third book!

Again, my friends – I cannot recommend this high enough!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

AMAZON BUY LINK

About The Author
Nancy was born in 1941 in Phoenix and grew up in a hotel on the Arizona-Mexico border where she worked the switchboard at the age of nine. She also found time to hang out in the old state prison and the hobo jungle along the banks of the Colorado River. She attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, earning her BA in 1963. Instead of taking a regular job, she joined the Peace Corps and was sent to India (1963-1965). When she returned, she moved into a commune in Berkeley, sold newspapers on the street for a while, then got a job in the Entomology department at UC Berkeley and also took courses in Chemistry there. Restless, again, she decided to visit Africa. She and a friend tried to hitchhike by boat but the ship they’d selected turned out to be stolen and was boarded by the Coast Guard just outside the Golden Gate Bridge. Nancy eventually got to Africa on a legal ship. She spent more than a year on Lake Cabora Bassa in Mozambique, monitoring water weeds. Next she was hired to help control tsetse fly in the dense bush on the banks of the Zambezi in Zimbabwe. Part of the time she spent in the capital, Harare, and was introduced to her soon-to-be husband by his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. He proposed a week later. Harold and Nancy now live in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona on a major drug route for the Sinaloa Cartel. This is the setting for The Lord of Opium. They have a son, Daniel, who is in the U.S. navy.
Nancy’s honors include the National Book Award for The House of the Scorpion and Newbery Honors for The Ear, the Eye and The Arm, A Girl Named Disaster and The House of the Scorpion. She is the author of nine novels, three picture books and a number of short stories. Her books have been translated into 26 languages.

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Book Review: The House of the Scorpion – Nancy Farmer

Published: September 1, 2002
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Format: Novel
Genre And Themes: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance, Drugs, Death
Length: 380 pages, paperback
Ebook ISBN/ASIN: 0689852231 (ISBN13: 9780689852237)
Characters: Matteo Alacran, El Patron, Tam Lin, Maria Mendoza, Chacho, Fidelito, Ton-Ton, Celia

I’ve read this and its sequel over a week ago and it was a bit difficult for me to write reviews for both books since they’re so epic, I’m almost at a loss where to start. Let me try my best though, to say what I thought about this incredible masterpiece. Yeah – very telling I know, but this one’s really a masterpiece.

First the characters –

I loved Matt’s character. I was with him the whole time reading the book – was rooting for this kid who’s been cloned from the most powerful man in this dystopian words where drugs serves as its currency.

His resilience is beyond admirable. For a young age, he’s been through a lot. He may have gone ‘Lord of the Flies’ on us readers but the way he came out of it was so bad-ass, it got me bawling my eyes out. This character should be in a movie, pronto.

El Patron. I find him creepy but he’s such a dynamic character I’d love to see him come to life in a film. I loved that as evil as he is, there’s still a part of him that remembers the good ol’ days when he was not the ‘El Patron’ everyone has come to know when he isn’t consume by his self-made power.

Celia – as Matt’s caregiver -she’s probably the one character in the book that is consistently with Matt all throughout. I’m just wondering exactly how old she is but nevertheless – what a great character to juxtaposed the evil surrounding Matt.

Maria who is Matt’s love interest is a bit complicated to explain. She’s got good intentions but what she’s saying sometimes contradicts her actions.

Tam Lin is an amazing father figure for Matt. Kind of reminds me of Mister Miyagi in Karate Kid.

Steven and Tom – it is odd that they weren’t given that much part in the story but their actions throughout the book effectively made me despise them.

The storyarc from the getgo is nothing short of exhilirating. What a dreadful possibility this could be, what with the climate change, the advancement of technology and the ‘powerful folks’ claiming lives like it was their gift to do so. It’s terrible but effective in the story.

The world-building is almost censory overload. I mean, reading it makes you envision them on the spot because of the author’s powerful words.

The pacing was set faster than I expected which I absolutely loved. No unnecessary scenes. Every scene in this book is pivotal to the development of the characters and the story.

I know that I’m gushing all over but it’s just that good. This is super spoiler free but I’m telling you – it is so worth reading it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

AMAZON BUY LINK

About The Author
Nancy was born in 1941 in Phoenix and grew up in a hotel on the Arizona-Mexico border where she worked the switchboard at the age of nine. She also found time to hang out in the old state prison and the hobo jungle along the banks of the Colorado River. She attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, earning her BA in 1963. Instead of taking a regular job, she joined the Peace Corps and was sent to India (1963-1965). When she returned, she moved into a commune in Berkeley, sold newspapers on the street for a while, then got a job in the Entomology department at UC Berkeley and also took courses in Chemistry there. Restless, again, she decided to visit Africa. She and a friend tried to hitchhike by boat but the ship they’d selected turned out to be stolen and was boarded by the Coast Guard just outside the Golden Gate Bridge. Nancy eventually got to Africa on a legal ship. She spent more than a year on Lake Cabora Bassa in Mozambique, monitoring water weeds. Next she was hired to help control tsetse fly in the dense bush on the banks of the Zambezi in Zimbabwe. Part of the time she spent in the capital, Harare, and was introduced to her soon-to-be husband by his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. He proposed a week later. Harold and Nancy now live in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona on a major drug route for the Sinaloa Cartel. This is the setting for The Lord of Opium. They have a son, Daniel, who is in the U.S. navy.
Nancy’s honors include the National Book Award for The House of the Scorpion and Newbery Honors for The Ear, the Eye and The Arm, A Girl Named Disaster and The House of the Scorpion. She is the author of nine novels, three picture books and a number of short stories. Her books have been translated into 26 languages.

Book Review: Roses in the Devil’s Garden (Fallen Rose, #1) – Charlie Cochet

Published May 15, 2012
Format: Novel
Genre And Theme: LGBT, Historical Romance
Length: 64 pages, ebook
Characters: Harlan Mackay, Nathan Reilly

Official Description: In a city overrun by lawlessness and corruption, best friends and lovers- Prohibition Agents Harlan Mackay and Nathan Reilly, are fighting a losing battle. With bootleggers running amuck and countless speakeasies materializing every day, how can two men possibly hope to make a difference? Especially when they can’t even trust their own bureau? If dealing with hoodlums wasn’t enough, a ghost from Nathan’s past threatens to destroy everything Harlan and Nathan hold dear.

Original Prompt: Dear Author, Please tell me why this man is armed and dangerous and who it is he belongs to. I really would like to know if he is defending his beloved or about to shoot him for cheating. Photo Description: A rugged, muscular man provocatively holds one arm up beside his head as he looks down at you. His other arm is across his chest, and in his hand is a gun. The words I am my beloved’s are tattooed across his forearm. He looks sexy and dangerous. Download the story, read it online or find it in Love Is Always Write: Volume 8.

This is a free e-book from the eight volume of Goodreads’ Love Is Always Write. It’s a historical romance from the author with Prohibition agents Harlan Mackay and Nathan Reilly trying to make a difference amidst the corruption in their own bureau and a past that’s trying to get between their relationship.

I thought both protagonist are pretty likable, especially Harlan. The story is more about Nathan and Harlan love’s story more than anything else. The dual point of view gives us something to attached ourselves with both MCs. Danny’s appearance was expected from the blurb but I didn’t like him one bit, if I’m being honest. That ‘moment’ in the story didn’t sit well with me because Nathan has got all the time to say no in the first place and Danny was aware of his relationship with Harlan to begin with so I really don’t understand that part.

Overall, it was a good read – not my favorite from Charlie but satisfying nonetheless.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

About The Author
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website: http://www.charliecochet.com
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Email: charlie@charliecochet.com