Sunday, April 17, 2011

Book Review (and other stuff too!) " Toys " by James Patterson


So I'm thinking I can get the "other stuff" out of the way quickly then get to this review, which I am super excited to give to you guys!  Really, there isn't much I have to say. Basically, here goes.....  As some of you know, we moved last October and it was a nightmare.  For a while, the Gang had to take a little break from reviewing so we could unpack, etc.  I have been on here 5 times since, all pumped up to get things going again.  Well, its come to the point (DONT WORRY!)  where I think I should just apologize.  It's not that I have not wanted to do more.  So many things happened over the last few months that have really limited my time on the site, which has KILLED me.  You all know how dedicated I am to reading, reviewing, the family thingy cause, etc....  Bottom line, time was not on my side.  I honestly missed this site so much you guys have no idea.  I missed all of you.  I missed the comments on my reviews, the opinions of you guys, the contests, and all the other fun stuff that the Gang has always been around for.  One thing I missed SO BAD was the Sunday Scoop.  So, things have calmed down a bit and I really do have all intentions on getting back in the game full time here.  This site was my very inexpensive therapy, which I definitely need again (not in a crazy kind of therapy, but more of a relaxing thing.  I guess call it my yoga.  

The one thing I mentioned before and I will mention it again is that even though I wasn't really around much, I didn't stop reading. I may have slowed down from my 300 pages a night, but I never stopped.  For whatever its worth I wanted you guys to know that.  Now I do have an unbelievably awesome review for you but first I want to give a shout out.  Many of you regulars know how much The Gang supports and loves our very special friend Laura Bingham (obviously you too P and the rest of the Bingham Gang!).  Laura's sequel to Alvor, titled "Wings of Light" is out and I am so happy for her.

  I was fortunate enough to read the story a few times through its developmental stages and I really want to say that Laura has done a great job on the sequel.  I was quoted in the new book saying something to the effects of what I loved about Wings was that often authors ruin something good when they make a "series".  Laura actually did the opposite.  I loved Wings just as much as Alvor and I know those of you out there familiar with the series will love it too.  I do plan to review it here and am hoping Laura will still be interested in the contest I promised Id do for her ages ago.  In fact, if I can convince her to take some time from her already packed 50 hour days, I may even shoot for a "Triple Threat"!!  I miss those too :o(

Anyway, thats about it.  I figured I owed you all an apology and hopefully I can make good on my promise and get things going again.  So before I review Toys by Patterson I want to give you a little idea of how I got to the book (its not my usual YA/FIC/Fantasy as usual.  Its close without the YA part, although its totally appropriate for teens.  So the Gang was lucky enough to meet Mr. Patterson last year at BEA (have to include this one! GO GIRLS!!!).

SMILE JAMES!  (ok so he didn't quite get that "smile" part, but still, it's James Patterson!)

At the time, I had known he was the king but really only read his few recent YA books, which I thought were pretty good.  I happen to be browsing B and N online as I usually do every Tuesday for the new releases/coming soon and for some reason took a deeper look at Toys.  (ok the car on the cover was too cool for me not to at least explore!)  When I read the description, which you will see in a sec, I had to give it a try.  I figured 250 million copies sold worldwide or something like that, he must be doing something right, right?  Well, I am SO happy I did.  It was fantastic. for several reasons.  Here we go!


Hays Baker and his wife, Lizbeth, possess superhuman strength, extraordinary intelligence, stunning looks, (hide your eyes if you are under 18!) a sex life to die for, and two beautiful children. Of course they do- they're Elites, endowed at birth with the very best that the world has to offer. The only problem in their perfect life: humans and their toys!

The top operative for the Agency of Change, Hays has just won the fiercest battle of his career.  He has been praised by the president and is a national hero. But before he can savor his triumph, he receives an unbelievable shock that overturns everything he thought was true. Suddenly Hays is on the other side of the gun, forced to leave his perfect family and fight for his life.

Now a hunted fugitive, Hays is thrown into a world he never imagined, fighting to save humans everywhere from extinction. He enlists all of his training to uncover the truth that will spare millions of lives- maybe even his own. James Patterson's Toys is a thriller on a hyperplane- with a hero who rivals both James Bond and Jason Bourne.


Well, if that description doesn't get you excited, I'm afraid there is no hope for you.... (JK, relax...) Hopefully you at least see why I HAD to read it, or at least give it a try.  Now, first thing that I LOVED- chapters are like 3-4 pages each.  You all know how much I love that.  Not sure what it is but I just do.  So here is the deal.... action, action, action. NON STOP ACTION... I'll admit, I couldn't put it down until I fell asleep after 300 pages or so of straight reading and what was even worse is I only left myself like 65 more to read.  Aarrggh.... bed at 4 am with a 6am work wake up..... cut me some slack!  The writing was great, the action was non stop, and best of all, the surprises just kept coming and coming and coming.  It was definitely one of the better one's I've read in a while.  Mr. Patterson- you deserve every dollar you have made off the 250 million copies you have sold over your career (Ummm... anyone doing the math on how much this guy is worth??) Back to the review...  Great ready that went quick and there wasn't a chapter where I couldn't wait until the next.  No doubt will I be looking in the Patterson section to figure out what to give a go at next.  No doubt.  So enough of my Rah Rah.... What's up with the book?

I don't want to tell you much because this thing really was filled with a ton of surprises.  More twists than all the pretzels in NYC.  (ok that's a bit of an exaggeration but you get the point).  The story line is awesome.  The "Elites" are totally hooked up with super everything- speed, powers, strength, intelligence, and toys.... oh do I LOVE the toys.  My favorite are these futuristic cars that  cruise at about a buck fifty and can hit like 300+mph with precision handling.  Not to mention the on board assistance of an assistant to fix you a drink or the virtual reality games on board that can basically put you in ANY situation you want it to in order to relax your mind.  

Hays is part of the "Elites" which basically are genetically engineer people who's ultimate objective is to wipe out all the humans and take over.  They call the humans "Skunks" and think equally high of them.  Hays is one of the strongest (in all powers) of the Elites who despised "skunks" just as much as the next Elite, if not more.  

This is where it becomes tough to talk about because his surprises and twists are just so darn good.  Let's say that Hays ends up having to fight for his life AGAINST the Elites with his sort of half sister Lucy as well as saving the human race.  When I say "save" I mean like down to the last few minutes of near extinction.  THAT CLOSE!  NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS really does describe this book.  I will say this and i doubt anyone really doesn't expect this so it's not really a spoiler.  He does save the human race.  It's not a spoiler. How many books are there where the hero doesn't win? Over it? Good, me too.  Getting back to the twists and turns, Hays gets some information not too far into the book that took me for a 180.  Can ya guess what it is?  

This news makes him doubt everything and everything he has always believed in and fought for.  That's where things get interesting.  I'd say the action also picks up, but it would be a lie.  The action starts on pg 1 and ends on the last page.  Traveling all over the world, Hays along with his halfie Lucy run into trouble everywhere they go.  Someone is hot on their trail and is really doing as much as they can to kill them.  The good news, without really knowing it, Hays is always a step ahead.  Prior Planning Pays for sure here.  Ill give you an example- there is a secret meeting of all the human leaders that Hays attends.  The elites come in and mass slay every single one of them (except Hays of course).  Hays is so saddened to see them killed, what he doesnt realize is they were all "copies" of the leaders.  THis threw off the Elites and gave the real human leaders time to go gather at some other secret location.  Only thing is Hays wasn't informed about that PRIOR to the slayings and feels horribly responsible for their deaths.  Until of course he learns they are all alive.

Anyway, from love to deceit to love gain, non stop action, some of the coolest futuristic "toys" I have ever read about, this one has it all.  I really can't speak highly enough for it.  I would absolutely suggest picking up a copy (it's expensive, so look for a B and N coupon or something and once you get the price down a bit, it's much more enticing to pick it up).  

I'd tell ya more, but Hays would have to kill you if I did.  Did I mention the "killings" are also kind of cool?  I know it may sound cruel, but keep in mind we are in a fictional environment, which sort of makes it ok to appreciate the "ways" and "amount of kills" this book has.  

Hopefully, you guys who end up reading it will agree with me on this one.

For now, that's all I've got for you.  I am going to do my best to keep my promise to you all and get re-active in the community.  I didn't totally disappear, but I have had this guilt hanging over my shoulders about being MIA for a while.  Again, life throws you some curve balls you just can't hit and the best you can try to do it smack the next fastball out of the park.  Batter up!


p.s. BEA is coming!  My plans are to collect a ton of books for you guys like we did last year!