Monday, April 25, 2011

A Vintage Reads Review: Crusader

Here is the first official Vintage Reads review. Where the book is voted on and picked by you the reader. Hope y'all enjoy. Also be sure to vote for next months book HERE.

Crusader by Edward Bloor, 1999; 608 pages. Published by Harcourt Children's Books. Source: Bought
Roberta Ritter looks plain and shy, but her life isn't as boring as people think. There's a dark and deadly secret in Roberta's past: her mother was murdered years ago, and the identity of the killer is still unknown.

Roberta spends her afternoons working in a failing arcade in a failing mall, where the only action comes from a violent game called Crusader. When a burst of hate crimes suddenly explodes at the mall, Roberta resolves to find out not only the cause of the crimes, but also the truth behind her mother's death.

In a world where nothing is what it first appears to be, Roberta will have to be her own hero . . . and unravel the mystery of her own past.

Roberta Ritter hopes to be a journalist one day, but for now she's stuck working at her family's arcade in a dilapidated shopping mall. From her vantage point behind the counter, she sees all the goings-on at the mall--and some things she sees are disturbing. Racism, dirty politics, and drugs are all part of the scene. Roberta doesn't like it, but she's just a fifteen-year-old--so what can she do?
The first time I read Crusader was about five years ago, and it just left such a strong impression on me that I never forgot the title or the author's name (the only problem I had was finding a copy). Truthfully, I didn't even read the synopsis the first time around, I just randomly picked it up at the library and checked it out.


What really drew me into this book was how there were so many different layers to the story. You had the underlying mystery of the murder of Roberta's mother, a string of hate crimes taking place at the decrepit West End Mall, along with one amazing MC.

I have read a lot of books with kick-butt female characters, but after having re-read Crusader I find myself adding Roberta to my list of top favorite lead characters. Why, because she changes so much over the course of the book and goes from being a girl who is just trying to get by in life to one who is not going to be pushed around anymore. While she may not be sword welding adventurer out to save the day she is still a character whose story is well worth reading about.

Crusader has some of t he best writing and character development that I have read. I loved how even the side characters had so much to offer to the story and how much depth each of the added to the story. I think that without them the story would not have been nearly as good.

It seems that my favorite part of Crusader is very spoilery, but I will tell you a little something about why I like it. My favorite part of this book falls during the last few pages when Roberta finally figures out what happened to her mother on the night she died and how that realization changes her perspective.

My least favorite part, yes even though I loved this book there is just one thing I didn't like....and that would have to be that there weren't chapters. The book is broken up basically into parts with a few stopping points along the way. The reason I didn't like that was because it made it absolutely hard when it came time to put it down to go and do something.

I could seriously go on and on about how much I LOVE Crusader, but I'll end my review here. I hope that y'all will check out this amazing book if you ever come across it.
Final Verdict: Crusader is just one of those books that will stay on your mind long after you've finished reading it. In short, it's is absolutely brilliant.

Crusader earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.



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