Friday, February 25, 2011

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, takes place during World War II when a plane crashes on an island, stranding many British schoolboys. They rejoice that no adult is there to order them around and they do whatever they want. They elect Ralph, who blew on a conch shell to gather them, as chief and a few older children (or "bigguns" as Ralph calls them) are chosen as hunters. With help from each other and a bit more from the glasses of Piggy, the "smart" one of the boys, they manage to create a system of order. But alas, this fragile balance is broken by the talk of a beast on the island.

With no adults to seem strong and say that no such beast exists, everything collapses on itself. Jack, the leader of the hunters, creates his own tribe against Ralph. Many bigguns and "littluns" join Jack. Ralph is only left with Piggy, Sam, Eric, and a few littluns. The hope of being rescued is very far off as the "beast" starts a reign of terror. With perfect British Schoolboys turning into savages of a tribe, staying sane is difficult, let alone rescue. What will happen to the boys?

Lord of the Flies is one of those books where there is some, if not a lot, of violence. It is not recommended to anyone who can not stand much violence. I only think that people who are interested in reading about survival should try this book. Remember: this book might be too violent for you.

-Reviewed by JunHyung, grade 7.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Seeing Redd (The Looking Glass Wars #2), by Frank Beddor

As the 2nd book in the Looking Glass Wars series, Seeing Redd, by Frank Beddor, is another story where Queen Alyss Heart struggles against her resurrected aunt, Redd. After thwarting Redd and her regime, Alyss finally understood the meaning of being a queen. As Alyss tries to finish up to transition from tyranny to peaceful harmony in her queendom, she is also in love with Dodge, a guardsman who had been her childhood playmate, further complicating her busy life. However, as Wonderland is slowly rebuilding, Redd strikes again, after terrorizing Earth. White Imagination and Alyss's life are again threatened as the war emerges again.

This book is actually a little more complicated than the first book. Conspiracy is also now added to the plot, as the Parliament is starting to plot against Alyss and her government. A great read overall, Seeing Redd may even surpass the first book in excitement. This is a great book for teens and young adults, much like The Looking Glass Wars.

-Reviewed by Jonathan, grade 9.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor

The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor, takes place in a place called Wonderland. Wonderland has just entered peace for 12 years after a brutal civial war between two sisters - evil Redd and good Genevieve. Redd lost and has been exiled to a faraway fortress. The story starts with the entire "queendom" celebrating Princess Alyss Heart's birthday. However, King Nolan, Genevieve's husband and Alyss's father, is soon murdered while returning from negotiations with another country. The murderer was no one else but Redd and her soldiers. However, the death of King Nolan fails to reach Wonderland its monarchs, who were celebrating. As the partying continues, the palace and Wonderland are ambushed from the inside by Redd's troops. Caught by surprise the queendom's Millinery attempts to defend from the onslaught to no avail. The queen's top bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, is sent to protect the princess by escaping Redd. Genevieve is then executed personally by Redd. Upon finding Alyss, Hatter escapes through a portal called Pool of Tears. Alyss is then separated with Hatter and forced into a new and alien world. Can Alyss ever survive in this new world and regain her rightful throne as Queen of Wonderland?

I loved this story as it transformed the childish story of Alice in Wonderland into an exciting and more mature story. This story shows Alyss's adventures in the new world, which apparently is our world during the mid-1800's. I recommend this story to teens and young adults.

-Reviewed by Jonathan, grade 9.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan

The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan, is the second book of the exciting Percy Jackson series. Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, returns once again to battle against the Titans and mythological monsters. Percy Jackson's seventh grade had been unusually uneventful, a first in all of Percy's years in school life. He also made a new, though unpopular, friend whose name is Tyson. However, as soon as the peaceful seventh grade seems to come to an end, monsters once again started to attack Percy. After Annabeth saves him, he is once again brought to Camp Half Blood, a camp specifically made for training and protecting demigods - or children of gods and mortals. However, the camp which was originally thought to be safe was under attack. After finding out that the magical borders of the camp had been weakened, Percy Jackson once again prepares to save Camp Half Blood and his friends from being overrun by monsters.

This book was a very entertaining read as it is a great story. As the book is part of an exciting series, I admit having trouble letting the book go in order to do other things. This book is a relatively good book though I enjoyed this less than the other books in this series. Although this book may be less exciting than the other books, it is a must-read if you want to understand and enjoy the rest of the series. I recommend this book to kids and teens alike.

-Reviewed by Jonathan, grade 9.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, by Jeff Kinney, is about Greg trying to live his summer vacation fantasy but it seems as if everyone was against him. Well his view of having the best summer ever is to stay inside with the curtain shut and playing video games. But Greg's Mom has different things in mind because she wants to spend the summer by spending some time with the family. Greg and Rowley came up with a business to pay a debt at the country club. They had a fight and they stopped being friends because of it. So then Greg was forced to go places where he didn't really want to go which was going to the town pool and family reunions because he didn't have anything better to do. Every chance he had he tried to make the best of it.

This book might not be my grade level but I think that these books have something that you can relate to you. I would recommend this book to teen readers because it's an easy book and also by reading the book they will also get a good laugh out of the book.

-Reviewed by L.U., grade 9.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, by James Rollins

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, by James Rollins, is a really great book. Well it all starts when Indy for short is in Mexico, always looking to uncover lost history. He then gets kidnapped and then taken to the top secret base called hanger 51 (area 51). Indy using all of his wits escapes from the Russians which have him captive. He escapes a make believe town which is a testing site for atomic bombs. He somehow escapes that as well. Some time passed and Indy was giving notice of something that took him to Peru to look for a lost friend. To make a long story short Indy found clues of this crystal skull. When he found it he was captured by the Russian again. He was taken to South America where he was told to help the Russian to find the lost city of gold. But I think I should stop here before I start to spoil the ending.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an awesome thriller novel. What I really like about this book is the suspense and the kind of humor that it uses. It's one of those books that will make you want to finish the book from cover to back in just one go. Another thing that I like is how the author makes this crazy build up of suspense.

-Reviewed by l.u, grade 9.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Knight's Castle, by Edward Eager, illustrated by N.M. Bodecker

Knight's Castle, by Edward Eager, starts out with two kids called Roger and Ann who are going to Baltimore, Maryland to go to their cousin's house. ON the train one of Roger's toys came to life and spoke to him. Roger could not believe it and asked to see what he was seeing. The toy had a name which was Sir Walter Scott. Roger and Ann always played with these knight toys but what they did not know was was seemed play to them was actually real combat for the toys, just that it happened in their own book. Sir Walter had given the kids some kind of magic which allowed them to become the size of the toys. Roger and Ann soon found out that the castle is in some kind of trouble and that they were the only ones who could help.

I would recommend this book to readers who like to read fantasy books. I love reading fantasy books and I like to imagine myself in the book. You could say that the book shows this. It makes me wonder what these times were really like. I like everyone to read this book although it may look like it's for kids but once you start reading it's a good story.

-Reviewed by L.u, grade 9.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One Piece (Volume 1): Romance Dawn by Eiichiro Oda

In One Piece (Volume 1): Romance Dawn, by Eiichiro Oda, Monkey D. Luffy begins his quest from a small harbor village to become a pirate. As a young child, he accidentally eats the legendary gum-gum fruit, which gives him the power to stretch to unreasonable lengths. He sets out on his journey in his boat to sail the ocean, ultimately seeking to become the king of pirates. Along the way, he meets a cabin boy named Koby who is treated unfairly by the Ironmace Alvida, the lady pirate. Luffy saves him from her to allow him to pursue his lifelong dream of joining the navy and becoming an officer. Also, Luffy learns about the legendary pirate hunter, ROronoa Zolo, who had been captured by the navy. In a small naval base town, he attempts to save Zolo from the navy and offer him a spot on his crew. However, Zolo refuses to join Luffy's crew unless Luffy fnids and returns to him his three most important swords. After finding Captain Morgan, Luffy and Zolo fight and defeat him. Zolo agrees to join Luffy and together, they set off into the vast unknown of the ocean waters.

I thought his manga had an extremely well-thought out plot and storyline. Oda executed his sequence of events in a way that was easy to follow. In addition, he paid close attention to minute details that in turn added to the enjoyment of the novel. His story about pirates was the main point of interest that drew my attention to this particular manga. I recommend this manga to people of all ages who enjoy a plot-driven manga with dynamic characters.

-Reviewed by Ming Liu, grade 9.

Friday, February 11, 2011

InuYasha: Volume 1, by Rumiko Takahashi

In InuYasha: Volume 1 by Rumiko Takahashi, Kagome receives a sacred jewel from ancient times on her fifteenth birthday. She accidentally falls into her family well and ends in medieval Japan. As she wanders the area, she finds an old village in which a demon comes looking for the sacred jewel. Kagome runs and ends up in the forest of InuYasha. There she frees InuYasha, a half demon, who saves Kagome with the sole purpose to use the sacred jewel for himself, but is restricted by a necklace. Kagome whi is the reincarnation of Kikyo, a priestess, that had a past with InuYasha tries to be friends with InuYasha, but fails. She storms out and is captured by bandits who want the sacred jewel. Inuyasha comes to her rescue to save the jewel, but Kagome throws it away and it is eaten by a crow. The chase begins; InuYasha and Kagome try to catch the crow and with Kagome's quick thinking, she accidentally shatters the jewel into many pieces. Then their adventure begins to find all the pieces of the sacred jewel.

I thought this manga was really imaginative and its plot was easy to follow and the ending left me hungry for more. The pictures and vivid colors contributed to the comprehensiveness of the story. Each character has unique qualities that made the manga very different than others. The fact that it is placed in medieval Japan makes the manga even more interesting. This manga would be perfect for all ages who adore mythical creatures.

-Reviewed by Ming Liu, grade 9.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Slawter (The Demonata #3), by Darren Shan

In Slawter, by Darren Shan, Grubitsch Grady, also known as Grubbs, has recently gained magical powers and learns about the demons. One day Davida, a famous horror film director, asked Dervish, Grubbs' uncle, if he could help with a new movie based on demons. Dervish agrees and takes Grubbs along with his brother Bill-E with him. During the first few weeks on set, Grubbs and Bill-E begin to make friends, chat with others, and see the action. In one particular scene when the demon kills someone, Grubbs is convinced the demon is real after what he has been through. In a later scene he sees Lord Loss, a powerful demon master. People begin to disappear and it makes Grubbs suspicious. Grubbs tries to convince Dervish, but cannot and decides to unmask the truth with Bill-E and Juni, Davida's close advisor. They unmask the truth, convince Dervish, and set out to warn the others, but it was already too late. Davida made a deal with the horrible Lord Loss and so began the slaughter. Grubbs and Dervish try to help the others escape from the horrible demons, but are able to only save a few. In the end Grubbs learns that his magic is far beyond what many Disciples possess.

I thought this book's plot was very unpredictable with many twists and turns. The fascinating demons of all shape and sizes added to the horror. The gore, guts, and blood made it seem very disgusting, but cool. The introduction of magic makes this book unique because magic is limitless and can do almost anything. The non-stop action made me even more excited of what comes next. Horror fanatics will be dying to read this thrilling, but scary book.

-Reviewed by Ming Liu, grade 9.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Naruto: Volume 2, by Masashi Kishimoto

In Naruto: Volume 2, by Masashi Kishimoto, three ninjas, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura have just passed their junior ninja test and began to set out on a real mission with their teacher, Kakashi. The mission is to protect Tazuna, a bridge builder, and escort him to the Land of Waves. During the mission they encounter ninjas from the Land of the Mist who they easily defeat, but later, they have to fight against Zabuza, the demon. Kakashi battles him head to head using his Sharingan, but is captured leaving the others to protect Tazuna. They formulate a plan and are able to free Kakashi, who can then finish the job, but before he kills Zabuza, a mysterious ninja finishes him off. He drags him away, but really is on his side and saves him from death. Naruto and the others then make it safely to the Land of the Waves.

I thought this manga was very different than other mangas. The fact that it is based on ninjas makes it seem very exciting and secretive. The action is always on-going and never stops. Every page is full of intense training and thrilling battles. Each main character is different in their own way; they all have special skills and abilities. The storyline was thought out well and organized. This manga is great for any action loving fans.

-Reviewed by Ming Liu, grade 9.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bleach: Volume 2, by Tite Kubo

In Bleach: Volume 2, by Tite Kubo, Ichigo, a normal human gains powers of a soul reaper. His job is to fight hollows and when one of his friends, Chad, gets into danger with a hollow, Ichigo goes to help him. Rukia, a fellow soul reaper, and Chad try to fend off the hollow on their own, but cannot handle him. Then, Ichigo comes to the rescue and cuts the hollow down to size. The hollow sadly enters another dimension because of the cruel acts he committed as a human. After the battle, Rukia goes to the Urahara shop to pick up her order; one of these items was a soul pill. Ichigo eats it and his human body is given its own personality. Unfortunately the soul pill is defective and ruins Ichigo's image. Ichigo tries to track him down and finally is able to regain his body, but keeps the soul pill because the soul pill is just waiting to be destroyed. Ichigo continues on his quest to destroy hollows with Rukia.

This manga is very good because not only does it contain action, but it also adds in a touch of comedy. The author's idea is entirely original and I like the way soul reapers are described. The characters contribute to the story and some make the manga very comedic. It is not all exciting action, but it also appeals to the emotional view of the book. The creation of the hollows is very unique, but cruel. The system of soul reapers and hollows contribute to the plot because it is based on their everlasting battle. Anybody that is an action fan will love the unique and diverse plot.

-Reviewed by Ming Liu, grade 9.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore

Graceling, By Kristin Cashore, takes place in the land of the Seven Kingdoms where Gracelings, or people with two different eye colors who have an unnaturally good skill, exist. Katsa is such, and she has been able to kill people with her bare hands since age eight. She has done the dirty work of her uncle, Randa, King of Middluns. On one of her missions, she meets another Graceling called Po. Katsa only pays enough attention to drug him, but when he later comes to Middluns, she notices that Po is very skilled at fighting. She becomes his friend, and that marks the point when Katsa's life truly begins.

As she has her daily fighting practices with Po, Katsa realizes that she does not have to stay under Randa's thumb. After all, nobody, save Po, could even hit her and cause harm. She frees herself from Randa's reins and sets off on an adventure with Po to find out who kidnapped Grandfather Tealiff, Po's grandfather. As Katsa continues on this journey, she learns of her true Grace . . . and also a terrible secret of a twisted king.

This exciting, impressive book is perfect for future-fiction writers. It even had me genuinely considering the option of being an author. If that isn't the case, this book will also be loved by people who wish to expand their imagination.

-Reviewed by JunHyung, grade 7.