Nathan has no idea who he is. He is an apprentice Caller in the king’s home and best friends with Prince Michael, but he has no memory of his family and assumes he is an orphan. He studies under the Master Callers to summon Melkai monsters from another world. Some of the monsters are massive, and others are miniscule, like Nathan’s own little Melkai, a small lizard. The barrier between the world of humans and the world of the Melkai is weakening. Nathan is sent on a quest to find the other half of the magical key that can seal the barriers between worlds before the destructive Melkai are unleashed to roam freely across the land.
I enjoyed the plot of this book, because there are some clever twists and turns. There are several times when some particular character or object or connection is revealed and it was just so satisfying. The plot is full of fantasy tropes, but I didn’t really mind that because I like tropes. Some of the plot devices were obvious, but again, I don’t mind that as long as it is set up in an interesting way.Continue reading
Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, #1)
by C.S. Lewis
4 out of 5 stars
Ransom is kidnapped and taken to another planet, where he escapes his kidnappers and must fend for himself on an alien world. Everything he encounters is entirely foreign and strange, from the water to the trees. The landscape is wild and inhospitable, and there are aliens who (he has been told) need a human sacrifice for some pagan ritual.
Malacandra is such a vibrant planet, with rich cultures and languages of its own. I love all the little details of the aliens and their society that make it feel like a real place. It’s utterly bizarre and wild, but with little flecks of familiarity that endear you to the alienness of it all.
The writing and story-telling are truly brilliant. The plot is exciting, and the writing draws the reader into each scene so that you are experiencing what Ransom is experiencing through every adventure. I love that there are a lot of philosophical questions and spiritual lessons in this book, but it never weighs down the plot or spoils the adventure.Continue reading
Solveig and her siblings have been sent to a frozen fjord in the mountains where they will be safe during a Viking war between clans. The winter cold freezes the sea, preventing any ships from getting to them. However, there appears to be a traitor in their midst among the soldiers and servants, and they are trapped until the spring thaw can bring help.
I loved the thoughtful writing style in this book! The writing brings important details to the forefront, giving the characters depth and enhancing the setting without slowing down the pacing.Continue reading
One little book is tired of sitting on the shelf. He longs to find a reader. The other books are content to sit and wait, but this book is ready for an adventure. I liked the concept of books wishing to be read, and I thought the story was good. The books are caricatures of famous authors like Victor Hugo, Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, and Alexander Dumas.
I found the artwork… unsettling in a strange way. The books look so weird and creepy! Their ghoulish little faces…. It was like some nightmare unreality of twisted forms and crooked illusions. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just hated the artwork. I could barely look at the page. I found it so disturbing that I just wanted to close the book and throw it away.Continue reading
In the midst of Nazi Germany, a group of men attempt to assassinate Hitler. Their plan fails, and their families pay the price. Hitler is merciless in his revenge on the families and children of the men who tried to kill him. But a few of the children survive, and they are nicknamed the Ghost Children.
I appreciate this clear look at a complicated time in history, and how the nuances of the political climate in Germany were so much more complex than we can understand today. I think history tends to remember all Germans as being evil people who were complicit with Hitler’s plans, but so many of the German people were actively fighting against him from within.Continue reading
Kid Innovators: True Tales of Childhood from Inventors and Trailblazers
by Robin Stevenson (Goodreads Author), Allison Steinfeld (Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars
All inventors start out as curious kids who love to learn and explore. This book gives short biographies of some famous innovators and how their childhood shaped their dreams. The bios include the stories of Steve Jobs, Jacques Cousteau, Florence Nightingale, Walt Disney, the Wright brothers, and many others.
There are sections about technology, exploring, codes, medicine, and trailblazers. It’s not just about inventing something new. It’s about revolutionizing how something is used, how art is created, or how people think. The history of computer codes, airplanes, wind turbines, rockets, nursing, hair products, entertainment, and a dozen other fields are explored.Continue reading
The town of Serenity is not as serene as it seems. Eli and his friends begin to discover that their seemingly perfect town is hiding dark secrets.
I really liked the mystery in this book, and the gradual unravelling of the secrets that the townspeople are hiding. The adventure aspects of the story are exciting and kept my attention, but sometimes felt far-fetched and unrealistic. I was rolling my eyes a couple of times.
The characters are smart and emotional, and they all have such unique personalities. I really enjoyed getting to know each of them, and seeing how their flaws and strengths push the story forward. They each react in different ways when they discover what is really going on in the town, and I can’t wait to see what further character development they might have in the rest of the series.Continue reading