Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: Caraval

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Teen Reviewer: Nanditha Prashanth

Imagine a world, a fantastical city which is entirely created by the most infamous magician known as Legend. A city that is the star of a 5-night game played by real life players and an audience. A game known as Caraval which presents the unthinkable beyond the point of imagination. This very game was the only motivation for a young girl named Scarlett. Scarlett had only one dream: to experience Caraval and perhaps meet the legendary legend. This is the only dream this young reserved girl had to keep her sanity. To keep herself and her sister Tella alive from their abusive, manipulative father and marriage opposite a count whom she has never met. But this one dream just happened to come true but not the way she or her sister expected. A letter came suddenly promising two Caraval performance tickets. Scarlett was intrigued and amazed but at the same time heartbroken over the promise of her unwilling marriage. Unable to decide between her love for her brave sister Tella and her sister’s life. After many twists, turns and complications they both set out to Caraval with the help of a young sailor named Julian. But by doing this Scarlett feared the worst by her father who had done much worse than just physical abuse to Tella at this point. The fear of losing her sister, love coming too close too soon and the magical dismay of Caraval shapes the rest of the plot. The book follows through with Scarlett’s journey as she ventures to find her sister through tragedy.

This book is a mystery fantasy novel which follows the life of a young girl who has lost a dear sister and is indulged within a fantastical city. This book is definitely one of a kind and very entertaining.  Caraval kept me interested the entire time although it started off slow and very dry. It felt as though I was really at Caraval. There are exceptional descriptions of the setting and plot that keep you on your toes and ready for the next event. I rated Caraval 4 out of 5 based on my interest as a mystery lover. Personally I would recommend this book to anyone but specifically someone who loves suspenseful mystery novels with a great sense of imagination. Imagination is the key to enjoying this book at its best. Being an imaginative person helped me understand and stay interested in the book the entire time. Caraval will bring the childhood dream and aspirations out of you along with a very imaginative personality. Definitely recommended to anyone interested in a fantasy novel. 

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Book Review: Bull

Title: Bull
Author: David Elliott
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Teen Reviewer: Se Choi

Poseidon helped Minos become king of Crete, but when Poseidon sends a milk white bull for Minos to sacrifice, Minos keeps the bull and sacrifices a different bull. Then Pasiphae decides to have a baby with the bull. That leads to her baby having a bull head and the dislike of  King Minos. Pasiphae named the bull boy Asterion and loved him dearly. But the King and his subjects did not like the boy and called him a freak of nature. King Minos eventually locked him inside a stable where he could not be seen. Because of the absence of Asterion, Pasiphae eventually went delirious. Ariadne, the King’s daughter, pitied Asterion and comforted him when he was alone. When Androgeos, the King’s most successful son was killed in Athens, he ordered Daedalus to build a maze for several Athenian children to go into and die in. One of them was Theseus, which was very eager to go into the maze and kill Asterion. Asterion was the centerpiece of the maze, his job was to kill anyone that came his way, he was also given the name “Minotaur”. Theseus killed the Minotaur and returned to Athens with glory and deserted Ariadne on a deserted island to die, while Daedalus tried to escape Crete with his son, by building wings but he died, and Asterion died in a very gory way. And Poseidon was the one that caused all of this to happen. Finally, he killed Androgeos.

This novel is very similar to the myth “The Minotaur” but is very modernized(which means a fair amount of swear words). It is a very short read but is very amusing and fun.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Title: One of us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Rating 5/5 Stars
Teen Reviewer: Se Choi

When Simon, Cooper, Nate, Addy and Bronwyn were stuck in detention for being wrongly accused of having their phones in their bags(the phones in their bags weren't theirs), Simon died because of a peanut allergy reaction from a cup of water. There were no epi-pens in the nurse’s office so he could not be saved. The four kids were questioned and were all suspects of Simon’s murder. Simon was the creator of a local gossip app and all four of them had secrets that Simon was about to post on his app. Cooper’s secret was that he was cheating on his girlfriend, Nate’s was that his mother was in a rehab center for a coke addiction. Addy was also cheating on her boyfriend, and Bronwyn cheated on a test(she was a very smart person and was going to Yale so this was very serious). When all their secrets were opened to the public by the police, they were being convicted of murder and were cast out of social groups they used to be in. Cooper, Nate, Addy, and Bronwyn were constantly harassed by police and were taunted at school. The problem at their High School had grown into nationwide news. Then after many days of answering questions for investigators and avoiding news reporters, Nate was arrested by the anxious police. The police was worried about constant angry responses to the fact that they released the secrets of the four. ::SPOILER:: Then the remaining three proved the police wrong by finding out (with proof) that Jake, Addy’s boyfriend put the peanut oil in Simon’s cup of water and put the epi-pens away and that Simon made the plan to kill himself and bring four kids down with him. Simon did this because the four kids were famous, smart, and attractive but they took that for granted. So he worked with Jake to frame them.

The ending to this story was very unexpected, and Simon’s master plan of his death was very smart and decisive. When you think it would be any of the four that would be guilty, it is someone else. The tense moments of the novel were a great experience.

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