Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Other Side of the Island

    The cover of this book was actually the thing that caught my eye.  I mean, you look at it and you could imagine the story going a bunch of different ways.  I never would've guessed the way it actually went.
    In The Other Side of the Island, by Allegra Goodman, a girl named Honor moves from the North with her mother and father to Island 365.  Island 365 is very different than the North.  For example, the sky is artificially colored a different color for every hour of the day.  Honor can't go out after dark, and in school she learns all about the Earth Mother, who supposedly is protecting everyone on Island 365.  The Earth Mother keeps them safe with The Enclosure, an invisible shield that surrounds all the islands.
    In school, Honor also becomes friends with a boy her age, named Helix.  The class that is most difficult for Honor, is geography.  In geography, she studies maps of the many islands in the Tranquil Sea.                                                            After a while, Honor realizes that her family is different from the rest of the inhabitants of the island in many ways.  "Different" islanders "disappear."
    Honor must decide what is more important; being true to herself and saving her family, or fitting in with the others on the island.
    I loved this book.  It is suspenseful, it is mysterious... it clearly describes a world that very well may become our future.  I recommend this book to anyone who loves a mystery, and who likes stories about alternate realities; possibly in the future.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Metamorphosis

 When it comes to books, I like reading just about anything. From the unknown
 eldritch horrors of H.P. Lovecraft to the charming humor of Brian Jacques, I’ve
read and loved it all. Occasionally, I’ll find books that truly define genre borders,
and cross into the no-mans’ land in between. Recently, I found one of those oddly
mixed books. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is definitely one of the 
strangest books I’ve ever read, but I enjoyed it very much. It manages to take a
bizarre, slightly morbid story about a man who wakes up and finds that he has
become an oversized insect, and add humor to it. The book’s story is rather 
unsettling and even sad, but the humor laced into the thoughts of the unfortunate
insect really adds new dimension to the story. The cast of characters is small, 
and most of the book is read through the perspective of a rational insect in a small
bedroom. In my opinion this small setting doesn’t remove anything from the story.
Rather, it adds to it, and makes it even more surreal. This was an excellent book
despite its oddity, and I would recommend it to anyone who isn’t liable to be 
grossed out by a large insect!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Picture of Dorian Gray

For one of my school subjects this year, 
I get to read through some classic books,
 and have been really enjoying them so far.
 I’ve read Frankenstein, Last of the Mohicans,
Crime and Punishment, and many more.
Just recently, I finished reading  
The Picture of Dorian Gray. It’s a philosophical
 book with some elements of a good psychological
 horror. The story shows an innocent man’s
 descent into a life of immorality and evil after a
picture is painted of him. Well, it’s more than just
the painting of the picture that sparks the change in him. He realizes how
good looking he is, and falls in love with his own appearance after seeing the
masterfully painted picture. He spontaneously wishes that all signs
of his own age and evil will go into the painting instead. Unbeknownst
 to him at first, his wish is granted.

After a while, he becomes more and more selfish and causes
 immeasurable pain to several people. He also begins to realize
 that his wish has come true as the painting becomes more
 and more hideous, reflecting the person he is becoming inside.
 As the painting changes he becomes more and more paranoid 
about it being discovered, going to greater and greater lengths to
hide his true nature. The book is full of twists and turns, and has a
stunning ending that left me thinking for a while.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1

   A long time ago, a few friends of mine recommended  a book series that they absolutely loved, called "Ranger's Apprentice".  At the time, I was probably reading Percy Jackson, or Harry Potter, or Redwall, so I couldn't read it, and then forgot about it. Then, just the other day, I was at the library looking for something to read, and the first book in the series, The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan, caught my eye. I grabbed it off the shelf and went home. Often times, I can determine how much I enjoy a book by how quickly I read it. I devoured this one in a matter of hours, and went to go get the next few in the series!
     John Flanagan is a fantastic author. He manages to create a world that seems not too far off from our own distant past, while still maintaining its uniqueness and individuality. I loved reading about the brave Araluens, the evil Morgorath and his Wargal soldiers, and the seafaring mercenary Skandians. The books revolve mostly around a young boy, Will, who becomes apprenticed to one of the King's Rangers, mysterious hooded figures who help keep the peace around the kingdom. The books are full of high adventure, bravery, chivalry, and memorable characters. I'm still reading through the series myself, and definitely encourage you to check out the series, too!