Adventure

Book Review: Red Rising

Red Rising
Author: 
Brown, Pierce
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Red Rising adds maturity and depth to the dystopian novel genre, culminating into something more interesting and deep than the average dystopian series. The plot is set on Mars in a society separated into castes with the lowest of castes being extorted into serving the higher ones. The story is raw, emotional, and overall a worthwhile read. However, at times the plot progresses at a slower pace than desirable and occasionally the main character is rather robotic. Taking this into account the book remains enjoyable and I would recommend it to people looking for more out of the dystopian genre.

Reviewer's Name: 
Evan T

Book Review: Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness
Author: 
Conrad, Joseph
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Heart of Darkness was written at a time when the horrors of the genocide in the Congo were being discovered by everyone. Joseph Conrad's magnum opus is a novel steeped in allegory and metaphor that details such genocides, while also serving to provide discourse on the nature of humanity.
The book details a character named Marlow as he travels up the River Thames in the Congo into the physical and metaphorical heart of darkness, and his experiences on his journey. The novel manages to both entrance and horrify readers, as the horrors described by Marlow are not only seen by him, but by us as an extension. The book does a wonderful job on speaking on the topic of genocide, but also helps us to learn about ourselves, about the nature of humans, and our dark hearts. This is a book that is necessary to read if one wants to consider themselves educated. However, the only downside is that it can be very hard to understand, and can be very, very monotonous and boring.

Reviewer's Name: 
Peter C

Book Title: Mockingjay

Mockingjay
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

In the exciting conclusion to the "Hunger Games" series, "Mockingjay" follows Katniss Everdeen after she defied the Capitol in the Quarter Quell and fled to the underground city of District 13, where she is haunted by the idea of an impeding war and thoughts of her fellow tribute (and now captive of the Capitol) Peeta Mellark. In order to win this war against the Capitol, she must become a symbol of the rebellion -- the Mockingjay -- and unify the districts. Just like the others in the series, this book was phenomenal. I was completely invested in all the characters and had to see their journeys through to the end. The plot twists were even more shocking than ever. I cannot say enough about this series -- it is absolutely amazing. However, there is one thing about this book that made me enjoy it just slightly less than the others in the series. While the writing style of the other two books is relatively straightforward and direct, there were several parts in this book that left me confused, especially during action scenes -- which happened almost too quickly to follow. I didn't always entirely understand Katniss's motives (most particularly at the end) or why certain decisions were made.
This may've been on purpose, since Katniss is disoriented and suffering from mental problems during this time, which distort her sense of reality. Either way, I found it a little difficult to follow. Regardless, this book was amazing. I highly recommend the entire series. It is utterly legendary, and unlike anything I've read before.
Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: 
Gillian P.

Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King

Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: 
Levenseller, Tricia
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The book Daughter of the Pirate King is a thrilling story about a pirate princess who is captured by an enemy ship on a mission for her father. This story follows Alosa and her mission to retrieve part of the map to the island of the Sirens. I really enjoyed this book for it's humour and wit, along with the progressive plot that kept the story flowing. This book keeps you guessing for answers as it alludes to many things you might be able to figure out if you read between the lines. I appreciated the complexities of this book and cannot wait to read the sequel. I would highly suggest this book to readers who love action and humour.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K.

Book Review: King of the Wind

King of the Wind
Author: 
Henry, Marguerite McCallum
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

The book, King of the Wind, is a lovely story about a horse and his master. The connection between Sham, the horse, and Agba, a boy, is focused upon during the book, and the author certainly created something special.

The characters are decently developed, but the connections between characters are much better. The setting of the book is also quite unique and fits well with the story. It's more than just a classic horse story. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone, as it's a pretty quick read and a great book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Steven L

Book Review: Ayesha: The Return of She

Ayesha: The Return of She
Author: 
Haggard, H. Rider
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Coming from the author of "King Solomon's Mines" and creator of Allan Quartermain, you can expect a terrific turn of the century, adventure story. Written as the sequel to "She", "Ayesha: The Return of She" stands on its own, and I find it even more enjoyable than the original story (but "She" does make for a good prequel - as I read them out of sequence). Our hero Leo, sets out with his friend to seek out his long lost love. This leads them to the most remote of areas, across vast deserts, and over treacherous mountains. When they reach the empire of Kaloon, the Khania Atene swears that she is the woman Leo is searching for, but he is unsure, and wishes to consult with the mysterious Hesea, an ancient priestess of the mountain, who has sent for him. Atene will risk everything, even war with the people of the mountain, to keep Leo by her side, even though he wishes to see the Hesea. Is Atene the woman Leo is seeking? Who is the cryptic Hesea? What dangers await Leo and his friend, both in Kaloon, and on the mountain?

This story was originally published in a serialized form in 1904-1905, with gorgeous Art Nouveau illustrations. If you can find it, I highly recommend reading a reprint that includes the original illustrations. One of my favorite books of all time!

Reviewer's Name: 
Chris W.

Book Review: Moby Dick

Moby Dick
Author: 
Melville, Herman
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Moby Dick is a classic piece of literature, an iconic masterpiece. The story, once it pick up, is extremely engaging and interesting. The characters, such as Ishmael and Captain and Ahab, all exude personality and uniqueness. Plus, it has one of the greatest antagonists in all of literature: Moby Dick himself. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from beginning to end. There are some downsides, such as the language of the seamen being somewhat hard to grasp, and the several chapters describing whaling or the anatomy of whales being completely pointless. However, these do not detract too much from the overall experience, and the novel is still an exceptional one. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good novel to read, or anyone who has a passion for the ocean.

Reviewer's Name: 
Peter C.

Book Review: The Hunters

The Hunters
Author: 
Flanagan, John
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The novel, The Hunters, by John Flanagan is a great read. The book is the third in the Brotherband book series, and is still entertaining, even if you haven't read the previous books. Throughout the tale of Hal and his fellow Herons, every character is well developed, including some of the side characters. The only thing that I would recommend is that the author tries to build more of a connection between these great characters and the reader. The plot does include some unexpected, but well-placed twists and turns, which adds to the story, but the overall plot is sort-of bland. It's just a good guys versus bad guys kind of story, and it includes some unnecessary events that just seem to prolong the story. I see a great deal of more potential to build upon the base story and flesh it out, especially with the theme of brotherhood in mind. Overall the book is a pretty good read if you're into adventure, and I would recommend it to anyone with some spare free time.

Reviewer's Name: 
Steven L.

Book Review: Hatchet

Hatchet
Author: 
Paulsen, Gary
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The award winning book by Gary Paulsen, Hatchet, is about a boy named Brian
whose parents are divorced. Right before, Brian gets on the plane that would
take him to his Dad’s house, his mother gives him a hatchet. While flying
over the 1000s of miles of forests in Canada, the pilot has a heart attack
and dies. Brian is forced to fly the plane into a lake in the middle of the
forest. Somehow he survives the crash, but now he is stranded in the
wilderness. He must survive against the harshness of nature with only his
mind and the hatchet to help him.

The realistic scenarios make the reader feel like they are trapped in the
forest with Brian. It was interesting to think about what would have happened
if he did not have the hatchet with him and the reader wonders what they
would do in Brian’s place. Would they be able to survive until help came
and make life or death decisions?

Hatchet is actually the original book in what Paulsen turned into a five book
series. I would recommend reading the whole series, it really deepens the
view of the story. My personal favorite is the second book, Brian’s Winter,
but the entire story is definitely worth reading. 8th Grade.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ben

Book Review: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Book Review: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Author: 
Twain, Mark
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Tom Sawyer is not the most likable of characters, but he is clever. This book seems to be an honest depiction of a young boy growing up in the 1840s. I like that Tom, Huck, and the rest of his friends go on adventures big and small. Our children can't do that today, which is a shame. This is a fun book to listen to on audio.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

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