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Read + Review: The Deceiver’s Heart by Jennifer A. Neilsen

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Kestra’s treacherous journey is nearing to an end. As the Infidante, Kestra has been through countless voyages in pursuit of the Olden Blade, the only weapon capable of destroying the fiendish Lord Endrick. Fortunately, Lord Endrick summons her to his palace, granting Kestra the perfect opportunity to strike. After an agonizing attempt to kill Lord Endrick, Kestra fails, and can only hope the tyrant doesn’t murder her himself. Instead, Lord Endrick strips Kestra of her weapon, and robs her memories and spirit. Kestra soon becomes a soulless Ironheart, who are servants of the lord. Desperate to return Kestra to her former self, Simon seeks a method to cure her…without using magic. As their new adventure continues, Simon is forced to accept that there may be no other option, and Kestra will never be the same.

A stunning sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The Traitor’s Game, this novel is beautifully written with action in every page. The plot was clear, and the concept of the novel was easy to understand even though I haven’t read the prequel. I enjoyed the beginning of this novel in particular, as it held the most suspense. The mystery and thrill did decrease after Kestra’s failure, which was slightly disappointing. Overall, however, this novel was a nearly flawless continuation of Kestra’s marvelous tale.

A memorable moment can be found at the beginning of the novel, at Lord Endrick’s palace. As Lord Endrick drones on, Kestra’s mind whirs with the plan to kill the lord, replaying it repeatedly in her head. When Lord Endrick nears the end of his final statement, Kestra seizes the handle of the blade, about to attack.

4-stars

Reviewed by Soumya K., Twin Hickory Library

 

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Read + Review: Let’s go swimming on doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson

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Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday is a story that is given in pieces and fragments of prior and current events. The past events are focused on a boy named Abdiweli who lives in Somali and whose family was torn apart in a world of terrorism. After he discovers that his family was kidnapped by a CIA organization who offers his family in exchange for service as a spy, he sets out on a journey to collect information from a terrorist group named Al Shabaab. In hopes of getting information from Abdiweli’s brother, a now prominent member of Al Shabaab, the organization forces him to join the ranks of the Al Shabaab and find out just how much his brother has changed. On the other side of the story, we see Abdiweli’s future, an abandoned boy who has no one to go to or be taken care of, still living in Somali. In his past, he is guided by the person who kidnapped his family, Mr. Jones, and in his future he is helped, accompanied, and questioned by Sam, a U.N. worker in Somalia.

The main plots that interchange in the book is Abdiweli’s past and his current situation. His past, being his life as a spy, a brother, and a not-so-faithful member of Al Shabaab. His future, a boy who is left with no direction, shunning away his past and is not welcome to help of any kind. I enjoyed the fact that the time periods interchanged due to how it was executed. The author manages to push your perspective around not by character, but rather time period, yet the plots don’t conflict or reveal each other. This interchanging is noticeable from the very start of the book and was one of the first things I felt was important when reading it. Though, this interchanging is not consistent. Sometimes, the author will extend the time between interchanging by several chapters. This change, however, benefits the flow of the story, extending critical events several chapters to provide proper room for the important interaction or events.

By far the most memorable part of the book is the universal feeling of having no control. Whether that be being forced to work towards someone else’s goal as a spy, or being taken and questioned around like a dog by the U.N. workers. This theme is also noticeable in the way the information and plot are given. It is from a point of view that at first, organizes the events so that it glosses over some of the more important and revealing points of the story. The story, despite its conflicting times, spoon feeds information to you successfully and leaves the far more critical events to the end, despite its diverging time periods.

4-stars

Reviewed by Jaewon C., Twin Hickory library

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Read + Review: Zenobia by Morten Durr

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Zenobia by Morten Dürr is the story of Amina, a young Syrian girl who loves eating dolmas and spending time with her family. All is well for her until one day, her parents never come back from the market. As it turns out, war has reached her tiny village, causing her and her uncle to flee to a boat. This boat crashes, and there lying in the water is Amina. While in the dark and emptiness void of the ocean, Amina remembers her family and the tale of Zenobia, the ruler of Syria who was never afraid to take on a challenge, even if it meant dying, and now in her great moment of desperation, Amina has to do the same.

I actually really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all who see this review. The book is honestly phenomenal, and even though there aren’t many words, the point of the story is beautifully bought across by the gorgeous pictures and stunning story. My only complaint from this book was that it was too short. I would have enjoyed seeing a much longer version of this, but I guess the length of it also helps present the story. The characters were instantly likable, and even if there wasn’t much character development, I still understood what each one of them were like. The words were well written, but what was more stunning was the pictures. The pictures were beautifully drawn, and I found myself often stopping to admire them. In conclusion, this book was absolutely amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone of all ages.

My favorite part in the entire book was probably when they were running away to the boat. Here, there were many pictures for me to gawk at, all of which were gorgeous. The pictures here really showed the damage done to her old village, and had a lot of great detail. This may seem kind of short but in this moment, there were only really pictures, all of which were amazing, making this my favorite part.

5-stars-1

Reviewed by Aryan, A., Glen Allen library

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Read + Review: Fire Starters by Jen Storm

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This book is about two boys, Ron and Ben, who discover their uncle’s flare gun. They decide to play with it and end up getting in trouble with the police. Ron and Ben are wrongly accused of setting a gas bar on fire with the flare gun by the sheriff’s son. Meanwhile, Jason, who knows the truth, can’t decide between being honest and risking himself or turning a blind eye and staying safe. Will he make the right the decision? Read the book to find out.

This book takes place mainly in Ron and Ben’s home (which is on Agaming Reserve), the gas bar, the dump, the police office, and North Falls Highschool. The main characters of this book are Ron, Ben, Michael, Jason, the sheriff, and Grandma. Like mentioned before, the book follows Ron and Ben as they are wrongly accused of arson. I liked the story this book had. It was different and not like any other story that I had previously read. I also enjoyed the fact that the characters were diverse, both with their ethnicity and personalities.

I enjoyed the book and thought that it did an amazing job of illustrating the struggle of determining what is right and what is wrong. One thing that I believe could be improved is the relationships between the characters. While some characters did seem to have developed relationships with one another, others didn’t. Other than that, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to read about a good moral struggle. One of the most memorable things about the book is its vivid illustrations. The illustrations really seem to capture the scene. One can tell what a character is feeling by just looking at their face. This, coupled with the text, allows the reader to gain a greater understanding of the story.

4-stars

Reviewed by Anika K., Twin Hickory library

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Otherearth by Jason Segel and Kristen Miller

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“Other Earth” is the sequel to the best-selling book, “Other World.” Imagine a virtual reality game where all five senses are used. You can even smell and feel in that virtual world. Due to a bug in the game, if you get hurt in that world, you get hurt in real life. If you get killed in that world, you die in real life. The Company, the designer of the game, knows this and is trying to fix the code, but is killing people in their de-bugging experiments. Eighteen year-old Simon Eaton and his three friends are trying to destroy the Company in order to end the killing. This involves traveling back and forth from the real world into the virtual world, where they face danger and death in both places.

This book is told in the first person, so you are able to “hear” Simon’s internal thoughts. Because of that, Simon’s character is well developed. Plus, he has a funny sense of humor. The story was entertaining and fast paced moving from the dangers in the virtual world to those in the real world. I thought the authors were very creative in not only thinking up the different places and characters in the virtual world, but also in describing them. It almost seemed real. It really made me wonder what it would be like to go to this world and be able to do anything that I wanted (minus being killed, of course).

My only recommendation is to read “Other World” before reading this, the sequel. The story is a continuation of the first book, but fortunately written in a manner where the reader is not lost. However, I feel like I would have gotten more out of it if I had read the prequel. There will be a third book in this series coming out in the fall of 2019. I am looking forward to reading that.

One memorable thing about the book was a character named Fons.  He lived in the virtual world, but in that world he was as real as can be.  He had thoughts, feelings and desires.

5-stars-1

Reviewed by Preston M., Twin Hickory library