My name is Lily, and my halmoni says tigers are evil creatures and can't be trusted. She stole stories from them when she was little, and the tigers now want the stories back. I don't fully understand how this is possible, but a giant, female tiger has been visiting me in the middle of the night. Halmoni has been getting sicker, and the tiger says it can help make her feel better. All I have to do is return the dangerous stories Halmoni stole. If tigers can't be trusted, should I do what it asks? But I don't want my halmoni to die. Time is running out, and I don't know what to do.
Friday, October 30, 2020
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
My name is Shoshonna, and I can't believe Chase is actually back at school. The rumor is that he has amnesia and can't remember anything about his life before falling off his roof. That's convenient. He was a horrendous bully and tormented my twin brother right out of town and into a private school that he hates. The world would be better off if he'd never recovered from the fall. I must admit he seems to be different, but it's got to be an act. No one that despicable can become nice just by falling on their head. I haven't told my brother everything about Chase, especially that Chase has replaced him in the video club. I can't believe how the others think Chase is so great now, since they were all once victims of his torturing. He makes a great suggestion to help with my contest video, but how can I listen to him? I'd be a traitor to my brother.
Korman always adds humorous twists to common situations, so this book was a little different for him. I also think it was one of his best. Chase forgot about all of the awful things he'd done as the worst bully in school, but all of the other students, teachers, and adults remembered him quite well. Most people reflect on their past decisions, and this book presents an opportunity for a character to make up for terrible mistakes. However, these efforts were difficult even with good intentions. Korman did a great job of describing Chase's battles with his inner demons; the realization that he'd treated others so badly was eating him up inside. His former bully buddies didn't understand him, and his new friends didn't understand him. No one else could fully comprehend his issues, and his father unknowingly made things worse. Readers will easily feel empathy for Chase despite being burdened with his past behaviors. That was a different Chase. Overall, I really loved this book and highly recommend it for your reading pleasure. It will appeal to almost all middle grade students.
My name is Talin, and most of the other Strikers doubted that a refugee like me belonged with this elite fighting force, especially when I was forced to kill my partner, my Shield. Injuries from a Federation attack when I was a child have left me unable to speak, and that only adds to my feeling of isolation. Later, I sensed a prisoner wanted to die while being questioned, and I dared to challenge our Firstblade in front of all the Strikers. As punishment, he embarrassed me by making the prisoner, Red, my new Shield! However, Red and I have mentally bonded and can communicate with our minds, and I've discovered secrets about him. This boy may be Mara's greatest weapon, but he could just as easily destroy us all.
The audience for this book is a bit older than middle grade, although young teens can enjoy it. Kale and Red's relationship will clearly mature as the series moves along. Violence is a big part of the plot, as Talin's whole life is focused on protecting the country of Mara from the Ghosts and a Federation invasion. Ghosts are mutated humans and can only be killed by slitting their throats. This leads to some gross and bloody moments. Despite her heroic efforts, Talin's situation brings up the question of patriotism among immigrants. Can immigrants be as loyal as the country's natives? Why would an immigrant want to protect a country that doesn't treat her people as equals? As with most plots involving politics, this book has its share of conspiracies and power plays. Characters need to be cautious about who they befriend and who they offend. The Federation is a juggernaut that seemingly can't be stopped by the small forces guarding Mara, and the plot later reveals that there's something more important about this doomed city. Overall, the story is interesting, albeit violent, and the sequel should be even more compelling. The resolution reveals a series-changing decision made by Kale.
Monday, October 19, 2020
My name is Kale, and my life as a slave girl has changed dramatically in the past few days. On my way to The Hall, I've learned of my ability to locate dragon eggs and have joined a quest with Dar and Leetu to locate a meech egg stolen by the evil wizard Risto. I'm not sure how much help I'll be, and I can't believe Paladin actually believes in me. However, the first egg I found has hatched, and I'm now able to help Gymn heal others. It’s still funny how the little dragon faints when he gets scared. My companions tell me Risto is jealous of my ability with dragons, so we're constantly on the lookout for his minions and creatures hiding in the wild. We've just entered The Bogs in our search for Fenworth. Dar says having this great wizard along will lead to disaster, but Leetu says it's best to wait and see. Maybe it's best if I leave and return to my journey toward The Hall.
This book is the first in a five-book series. I really enjoyed the story and was surprised the average score on Goodreads wasn't a little higher. There was a strong religious aspect to the book that apparently bothered some readers. Characters were constantly reminded to trust Wulder's plan and that he would know anything they did not. I'm not overly spiritual, and I didn't find the story preachy at all. It was nice to read a book full of characters with positive thoughts and a common purpose. The adventure included fighting and killing, but the author didn't dwell on details of the battles. The descriptions weren't gory and bloody. There was clearly something special about Kale that surpassed her ability to locate dragon eggs. Things happened during the story that were credited to her, even though she had no awareness of doing anything. This created a wonder about her true talents, and helped to keep my mind working. Overall, I recommend you give this book a shot, and I've already checked out its sequel DragonQuest. Lovers of dragons and adventures should enjoy it.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
My name is Mo, and I knew the town was in for trouble when the detective came to town. He said he was investigating a murder that happened in another town, but I didn't know why he came to Tupelo Landing. The Colonel lied to the detective about his new car, but I suppose it has something to do with not trusting the police or lawyers. However, the whole town was surprised when Jesse turned up dead, and I'm afraid the detective thinks my friend Dale did it. The Colonel always says the best defense is a good offense, so I figure Dale and I will need find the murderer ourselves.
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
My name is Natalie, and Emma figured out a way to get us back to the alternate world to save her mother. She guessed we could use the lever again even though the old portal was gone, and she was right. However, we didn't know what to do once we arrived in the basement of my house in the alternate world. I came face-to-face with my Other-Mother, the Judge in charge of the trial for Emma's mother, but I was able to trick her into thinking I was home sick from school. I'm not sure what I'll do if the Other-Natalie actually shows up. We tried doing an internet search for Emma's mom, but nothing came up. That's impossible. Her trial was all over the news just a couple weeks ago. We've secretly spied on many people in this house, and we now know one of them is an ally. The question is, which one?