May 17

Book Review 2.3: Beyonders: Seeds of Rebellion

What I Read: Beyonders, Seeds of Rebellion, by Brandon Mull, Fantasy, 495 pages, and I would rate it 4 stars.

How It Starts: After Jason returned home in the first book after learning that the word to unmake Maldor wasn’t real, he isn’t trying to get on with his life. He communicates with Ferrin using sign language on his severed hand that is still connected by magic. He visits the same hippo that swallowed him whole in the last book trying to find a way back to Lyrian. Once he finds his way back he is no longer being surveyed from a distance without being killed, he is a real fugitive this time.

How It Get’s Complicated: Once he finds his way back he is no longer being surveyed from a distance without being killed, he is a real fugitive this time. Now it’s not some cheap shortcut to destroying Maldor, they need to kill him for real, and it won’t be easy when he has massive armies, an impenetrable castle, and hundreds of assets at his disposal. It is practically impossible to touch an untouchable man.

What I Liked: I liked the setting of rebellion in this book. It’s not all out war but more of preparation for war. It illustrates how impossible it will be to stop Maldor.

What I Disliked: I disliked how the Jason couldn’t do anything. They gave Rachael the ability to do Edomic, which is basically magic, but Jason can’t even fight with a sword or anything. He’s just dead weight with a slight opinion.

Recommendation: If you like ex machina after ex machina that somehow keep the main character alive when they should be dead ten times over. Other than that it was a pretty good book.

May 15

Not Being Seen

When Conor is punished it makes him feel normal. Everyone is treating him like he needs help and is special. He misses being a normal kid and misses being treated normally by everyone. I think that Harry found a sudden interest in Conor because he thought Conor was searching for pity. He didn’t like Conor so he bullied him and when he found out that that was what Conor wanted, he found the one way to bug Conor. Harry doesn’t like the “pity game” Which is where people go around  and try to ask for attention so that they are noticed. It annoys Harry.

May 15

Book Review 2.2: Beyonders: A World Without Heroes

What I Read:

Beyonders: A World Without Heroes, book 1, by Brandon Mull, Fantasy, 454 pages long, and four stars.

How It Starts: Jason is a freshman in high school who loves baseball, animals, and his friends. His parents are big on dentistry, and he’s not. He’s studying zoology and his parents don’t like that. One day he gets hit really hard with a baseball to the head and goes straight to work at a zoo. Then he hears music coming from a hippo and accidentally falls in. The hippo swallows him and instead of a big belly of guts, he finds himself in a forest, in Lyrian.

How It Get’s complicated: Jason stumbles upon a library after causing a good bit of trouble nearby, and uncovers a syllable. That syllable is part of the word that will eventually be used to unmake the iron-fisted emperor of Lyrian. But now he is a target, a very big target and must uncover the rest of the word and save unmake Maldor.

What I Liked: I liked how the book didn’t feel complete at the end. It left you wanting more and still made you wonder how he would ever make it through. I also loved the huge plot twist at the end of the book.

What I Disliked: It seemed like Jason got lucky most of the book and that was the only way he made it through. He didn’t really have any real skills.

Recommendation: If you love plot twists and magical stories then you would like this book.

May 15

Deep Thinker 2.8: The Perfect Athlete

Source: Beyonders, book 3, on page 298

Quote: “We’ll be at your heels,” Nia said. “Drinlings can keep up with horses over long distances. We can’t outpace a gallop, but we can run day and night without tiring, eating as we go.”

Context: The protagonists just docked the enemy ship on land and the enemy soldiers are killing and scaring away all of the horses so that they can’t get away. A drinling is a race created by a wizard that doesn’t tire, and as they work and do things that would normally tire others, they only grow stronger. They can eat anything except for metal and rock, and they only live for two year lifetimes.

This Makes Me Think: If we had drinlings in our society, imagine if we could replicate that into people to negate the short life. If so, sports would completely change. Running wouldn’t be about stamina, but speed, and the harder you work, the stronger you get without tiring. They have total immunity to almost all diseases. Their only negative side affect would be living for two years. Hard work would be gone because you wouldn’t be working at all no matter what you do.

May 11

Deep Thinker 2.6: Luxury is not happiness

Source: Beyonders, book 3, by Brandon Mull, on page 168

Quote: “The price is that your friends will probably end up miserable. There are no happy people at Harthenham. There is no peace for those who abandon their ideals. Regardless of the pact you make, most of your friends will probably die anyhow, because they’ll reject whatever pardon Maldor offers.”

Context: Rachael got an offer from Maldor to join him. Her friend Ferrin is helping her make her choice, and telling her about the price of accepting his offer.

This Makes Me Think: Why is there no happiness in a life of luxury? If Rachael accepted Maldor’s offer, she would learn edomic, become and empress one day, become immortal. And her friends would live happily in harhenham or better, considering Maldor’s pardon. She could even pardon the Amar Kabal so that they can keep living out their days. But that is only the outside appearance. In reality, most of her friends would reject the pardon, and anyone who did would die unhappy in harhenham. Well, why would living in luxury in harhenham be such a horrible thing? By going to harhenham, you abandon principles, develop habits of laziness and laxity. No one at harhenham is happy because they are trying to quench their depression with delicious addictions.

May 11

Deep Thinker 2.5: The Truth Is Tempting to Forget

Source: Beyonders, book 3, by Brandon Mull, on page 167

Quote: “That truth could be tempting to forget amid the rousing speeches and busy preparations. Galloran knows how to inspire and mobilize those around him. But don’t let his rhetoric confuse the reality of the situation. If our aim is to dethrone Maldor, we’ve been warned that we’ll probably fail.”

Context: Ferrin is giving Rachael advice so that she is not so indecisive about why she is there and what she is doing. The oracle gave them a prophecy and told them that their chances of success were beyond minimal. That out of millions of possibilities, only one would lead to victory. This is bothering Rachael, and making her question why she is doing this.

This Makes Me Think: Sometimes it’s nice to avoid reality for a time. Between all of these speeches of success and getting lost in the work of preparing, it can be hard to realize that if a single wrong thing happened, they would fail, and Maldor would win. But facing reality clears your conscience and helps you understand why you are suffering.

May 11

Deep Thinker 2.7: You Miss 100% of the Shots You Don’t Take

Source: Beyonders, book 3, by Brandon Mull, on page 169.

Quote:”You think we still might win?” Rachel checked. Ferrin Shrugged. “The only way to know is to keep trying. We can guess what may have spoiled our chances of winning, but we can never know whether victory is still possible unless we see it through to the end.

Context: Rachel’s dreams were intruded by Maldor indirectly. He learned of the prophecy that was meant to destroy him, and said to Rachel that everyone would fall into his lap and he would crush them. Rachel is having Ferrin console her about the fact that they might still win.

This Makes Me Think: If they just gave up now and said that they didn’t stand a chance because Maldor they completely wouldn’t have a chance. All of their little failures were meant to happen because they lead up to the end result. The prophecy predicted all of their failures. But, if they keep trying to succeed then are taking a shot and they actually have a chance to succeed.

May 9

Belief

I think that the monster was right in saying that the parson should not have given up on his beliefs. He crumpled at the first challenge given him like the monster said, and abandoned his beliefs when things got hard. Whether or not his beliefs were right or wrong, he abandoned them, and that is why the apothecary didn’t help him. He lost his spine and backbone. A person has to be able to stand strong in the face of trial. The parson was given a hard trial though, it was breaking and he hadn’t been exposed to such a hard thing to have to withstand.

May 9

Deep Thinker 2.4: How to Rule a Kingdom

Source: Beyonders, by Brand0n Mull, on page 416.

Quote: “Murder begets murder. I want the word to fear me, without inflaming that fear into rebellion. I slay many inconsequential enemies. But slaying powerful enemies creates martyrs, rallying their followers, allowing fear to become emboldened into anger. So I do not kill my most effective enemies. Great men who oppose Maldor know they will be ruined. No killed, but utterly broken. They end their lives addicted to the pleasures of Harthenham, or, after long imprisonment and extensive conditioning, they are released into the world as feeble shadows of their former selves, burdened with physical and mental handicaps. Walking testaments to the futility of resisting my authority. Rather than spark rebellion, they are pitied and forgotten.”

Context: Jason was just captured by Maldor and he is giving Jason a spill of how he runs his kingdom and how he prevents rebellion.

This Makes Me Think: How do you beat an emperor with unlimited resources and thousands of years of experience and knowledge. This kind of system weeds out the people who oppose Maldor, those who have the will to resist temptation and a life of luxury, and those who can survive against Maldor’s forces when they refuse. This sifts through all of the heroes who try to oppose Maldor until the only ones left standing are the true heroes, with the will to resist and invitation to Harthenham, and the skill to be able to defend against Maldor’s onslaught when they do refuse. It’s kind of like the movie: Infinity War, the villain was so impossibly unstoppable, that only the true heroes lasted to fight.

(actually a picture of Thanos dabbing!)

May 6

Deep Thinker 2.3: Immortality

Source: Beyonders, by Brandon Mull, on page 375

Quote: “If anything I should feel sorry for you and your kind. You only live once. Most of the guests here are drowning in gluttony having hardly lived. Shed no tears for me.”

Context: The Amar Kabal is a wizard-born race who have seeds in their necks that when they die, they plant it in the ground and within a month are reborn into their prime state. When they are in their prime state, they are killed at a ceremony because that sets their prime state, so that when they are reborn in the ground, they come back out in their prime. Drake, the Amar Kabal speaking to Jason, has a rare deformity with his Amar (the seed.) His Amar didn’t form properly in his last regrowth and after his next death, his seed will be gone, and he will die permanently.

This Makes me think: It’s weird to think about immortality. The Amar Kabals immortality has limits, but they still have long lives. In Fablehaven, there are nymphs that have immortality with no strings attached. One nymph became human and told her perspective as an immortal. She said that when you are immortal, you have no sense of time, it’s almost like you’re high and life is slipping through your fingers. But the Amar Kabal show no such signs of not caring. The nymphs had no worries because of their immortality and were even a little immature and childish. But the Amar Kabal do die, in a way. They are vulnerable to an extent. They have elders with the wisdom of thousands of generations.