When a kid has to hide this much it can hurt them in a way that, they are used to hiding things from other people. When kids are keeping secrets like this, they tend to stay with old habits. She isn’t even being told to keep some secrets, she is keeping secrets of her own free will, like about steeling books, and stealing food. If she stays on this track, it may not be good for her. It’s definitely not good for her now, hiding things from friends, family, it’s worrying and unnecessary. Too much stress for a very young mind.
What I Read: Fablehaven, Keys to the Demon Prison, fantasy, 640 pages, by Brandon Mull.
How It Starts: Kendra and Seth are searching for the fourth key when allies and enemies are revealed. Desperate, scrambling, they go in seek of a weapon that can be used to fight the demons in a desperate attempt. Vasilis, the sword of light and dark, has an unknown location and they must challenge the singing sisters, known for making costly deals. Much more than half of the entire team of heroes is captured and must find a way to escape. The enemies are on the verge of stealing the last two keys from the protagonists.
How It Gets Complicated: Zxyxz is on the verge of opening and spilling out the millions of dangerous, world-ending demons. the situation is dire and the heroes are nearly hopeless. A constant roller coaster of trust and betrayal. Allies are revealed as enemies, enemies are revealed to be allies in the end, and new allies join the struggle for good.
What I Liked: I loved the roller coaster of betrayals and risky trusts. If feel like the protagonists were in the absolute depths of disadvantage. It’s an absolute writing miracle that Brandon Mull managed to even think up a possible solution to the story that was relevant. The solution was another quest altogether and even then, the odds were overwhelmingly capsizing.
What I Disliked: I felt like they tried to do too much with the ending. I loved it personally but felt like less of a story and more of an idea hat where you just throw in everything you can that might add to the story and fill up space. The naiads come out of the water and wizards come out of hiding with armies of dragons and their weak friend dragon with no fire breath managed to fight as well, and the end battle didn’t feel like as much of a struggle.
Recommendation: I feel like anyone who loves a good climax to a story would like this book. It was all forces combined from across the books vs. the ultimate enemy which is what the antagonist unleashed.
I think that Max should have sent his sister away with Walter Kugler. She was the youngest, she was both woman and child and she should have been saved first. Granted, they did have a cousin, Isaac, who could have taken care of them, but even if they had a man to take care of the family, they still would have been sent to the concentration death camps. There was one life to be saved out of two men, a woman and a child. The right thing to do would be to save the child from the horror of those concentration camps.
What I Read: Fablehaven, Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, by Brandon Mull, fantasy, with 560 pages.
How It Starts: Kendra and Seth are seeking to keep the antagonist: the Society of the Evening Star, from opening a demon prison that houses millions of the most dangerous demons in the world. The Society thinks that they can make a deal with the demons, use them to change the world into a world of equality because the main antagonist used to be a slave in a hidden preserve. But of course, the demons would obviously undermine the society and destroy the world, because that is their mission. So, in this book they try to find on of the keys to find one of the five keys to the demon prison.
How it gets complicated: The key is in a secret preserve that is filled with dragons that are unhindered by rules at all. The preserve is also invisible to the world and has a huge protector spell called a distraction spell. To enter the preserve, you must use the first horn of a unicorn, which cannot be taken but only given freely. The only one they have access to is guarded by proud centaurs who don’t want to give it to the protagonists. And they can’t steal it because it can only be given freely, if not, then it will fill you with so much guilt, that you must put it back and surrender yourself.
What I liked: I like how the author jumped through loopholes to keep the story moving and weaves a great web of story as he does it. I don’t like ex machinas, but there has to be a balance of ex machinas and solutions. Sometimes the solution should be there, but the protagonist just needs to find it on a separate quest that could provide the solution to the main story line. I also loved the plot twist at the end. Best plot twist I’ve ever read.
What I disliked: I didn’t dislike anything, great book.
Recommendation: I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read the past three books, the plot twist wouldn’t be as interesting. But if you want to, start reading Fablehaven and stick with it.
I believe that everyone has a choice to do or be what they want. I also believe that there is also someone behind the scenes pulling strings and allowing for some people to have escapes. But mostly, we choose to do certain things. We choose to go down paths that the “puppet master” has laid out for us. We don’t have a set path for our lives because we have the agency to make choices. Certain decisions can change your life completely and sometimes, the “puppet master” behind the scenes may have left road of breadcrumbs and obstacles, but we are the ones who choose to go down that path. People have power over their own lives, and anyone, like Hitler, who seeks to take away that power and agency and the freedom of choice, is truly evil.
What I Read: Fablehaven, Grip of the Shadow Plague, by Brandon Mull, Fantasy, 473 pages.
How It Starts: Kendra and Seth are still at Fablehaven from the last book, the last book left off on a cliffhanger where Vanessa (the traitor/spy from the last book who is imprisoned) left a message that their greatest ally, the Sphinx, is really the leader of the enemy, the Society of the Evening Star. They are scrambling, trying to figure out if she is correct because she used seemingly sound logic to prove her point.
How It Gets Complicated: Seth, (Kendra’s little brother), stumbled upon some of the smallest creatures in Fablehaven, the Nipsies. They are extreme architects but when Seth finds them they are prepared to battle each other to the death and they have a dark aura. They find out that a plague is starting to corrupt Fablehaven and it is spreading fast. Meanwhile, Kendra and some of the other protagonists, are trying to find the keys to the demon prison… Zzyzx.
What I liked: I liked the way the author ties two loose ends together. He ties one loose end from the last book, (who was in the box?) and where the plague came from. He uses his characters and inserts them into this web of knots and no loose ends or plot holes. I also liked the loss at the end of the book. I feel like a story is never completed without the battle being an actual struggle, not some magical object that easily defeats the enemy with an ease that wasn’t possible before. The story should end with enough loss that the victory barely outweighs what was lost. The protagonist should be at their weakest possible point, broken, even dead. He could have lost allies and friends and this drives him to eventually defeat the adversary. In the end of the story, (REDACTED) died. (REDACTED) was very liked among the main protagonists so I consider this to be an decent amount of loss but barely enough.
What I disliked: I disliked the ex machina. An ex machina is a solution to a problem that comes out of nowhere. It wasn’t the original quest and it wasn’t in their knowledge at all. When Seth finds the Chronometer, (a time device,) he pushes a bunch of random buttons and when he pushes the right button, (REDACTED) comes back from the past and helps save the day with answers and special skills that could help them. I feel like this solution to the problem came from out of no where.
Recommendation: I would recommend this book for anyone who likes magical worlds that are hidden to the eyes of the real world, and the characters, who you know are magical and special, step foot in the real world and are involved in it.
Source: I found this passage in The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, on page 164
Quote: “So much good, so much evil. Just add water.”
Context: Liesel and Rudy just stole from Otto Sturm and it foreshadows that Rudy will be handing out bread to others later on.
This Makes Me Think: This shows the two sides to people. The book calls Liesel and Rudy honest thiefs almost because they share… Just like Robin Hood. They steal from the rich to give to the poor, themselves and their friends. But then the book foreshadows that Rudy will be giving bread to others around him. So, is Rudy a good or bad person? I believe that he is a good person at heart who just committed a few bad actions. He doesn’t consider them bad though. So to find out if he was justified, how well off were the people he stole from. He justifies himself in the book saying, “the priests are fat enough to be able to go two weeks without eating,” (with a little paraphrasing.) I agree with him but I am conflicted with the fact that he seems to feel no remorse for making Otto Sturm fall off his bike hard, and the fact that he stole from a priest indirectly. He says in the book that he did feel a little bad but he did seem to overcome that with justification. I also love the add water part just because it’s so creative to say that people are just mixed emotions like good and evil and just add water and you have a person.
Source: I found this passage in Fablehaven, Grip of the Shadow Plague, on page 328
Quote: “If a starving bear ate my family, even though he may have had no wicked intentions, even though he was just being a bear, his nature has made him a menace, and I’m going to shoot him.”
Context: The protagonists are in a magical area and are hiding out from the plague. Right now they are discussing choice and instinct to do right or wrong.
This Makes Me Think: This poses a modern day philosophical question about good and evil. The bear had no wicked intentions, it just did what it’s instinct told it to do and eat. It had no consciousness of the fact that he was eating a family, but his instinct made him a menace and a problem. But is there right or wrong? Could right or wrong just be, what we assume to be the correct Morales to guide ourselves. Some people think that it’s absolutely forbidden to drink, others think that it’s not a crime, and it’s morale as long as it’s done responsibly. Could right and wrong just be an opinionated subject used to micromanage the world to do what they think is right.
Books are dangerous to corrupt governments that seek power and try to control the people. Books give knowledge, and knowledge is power. Books can educate you and that can be dangerous propaganda towards the government. When the citizens are educated and know what is actually taking place than they can stop it. Books aren’t always be educating, they can be liberating. When you read a book it takes you to another world that takes your through a story that can be well-crafted. Be doing this, it can empower youth and adults to seek a higher form of life and possibly rebel against what oppresses them.
Source: I found this passage in Fablehaven, Grip of the Shadow Plague, by Brandon Mull, on page 326
Quote: “I don’t view most magical creatures as good or evil. What they are largely governs how they act. In order to be good, you must recognize the difference between right and wrong and strive to choose the right. To be truly evil you must do the contrary. Being good or evil is a choice.”
Context: At this point in the story, the protagonists are hiding out in an area protected from the plague. The plague has corrupted almost all of the magical creatures at Fablehaven, and even some of their companions. But their companion’s minds are not corrupted and they are only 3d shadows. Kendra is asking why humans are affected by the plague differently than magical creatures.
This Makes Me Think: This passage is interesting, because he suggests that to be good or evil is a choice. That is definitely true. But if good or evil is a choice, is anyone really evil? Could it be that anyone who was evil wasn’t bad, just doing bad actions. I disagree, when you strive and deliberately choose to do evil, then you ARE evil. Hitler, for example, wasn’t just committing bad actions, he was bad. You choose to act do what you want, and therefore it shapes you into who you are, when you continually perform bad actions, it shapes you into a bad person.