About Lexie M.

I love writing and reading and my favorite book is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Nightfall by Shannon Messenger

Nightfall is the sixth book in the Keeper of the Lost Cites series (which is currently 8.5 books long), and the events come as a definite surprise to anyone who has read the other five books before it.

In this book, the main character of the series, a powerful young elf named Sophie Foster, has to rescue her human parents from a Neverseen hideout called Nightfall. (The Neverseen are a deadly rebel group that formed in the Lost Cities, and they always seem to be out to get Sophie and her friends.) But Sophie knows that the Neverseen might be using her parents as a diversion to distract her from the larger issues at hand, so, no matter how painful it is, Sophie is forced to look at the bigger picture and accept that the threat looming over her human parents might not be the problem she needs to focus on. She helps her friend, Keefe Sencen, with the issues he has with his mother, Lady Gisela, (who also happens to be a leader of the Neverseen) and attempts to figure out the identity of the prisoner who escaped from the Lumenaria dungeon in the previous installment of the series. But all of these issues seem to come together in the end of the book, when Sophie and her friends (Tam and Linh Song, Biana and Fitz Vacker, Keefe Sencen, and Dex Dizznee) and her foster father, Grady Ruewen, enter Nightfall. There, they encounter some members of the Neverseen and discover who their new ally is–the former prisoner of Lumenaria.

While all of this was going on, they also had to deal with another enemy, one whose alliance with the Neverseen hit extremely close to home. Alvar Vacker, the older brother of Fitz and Biana, was found abandoned by the Neverseen in one of their old hideouts, bleeding to death. They had discovered that Alvar was a member of the Neverseen in the earlier books, but they’d never have guessed that the group would leave him for dead. He doesn’t give any information in his interrogations except for one, crucial detail, which readers will find out in the beginning of Flashback.

The reason why I love this novel is because of all the plot twists and the fact that the characters have realistic personalities. Their problems kept me rooting for them the whole time the book was in my hands, and the storyline stuck with me for a long while after I’d finished. This book (and the series it belongs to) is a magical read, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves the fantasy genre.

Nighfall by Shannon Messenger is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Halloween Escape Room at the Mission Viejo Library

The escape room was on a Saturday afternoon in the Mission Viejo Library’s Heritage Room. The people overseeing the event had set up random images all over the place, some of which were clues that we could use in the escape room. It had an eerie feel to the air, there was haunting music playing in the background and the lights were dimmed to a point where it felt like evening in the middle of the day.

Soon after our group of four people (including myself) had walked in, a man with a British accent started talking, laying down what we were supposed to do: open a box with four locks on it–and we had to do it within the time limit of about thirty minutes. Immediately after he’d stopped talking, everyone began searching for clues. The first thing I ran for was the box with locks. One needed a direction code, one needed a letter code, one needed a number code, and the last required a key. For the lock with a key, there was another box that we had to unlock before we could access the key, so that was one of the trickier parts of the escape room. But then after we figured out the combination, the key didn’t fit in the lock on the box. We had to use the key to unlock a safe that led us to the right key.

The hard part about this escape room was that there were random things scattered all over the place, but we couldn’t tell which ones were clues, or which ones were red herrings, which is a “clue” that’s meant to distract you from what’s actually important. Also, when we asked for hints, they gave their help in terms of rhyming poems, so we sometimes couldn’t figure out what they meant. (And we couldn’t always tell which direction the lock was supposed to go or what order to put the letters or directions in.)

In the end, we unlocked all four locks with two minutes to spare and what was inside the locked box was kind of ridiculous. In the beginning, they said a talisman was supposed to be in the box, so nobody had any idea what to expect. I was just glad that we had managed to open the box at all within the time limit, because I’d never really done an escape room with a time limit before.

Overall, it was a great experience and the clues were very creative. It’s an awesome event for anyone who enjoys puzzles, games, and just a little bit of trickery.

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games series is four books long (including a prequel called The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes) and it is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Katniss Everdeen. She is chosen by the leaders of her country to fight in an outdoor gladiatorial game where her fellow contestants are between the ages of twelve and eighteen–this game is called the Hunger Games, which is where the series gets its name.

In The Hunger Games, the first book in the series, Katniss is challenged with the task of surviving the arena in the seventy-fourth Games. At a ceremony called the reaping, Katniss volunteered to take her sister’s place in the Games when twelve-year-old Primrose Everdeen’s name gets selected from a large glass ball called a reaping ball. Katniss is then whisked away to the Capitol, the ruling city of her country (Panem, which is a place split up into twelve districts and the Capitol). There, she is prepared for the Games; donning a fiery costume for a public event called the tribute parade, performing in an interview with a man named Caesar Flickerman, and undergoing intense training to learn the skills she’ll need to know for the Games. The place where they acquire those skills is called the Training Center and the tributes (the competitors) learn how to do things like throwing knives, identifying edible food, tying knots, wielding weapons, and more! At the end of training, they get to showcase all these skills in a private fifteen minute session with the Gamemakers (the people who come up with the challenges the tributes will face in the arena). The Gamemakers give them scores based on how well they did in their session, the score of twelve being the best, and one being the worst.

Katniss is then dumped into the arena where she has to fight for her life to be the last tribute standing. After all, the last tribute standing wins and gets showered with gifts, money, and luxury items for the rest of his or her life. She has to face down tough competition, such as Cato, the brutal boy from District Two and Thresh, the surly male from District Eleven. In addition, she has to deal with her injured ally, Peeta Mellark, the boy from her district, who also happens to be in love with her. All throughout the duration of this fast-paced, action packed novel, readers ask the crucial question: Will Katniss be able to make it out of the Games alive?

I don’t want to spoil the book’s glorious ending, so I won’t say anything else. Part of the reason the Hunger Games is such an awesome read is that the characters are so believable and I found myself on the edge of my seat, totally immersed in the story the whole time. I definitely give this book a rating of five out of five and it’s a wonderful novel for anyone who enjoys action, romance, and tragedy all packed together into one, complex storyline.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.