Book Review: The City of Ember: The First Book of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember: The First Book of Ember is the first book in the city of Ember series, written by the author Jeanne DuPrau. The City of Ember is a 270-page science-fiction book. The book follows two main characters Lina and Doon. As is the custom in their city they were given jobs at 12. The city of Ember is falling into decay often having blackouts, giving citizens the fear of it forever being dark. The two main characters however learn the secret of their city and what lies beyond. However, greedy villains try to survive by themselves letting the rest die.

What makes this book so interesting is how it tells us what we might be causing in the future. It tells of a city hidden away from the world human life died. Technology keeping the city down starting break fail. It has a message to our present world on how dangerous we can be with how little regard humans have for the health of the world and nature. However, the book also teaches us hope, that there always good individuals trying to save our world and people. The book is about growing up and learning the dark secrets of their world, and trying to stop them. With puzzle solving the conflicts and problems are often solved with ingenuity rather than force. The book is placed in a city built by people who thought that a nuclear war was inevitable and created a safe haven hidden from the rest of the world before everyone on the surface died.

I would recommend this book to anyone 12 and over who is interested in dystopian, science fiction, or how humans survive Nuclear war. It’s a great book with interesting ideas, and can get you thinking more than the difficulty of the book would be expected.

Luke G.

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

What you Should do During Summer Break

School’s out means for those of us still receiving an education summer break starts. Summer break is the most amount of time a student is gonna get. Many of us especially before we’ve graduated high school don’t know what to do over the long summer break. Many have trouble being productive or finding something to do. With fewer responsibilities, you are given more chances to work on yourself. Summer is the best time to deal with all the personal problems you’ve been dealing with.

You can always try and get a job. If you are old enough getting can help you get real-world experience and spending money that you can use while you are out with your friends. Though it’s also the time that you can spend time on your hobbies without worrying about wasting time. One great way to spend your time over summer break is to volunteer. Without any responsibilities from school, you can spend your time volunteering for programs you care about and want to help. Not only will it help your college aps but also makes you feel better about yourself when you know you did something good for your community.

Another activity you can spend your time on is learning a new language. This goes especially for those of us kids that have one or two parents that can speak the language, you can’t. Like when you are at a family gathering but your aunts and uncles speak a different language. Or when you live in an area that has a lot of speakers of a different language. Even if you relate to none of what I just said, learning a new language is still a great way to spend your time. You’re still learning without doing something super academic. Also, learning a new skill set can not only help you or save you time in the future, but also gives you a sense of achievement.

The last thing that is great to learn over the summer is to learn how to cook. For those of us that don’t know how to cook, you’ll most likely eventually find times in your life that you have to cook for yourself. However, by the time that happens some us still can’t make a home-made meal for ourselves. We all know that home-made meal are cheaper and sometimes tastier than eating out. When you’re a broke college student living in an apartment, we’ll all learn to appreciate the skill.

These are my suggestions of what to do if you’re having trouble figuring out how to spend your summer break. However, you don’t have to do any of what I suggested- it is your summer. Though, you’ll probably not regret learning new skills over the summer.

-Luke G.

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods is a 336 paged book written by Rick Riordan and illustrated by John Rocco. I know all of us have heard of Percy Jackson. You have probably at some point read one of the books in Percy Jackson’s mythological world. So as a person who doesn’t know much about Greek mythology this book is great. Most people don’t much about Greek mythology. So this book is great giving you not only an interesting story but allowing you better understand and enjoy the other Percy Jackson books.

The book starts off with how the world is created in Greek mythology. So we learn about the start of Earth and the Titans. After the Titans are the Gods. It goes through the first Titan wars explaining how the Gods got into power. Zeus who is actually the youngest starts the war by freeing his five older siblings from the prison which was their father’s stomach.

After, explaining the war the book goes over the stories of 15 of the main Greek Gods. The 15 main Greek Gods talked about were Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter, Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Ares, Aphrodite, Persephone, Hermes, Hestia, Hephaestus, and Dionysus.

We read interesting and exciting stories made centuries ago with a modern writing style. As well as background knowledge on some of the Greek gods. It’s an interesting book and a must-read for anybody planning to read Percy Jackson’s books.

-Luke G.

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.

Brotherband Chronicles Book 1: The Outcasts by John Flanagan

The first book of the Brotherband Chronicles The Outcasts by John Flanagan, is a 434-page book set in the same world as the Ranger’s Apprentice. The book follows Hal and his crew of outcasts a group of Skandians. As Skandians are usually big and strong and Hal and his are not set aside and with nobody wanting to be with them they are outcasts from everyone else. The group of outcasts form the team the Herons. Using their skills they fight against the other teams at sea, As they fight other teams to win glory and a chance to prove themselves.

The story introduces many new terms about boats and sailing for those who are not familiar and it might take some time to get used to some of the new words and remember what they mean. However it does not take away from the book but helps it as it uses accurate sailing terms. The book is great for those who love reading the underdogs who use their skills and smarts to win when they are not expected to. Its set in the same world as the Ranger’s Apprentice and has some connections so any fans of that series should read this book as well.

Overall the book has a good storyline and sets the foundation for the sequels that come after it. The book has lots of background helping readers understand character’s motives, and is well written. With tales of friendships, smarts, action its book many can enjoy.

-Luke G.

Brotherband Chronicles Book 1: The Outcasts by John Flanagan is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Knight’s Ransom by Jeff Wheele

The Knight’s Ransom by Jeff Wheeler is the first book in the First Argentines series. The book is 433 pages long. The First Argentines series is currently made up of three books with a fourth to come. The whole series is a prequel to the six-book series the Kingfountain series. The book Knight’s Ransom is relatively new as it was only published on January 26, 2021.

The book follows Marshall Barton nicknamed Ransom, by his childhood friend and main female character Claire de Murrow. The book starts in a civil war over succession for the throne. It starts with young Ransom being abducted by the original king, and to make his noble father stay loyal an attempted hanging of Ransom takes place. However, ultimately the king doesn’t hang him. The story is then mainly about Ransom’s journey through knighthood as he looks to find who he is and what he wants. We see him growing up as it has multiple time skips allowing us to see Ransom get into his teens and twenties. One of the more enjoyable parts is the diary entries by Claire de Murrow as it talks about what’s happening to her and what her point of view is of the events that are happening.

This is a book I would highly recommend to people who like a fantasy about swords and magic as while as books set in the medieval era. The Knight’s Ransom has character development and has some mystery such as when Ransom hears rushing water in his ears. This book doesn’t always show a plain black and white picture allowing the reader to decide what is right. The book has fights and war, where blood is spilled and there is the point where characters drink alcohol. However, I did quite enjoy this book as it gets you intrigued into what’s going to happen.

-Luke G.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan, is the first book in the Magnus Chase series. The book is connected to and placed in the same world Rick Riordan’s other popular mythological series Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, Trials of Apollo, Heroes of Olympus, and a few other books.

You might see some similar names in this book if you’re familiar with the Percy Jackson series. The Sword of Summer as you might expect is another mythological fantasy book this time about the Nine realms and the Norse Gods.

The book starts off with the main character Magnus Chase as a homeless guy, who dies. No, that is not a spoiler and is actually part of the title of the first chapter. By the way, The chapter titles can be very hilarious in my opinion at times. Anyways back to how the book goes. You have Magnus Chase who is a homeless orphan and ends up meeting his uncle. His uncle tells him of his godly heritage as Magnus is about to reach the age where monsters will start going after him. To not spoil the book that is as far as will go. I would recommend this book to any fantasy and mythology book lovers. It’s filled with action and world-building, however, be warned that it might take a while as it’s a 498 paged book.

-Luke G.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive/Libby.

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

The Ruins of Gorlan, written by John Flanagan published on November 1, 2004, is the first book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. The series is made up of a total of 11 books. There is a sequel series of 5 books as well and also one other series that take place in the same world and has some connections and some of the same characters, as well as a few others. In total the three series make up a total of 26 books, so if you enjoy it there is plenty to look forward to.

The book takes place in a medieval-like Europe-like place, with some fantasy of some monsters showing up. The story is set around 15 years after a large-scale war. The book focuses on an orphan Will, it is unknown who either of the parents is but assumed the father is assumed to have died in battle. He lives in an orphanage that the lord runs for children whose parents died in the war. Now that he is 15 he is expected to learn a job or become a farmer. Failing to become get into knight school and become a warrior in his father’s image. He instead gets chosen by an unexpected person. He learns the skills of a ranger in a mysterious job.

This book while slow at the begging as it sets up the story for the series does eventually pick up and bring in some action. It is more about Will learning the skills of his position and surviving. It is nicely written and one of the best of its kind. If you give it a chance past halfway you’ll get to the point that you can’t stop if you like this type of book. I give this as a great recommendation to anyone who likes medieval-era with slight fantasy types of books.

-Luke G.

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

What You May Want To Know Before Watching Dune

The movie adaptation of Dune by Frank Herbert, which is directed by Denis Villeneuve, will be released in theaters on October 22 this year. The first movie is the first of a trilogy that will cover the first two dune books, Dune and Dune messiah. The book having 22 chapters and 412 pages. Dune the movie will cover around the first half of the book so around 11 chapters in 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Dune written in 1965, was in part inspired by The Sabres of Paradise by Lesley Blanch published in 1960. Dune is one of the most popular and influential sci-fi books of all time has changed sci-fi and set the standard for a great sci-fi book. Dune has been adapted into a movie before in 1985, where they tried to cover the whole book leading to the movie being a failure. This time with the movie only covers the first half and might portray the complex story better.

*There may be spoilers ahead*The story focuses on the character Paul Atreides a thoughtful and quiet boy and son of Duke Leto Atreides. Duke Leto is the Duke of Arrakis. Arrakis is the planet most of the story takes place on. The nickname or other name for the planet of Arrakis is Dune. Arrakis is called Dune because the planet is almost completely covered in deserts.

The villain is Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the Duke’s political rival and former owner of Arrakis. A power-hungry person he becomes the main villain trying to take control of Arrakis from the Duke.

Dune is expected to be a success, and from the looks of the trailer has great CGI effects. Do you think Dune will be a success or a failure?

-Luke G.