Book Review: Eyes of the Emperor

eyes_emperorRunning for his life and scrambling for shelter, Eddy Okubo tries to avoid the Japanese bombs raining down on Pearl Harbor. This is how he chooses to live his teenage life, being a U.S. army soldier in World War II.

Eyes of the Emperor, written by Graham Salisbury, is about a sixteen year old boy who signs up to serve in the U.S. army to fight for his country. But, in doing so, Eddy has to survive harsh conditions and will his physical and mental ability be enough to impress his training superiors?

Eddy Okubo wants to prove to his father that his loyalty lies with his homeland, America, by enrolling to be an American soldier, even though his heritage is Japanese. After the Pearl Harbor bombing, Eddy and his comrades are sent to Cat Island, where they are supposed to test a secret project assigned by President Roosevelt, to defeat the Japanese and win the war. Even after grueling hard work and dangerous obstacles to face, Eddy still wants to become a U.S. soldier, who must survive the task in the dense jungle on Cat Island. Eddy needs to prove himself through these challenges until the army accepts his loyalty. Will he prevail and will his talent be recognized by the country that he believes in, or will he have to go back to his family without honor and dignity?

Graham Salisbury is an American author born during the time of World War II. He wrote many great books such as Under the Blood Red Sun and The Millennium. In my opinion, I would rate this book an eight out of ten and would encourage young adults to read this great story of historical fiction. It provides a lot of information about World War II, involving Japan and America. The way Graham Salisbury describes the characters and setting is also very deep and gives you a vivid image of the whole story, as if you were the main character himself. In addition, he uses a lot of personification and metaphors to describe major events. This is a great novel of a boy who follows his beliefs and carries them out persistently to achieve his goals.

-Riley W., 6th grade

Book Review: Midnight for Charlie Bone, by Jenny Nimmo

charlie_boneImagine having a unique talent which nobody else has, and you have the choice of using it to save the world! Written by Jenny Nimmo, this novel, Midnight for Charlie Bone, tells a story about a young boy who thinks he is a normal person with a normal life who has a normal friend. However, when Charlie starts to hear voices from the people in various photos and pictures, his life suddenly changes and becomes very complicated.

Charlie Bone is then forced by his wicked aunts to attend Bloor’s Academy for talented students in the areas of music, art, or drama. He is like some other children at this school who have an endowment of magic, and he is descended from the Red King, a ruler from the past with unimaginable powers. Myths say that these descendants would each possess one of those magical endowments, and that is why Charlie is able to hear people in non-motion images. One day while visiting a book store, he stumbled upon a mysterious, metal case containing something that might save the bookseller’s daughter and family. In order to do this though, he needs to find the courage to stand up to the Bloor family, whose evilness is lurking behind the doors of their academy.

Jenny Nimmo is an extraordinary author who writes several fantasy books for children and young adults. This series, Charlie Bone and the Red King, has a total of eight amazing novels, and I am currently reading the third book, Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy.

I think Charlie is the perfect character, since he has the right personality and characteristics for this series. What makes him so special in the book is that he has a knack for getting in trouble, but he can somehow always get away with it, whether it is having friends help or by using his brain to get out of tough situations.

My recommendation for this book would be to anyone between the ages of ten to sixteen who like to read about fantasies and mysteries. I would rate this novel a nine and a half out of ten, because it drew me into the story, as if I was part of the setting. This would be a good book for you Harry Potter fans out there, for this series depicts a war of good versus evil.

-Riley W., 6th grade

Book Review: The Power of Six, by Pittacus Lore

power_of_six_coverIn The Power of Six, the sequel to the book I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, aliens called Loriens move to Earth to escape the evil Mogadorians, who have already destroyed the planet Lorien and plan to take over the universe. The Loric are each named after a number and possess superhuman abilities called Legacies. Protected by a special charm, they can only be killed off in their numbered order. In I am Number Four, the Mogadorians have already terminated numbers one, two, and three out of the nine Loric. If all of the Loric are killed, there is no telling of what the future of Earth, let alone our universe, will be like.

After destroying a school and leaving Paradise, Ohio, Number Four and Six both go to Florida to flee the Mogadorians. On the other side of the world in Spain, however, Number Seven is trying to find her chest of Lorien because she knows that it is time to find the other Loric and face their enemies. But when the Mogadorians grow stronger and start to hunt down the only survivors of Lorien, there is nowhere else to hide from death and destruction.

Pittacus Lore is a pseudonym for the authors of the I am Number Four series. The authors are still in progress of finishing the series, which many young adults love. I would rate The Power of Six an eight out of ten because there wasn’t much action compared to I am Number Four. I would certainly recommend it to young adults and teenagers who love action and adventure, and can’t wait to finish reading the series!

-Riley W., 6th grade

Book Review: Starlight, by Erin Hunter

warriors_starlight_coverOut of all the ten books I have read of the Warriors series, this one was my most favorite. Starlight, by Erin Hunter, is a story about wild cats that move into a new home. They have to learn how to survive in surroundings that are much different from their past home, as the forest is now being destroyed by Twolegs (humans).

The four clans of warrior cats– Thunderclan, Windclan, Shadowclan, and Riverclan– try to settle in their new home by seeking food, shelter, and boundaries to set up defenses to protect their own territories. When the Windclan leader dies and there is no place for the clans to speak with Starclan, the clans’ warrior ancestors, the cats think that all hope is lost. But one certain character will not give up in order to unite the clans together. Will Brambleclaw succeed or will chaos take over?

Throughout the whole Warriors series, I have grown to love the main characters’ personalities. All of the cats are very skilled warriors who are caring, courageous, honorable, and selfless. In addition, they fight like leaders to protect each of their clans. There are many scenes in the book when the warrior cats fight and this is what made Starlight so fast-paced. The suspense made me want to keep reading to the next chapter and I couldn’t put the book down! In my opinion, I would rate this book an eight out of ten and would recommend it to kids ages ten to sixteen who enjoy fantasy and action.

-Riley W., 6th grade

Book Review: Stormbreaker, by Anthony Horowitz

stormbreakerImagine what it would be like to work for a top-secret spy agency, let alone only being a teenager! This is the life of one unfortunate schoolboy, who is left orphaned at an early age. Written by Anthony Horowitz, Stormbreaker is an action-packed novel filled with adventure. Set in present-day England, a fourteen year old boy named Alex Rider is suddenly thrown into a deadly situation.

When Alex’s uncle mysteriously dies in a car accident, he is forced to take his uncle’s place as a spy in MI6, Britain’s top-secret spy organization. Little does he know that he is being tossed into a dangerous mission to spy on Herod Sayle, the mastermind behind the newest computer, Stormbreaker. Using pure instinct and his intelligence, Alex must fight for his life, as well as save the people of the Britain.

Anthony Horowitz writes Stormbreaker in a very unique way. He builds suspense in every inch of the book, is very descriptive in detail, and is very creative. From Alex being recruited as a spy to dodging bullets, this book makes your heart constantly race with anxiety. I thought Alex is a very brave and likable boy and if he were actually real, I would have liked to have met him. However, I thought Horowitz made this book a little too unrealistic. It is quite impossible for me to imagine Alex being able to escape from circumstances that most fourteen-year-old boys (let alone adults) cannot survive from. For example, how can Alex get caught in a fifteen feet deep and 30 feet long tank with a giant jellyfish and still manage to survive?

I would rate this book nine out of ten because it was fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I recommend this book for kids ages ten to sixteen who love action, suspense, and mystery all mixed together in one book. I absolutely enjoyed Stormbreaker and will certainly read the rest of the Alex Rider series!

-Riley W., 6th grade

Event Recap: Teen Writing Workshop with Alyson Noël

teen_writing_workshopEarlier this month, an exceptional author came to Mission Viejo City Hall to talk about the basics of writing a story.

Alyson Noël is a very well-known author who writes books for young adults. She started her career as a flight attendant, but after the incident of 9/11, she became a writer. Since she was twelve years old, Alyson dreamed of being a writer. The Immortals, The Soul Seekers, and The Riley Bloom Series were some of the many books she has written.

Alyson Noël began her presentation by telling the audience about her early life. Her family was very poor and she took writing classes to benefit her writing when she was a teen. Her first book, Faking 19, took Alyson fifteen years to write. She kept on revising the book since the New York publishers kept rejecting it because it did not include a conflict. Now, Alyson Noël has written a lot more books that have been sold in a million copies, written in about fifty languages, and sold to an estimate of thirty countries.

Alyson also gave the audience many tips about writing. She explained that all stories need characters that transform, have goals, and have motivation. In addition, she advised that every plot must have a conflict and a theme. In my opinion, her speech was very inspiring and informative. She said that writing is harder than it looks, and there is nothing more intimidating to a writer than a blank page.

In addition, Alyson Noël recommended some books on writing such as Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, Story by Robert McKee, and On Writing by Stephen King.

For those who do not like to write or are not very good at writing, Alyson Noël’s speech might change your mind!

-Riley W., 6th grade