The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

When 111-year old Bilbo Baggins, hero of The Hobbit, gifts a stunning ring to his beloved nephew Frodo, he unknowingly changes the course of Middle-Earth history forever. For the innocent-looking ring is in truth the One Ring, which the Dark Lord of Mordor has lusted after for years, and will do anything to retrieve.

Seventeen years later, Gandalf the Grey appears in the Shire, warning Frodo of great danger. In order to preserve what is yet good in Middle-Earth, Frodo sets off with only his gardener Sam and his cousins Merry and Pippin as his companions. During his travels, he encounters numerous allies that eventually form the Fellowship of the Ring, the sole task of which is to destroy the One Ring in the fire of the fittingly named Mount Doom in the dark land of Mordor. 

However, the Company faces great dangers during their journey, and are pursued by the hated Orcs, soldiers of Sauron himself. Nevertheless, the greatest danger proves to be the object of their quest, the One Ring, whose malignant influence on all members of the Fellowship spurs a sudden betrayal that results in a kidnapping and a death.

The first part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring is sure to delight all readers, combining action and adventure with a realistic world that readers will not hesitate to thoroughly immerse themselves in.

-Mahak M.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. IT can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Magician by Raymond Feist

Countless tales of the struggle between good and evil in Medieval times have been told. But it takes a true artisan to delve into not only fanciful creatures but other worlds as well. Raymond Feist does this masterfully.

This book is a classic in the realm of fantasy and adventure. It has been captivating readers for more than 30 years. After reading it, I understand its appeal. The author creates parallel universes that are enthralling. A rift opens in the Kingdom, and they are attacked by the Tsurani. The Tsurani have no metal in their world, however, they are rich with magicians. These magicians are powerful and wreak havoc wherever they go. There are also many Kingdom characters who are instrumental in the survival of their world. We watch as they grow and change throughout the course of the invasion transforming to meet each challenge. There is no lack of adventure.

Don’t be put off by the length of this book (841 pages!) It will draw you in and keep your attention as you live their story. Sometimes, it is hard to keep track of all the characters, but the resolution ties all the strings together at the end and makes it worthwhile.

I recommend this book if you are someone who enjoys fantasy, adventure and doesn’t mind conflict. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

Also note, that this is the first in a series of many books that continue the Riftwar Saga.

-Elijah Y.

Sky: Children of the Light

Sky: Children of the Light is a very fun game. 

The stars have fallen. The darkness has conquered the light. You have a character in the game which is trying to help bring back the light. You must overcome many difficult challenges as your character pushes onward in the dark, guided by you. Who knows if you will succeed? Or will you become a star like the rest before you complete your mission? Play the game to find out!

This game is such an amazing game because of the storyline, which plays a big part in Sky: Children of the Light. However, since the graphics are so convincing, they use up a lot of your battery. So, you can change the graphics resolution so that it does not use up as much of your battery.

Tips and Tricks: Keep in mind that the Children of the Light, shown by golden glowing children throughout the levels, are usually found in places off the main path, or places which are hard to reach. Don’t be afraid to explore! Even if you get lost, you can release a call to help you find your way back. You can do this by tapping on your character to release a small call. You can also hold your character until they crouch, then release them for a much louder call. Your call will show you where the temple is, or where nearby players are. A call is extremely useful.

Candles: Every day there will be two candles in front of the door to a level. In that level, there are big bundles of candles. By lighting them, you can get candle wax, which is later used to forge a candle. If you can’t see two candles in front of a door/portal, that may be because you have not unlocked the level which has those candles. You can use candles to purchase hearts to buy things like capes, or you can use candles to buy other cosmetic items like hairstyles or spells. 

Seasons: Every couple months, a new season will begin. You can find the seasonal spirits and live through their memories, earning a new emote, stance, or call. During every season, you can find seasonal candles throughout the levels and light them for some seasonal candle wax. A seasonal candle can be used to buy cosmetics or level up emotes from a seasonal spirit. Each season is different, so seasonal candles reset every season. If you can’t get one of the seasonal spirits before they leave, sometimes some seasonal spirits from past seasons will come back to visit, known as a traveling spirit. 

Energy: You will receive more energy from children of the light, which are golden glowing children throughout all of the levels. Land roughly, hitting a rough surface, being exposed to rain, infected water, or being attacked by crabs or krill are all ways to drain your energy and to even lose the children of the light which are with you. 

Once all of your energy is gone, your light begins to drain, indicated by a flame symbol at the top of your screen. After your light drains, if you still continue hurting your character, you can lose winged light. Prevent this by trying to always have as much energy and light as possible.

So, all in all, Sky: Children of the Light is a great game. I would strongly recommend you to try out the game. I still enjoy playing the game, although I have already finished it! It is so fun to explore the varying areas.

Game Rating: 10/10

– Peri A.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander, is the first book of his well-known fantasy series called the chronicle of Prydain.  This is the story of a young man named Taran, an Assistant Pig-Keeper in a place known as Caer Dallben.  Taran leads a simple life, caring for farm animals and making horseshoes, but he dreams of making a sword and becoming a hero.  One day, something strange happens to the farm animals.  They begin running away as though they are frightened.  Most troubling is that the special pig, named Hen Wen, manages to escape.  Taran dashes after her, leading to an unexpected adventure to save the land of Prydain.

Many elements of the story are inspired by Welsh legends and mythology.  I found some of the names difficult to pronounce, but I think the Welsh influence adds to the charm of the book.  The ancient feel of this fantasy makes the book very enjoyable to read.  Taran joins with several unusual characters who aid him on his quest and add humor and intrigue to the story.  For example, Taran encounters a bard named Fflewddur Fflam, who possesses a magical golden harp.  Fflewddur is prone to exaggeration, and whenever he stretches the truth, at least one of his harp strings breaks.

This book is a wonderful blend of action, adventure and humor.  We also learn many good life lessons, as Taran seems to learn something valuable from each of his companions.  After reading this book, I highly recommend reading the other four books in the series.  The titles of the other books are The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer and The High King.  These books are worth reading not just for the delightful characters and engrossing story, but for their portrayal of the true meaning of heroism.

-Oliver H.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Curse of the Dead Gods Review

Curse of the Dead Gods, produced by Focus Home Interactive, is an exciting new third-person adventure game. As you follow an exotic adventurer journey through ancient temples, you will face multiple traps, enemies, and challenges. You can unlock certain abilities, as well as different weapons that can help you in your challenges. You can mix and match different combinations of the weapons to give you the best advantage against the enemies. The game also implements a new and interesting concept known as corruption.

The first thing that caught my eye was the combat, as well as the animation. Both are extremely clean and are very, very high quality. As the player switches from their torch, to their weapon, darkness surrounds them and the enemies start swarming. As the players start to wipe out the foes, more and more start to appear. The players must be extremely careful because if they take damage, they can not recharge their health. If a player dies, they must restart from the beginning of the map, and work their way through the entire temple again.

The enemies themselves are very interesting. From monsters that have simple melee attacks to giant monsters that have giant war hammers and floating heads, the variety is endless. This large amount of adversaries keeps the game interesting, as well as challenging. The player will also run into multiple traps. These can harm the players in multiple ways, such as poisoning them, catching them on fire, and stabbing them. Both of these challenges can totally change what the player needs to do.

To help counter these problems, the player is given a wide variety of weapons. The player is provided with a sword, revolver, and torch at the beginning of the game. They can then unlock a broad assortment of weapons through chests as well as through enemies that will drop them. There are certain weapons that work better against different enemies, such as the battle hammer that is efficient against large groups.

The most interesting concept of this game is the curses and corruption. When a player completes each level, they will get a certain amount of points that count towards corruption. When they reach 100 points, they will receive a certain “curse” that can either help or hinder them. This is a really interesting concept, but I do not think players should be punished just because they finish a mission.

Overall, I really enjoyed Curse of the Dead Gods. I really enjoyed the combat and customization options, and I think that for an early access game, Curse of the Dead Gods is really well produced. This game reminded me of the old arcade games that I used to spend hours playing. I feel that when the game has new temples and maps released, I will definitely play more of the game. I can’t wait to see what the producers have in mind for the game, and I believe the game will become one of my favorites!

-Daniel C

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Two Towers is the second book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous trilogy known as The Lord of the Rings.  The first half focuses on Aragorn and the remaining members of the Fellowship of the Ring.  The second half focuses on Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee as they try to reach Mordor.  The book includes various subplots, and many characters and places, so it may seem difficult to keep track of everything.  However, the story is very gripping and worth the effort to read.

Some of my favorite characters in this book are the Ents.  The Ents are like tree people.  Two of the little hobbits, Pippin and Merry, encounter an Ent named Treebeard after escaping a group of savage orcs.  Treebeard, like other Ents, is very tall and strong.  He moves very slowly because he does not like to be “too hasty.”  The Ents are usually gentle creatures, but they can become powerful warriors if aroused to battle.  I enjoy reading about these creatures because they are like trees come to life.

Treebeard takes Pippin and Merry to a tower controlled by Saruman.  Saruman is a wizard who was once good.  He is one of my favorite characters in the trilogy, even though we learn that he has become bad.  His voice is described as low and melodious, and he is able to enchant and trick people.  He appears to be full of wisdom, which enables him to gain many followers.  This character is a very accurate portrayal of how a wicked person can deceive many people.

Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam are traveling with the One Ring toward Mordor, an evil land where orcs and many unnamed horrors roam.  They are guided by Gollum, a savage little thing that was once a hobbit, but has become corrupted by the ring.  Frodo and Sam form an uneasy alliance with Gollum after taming him, even though he still lusts for the ring.  The ring grants its wearer invisibility, but it also slowly overpowers its owner.  The ring is designed to get back to its creator, the evil Sauron.  Sauron is in the form of an eye on a tower in Mordor, always searching for his ring, which would give him unlimited power.

This book is a great story about the dangers of greed and power.  It also includes many surprises and plot twists.  The end of the book is a sort of cliffhanger, so I would recommend that readers read the entire trilogy in sequence.  The Two Towers is a great book on its own, but it should definitely be read along with the other books in the trilogy.

-Oliver H. 

J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The reason why I began reading this novel was because of school requirements. Contrary to what I imagined as a typical romance genre, Jane Eyre incorporates elements of horror, fantasy, and even gothic. Jane Eyre actually has a similar background as Cinderella. Her parents died. Their marriage was not supported by her mother’s family because her father’s social status did not match her mother’s. However, even after being disowned by her family and friends, Jane Eyre’s mother did not give up on her family. Jane Eyre was actually raised by her aunt along with her cousins. But because everybody except for a governess treated her so horribly, Jane Eyre decided to leave for a boarding school built just for orphaned girls.

After years of learning and eventually becoming a teacher there, Jane Eyre was bored with her repeating life. Hence, after much effort, she received a recruitment letter from an old mistress at a mansion to be the governess of Adele, an 8-year-old French girl who barely speaks English. And it was from here that Jane Eyre met Mr. Rochester, a very serious and reticent man. Nonetheless, they fell in love shortly and were at the point to be married when Jane Eyre found that Mr. Rochester was married to a crazy woman. She ran away from him and eventually was taken in by a preacher’s family in a faraway village. Jane Eyre was eventually able to unite with Mr. Rochester even after he has gone blind due to a fire. She not only denied the pastor’s wish to marry her and make her a missionary’s wife in India, but she gave birth to a boy with Mr. Rochester.

Although this book has a happy ending, the plot and characters are fickle and unpredictable. I recommend this book to readers who like romance but are tired of the traditional plot and setting.

-Coreen C. 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Authors We Love: Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is the author of many fictional books for children.  Most of his books were illustrated by Quentin Blake.  I have always enjoyed these books as well as the illustrations.  Dahl uses very inventive language, including interesting words such as “gnazzle,” “knid” and “snozzcumber.”  His books are very funny and full of entertaining nonsense.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is about a boy named Charlie who lives in a small home with his poor family.  Willy Wonka, the owner of a famous chocolate factory, announces that five lucky children will be invited to tour his factory.  The children would be selected by finding one of five golden tickets hidden inside the wrappers of chocolate bars.  By sheer luck, Charlie receives one of the five golden tickets.  As the story unfolds, we discover the wild and zany rooms in Willy Wonka’s factory, and finally we learn the real reason why Mr. Wonka invited the children to his factory.

The BFG tells of a little girl named Sophie who lives in an orphanage.  Sophie is captured by a twenty-four-feet-tall giant, who takes her to a cave in a faraway land called “Giant Country.”  There she learns that the giant’s name is the “Big Friendly Giant,” or the “BFG,” for short.  The BFG is actually the runt of nine other giants, who are about fifty feet tall and are very wicked, unlike the BFG.  The other nine giants like to gallop off to different countries to gobble up about two to six people at a time.  Sophie and the BFG come up with a plan to put a stop to the other giants’ evil deeds.

In Matilda, a girl named Matilda learns how to read at a very young age, but her parents mistreat her and hardly even notice her talents.  When she starts school, Matilda encounters the giant, nasty headmistress named Miss Trunchbull.  The headmistress terrorizes the entire school until Matilda discovers special powers within herself.  This is my favorite of Roald Dahl’s books because of the charming characters and wonderful story.

Most of Roald Dahl’s books are about ordinary children who discover extraordinary things.  Dahl usually includes fantastical characters, such as man-sized insects and little people known as “Oompa Loompas.”  It is for good reason that his books are very popular and are considered classics for young readers.  I highly recommend these books to people of all ages.

-Oliver H.

The works of Roald Dahl are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Book Review: Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow

Henderson the Rain King - Wikipedia

Henderson, the hero, comes from a famous family. His ancestors are all famous in the political world. Henderson, 55, inherited an estate of $3 million, an astronomical figure at the time, and could have led a worldly life of material comfort, but the prim-life self-proclaimed drifter was never satisfied. In real life, he causes a lot of trouble. He acts rudely because he has a lot of resentment in his heart. His first wife was a good match for him, but he married only to please his father. He loved to raise pigs, but he made a mess of the industry and clashed with his neighbors. He had tried to distract or extinguish his inner voice with physical labor, but to no avail. Rudeness begets rudeness, and anger begets greater anger. Unable to see the meaning of life, he escaped from his original life and embarked on a journey on the African continent. After experiencing the adventures of the Arnevi tribe, Henderson realized the meaning of life, understood the value of human beings, and returned to America with new hopes for life.

Exhausted, Henderson left the United States and began to travel to the ideal land of Africa in order to return to the primitive state of carefree human beings. This trip to Africa is not so much a trip as a self-imposed exile. He had not bought a ticket for the return journey. He had brought almost nothing for use, and most importantly, it was an exile with no destination and no time limit which not only cleansed his mind, but also made him realize the essence of life and the return to his true self. His exile was the only way he could ward off anxiety and achieve his ultimate goal— a transcendent existence beyond time and space. In fact, Henderson the Rain King reflects an intellectual living in an affluent environment who voluntarily gives up urban life and goes to the wasteland to complete the process of spiritual self-redemption. Eugene Henderson the wealthy American experienced a transition from superiority to perplexity, wealth to poverty, boredom to spiritual sublimation in his dealings with the natives.

-Coreen C.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring is the first novel in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The story is centered upon a magic ring found by Bilbo Baggins sixty years earlier during The Hobbit that must be destroyed. Bilbo has aged by the time of The Fellowship of the Ring, so with the advice of Gandalf, a powerful wizard, he passes the Ring on to his cousin Frodo and leaves for a “vacation.”

Years pass and Gandalf returns, and he discovers that the magic ring is no ordinary magic ring and that it is the ring of a powerful dark lord named Sauron. Gandalf tells Frodo that if the Ring were to fall into the hands of Sauron, he would conquer the world, and therefore it must be destroyed.

Gandalf sends Frodo, escorted by his friends Sam, Merry, and Pippin, to escort the Ring to Riverdale, an elven stronghold, where the fate of the Ring would be decided. Along the way, they face many threats, like the Ringwraiths, Sauron’s powerful servants. At Riverdale, it is decided that the Ring could only be destroyed in Mount Doom, a volcano near Sauron’s fortress where the Ring was forged in.

Frodo volunteers to travel to Mount Doom, and he is escorted by his friends, Gandalf, and some of the greatest heroes of Middle-Earth (the fictional world the story takes place in). The rest of the book is about the fellowship’s travels and adventures, and how they deal with problems and threats that they face on their journey to Mount Doom.

Ultimately, The Fellowship of the Ring is a good book, although it is quite long. I would recommend it to readers who love really long stories filled with action and adventure, like Greek epics such as the Iliad and Odyssey.

-Josh N. 

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library