The Copper Gauntlet by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

The second book in the Magisterium series picks up where the first left off. Summer vacation is almost finished, and Call is looking forward to going back to school, although his dad is dead set against it. About a couple of weeks before school starts, Call learns that Alistair knows something about him that he is prepared to take desperate measures to correct (the same secret that was revealed at the end of The Iron Trial).

Once he gets to school, Call realizes that his dad is up to something when it’s rumored that someone is trying to steal the Alkahest, a powerful copper gauntlet.  Everyone thinks that the perpetrator is intending to harm the Makar and destroy the Magisterium. Call, though, knows better. He sets out to save his dad with Aaron, Tamara, Jasper, and Havoc, which turns out to have pretty unexpected results as they uncover secrets kept from even the mages.

There is quite a bit of character development, especially regarding Call. He has changed since the first book, although he still retains his characteristic personality. Call struggles with himself now more than he had in The Iron Trial, especially now that he can detect all the signs about who he really is, while at the same time kind of being in denial about it. However, he does carry himself differently and becomes more confident than the first book, and is more open than he used to be, although he doesn’t always go to his friends for help when he needs it.

-Aliya A.

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. 

Across the Great Barrier by Patricia C. Wrede

Across the Great Barrier, by Patricia C. Wrede, is the second book in the Frontier Magic series. The novel is set in an alternate universe—the American frontier is being settled and explored, but there’s magic. Eff, a thirteenth child, has always considered herself unlucky, and therefore has never really tried learning her spells, but helps out at the menagerie where she takes care of magical and non-magical animals. Eventually, she crosses the Great Barrier, where the Professor finds something extremely interesting. This is a pretty dry run of it, but the book was more interesting, I promise.

When I picked this book up I didn’t realize that it was the second book in a series. Oops. Still, it was really good, and the author gave enough information about the main events from the first book that I could make sense of things. The book is told from Eff’s point of view, so it doesn’t go into too much detail about things that she doesn’t consider important, and spends more time on things that she’s interested in or that are important to her. I like this book because it has a good plot line and gives a new way of looking at the American frontier when it was still being settled. There were no Native Americans in the book, so I’m not sure if I missed something in the first book or if they just aren’t there. The end of the novel doesn’t give complete closure and pretty obviously sets it up for the next book because not everything gets resolved.

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow: the Chosen One, the greatest Mage the world has seen, and possessor of an exceeding amount of magic. Who would expect a boy of such prestige to be an orphan? Simon is told time and time again that those with magic flowing through their veins don’t give up their children–magic simply isn’t dispensable. So why is Simon Snow, legatee of such a copious amount of magical power, a foundling?

At the age of eleven, Simon is taken from the care home he’d been dwelling at by the Mage, a powerful and esteemed man who holds the position of headmaster at Watford, a school for people who possess magical blood. As Simon is the only orphaned student, the Mage cares for him, and makes sure that every September, after a summer spent at a care home, Simon gets safely to Watford.

In Carry On, Simon is entering his eighth and final year at Watford, which proves to be quite tumultuous. The year starts off ordinarily enough. Simon strategizes with his best friend, Penelope Bunce, about how to best defeat the Insidious Humdrum, an absurd yet aggravatingly quick-witted and bothersome creature who has seemingly atrocious intentions. He had, in previous years, made multiple attempts at castigating the magical world and Simon Snow in particular.

Simon, Penny (Penelope), and Agatha (Simon’s girlfriend) continue to speculate upon the different threats and issues that the Humdrum’s actions have caused, but their efforts thus far have led them nowhere. After an unsettling encounter with a departed soul, Simon ends up forging a shaky, yet advantageous truce with his roommate, Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch, a bitter and austere boy who has done nothing but provoke and nag Simon at every chance he gets. However, despite the facade of icy forbiddingness he puts forward, Basil may have trouble keeping his true feelings for Simon in check.

Simon Snow and his story was originally introduced in Fangirl, another phenomenal novel by Rainbow Rowell, as a fictional series that Cath (the protagonist in Fangirl) is obsessed with. Small excerpts of Simon Snow are featured in Fangirl, but Rowell thought that it deserved its own book, so that is the reason for which she wrote Carry On.

I entirely adored this book. I fell in love with the characters (Baz is my favorite!), and I fell in love with the world Rowell created. I extol how significantly she strayed from her normal style of realistic fiction and how she was able to create such a vivid and enticing world. Another thing that I enjoyed about this book was how Rowell switched perspectives so that the reader could get a clear and full picture of what was going through each of the characters’ minds.

This book was such a compelling and fascinating read, and I will definitely read it again in the future. The characters are all very endearing, and I loved the relationship between Simon and Baz: sworn enemies who have united against an evil cause. Will their truce only heighten their hatred toward each other, or will it bring them closer together?

-Elina T.

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott, is a fantasy novel with both medieval European history and mythology from all around the world woven into it. The story follows Sophie and Josh Newman, two normal teenaged twins spending the summer in San Fransisco while their parents work at an archeological dig in Arizona. Little do they know that their lives are about to be changed forever. 

Sophie and Josh experience one shock after another as they come to realize that the world is full of magic. But not the type of magic we think of straight away. In their world, it is believed that, over time, the human race has neglected the full use of all of their senses. When people are Awakened, when the full extent of the capacities of their senses are activated, what they have the ability to do seems like magic. 

But magic isn’t the only thing that they discover to be true. Famous historical figures, like Nicholas Flamel and his wife, Perenelle, are still alive and have been living on this earth under different aliases for hundreds of years. And even more intriguing, the twins find that figures straight from fairy tales and myths roam the earth. 

Sophie and Josh are dragged into a thrilling and dangerous chase when they unwittingly witness the Book of Abraham the Mage being stolen from Nicholas Flamel. This book, the Codex, contains the recipe for the Elixir of Life, and without it, Nicholas and his wife will age rapidly and perish within the month. But the book also contains another spell. A spell that could compromise the liberty of the human race. Sophie and Josh must assist Nicholas in retrieving the book, else risk the existence of the world as they know it. 

What I admired most about this book was that it introduced mythological characters, creatures, and places from from a variety of different countries. In the world that Scott has created, all of these mythological figures live in the same world and interact with one another. I also enjoyed the historical content that Scott weaves into the story. European history has always piqued my interest, what with all the drama and their heavy belief in the gods. This book provided a sound union of history and mythology and was a very compelling read. 

This book is definitely not monotonous, and in fact is very fast-paced and filled with adventure. It was also easy to relate to the main characters (the twins) and what was going through their minds as their eyes were opened up to the world of magic before them. I enjoyed this book very much, and look forward to reading the remainder of the series. (There are five more books: The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, The Warlock, and The Enchantress).

-Elina T.

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott, and the rest of the books in the series, are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Luna Lovegood Meets Rolf Scamander

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and I absolutely love Luna! She’s one of my favorite characters. I also really loved the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so I decided to write out a scenario in which Luna and Rolf (Newt Scamander’s grandson) meet. They do actually meet and end up getting married, but this is an idea that I had of their first encounter.


“Oi!” 

Luna crept forward, gently pushing away some leaves to reveal a young man dashing about. It appeared as if he was searching for a lost possession. 

“Come back here!” He moaned, poking half-heartedly at a knot in a rather gnarled-looking tree. 

He jumped backward immediately, gasping as a flock of birds flew angrily from a branch far above. Luna peered past the shrub she was crouched behind, watching the figure before her as he restlessly ran his hands through his wavy auburn hair. After a few more minutes of searching through the underbrush and surrounding trees, the man sat on the forest floor, and reached out to bring a case toward him. 

Luna squinted-she hadn’t noticed the case before. She watched curiously as the box rattled slightly, as if something was trying to get out. The man simply sighed, leaning forward, and resting his arms on his case. 

Suddenly, Luna felt something tugging at her patchwork bag. 

“Oh!” She exclaimed, immediately clapping a hand over her mouth. 

Her protuberant eyes widened as she watched the man look up, jump to his feet, and pull out his wand. 

Thinking quickly, she decided upon revealing herself. She stood up, pulling the squirming creature from her bag. 

The man stopped short at the sight of her, tilting his head to the side as if deciding whether or not to trust her. 

“Who-?” 

“I’m sorry,” Luna said quickly, maneuvering around the shrub, and holding out the niffler. “I was out collecting freshwater plimpies, and thought I heard something. Is this yours?” 

The man nodded. “Freshwater plimpies prevalent around here?” He asked, stowing his wand back into his coat, and taking the niffler from Luna’s hands. “Thank you, by the way,” he added, indicating the niffler. “He’s always getting into trouble.”

“It’s quite alright,” said Luna, smiling serenely. “And yes, they are. I come down here to collect them every weekend. There’s a stream just down there,” she pointed back in the direction she had come, then looked at the man’s face more closely. “I feel like I’ve seen you before.”

The man, who had crouched down and unlatched the case, paused, studying Luna’s face, his sage-green eyes narrowed and his brows furrowed. 

“Well, I did go to Hogwarts. I’ve been out for a few years though,” he said, remembering he still had the niffler in his hands, and gently placing him into the case. 

“Oh! I went to Hogwarts as well. I was in Ravenclaw,” Luna exclaimed. 

He nodded slowly. “I thought I recognized you! What’s your name?”

“Luna Lovegood,” she said, holding out her hand. 

“I’m Rolf. Rolf Scamander,” he said, grasping her hand. “Pleasure.”

“Likewise,” replied Luna. “Oh, watch out!” She crouched down, catching the little niffler who had made another wild attempt at escape. 

Rolf shook his head, his wavy hair dangling just above his eyes. “He’s always doing that,” he said, once again taking the niffler from Luna and putting him into the case. 

“Hold on,” said Luna, rummaging through her bag and fishing out a few golden galleons. “Here you go!” She held the shiny coins out to the niffler, who nimbly plucked them from her outstretched palm and retreated back into the case. 

Rolf grinned and looked up at the peculiar girl. “Thanks Luna.” He straightened, clutching his case, which was now securely latched shut. “Need any help with the freshwater plimpies?” 


-Elina T.

Harry Potter, Nineteen Years Later

*Contains spoilers for anyone who has not read the entire Harry Potter series!

In the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the final installment of the series), Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione are shown seeing their children off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts. James and Albus Potter and Rose Granger-Weasley board the Hogwarts Express while Lily Potter and Hugo Granger-Weasley watch wistfully alongside their parents on platform nine and three-quarters as they are still too young to attend Hogwarts.

The Battle of Hogwarts occurred in 1998, which means nineteen years later would be 2017! This year, a new generation of witches and wizards will attend Hogwarts and have and create spectacular memories of their own. This is also the year in which Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes place!

It’s extremely difficult to believe that this year marks the end of the Harry Potter series –this year Harry would’ve turned 37! Coincidentally, this year also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (or Philosopher’s) Stone.

September the first was a momentous day for Harry Potter fans all around the world. This was the exact day on which the Hogwarts Express would leave platform nine and three-quarters at King’s Cross. Loads of die-hard fans poured into King’s Cross station in London, England so that they could be present at eleven o’clock — when the Hogwarts Express would leave and Harry and his friends would be seeing their children off.

I have always been a huge fan of Harry Potter, and, in a way, I feel as if this year sort of brought a closure to the Harry Potter series for me. But I will still love it and read it and re-read it — always.

-Elina T.

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library and online from Overdrive

Book vs. Movie: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

He’s battled dragons, fended off numerous Dementors, and even faced He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named multiple times in the flesh. Harry’s been through quite a lot for a sixteen year old boy, and now he is entering his sixth year, nearing the end of his time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

This year is different though. As it is now known publicly that an infamous dark wizard is at large once again, the quest to defeat him once and for all has become ever more imminent. Dumbledore begins showing Harry what he knows about Tom Riddle’s past in the hopes that it will help him understand how this dark wizard must be defeated. However, much of it is speculation and guesswork based on the memories that Dumbledore has procured over the years relating to Tom. Unfortunately, a vital piece of information is still missing, and Dumbledore assigns Harry to retrieve it.

As if this were not enough for Harry to worry about, he still has to fulfill his role as captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and all the stress that comes with recruiting new members, cope with the increasing amounts of work they’re being assigned for classes, deal with Ron and Hermione’s intermittent bickering, and pursue his hunch about what Draco Malfoy might be up to.

As with all the other books in this series, I really love how J. K. Rowling so seamlessly intertwines so much humor and thought into such a complex story line. Though the danger of an extremely skilled and dangerous wizard is constantly looming about, Ron is still there eating and making snarky remarks, while dealing with his own problems having to do with girls. Hermione, too, is always there to keep Harry and Ron on top of their school work, and even often correcting their papers.

I think this book is amazing, as all the others are, and I’m always laughing out loud at what the characters do and think. I always have to tell myself before I watch a movie that has been adapted from a book that they can’t keep every single detail from the book and put it in the movie. It’s just not possible, especially with this book which is about 600 pages long. Keeping this in mind, I have to say that I really enjoyed the movie. I think that the director did a great job at choosing what to put in the movie and what might not have been as relevant (of course, being a huge fan of the book, I’m inclined to think that everything is relevant, but again, it would be impossible to keep every single detail). I think that the movie definitely sticks to the main story line and includes all the necessary information needed to understand the plot.

But the wish is always in the back of mind of being able to watch a Harry Potter movie in which every single detail from the books is preserved. Even if it were five hours long (or longer), I would still watch it – over and over again probably.

-Elina T.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library