The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

rithmatist_brandonsandersonMany years in the future there exists a place, so similar to the world we live in now, but also so different. For in this future world, magic exists. Not magic, exactly, but Rithmatics, the ability to bring chalk drawings and lines to life in fantastic ways. Rithmatists don’t get to decide to master this art, they are given the power at their Inception ceremony when they are young. If one is granted the power, they train for a few years before going off to fight in the Hell-ish land known as Nebrask. If one is not granted the power, they must live their life as an ordinary person, having no connection to this powerful art of Rithmatics, no matter how much they wish to. That is the case for the young Chalkmaker’s son, Joel, who wants more than anything else to master Rithmatics, but is shut out due to his lack of Rithmatic abilities. That is, until Joel finds himself in the middle of a series of strange kidnappings, seemingly committed by a Rithmatist, and he may be the only one who can solve them before it’s too late.

I was very impressed with The Rithmatist‘s ability to not be cliché. Brandon Sanderson does an incredible job leading the reader on to believe something will happen and then creating a completely different turn of events. While this can be disappointing at times, it helps to keep the story from being predictable. Another unique aspect of this book is the fact that there are lessons on how to draw Rithmatic lines in between the chapters, detailing different defenses and attacks, which helped me to picture the story and it’s Rithmatic scenes.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to people who love Science Fiction or Fantasy, or just books in general, because it truly is fantastic.

Evan G., 8th Grade

The Rithmatist is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Book vs. Movie: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

fantasticbeastsposterThe book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was originally just a textbook in the Harry Potter series and, in the series, written by Newt Scamander. So, Rowling took this textbook and wrote it up (as Newt) for all of us Muggles to read. Rowling also wrote the film adaptation’s screenplay based on the textbook

The book is almost like a encyclopedia describing many of the beasts and creatures in Harry Potter. It also has “notes” written by Ron, Harry and Hermione. It is really cool book and it teaches you a little more about the creatures in Harry Potter.

The movie, however, is a completely different script written by J.K Rowling. It is about Newt Scamander who comes to America to research the one beast he has yet to see. But, one of his creatures gets out of his suitcase which results in him using magic in front a Muggle. This act gets him summoned before the Magical Congress of the Untied States of America (MACUSA) where he meets Porpetina and Queenie, two ministry workers. These two girls, Newt, and the Muggle Jacob end up having to hunt around the city for all of Newt’s lost creatures. Their search brings them in confrontation with a mysterious magical entity that is wreaking havoc in the city. It is revealed that Credence, an orphan under the care of a vindictive, magic-fearing woman bent of rooting out magic, created an Obscurus which manifested out of his hate for his adoptive mother. Newt and his gang were able to calm Credence down and stop him from wrecking any more of the city.  Within all this havoc Percival Graves, an Auror, is revealed to be the evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald is disguise. This movie is a really great addition to the world of Harry Potter and it really gives you insight of the wizarding world in America.

The book and movie are both really wonderful and very enjoyable. The only elements they share are the named character Newt Scamander and many of the creatures mentioned in the original book. So, there really is not that much to compare because they are so different, one being an actual story while the other is more of a textbook. In fact, the script of the movie was a totally new story line written by Rowling.  I recommend reading the book and watching the movie to anyone who has the time.

-Ava G.

J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

ravencycle_maggiestiefvaterThe Raven Cycle series, by Maggie Stiefvater, finally came to a close this spring with the release of her fourth installment, The Raven King. After finishing the first book, titled The Raven Boys, this series quickly jumped high onto the list of my favorite books. The more I read, the higher it climbed. Stiefvater’s characterization and descriptive language is enthralling, bringing me to actually set down the book and relish over a line or two of pure perfection multiple times.

This series deals with magic, mystery, romance, but above all- friendship. The main cast of characters are deeply developed and intricate, and the story gives us a thorough look into their pasts, presents, and heck, even their looming futures.

Blue Sargent, the main female lead, is the only non-psychic in a family of seers, but she has the ability to amplify their clairvoyant powers. For this reason, Blue accompanies her Aunt Neeve on St. Mark’s Eve to go to an abandoned churchyard; St. Mark’s Eve is the day of the year when psychics can see the ghosts of the people who are going to die in the following year walk along the Corpse Road. Blue has never been able to see these ghosts- until tonight.

She asks this sole visible ghost his name- Gansey- and her Aunt explains that the only reason that Blue, a nonseer, would see a ghost is if he’s her true love- or if she’s the one who kills him. Gansey, very much alive, has spent the past couple of years researching the legend of the dead Welsh King Glendower. Legend says he was buried on a magical ley line, and whoever wakes him gets a favor. He and his best friends Adam, Ronan, and Noah devote their time to finding this sleeping king and recruit Blue into their questing court.

The series offers many twists and turns, oftentimes surprising me with a suspenseful showdown or a magical revelation. The more I learned about the characters, the more I loved them and feared for them as their stories grew darker and darker. The characterization stands out as the highlight of the series. Stiefvater chips away at the inner beings of each character until we have a roadmap of each one, pointing out their fears and flaws and tracing their dreams and desires. Out of the main five characters, Blue is the only female, but her family- who we spend lots of time getting to know- is overflowing with a cast of unique, quirky, and psychic women, giving us a wide array of female side characters. Gansey, Adam, and Ronan are my personal favorites; their dynamics are very complicated and interesting, and I anticipated the chapters written from their points-of-view most of all. Stiefvater’s imagination is abundant, and it is evident as she builds her world in the small town of Henrietta.

I have and will continue to recommend this series to any avid readers I come across, for it was a wild ride that I will never forget. The four books- The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily Lily Blue, and The Raven King– have secured their positions as some of my favorite books, and I hope they will continue to be recognized in the future as the truly captivating novels they are.

-Abby F.

The Raven Boys and the rest of the Raven Cycle novels are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. 

Authors We Love: J.K. Rowling

jkrowling_authorsweloveJ.K Rowling is my favorite author, by far. She is the author of the Harry Potter series including three short books designed to be textbooks from the Wizarding World. She also has written three adult crime fiction novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. She was born and raised in Britain with not a lot of money which influenced her to donate large sums of money after her publishing success.

She is famous for writing and creating the world of Harry Potter, a children’s series consisting of seven books: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (also known as Philosopher’s Stone in the U.K), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. These books are about a boy named Harry Potter who finds out that he is a wizard. Not just any wizard, the only wizard to be able to survive the forbidden killing curse, Avada Kedavra. As the books go along, you get to see Harry and his friends (know-it-all Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley) grow up, learn magic and progress through Hogwarts, the wizarding school. You see them struggle to try and defeat Voldermort and his followers called Death Eaters who, are pretty much trying to take over the wizarding world. In the books Rowling throws in sudden twists and turns that keep you captivated and makes you not want to put the books down.

Outside of the novels, Rowling penned three mini novels that were referenced in the series. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a textbook written by Newt Scamander and it describes many types of magical creatures in the wizarding world. This book, previously “owned” by Harry, Ron, and Hermione has notes about the all the creatures written in the margins. Rowling also wrote a storyline based on some of the ideas in the book which is soon to be released as a feature film.

The Tales of Beetle the Bard is a compilation of stories meant to be an in-universe collection for children. All the stories, are all unique in its own way. The version of the book sold, had pages of notes that are said to be written by Dumbledore.

Quidditch Through the Ages in Harry Potter, is an informational book about the history and rules of Quidditch. Reading this offers an in-depth explanation of how Quidditch was created by withces and wizards and how the game works.

J.K. Rowling, is an amazing author. The books she has written are just so captivating and well written. I really enjoyed reading her works and I hope everyone likes it just as much as I do.

-Ava G.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

harrypotter1_jkrowlingHarry Potter is an eleven year old boy, but not an ordinary one. Certainly not ordinary. He is a wizard. But he never knew this for eleven whole years.

Harry Potter is a boy who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own through hundreds of mysterious letters. He is summoned from his life as an unwanted child to become a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards. There, he meets several friends, Ron and Hermione, who become his closest allies and help him discover the truth about his parents’ mysterious deaths: That they were killed by the Darkest wizard of all time, Voldemort.

Voldemort was such a powerful Dark wizard, that many feared to speak his name. He was know by common witches and wizards by “You-Know-Who.” Voldemort was part of Harry’s mysterious past, of why he was left on the doorstep of his mother’s sister’s house, eleven years ago. Harry’s mother and father, James and Lily Potter, were both of magical blood. Voldemort tried to kill Harry and his family one night at Godric’s Hollow, but failed to do so. Harry’s parents died tragically trying to save him, but Harry Potter lived on with only a lightning scar on his forehead to resemble his horrible past connected to Voldemort.

So this was why Harry Potter was brought to where his aunt, the Dursleys, lived, at the age of one year old. And he lived there for eleven years, not know he was famous, not knowing that Voldemort had tried to destroy him, not knowing he had broken the powers of one of the most powerful Dark wizards of all time. The young wizard lived with the Dursleys, where he was treated like a slave. But one day Hogwarts wrote to him, and off he went to the magical school, where he and his scar were famous.

At the magical school, Harry meets Ron, a good-natured, red-haired wizard, and Hermione, a bossy know-it-all witch at Hogwarts. Overtime, they become good friends. Harry found Hogwarts very exciting, what with all of his classes, perhaps except for Professor Snape’s class, which was Potions. He has never flown on a broomstick, played Quidditch, the popular sport in the magical world, or worn a cloak of Invisibility.

But not that his whole year at Hogwarts was fun. At the end of term, who other does he come face-to-face than Voldemort, his arch-nemesis. Harry barely manages to escape, but in the end he does, by using his wit and courage.

And there goes the story of a brave wizard, where he is remembered as the true hero at Hogwarts. However, he has to spend his summer with the Dursleys, which he is definitely not looking forward to. Oh, well. He can’t wait for his second year at Hogwarts, where he knows there will be more adventures to come.

I really liked this book, because it was really unique. Harry Potter’s adventures, Quidditch, everything, was so original. My favorite part of this book was when Harry, Ron, and Hermione went through a secret trapdoor to defeat Voldemort once and for all. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves thrillers and adventure! I know I certainly enjoyed the book!

-Katharine L.

Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone is available to checkout in multiple formats from the Mission Viejo Library and online through Overdrive

Webtoon Review: For the Sake of Sita by Haga

A short but heartwarming tale of a medical student who falls love with a fallen goddess in Nepal.

He meets Sita in a sidestreet alleyway where she sells herself to earn enough money to survive day to day. He quickly falls in love and marries Sita. He returns with her to his home, but she unfortunately dies within a year. Desperate, he asks the gods to save Sita. A goddess answers him and asks him what will he give in exchange. He agrees to anything and for an unknown price is give the chance to save Sita, but in a unexpected way.

This story is based of the tradition of Kumari in Nepal, India.

In a sense, it could be called the story of a real love. It is hard to say much without giving away the whole story. It is short, which is a plus as it length allowed for just enough development that it was complete and satisfying without loose ends. The characters are rounded and can make you laugh and cry. The artwork is simply fantastic. It pays homage to the beautiful art and colors of the Indian society. I am not a huge fan of pure romance stories, but this is one of the few which I would recommend. Of course this is only my opinion, try reading it for yourself and decide.

This webtoon is licensed by Line Webtoon and is free to read online.

-Sarah J., 11th Grade

The Bliss Trilogy by Kathryn Littlewood

bliss_klittlewood*Note: the last two summaries may include spoilers to their previous book

Over the summer, I became engulfed in an intriguing book series, the Bliss trilogy. In the first book, Bliss, problems arise when the Bliss parents go on a baking retreat for one week. Their children, Thyme, Sage, Leigh, and Rosemary, the main character, are left with an unfriendly babysitter to take care of them and their magical bakery. The kids know they must protect the secret of the magical bakery while their parents are away. However, when the mysterious Aunt Lily arrives unexpectedly, things quickly get out of hand. Humorous turns of events create chaos when several enchanted recipes completely turn around the people of their hometown, Calamity Falls. Unsure of whom to trust, will Rosemary Bliss and her two brothers be able to save their home before it all comes crashing down?

In the smashing sequel to the first book, A Dash of Magic, nefarious Aunt Lily has stolen the Bliss family magical cookbook. Rosemary Bliss must defeat her mighty Aunt Lily in a baking contest, France’s Gala des Gateaux Grands, in order to save her family’s all-powerful cookbook. Along with an alliance of a talking cat and mouse, her great-great-great grandfather Balthazar, and her brother Ty, Rose encounters many close calls and wacky magical ingredients. A Dash of Magic is a thrilling book, which many Bliss fans will love.

Finally, the grand finale to the inspiring Bliss trilogy is called Bite Sized Magic. All Rose had ever wanted was to be famous, but after winning the Gala des Gateaux Grands, she realizes it is a lot more work than she imagined. She is soon kidnapped by the Mostess snack company, which uses kitchen magic for evil rather than good. They threaten her into perfecting their best selling (and most evil) recipes in a mere five days. To save her family and herself, and to defeat this wicked baking company, Rose must face one of her most fearsome challenges yet.

This trilogy is hilarious, wacky, magical, and fascinating, all rolled up into one series! I would recommend these books for all ages, although they might be overwhelmingly long for younger kids. Since I love baking and reading, I was thrilled when I received the first book as a gift from one of my friends, and I immediately bought the next two. I fell in love with the hilarious wit and charm included in each and every novel, and the incredible imagery made me feel like I was traveling alongside Rose, all the way from Calamity Falls to the majestic city of Paris. Her handsome brother Ty, sweet sister Leigh, comedic brother Sage, encouraging parents, and her crazy pets and grandfather all make the story that much more enticing. Readers will fall in love with all of the characters, the plot, and a sensational touch of magic while reading the outstanding Bliss trilogy!

-Alaina K., 7th Grade

The Bliss Trilogy is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.