Finale by Stephanie Garber

Caution: this review may contain spoilers from books one and two, Caraval and Legendary

The Fates have been released from the Deck of Destiny. Legend has claimed himself Elantine’s heir, and his coronation as emperor of Valenda is soon to occur. Scarlett and Tella’s mother has not opened her eyes since her imprisonment in a card. Legendary, the sequel to Stephanie Garber’s Caraval, has dressed the place behind the curtains for a final act: the finale.

While the first two books in the trilogy are told by single narrators (Caraval told by Scarlett and Legendary told by Tella), the two sisters take turns narrating in Finale. I thought the combination of Scarlett and Tella’s narration provided a wonderful balance to the story, for each sister has a unique personality and an individual mindset. The idea of the two points of view working together to build this final story also compliments the theme of sisterly love, which is present throughout the trilogy.

Finale focuses largely on the power of love when directed at someone and when used against beings who live off of fear. This story exemplifies how love–whether given gently like Scarlett or ferociously like Tella–may be the strongest force against enmity.

In Finale, Stephanie Garber expands upon certain objects and curiosities that previously appeared in the other two books. I was interested to learn more about Scarlett and Tella’s mother’s past, why Scarlett sees feelings in color, and how Scarlett’s magical dress originated.

I was a bit disappointed that Caraval is not played in this final book, but by no means did the story lack the magic and elaborate colors found in Legend’s game. Understandably, with the Fates running free in Valenda, the characters can no longer simply play a game (not that Caraval was really just a game).

Though Finale is filled with visited dreams, different kinds of magic, and unusual places, I still think my favorite book in the series is Caraval (though I usually tend to favor the first book). It could just be the initial magic of Caraval and Legend that makes the first book so compelling or the mystery of who is an actor and who is not. However, I’m glad I read Finale, as it expanded upon many elements of the magic and characters while also leaving some untied strings to the story.

– Mia T.

Finale by Stephanie Garber is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

New Hip Hop Class will have Students Moving to The Beat

photo by flickr user bobbievie

photo by flickr user bobbie vie

Local middle school students listen up: If you’re interested in learning the latest hip-hop moves, then sign up for the new 6-week Hip-Hop class that’s part of the Middle School Enrichment Program at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center.

More than 40 years old, hip-hop dance became widely known after the first professional street-based dance crews formed in the 1970s. Led by Artist Director Sharon Sandor of Sol Dance Academy, the hour-long class, which starts February 26 at 3:45 p.m., will teach students an array of cool moves, and they’ll be invited to show off their newfound skills at this year’s Arts Alive Festival and Street Painting event on May 3.
Along with hip-hop, the Middle School After-School Enrichment Program features a cornucopia of courses like print making, guitar, pottery, financial basics for teens, Algebra, chess club and art.

Participants must be in grades 6 – 8 to take part in the courses that each cost $25. Register online at econnect.cityofmissionviejo.org or call 949-470-3062.

The Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center is at 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA.

Event Recap: Oh, What a Beautiful Evening!

rodgers and_hammerstein

Composers Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II

Although this blog is focused on teen literature, even the most avid reader takes their nose out of a book eventually, right? If you like the performing arts, there are many opportunities to appreciate a variety of arts and culture in Mission Viejo.

“Oh, What a Beautiful Evening! The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein,” presented by the the singers of the Orange County School of the Arts and Timeless Melodies at the Norman P. Murray Community Center in January, was an enjoyable tribute to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, though not without flaws.

The selection of Rodgers and Hammerstein music was wonderful and the host presented each set of songs with an informative introduction. Unfortunately, as someone very familiar with the musical selections, I found that there were a lot of technical vocal issues in several of the performances. In addition, there sometimes lacked a balance between the singers in the group numbers as some were much louder than others, thereby making the performance sound out of tune.

Nonetheless, there were a few performers that were very talented and have a lot of potential. These singers filled their songs with emotion and heart and were a lot of fun to listen to. Overall, I enjoyed myself as I always get excited when I see singers with a lot of talent and potential, but I have to say the event was just mediocre as there was a lack of performance quality. Thus, although “Oh, What a Beautiful Evening!” was a mixed experience, there were a few stars that shined bright.

– Kiera C., 12th grade