The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien is a science fiction, dystopian novel. It takes place in the Forge School of the Arts, which is the site of a reality TV show. The school had 100 kids enter in each year, but 50 of them are cut, and do not receive this world-class education. The cuts are based on each person’s ranking, and these ranking are determined by the viewers, who watch the kids 12 hours a day. They vote, and the ones with more votes rise in rank, and make the cuts. The rest of the 12 hours are for the kids to sleep because it is believed that more sleep allows them to have more creativity. Each kid is given a pill to take, and its purpose is to help them sleep better and allow more creativity.

The main character of the book is Rosie Sinclair. She is in the school for film editing, and is ranked very low days before the cuts. Because of this, she skips taking her pill one night and goes out to explore because she does not have any regard for the consequences. In her exploration she finds a whole new world beyond the cameras. This encourages her to put more effort into staying up in the ranks in order to unearth the dark secret that the school is covering.

The premise of the book for me was interesting enough to pick it up off the shelf. I started to read it, and it was a bit difficult to get into. The story started with a pretty simple plot line, and a lot of the beginning was what I already read from the book summary. However, I loved to read about Rosie’s backstory because it made me root for her. Then, a few expected “turns” happened, and the story sort of plautead. I continued to read, and was happy to see the action pick up again. This propelled me to read the rest of the story, and I enjoyed the ending. Even though the beginning was a bit difficult to get through, I would recommend this book for an interesting, thought-provoking novel.

-Anmol K.

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Film Review: Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

This movie is just like all the other sequels to Jurassic Park. After seeing all the other movies in the franchise and seeing the new direction of the movies especially Jurassic World, I did not have very high expectations for this movie. And after watching it, the movie was exactly what I had expected, a bad story line with a bunch of special effects.

Honestly, I had only watched the movie for the actions and the special effects and it didn’t disappoint. The best part of the movie was defiantly just watching dinosaurs destroy things and seeing things burn.

However as the story line goes, it does get annoying seeing the characters make the same mistakes that happened in every other Jurassic movie. The story was just like Jurassic Park 2, people get tricked to go onto the island to bring back dinosaurs and everything goes wrong. And every part of the story that isn’t just a copy of Jurassic Park 2 makes very little sense and is extremely predictable.

Overall the movie was just OK. It is nothing to go out of your way to see. I enjoyed watching it for the special effects but everything else was repetitive and nothing special.  But, if you want to watch a movie to see a lot of action without having to really pay attention to what is going on, it is the perfect movie.

-Ava G.

Film Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

I have been a fan of  Star Wars ever since I was little and was super excited when Disney picked up Star Wars and started making more movies. But, I was just disappointed in them and I was hoping this movie would be better. It was. It wasn’t great and I’m sure I didn’t completely dislike because it was Disney.

It was really interesting getting to learn Han Solo’s backstory. But there was so much more room for a more creative story. It in some ways filled in the gaps of who Han Solo is in ways that I didn’t really like. I didn’t really like the way they portrayed all the characters it made some of them seem different than who they were in the original movies. Some of Han’s backstory did also seem like it was a bit similar to Darth Vaders because Disney characterized them in similar ways .

Also, even though it is Han Solo, it bugged me that Disney had to put in yet another one of their cliche love stories into the movie. It in a way it reminded me of the Padme and Anakin relationship.

I did like the fighting scenes though. There was some classic Star Wars style fighting scenes and special effects that I really enjoyed watching. It helped the movie seem like a Star Wars movie.

I still enjoyed watching the movie and would totally recommend any Star Wars fan to watch it. But it isn’t really about the storyline, it’s more about the special effects and fighting.

-Ava G.

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

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The Fog Diver, written by Joel Ross, is a great book full of suspense and twists. It has a wonderful plot and intriguing characters.

What if the whole earth was engulfed in deadly fog? What if a great treasure was said to be hidden beneath the clouds? And what if you were the only one who could survive in that fog?  The main character, Chess, finds himself in such a dilemma. An orphan with special power, he is part of a ragtag scrapper crew. They hunt for items from old Earth to sell on the mountaintops while avoiding sky pirates and monsters.

Meanwhile, a tyrant named Kodoc hunts for Chess so he can use him to find the Compass, an ancient artifact said to  control the Fog. The team thinks that Port Oro, a legendary mountaintop, will be a safe haven for them, and attempt a journey. Along the way, they team up with pirates and gang kids. This book is full of friendship and action. I would strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a summer read.

-Joshua M, 6th grade

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

Sarah Tolcser’s first novel, Song of the Current, was much different from what I expected when first picking up the book—though not in a bad way. This exciting story gives a taste of everything: action, adventure, romance, magic, and sacrifice—all centered around one girl who sails with her father on a wherry in the Riverlands.

When she was a child, Caroline “Caro” Oresteia was told her destiny: Like the many Oresteias who came before her, she would be favored by the god in the river. The river god speaks to sailors indirectly and keeps them safe on their journeys. Caro awaits the day when he will begin speak to her, just as he speaks to her father.

When she is seventeen, Caro still has not heard from the river god, and instead finds herself the captain of her father’s beloved wherry, Cormorant, transporting a strange package in order to free her father from imprisonment. When she agrees to carry the strange cargo, Caro has no idea of what her involvement is going to entail. However, it does not take her long to realize that the contents of the strange crate she is carrying is a danger to her and her wherry.

With the Black Dogs (a group of merciless pirates who are searching for the strange crate) looming threateningly in Caro’s wake, the unexpected arrival of a bothersome boy who seems to have something to hide, and someone attempting to force their way into the seat of the Emparch of Akhaia, a whirlpool of dangers, betrayals, and secrecy forms, pulling Caro in.

Through all of this, the god of the river remains silent in Caro’s ears. She begins to wonder if her true destiny is not what she had been told so many years ago.

Although this story is set in a fictional world, I liked how Sarah Tolcser used just enough factual elements such as sailing terms to maintain the believability of the world, and I also liked her use of strong characterization. Caro is a bold, determined character, and it is inspiring how she does not care about someone’s title—she bases her view of them on what she sees them do.

As a reader, I love big fantasy series, but I also like finding new ones that I have not heard much about. The Song of the Current would be a great read for anyone looking for another fictional world to explore. From shadowmen and sword fights to politics and philosophy, this book covers an amazing spectrum. If you ever read this book, I hope your journey through the Riverlands is just as exciting and full of adventure as Caro’s was. Though, of course, much, much safer.

– Mia T.

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Fan Expectations for Predator (2018)

Recently I came upon a movie called Predator featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was about his crew of commandos going to South America and eliminating a threat. What they didn’t know was that the cause of the threat wasn’t human. Throughout the movie they were being hunted by the Predator, an alien from outer space who came to earth to hunt.

This was the major plot of the Predator movie which led to several other movies. I later found out that it was getting a reboot this year. The only thing on my mind is that the other Predator movies haven’t been successful as the first one. One other remake of a successful Sci-Fi movie is Alien. You might remember the movie Alien Covenant that came out last year. The movie turned out to be not that bad. I don’t see why Predator can turn out the same way as Covenant did. I think fans have a better view for this movie just like the first and most successful one.

The reason why the first movie turned out so good was because it was very straightforward. There were no love interests and not a lot of backstory. Fans wanted this out of Predator 2 but didn’t really get that same aspect as the first film.

I also think they should use a rural area for the setting in the new movie. The setting in the first Predator was a jungle in South America and the setting for Predator 2 was in Los Angeles. If you can see what i’m getting at right here it is that the good movie of the two had a rural area as the setting and the bad movie didn’t.

But maybe this movie doesn’t have to be Predator type like movie. It could also be a whole different kind of movie in the saga. Like a movie that actually talks about the Predator’s backstory. Like the movie Prometheus did for the Alien franchise. But seeing that the movie is named Predator it is most likely going to be a Predator based film. Which means it should be straight forward.

-Max U.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender Wiggen is just six years old when he is admitted to battle school. The school where young kids learn how to fight in ware, because one day the buggers (an insectoid alien race) might attack Earth.

Ender does extremely well at the school and moves through the ranks faster than anybody else. He’s even given command of his own army years younger than anyone. These armies are made up over other students, but they compete against each other in the game where they enter an anti-gravity chamber with suits and non-lethal guns. To win the game, you need five people to cross over the enemy’s gate. Ender’s army is extremely successful, and the commander in charge of the school push them more than they have pushed any other army. Until one day, Ender is sent to straight to command school, younger than anyone else ever has. He is pushed to his limits here. Not knowing what he is truly doing.

Personally, I loved this book. It was so different from anything else I have ever read, and as a big reader, I’ve read a lot of science fiction books. I would definatly suggest this book for anyone who wants a good science fiction book to read, one that doesn’t follow the same basic pattern of ever science fiction book that has ever been written.

-Ava G.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive.