Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Clash of Kings

A review by M.G. Lewis

If you’ve read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, then you’ll be dying to read Martin’s sequel to the book, A Clash of Kings. This book is the second part of a fantasy series entitled "A Song of Ice and Fire." The story contains dark themes, strong language, and quite a few sexual sequences, so I would not recommend it for children or young teens; however, its casual, easy flow, and compelling plot line will make the book’s 728 pages go by in a flash. Being a ninth grader myself, I would put this book at a 8-12 grade reading level.

(Editor's note: I definitely consider this a series for adults, but since some teens are always in search of a new, sweeping fantasy saga and will gravitate towards this one, we are publishing Mary Grace's review. Please pay heed to her warning about dark themes, strong language, and sexual content!)

A Clash of Kings picks up directly where A Game of Thrones ended, with this fictional realm being without a proper king. Since the identity of the rightful heir to the throne is in question, four young men all proclaim themselves king, thus earning the book its name. Just like the rest of the "Song of Ice and Fire" series, A Clash of Kings switches perspective every chapter, so you get to hear the story of each king, along with other characters’ stories as well. The four self-proclaimed kings include hot-headed, mean-spirited Joffrey (a boy of 13), who is the eldest son of Robert Baratheon, the deceased former king; Robert Baratheon’s two brothers, Stannis and Renly; and Robb Stark, who is proclaimed "King in the North" by his dead father’s followers. The reader also gets a taste of life ‘beyond the Wall,’ (referring to the wall that separates The Seven Kingdoms from the wild territories) told from the perspective of Robb Stark’s illegitimate half-brother, Jon Snow; plus you hear the story of Danaerys Targaryen, self-proclaimed Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. (Danaerys is the daughter and only living child of the man who was king before Robert Baratheon stole his throne, so she is technically the rightful heir to the throne. Then again, when reading "A Song of Ice and Fire," everyone is rightful heir to the throne!)

All the characters are highly relatable in this story, and you will fall in love with everyone – even the antagonists! One thing I especially appreciate about Martin’s writing is that he makes his female characters strong and wise, as apposed to the weak, irritating female characters that are often portrayed in fiction. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, magic, adventure, or just a fine story. Just like its predecessor, I would give A Clash of Kings a 5/5 rating.

Editor's note: We also have this as an audio book, for those who prefer to listen. And as an adjunct to this series...

A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook: Ever wonder what it’s like to attend a feast at Winterfell? Wish you could split a lemon cake with Sansa Stark, scarf down a pork pie with the Night’s Watch, or indulge in honeyfingers with Daenerys Targaryen? Now you can find out!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Teen Movie Night Tonight!

TONIGHT (Tuesday, August 13) we will be screening The Perks of Being a Wallflower (based on the book by Stephen Chbosky) at the Buena Vista branch at 7:00 p.m. This movie is rated PG-13, so if you're under 13, please bring a note from a parent or guardian! We hope you'll join us before school gets between you and a good time!

Teen review: Rick Riordan

Reviews by Xavier C., 11th grade

Title: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Number of Pages: 375
Genre: Fantasy
Series Affiliation: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Reading Level: Middle School
Rating: 5

The Lightning Thief is the first installment of the Percy Jackson series, and recounts how Percy Jackson discovers a world of gods, monsters, and heroes. Percy is just like any other kid with ADHD and dyslexia, except he is half-god. After discovering that the Greek gods really do exist and Percy's dad is one, Percy is cast into a world of mythology and danger. When Percy is accused of stealing the weapon of the god Zeus, he must go on a journey to find the true thief and rescue his captive mother. It's a race against time in this series opener.

Personally, I really enjoyed this book. The writing style and characters are comical, and the moments that are serious are captivating, and leave the reader desiring nothing. I recommend this book to anyone seeking a fun ride, and to anyone who enjoys the work of Rick Riordan.

The Son of Neptune 
Number of Pages: 513
Series Affiliation:
The Heroes of Olympus

The Son of Neptune is the second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series. The book opens with demigod hero, Percy Jackson, being attacked and chased by two hideous monsters. Normally, this would be all in a day's work for Percy, but there is just one problem: Percy doesn't remember who he is. In this book, Percy will face monsters and foes as before, but he will also discover that there is a rival Roman camp that shouldn't exist, and learns that to stop the evil goddess Gaea, the two enemy camps must overcome their differences and unite as one. As Percy travels north with his new friends to stop evil from awakening, he will be faced with challenges even he hasn't faced before.

I recommend this book, as well as the rest of this series, and Rick Riordan's other series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and The Kane Chronicles.

The Throne of Fire 
Number of Pages: 446
Series Affiliation:
The Kane Chronicles

The Throne of Fire, Book Two in the Kane Chronicles, sends Carter and Sadie around the world again, along with their friends, initiates, gods, and of course their baboon Khufu, on an epic quest to find and save the sun god, Ra. Only problem is, no one knows where Ra has been for millennia. Carter and Sadie must search for Ra to stop the chaos god Apophis from devouring the world. Along the way, Carter and Sadie make new friends, and sadly lose old ones, on a journey to save the world...sounds like fun!

I personally enjoyed The Throne of Fire. As always, Rick Riordan’s writing style is fun and enjoyable, but really goes deep into the hearts and souls of his characters. Carter and Sadie are relatable as always and are fun to get to know. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes an easy, fun read.

Editor's note: We also have each of these books as a sound recording (audio book).