Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Guardians, Book Two: E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core! by William Joyce

And the battle against Pitch continues in this next book. Who would be featured now as the second Guardian? Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

Forget the bunny trail, E. Aster Bunnymund is on a war path.

Pitch, the Nightmare King, and his Fearlings were soundly driven back in the first Guardians’ adventure. Now it seems certain that he’s plotting a particularly evil revenge and the Guardians suspect he might have gone underground. But how can they find him there?

E. Aster Bunnymund, the only emissary of the fabled brotherhood of the Pookas–the league of warrior rabbits of imposing intellect and size. Bunnymund, highly skilled in martial arts, is brilliant, logical, and a tunnel-digger extraordinaire. He’s also armed with magnificent weapons of an oval-sort, and might just be able to help in the quest for the next piece of the Moon Clipper.

This second book in The Guardians series is about much more than fixing a few rotten eggs-. It brings the Guardians one step closer to defeating Pitch.

Pitch seems to be getting stronger and it’s up to Ombric the magician, North, and Katherine to find the other relics from the Moon in order to defeat Pitch. They left Santoff Claussen and arrived in Lamadary to prepare for the upcoming battle.

The Lamas let Ombric use their magnificent clock to search for more clues of the relics’ whereabouts. This instrument records every second of time – like a time machine, but it only gives a person an opportunity to visit and observe the past, not to change it. The concept of time machine such as this really tickles my curiosity on how and when it originated, and why people have thought of it in the first place. This is not the first time I’ve encountered time travelling – I’ve seen it in movies, TV shows, and books.

Anyway, moving on, as I flip one page after another, I become more eager to know as to when E. Aster Bunnymund will appear. It’s as if my wish has been answered because during Ombric’s time travelling, he encounters Bunnymund. That time, little did I know that Bunnymund possesses immense power more than what I expected. He’s more than what he seems.

One would wonder how an Easter Bunny would fit as a member of the Guardians of Childhood. With its fluffy fur, cuddly face, and round eyes, it’s simply not the warrior-type who could defeat Pitch. But lo and behold, in this book, as long as readers believe, anything is possible. William Joyce creates Bunnymund as a powerful hero, eminent in his stance and built, while still incorporating the Easter-related objects such as chocolates, sweets, and most of all, eggs! Readers will evidently be surprised by Bunnymund’s abilities.

Aside from Bunnymund, the author also offers the readers more interesting twists. They will get a glimpse of Pitch’s former life as a human! Compared to the previous book where Pitch is only seen as a villain, I like how William Joyce reveals in this book the past life of Pitch right before he was devoured by the Fearlings. It’s really a surprise knowing his true nature before the darkness invaded him. This somehow makes the story more sympathetic.

I’m impressed by the author’s creativity in forming such a unique storyline. It has depth in it while at the same time, adding humor once in a while, especially the conversations between North and Bunnymund. The illustrations are also epic! They are drawn with such details (shading, lighting, and realistic-looking) that one will be amazed by the outcome of the pictures. If only I could draw like that (I’m a hopeless illustrator, hahaha!).

Overall, the book is quite an enjoyable read. It’s suitable for people young and old. It gives any reader an opportunity to utilize their wild imaginations to explore and take them to exciting adventures with the characters. Furthermore, the book conveys a message that there’s always hope despite the darkness that swallows the surroundings. Friendship is also given importance – that no matter how big or small in size one is, the bond shared between parties is what strengthens and deepens the relationship. I definitely can’t wait for the third installment! What will become of Pitch now?

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The Next Full Moon by Carolyn Turgeon

After discovering one of Carolyn Turgeon’s works entitled Mermaid, I found myself enjoying the story and decided right then and there that I’ll be trying her other works, too. With the recent release of The Next Full Moon, I did not hesitate to immediately buy it from the Book Depository once it was available.

Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

This thoroughly compelling, gorgeously told tale begins as the weather turns warm enough to swim in the local lake. The school year is coming to an end. Ava is on the brink of becoming a teenager. And her longtime crush, Jeff, is most definitely taking notice of her. Everything is going beautifully, happily, perfectly for Ava… until she starts to grow feathers.

Is she some kind of freak? Or something truly special?

When my package arrived, I was quite amazed with the book cover. It’s not the usual type of paper board used in paperbacks, but instead, the cover is printed in a glossy paper board. I must say, it certainly suits the storyline. Add to that, the cover illustration also gives out a magical element to the readers.

The book centers on Ava and the swan maidens. It’s somehow a fairy tale retelling of Swan Lake set in modern times and is more catered to the children and young adult, hence the lighter storyline as compared to Mermaid and the original version of Swan Lake. Ava will turn thirteen in a few weeks and she starts to notice some out-of-ordinary changes in her body in a weird yet beautiful way. Of course, like how any other teenagers would react, she freaks out. This would be bad for a person who’s just in the process of building her self-esteem and confidence, but the insecurities begin to fade once Ava has found the answers to the mystery behind her changes.

I have come to love the personalities of the characters because they’re so realistic and relatable. Teenagers who are in the phase of puberty have certainly experienced what Ava goes through. There are some points where I can actually see myself in her. Just like Ava, I’m an introverted person who’s afraid of what others might think about me. On the other hand, despite the inevitable judgmental world around me, I try not to let the negative things affect me. As the story progresses, Ava proves to be like that, too, one who can be herself, and I admire her for that strength. There are some scenes, though, that Ava tends to exaggerate and overthink things, which kind of annoys me a bit, but I don’t think it’s not unusual for a teenager to act that way. Anyway, moving on, as I read the book, finding out that Ava loves spaghetti bolognese makes me smile from ear to ear because it has become one of my favorite dishes lately. I cannot deny the fact that it has triggered my craving for that dish.

Moreover, the relationships shared between Ava and her father, as well as her and Morgan’s are inspiring enough to yearn for that kind of relationship with our own father and friends, too. It’s hard to come across someone like Morgan nowadays. She portrays to be a true friend – a trait so rare that once obtained, one will surely regret letting it go or taking it for granted. Aside from this, Ava’s father shows to be an imperfectly perfect father in his own way. He proves to be a loving, caring, faithful, and gentle with a good-sense-of-humor father to Ava. Who could ask for more?

Carolyn Turgeon definitely did an amazing job creating this story. Plot-wise, as much as it is light, it contains some depth in it. The book evidently breaks away from the status quo we often see in some stories and TV shows. In this book, a popular guy in school surprisingly likes someone like Ava – unpopular and dorky, yet she possesses something special.  I must admit, the Jeff and Ava moments make me feel giddy inside and support their relationship all throughout the story. Who knows, what they have might be true love. My point is, this aspect gives the readers a notion that we can still gain equality in our society.

I also like Carolyn’s writing style. The way she structures her sentences to describe Ava’s surroundings convinces me enough to yearn to visit that kind of place someday. I’m a city girl, but I often find myself at awe with our Creator’s grand design of nature.

Overall, I guess being different has prepared Ava to become more open minded. It changes her perspective about herself, her life and surroundings. She slowly learns to accept and love oneself. She definitely got the best of both worlds. At the end of the day, this book undoubtedly gives readers hope that there’s always a silver lining beyond the ordinariness of life.


The Kane Chronicles, Book Three: The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan

And here we are, at the final chapter of The Kane Chronicles. I have to say, this book’s cover has the best illustration among the three-part book series, don’t you agree?

Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

When young magicians Carter and Sadie Kane learned how to follow the path of the Ancient Egyptian gods, they knew they would have to play an important role in restoring Ma’at—order—to the world. What they didn’t know is how chaotic the world would become. The Chaos snake Apophis is loose and threatening to destroy the earth in three days’ time. The magicians are divided. The gods are disappearing, and those that remain are weak. Walt, one of Carter and Sadie’s most gifted initiates, is doomed and can already feel his life force ebbing. Zia is too busy babysitting the senile sun god, Ra, to be of much help. What are a couple of teenagers and a handful of young trainees to do?

The story continues on with Carter and Sadie Kane’s adventure to defeat Apophis, the god of Chaos. Just as the title suggests, it has mainly to do with Apophis’ shadow. Oh, and speaking of shadows, during the span of reading this book, there was one night when I surprisingly and frighteningly dreamed of shadows trying to devour me and my friends’ lives. It scared the hell out of me, good thing it wasn’t Aphophis’ shadow (hahaha!).

Moving on, in this final installment of the series, readers are introduced to the concept of shadow being part of a being’s soul. To further understand it, using Sadie’s analogy, the shadow can be used to reboot a soul like a computer backup drive or to destroy one’s soul completely. This is the last resort process of retrieving or erasing a soul; thus, it becomes the most crucial and dangerous information to be disclosed by the owner of the soul to keep it from being used at another’s advantage. As the story progresses, though, readers will also realize that shadows represent something else, that they are more than just the “backup drives” of the souls.

The main characters, Carter and Sadie, somehow remind me of Dan and Amy Cahill from The 39 Clues. Their sibling connection runs deep that they understand each other’s thoughts by just looking at each other. Annoyance between siblings is inevitable, but at the end of the day, they always have each other’s backs. That’s how this book is able to portray Carter and Sadie’s relationship. Moreover, by using alternating point of views of the siblings, it brings out the personalities more from them.

Aside from the Kanes, other magicians and gods also play a significant role in defeating Apophis and defending the First Nome. Some of the minor gods who appear will also be appreciated by the readers – the less-known gods will be remembered once again. And of course, the love interests of Carter and Sadie, Zia and Walt/Anubis, respectively, have their grand moments, too. I can’t help but slowly reread those parts and feel giddy over the couples’ moments. Full of twists and unexpected encounters, the story will fill the readers with excitement and surprises.

Rick Riordan truly has a way of making the story interesting and fun to read. I’m glad he didn’t limit himself to the Greek and Roman gods because with just the success of the Percy Jackson series, I’m confidently sure that Rick Riordan still has a lot to offer to his readers and fans. It’s really amusing to know how he is able to weave a story utilizing the Egyptian mythology. I admit, I was not a fan of mythology before, but reading Rick Riordan’s works has taught me a lot. They’re both entertaining and educational. Plus, he undoubtedly transports my mind and let my imagination wander into the land of Egypt with his powerful written words while I’m merely physically present in my room.

Even though this book series has ended, Carter, Sadie, Zia, Walt, and other memorable characters have definitely casted a shadow in every reader’s hearts and brought a legacy that cannot be easily forgotten. Not all may enjoy this series, but overall, it offers something new and unexpected. On to the next adventure!