Monday, April 26, 2010

The 13th Reality Book 3

If you've never read any of James Dashner's books before, I highly suggest starting, they're fantastic. The latest is Book 3 of "The 13th Reality" series "The Blade of Shattered Hope"

Synopsis: Things have chabged for Atticus Higginbottom. After the near catastrophe in the Fourth Reality, Tick is being homeschooled in the fields of science, trying to master the mysterious Chi'karda-- and learning how to control his growing power. But just as he begins to make progress, Mistress Jane reappears, now hideously scarred and much more powerful. She has tapped into the universe's dark secret to create the Blade of Shattered Hope, a weapon that could shatter reality itself if not used properly. In her quest to attain a Utopian Reality for the future of mankind, she ready to risk billions of lives-- including those of Tick's parents and sisters-- to set her plan in motion. Her vengeance knows no bounds and when rumors begin to circulate about the secret scientific experiments taking place at the Factory, Tick and his friends--Sato, Sofia, and Paul-- are faced with their most dangerous task yet. And they must not fail; the entire universe could cease to exist.

My thoughts: Firstly, before you read this, you need to read the first two books ("The Journal of Curious Letters" and "The Hunt for Dark Infinity") or there will be some things in this one you won't understand. Secondly, I'm crazy about this book and the series. It's fun, creative, and adventurous. It's one of those books where you keep saying "Just one more chapter" until you eventually run out of chapters. Dashner is quickly becoming a master of fantasy. I really recommend reading some of his stuff. I know you'll love them. Book 4 is coming 2011. I can't wait. No, really, I can't, the excitement is killing me.

One litte reminder, Jessica Day George's new book "Princess of Glass" comes out May 25th. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Synopsis: Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human spiecies. To make sure that humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses- and training them in the arts of war... The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of 'games'... Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games... He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet?

My Thoughts: Things are a little confusing at the start, but start to clear up the further along you go. I found this book to be really futuristic and it takes a second of thinking to figure out what some things are refering to. Overall, I thought it was interesting. I usually don't read science fiction or things with aliens and such, but this one wasn't a waste of time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pegasus 2010

And no, I don't mean the winged horse of Greek mythology. "Pegasus" is the yearly literary magazine at my high school. It's published at the end of the year and features the school's best young writers and artists. I submitted three of my poems, two of which got in. Of my three, "The Jester King's Court" and "Open Eyes" got in. "To: You From: Me" wasn't as lucky. Here are this year's winners:

The Jester King's Court

The time is now, come gather around
The fire's high, the sun's gone down
Friend and poet, come make anew
Gypsy, drummer, and lute player too
The blood red flames are dancing high
Kissing excitedly at the star draped sky
And close by, within the fire's hypnotic light
A bold and roaming passion is sweeping the night
Gypsies dance and singers sing
All performing for the Jester King
And joining in, drummer pound
Onlookers tap their feet upon the ground
The rhythm grows and oh so fast
As if bleeding into the future and past
Guitars and lutes all start to strum
From somewhere off, the mountains hum
The skies whisper encouraging chants
And swifter the gypsies start to dance
Distant bells are softly swelling
We storytellers are storytelling
The night goes on, but we never slow
The pulsing music seems to flow
The time is now, come gather around
The fire's high, the sun's gone down
This is no place of challenge or sport
Only music and merriment in the Jester King's court

And "Open Eyes" goes:

Come dawn, the world awakes
And all begin to rise
Tis beauty at waking
That paints the azure skies
Flowers emerge from leafy shells
Evergreens seem to raise their heads
Mountains yawn, the breeze is sweet
And songbirds stir from treetop beds
The beauty of a summer day
When all is quiet and still
With leaves of green and whispering streams
The peaceful times do fill
The days grow short and cold
Green trees lit aflame
Winds blowing through red and gold treetops
Seemingly whisper some forgotten name
Snow covered mountains
And valleys painted white
Tis the beauty of deep winter
That grades both calm day an night
A rose wilted in the garden
Succumbing to November frost
Tis beauty in death
When life, not in vain, is lost
There is beauty in gloom
Though somewhat harder to find
And hearts and eyes that diligently search
Discover such beauty, refined.
There is beauty in a child's laugh
And in an infant's smile
There is beauty in the forest grove
Where you stop to rest a while
Many see the world through closed eyes
And settle for only this
Never stopping and wondering
The beauty that they miss
Open eyes see far more than they that hardly see at all
Open eyes know the beauty
From watching sun and stars rise and fall
Come see the flowers, trees, and streams
And soft clear springtime skies
Come see the beauty of the world
And see it with open eyes

Pegasus comes out May 20th and I'm so excited. One little reminder to look for my review of "Ender's Game". (As soon as I finish reading it.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

You're gonna survive editing

Ah, editing. A time of rethinking, redoing, second guessing, and, of course, the occational mental breakdown. Yes, there's nothing like reading something you wrote several months ago (sometimes longer) and saying "Did I seriously write that?!" Editing to some, myself included, is a long and annoying process, but it must be done. You can do it yourself, have a trusted friend do it, or hire a professional editor. A few tips for you do-it-yourself types:

-Be sure to keep an eye out for types. Read slowly since they can be easily passed over.

-Get more than one opinion. Just because you think something is fine or needs to be redone doesn't mean others will have the same point of view.

-Find ways to cope with the stress of reading and rereading. Take part in stress relieving activies between editing sessions.

-Don't be afraid to stop, step away from the red pen and manuscript, and get some fresh air, watch a movie, read a book, go for a walk, or anything else you like to do. It'll leave you revived and recharged, ready to start again.

-Remember that what you're doing is going to help you grow and flurish as a writer.

Don't get discouraged. You may not get a passage right the first time, or the second, or the third, but you'll get it. Don'g let the editing blues get you down; find the silver lining in the red pen laden portion of the novel writing journey. Keep your chin up. Each red mark you put on that paper brings you one step closer to the finish line. Happy Writing! And editing too!

P.S.-- This is a little reminder for all you readers out there that James Dashner's new book "The 13th Reality: The Blade of Shattered Hope" comes out tomorrow.

P.S.S.-- Coming soon is my review of "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card