Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Troublesome Neighbors is an interesting read

I got done with another story, so that means it's time to review. The story I finished reading is a young adult fantasy titled Troublesome Neighbors by M.K. Theodoratus.
5 out of 5 stars
M.K. Theodoratus has managed to capture an entire world in less than forty pages. The beginning starts out a little slow to medium pace, but it helps set the stage so we can see who's friend and who's foe. I like the strong independence of the main character Renna. She is far from the damsel in distress. The villain also has a way of doing things that people have an idea of but don't know how far it goes.
World building
We have a new system of magic that seems to be available to many if not all. There are elves in this world, but they have some differences to them that I didn't expect. It's good to see a new adjustment to a classic race. M.K. has also shown that a war has happened in the past that caused certain laws to arise which some people are not interested in obeying. Lords and rangers abound as well, establishing the atmosphere of a high fantasy.
An elf is described with a low-cut shirt.
If our leaders are not obeying the laws set to protect the people, it's the people's responsibility to take action.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Book Review: Shadow on the Land excellent book

Hi everyone. I meant to finish reading this book earlier this week, but I had family visiting so I spent time with them. Now it's time to do a review for A Shadow on the Land.
5 out of 5 stars
A Shadow on the Land is well written and creatively done. The pacing may seem a bit slow in some areas, but Krystine Kercher does a very good job at exploring the different perspectives of the characters. I also enjoy the world building she has placed in this book. The towns and settlements feel very European and there are even clashing religions. In case you are wondering there are fantasy creatures in the story, including the traditional dragon.
The overall story is about Bjorn Horsa, the heir to the throne of Astarkand. However the current king of Astarkand, Olaf, refuses to give up the throne and tries to have Bjorn killed. Bjorn must flee and travel the land evading the king and trying to find some way to convince Olaf to do his duty.
Some scenes of violence do get a little descriptive, but not extreme.
All things will come to pass in the Lord's time and in His way. People who are Christians would probably do well to use this story to help readers look into the life of David, particularly 1 Samuel 18-2 Samuel 1. When wicked men enter positions of power, they will exercise unrighteous dominion. We must be wise in who we choose as our leaders.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Movie Review: The Monster King has returned!

Hi everyone. It's time for a new post, and today I'm going to share with you my thoughts on Godzilla.
I'm going to be doing something new with movie reviews today as part of an experiment to try and make these reviews better. I'm going to be not just the story, but the effects and design as well.
Rating: Five out of Five stars
The story seemed to be well paced, though some might find the first hour a bit slow. For me, it wasn't too slow, but it wasn't too fast either. They did a good job of introducing and developing characters in a timely fashion, and the problems arose in a timely manner as well. I also enjoyed how they alluded to the events that led to the creation of the original Godzilla, and used the year 1954 as an allusion to the year that Godzilla was first released.
As is expected in these days, the effects used were really cool. The use of 3D in the movie helps to bring depth to the fights between the monsters, and the collateral damage done to their surroundings as well. Sometimes it's easy to forget that you're sitting in a theater.
I enjoyed the design given to the cities throughout the movie. The use of shading and darkness gives the message of how bad the evil kaiju in this movie are, while things seem to light up on Godzilla. Speaking of which Godzilla was really well designed in this movie. It's easy to see the homage to the original style of design for the creature, while still giving him some minor modifications. The other kaiju were also well done. Their movements seem to be a bit of a homage to the puppetry that some old monsters had done on them while they still moved about and behaved in a way that seemed natural.
I loved this movie and thought it was well done. This is Godzilla. I would highly recommend seeing this movie in theaters if you're interested in old fashioned monsters, or just want to see some really cool action.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Origins of Godzilla

Hi everyone. I said last night that I'd be doing a post on Godzilla today, so let's gets to it.
Godzilla first appeared on the big screen in Japan in 1954. There he was originally termed Gojira. However a few years later America decided to show it and dubbed the creature Godzilla. In the original film Godzilla was a dinosaur that was sleeping when atomic bombs in the pacific awakened him. Godzilla laid waste to several islands and ships before making his way to Japan where he reduced Tokyo to rubble. It was only using a deadly weapon that Japan was able to take him down.
You wouldn't think that Godzilla was inspired by something from another movie, yet he was. Before Godzilla there was a popular film titled The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, about a dinosaur called a Rhedosaurus that is awakened by a foghorn and terrorizes New York City.
If I had to venture a guess, I'd say the people at Toho (the company that made the Godzilla films) liked the idea of a giant dinosaur coming back to terrorize a city. The designers then proceeded to create their own prehistoric kaiju. For Gojira they combined the qualities and attributes of Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Iguanodon. They also looked at the effects the atomic bomb had on people in designing Godzilla's skin. I think the whole concept of Godzilla originally was to show the harmful effects of nuclear testing. Godzilla's roar was done by slowing down the recording of the sound of a resin coated glove along the string of a contrabass. Pretty good choice in my opinion.
Over the years, in a period known as the Showa era, Godzilla was brought back and the films ended up portraying Godzilla as a hero of sorts, coming to the rescue to save Japan from some evil kaiju.
In the Heisei era Godzilla was reimagined back into a ferocious monster and in the films from that era Godzilla was usually a threat to humanity itself that constantly had to be stopped. Yes Godzilla still fought other kaiju that surfaced, though I think they were trying to go more for the approach of territorial protection instincts than trying to save humanity.
During this time Godzilla was given a new backstory as well. Rather than being some dormant prehistoric creature that woke up to the atomic bomb like a really loud alarm clock, Godzilla was reimagined as being a species of dinosaur that fans have termed "Godzillasaurus". The Godzillasaurus was living on an island called Lagos Island where a garrison of Japanese soldiers were about to be overrun by American Troops. The dinosaur, thinking the Americans to be invaders of its territory, came and killed the soldiers, but not before suffering terrible wounds. Years later the atomic testing in the Pacific mutated the dinosaur and turned it into Godzilla. This was all revealed in the 1991 film Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, where people of the future came back in time to stop Godzilla from coming into existence. They teleported the dinosaur to another part of the world and left their Dorats on Lagos Island to be mutated into King Ghidorah. Thankfully the dinosaur still got exposed to radiation and Godzilla still came about and vanquished King Ghidorah.
In 1998 Columbia Tristar tried to do a remake of Godzilla. They tried to design Godzilla to appear more like a dinosaur and behave more like an animal than a monster. The new origin was that he wasn't a dinosaur, but an iguana mutated by radiation. Fans of Godzilla hated the result and for years called the creature G.I.N.O. (Godzilla In Name Only). However in the 2004 Godzilla: Final Wars, Toho used the American remake as one of the monsters attacking the Earth and renamed him Zilla. I think to appeal to the fan hatred of Zilla they had Godzilla take him down in less than a minute.
Yes, that's the one called Zilla. Anyway, after the failed attempt to remake Godzilla in America Toho went back to making Godzilla films, which is often referred to as the Millennium series since they were released around the time of the new millennium. Interestingly each film didn't build off the predecessor and seemed to be more oriented to continuing where the films from the 50s and 60s left off as the films constantly referenced or alluded to characters and events that happened during those times. The only exception to the rule were the two films that had Godzilla face off against a new version of Mechagodzilla.
Now we are in a new era. Legendary Studios obtained the rights to do a new remake of Godzilla. Many fans were worried at first, but the people in charge of making the film said they wanted to do it right from every angle, and one admitted to being a fan of Toho's version. I still have yet to see the film, but I've heard that it's being received positively. I would say that we might be entering a new era for Godzilla. If I were allowed to pick a name for this era of Godzilla, I would call this the Legendary era.
Now you're all probably wondering why I like Godzilla. As I mentioned before one of the key factors is him being a dinosaur. However I do like other things about him. I like how he's designed and his seemingly indestructible nature. I also enjoy how he always seems to be a key to fighting off some danger to the planet, even if humanity's safety isn't on his agenda. I also like his fighting spirit, and how he refuses to back down from a fight. Godzilla seems like he never gives up no matter what. That determination is always something I enjoy seeing, that no matter how hard things get the character never gives up.
I've read online that people at Legendary have thought of doing a crossover between Godzilla and Pacific Rim. I'm not sure what to think of that. They ended Pacific Rim pretty well, although I have to admit it might be fun to have Godzilla fight off some of the kaiju from the film, and maybe a Jaeger or two. I just don't know how it would be done. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if Toho will allow Legendary to keep making Godzilla films.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kaiju Weekend part one: My favorite kaiju

Hi everyone. I'm still trying to get that story uploaded on AuthorsDen. I've run into a problem that I don't know how to fix, so it looks like it may not be uploaded until tomorrow. In the meantime we all know that Godzilla was released today. Sadly I need to wait a little longer before I can see it. I don't know when, but it will be this summer. I decided to do something with this blog and do a weekend of blogging about kaiju.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term a kaiju is essentially a giant monster. Usually they have to be over one hundred feet in height. America has come out with a lot of kaiju in the last decade, but the most famous of the kaiju still hail from Japan. These movies were really popular from the 1950s to the late 1970s, though throughout the years people have still loved monsters like Godzilla. I decided to put a list of my favorite kaiju together for you.
Coming in at number one is Godzilla of course. I mainly enjoy him because it's accepted that he's a dinosaur that was mutated by radioactivity. However I also like how he's portrayed as the ultimate predator. Godzilla in the majority of his films is unstoppable. True there have been foes that have bested him, but he always comes back to fight another battle.
Coming in at number two is Anguirus. Essentially Anguirus is supposed to be some type of Ankylosaur. Originally he was an enemy of Godzilla but as the years progressed he became a friend to the King of the Monsters, even helping him to fight off foes like Gigan and Ghidorah. Anguirus may not have any powers like a fire breath, but he does not back down from a fight.
Number three is Rodan, the pterosaur kaiju. Rodan originally appeared in his own film, but he was incorporated in with the Godzilla franchise. As the Godzilla films progressed Rodan also came to be considered a friend to Godzilla. Usually Rodan doesn't have anything like a breath attack, but in the film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II Rodan did have a fire breath attack.
Fourth place goes to Baragon. Strangely Baragon is also supposed to be a dinosaur, one that escaped extinction. He originally appeared in the film Frankenstein Conquers the World, where the heart of Frankenstein's monster is transported to Japan, reforms into the creature, and grows to giant size to give battle to Baragon who was eating cattle and people. Baragon was brought back for the film Destroy All Monsters, which is one of the popular Godzilla films due to having Godzilla with a lot of other monsters. Several times Baragon was supposed to be in other films, but the costume was always in bad condition. Still I think that his design is strange and interesting, and his dinosaur status doesn't hurt with the placing either.
For fifth place I will use Gamera. Gamera is not a kaiju that has ever faced Godzilla before, except possibly in fan fictions. The reason is Godzilla and Gamera were made by two different companies, and there has never been a deal for the two to face off. Gamera was originally created to compete with the successful Godzilla franchise, even giving him a fire breath attack. Originally Gamera was a prehistoric turtle that was reawakened when an explosion happened in Alaska. Over the years his origin was changed to being a creature from Atlantis, particularly during the late 80s, early 90s era. One thing that's remained consistent about Gamera is that he has a soft spot for children and will not hesitate to come to their rescue.
Sixth place goes to...a butterfly? Yep. For those of you who don't know this is Mothra. Originally Mothra was her own independent film, but proved to be so popular they actually had her face off against Godzilla and eventually during the 90s she got her own trilogy. Surprisingly Mothra is not a mutation, but a kaiju worshipped as a goddess on an island by two tiny twins. Usually what happens is that Mothra is minding her own business and some monster starts threatening the world so Mothra has to fly in and stop it. Mothra is considered the most beautiful of all the kaiju, and is also a protector of the earth and all its inhabitants, including humanity.
Seventh place goes to Varan. Admittedly I still have to see the movies where he appears, but I like what I read about him so I decided to include him in this countdown. Varan was yet another prehistoric critter that was awakened and went on a rampage before the military took him down. Like in the classic days Varan wouldn't stay down and was brought back as one of the monsters in Destroy All Monsters where he helped Godzilla in that film and earned the title as a friend of the monster king. Varan doesn't have any powers like Anguirus, but being able to glide around is still cool for a kaiju.
Eighth place is for another monster that I haven't seen yet, but I've read about. This is Gorosaurus, a monster that originally appeared in the film King Kong Escapes. Back when Toho was making Kong a kaiju Gorosaurus was found on an island where he tried to eat some of the main characters before the famous gorilla came along and stopped him. Although he was killed, he was also brought back for Destroy All Monsters and became another ally to Godzilla. Gorosaurus doesn't have any powers. I guess you don't really need them when you're as big as a skyscraper, but he does have a pretty powerful kick.
Ninth place goes to a strange little kaiju named Minilla. Minilla is Godzilla's adopted son, having saved the former from being killed by other kaiju when he just hatched. Minilla usually isn't a fighter, not being able to blow more than a smoke ring. However under extreme circumstances he is able to unleash an attack similar to his father's. Minilla usually is seen with his daddy on Monster Island still learning to fight.
Tenth place goes to Godzilla Junior. Godzilla Junior is the final form of another version of Minilla who appeared in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, although it isn't until the film Godzilla vs. Destroyah that he achieves this appearance. Like Minilla Godzilla Junior is much friendlier than his father, and actually fights to keep kids safe from monsters. Godzilla Junior is also a good fighter, having stopped Destroyah in one of his many forms before being killed in a rematch. However as his father died from a meltdown he was going through the excess radiation was enough to revive Godzilla Junior and advanced his growth enough for him to become the new Godzilla.

There are other kaiju that are not so friendly. I decided to do a list for them as well.
First place for the bad monster list goes to King Ghidorah (sometimes known as Ghidorah or Monster Zero). Ghidorah is a three-headed space dragon with a lightning breath attack. King Ghidorah usually comes with the intention of conquering the Earth only to be opposed by Godzilla. During the 90s era he was reimagined to be mutated from future creatures called Dorats that were left behind on Godzilla's island to be exposed by the radiation that mutated Godzilla. Whatever origin, King Ghidorah is one nasty dragon. He is an incredibly popular monster for Godzilla to face, and I daresay King Ghidorah is actually Godzilla's nemesis given how much they've fought over the years.
Mechagodzilla takes second place for the foes list. Mechagodzilla is a giant robot that is meant to take down the monster king. When it originally appeared in the late 70s Mechagodzilla was created by a race of aliens to help them take over the Earth. As the years progressed Mechagodzilla was reimagined to have been created by humans to give them a weapon to fight against Godzilla. The third version from the early 2000s is my personal favorite because they used the bones of the original Godzilla (from 1954) as the basis for its design. Mechagodzilla is a powerful melee fighter, and usually can shoot beams from its eyes. Mechagodzilla has been furnished with shoulder cannons from time to time, which makes him even cooler.
Third place we see another dinosaur kaiju, Titanosaurus. Titanosaurus was actually a peaceful creature. However he was found by a scientist who was working for the same aliens that created Mechagodzilla. They used sonic waves to turn Titanosaurus aggressive and used him along with a new Mechagodzilla to attack Japan, and they almost succeeded in defeating Godzilla. However they were thankfully stopped. Titanosaurus appeared in the last Godzilla film of the 70s, Terror of Mechagodzilla, and hasn't appeared in another movie. However Titanosaurus can generate powerful winds with his tail, and I think given his naturally gentle disposition he deserves a chance to fight alongside Godzilla instead of against him.
This ugly bug actually gets fourth place. This is Megaguirus, a mutant queen of the fictional Meganulon, carnivorous insects that originally appeared with Rodan but were brought back for the film Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. In both versions the Meganulon attacked people, though I think it was in the 2000s version where they actually had people for dinner. Anyway, Megaguirus was brought about when a swarm of Meganuera (prehistoric dragonflies) brought her energy stolen from Godzilla, which mutated her into a giant monster. Megaguirus flies at super speeds and can actually take on Godzilla pretty well. I think she's also capable of sucking health out of opponents with a special stinger on her tail. So yeah, this is a super fast, health sucking, killer prehistoric dragonfly.
Fifth place goes to one of the few monsters responsible for the death of Godzilla. This is Destroyah, the last foe Godzilla faced during the series from the 90s. Destroyah is essentially microbes from the Precambrian era that were mutated by the same weapon that originally killed Godzilla in 1954. They keep mutating into various forms and causing a lot of trouble for the people of Japan. Originally they were stopped by Godzilla Junior, but they reappeared, defeated him, and eventually mutated into the final form seen here. Godzilla fought Destroyah, who kept reviving even though Godzilla took him down. It was only by dropping Destroyah on freezing weapons that he was taken down. Frightening appearance, near invulnerability, nasty attitude. If they wanted to bring a kaiju around as part of a doomsday event I say they should use this guy.
For sixth place I'm going with a monster I still want to see, Spacegodzilla. Spacegodzilla originally appeared in Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla from the 90s, I think just one year before Godzilla vs. Destroyah. Spacegodzilla was created from leftover Godzilla DNA that had been transported into space by the plant monster Biollante. The military tried to stop the creature before it could arrive on Earth and failed. Spacegodzilla doesn't have any of Godzilla's powers, but he does have his attitude. Spacegodzilla is capable of creating giant crystals that give him his powers. Spacegodzilla has appeared in a few video games and had at least one where he was responsible for the events of the game. He is also one of the popular foes for Godzilla in the fandom.
Seventh place goes to Orga, the first monster Godzilla faced in the Millennium series (1999-2004). Orga was an alien that fell to Earth during prehistoric times and entered suspended animation, only to be reawakened by humans later on. Orga hacked several computers to gain information on the planet and Godzilla. Orga was able to copy some of Godzilla's DNA to give himself the ability to breathe Earth's atmosphere. Orga is mainly limited to heavy melee with his huge claws, and is also equipped with a beam that he fires from a hole in his shoulder. He can also extend his jaws which he used to try and swallow Godzilla while still sampling his DNA to make him a complete clone. However Godzilla blasted him from the inside out and fried him.
In eighth place we return to Gamera. This was actually Gamera's first kaiju foe, Barugon. Barugon is a giant lizard that was brought to Tokyo because someone foolishly brought a gem back from an island. Barugon went on a rampage before encountering Gamera, who fought the lizard. Barugon can reflect enemy attacks with a rainbow shield he creates with the spikes on his back, and he can also created ice from his tongue. An ice breathing lizard is definitely something you don't see everyday.
Ninth place we see the only other monster that has appeared in other Gamera films besides Gamera himself: Gyaos. Gyaos is usually described as a combination of a vampire bat and a pterosaur. Gyaos was awakened by men (of course) and sets out attacking Japan. However just as he's about to eat a boy Gamera appears and stops him. Gyaos is equipped with razor sharp wings and claws, and an energy beam that can do a lot of damage. Gyaos later reappeared with several different forms throughout the years, including a space version and a Hyper Gyaos from the 90s, shown above.
Tenth place goes to a really strange kaiju. This is Jiger, a kaiju that was regarded by the natives of an island as a demon of sorts. She had been imprisoned for centuries by a strange statue called The Devil's Whistle. However when Japan was putting together a multi-cultural festival they took the whistle to be a part of it. Jiger was awakened and made her way to Japan where she caused a lot of damage, even using a heat race to reduce buildings to rubble and soldiers to skeletons. However Gamera showed up and did battle with Jiger. Jiger is also equipped with the ability to shoot javelins out from her horns, and has magnetic feet which she could use to draw things closer to her. Her tail is also equipped with a stinger that allows her to inject a baby into the lungs of another creature. Strange, but deadly.
I just had one more kaiju I wanted to add to this list. This is Zedus, the kaiju that Gamera found in the 2006 film Gamera the Brave. Zedus was a kaiju that went about terrorizing Japan while the new Gamera was still growing. While the new Gamera was not at full strength Zedus was more than a match for the turtle. I'm not sure what Zedus's powers are, but he was defeated when Gamera gained the ability to breathe fire and shot a fireball at it. Zedus looks like a combination of a frilled lizard and a dinosaur.

Well, that's it for now. Tomorrow I'll try to make time to do a post on the origins of Godzilla. I don't know when I'll be able to see the new film, but I'll try to do it soon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Four book reviews! Oh my!

Hi everyone. I've managed to get through four books over the weekend and I was surprised at how fast I've read them. Well now's the time to get reviewing in order they were done.
The third book in the Spirit Animals series, Blood Ties is written by the Australian team of Garth Nix and Sean Williams. Meilin and her Spirit Animal Jhi have returned to Zhong to find her father and to try and weaken the Conqueror hold on the land. Her friends Conor, Abeke, and Rollan are also called to Zhong to find one of the Great Beasts and collect another talisman before it falls into the hands of the Conquerors. Well written, fast paced, and lots of action from beginning to the end, the book is a great resource for showing the bond between family and friends.
Children and people constantly in peril. Lots of fighting but not graphic.
Our friends can be just as encouraging and loving as our biological families. Putting the needs of others before our own will lead to greater happiness. The greatest form of love is to give your life for another. Battling is okay when the cause is just (fighting to protect freedom, family, etc.).
Five out of Five stars
The fourth book in the Kingdom Keepers series, Power Play finds the Keepers enjoying their lives now that Maleficent and Chernabog have been captured by the Imagineers. However while Finn and Amanda are having a good time at the parks the ride goes horribly wrong. Worse fellow Kingdom Keeper Charlene is starting to act strange. They begin to suspect the Overtakers are back at work and are starting to expand their powers. While trying to learn of the plans of the Overtakers and trying to find out what's going on they will encounter many new enemies and will find new friends, both of which will please and amaze many fans. If you love anything Disney I would highly recommend you pick up these books.
People are in peril. Some scenes involving threats from Overtakers may be a little intense for some. When a mermaid changes to human form she's a little destitute in clothing (though she corrects this as soon as possible and it was done to stay true to the film she originally came from).
Parents can be a great source of encouragement for their children. We can overcome our differences and work together to accomplish great things. Though the powers of evil are great they will eventually fall to the forces of good.
Four out of Five Stars
The twelfth book written by L. Frank Baum that takes place in the magical land of Oz, the story finds the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow living their lives peacefully in the Winkie country, or the western lands of Oz. When they are visited by a boy named Woot the Wanderer the Tin Woodman takes it upon himself to go and find the Munchkin girl he used to love before he became made of tin. Joined by the Scarecrow and Woot, the three journey across the Land of Oz and meet many characters, old and new, and have strange adventures before finding themselves in the Munchkin country where they encounter strange surprises that no one will see coming.
I've always enjoyed the Land of Oz, and though we meet several familiar characters in this story we're still treated to new friends as well. We also see new areas of Munchkin land that I doubt anyone who hasn't read the books existed. We also get to learn more of the past of one of Oz's most beloved characters.
People are changed into animals by a giantess. Later, a jaguar tries to eat the characters and one of them falls into a den of dragons. No one is harmed though.
We should be grateful to those who show loyalty and goodness to us and others. The way we treat others will come back to us. We will be rewarded for our deeds, good and bad.
Five out of Five stars
Whispers In The Dark - Phantom's Lullaby is a beautiful story that brings heart again to the classic tale of The Phantom of the Opera. Chardonnay is a beautiful young woman with a promising career that gets torn away from her. However her belief in the music angel Erik and the love of her friend helps her to continue on. I liked how the characters in the story ended up meeting Erik and Christine as well as receiving help from them in their lives. I didn't like how detailed a lot of the antagonists' actions were given a lot of detail. However I know it was only to show his true colors and to show the difference between loving someone and lusting them. Still a good story for people who love The Phantom of the Opera or love stories about coming back from defeat.
The villain sleeps with and rapes a lot of women (I had to skip over those parts, though it was only included to show how evil he was). People use drugs, drink, and swear. A spirit scares people in many ways, though it's to help the characters. Story may be too mature for some readers. 
Our ancestors care a great deal for our welfare and success, and are watching over us. If you let hate and anger rule your heart you will never find true happiness. Marriage and family life is ordained of God. A relationship were couples rely on physical intimacy instead of love and service is doomed to fail. Wickedness never was happiness. Lust is the opposite of love. We are all children of a loving Father in Heaven.
Four out of Five stars

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spirit Animals event and Review of Hunted

Hi everyone. I would've done this post yesterday. However I had homework I needed to do. Anyway, this Tuesday I went with my brothers Jonathan and Michael to see the book party for the Spirit Animals series from Scholastic. I was walking up to go in and I realized the person standing right next to me was none other than Brandon Mull himself. That was a surprise. That was the first time I ever entered the room the same time as an author. The other authors of the Spirit Animals series were also there: Maggie Stiefvater, Garth Nix, and Sean Williams. They talked about their lives and their works, and we saw some funny pictures and videos (Maggie's video of her goats was especially funny). I learned that Garth Nix plays the tie-in computer game. They even did a little presentation for some kids chosen from the audience by allowing them to use their imagination to bond with Spirit Animals. Perhaps I need to explain the series a little bit before continuing.
Spirit Animals is a fantasy series that takes place in the world of Erdas, which is like another version of Earth. There are four main continents as well as a mysterious fifth continent. In Erdas there aren't any magical creatures that we would think of. Translation: No dragons, no unicorns, no elves, no dwarves, etc. However there is still plenty of mystical stuff. When a child reaches a certain age in Erdas they are allowed to drink a special nectar that will allow them to summon a Spirit Animal. Not everyone can do it though. As to what a Spirit Animal is, they're animals that bond with humans and allow their human partners to gain special abilities like healing, incredible eyesight, agility, etc. According to legend a long time ago an evil known as the Devourer sought to conquer the entire world, but was stopped by the Great Beasts. The Great Beasts are the most powerful of all the Spirit Animals and guard special talismans. However the victory against the Devourer was costly, for four of the Great Beasts, known as the Four Fallen, paid with their lives to stop him. However in the series the four main characters, separated by great distances, have summoned all four of the Fallen. Now they must learn to work together and travel the world to find the other Great Beasts and collect their talismans before the enemy can.
I've been enjoying the series and I enjoyed meeting all four authors. Brandon Mull has said that he thinks his Spirit Animal would probably be a dolphin. Now on to the review:
In Hunted we get a little more of a story to show the bond between the humans and their Spirit Animals. Conor and his friends are still working on developing their bond with their Spirit Animals when they learn of the location of the next Great Beast. However when returning home to Eura Conor finds things have changed greatly. The Conquerors, who work for the Devourer, have developed a means of forcing a bond to be made and many in Conor's village have turned as a result. Not only must they get to the Talisman first, but they have to prove that they're the heroes and not the Conquerers. This book was one that made me want to keep reading instead of doing things I needed to do. I kept thinking to myself that what the Conquerers did wasn't creating a bond, it was enslaving animals. Essentially their method of bonding requires no teamwork and no trust. The human has all control while the animal does simply what it's told. It's little more than an organic robot in my opinion. A great story about trust and friendship.
Kids are in peril and threatened. Some mild blood.
When we act out of pride, we often do terrible things that hurt others and ourselves. True friendship and teamwork comes from trust. We can be so much more than what we think. Losing a loved one is extremely painful. When we stop and think about our options we can see other choices around us.
Rating: Five out of Five Stars

Monday, May 5, 2014

Reviews for The Page and The Eternal Savage

Hi everyone. I know usually I only do one book review at a time. However today I'm pleased to say that I will be reviewing two books today.
A heroic knight, villains and dragons working together, and the mystical sword Excalibur. Padraig finds himself questing to rescue a maid from an evil dragon only to be caught up in a war to change the fate of our world. I enjoyed the creativity and imagination regarding what happened after the fall of Camelot. Some parts are a little slow, but overall an enjoyable read for all lovers of fantasy.
There is some mild swearing in this book. A few times it is mentioned that a knight takes a bath in front of a shocked page. Dragons bleed quite a lot when killed and are mentioned as killing people and eating their liver (though thankfully the characters never see it).
When we think ourselves as above others we are prone to fall. The greatest form of love is to be willing to give your life for another. When we use the means God has given us to help others we can accomplish great things. Evil is no match for the power of good. 
4 out of 5 stars
The Eternal Savage (or The Eternal Lover as my e-book copy is titled) is about Nu, a cave-man who sets out to kill a Smilodon (or Saber-tooth cat) so he can bring the head back and claim Na-Tul, the love of his life, as his mate. However things go wrong and Nu finds himself in the twentieth-century Africa where he meets up with Tarzan and has some adventures before returning back to his time period where he continues to work for Na-Tul.
With all the discoveries made in science we now know that such a story is impossible. Dinosaurs and man didn't live in the same time period, and several of the prehistoric mammals were in the wrong area. Still I enjoyed Nu's loyalty towards Na-Tul and the lengths he went to save her from harm. The ending might surprise you. However if you enjoy the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs you won't want to miss this.
Nu for most of the story only wears a loin cloth. There is one moment where it mentions him taking a bath (though it doesn't go into detail). Men and animals are killed, mostly for food though the men do kill to protect themselves and others from harm. A woman is seen feeding a child and mentions her chest being exposed.
A man and a woman are supposed to come together as husband and wife, and to cherish each other and love each other will full purpose of heart. When we mistreat others we can expect to be mistreated in the end. 
3 out of 5 stars