Ender’s Game – by Orson Scott Card

In a futuristic world, a young boy named Ender is being drafted to Battle School.ImageAt Battle School, Ender is not accepted by the other children and is viewed almost as a teacher and never as a friend. Together they run through simulations and war games to prepare them for the war that they will fight against the “buggers”. The “buggers” are alien, bug-like creatures who invaded Earth 50 years ago. The human race only survived and won this confrontation because of one unique fighter, Mazer Rackham. In the orbiting Battle School, the teachers realize his abilities as a military genius and know he could be the saviour of the human race. To achieve this however, they must push him as hard as they can, risky as it is for this will either break him to the point of no return or reveal the true extent of his capabilities.

This book was unlike anything I had ever read before. Though I tend to lean more towards fantasy and out of the ordinary types of books, there have only been a few occasions where I have read Si-Fi novels. As a reader I was astonished by how young these children are when they are taken away from their families and shot into the orbit of the Earth. They grow up secluded, without any real feeling of love and being able to trust anybody, adult or child completely. This is entirely unique and I find it, honestly, quite a refreshing difference in the way somebody might live. I find that Orson Scott Card could come up with this very impressive. The whole concept of an impending battle and how they need children to fight this war. This war that could change the history of the human race completely. This book has recently become a major motion picture, and was released late in 2013. I would suggest this book for mature 13 year old up until any age. There are 384 pages.

The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring – by J. R. R. Tolkien

20130727-150102.jpgBilbo Baggins the hobbit celebrates his 111st birthday in Hobbiton of the Shire with his adoptive heir Frodo Baggins who on the same day is celebrating his 33rd birthday coming of age. Bilbo thinks it will be humorous if he disappears at the end of his party with the aid of his magic ring that was found in The Hobbit. After the excitement Bilbo leaves the Shire and leaves everything in his possession to Frodo including the ring. Frodo must journey to safety and from there through Middle Earth with The Fellowship of the Ring to destroy the powerful ring of Sauron the Enemy.

When first looking at the size of the book I found it quite daunting. But after reading the introduction and the first chapter the size wasn’t as large as it was at first sight. I cared more about the adventure being told than the size of the book. Most of the time I will tell people to read the book before the movie but for Lord of the Rings I will definitely say watch the movie first. The words Tolkien created are difficult to pronounce and it is an easier read if you have heard them being said before you read. The dwarf names are quite hard as well as the bridges, rooms and areas in the Mines of Moria. If you know someone who has read the book before (most likely a parent or teacher) then if there is a difficult word just ask them for help. The way Tolkien used the english language is astounding and the descriptions he created are incredibly vivid. Its like a grownups fairy tale with the elves, dwarves and all the other mythic creatures and beings. All the characters are so unique and their personalities are very distinct. There are some feuds at the beginning but its great to see how much peoples attitudes towards people can change, from bad to good or good to bad. To be able to understand the most from the book it is best to read it at least at the age of thirteen or older. (531 pages)

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library – by Chris Grabenstein

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's LibraryBeing the youngest child is never easy, it’s even harder when your Kyle Keeley and you have two very different older brothers; one a complete jock and the other a total brainiac. So as you can imagine coming out on top is very difficult in any situation. Your on even ground when your playing a board game however and everything relies on luck and a good roll of dice and some smarts. Kyle loves board games because it’s the one place he can shine. When he finds out that world-famous game maker and his personal hero Mr. Lemoncello has designed his towns new public library excited doesn’t even begin to cover it. There is an essay contest where on the opening night there is a lock in for 12 special 12 year olds Kyle just have to get in. What he doesn’t know is that getting in is much easier than getting out. It’s everyone for themselves as they all race to escape first in this battle of wits and something more than just good rolls of the dice and a lucky card.

Mystery and adventure nearly always creates an exciting and suspenseful novel. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is no different. The range of characters keeps it exciting and intriguing as well as providing a good amount of laughs. I have never read something like this, given that I haven’t read that many mystery novels anyways. It gave an entirely new idea of what a public library could be like and what it might be in the future. (Holographic librarians!) I am a total book worm and reading a book all about books and such a cool library was a great experience. I learned quite a few things as well, I’m not going to say what in case of spoilers. All I can say is that it was a very good book and that I encourage you to read this if you can find it especially if you are around the age of 7 or 8 and up. (288 pages)

A Ring of Endless Light – by Madeleine L’Engle

A Ring of Endless LightAfter quite a hectic year in New York, Vicky Austin and her family are spending the summer on the small island where her Grandfather lives. He is very sick though and watching him get weaker as the summer progresses is incredibly sad for Vicky. As if her summer wasn’t complicated enough, she finds herself at the center of attention of three very different boys. Leo Rodney and Vicky have been friends for some time as the Austin’s usually come to the island, though only for a week or two at a time. After Leo’s fathers death he turns to Vicky for friendship, comfort and romance. Then there is the dark and troubled Zachary Grey whom she met last summer while camping  with her family. His mother has just died and that makes him need Vicky’s company more then ever. Finally, Adam Eddington is researching dolphins and he has asked for Vicky’s help with his project. But Adam and the dolphins might be exactly just what Vicky needs to get through this heartbreaking summer.

This is the second book I have read by Madeleine L’Engle and I absolutely adore her writing style. The other book I have read is A Wrinkle in Time. What makes A Ring of Endless Light so relatable to readers of all ages is the struggle that Vicky is going through and how raw and real it is. You can sympathize for Vicky and understand what she is feeling at all times. Her difficulties are things that most people have been through or will be going through at one time of their life or another. The book really highlights an important message that will apply to everyone at times in their life and its something that you should remember for the rest of your life. The Austin family is incredibly realistic and you can really empathize with and for them as they do all they can to stay together and connected no matter what is going on around them. A more mature read for ages 13 and up. (324 pages)

Graceling – by Kristin Cashore

GracelingKatsa is able to kill a man with her bare hands, she has been able to since she was eight years old. She is a Graceling one of the few people in her land gifted with extreme skill in one area. As the kings niece she should have been granted freedom and privileges but with her Grace of killing her uncle sends her to threaten people in his kingdom who haven’t obeyed him namely as his thug. But then she meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skill and Katsa’s life is changed. For good or bad? She will have to figure that out herself. Never does she expect to learn something new about her own Grace or about Po’s.

The writing in Graceling was quite good, there was lots of description and you understood the hardships that the characters were going through very thoroughly.  In the beginning of the book I found it quite confusing and I wondered if I should continue. After finishing though I strongly suggest reading right through to the end. There is an incredible diversity of characters and even though they are all extremely unique they are also very connected. There are many situations that you could find in the real world that happen in the book. Enticing and exciting read for ages thirteen and up because of some more mature scenes. (480 pages)

The Ranger Apprentice, Book One: The Ruins of Gorlan – by John Flanagan

The Rangers ApprenticeAt the age of 15, Will, along with the other orphans are expected to choose an occupation in Redmont fief. He is chosen by Halt one of the mysterious Rangers of the Kingdom to be his apprentice. As a Ranger’s apprentice, he is expected to learn archery, horseback riding, the art of unseen movement and many other skills. But danger is around the corner, Morgarath the exiled lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night and one of the most feared people in the fief is gathering an army.

From the beginning all the way to the end I cared so much for the characters. I found that every time there was an action sequence or something dangerous was happening to one of the characters, I would sit up that much more and read with more ferocity and speed. I have now read up to book seven and am excited to see what happens with the characters after this. Will is a very believable character and I think that is good to have since that makes him relatable. A character with no magical abilities and a strong personality who is the hero of the book. This is the first of a series of ten books the sequel to The Ruins of Gorlan is The Burning Bridge. Great adventure story for ages nine and up. (282 pages)

The Maze Runner – by James Dashner

For the past two years a boy has been delivered exactly every 30 days. They are delivered to the Glade a large expanse of land surrounded by four walls which houses fifty to sixty boys from the ages of 13 to 18 and have created a sort of civilization. The Gladers as they call themselves have no memories whatsoever of their life before the Glade except for their first name. With walls surrounding them and dangerous beasts outside they spend every day attempting to escape wherever they are by mapping the maze that surrounds them. Things that the Gladers never thought would change do change when Thomas arrives in the Glade. Just like the rest of the Gladers Thomas has no memory. Thomas’ arrival was expected by the Gladers but the next day the first of the unexpected happens. The very first girl arrives bearing a note that will change everything. Something about the girl seems distantly familiar and it might be just enough to be able to help all of these boys who are stuck here. As days pass everyone starts to be more and more panicked and doubts are being aroused. But what if they have been focusing on the wrong things the whole time? While they have always been focusing on solving the maze they have never really thought that the answer might not be hidden there. Thomas is becoming more and more desperate to reach his memories and will do almost anything to get them to see if he has any answers that will change all of their fates.

I can honestly say that I haven’t found a book that I have enjoyed this much in a long time. The plot is structured in a way that leaves you wondering what will happen and leaves you wondering for just the right amount of time as if you had just arrived in the Glade as well. The personalities are so diverse and they represent all of the different types of people that you will meet. Some of the situations that the Gladers find themselves in remind me of situations that might come up at school but there you are able to leave when you want, you don’t loose your memory and you don’t have to make life or death decisions daily. The Maze Runner is the first in the trilogy, the second is called The Scorch Trials and the third is The Death Cure. Lots of death and gruesome descriptions best for ages 13 and up. (374 pages)