Gideon the Ninth | Book Review

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.


It took me two months to read this book, but through no fault of its own. It just so happened I had just started Gideon the Ninth when exam season hit me. I read this in starts and stops, usually only reading a paragraph or a page a day, until I finished the last third in a few days after exams. It was not a good reading experience because of exams—I kept forgetting what had happened earlier in the chapter—but I had a lot of fun nonetheless.

This book is a wild ride. The writing is beautiful, but really dense and hard to read. It was thorny and hard to decipher, but still gorgeous. It did get easier as I continued the book, but I don’t know if I got used to it or if truly got easier.

The characters are magnificent, but there are over twenty and it was hard to keep track of them at first. I did learn them eventually, with much flipping to the guide at the beginning. The non-POV main characters are amazing (Harrow is my favorite) and the rest are mysterious and intriguing and unique. Despite having so many characters, they were all fleshed out and unique.

The plot meanders and we barely know anything about the world, which was frustrating, but you could tell that the reader only gets a taste of what’s really happening. We see only the surface of the plot for most of the book, but the pieces all move before coming together in a beautiful painting at the end. Similarly, the reader knows precious little about the world, but it is not underdeveloped; you can tell that there is so much she isn’t telling us. I want to know more about the other worlds and the history. I hope we get some answers in the next book.

The ending was perfect, devastating, and inevitable.

It was a really interesting choice to use Gideon as the main character (also the perfect choice). She’s not a key player in the plot, more of an observer. She doesn’t know what’s going on or anything about the world (which is why the plot meandered and the worldbuilding appears thin). It was breathtaking at the end when everything came together into a coherent plot and we saw the puzzle pieces of the book come together. But if it was a puzzle, we didn’t know we were even supposed to solve a puzzle when we started, so it was frustrating to read in the process, but beautiful when you finish.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I’ve Been Reading

Long time no see, readers. School has been [INSERT TORNADO MADE OF PAPER]. But AP exams are over! (They went mostly well, if I pretend the English exam never existed.) And that means blog-time.

While I haven’t been writing much for the past many months… I haven’t been reading that much either. I’m reading Gideon the Ninth right now, which is an absolutely epic book that should’ve taken me a week to read, but I’ve been plugging away at it for a month and twenty days because of exams *groans*. I’ve read more in the past day-and-a-half than the three weeks before that.

There is a bright side to not reading much though (look at me, being an optimist). It’s super easy to review all of the books I’ve read this year in one post! (I mean review in its loosest sense. It’s been a while since I’ve read these so I can’t do in-depth reviews.)


The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang

This is a super fun book. I love that it’s based on Chinese history and it’s really well written. I love Kitay and Rin’s friendship.

Five stars for both. I’m so excited for book 3.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

I read this one for school, and I appreciate the writing and the satire and all that, but I didn’t really like it. I felt more sympathy for the antagonist than the protagonist, so I couldn’t really get behind the protagonist. I thought it was weird that John Proctor the thirty-year-old slept with Abby the sixteen-year-old and then she was blamed for seducing him.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

It was okay. Too much romance for my taste. I didn’t care that much.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

This is currently my favorite book. I reread it two months ago and now I want to read it again. The plot is mindbending and the writing is beautiful, but I love this book for its characters. I love Dodger. I want to read it again. 💚

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are actually six stars for this book.


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This series is written like a fairytale and I adore the writing style. It’s the definition of “whimsy”. 💜

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

This is the prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, although you could read it by itself. The writing style makes me swoon. This one’s even better than Every Heart a Doorway. I love the way it explores family relationships.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Okay, so I’ve read seven books these past five months, and three of them are by Seanan McGuire. In conclusion, read Seanan McGuire.

Diversity and Representation in Books and Publishing – Why is it Necessary? — Sophia Ismaa

“Diverse books aren’t just for the diverse. They are for all of us. Books are more powerful than just a bunch of words. They can help build bridges of cultural understanding, promote tolerance, normalize identities unlike our own, and allow people to develop appreciation for the cultures of others.” –Diversity in Publishing: The Good, The […]

Diversity and Representation in Books and Publishing – Why is it Necessary? — Sophia Ismaa

1.61803398 -Short Poem

~Hi everyone! I’m back with a short poem. It is about the conflict between a scientist and a fantasy creature getting tested on. The bold text is the scientist’s and the normal text is the creature’s.

 

Abstract: 

Homo nympha, otherwise known as nymphs, have been undergoing “outrages” for years in news reports while serving their time as unpaid workers. To combat this dilemma, Moderatus Institute has created a mechanism to subdue the emotions of these creatures by creating perfect ratio of chemicals in the brain, including but not limited to dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Once put into practice, this machine will be able to dictate the emotions of the nymphs daily to provide maximum productivity while using its electronic sensors to monitor the levels. 

Currently, the lab is testing how much of each chemical will prove sufficient in subduing the nymphs. This will be the “golden ratio”, so to speak, of nymph worker productivity and wellness… 

 

I…

 

drown in the rueful sky

–down

in the murky dark sea, I fly

 

“suffocate–

too much air,”

my fragile and selective senses

put their gentle hands on my lips

 

“Pttth!”

I spit.

 

Observations: Nymph #314

As all the other test subjects so far, this nymph seems to be complying with the machine. Her face shows all her emotions when experienced and she shows no sign of bre–

She spits against the small looking glass showing us through the metal chamber. The creature appears to be crying silently… 

 

My hands are stained with color

Vibrant and fleeting

As I fall, float, and fluctuate on the surface of the pond

Bitter tears drip down my petals

Racing to the center, competing

 

Trikiti, trikiti, trikiti ta!

That’s how the other nymphs sung it

The clever drip-drop of

E

M

O

T

I

O

N

S

silently tries to light a fire

but I’m drowning

 

Drowning in electricity, surrounded by the flitterings of a spark

Zzzt     zzt zzzt—

My body is cold, confined in the metallic dark

Zzzt zzzt    zzt—

I twitch at every sound, ready to break

out

 

S

L

A

S

H

!

 

The violent, the vigorous, the valiant, the fear

All come in a rush

Gushes in the fountain of me

 

It breaks the machine. Oh god. 

 

Then becomes hidden in the gray

The clouds and fog merge

The water and grass dissipate

And the sun is nowhere to be found

 

After the incident, s̶h̶e̶ it is restrained back in. She does not seem to see the scientist who strapped her to the machine and her emotion is dull unlike before, except for pink-hued tears. 

 

I know it didn’t work.

 

Zzzt—

 

Back to mechanical buzzing

No more emotional blushing

I must retreat back to the pattern.

 

1.61803398

 

~I hope you all enjoyed it! I got this idea suddenly after struggling with a few other ideas like a small firework of inspiration. It was so much fun to write. 

 

 

 

A Collection of Cultures: an Interview with TheWebWeavers // Guest Post

Sophia Ismaa

copy of copy of copy of a collection of cultures meet tiara guest post

We aren’t voiceless, pass the mic.

I don’t know how other POC bloggers feel, but I’ve always felt that there is a shortage of stories and perspectives from people of colour… our stories are many and unique. So, towards the end of last year, I decided that I would begin sharing the stories of many talented, wonderful, diverse bloggers.

Today, we have TheWebWeavers who is one of my favourite bloggers and, by far, the funniest blogger – WordPress’s own Queen of Wit. I’ve always considered reading her blog posts as a sort of treat to myself, the kind you need after a long, hard and tiring day. You know when you got home and you just want to watch some comedy shows and rest? Consider TheWebWeavers the blogging equivalent. She has no idea who Chandler is, but her sense of humour could not be any more like Chandler Bing’s. One…

View original post 1,125 more words

Writing in the Middle of the Night

The middle of the night is the perfect time to write. I lay buried under blankets, staring into the deep darkness, my eyes dry and unblinking, and I travel worlds in my mind. I can let go of my earthly obligations to be a functioning human bean and transcend the boundaries between this world and the one I’ve created. It’s when plots solidify and worlds unfold.

This intense thinking, of course, comes with detrimental effects to my sleep and therefore harms my daily functioning. I slog through the day on far less sleep than I should have since I stayed up late into the night daydreaming (also known as teleporting).

Despite doing much of my writing in the middle of the night, I think I’d prefer to be a daytime writer, but alas, my mind seems to be otherwise occupied during the day. I simply can’t stare off into the distance melodramatically for hours.

Aside from sleepiness, writing at night comes with many other drawbacks. As most of the writing happens in my head, I forget much of it the next day. Not only do I forget it, I forget about its existence, as well, so I don’t even attempt to retrieve the idea from the depths of my brain.

When I think of a lovely idea, I get up and write it on a sticky note, which I stick to my night table. This way, writing at night works like a filter — or my own laziness is the filter — because I can only be bothered to write down the good ideas and the bad ones are discarded and quickly forgotten. But it’s sad that the mediocre ideas, the ones that just need a little love and attention before they become adequate, are tossed too. (It should be noted that what I think are good ideas with my sleep-addled brain usually don’t seem so great in the morning.)

The sticky notes are becoming a problem. I usually leave them on the nightstand and transcribe them to my computer on the weekends. But sometimes, when I’m lazy, they just stick to my nightstand and collect dust. And the sticky notes quickly build up until they’re covering every inch of my nightstand, usually three or four sticky notes deep. At this point of the sticky note apocalypse, I move on to sticking them onto my bed frame. And the process repeats itself. It hasn’t gotten that bad yet, but I imagine if this trend were to continue, the walls near my bed would be next and then the sticky notes will slowly encroach on every part of my room, spreading like a fungus, until my room becomes a sticky note paradise. But don’t worry — I’m not the stereotypical potential serial killer yet.

Too Many Amazing Books

I’ve been reading so many wonderful books lately. They’re all new favorites and I want to read them again already.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 5/5

standing on the fringes of life…
offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see
what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being A WALLFLOWER

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

Summary from Goodreads

I can’t believe it took me so long to read this. The characters are amazing and I love the book. And Stephen Chbosky is writing a new book!

Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian 5/5

It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS.

Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance…until she falls for Reza and they start dating.

Art is Judy’s best friend, their school’s only out and proud teen. He’ll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won’t break Judy’s heart–and destroy the most meaningful friendship he’s ever known.

Summary from Goodreads

This book is so lovely! The characters and their relationships are my favorite part of this book. I love Judy and Art’s friendship, especially.

Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson 5/5

Critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants—described as having “hints of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five” (School Library Journal)—opens up about what led to an attempted suicide in his teens, and his path back from the experience.

“I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.”

Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabulary to understand and accept who he was and how he fit into a community in which he couldn’t see himself. The voice of depression told him that he would never be loved or wanted, while powerful and hurtful messages from society told him that being gay meant love and happiness weren’t for him.

A million moments large and small over the years all came together to convince Shaun that he couldn’t keep going, that he had no future. And so he followed through on trying to make that a reality.

Thankfully Shaun survived, and over time, came to embrace how grateful he is and how to find self-acceptance. In this courageous and deeply honest memoir, Shaun takes readers through the journey of what brought him to the edge, and what has helped him truly believe that it does get better.

Summary from Goodreads

It’s incredible.


Random note: Those reviews were so short…. I just love these books too much to have coherent thoughts.

Quality vs. Quantity

I was thinking the other day, as I occasionally do, about the phrase “quality over quantity.” This saying is useful when describing friends or hours spent studying or blog posts, but it is not always true. Sometimes quantity can be more important than quality.

For example, let’s consider Fred. Fred wants to start a sock business. He has scoured the globe for the perfect sheep with the softest, most unscratchy wool. He’s searched oceans and galaxies, talked to wise wizards and wise librarians, searched under rocks and inside the bellies of various beasts. After many years of humiliating fruitless searching and exhaustion, Fred finally did it. He found the perfect sheep.

He spent months in isolation, knitting away as the clock’s hands spun until he had created the most perfect, wonderful sock. It was the softest, the most breathable, the comfiest sock in existence. The quality was brilliant.

However, Fred only had enough wool to create one sock. Only a sad half of a complete pair. There simply weren’t enough socks to start a business. As there was only one magic sock in existence, Fred could sell it at an outrageously high price if he so wished, but he did not so wish. Through the years spent devoted to the creation of this sock, Fred had grown quite attached to it and he couldn’t bear to sell the love of his life to be worn on some random geezer’s stinky foot.

And so Fred had wonderful quality, but his lack of quantity led to a failed sock business.

Fred did, however, have a business-minded younger sister, Bethy. Bethy and Fred were always competing as children for their parents’ love. So while Fred spent years failing to find a sheep, Bethy took the opportunity to be better than her brother. She was going to start a successful sock business that would make her brother look even more incompetent in comparison.

Bethy’s socks didn’t have nearly as much care put into them as Fred’s sock did. Bethy business plan was to sell her socks at an absurdly low, low price so people would compulsively purchase them. In order to make them at such a low price, Bethy had to be clever. Instead of using wool, she used dandelion fluff. People paid her to weed their lawns and then she used those same dandelions to make her socks, which the same people later purchased. She also hired highly trained mice instead of people to make her socks because mice accepted cheese as payment.

Bethy’s socks weren’t of the highest quality. Her customers often complained of the socks being too fragile to wear and smelling oddly like rodent. But her customers’ contentment didn’t particularly concern her as long as they continued to purchase her socks.

And so Bethy had poor quality, but she did have quantity and a successful sock business, unlike Fred.

Now the question is, was there a point to this whole rambling story? No, not particularly. But it was fun to write.

Cleaning Out My Spam Box

If you suddenly found yourself in possession of a genie’s lamp and you had three wishes, what would you wish for? Would you wish for the chance to reply to all those spam comments you get? Me neither.


The Liebster Award

music containing substantive, educational
messages to maximise their child. I suspect how the
clue to this particular thinking lay behind the tattoo right across
his forehead which simply read: “Mind the Gap”. Your other legitimate source on your NY Giants tickets could be the many licensed New
York ticket brokers, who walk out the way to arrange your tickets for you.

Maximizing a child sounds like a scary process. It’s like you’re viewing your child as a robot that needs to reach maximum efficiency. Also, the forehead is an interesting location for a tattoo. What does Mind the Gap mean? What gap?


On Surviving a Social Gathering

I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already   Cheers!

Thanks! Cheers to you, too.


On My Sense of Smell

Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say great blog!

Now I’m curious. What was the super long comment? Did it ever exist in the first place?


On Harry Potter Book Tag

By following the following tips and asking
the contractors some quick questions you’ll be in the better position to select
a qualified cardpet installer. The installation service mightt be more expensive than doing it
yourself but worth every penny all in the long
run. Less Maikntenance – The madket comes with a wide variety of carpets that
are stain-resistant.

Unfortunately, I’m not in the market for new cardpet at the moment. Just had mine replaced a year ago. It’s very lovely. Plush and gray and cardpet-like. I’m happy with it. Maybe you’d find more interest in your cardpet installation service if you knew how to spell the name of your own business?


On The Forgotten Blog Ideas

Eҳcellent bеat ! I would like to apprentice whilе you amend your web site, how could i ѕubscrіbe fⲟr a blog sitе?
The account aided me a accеptable ԁeal. I had bee a little bit
acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

You think I could write songs from my blog posts? They’d all have excellent beats for sure. I’m flattered that’d you want to be my apprentice, but I’m unfortunately not accepting apprentices at the moment as I’m not amending my web site. To subscribe for a blog site, you click the subscribe button, I believe. I’m glad my account aided you acceptably, but I was hoping for spectacularly, so I’m a bit disappointed. You think I could make a radio show from my blog posts?

Where did you go?

Greetings, peoples of the blogosphere!

It’s been a rather long while, hasn’t it? But don’t worry about me; I haven’t spontaneously combusted or anything, in case you were wondering. Instead, I’ve been slowly drowning in an expansive ocean of homework, from which I couldn’t reach my laptop in order to ensure you that I was, in fact, alive. I did, however, possess an abundance of paper and various writing utensils, so I attempted to write you a letter notifying you that I remained in existence, as I’d hate to worry you. But you know the unreliability of leaving notes in bottles. *Shrugs*.

But while you need not worry about the state of my aliveness, I’m afraid you must fear for my humanity, as recently I’ve felt as though I’m simply a homework robot.

With the semester ending, school has gotten very intense, and unfortunately, when you never seem to have enough time, it’s the things you enjoy doing that must be cut out. I’m afraid that school will not be getting any mellower with midterms approaching, so expect sporadic, unpredictable, and unanticipatable blogging. (Apologies for using three adjectives in a row that mean the same thing. It usually annoys me, but I couldn’t help but highlight the delightful contradiction of expecting the unexpected. It makes me simply giddy.)

I’m planning to post once a week for a while. Probably until mid-January. Most likely on Mondays.

So, that’s it for this mishmash of a post summarizing the last 27 days without you peeps (A Summary of a Summary: homework.).

In conclusion, abrupt goodbyes.

Mirror, Mirror || A Very Short Story

  1. Mirror, Mirror: What if your mirror started talking to you? What might the mirror say?

Jenny stood in front of the mirror, adjusting her makeup, when her reflection screamed. Jenny, of course, screamed in return. And cursed a bit as well.

“You look atrocious!” the mirror exclaimed.

Jenny, bewildered, couldn’t form a reply.

“Well, come on, don’t just stand there like a pebble or a lilypad or some other immovable object. Don’t tell me you’re incompetent as well as ugly!”

“What are you?” Jenny breathed, concerned that she might be going crazy.

“This is unbelievable. You really can’t recognize me?”

“Well, you look just like me…” Jenny replied.

“You’re very good at stating the obvious,” her reflection replied.

Jenny rolled her eyes. “You haven’t answered my question.”

“You still can’t guess? I’m your self-esteem.”

The Nightmare of Dentistry

I went to the dentist today. I despise the dentist.

But I have no cavities! Aren’t you so EXCITED that I have no cavities?! *Jazz hands*

I dislike the dentist so much because of the way they put their fingers in your mouth. Yes, they wear gloves, but still.

It’s also really wet. Yes, that drool sliding down your chin is yours, but it’s still spit. And it belongs in your mouth. And what about that suspicious clear liquid on the dentist’s glove? Is it water, or is it SPIT? My spit, but STILL!

Even more than doctorism, dentistry is one job I could never do. Day in and day out, you’re just sticking your hands in people’s mouths. So applause to all the dentists of the world for risking their sanity in order to keep people’s mouths cavity, pain, and dirt-free. *Claps*

ALSO. If there are any dentist out there reading this, please educate me on the rules of dentist-appointment etiquette. What the heck are you supposed to do with your tongue?!

  • Put it at the bottom of your mouth?
  • The roof of your mouth?
  • Follow the fingers/tools? This is what I tend to do. I try not to, but it’s not a conscious thing. Sometimes I remember not to, sometimes I don’t. But if I were the dentist and the patient were doing this…
    • Arachnid the Dentist (screams): AHHH! THE TONGUE IS ATTACKING ME!!! (Runs out of the office, leaving the patient strapped to the chair with multiple sharp objects in their mouth.)
  • Curl it up at the back of your mouth?
  • Lick the dentist’s tools?

When I’m at the dentist, I feel like a puppet. A very stressed puppet. Because here I am at the dentist’s mercy (I mean, if they wanted to, they could stab your mouth with those pointy tools) with sweat dripping down my back and the bright lights glaring at my eyes, masked dentists leaning above me with sharp tools at their disposal, thinking about all the other mouths these tools have touched (It’s the same principle as using a fork a restaurant), while the dentists are conversing with each other like normal human beings, occasionally asking you to tilt your head or open your mouth wider.

Why Diversity is Important in Media

I am an Indian human (technically Bangladeshi—but is that nationality? (Is it even my nationality since I was born in Canada? What IS a nationality? (I think my nationality is either Canadian or American and my ethnicity is Bangladeshi, but that is probably incorrect)). What even is the actual term for my race [I just did some minor Googling and I couldn’t find anything. There are multiple races from Bangladesh] I always just went with Indian (Bangladesh is on the Indian subcontinent) or generic brown).

So I have the average black hair, black eyes, and brown skin combo. But when I was a kid, I thought I was blond with blue eyes.

Seriously.

This wasn’t a color identification issue. If you gave me paint swatches, I could tell you black, brown, yellow, smaragdine, blue, etc.

This was because I had no idea what being blond with blue eyes actually meant. (Or what an Indian person was.) I thought it was a unanimous characteristic for hair and eyes. All hair is stringy, and all hair is blond. All eyeballs are round, and all eyeballs are blue. I watched a LOT of Barbie movies (and Dora the Explorer) and Barbie is blond with blue eyes. Therefore, all humans are blond with blue eyes (or they’re talking animals [thanks Dora]).

Person trying to teach me colors: What color are your hair and eyes?

Mini Arachnid: Blond and blue. (Note that Mini Arachnid has a giant mass of tangled black hair and giant, unblinking black eyes.)

I remember in kindergarten we had to fill out a questionnaire with our eye colors. I don’t quite remember what purpose this served. The options were brown, blue, and green. I chose blue.

When my parents corrected me…

Mini Arachnid (jaw drops): WHAAAAT?

So I asked them what their eye colors are, and they said black. This ensued in another round of dramatic gasping because black wasn’t on the list of options. But their drivers’ licenses listed their eye colors as black. So clearly someone was lying.

So, in conclusion, diversity is important because it prevents confusion among young children.

 

Arachnid Writes a Story

NARRATOR: Arachnid’s fingers dance over the keyboards as he weaves a story. Her fingers struggle to keep up as she records the symphony in her head.

ARACHNID slams her face into the keyboard after staring at a blank document for an embarrassing amount of time.

A lightbulb flashes into existence above her head as an idea comes to her. She furiously types.

She pummels the backspace bar, beating it bloody, then slams her face into the keyboard again. Random letters appear on the screen.

ARACHNID: Ugh! Why is this so hard?

LAPTOP: I’m sure it’s harder for me than it is for you. What with the beating my keys bloody and all that! (Glares)

ARACHNID: If only I chose to like something I was actually good at. Imagine how convenient it would be!

LAPTOP: And if you like something you were actually good at, you wouldn’t beat my keys bloody anymore! (Glares harder)

ARACHNID: Come on, Laptop, you’ve been with me through it all. Essays, stories, disgusting attempts at poetry… You must have some ideas!

LAPTOP (softening a bit): Well, you could try writing short, random pieces before you get back to the hard one. Just write whatever. Flex those writing muscles! Preferably without beating my keys bloody. Practice makes better, as a wise first-grade teacher once said.

ARACHNID: Whatever? As in anything I can think of? Like a scene where you give me writing advice?

LAPTOP: If you must. (Sighs)

ARACHNID: Aww. I love you, too.

Vicious || Book Review

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?


Vicious by V.E. Schwab || 5/5

  • It was a page-turner. I couldn’t stop reading, and my homework definitely suffered.
  • It wasn’t in chronological order, but it wasn’t hard to keep track of what was going on.
  • I fell in love with the characters.
    • It was interesting to read a story where everyone is morally gray. There’s no clear hero, and there’s no clear villain.
    • So who should you root for?
    • What if someone’s doing the right thing for the wrong reasons? Or the wrong thing for the right reasons?
    • I loved getting into the heads of the villains. And finding them relatable. Usually, you’re supposed to despise the villain. You’re supposed to gasp and go “How could they do something so atrocious?” But what if you know how and why? Do things change?
  • The writing style is beautiful, the characters are believable.
  • I was constantly asking questions and I was fully sucked into the world of Vicious.
  • Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this book. Go read it. Right now. You’ll thank me later.

Read 9/23/2018 to 9/26/2018


Read More: Review of This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab


Also, I think this song pairs nicely with Vicious.

Eye Contact: A Writing Prompt

  1. Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.

 

The park’s loud, but the only thing I can hear is the scratch of my pen and the distant echo of an epic dragon war. There are knights with clashing swords and a blazing fire and medieval princesses that save themselves, and then the knights. It seems like most people need absolute quiet for their writing. And honestly, maybe if I was writing in a silent place, my stories wouldn’t be so horrid, but it’s not like I’ll find silence anywhere at my house. The park’s not quiet, but it’s the kind of loud where you can’t hear anything. Which is an improvement.

Currently, in my head, the hero is standing in the dragon’s jaws, about to retrieve the queen’s crown from its stomach (which is where the dragons in my story hide their hoards. It’s like a weird second stomach. More like a pouch or something, I suppose, since there aren’t any digestive juices.) But. However. My pen’s run out of ink.

I’m rooting around in my bag in the hopes that I brought another one (which I know for a fact that I didn’t) when a roller skater, screaming/laughing (I can’t really tell) jumps/falls/crashes into the bench. Like the comet in my book that started the fires the allowed the dragon population to explode. But on a smaller scale and less catastrophic.

But still kind of catastrophic because all of my papers fly everyone and rain all over the place. It’s not windy, luckily. But ughhh. It’s going to be a pain to reorder everything. I should’ve added page numbers.

She pulls herself off the bench and brushes some dirt from her shirt. There are grass stains on her knees. I don’t think this is the first time she’s fallen. She sticks out her hand to help me up. I wasn’t planning to stand up, but what is one to do? Be excessively rude and not take the offered hand?

“Sorry. You wouldn’t believe how many times this has happened. I must be setting some record. I’m exceptionally bad at skating, but I decide to do it anyway, all the time. I have no idea why. Am I talking too much? I feel like I’m talking too much, especially since I just ran you over. Sorry. I like talking. And skating. And writing. I just felt like putting a third thing in there because it seems evener. Even though three is an odd number. And you were writing, and I like writing. So I feel like we’re connecting. We’re basically best friends already.”

I don’t think she takes a single breath, and she talks in that too-much-sugar sort of way.

“Hi,” I say.

She’s picking out some leaves that got tangled up in her hair, but then she looks up and meets my eyes and I get kind of distracted. She has very big, very brown eyes.

She’s an exact replica of Naila, the knight-saving, dragon-fighting princess from my story.

Ask TheWebWeavers || How do I tell my parents I’m moving?

John Siebelink asks…

Dear Arachnid,

So, I’ve been planning to move out to California for almost two years now, but because I’m not too close with my parents I haven’t said a single thing to them about it. How do I bring it up that I’ve been planning it for so long without them accusing me of another rash decision I’ve been known to make in the past?

This was sent in early June. So I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now. But I’m going to answer the question anyway. Maybe it’ll help someone else in an eerily similar situation.

So. I think you have to convince your parents that this is not, in fact, a rash decision. Show them that you’ve learned from the past. You said in your letter that you’ve been planning for two years. So WE know that it’s not a rash decision. You’ve put so much effort into planning the move, it’s anything but. So how do you tell your parents that?

This is going to sound silly, but what if you made a PowerPoint with every last detail of your move planned out. Your job, where you’re going to live, a plan to get an apartment/buy a house, your movers, etc. This will probably be helpful for you as well, to figure out any last minute details.

If your plans are rock solid and well-thought out, your parents will know it’s not a rash decision.


Do you have any questions that need answering? Send them to Ask TheWebWeavers using the Contact Page. Please specify if you want your letter to be anonymous. If you want the world to know who you are (otherwise known as this small corner of the internet), we’ll add a link to your blog to help spread the love.

Halloween Horror Story

Hi peoples!

Happy spooky day!

It’s my favorite holiday. I LOVE Halloween.

What are you going to be for Halloween? I’m a cactus.

SHORT STORY!


She woke with a choked gasp, her fingers clawing at her throat, before she fell back into her pillows, realizing that she was still in her bed. She waited for her heartbeat to settle, gloomily accepting that she likely wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. She curled up and tried to get warmer beneath the mound of blankets, the nightmare already slipping her mind.

She was in a daze, in that quiet space between waking and sleeping, when she heard a soft creak, like footsteps on old floorboards. It must’ve been imagined. It must’ve been the first whispers of a dream. But she was alert now, listening and tense beneath the sheets, her eyes still closed.

What am I doing? she thought, with a short burst of laughter that more resembled a sigh.

A door slammed.

Whispers rose.

The footsteps came faster. Quicker. Urgent.

She rose slowly out of bed, wrapping a quilt around her shoulders, letting it drag on the floor behind her. She went downstairs, listening looking terrified. She flicked on the light, prepared to find something sinister and relaxed a bit when there was nothing. She was about to go back upstairs, to write off the sounds as figments of her imagination, when she heard a voice in her bedroom and froze, her foot hovering over the stair.

The sound wasn’t in a language she could recognize. It flickered at the edges of her mind like she should’ve been able to comprehend it. Yet it didn’t sound completely right, either. Something was off. A hissing undertone that wasn’t possible on the human tongue.

She climbed up the stairs, softly, slowly, coiled up and ready to fight or flee as soon as the cue was given. She flipped the light switch in the hall. She breathed a soft curse as light didn’t flood the hall. A moment later, the light at her back from the kitchen plunged into darkness, leaving nothing but shadows and silvered moonlight.

The quilt drifted to the floor behind her as she used touch and memory to find the hall closet. She pulled out a flashlight, praying it to work as she switched it on, and a dull glow filled the hall.

She followed the sound of the whispers, the sound rising and falling in chaotic waves, to her bedroom. To her bed.

She fell to her knees and pressed her face to the floor. Her hand shook against her will as she directed the flashlight beam underneath the bed.

The darkness seemed to swallow the light.

A solid mass of shadows.

Roiling and swallowing and shuddering.

Consuming.

She squinted and pressed closer. It couldn’t be. The light. The darkness. Her imagination. Her eyes. They were lying.

Her eyes widened.

A gasp escaped her lips. What did she see? What did she see?

She scrambled backward, lunged for the door.

Something pulled her back.

Something took her.

Something swallowed.

Something consumed.


© ARACHNID WEAVER 2018

What If It’s Us || Book Review (This is the most adorable book ever)

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

»»§««

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera || 6/5

  • I love this book SO MUCH. I’m sad that there isn’t any fanart yet.
  • It’s very adorable, very cute, and very, very awesome.
  • My homework suffered while I was reading this. I kept having to read just one more chapter. And whenever I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about reading it. That honestly sounds like Arthur and Ben when they’re crushing on each other.
  • The characters are amazing and you can’t help but fall in love with them.
  • The characters are complex and flawed and well-developed and unique and they feel like real people. I’m kinda surprised they’re not.
  • The characters make this book. They drive it forward and make it spectacular.
  • The magical blend of Albertalli and Silvera’s writing styles is the thing you didn’t know you needed, but you totally need. The separate styles meshed so well. And the ending.
  • I was smiling for the majority of the book.
    • Seriously, that’s hard to do.
    • No, really. That’s impressive.
    • I was smiling at the spot-on humor, the characters’ goofiness, or the amazing adorableness of it.
  • Dylan. Is. Amazing.
    • He’s like another Keefe. (For all you peeps who don’t know, Keefe Sencen is my favorite character person. He’s from Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities.)
  • I loved the ending. It was inconclusive, but I think it’s better that way.
    • Also. Just throwing it out there. Sequel?
      • Well, not really a sequel. Like a novella in the future that’s about how everything turned out sparkles and cotton candy and rainbows.
  • Also. I love the cover. Just look at the awesome watercolor-ness of it.

In conclusion. Everyone, read this! It’s so, so amazing.


Read 10/21/2018 – 10/24/2018

Read more

Batman: Nightwalker || Book Review

Heyo, peoples of the universe!

How is your Monday? I don’t know how my Monday is going since it’s currently Sunday night and I’m not a psychic or anything. Although that would be very cool. Imagine knowing your test grade before you take the test so then you don’t freak out over it. Getting sidetracked here, but what superpower would you like? I always thought that I’d like invisibility or teleportation (because I hate traveling, but I like going places. But doesn’t everyone. Twelve-hour plane rides suck universally.)

So, I’ve just finished writing a twenty-one page, handwritten report for Chemistry. It was… not fun. More like a mad dash of insanity that murdered my fingers.

So. Getting to the point now.

But before we get to the point, what are you going to be for Halloween? It’s coming up and I have no idea. I was supposed to go shopping today, but because of said Chemistry report, I didn’t have time. But really, (and I don’t mean to be evil) what’s the point of dressing up when you wear a coat and nobody can see your costume anyway? But it seems like a betrayal to not wear a costume on Halloween.

Okay. Now. To the point.


Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu || 3.5/5

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer. 

  • So I have no comments on how the book is compared to existing Batman lore because I only know basic Batman. And much of that knowledge comes from the Lego Batman movie. Honestly, getting into superheroes seems likes a daunting task since there’s SO MUCH out there. So many movies and comics and superheroes.
  • The whole premise is kind of ludicrous. Why would they give Bruce, an eighteen-year-old, community service at an asylum/prison? Especially when his crime was interfering with the police. The events that occurred seemed inevitable. I also can’t get over community service at an asylum/prison. Couldn’t he have picked up trash at the park or something?
  • The main character is well-developed, but the minor ones could use some work. Madeline is intriguing, though.
  • The writing is fine, though not remarkable.
  • The pacing is somewhat slow, but there is good suspense and I was never bored.
  • Overall, the book was entertaining, but not remarkable.

Read 8/23/2018 to 8/26/2018

Read More: Review of Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo


I’m so behind on book reviews! I’m reading much faster than I’m reviewing. So, in order to catch up, I’ve decided to not review every book that I read. Sometimes I just don’t have much to say. The books I’ve skipped are Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (5/5) and When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket (4.5/5).

I’m also going to try to get in the habit of reviewing books as soon as I’ve finished. I suspect I will fail because time. But I will give a valiant effort.

Currently Reading: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

This is my first ever signed copy of a book! It’s also so adorable. And addictive. I feel like my homework is going to suffer in the near future.