- Come up with an idea.
- This is best done during your waking hours. Notice everything. Your next slice of inspiration could come from anywhere. Constant vigilance.
- Keep running commentary about everything. Don’t let it be bland. For example (of what not to do), “Textbook. Pencil. Homework. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Meeeehhhhhh. *Stretch of silence* Bored. Bored. Bored. Chemistry. Bored.” Make it interesting. Make it explosive. This serves the double purpose of both giving you writing ideas and decimating boredom.
- Develop your idea.
- This is best done at night while trying to fall asleep as there are no outside distractions, such as homework, colors, or pretty books.
- Warning: This method will keep you up at night with ideas swirling through your head. Before you know it, it’s past midnight.
- Warning: if you happen to come up with a decent idea, you’ll need to turn on the blinding lights, get up while being half-asleep (which is an accident waiting to happen), and write down your idea. Crud, it’s 1:00 a.m.…
- Warning: this method will result in you being excessively sleepy the next day.
- Fuel yourself with caffeine instead of sleep.
- Blast music so you can forget that other humans exist.
- Your best writing happens in the evasive “zone”. So you should wait to do your hardcore writing until you have gotten into the zone.
- Start with flash fiction or a writing prompt or a blog post.
- Edit previous writings.
- Post the flash fiction/blog post.
- Get distracted and respond to comments on your blog.
- Get even more distracted and start reading Wikipedia posts loosely connected to your story, starting you on an inescapable trail of breadcrumbs and links leading you farther and farther away from your topic.
- Take a break and get a snack. You deserve it. You’ve been so efficient. Beware: you’re leaving the zone and you have to get back to it in order to work on your short story. But it must be done because your hunger would also call you out of the zone.
- Get back to the zone. This time it should happen faster, hopefully.
- Read through your notes on your story so you don’t forget anything and accidentally break your established background information.
- Read articles on writing because you’re a horrible writer and must discover the secret before you start because your first draft must obviously be as good as your favorite novel and one of these random internet articles must hold the key, despite them all saying the same things.
- Write a little.
- Delete it and try again.
- Reread what you wrote yesterday and redo it.
- Wonder at how your favorite authors magically think amazing thoughts and then somehow pull the right words in the right order from thin air and make a novel.
- Reread your favorite passages from your favorite novels and marvel at the words.
- Write a little more. Now you’re figuring it out. Hours pass and you don’t notice. Your characters and scenes and descriptions are perfect and everything is sunshine and roses and perfection. You don’t suck!
- Edit. Reread what you wrote. You do suck.
- Edit. Edit. Edit. Nothing may remain the same. Everything must be improved. The words awing, the story logical (or logically illogical). It’s unrecognizable from where you started. Seriously. It was supposed to be about a cupcake-zombie apocalypse and it’s morphed into a melodrama starring salmon.
- Be proud of yourself. You did it! It’s awesome and done and you don’t suck!
- Reread it. A little worm of dread wriggles inside of you as you realize it’s horrible. Delete.
In early elementary school, up through third or fourth grade, I’d thoroughly convinced myself that I wasn’t human. Humans were far too mundane, to unmagical for my tastes. I was absolutely certain that one day I’d wake up and my true magical potential would emerge and I wouldn’t be a lowly human anymore. I was just waiting for that day to happen and simply passing the time in my human life. My humanity was a placeholder for my true magical self.
On top of believing that I wasn’t human, I would search for magical beings everywhere. I remember intently searching for leprechauns every St. Patrick’s Day with my friends. My house had a pond in the backyard, and of course there were mermaids in the shallow pond. They were lurking under the surface, biding their time and waiting for me to sprout my tail so I could join them.
All mythical creatures weren’t created equal. Mermaid, for instance, I’d take over human any day, but it wasn’t preferential. While mermaids did have their underwater cities, I didn’t want to leave land forever. Therefore, I would be a shapeshifting mermaid so I could still come to the surface and get ice cream on the weekends.
For fairy, which was mythical creature I most wanted to be (a human-sized one, not a small one. I didn’t want to be crushed underfoot.), I imagined having wings and practiced flapping them so I’d be prepared to fly whenever they grew. I practiced folding them away and fluttering them gently when I walked. I could feel them, and I could almost see them. I was so convinced they were real that I’d even briefly considered jumping off our second floor to test them.
In third grade, I was convinced that the existence of my canine teeth indicated that I was actually a vampire or a werewolf. I couldn’t decide between the two. I managed to persuade my friends that this was true as well. It turned out they were harboring doubts about their humanity too.
When I finally came to realize that I was a mere mortal and would never sprout magic powers or wings, I turned to writing. I wrote many “novels” about mythical creatures. I wish I still had them, but most I’ve lost and some I destroyed.
In third grade, during writing time, our teacher would give us a prompt. She usually wanted us to talk about our real lives and experiences, but I decided to do my own thing and write fiction. My novel was about these three cat-fairy sisters going on a quest of some sort to save their mother. I was so excited to reach twenty pages in my composition book.
I also wrote a picture book in third grade. It was about three friends at a vampire school going on an egg hunt for solid gold eggs. It was a competition between their whole school. A race. I remember one of the eggs was stuck on the roof of the school, so they decided to blow it down. And plot twist/cliff hanger: one of the characters is actually a werewolf. *Mind blown* This was revealed by one of the eggs having a werewolf engraved on it.
Slight detour from fairy tales: In fourth grade, I wrote about a fork who was terrified of being used. It’s about how fork are superior to spoons. I hold this belief strongly to this day.
Then back to fairy tales in fifth grade, I wrote a bunch of fairy tale retellings with the villain as the misunderstood protagonist.
I also wrote a “novel” about shape-shifting mermaids. I was super excited when I hit a thousand words. *Looks at ~800 word blog post written in half-an-hour. Looks at ~1,300 word essay written for English yesterday.* This novel was written in lieu of whatever assignment we had in the computer lab. It was also my first typed story. I deleted it after it devolved into overpowered characters, no real plot, and shell phones. I wish I hadn’t.
In sixth and seventh grade, I diverged from fantasy and wrote my first dystopian, which I didn’t finish. It was about a terrible war that destroyed human life. The main character was Annie, a normal citizen who struggled to make ends meet, whose parents just laid hopelessly in bed all day watching a blank TV, and only ate peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (except the bread was secretly cardboard). The other main character was Nikki, who was a privileged girl not really even aware of the war with an aloof, uncaring father. Plot twist: the father started the whole war. Annie and Nikki would band together to stop her father, but at the end, when it really counted, Nikki would choose her father over Annie and the war would continue. The end.
Hello, peeps of the universe. Today, or tomorrow, or whenever I find the time (what is time, anyway?), I’ll be doing a writing prompt! (Is “doing” an accurate verb? I’m not really “doing” a writing prompt. I’m writing an explosion based on the fuse that is the writing prompt. But actually, I’m just rambling.)
This writing prompt will be done with no prior planning. Basically, it will be word vomit. But hopefully, it’ll be entertaining word vomit. Either way, it will help me sharpen my writing sword to a lethal point so I can viciously stab all the fictional villains. [Insert mental image of Arachnid trying to press buttons on her laptop with a ginormous sword.]
The prompt: What started off as a sleepwalking problem leads to a night of adventure when Dane gets behind the wheel and does what he was too afraid to do when he was awake. (This prompt was stolen from BookFox.)
Diana carefully watched Dane across the table from her in the small cafe. It was nearly closing time and there were no other customers, only a waiter cleaning up the nearby table and willing them to leave so he could go home.
“Look, I love you, Diana, but you have no idea what you’re talking about. So what if I sleepwalk? I don’t have a problem. It’s harmless.”
Diana leaned forward, her voice dropping to a whisper even as anger laced her words. “Harmless? Do you even know what happened last night? Have you seen the news?”
Dane slowly shook his head.
“An unidentified man let all the butterflies out of the zoo.”
Dane barked a laugh. He had braced for something terrible to come out of Diana’s lovely mouth, like vandalism or arson or murder. “That’s all? So what if a few more butterflies are flitting around the city? Let them be free.”
Diana shook her head in disgust. “You don’t understand. It always starts small, and you tell yourself it’s nothing, and maybe it is then. But it escalates and you don’t even notice. This is bad, Dane. You need help. You could do something you’d regret.”
He drank the rest of his tea while Diana’s words rolled around inside his head. “Diana, trust me, it’s nothing.”
She abruptly stood up. “It seems you don’t have to even be asleep to say things you’ll regret.”
Hours later, the night was blue and sleeping. Dane was only a lump under the covers, Diana’s scathing accusations forgotten in the fog of sleep. The world breathed softly, the wind brushing the curtains in greeting, and the floorboards creaked as Dane’s feet thudded softly against them.
He didn’t fit neatly in the world anymore. He was outside of the calm and his body outside the control of his mind.
The garage door rumbled open. A car rolled out, Dane behind the wheel. The car lurched onto the empty street, weaving in and out of the lane like it was drunk, occasionally careening onto the sidewalk.
The car coasted to a stop after a while, half on a lawn and leaning against a precariously tilting mailbox. Dane clumsily stepped onto the pavement and stumbled to the door. He rang the bell, and when no one answered, he rang it again. Again, the door remained closed, the night still and quiet. He broke the silence and pounded against the door.
A moment later, Diana opened the door, wearing purple pajamas and glaring both furiously and sleepily. She rubbed her eyes. “What do you want?” She noticed his glassy-eyed stare. “Dane.”
Dane dropped to his knees and pulled a slightly squished cinnamon bun out of his pocket and held it out to Diana in an offering. He mumbled, “I love you. Marry me?”
Diana, usually unshakeable, was shocked. This was unexpected, to say the least. She thought that his sleepwalking would culminate in various criminal activities, not a proposal. “What? No. Goodnight, Dane.” She closed her front door, rolled her eyes, and went back to bed. Dane could find his own way home, as he had every night for the past few weeks.
Diana slid into the chair across from Dane the next afternoon and folded her arms. “Do you know what you did last night?”
Dane looked surprised. “I sleepwalked again? But I woke up in bed this morning.”
“You proposed to me. With a cinnamon bun.”
Dane flushed. “I—You were dreaming,” he spluttered.
In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.
Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl—a subspecies of dragon—who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.
Returning to the fascinating world she created in the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Seraphina, Rachel Hartman introduces readers to a new character and a new quest, pushing the boundaries of genre once again in this wholly original fantasy.
- This book is ridiculously amazing.
- It’s not for everyone, though. It’s really slow, and there isn’t much of a plot. It’s mostly just a character arc. But it’s a heck of a character arc.
- For what little plot there was, I was confused for much of it.
- THE CHARACTERS. Tess is an amazing character. She’s so developed and she seems like a real person. She has faults (many of them) and dreams and shames and other person-y things. She feels real, and I love seeing how she changes over the course of her journey.
- The cover is a bit misleading. There aren’t really any dragons the way the cover implies. There’s a large, four-armed lizard and a really big snake, to say the least, but the dragons are in human form. It is fantasy, but it reads almost like historical fiction.
- I love that the heavier topics were thoroughly discussed.
- The book is really slow, but it’s compelling. You want to keep flipping the pages and keep reading and reading and reading (Warning: homework will suffer).
- This takes place in the same world as Seraphina, but it’s necessary to read it beforehand. However, it is nice to read it first so you get a grasp on the world. There are also a lot of character cameos and references to Seraphina.
- The writing, like in Seraphina, is gorgeous. I really love it.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli || 3/5
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
- The writing style was lovely.
- I appreciate the pacing.
- I like that it takes place in the Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda universe and that we get to see some of our favorite characters, but it seemed somewhat awkward to force them to show up. But it made me happy, so *shrugs*.
- Aside from Molly, our main character, the other characters weren’t developed at all.
- I wasn’t attached to Molly or any of the other characters. I didn’t find Molly relatable.
- Molly was constantly thinking about dating and boys and etc. etc. It got repetitive.
- There’s not much of a plot.
- Overall, it’s a decent book, though somewhat boring. I’d recommend it if you enjoyed Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas || 5/5
Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world. . .
Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…
With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.
And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.
As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.
- This book took me over a month to read. It was at no fault of the book, which I loved every moment of, but rather my life (aka homework). That’s a record for me. I think the length of time it took me to read the book distorted my perception of the pacing. I thought it dragged, but I have no idea if it actually did. That said, I don’t believe it did, because thinking back on the plot, there weren’t many moments where nothing was happening. It was an action-packed book. Which is to be expected as, you know, it’s a war.
- This book is a very hardcore fantasy. (I read a fluffy contemporary afterward and it was jarring.) Through the first third or so of the book, there are no lighthearted moments to lighten the mood, and even after that, fun moments were few and far between. Our characters suffer a great deal.
- I was planning to reread the series before I read Kingdom of Ash, but I didn’t get a chance (see note about homework). However, I unexpectedly didn’t have a problem with this. Yes, I remember very few details about the prior books in the series, but despite not having read the series for just over a year, I jumped right back into the story without missing a beat.
- I appreciate the lack of detailed sex scenes in this installment of the series.
- I love how conclusive the ending is. Kingdom of Ash is a worthy conclusion to this epic series.
- The character development is lovely. I love seeing how the characters grow and change due to their experiences.
- The writing style is, as always, gorgeous. It’s a work of art.
- A random note: I noticed that the characters’ knees buckle a lot in dramatic scenes. I’m wondering if this is a normal thing or are the characters’ knees weirdly weak?
Extreme Spoiler Section. You have been warned.
Stop right there if you haven’t yet read the book. (In which case go read it now.) This is an EXTREME spoiler section. I will be discussing the ending. I hold no responsibility if your eyes betray you and read the following section without your permission. This is your final chance to turn back. You have been warned.
- I really like that before the ending, Aelin loses the majority of her power. I like that she becomes an average Fae, and she still manages to defeat her enemies. I like that she’s not overpowered magically, and she still remains so powerful.
- I like that she relies on her friends to defeat Maeve and Erawan instead of being the sole hero.
- I like that in the end, it is not Aelin who ends Maeve or Erawan, but her friends.
Time is, unfortunately, limited. There is only so much you can have. It is also elusive. The slippery thing always seems to slip through your slippery fingers, doesn’t it? There never seems to be enough to go around.
They say you can make time, but can you, really? You can only rearrange time, redistribute it. Imagine that time is a carrot cake. You can give adequate slices to some, slivers to the undesirables, and crumbs to the vermin, but you still only have one cake, or twenty-four hours, to give away. If you need more time for something, you have to cut the time from something else. And unfortunately, things must be prioritized and it’s usually the things you enjoy that you find yourself having no time for.
But what if you could make more time? What if you could bake another cake? What if some gifted magician out there concentrated really hard and snapped his fingers and the day was suddenly, magically, twelve hours longer?
I was listening to a podcast, Ear Biscuits, the other day that posed this question. What if the day had an extra twelve hours? There are some stipulations: You wouldn’t need to sleep any longer and you wouldn’t have to work more. So if you truly had extra time, what would you do?
First of all, even though we don’t have to, I’d sleep more. Because couldn’t we all use some more sleep? The world would be a much happier place if only we weren’t all sleep deprived.
Second, though, I have no idea. There’s a difference between what I’d probably do and what I want to do.
In all honesty, if I had extra time, I’d most likely just work more. I’m like a goldfish, the amount of work I do expands with available time. (Note: The things about goldfish expanding with available space is a myth, but let’s just go with it because I like the analogy.) Even if I ran out of work, I’d probably find more. There’s an endless list of things I could do in order to be more productive. I could double-check my assignments, I could do the next day’s homework, I could study for the test in three weeks, I could read ahead, etc. That’s just how I roll.
However, since this is a purely hypothetical situation that can’t actually happen, let’s talk about the things I’d want to do. I’d probably just do more of the things I already do in my (rare) free time. Ergo, I’d read, write, blog, and draw more. I might even spend time with actual, real-life human beings instead of conversing with my textbooks. (I wouldn’t recommend them as partners in conversation. They’re very dull, very dry, they have poor taste in humor, and they only talk obsessively about one topic.) I might take up a new hobby, go on an adventure, who knows? I’d really like to have time to just sit and think (aka daydream) and people watch. (People can be really entertaining.)
So, in conclusion, this year, I’m going to try to be more efficient at doing my homework and I’m going to attempt to not go overboard with the amount I work, all in order to create free time. Think of it like I’m concentrating my work into a smaller sliver of time, without diluting the quality, somehow. (Except it’s not really true that it’s my New Year’s Resolution. I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I think if you have a goal or some plan for self-improvement, you shouldn’t wait for the New Year as an excuse to start. That seems a bit like procrastinating. Make your goal happen now. And besides, New Year’s Resolutions are notorious for never being kept anyway. My goal isn’t really a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a goal I’ve had since October, but one I’ve utterly failed at. I just thought I should tie in this post to the New Year somehow because I didn’t want yet another holiday to pass by without acknowledgement.)
And what would you do, dear nonexistent reader, if you suddenly found twelve extra hours plopped into your hands?
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson || All the stars and then some
“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.” At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world. This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once. Printz Award Winner Stonewall Honor Book.
- This is a new favorite.
- From the first page, the writing style pulled me in. The writing makes this book. It’s full of gorgeous artistic metaphors that I can’t properly describe. You’ll just have to see for yourself.
- I’ll Give You the Sun is explosive.
- It made me feel things. It made me turn pages. It made my imagination explode with color. It made me want to create.
- I’ve always loved to draw, but I’ve had a dry spell recently. This book inspired me to make art again, and for that I’m grateful.
- I love the characters. I fell in love with them. They’re all unique and complex with stories and secrets.
- I love that the characters aren’t goody-two-shoes. They don’t always make the right choice on the first go. They’re selfish and they’re jealous. They make rash decisions because of their emotions, and they regret it, and they apologize. In short, they’re human.
- I love the complex, cyclic plot. I love how everything was interconnected and played larger roles you didn’t see at first.
- I was completely absorbed in the book. I usually read before class starts, and I stop when the teacher starts talking, but while I was reading this book, I was unaware of everything around me and I may have accidentally read partway into class. (Totally worth it though.)
- Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this book and I have to reread it soon.
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.
Keeper of the Lost Cities: Flashback by Shannon Messenger || 5/5
In this unforgettable seventh book, Sophie must let the past and present blur together, because the deadliest secrets are always the ones that get erased.
Sophie Foster doesn’t know what—or whom—to believe. And in a game with this many players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat.
But when the Neverseen prove that Sophie’s far more vulnerable than she ever imagined, she realizes it’s time to change the rules. Her powerful abilities can only protect her so far. To face down ruthless enemies, she must learn to fight.
Unfortunately, battle training can’t help a beloved friend who’s facing a whole different danger—where the only solution involves one of the biggest risks Sophie and her friends have ever taken. And the distraction might be exactly what the villains have been waiting for.
- This book was… not what I expected.
- I thought it was going to be super action-packed. Just look at the cover! But it wasn’t. The majority of the book centered around the characters talking and planning.
- And I love character development, I just didn’t expect so much of it.
- My biggest issue with this book was the pacing. There’s some action in the first hundred pages, then little action in the next five hundred pages, and then LOTS of action in the last hundred pages.
- I love the character development in this book for Fitz.
- However, the other characters were neglected a bit.
- I love the writing style.
- I love that the world was further developed and we got to learn new things about it and see more of it.
- I love that the story is character-driven.
- Overall, it’s an amazing series, and I love it so much, but this isn’t my favorite book in the series. I still love it, though.
- I love seeing the characters growing up.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding || 3/5
At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable tale about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”
- By terms of symbolic meaning, this book is a masterpiece
- I love how it portrays humans as savage animals
- Entertainment-wise, it’s a resounding meh.
- The pacing is slow.
- The characters are shallow and two-dimensional. They have one or two defining characteristics, but that’s it. They exist to be symbols, not people.
- I kept forgetting characters. They all have interchangeable names, especially Roger and Robert.
- The writing takes some getting used to, but once you get in the flow of it, it’s fine. It doesn’t really stand out, though.
- The ending was jarring. It didn’t flow from the rest of the book. It’s like, alright, now things have gone too far. Cue madness. Cue chaos. Okay. Let’s end it right now and tie it with a pretty pink bow.
- It was boring, and I didn’t care about the characters or what happened to them.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee || 4/5
A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.
But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid.
In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.
- Love the writing style and the humor
- However I enjoyed the first book in the series, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, much more.
- It wasn’t quite as funny, but that’s because the main character is Felicity, not Monty
- I loved seeing what happened to Monty and Percy after the first book
- I love how Felicity stood up for herself and was so stubborn. I was rooting for her the entire time.
- However, while I liked the other two minor characters, Johanna and Sim, I wasn’t particularly attached to them.
- Overall, it’s a solid read, but I don’t see myself rereading it in the future.
Read 10-18-2018 to 10-21-2018
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Vengeful by V.E. Schwab || 5/5
Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.
Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.
- The writing style is lovely, as always.
- The characters are amazing. I love them so much, especially Victor, and I just want to lock them away in a safe house and keep anything bad from happening to them.
- But, I liked Vicious, the first book in the series, a tiny bit better.
- The events were difficult to keep track of chronologically. In Vicious, there were only two main time periods, so it was easy enough to keep everything straight. However, in Vengeful, there are so many different times and places and characters, so it was hard to piece together what was happening.
- I love the characters that were established in the first book, and I loved finding out what happened to them next. And I admired the new characters in this book, but I didn’t get quite as attached to them.
- I didn’t understand June’s motives toward Sydney, but June was a really mysterious character. We know almost nothing about her. Which is interesting and all, but it made me confused as to June’s purpose.
- After finishing the book, I still had questions. So hopefully there will be another book in the series.
Read 10-7-2018 to 10-12-2018
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak || 3.5/5
The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance.
At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle.
The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?
- It’s beautifully written.
- The characters are developed and complex.
- I love the story.
- But it’s very slow. It drags and meanders quite a bit.
- I spent the majority of the book very confused.
- I finished, and I was still confused.
- And it didn’t make me feel anything.
- The shocking moments weren’t very shocking. I kept thinking, That’s it?
- I love how conclusive the ending is.
- While the writing is very beautiful, I had to read almost two hundred pages before I got used to it. During those two hundred pages, I kept having to reread portions to understand what was happening.
- A lot of seemingly unimportant details turned out to be important much later. Because I’d initially thought they were unimportant, I struggled to remember them later, which added to the confusion.
- The book struggled to hold my attention. It wasn’t captivating.
Read 10-24-2018 to 11-3-2018
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Happy spooky day!
It’s my favorite holiday. I LOVE Halloween.
What are you going to be for Halloween? I’m a cactus.
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.
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.
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.
© ARACHNID WEAVER 2018