Saturday, July 20, 2019
Spirit Walk, by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Miranda Barnes didn't expect life to magically return to normal after a hurricane destroyed her hometown in Florida and forced her and her mother to move to St. Yvette, Louisiana. And life definitely did not return to normal.
Ever since her first night in St. Yvette, Miranda has been hearing screams in the middle of the night. Her mother dismisses them as nightmares, but the screams are too vivid to be dreams. Too real. She hears other things. Voices, begging for help. She smells things others can't. She has visions of spirits.
To make matters worse, at school, she is thrust into a group history project with five other students she doesn't really know. There's Roo, a girl who likes cigarettes and the color black; Parker, who is the quarterback and likes beer; Gage, who is shy and the guy who all the girls think is cute; Ashley, a beautiful cheerleader, and also both Parker's girlfriend and Roo's stepsister; and Etienne, Gage's cousin, a tall boy who is working a job repairing appliances.
Their project is to investigate the past of their hometown.
One afternoon after school, Miranda and her new "friends" are at the Falls, an old cemetery for Union soldiers who died during the Civil War. Suddenly, an old man crashes through the brush, babbling like an insane person.
It's Miranda's grandfather.
Miranda is shocked. For some reason, her mother has never permitted her to meet her grandfather. But now, here he is. Her grandfather rambles on about some entity that has haunted him, until Etienne steps forward. "It's okay, Jonas. You know me." Etienne and Miranda's grandfather, Jonas, have known each other for a long time, it turns out. Long enough so that Jonas has trusted him enough to tell Etienne his deepest, darkest secret: Jonas can communicate with the dead, a trait he has passed on to Miranda.
It is this ability, this power, that is causing Miranda to hear those screams and those voices. And one of these spirits, a Confederate soldier named Nathan, has been following Miranda around St. Yvette, asking her for help. He wants her to give a message to his love, to fulfill a promise he made long ago.
Spirit Walk is a two book set; both Walk of the Spirits and Shadow Mirror in one. Spirit Walk is a tale of love lost, love found, and... well, other stuff about love. It also tells a tale of tragedy. I swear, I almost cried while reading this book. The book has some mature themes, so I would recommend this for readers 12+, because this book does mention sex at least once, and no parent wants their 9-year-old running up asking "What's sex?"
Overall, an awesome book, in my opinion.
Friday, July 5, 2019
City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare
Clary Fray is at the Pandemonium nightclub when she sees something unexpected: the murder of a teenage boy with unnaturally green eyes and electric blue hair by three other teens covered in weird tattoos. Shadowhunters.
Shadowhunters are demon killers, and aren't exactly human. They are covered in Marks, which allow them to perform magic, or handle weapons that ordinary people can't. They also have the Sight, allowing them to see demons. Also, ordinary people can't see them unless they want them to. The first teen is Isabelle. She's armed with a whip and her stunning beauty. The second one is named Alec. He's Isabelle's brother and he has an attitude problem. The third one is Jace. He's Alec's and Isabelle's friend. He also has the slightly annoying tendency to tell sarcastic jokes.
The next day, Clary is hanging around in her apartment when her mom and her mom's friend, Luke, walk in. Clary's mom announces that they'll be going on vacation for the rest of the summer. But Clary doesn't want to leave, and she storms out of the building. At a local coffee shop with her best friend Simon, she recognizes Jace.
Jace begins to tell her about the Shadowhunters, but while Jace is talking, however, Clary gets a call from her mom, sounding panicked. Clary can hear the sound of things crashing around in the background: "Go to Simon's and call Luke... tell him that he's found me...!" That's the last thing Clary hears her mother say before the phone line cuts out.
Frightened, Clary runs home to find that the apartment has been ransacked: paintings off the wall and torn up, furniture destroyed. Clary begins to search the house, hoping to find her mother or at least some reassurance she is okay. Instead, when she goes into her mother's bedroom, she finds a snarling creature... a demon. The demon attacks viciously, stinging Clary and injecting poison into her veins. Clary is able to kill the demon, and she stumbles outside.
There, she finds Jace.
Jace brings Clary to the Institute, a place where young Shadowhunters are trained and educated. Clary meets Hodge, a mentor to Jace, Alec, and Isabelle. She tells him about the phone call from her mother and how she has been attacked by a demon, a Ravener, according to Jace. Hodge is concerned. Not only because of that, but because, in addition, there are rumors circulating about the return of a rogue Shadowhunter named Valentine, someone thought dead for sixteen years. Clary's mother gone missing, a demon attack, and the possible return of a powerful, evil being -- is it all connected somehow? Clary doesn't understand: Why does she seem to be at the center of this?
City of Bones is the thrilling first novel in a YA trilogy (actually, it has since been expanded to 6 books). Recommended for 11+ (some mild swear words).
The series seems kind of like The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Both stories go a little bit like this: Kid lives normal life. Kid suddenly loses mother to monster. Kid is attacked by same monster which leaves them sick for a few days. Kid discovers secret society of people who fight said monsters. Kid is trained to fight monsters. Kid goes on mission to save world and save mom. The end. But just because it's been done before does not mean that it's not done well! The basic plot is common enough, but the story weaves emotion alongside witty humor, making it a perfect read for adventurous younger readers, teenagers, or even adults.
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