Student Book Reviews!

posted Jan 24, 2013, 5:30 AM by Nancy Sebert   [ updated Jan 24, 2013, 6:31 AM ]
Jacob G. and Auden B. submitted wonderful reviews that you can read below:

A Review Full of Adventure
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Auden
    The Golden Compass is set in a different universe parallel to ours where Lyra and her
beloved daemon Pan are pulled into an adventure that will change their lives forever. When her mysterious and important uncle talks of a city in the sky, Lyra wants in on his adventures. And when her best friend is snatched by the gobblers, how could she say no to Ms. Coulter’s offer to take her north!? Little does she know what she has gotten herself into or how to read the strange compass that has been put into her possession. With help from an armoured bear and a fearless clan of witches, Lyra must save herself and her companions from a terrible organization that wants to control the world. Can Lyra save the ones she loves by discovering the secrets of the golden compass?
    Philip Pullman really knows how to create suspense. “ ‘Master,’ said Lord Asriel. ‘Yes, I’m back. Do bring in your guests; I’ve got something very interesting to show you.’” (pg. 16) - and that was the end of the chapter. It was kind of a cliffhanger because you don’t know what the thing he is going to show is. He also does a great job of setting the scene. “The hall was lit by naphtha lamps, which shone brightly on the faces and bodies of the audience, but left the lofty rafters hidden in darkness. The people coming in had to struggle to find room on the floor, where the benches were already crowded; but families squeezed up to make space...” (pg. 114) These few sentences have just the right amount of detail to help you visualize the scene, but it doesn’t explain every little thing so you can make up a little bit of the picture in your head. In this book there are a lot of made up words that are made out of real words. Like the word “gyptian” for example. It made me think of gypsies and egyptians. “Gyptians” are like boat gypsies. Another thing Pullman does really well is make Lyra’s world and our world seem the same except for things like daemons, gyptians, armoured bear and witch clans. But it has many of the same places as our world. It’s realistic and mythological at the same time.
    The Golden Compass gets five stars because there was action, a bit of romance, a bit of history, mythology, discovery, companionship - all the qualities that a great book should have. I was never bored with it and didn’t want to put it down. This book is part of a series called The Mortal Instruments. I finished the second book, The Subtle Knife, and it was really good but the first one was just a bit better. I got about halfway through the third book, The Amber Spyglass, and there so many things going on that I couldn’t keep track of. The Golden Compass is definitely the best book in the series, but I would still recommend the other two if you are interested in reading the first. I can’t think of a book that has a similar story line because it’s so unique. Narnia is the closest comparison only because of the different worlds. If you’ve read Narnia and enjoyed it, you would probably like The Golden Compass too. This book was written for children but I think adults would also enjoy it. It’s really complex and there are some things that don’t really make sense until the end so it maybe hard for younger kids to understand. But anyone over the age of 10 who likes action and imaginative books, would enjoy this, boys and girls. It is the best and most interesting book I have ever read.

Wipe them out, or be wiped out?
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
by Jacob                                                                           January 11, 2013

    Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is the first of five books.    Ender’s Game is about a boy named Ender Wiggin, he is the youngest in the family.  Set on a futuristic Earth, parents can only have two children, a boy and a girl.  Ender’s family was being tested, by the International Fleet to see if any of their children could be used to defeat an alien species referred to as the buggers.  The buggers tried to invade the Earth two times before, but the humans drove them back.  The human race needed to prepare more soldiers before the third invasion occurred.  Ender’s parents already had two children not suitable for battle school, so the International Fleet allowed the parents a third and final child, that’s how Ender got his name.  They found Ender suitable for their battle school, under the watch of Colonel Graff.  He went to the battle school orbiting Earth to become a solider.  Training involved battle simulations and video game playing to prepare for the third invasion of the buggers.  Ender was highly skilled and was the best in the battle school despite being very young.  Was Ender good enough to save the Earth from being wiped out by the buggers? 
    Ender’s Game is one of the best books I have ever read because it was very exciting and the author’s writing makes you feel like you are part of the action.  It was very clearly pictured in my mind.  The author also had very clear and powerful details of how the characters acted at powerful moments in the story.  Here is a quote of when Ender is switching armies and won’t be in Alai’s army any more.  “Alai suddenly kissed Ender on the cheek and whispered in his ear, “Salaam.”  Then, red-faced, he turned away and walked to his own bed at the back of the barracks. Ender guessed that the kiss and the word were somehow forbidden. A suppressed religion, perhaps. Or maybe the word had some private and powerful meaning for Alai alone. Whatever it meant to Alai, Ender knew that it was sacred; that he had uncovered himself for Ender, as once Ender's mother had done, when he was very young, before they put the monitor in his neck, and she had put her hands on his head when she thought he was asleep, and prayed over him.”  Right away I felt the deep emotion that Ender and Alai were feeling during that moment.  It was very brave of Alai to kiss Ender.  I understood why Alai was brave because he kissed Ender and then spoke a word in a forbidden language.  I also understood Ender’s confusion of why Alai did that because Ender is so young.      
    I gave Ender’s Game five stars out of five stars, because it was amazing.  The description of the characters and setting in the story were great.  I loved how Orson Scott Card described the future Earth.  For example, today students have computers and in the Author’s future Ender had an electronic desk that you create images of 3-D mountains on.  He also had huge spaceships that could fly all the way to another solar system with men in them, while we have space ships that can only fly to the moon with men. Compared to Divergent by Veronica Roth Ender’s Game is better.  Divergent, also about the future, was not as good because it wasn’t how I would have pictured our future.  In Divergent the future Earth society is bleak and there is hunger and homelessness.  Also in the society described in Divergent, people had to choose one of five ways to live, and if you failed the test to be in one of those five ways, you became homeless.  In Ender’s Game there is advanced technology and spaceships that go to other solar systems.  The books are alike because they are both about futuristic worlds of Earth.  I liked Ender’s Game better because there was more advanced technology and everyone worked together.  In Divergent humans fight other humans, but in Ender’s Game humans all work as one to fight aliens.  Although Divergent is good I would recommend Ender’s Game to anyone who loves futuristic books and needs an amazing book to read.