Strength in Weakness: A Review of The Way of Kings

My friend stared at the book in her lap in defeat. “I can’t find it,” she said, flushing uncomfortably. “Let me see,” I said, taking it out of her hands and flipping through the smooth white pages. She stared at me for a while in a bemused silence. Then she said something which made me…

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Another Way to Live: A Review of Akata Witch

“Well, I still think books are better than movies.” My friend just shook his head at me, smiling. I had never been big on movies—I still am not—and I found that books left you more satisfied than two hours spent staring at a screen. When friends asked me, “Have you watched this?” I would always…

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Struggle for Self-Control: A Review of The Eye of the World

With a groan, I forced myself to look at the electric clock on my night table. I groaned again. It read 22:46. I should have turned off the light more than an hour ago, I thought guiltily. I nestled back into my blankets, glancing back at the book in my hands. More than anything, I…

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Emails in Elvish: A Review of The Silmarillion

When I finished reading The Return of the King, the third book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, I gazed at it sadly and turned wistfully to the appendix at the back of the book. I quickly forgot my melancholy mood, however, when the appendix turned out to be a treasure trove of…

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No Queens Here: A Review of The Goblin Emperor

If I woke up one morning to find a messenger bowing down to me and proclaiming I was queen, I would be completely bewildered. My first reaction would be to think it was some sort of elaborate joke. If it proved to be a joke, I don’t know what I would feel. Irritation? Amusement? Regret?…

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The Cure for Boredom: A Review of The Phantom Tollbooth

Do you know those long, lazy afternoons? When the sun shines warm and tantalizing through the window, teasing you with faint ideas of big projects and triumph; when you walk restlessly through the house, your gaze falling languidly on books, games, and homework; when the soft breathing of someone sleeping on the couch drifts through…

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Imperfect Flowers: A Review of Gulliver’s Travels

As my sister walked up to the piano, I drew out my sketchbook and began to draw. For their concert, both of my sisters had asked me to sketch them as they played. “Very nice,” said a voice over my shoulder. I looked up, surprised. “Thank you,” I replied. An old woman with silver hair…

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Just A Few Years: A Review of The Last Unicorn

I remember my little sister crying by a window. She was crying because I didn’t completely believe something she’d told me. It was a few years ago, (I, of course, completely trust her now) but that scene has stuck with me: her red, wet face; my mother’s voice talking to her patiently; my older sister’s…

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Behind the Scenes: A Review of The Fellowship of the Ring

When I was working on a short story a few months ago, I also wrote a backstory. I drew pictures of my characters. I jotted down their motivations. I described where the characters lived. But when J. R. R. Tolkien wrote his books, he did far more. He invented languages. He wrote books about the…

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