A Fresh Perspective: A Review of The Mists of Avalon

The legend of King Arthur and the Round Table has been told many times. Over the years, it has been rewritten as the story of an injured American trying to modernize medieval England, turned into a comedy starring shrubberies and flesh wounds, and adapted into fantastical role-playing games. This year has seen a reboot, The Kid Who Would Be King, which features a twelve-year-old schoolboy who awakens the evil sorceress Morgana Le Fay in a game of make-believe. Still, not much has been told about the women of King Arthur—the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters who watched the story unfold. In her high-school series The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley explores the famous legend from a new point of view.

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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 pause.

“Why are you helping me?”

I paused. What an odd question, I thought. I was only trying to be helpful—but, as I found the correct page for her, I wondered: would my peers exploit me for my willingness to lend a hand?

“I don’t know,” I said slowly, handing her back the book. “But I found the page.”

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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 shake my head.

“You haven’t lived!” they would gasp, and I would laugh. Later, as I would flop onto my bed and immerse myself in my books, I would wonder: How is this, how is being different, not living?

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

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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 wanted to keep on reading. I wanted to re-immerse myself in Rand al’Thor’s world and stay there all night. But something stopped me. Rand’s struggle was with his control of power—was I going to urge him on, and then fail to control myself?

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Emails in Elvish: A Review of The Silmarillion

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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 Middle-earth-related information. Before long, I grew obsessed with the languages of Middle-earth, particularly the elvish language Sindarin. When I couldn’t find a free Sindarin course, I resorted to sending emails to myself in said language and muttering elvish phrases under my breath. Soon, I was searching for other Tolkien books in a desperate effort to find out more about the elves. Little did I know that I had begun a journey that would take me across ancient Middle-earth.

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No Queens Here: A Review of The Goblin Emperor

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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? I would probably be relieved. All that envy and discontent at court would be uncomfortable to deal with. Somehow, royal life doesn’t seem quite so dandy anymore.

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The Cure for Boredom: A Review of The Phantom Tollbooth

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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 your irritated mind, reminding you that time is ticking? When you are disinterested in life in general—in those moments, that is when you need a Tollbooth.

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Imperfect Flowers: A Review of Gulliver’s Travels

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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 was smiling at me.

“I sketch too,” she said. “But I only do flowers. That way when I make mistakes no one notices.” I felt a pang of sympathy as she finished her sentence. There are no mistakes in art! It only depends on your perception.

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Just A Few Years: A Review of The Last Unicorn

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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 impassive expression. Trust is something which you cannot hold and cannot measure, and yet it is so important that people trust you—how can you earn it?

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