Waiting on Wednesday: The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers

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Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

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My ‘waiting on’ pick this week is:

Book Title: The Silence of Six

Author: E.C. Myers

Publication Date: 5/11/2014

 

“What is the silence of six, and what are you going to do about it?”These are the last words uttered by 17-year-old Max Stein’s best friend, Evan: Just moments after hacking into the live-streaming Presidential debate at their high school, he kills himself.

Haunted by the image of Evan’s death, Max’s entire world turns upside down as he suddenly finds himself the target of a corporate-government witch-hunt. Fearing for his life and fighting to prove his own innocence, Max goes on the run with no one to trust and too many unanswered questions.

Max must dust off his own hacking skills and maneuver the dangerous labyrinth of underground hacktivist networks, ever-shifting alliances, and virtual identities — all while hoping to find the truth behind the “Silence of Six” before it’s too late.
– Goodreads

 

Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

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Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit:

1. Hogwarts (duh)

 

 

2. USA

I’ve only been to California and I want to visit other states!

 

3. Russia

  

Well technically it takes place in Ravka, not Russia, but the Russian elements in it makes me want to visit there!

 

4. Camp half-blood

 

I’d be in Cabin 1 😀

 

5. Greece

 

6. Outer space

 

7. Germany

  

 

8. The Future

Not dystopian societies though…

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The list ends here… I’m running out of ideas 😛 Hope you enjoy it and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Beyond the Book: Heroes

What does it take to be a hero?

There’re lots of quotes on the internet about heroes and who they are.

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. – Christopher Reeve

 

A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom. – Bob Dylan

 

Everybody is a hero in their own story if you just look. – Maeve Binchy

 

So what makes a hero?

Let’s take a look:

Here’s a summary in case you couldn’t watch the video:

Joseph Campbell studied myths from all over the world and published a book called ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’, retelling stories and explaining how they represent the Hero’s Journey. So, what is the Hero’s Journey?

Think of it as a cycle.

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1. Status Quo, the starting point

2. Call To Adventure – the hero receives a challenge

3. Assistance – the hero gets help from someone older and wiser

4. Departure – the hero leaves his/hers comfort zone and enters the special world

5. Trials

6. Approach – it’s time to face the hero’s worse fear

7.  Crisis – the hero’s darkest hour

8. Treasure – the hero claims his/her treasure

9. Result – it varies between stories: either the monster bow down to him/her or it chases him/her as the hero flees

10. Return – the hero returns to the ordinary world

11. New life – the challenge changes the hero

12. Resolution

What do we have in common with Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen and Frodo? We’re humans, just like them! We leave our comfort zone, have an experience that transforms us, and then we recover and do it again.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek – Joseph Campbell

So take the challenge! Whatever your challenge is. Recover, and do it again. You could be a hero yourself.

 

Sources:

 

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My thoughts:

I’ve read loads of books with a hero protagonist (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Divergent, Percy Jackson, Legend, Steelheart…). They all have similarities: they are brave, selfless and loyal. Are those the qualities that a hero should have?
Maybe. Yes. But there’re more.
In my opinion, a hero doesn’t need to save the world or wear a cape. A hero is a person who, in spite of hardships, continues to walk forward.

For a lot of people, Superman is and has always been America’s hero. He stands for what we believe is the best within us: limitless strength tempered by compassion, that can bear adversity and emerge stronger on the other side. He stands for what we all feel we would like to be able to stand for, when standing is hardest. – J. Michael Straczynski

So what do you think makes a hero?

(a little sneak peek: next BtB post will be about Book Aroma)

 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

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Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

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My ‘waiting on’ pick this week is:

 

Book Title: The Walled City

Author: Ryan Graudin

Publication Date: 4/11/2014

 

There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.
– Goodreads

 

Book discussion: Ruin and Rising

Book Title: Ruin and Rising

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Tsarpunk, YA fantasy

★★★★★

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.- Goodreads

 

Hands down this is the best book in the Grisha trilogy.

 

The Characters

Alina

Her character development is amazing. I’m glad that she’s grown so much (as you know, I don’t really like her in Siege and storm)

Mal

I’m still not really fond of him, but it’s good that he has become less emotional and more bearable.

Nikolai

ASDFGHJKL He is THE best. He’s witty and a good leader and I’m so thankful that he doesn’t turn evil (phew). The part when he turned into a Volcra though… I really hope he’ll live a happy life 😦

 
Reference to Russian History
I do see some Russian history reference

  1. Nikolai has a similar name with Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917). Hopefully I won’t write ‘Nikolai’ in the exam (lol)
  2. The Apparat reminds me of the Orthodox Church in the Romanov Dynasty

 
The Story
I thought Alina would not kill Mal. And it’s kind of weird, how he resurrected. The ending… I feel empty – after embarking on an extraordinary journey, they live an ordinary life again. However, I cannot think of a better one: I want the Darkling to remain evil (and dead), I don’t want Alina to be the queen, and I want Alina to be happy.

Overall I really enjoyed the story and it’s a great sequel (as you all know, sequels can sometimes be disappointing.) I absolutely love the science reference (e.g. refraction, bending light etc.) It’s not pure fantasy, it has science in it (whoop)

A side note: I accidentally flipped to the part where Mal’s discovered as the last amplifier and I was like ‘NO NO SPOILER ARRGH I’m ruined’

 

Good and Evil

Both Alina and the Darkling are very powerful – they are very similar. But what make Alina ‘good’ and the Darkling ‘evil’ are their decisions and how they rule.

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.

Well, in Alina’s case, it’s faith. Loads of people have faith in her, and because she cares about her followers, people are willing to bow down to her and call her a ‘Saint’. The Darkling uses fear to rule, and his follower only bow down to him because they fear him.

There is no greater power than faith, and there will be non greater army than one driven by it.

To be honest, both Alina and the Darkling are power-hungry. I love how they are very similar, yet so different. Also, characters like Genya and Zoya displayed their bright and dark side throughout the story. Leigh Bardugo makes this message clear – We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are. (what’s up Harry Potter reference)

 

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The Grisha Trilogy as a whole

The covers are AMAZING! I can’t choose between these two:

 

Even though it’s not an action-packed fantasy, it brings out important messages. The world building is amazing, and the characters are well developed. There’s no fine line between good and evil – everyone can be both at the same time. I’ll definitely recommend it to those who are new to the fantasy genre and it is one of the best trilogies I’ve read this year 🙂

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So what do you think of Ruin and Rising? Are you satisfied with the ending?