The Mirror King Review
I received an advanced copy of this book through a Goodreads contest and by courtesy of Harper Collins Publishers. Thanks a million!!!!
(Mwahahaha I felt so cool being able to tell my friends I was reading an advanced copy.)
Wow. I just finished this book and I’m still trying to deal with the feels. Bear with me as I try to not spoil everything that happens. (I promise you though, I won’t.)
Wilhelmina’s identity has been revealed. Prince Tobiah is dying. She has created a living boy out of the wraith. Patrick can not be found. Wraith is closing in on the Indigo Kingdom.
Wil is left in the middle of this mess to decide what to do, and her decisions will effect entire kingdoms and whether people live or die. Will Wil (hehe) crumble under the pressure? Or will she step up and become the Queen that the kingdoms need?
Dear sweet goodness. The feeeeeeeeels. Just… asdfghjkl. Give me a moment.
I don’t know why, but I really liked the fact that this series was a duology? There was a lot of story packed into these two books, and I feel that it worked out very nicely with detailed and in depth story telling, yet it wasn’t drawn out and over done.
The plot. Yoooooo man. The action really kept me engaged as Wil moved from one threat to the next, trying to juggle everything being thrown at her. As all heroes miraculously do, she handles it really well. If I had half as much pressure on me as Wil did, I think I’d go find myself a nice quiet corner to curl up in and cry for a while. There were multiple obstacles that Wil had to overcome as the wraith descended on the kingdoms and she tried to gain control of her own kingdom again.
The twists. Bleepin’ heck! Usually I can predict what will happen in books based on the clues an author gives, but there were at least two giant plot twists that I never guessed. They completely surprised me and caught me off guard. At (what I believe) was the biggest twist towards the end of the story, I was so overwhelmed I put the book down mid-sentence and literally sent a snapchat to my friend where I screamed about the book.
THE CHARACTERS. Always my favorite part of a book. If the book is really good (for me, anyway), then it has in-depth characters that you can connect to, people that force you to become invested in their well-being.
Wil- There was so much growth as she began to figure out what being a queen really meant. It was interesting how the wraith boy was an extension of her and what she was feeling at the time. How she deals with him throughout the book really illustrates that personal growth she had to have. The love that she has for those she cares about is prevalent in all the choices that she makes, always trying to keep them safe. Wil is a complicated character with many sides, from regal queen to passionate vigilante to self-doubting leader and that is what makes her such a relatable person to empathize with.
Tobiah- I love how he had some personal growth too. Not only did Wil grow into the role of being a leader, but so did Tobiah. Neither of them was perfect, and their complicated relationship reflects them holistically as people.
James- This sweet guy. I really started to like him as he worked closely with Wil and supported her in her rise to leadership.
Wraith boy- A child baby who deserved better treatment from Wil.
The Ospreys- Lovely characters who provided Wil with the much needed support of friends.
Patrick- The best villains are the ones where you can see that little sliver of good in them, and this guy was it. He was fighting for a good cause, but using all the wrong methods to do it.
Prince Colin- A bleepy bleep dude who I hated, but still felt like a person, not just the embodiment of evil.
I really fell in love with these characters, and their complexity. I got very attached and went crazy when certain things happened to them. I even teared up at the end when a certain list (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) was written. I know that I’m reading a good book when I gasp and cry over the characters.
Overall comments. This is an awesome book! I loved watching Wil grow and make decisions, and I also loved watching the people around her as they too figured out their own roles. Full of surprises and action and magic (hehe, and a bit of swoon worthy romance too), it held my attention until the very end.
10/10 Would recommend to others!
So… Go and get reading!
Surprise! Yeah, I actually didn’t get one in real life. *parents’ relieved sigh in the distance* I had a dream about getting one. But, I don’t know. A tattoo doesn’t sound like an absolutely horrible idea. *shocked parents gasp in the distance* I wouldn’t mind having a fearless rune etched in my skin. It’s just a form of self-expression.
Anyway, in this dream I could clearly envision what the tattoo looked like and it intrigued me. The way that I used it in my dream feels like I could make it into a legitimate story line. I’ll have to put it on my (long and unfinished) list of stories to write.
The dream begins with me and Anya at a giant Barnes and Noble. But, you see, this is a special Barnes and Noble. It’s like one of those super Wal-Marts. Only with books. Heheheh. This Barnes and Noble has everything you would need to live on, like a grocery section, etc. It’s like a dream come true (haha maybe I shouldn’t use that expression when describing my dreams). Pfft oh yeah and then Anya’s there. I’m happy about that too. But… books (sorry Anya). Reveling in the gloriousnessss of the super Barnes and Noble, Anya and I show each other our favorite sections, excited to recommend books to each other.
I pick up an interesting-looking book and start reading. When I open it, I get sucked into the story, becoming the main character.
Inside the story, I drive my car to this mini castle that is apparently open to the public. As I walk up towards the castle, this guy with stark white hair comes dashing through the parking lot, looking determined and scared as heck. He is bleeding from his side. He almost bumps into me and we stare at each other, both frozen by surprise. Right underneath his neck I see that there is a tattoo. It has three separate parts- the fletching of an arrow, part of an arrow shaft, and a heart. As he stares at me the arrow shaft part of the tattoo fades. Looking down at myself I realize I now have white hair and a tattoo to match his.
He runs away before I can do anything and I continue to go to my car. Before I can drive away this jerk police officer dude approaches and starts bothering me. He’s after the boy. I don’t know how, but I knew the boy was the good guy and I refused to help the mean officer. I get really angry that he keeps messing with me, so I start spraying him with water. Water is obviously the best way to get him to back off. Within the dream, it is completely normal for me to spray a police officer with a water gun to get him to go away. (Please kids, don’t try this at home.) My water offense is successful and I am free to drive away. Unknowingly I take the injured boy with me, as my distraction allowed him to sneak into my trunk.
Arriving at this park, I remember walking really fast past this open grassy area hoping people wouldn’t notice me. I think it had something to do with the guy. I was trying to hide him. Of course, my family noticed me and I had to stop. They pulled out a computer and I showed them a video I had taken off the police officer harassing me. I wanted him to get in trouble. As I watched the video I was somehow transported back to that moment in time.
In this alternate past, I am back at the mini castle and go inside a connected smaller building. I am once again clueless as to what is going on. I open the building door to find a boy standing over an old lady who is lying on her back. The boy has white hair and a tattoo right under his neck. My dream conscious knows that the old lady is actually a witch, and even though the boy is standing over her, she has the advantage in this fight. In this version of time, the boy turns to see me and gives me his tattoo then. This confuses the witch and allows both of us to escape, although I have no idea what’s going on. We both ran away unstabbed. This time I didn’t film officer, but I did more consciously distract him so the boy could get away. I kept the boy hidden in my car.
This time when I return to my family we have this outdoor theater thingy where we all watch Beauty and the Beast together (my fav!). For some reason, we put the subtitles in, even though my dad can’t stand them. Gaston’s song comes on (when they’re in the pub) and the boy who I’m still trying to keep hidden starts messing with the lyrics. (Specifically the one line where La Fou says “-ask any Tom, Dick, or Stanley” Yeah… the boy kept making one of those words appear over and over again on the screen.) I was VERY annoyed. He was being naughty and I was trying to keep my family from discovering him.
He was doing it to get my attention though. He had been trying to convince me to do something new, but I didn’t believe him. His revenge was to mess with the movie in front of my family. At the end of my dream, I finally realize that the boy I’m talking to is a ghost that only I can see, which explains why he hasn’t been caught yet. Apparently he hadn’t survived after he transferred his powers to me. I now was left to carry on his magical duties using my white hair and tattoo. Ghost boy was there to help me.
Friday June 26, 2015
Okay, to open up this website and see a rainbow? To go on Snapchat and see all the happy stories that people have sent? To go on Google and see that they had a link to a YouTube video celebrating marriage equality? I honestly started tearing up. Today is a very happy day. Marriage Equality has finally been attained in the United States of America.
I remember when my mom first told me what being gay meant. She talked about it as if it was a subject not meant for younger ears, something to be whispered about. My mom carefully explained to me how it was possible for a girl to fall in love with a girl or a guy to be attracted to a guy. She told me that it was something that a person was born with and that nothing was wrong with being gay. Yet, even though I fully believed that there was nothing wrong with it, I somehow felt like “gay” was something to be whispered about. I wasn’t comfortable with the topic.
My books changed that. Thanks to all the courageous, strong authors who were willing to have diverse characters, I learned that “gay” isn’t something to be whispered about. It shouldn’t be an adult topic. It’s a fact of life, as easy to explain as a heterosexual relationship is. The fact that some people won’t accept LGBTQ people as normal, regular people who deserve love as much as anyone else is what is shameful and wrong.
One essential author that helped open my eyes was Cassandra Clare. Not only can she invent an amazing plot, but she uses a diverse range of characters to act it out. Magnus, a bisexual warlock, is probably (it’s hard to choose, okay?) my favorite character of hers. The contrast of his sexual confidence to his boyfriend’s cautiousness and the trials they both face to be together allow the reader to better understand them and others in their situation. I certainly learned to empathize with them.
Another author that goes by the name Rick Riordan (yes, we’re back to this guy) wrote a children’s book with a gay character. Riordan is a prime example of how being gay can be explained and talked about with children. He too helped to change my views. I saw that being gay is a safe topic for children. It can be explained in simple terms and kids will understand it, no problem. Some kids are gay. In fact, a lot of kids probably already know exactly what being gay means. Just because a topic is not discussed doesn’t mean it isn’t real. When someone grows up they don’t suddenly turn gay. Children need to be exposed to topics such as this one. By providing good examples and education, you develop a more understanding confident child. Riordan helped point this out to me.
An author’s goal is to create characters that their readers will empathize with, to create relatable people. If a reader is able to form a connection with a character, it makes the other experiences and feelings that the character has more believable. This is what makes literature so powerful. The human ability to connect with others and empathize through a medium as simple as words is quite amazing. Words such as Cassandra Clare’s and many others have helped us get to where we are today- attaining equality. Words will continue to affect us in the future, making an impact in our everyday lives. I have faith that we can continue to use the power of the word to change our world for the better. Today is proof of how far words can get us.
Books I recommend with all my heart. These authors are worth checking out.
- Cassandra Clare
- Rick Riordan
- David Levithan
- Malinda Lo
- Becky Albertalli
- Sarah Tregay
I’M FREE FROM SCHOOL except for the fact that I have summer school. Woo! As I mentioned before in my Oh! The places you’ll go… post, I was going to see my cousins. Well, THAT TIME CAME. I am now safely back home attending boring summer school. Before I went, my cousins and I were texting each other all week about how excited we were for the trip. “I can’t wait till you guys get here!” “I knowwww!” and “I’M EXCITED!!!” was basically the extent of our texts.
Conversations with Steve and Aunt Addie are always quite interesting, and since we drove together, we had a whole seven hours to talk. One conversation we got into as we drove to my cousins’ was about the weird dreams we’ve had. This then brought up the topic of the book I just finished: The Night Circus. The actual name of the circus is Le Cirque des Rêves or The Dream Circus in English. (I was pretty proud of myself for translating the title by myself.) After I told them the general story, Aunt Addie and Steve both agreed that it was weirder than any dream they had had. I don’t know about that. Personally, I think dreams can get so much weirder. I guess I’ll let you be the judge of that. I’ll include one of my weirder dreams and The Night Circus summary here.
In the beginning, I went with a group of my friends to the mall. As we were walking around, I received a vision from a dragon. The dragon told me that they were in desperate need of my help in their dragon world dimension. I split up from the rest of the group and went off with Dina to search for the gateway to the dragon’s land.
To find the gateway, Dina and I left the mall and started walking around in the parking lot, passing all these restaurants and stores. We passed this one restaurant that had set out mac and cheese with noodles the size of my head in piles for people to take. It didn’t occur to me that this was unsanitary in my dream.
Dina and I started walking around the mac and cheese mounds. This little boy came and tried to walk past us. We lifted our arms so he could go under them, but he had trouble doing that because he wasn’t short enough. This reminded Dina and I about how easy that maneuver would have been for Parker. (He used to be really short but now he’s finally having his growth spurt. In the dream I guess he was still super short.) Then we got to this one patch of grass behind the people at the restaurant and started looking up at the sky. We began studying comets and the stars, and what made comets show when they came close to earth.
The next part of the dream I remember is about this group of four boys who are trying to outrun this giant NEFARIOUS corporation. These four boys traveled around the world, always on the run to escape the corporation called Smackacks. I was pretty surprised I remembered the name when I woke up. Smackacks finally catch the boys. They are taken to this concentration camp-like place. Two of the boys are separated from the rest and put in this giant bar cage thing. The rest of the three boys (the number changed from four to five) look over their shoulders as they are hustled into the camp naked. They had been told to take their clothing off.
Within my dream, I saw things through one of the boys that were left outside. The two boys were the only ones left dressed and the officials ordered them to take off their clothes. They were wearing these jumpsuit things with belts. The main boy began thinking about how he had become so optimistic while on the run, even though before that he had been very pessimistic. Before the boys had been caught, the main boy had bought a teddy bear at a zoo they went to because he had been so optimistic. It was great until he realized he had to get rid of it because it was from Smackacks. My dream ended there with the boys naked and trapped. Dina and I had vanished. Maybe we made it to the dragon world.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Since they were very young, Celia and Marcus have been raised to compete against each other in a game. Both are taught magic in distinctly different ways by their separate mentors, neither really having a say in the matter. The game takes place in Le Cirque des Rêves, a magical place constructed to embody Marcus and Celia’s imaginings. Le Cirque is open to the public, and as the years pass both Marcus and Celia continue to add more tents. They also begin to fall in love. The two learn to resent the game, knowing that they will never be free to love one another until it is over. It ends with only one of them standing.
As the reader, you not only follow Celia and Marcus’s story but a multitude of different characters who come into contact with the Dream Circus. Taking place in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the book doesn’t go in chronological order, leaving clues for you to slowly comprehend as the story alternates between different events at different times. The format in which the author presented the story is engaging, adding layers and giving it more depth.
In all, it was a magical, unique read, but let’s be honest; it wasn’t out of this world weird. Everone’s heard of magic, but have you ever heard of the evil company Smackacks?
Today is Father’s Day. Yaaaaaaay! To commemorate this special occasion, I am going to write about my dog, Beauty. Just kidding. Of course, I’m going to write about my dad.
With most of the books I read, the main characters don’t have parents, whether it be they’re dead, missing or neglectful. It’s not a coincidence. Not having parents is a common theme within the books that I read, leaving the main characters to fend for themselves. My main characters have to become strong because they can’t rely on their parents. Even if they aren’t directly there, parents have so much of an influence on who we are as people.
FOR EXAMPLE… Percy Jackson struggled both internally and externally because of his father. Abandoned by his dad as a baby, Percy and his mother were left in a sticky situation, having to keep Percy away from monsters who would love to kill him. Sally did an amazing job with what she had, but, unfortunately, that meant utilizing the man who Percy dubbed as “Smelly Gabe”. Smelly Gabe was an abusive stepfather, and Percy developed a deep hatred of bullies because of him. When Percy does come into contact with his actual father, he has trouble accepting him, angry that he had been abandoned for so long. Through Percy’s father’s direct and indirect interference, Percy grew as a character.
And that’s what a parent’s job is, to help their child grow up and become independent. I’m pretty lucky to have a dad that’s so involved in my life. He’s helped me become the girl I am today. I like to think that I take after my dad. We are both stubborn, calm people, and we generally like the same types of movies. Sadly, he does not enjoy reading, but I guess I’ll forgive him for that. Just cuz he’s my dad though.
Dad- You’re the best. I’m always proud to brag about you, telling people how my army-slash-chief-of-security-at-a-juvenile-prison dad has been to an exotic place, taught me how to put someone in a hold, etc. I love you, dad. Happy Father’s Day!
Love you this much! *pinches fingers together tightly* – ❤ Ariel
P.S. I hope you enjoy your gift. I came up with it. 😀
P.P.S. Yes, I know what speed bumps remind you of.
Although I’m so ready for summer, at the same time I kind of don’t want to move on, either. I’m going to miss being a sophomore. I think the biggest reason I don’t want to move on is because I’m going to miss my World History/AP Euro teacher, Mrs. C. She’s this crazy nice teacher that I’ve been incredibly lucky to have for both freshman and sophomore year. She likes to read!!! The same books I like to read!!! I love talking to her about what I’ve read, recommending new things to her, and freaking out over book characters (specifically shadowhunters, heehee). I always looked forward to her class, knowing that we were going to have a fun time. I’m going to miss being able to recommend new books to her. I’m going to miss her.
Thank you, Mrs. C! I loved being your student. This post is for you, and all the other teachers who ever encouraged me and made me wish I didn’t have to move on. I’ll always remember you. ❤
I had a dream with Mrs. C in it…
My best friends Tasha, Dina, Peter, Jack and I all decided to go and take a hike. To go hiking, we had to take this little school bus. It would taxi us around to different places in the woods where we could get out, walk around and explore, and then come back to move to a different spot. Mrs. C was there, almost as if she were a chaperone on a field trip. My friends and I all had a blast exploring together. The only problem occurred when this random annoying kid started to butt in, interrupting our conversations and giving lengthy lectures on boring topics that none of us had any interest in.
Jack and I became separated from the group as we listened to the kid speak. Late to our original bus, we were forced to cross the highway and walk until we could find the next one that came. The kid followed us.
The bus took us away from the woods and to an outdoor sports store where we met up with everyone else. I started looking at these t-shirts with Mrs. C. We were trying to find t-shirts to give to everybody to remember that day of hiking. The random annoying kid who had followed us from the woods interrupted our conversation, but Mrs. C was able to deftly steer him away. Go Mrs. C!
In a totally different part of my dream, I was late to school (I missed the bus). I was freaking out because I was so late. For some reason, my mom took mercy and called me in sick, letting me have the day off. (In real life my mom would never let me miss school unless I was actually sick.) I was freeeeeeee. On my day off, I decided to take a walk. It was a beautiful clear sunny day. As I strolled along, I saw two women launch this hot air balloon contraption from their front yard into the air. But even though it looked like a hot balloon, it wasn’t. It was a giant net that they had built to catch their lost cat. Somehow they were able to control where the net went and they landed it on their cat across the street. The net broke and the cat got free once more, leaving the women to chase after it. I watched the whole scene unfold behind bushes further down the street. After that, I woke up to go to school. My mom didn’t call me in sick.
And of course!
I couldn’t just leave this post without talking about a book. I’m going to review the last book that I told Mrs. C about. I hope she enjoys it. BE WARNED! The book summary and review contain no spoilers, but both parts will spoil Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
Ophelia by Lisa Klein
Summary– Ophelia, known for her part only as Hamlet’s beloved, is now allowed to tell her side of the story. She begins her journey as a young girl, employed as a lady in waiting in the service of the queen of Denmark. Without being as restricted as other girls in that time (during the Reformation!
thank you AP Euro!) because of no mother and a neglectful father, she becomes an independent clever young woman, able to debate philosophy as well as (let’s face it- even better than) a man.
As Ophelia matures, she sometimes runs into Prince Hamlet, as one might expect when you live in the same castle as each other. Hamlet, when exposed to her wit and charm, takes an interest in her. Soon they are both blissfully in love, hiding away from the rest of the court with the help of dear Horatio, Hamlet’s right-hand man.
Yet, the good can not last forever. Tragedy strikes when Hamlet’s father is killed, and Hamlet begins his wild display of madness. Hurt by the one she had loved most, Ophelia needs to decide how to live the rest of her life- or if she even should.
Review-It was intriguing watching the play unfold through Ophelia’s eyes. Klein did not just stick to the events that strictly happened within the play, but gave the characters history, explaining what led them up to where they were when the play occurred. I liked reading about Ophelia’s childhood, made doubly interesting because the author had done her research and included elements of the time period within the events. I’ve always found historical fiction interesting, and the history was pretty cool to see incorporated in the book.
I love Ophelia’s character. She was a strong young woman who was able to think for herself in a time when so many women were virtually powerless. Part of her independence comes from her love of reading, which is also what made me love her (characters who read are my favorite, no surprise). Through literature, she is able to educate herself on all different sorts of matters, leaving her more capable to deal with herself and others. A particular other character that was quite interesting to see was Hamlet. He was quite a different person before he became bent on revenge, and I can see how Ophelia came to love him. And then there’s Horatio. *sigh* He was such a cutie. So humble and honest in the midst of such violence and treachery. He was definitely one of my favorites. I like how all the characters evolved within the play, turning into the people you knew they had to be, Ophelia’s viewpoint showing why they were that way, and maybe even giving a different angle as to who they really were as a person.
Ophelia’s first person narration was fascinating. Klein was able to make her thoughts and the conversations between characters flow easily. It couldn’t have been easy having the characters speak in Shakespearian English. I think if I ever tried to write using Shakespearian language, I would start going crazy. I’d have to look up everything to make sure it made sense. I bet I would forget that I had to write like Shakespeare and end up having to redo whole pages. Klein was able to brilliantly intertwine Shakespeare and today’s language, giving you a Shakespearian feel in an understandable format. Bravo for Klein.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. I’m currently considering whether or not I should put it on my book buy list (the copy I have right now is from the library). It’s definitely a must read for those interested in Shakespeare, history, and/or romance.
Ta-ta for now and happy reading!