Tag Archive | book

Review: Lucinda’s Secret

Cover

Lucinda’s Secret by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The more you know, the more danger you’re in.

And trust me, you don’t want to meddle with the Little People.”

This is the third book of the Spiderwick Chronicles.

Grace siblings have a heated argument over Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide. Since Jared finds and gets engrossed in the book, many weird and freakish things happen around them: a bunch of hostile Goblins kidnapping Simon, a griffin staying on their carriage house, a berserk house boggart making mischiefs, and God knows what else.

Maybe it is time for them to destroy the book and the danger it entails. Or maybe it is time for them to learn it more from someone who knows the book and the writer: the daughter of the said writer, their own great aunt, Lucinda Spiderwick, who resides in an asylum.

They learn much more from the visit: that their aunt may not be a lunatic at all, that Arthur Spiderwick may be still alive somewhere, that there is a particular being who wants the book for the information inside, and that they must be smarter than any fairies to survive.

What I do like from this book:

  • It is good to find out that Lucinda isn’t a mere mentioned name in the whole story, but rather an important character in the plot. But I truly pity her. When she is still a little girl, her father’s gone missing without telling her and the rest of the family where he will go and whether he will ever come back. Then the faeries keep abusing her up to the point where she should leave her house to stay in an asylum with a hunched back forever. She can’t tell anybody the truth and she even can’t enjoy human food anymore. If Arthur is still alive, I hope the three Grace children will tell him some words about how he is being a bad father to the innocent Lucinda and that he owes the biggest apology ever to his daughter.
  • The elves make their appearance!! From all kinds of Faeries in fairy tales, I love the elves the most. It is always said that they are the only kind with the closest appearance to human kind, except their slightly pointed ears and wings. And usually, they are far more beautiful than human kind, even the male ones.

What I don’t like from this book:

  • The cliffhanger. Lucinda, the elves, and the Phooka seems to hint that Arthur Spiderwick is indeed still alive and somehow is held captive in Faeries’ world, in the same manner the elves want to keep Jared forever with them in exchange of the guide. And I’m dying to know the truth.
  • It is clearly said in the first book that Lucinda has let the Grace stay in the house. Helen even clearly tells the children, “If your great-aunt Lucinda hadn’t let us stay, I don’t know where we would have gone.” So, I find it a bit strange that Lucinda seems horrified to know that Helen and her children have been staying in her house, as if she never knows about it and never allows them to stay there.
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Review: The Seeing Stone

Cover

The Seeing Stone by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“We said no still you looked

Now instead

Someone gets cooked.”

This is the second book of the Spiderwick Chronicles.

Every action has its own consequences. Ignoring Thimbletack’s warning to destroy the field guide by Arthur Spiderwick, now Jared must deal with the problems caused by his stubbornness.

They begin with Simon, his twin, losing his cat and asking him to help him find the pet. Refusing, Jared goes to the library to look through the pages of Arthur’s journal when he witnesses an invisible force drags Simon to the woods. An awful understanding dawns on him: his twin is held captive by magical creatures that have mistaken Simon for him. Thimbletack’s warning comes true.

With the help of their older sister, Mallory, and the Seeing Stone that enables them to see what can’t be seen before, Jared goes into the woods to save his twin and catches sight of many magical creatures from the field guide in flesh, living in the vicinity unnoticeably.

What I do like from this book:

  • Though Mallory seems to be a bad older sister who loves to make unpleasant remarks to her twin brothers, she actually cares for them. Well, I’m not sure whether it’s her character or just because it’s an urgent and unusual matter, but I like her decision to turns around and saves Jared from the goblins trying to drag him when she almost reaches the safety.
  • Listen! Listen! You can see the magical creatures by having one spits to your eyes! I know it’s gross to have spit on your eyes, but you only need to have it once to be able to see the magic around you for the rest of your life. Isn’t that fascinating? Well, I know, the Seeing Stone is much more compromising, but it seems that the thing is only one-of-a-kind, meaning, we need to get back to the spit.
  • This book also includes a clipping from Pennsylvania newspaper reporting the “disappearance” of Arthur Spiderwick’s older brother, Theodore, in 1885, found among his papers (I do believe that the authors mean the real Arthur Spiderwick). It said that the local police believed that the boy was another victim of the bear attacks that had claimed the lives of other three children. It also included how Arthur, who was 8 at that time and apparently the witness of the attack, claimed that the bear was at least seven feet tall, with huge fangs, and looked like a troll. The police deemed Arthur to be severely affected and distressed and that his imagination must be running wild with all of the confusion and speculation surrounding the disappearance. I wonder which one says the truth. It is not uncommon that adults tend to not truly listen to or believe in what a child says, particularly if it doesn’t make sense. They will always blame it to a child’s imagination. Have a child witnesses a murdering scene and reports it to a policeman, the first thing comes to mind will be, “does this child just pull a prank on me?”. Whether the policeman will believe in the child or not is another matter. Have a child and an adult witnesses the similar crime, I bet the police will prefer the adult’s words rather than the child’s. So, imagine what adults will say when a child telling them that a troll lives in this world. The child must be imagining things. The child is unwell. And so on. It’s not that I’m on his side or anything. Maybe the adults are right, that the child was too shocked he couldn’t entirely understand what he did see. Maybe the child had a spectacular imagination that he could even see a normal man growing horns and wings. I am just curious whether somewhere at some time a child just reveals that there are other things beside humans living in the same planet and people just diminish the possibility of discovering a new world. It is too bad that the clipping doesn’t mention whether the disappearance is caused by something that can be explained by common sense.
  • I need to give a big hug and pat for Simon. Lose a cat, bring a griffin home. Well done, Simon.

What I don’t like from this book:

  • To be honest, I am a cat person. And it’s totally a big no for me to have a cat suffers in any way, let alone dies. So, I’m not particularly happy to find out the fate of Tibbs the cat, to be cooked and feasted by a bunch of Goblins. It’s not that I prefer it to happen to Simon instead, but still, isn’t this book for children? Am I wrong to have a child’s innocent wish to have Jared manages to rescue the cat and takes him back safely to their home?

Review: The Field Guide

The Field Guide

The Field Guide by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“In a man’s torso you will find
My secret to all mankind
It false and true can be the same
You will soon know of my fame
Up and up and up again
Good luck dear friend.”

Spiderwick Estate is not a grand place to move in to. But their mother and father have just divorced, so 13-year-old Mallory Grace and 9-year-old identical twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace should be grateful that their great-aunt Lucinda Spiderwick let them live in that house.

However, Spiderwick Estate is not mysterious in appearance and name only. The old house holds greatest secret of humankind. Starting from their curiousity to find what they suspect a rabbit moving inside the wall, they stumble upon secret ways leading to a secret library where Jared finds a hidden old dusty book titled: Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. There begins their adventure in a dark and fascinating world of Faeries.

What I do like from this book:
• What’s not to like about the world of Faeries? For young readers, particularly children, a world of Faeries is a world to be liked or attracted to? Am I right?
• I always love the idea of an old and big house with many secrets. You don’t need to find your adventure somewhere else.
• Up to this point, I still wonder about the truth of this series. In the first pages of the book, the authors put a letter from the Grace kids, implying that the three kids along with the book and the Faeries and the misfortunes they encounter are real deal. To what extent that the story is real? Is the entire story real? If the book does exist, I truly want to have it.
• This is the perfect book for quick reading. Of course, it is meant for young readers, but still, I still enjoy reading it even though I read it when I was a teenager. The illustrations are terrifically well done, making the book more enjoyable to read.

What I don’t like from this book:
• Jared seems the most troublesome kid in the family. Even so, I truly pity him that everyone else in the family keep blaming him for all the misfortunes happened at that house. I mean, is he really that troublesome that he dares to put such a cruel prank to his own sister no matter how he might be angry at her after the argument they had last night? Indeed, there is nobody (human) else in that house, but is it too much to blame him just because he’s the most likely culprit? Scratching your sister’s arm, tying your sister’s hair to her bed end, pouring chocolate syrup and orange juice down the floor, throwing eggs at the windows, throwing plates and glasses over the floor, and laying food leftovers everywhere are much too cruel and nasty for pranks by a 9-year-old boy.

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Review: The Immortal Rules

The Immortal Rules
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“We are vampires. It makes no difference who we are, where we came from. Princes, Masters and rabids alike, we are monsters, cut off from humanity. They will never trust us. They will never accept us. We hide in their midst and walk among them, but we are forever separate. Damned. Alone. You don’t understand now, but you will. There will come a time when the road before you splits, and you must decide your path. Will you choose to become a demon with a human face, or will you fight your demon until the end of time, knowing you will forever struggle alone?”

This is a journey of a young girl to find her humanity while being an undead…

The world as we know it has ended when Red Lung attacks. Flulike symptoms evolve to raging fever, necrosis of the lungs, and finally asphyxiation as the victims choke and drown in their own blood. A worldwide emergency is called, towns are emptied, cities lay in ruins, and the airborne virus continues its deadly march toward human extinction. To make it worse, the few remaining humans face another catastrophe when researches conducted to find the cure have gone wrong. The mutated virus doesn’t only kill its victim; it turns the victims into Rabids: mindless bloodthirsty corpses with fangs. Concerned with the depletion of the human population as their sources of food, vampires devise a way to keep the few remaining humans close and create a never-ending food supply in exchange for protection from Rabids. This is the world where vampires reign…

“In this world, you were either strong, or you were dead. You did what you had to if you wanted to survive.”

Allison Sekemoto does everything she can to survive in this mess-up world, but living as a blood cattle in a vampire city is not her way. Instead, she chooses to live a dangerous and risky life in the fringes with her small group of four, scavenging food during the day and hiding from vampires and Rabids during the night. Her hatred towards the vampires gives her the strength to endure and survive such life, until one night her groups are attacked by Rabids and she realizes her frail mortality. She is only given two choices: to die as a human or to live as the demon she despises the most.

“You are a monster. You will always be a monster, there is no turning back from it. But what type of monster you become is entirely up to you.”

Allie has to learn the rules about vampires and immortality. She must accept the fact that even though she is alive, she is practically dead. She must learn how to move and fight with her new body and strength. She must change her perceptions about humans and accept humans’ perceptions about her now. But, the most important thing is she must face her greatest fear: to feed on human’s blood. The humanity left inside Allie is in jeopardy. And she realizes that if she doesn’t want to lose to the hunger inside her and become a monster completely, she must strive and struggle hard…

“I’m not like you. I’m not like the vampires in the city. I might be a monster, but I can be human, too. I can choose to be human.”

Forced to flee from the vampire city, she meets a group of pilgrims seeking for Eden, a legendary safe haven rumored to be run by humans only. Unaware of her nature, the groups let her join them on the long and dangerous road. Once again, her humanity is tested when her nature is revealed and she is expelled from the group. Once again, Allie must decide what and who is worth dying for when the group is captured by a group of raiders led by a vampire. And for the very first time, she learns that she shouldn’t have fallen in love with a human…

What I do love from this book
• Honestly, I never thought I would read this series ever. First, the covers are unpromising. Well, BIG NOs. Second, the vampire is the heroine. Well, I love stories about vampires, but I prefer the male vampires as the main character rather than a female one. The idea of a strong female vampire ends up with a weak human boy is totally unappealing to me (yeah, somehow I prefer the male character to be more dominant than the female character). But I love Julie Kagawa’s books, especially the Iron Fey series, and it portraits a less dominant heroine who in the end turns to be more dominant than her lover, and I’m still madly in love with the story. So I thought, why not give Blood of Eden a chance? After reading the series, I HAVE NO REGRET. If I should have any, it will be: WHY DIDN’T I READ THE BOOKS SOONER?
• This is a series about vampire, but it is more than that. It is more about self-exploration and self-development, packaged into a dark twisted story that runs so smoothly from beginning to the end, with some romance and action that do not take over the main focus of the story. Are you tired of cheesy, feeble, and worthless plot for shallow entertainment offered by many young adult books? Are you tired of reading inner dialogue of stupid and inconsistent heroine who always in need of saving? Are you tired of bad boy as the main hero of a story? And are you tired of finding that bad boy unbelievably and impossibly end up together with the stupid heroine? If you are, I recommend you to read this series, because it offers you none of those. Believe me.
• The first most intriguing about this series is: the setting of time. I have read so many books about vampires and they always take place in the past time or present time. Ancient setting or modern setting. Blood of Eden is beyond my expectation and imagination. A dystopian and post-apocalyptic setting? Well, this is totally new for me, but no less magnificent than the usual ones, if not more.
• The second most intriguing fact: THE REAL VAMPIRE IS BACK!! Julie Kagawa portrays the vampires as they should be: a true monster and predator inflicting fear on humans, not some friendly and hospitable immortals coexisting with humans portrayed in some young adult stories, which sadly, make them look less vampiric. The vampires are dangerous bloodsucker with great strength and speed and fast healing who can’t walk under then sun without being burnt to ashes, afraid of fire and stakes, and must drink human blood to survive. If they ignore the last fact, the hunger and bloodlust will consume them and turn them into a monster. Even Kanin implies that one day, intentionally or not, Allie will kill a human, no matter how hard she tries not to. Yayy. Real vampire should be like that!
• Allie is a hard-ass character and I like her so much. Life is being so cruel to her yet she doesn’t give up, doesn’t cry or something like a damsel in distress. No. She’s not a kind of girl who waits for her prince charming to save the day. No. She’s not the kind of girl constantly in need of saving. No. She’s strong, capable, brave, and independent. She’s the one coming to save the others instead. She’s loyal and consistent. Even in the world when you must be self-oriented to survive, she does still prioritize others over herself, even when it costs her life. Even if she can choose an easy way by giving in to the hunger and becoming a monster, she still struggles and sticks to her principle to not be a monster. Her life is full of hardship but she always faces it strongly. As far as I know, Allison Sekemoto is a perfect heroine I ever meet in young adult fictions.
• At first, I don’t put too much hope and expectation for Allie’s love interest, Ezekiel Crosse, or Zeke. What is a mere human compared to vampire who is far superior after all? But Zeke changes my mind completely since the very first time he meets Allie. Even though it’s always Allie who comes to his rescue, I never get the impression that Zeke is powerless, dependent, or weak. Far from that. He might not have Allie’s physical superiority but he has great faith, humanity, and generosity, things that Allie lacks of. They complete each other. In the end, I can’t help but admit that Allie’s lover indeed should be a human because without Zeke, Allie might not be able to find her self-actualization and preserve her humanity.
• Kanin: Oh how I love this man. A Master vampire who turns out to be the mastermind of the experiment on vampires to find the cure for Red Lung leading to the spread of Rabidism to the world. Sire of Allison who is deeply tormented and feeling guilty, wandering to find redemption, to atone for his sins. Yet, his words, demeanors, attitudes, behaviors, everything, are the epitome of an ancient vampire. I love the way he offers Allie immortality. I love the way he teaches her the rules of vampire world. I love his strength. He takes bullets into his chest like they are nothing. But I’m so sad when he must be separated from Allie and hope to read more about him in the next books.
• Caleb. The young boy somehow intrigues me. He is the reason why Allie meets Zeke. He is the only human, besides Zeke, who accepts the fact that Allie is a vampire but still believes in her good nature. He spends his time with Allie shorter than Stick, but he doesn’t judge Allie a monster just because she is a vampire. For an innocent young boy who has been convinced by the adults around him that a vampire is a monster, he has a truly big heart.

What I don’t like from this book
• Stick. It can be said that he is the opposite character of Allie. A boy, weak, dependent, cry-baby, and everything that Allison is not. Allie tries her best to protect and care for him, even when it costs her life. For what? For nothing. Not only he accuses Allie to be a monster, despite everything that she has done for him, he also betrays her, leading to her separation from Kanin.
• Ruth. I never understand her hatred toward Allie, even long before she knows that Allie is a vampire. Is that her nature to be suspicious of and jealous of any girls of her age coming to the group and speaking with Zeke? Because, it seems that her being bitchy to Allison is for no reason other than Zeke. Normally, a nasty character like this is needed to show the good side of the main heroine. But, honestly, Allison is doing fine even without her. So, I should say that her appearance in the story is worthless. Well, don’t blame me to be very glad when she is dead a painful death, though I pity Caleb for losing her only sister.
• I know that this series is darker than most of young adult books, involving violence and gore, which means that the death of one or more characters shouldn’t be a big deal. However, I feel a bit disappointed that the small group of pilgrims becomes smaller, especially when it turns out that Eden does exist. The most upsetting deaths are those of Jeb and Darren, particularly Darren. How I hope that he and Ruth exchange positions.
• Why oh why oh why Zeke should kiss Allie in front of the others while they have been terrified-over-heels with her being a vampire? It’s not that I dislike it, but can’t he do it when they are alone? I mean, there are so many chances when he is alone with Allie. Why should the first kiss they share be witnessed by others?
• The ending. Yes. It actually lies in the gray area between happy ending and sad ending. On one hand, Allie and Zeke manage to save their group from Jackal’s hold and bring them to Eden. However, as a city without vampire, Eden also symbolizes the painful reality: that a vampire cannot be together with a human. So in the end, after they, especially Allie, overcome their hesitation about their love and their difference, they should be separated? It’s not fair.
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Review: Radiant Darkness

Radiant Darkness
Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are as obsessed with Greek mythology as I am, you must know that love is one of hot topics among the Greeks. There are countless love stories in Greek mythology: romantic, tragic, ironic, epic, just name it. However, among them, only one story I love the most: the story of Hades and Persephone. Seriously? Yeah. I know. Unless ‘death’ and ‘kidnapping’ suddenly become romantic, unless the idea to be married to someone you don’t love is lovable, it is very difficult to relate those words to a love story. No worries, I have my reasons to be enchanted with their story (I will give my reasons after the summary) and I’m not the only one thinking like that.

In Greek mythology, the story of Hades and Persephone is often called “The Rape of Persephone”. It says that Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, the goddess of harvest, was picking flowers in the Vale of Enna when a fragrant narcissus tempted her close. The moment she snapped the flower’s stem, the earth split open. Hades, the lord of the underworld, appeared and carried her off screaming and struggling. When Demeter learned her daughter was trapped in the Underworld after searching for her daughter with no result on the earth, she withdrew from gods and mankind, vowing that no crops would grow until she saw Persephone again. Famine devastated the earth. Finally, Zeus commanded Hermes to bring Persephone home. But Hades had already fed her pomegranate seeds binding her to his side forever. Each winter, when Persephone lives underground, the earth shivers and nothing grows. Each spring, Persephone returns to her mother, and the earth bursts into bloom.

Emily Whitman and I do wonder the same thing: what would it be if Persephone wasn’t carried back and forth against her will? What would it be if she made her own choice? Thus, Radiant Darkness is born. I should say, this is the best retelling about Hades and Persephone I’ve ever read. Though it gives an impression of simplicity in narration and characterization, this book does not fail to mesmerize me. The way the story is written so superb; each description of the places and the moments is genuine and alive that I can imagine every detail easily.

The story is told from the first-person point of view, namely our heroine, Persephone. She begins the story by conveying her regret about the myth saying that she was kidnapped and forced by Hades and she’d like to set the record straight after thousands of years of untruth. She first explains how she hates her immortality, trapping in the closed vale made by her mother like a little child needing her protection from the outside world. Though she always says that she is ready to go to the mortal world with her mother, her mother never gives her permission to leave the vale. So there she is, sleeping in the same bed every day, doing the same things every day, weaving on her loom, walking in the meadow, playing with her nymph friends, enjoying the trees, the flowers and the greenery every day. For eternity. Even an immortal will get bored by that.

One day, an unknown sweet smell somewhere in the vale calls her. She follows the smell and finds a clearing in the meadow she never sets her foot on. She finds the source of the heady smell, an unfamiliar white flower blooming in the meadow. And she finds something else along with the meadow and the flower. A strange man is there with a black chariot pulled by black horses, with a gold three-headed dog decorating the chariot. Having never seen a man in the vale before, Persephone runs away before the man speaks to her. Yet, she doesn’t tell Demeter a thing at all from fear that Demeter will trap her inside the house if she knows about the man.

The next day, Persephone goes to the same meadow to see whether the man comes again and decides to let the man speak to her. The man greets her, and that is the beginning of their relationship on that secret place only they know. They meet and talk and get closer each day. He knows her name, admits that she intrigues him, yet Persephone never asks his name, until she accidentally weaves the three-headed dog on her cloth. She learns about Hades from Demeter feeling disgusted by the idea that Cerberus roams in the vale, though Persephone says that she sees the dog in her dream instead.

Thus, Persephone confronts Hades in their next meeting telling him that she knows who he is, thinking that Hades only plays around with her, that a god of his caliber won’t have anything to do with her. Hades uses the opportunity to reveal his true intention, that he wants her as his queen to rule beside him forever in the Underworld. He notices her power and decides she is the perfect match for him. He asks her, truly asks her, to go with him and stay in the Underworld forever with him. He even warns her that once she comes, she cannot go back.

Hating her routine in her heavenly prison of the vale, Persephone thinks it will be a great change in her immortal life. For her, there is no better way than spending her rest of eternity with the man she loves. So, she decides to come to the Underworld without telling Demeter and her friends. There she goes in a black chariot of him, plunging into the depth of the earth. From that day, Underworld has got its queen, a willing one, too. She cherishes her new life, creates her own garden in the Underworld, and befriends new immortal friends (Thanatos and Hermes) and a dead mortal friend.

For a moment, she is a happy goddess, queen, friend, and wife. She is blind to the consequences of her decision to the earth above. Until her curiosity get the best of her and she demands to know what happened on earth above since there are more and more dead souls coming to the Underworld. The dead tells her that the earth is on the verge of its downfall. Severe drought hits the world, nothing can grow on earth anymore, and terrible famine kills most humans. She realizes that her mother is the one behind the catastrophe and the most possible reason why the goddess will do something like that is her decision to leave, that her mother thinks she is taken against her will.

Hermes comes under Zeus’ order to bring Persephone back to the earth because of Demeter’s threat that she will let water showering the earth and drowning everything on the earth unless Zeus gives her daughter back. Persephone uses the opportunity to end the sufferings her mother unleashes to the world and ask Zeus’ blessing for her marriage to Hades. Before leaving the Underworld, she promises to Hades that she will come back to his side. They share pomegranate seeds without her knowing that any food she eats in the Underworld will bind her forever to the realm.

In front of her mother and father (though the story does not reveal Zeus’ identity as Persephone’s father), Persephone explains that she comes to the Underworld by her own will. She admits her love to Hades and her intention to return to his side. Demeter realizes the irony that she actually destroys the world under the false assumption that she is saving her daughter from the lord of the dead. Torn between the truth that her mother actually loves her and her love to Hades as well as the fact that she has been bound forever to the Underworld and her belief that her mother will not stop grieving if she leaves her behind, Persephone asks Zeus to give her the ability to go back and forth between the earth and Underworld. Thus, Persephone the Goddess of Spring is born. Her staying and leaving the earth explains the rotation of spring and winter in a year.

The story about her being kidnapped by Hades against her will has been spread around the world. Though she wants to explain the truth, Persephone decides to let the mortals believe in that story. Those people has been through drought and famine and flood for almost a year. They need the story to believe that they has suffered for a reason. Thus, the story remains as it is today.

I am truly in love with this book from the moment I read the first page until, unfortunately, I flip the last page. I love everything in this book. What I don’t love about this book is the fact that, like other books, this book should end as well. The story is ended with Persephone throws herself into the loving embrace of Hades after she spends her time with her mother on earth. Such a perfect ending, and yet my mind weeps, asking for more. This book is, definitely, will be included on my list of the books I will never get bored to reread.

Now, I want to tell you my reasons for loving the story of Hades and Persephone. I do condemn Hades’ way to marry Persephone by taking her against her will. However, there are so many other things that make me thing that Hades is not the villain in this case.

• It is told that Hades falls in love with Persephone and after watching her for many times from his realm, he decides to go to Olympus and ask Zeus’ blessing to take Persephone as his bride. Zeus decides that it is a good idea, yet he doesn’t bother to tell Persephone or Demeter about this. So, I decide to put the blame on Zeus instead. Though there is a possibility that Zeus thinks that Demeter or Persephone may not agree with the arrangement, but his decision not to let them know cannot be justified.
• The myth says that Hades decides to kidnap Persephone because he is sure that Demeter will never allow their union since she wants to keep her daughter naive and virgin forever by her side. It is a case of a very over-protective mother. I wonder whether Persephone truly wants such life set by her mother for her. By deciding such life for Persephone, Demeter has forced Persephone to lead the predetermined life and who knows, it can be against Persephone’s will.
• Helios, the only god witnessing the kidnapping of Persephone cheers the grieving Demeter that Hades is a good husband for her daughter.
• In some versions of the myth, it is told that Hades is so kind and patient, showering Persephone with many gifts, giving her the opportunity to rule along side with him, even letting her make some changes in the Underworld. He even builds her throne next to his throne. It shows how Hades truly loves her. He is the only God who lets his consort has an equal position with his.
• Hades agrees to let Hermes brings Persephone back to the earth but he secretly slips some pomegranate seeds into her mouth before she leaves. It shows two contradictory perspective. Some might condemn it as an evil trickery of Hades to ensure that Persephone will be returned to him. Some might think that it shows how Hades doesn’t want Persephone to be taken from him. And since it is told that Hades is in love with her, I will vote for the last.
• It is said that eventually, Persephone begins to love Hades back. So, even though Hades uses a violent way by kidnapping her, in the end, they love each other. And it is said that Hades is very faithful husband (except some accidents with some nymphs). Compared to Zeus, Hades is more husband material. So, just accept it as the story of a goddess of life falls in love with the lord of the dead.
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Review: A Night in Terror Tower

A Night in Terror Tower
A Night in Terror Tower by R.L. Stine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goosebumps lovers will surely love this one…

American tourists Sue and her younger brother, Eddie, spend an average day exploring London when Eddie takes an interest on Terror Tower. Both of them join a small group of tourists with a guide leading them from room to room, explaining and narrating the tragic story of Prince Edward and Princess Susannah of York. However, before Sue can actually listen to the end of the story, Eddie distracts her by breaking her camera. When the commotion finally comes to a halt, they realize that the group has left them behind. And yet, they have to realize so many unusual things ahead.

They realize that they are completely alone in that tower, with a mysterious man in black spying on them earlier attempts to capture and kill them. They realize that the suite where their parents are supposed to wait for them is empty and no registration has been made for the room. They realize that their pocket money is worthless. They realize that they cannot remember even their last names. They realize that there’s something wrong with their memories or there’s something wrong with their surroundings. They realize that the three white stones in Eddie’s possession are not mere stones. Now, they realize that they must do something to escape from their terrible fate…

I definitely love the time-travel idea and the happy ending. Goosebumps series rarely have happy ending. Normally, when you think it is a happy ending, there will be a twist on the last paragraph or sentence that ruins the happy ending and practically turns it to a bad ending. Something to be reflected on this story: What does it feel to listen to your own story being told by somebody else to captivated audiences?
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Review: My Hairiest Adventure

My Hairiest Adventure
My Hairiest Adventure by R.L. Stine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What harm an expired tanning lotion could really do?

That’s what one of Larry’s friend says about a bottle of tanning lotion labelled INSTA-TAN, RUB ON A DARK SUNTAN IN MINUTES that Larry finds in a neighbor’s dumpster. As everybody else in his band consisting of four people including him, Larry applies the tanning lotion supposed to be expired several years ago.

At first, there’s no harm and change whatsoever. Until Larry notices a patch of thick, bristly, oily hair growing on his palms. Then on his knees and legs. And on his face. And no matter how hard he shaves it off his body, the hair keeps growing back more and more…

Still you dare to think that an expired tanning lotion will not do any harm?

This is what Goosebumps is supposed to be…

I really like the suspense in this story. At first, I wonder whether Hairy Larry gets the hair from the misuse of an expired lotion or the regular shot given to him by his pediatrician. My suspicion grows when the doctor warns Larry not to overexert himself since Larry does not have sweat glands. What kind of disease and abnormality is that? I know that dogs and cats do not have sweat glands. This is the first time I read a human does not have sweat glands. But my conclusion is quite different from the ending. When Larry notices that the number of stray dogs in his neighbourhood increases and some of them have similar appearance (hair and eyes colour) to his missing friends, I think that it’s about an experiment done by the pediatrician to turn human being into stray dog. I never think that the truth is actually the opposite. Bravo for tricking me about that part.

In the end, the expired tanning lotion has been proven harmless. However, it’s worthy to note to self: Do not take anything from your neighbourhood dumpster and do not use anything expired on your body.
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