Monday, April 30, 2012

The Light of your Dreams

This is my WATW story for this month. The picture I'm writing about, down here, can be shown in greater detail if you click it.

The door creaked open.

Seven year old boy Jacob stepped in the attic. It was dark and dusty, full of cobwebs and spiders. No one came here in a long while. No one wanted to. Things too valuable to be thrown out and yet too useless to be set downstairs were put here, where they lay forgotten.

Yet Jacob loved this place.

He feels the magic that surrounds the place, all the memories he had since he was a baby. It consoled him to be in this place ever since his father disappeared. They used to spend nights here, where they talked and laughed about everything.

He came here when he felt lonely, when there was no one there for him. This place always has been here.

Efforts of trying to rid this place of dust have been long gone, but Jacob didn’t mind. He cleared a space for himself and sat down, watching the spiders climb around. He smiled. This is where he belonged.

He did not know when he had gotten up again, but when he did, there was light shining through something covered with cloth. Thinking that his mother might be behind it and looking for him with a flashlight, he crawled over and took the cloth off.

He did not expect such a sight. It was not his mother, but however a painting that glowed off from another place… another world. He blinked. This was something that only happened in fairy tales. Apparently, it’s true.

He crawled closer and tentatively put his hand on the surface. To his astonishment, however, his hand went right through. Voices whispered to him. But he was not afraid. He knew what to do.

He took a ball of string and wrapped one end to a post, another to his body. He took the not-so-sharp sword his father made for him, grabbed a backpack full of food and water, and dived right into the picture.

He glanced backwards. There was his attic all right, and his string was still there. It’s like Alice in Wonderland. More like Jacob in Wonderland. Anyway, better get going.

He walked and walked, trying to reach the city with the mountains. He thought of his mom, who may be worried sick when he came back. He thought of his dad, encouraging him to move on. That motivated him.

Soon he reached the city. It seemed to be carved out of diamonds itself. It seemed majestic with its towering buildings and graceful arches. It was paradise, Jacob thought.

He did not know how right he was. It was paradise. The heavens opened the gates for him when he reached it, and he looked around wondrously. He wanted to get his mom here. He wanted to live here, and have a happily ever after.

Unexpectedly, he was pulled into a hug. Startled, he turned around… only to have his father’s smiling face looking at him.

“I’m so proud of you, son… you reached here…”

“I missed you so, father…”

Jacob’s father took him to where he lived. Outside there were smiling children playing happily and asking if Jacob could join them. Jacob’s father politely refused and stated that he may be able to next time.

When he was inside, Jacob was struck with how similar the house is to the one he just came from. His father noted this and nodded.

“Your mom may find her own way here, Jacob. You can’t go back. It’s paradise. I thought we could, but I was wrong.”

Jacob ignored that. “I will lead her here,” he said tenaciously, “I will show her the way to the attic and to this.”

Jacob’s father shook his head sadly. “She won’t see the light from the picture. It is not her time.”

“Does that mean… I’m dead? And I have to wait for my mother to come here? She’ll think I’ve disappeared like you?”

Jacob’s father tried to choose his words carefully. But none came out.

Jacob stood up. “There’s no way I’m leaving her, dad. I will come back here, somehow.”

His dad smiled at him. “You aren’t the first to say that, and won’t be the last. Everyone said that, and still they can’t go.”

Jacob was still determined. “I will go; I will get back. Nothing can stop me.”

His father sighed. “I’ve raised a boy to become so determined. You’re like your mother. All right, give it a try.”

Jacob’s face split into a smile. “I will be back, dad. I promise.”

With that he departed. He found his ways through the streets. The gates can’t open for him because it can’t let anyone out. But he was small enough to wedge through a hole and set off on his way.

He went back on the path and walked on and on, but he never found the portrait. It was at the end of the path that he stopped. What did his dad say to him so long ago?

You may not see your dreams, because they’re so small they’re nothing more than a tiny speck of dust. But it is so powerful it can create a new universe. Like God created the point that caused the Big Bang. Don’t worry; destiny is a string that will lead you there as long as you walk.

He stopped. His dream was to find his mother and take her here. It was so small. Destiny is a string that will lead you there.

The yarn.

He looked for it on his body, and it sure was there. It was just… small and almost invisible. It was the string of destiny.

He followed it and found where it was. The portrait was there all right, just so small. He stretched it until it was big enough to climb through.

He stumbled back into his attic, and he imagined his dad’s smile. He did not take the yarn off the portrait for fear that he might not be able to enter the place again. It turned out his mom just got home and was calling for him.

He woke up. The painting didn’t glow and it was still covered with cloth, and the ball of yarn was just where it was. It had all been a dream. But it didn’t matter, because it was a great dream. Now he had two choices- to go to sleep again and continue the dream, or to get up and chase it.

He got up.


That's it... 1,077! May the Force be with you!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter by Micheal Reaves REVIEW

To start with, this is a great story, well done. With this book, Michael Reaves got on my favorite authors list. Usually having "Star Wars" on the cover of a book would make me want to read it, but this one is a true Star Wars book. Engrossing from the start, it reminded me of how I read The Hunger Games. There was everything you could possibly want in a story- action, humor, mystery, including a mild romantic attraction.

Darth Sidious, the lord of the Sith, took his first step to bring the Republic to its knees. Years of waiting in shadows did not make him oblivious to the fact that there was a traitor. His apprentice Darth Maul was sent to hunt him down and all those who came in contact with the betrayer.

The book was quick to engage readers in, and it balances emotions and actions well. It took strange turns that got me hanging and wanting more. I really liked the setting in the underworld of Coruscant. The Cthons and the Taozin they faced was really cool, and the way they handled it was even more so. I liked the continual references to the Jedi Code, which shows how much it is in Darsha. It showed me who the Jedi are in a deeper meaning as well, though I memorized the Jedi Code a long time ago. I loved the part where Hath wets himself from fear. I also loved reading about characters that will show up in other books, so there would be a background for them when I read Coruscant Nights (I already read Medstar)

For a change, there was an ordinary guy named Lorn Pavan, not somebody who is a famous person. This gives us a chance to see how a nobody fares against something extraordinary. He has the courage, which I admired, and some strings of luck that got him that way. He had a reason to hate the Jedi (unlike Traviss's characters), and then discovered at the end that they weren't only what he think they are. I'm glad he finally accepted many things in the end. his droid, I-Five was one of a kind and I liked his personality so much. Darsha, who had a shot of attraction for Pavan in the adventure, turned out to be a great Padawan and she would have been a worthy Jedi Knight. She turned out to be one of my favorite Jedi- her understanding of the Force, her personality, etc. Maul's character showed better here- with a sense of honor, unwavering loyalty for his master, and deadly skills honed since his childhood.

There were few things I didn't like, but I would only recognize it if I looked hard. Maul took a bit too long to find them for an expert Sith, and Darsha's master should have sensed her through the Force. There needs to be more of Maul.

Overall, I love the book so much and I recommend it for everyone, especially if you want to understand TPM better. Every book has its flaws, and I can hardly find one for this. I can't wait to read the next one.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Star Wars Geekiness Test

I thought I'd give it a shot... from The Musical Dancer's blog :)

[x] You own more Star Wars books than textbooks. (I mostly print out from the internet though)
[] You own at least one Star Wars shirt (I want to badly. But after buying Star Wars books I don't have money. My parents don't give me, I earn my own.)
[X] You have "used" a Jedi Mind Trick (More than a million times)
[X] You can name all 7 movies in order without hesitating
[X] You have pretended to use the Force on moving objects
[] You own at least one lightsaber (I wish O_O)
[X] You watch the Clone Wars
[X] Your favorite video games are those with Star Wars in the title (I don't really play, but yeah)
[] You’ve had at least one Star Wars-themed birthday party (I don't celebrate birthdays because I have to fund it myself, and I'd rather use it on Star Wars books.)
[X] You can breathe like Darth Vader
Current Total: 7/10
[X] You hum the Star Wars theme song in the shower
[X] You’ve seen the films so many times that the cases are worn down
[X] You surf the Internet looking for funny Star Wars videos and pictures
[X] You listen to any of the Star Wars soundtracks in your free time
[X] You desperately wish that the Star Wars galaxy actually existed
[X] You freak out whenever there’s a sale on Star Wars merchandise
[X] Your favorite LEGO sets are the Star Wars ones
[X] You would totally dress up in full Darth Vader rig just for the fun of it
[] You want to join the 501st Legion (I love the Jedi, so no...)
[X] Wookieepedia is your friend
Current Total: 9/10

[x] Your avatar on at least one social site is Star Wars-themed
[X] The wallpaper on your desktop has something to do with Star Wars
[X] You tie a lot of conversations back to something that happened in Star Wars (Except my friends are freakin' tired of it)
[X] You write Star Wars fan fiction just for the fun of it
[] You have gone to a Star Wars Weekend and/or a Star Wars Celebration (I wish I could... but there's none here :/)
[] Most of the stuff on your Christmas list pertains to Star Wars (My family doesn't celebrate Christmas)
[X] Your hero is a Star Wars character (Obi-Wan!)
[X] If you could spend the day with anybody, it would be George Lucas
[X] You know the difference between astromech and protocol droids
[X] You think of time in years in relation to the 1977 theatrical release of A New Hope
Current Total: 8/10

[X] You can think of ten good reasons why you should have your own Death Star
[X] You can’t spell “rectify” but you can spell “Kashyyyk”
[X] You know more Star Wars planets than earth countries
[X] You argue with your friends and/or siblings over who would win: Boba Fett or Darth Vader
[X] You are completely open to all Star Wars characters coming back to life – even Darth Maul (On Earth, yes...)
[] You dress up as Star Wars characters for Halloween (I don't celebrate Halloween...)
[] You dress your pet up as a Star Wars character for Halloween (I don't have a pet)
[X] You sometimes say “May the Force Be With You” instead of “good-bye” (All the time)
[X] You have seen the movies so many times that you can say the characters’ lines
[X] You debate with your friends and/or siblings about Star Wars characters
Current Total: 8/10

[X] You would put a Star Wars bumper sticker on your car
[X] You’ve been belittled or even bullied because of how much you love Star Wars
[X] The best gift you could ever get would be a set of storm trooper armor that had been worn in the movies (I freaked out when I saw this, just imagining it)
[X] The only books you really check out at the library are Star Wars ones
[X] You would laugh out loud if somebody was talking about how the Death Star blew up Naboo
[X] You know which Skywalker twin is older
[X] You know what “lekku” are
[X] Your favorite authors write Star Wars books
[X] Star Wars is still your favorite movie even after seeing it 10 times
[X] You were one of the only people who noticed that puppet Yoda was made CG in the 3D version of TPM
Current Total: 10/10

[X] You study Star Wars books and websites in your free time
[X] Your YouTube or e-mail account name has something Star Wars-y in it (Solace is actually a Jedi, like some of you know...)
[X] You get an adrenalin rush and/or a tingly sensation up your spine whenever you hear the Star Wars theme song or see The Crawl
[X] You know what “The Crawl” is, and you refer to it as such
[X] You have a hard time imagining life without Star Wars
[X] You feel sorry for people who have never heard of and/or never watched Star Wars
[] You can name and identify fifty or more different clone troopers (I'm not a big fan of troopers, just like them because they're in Star Wars and they're freakin' cool)
[X] You get kinda ticked when “uneducated” people mix up clone troopers and storm trooper
[X] You can speak and/or understand Mando’a and/or Huttese
[X] If someone says the word “star” the first thing that comes to mind is an epic battle between a Jedi Master and a Sith Lord
Current Total: 9/10
[X] You would likely have a heart attack if somebody said, “Who’s George Lucas?”
[X] You think John Williams is the best composer. Ever. Period. Exclamation point.
[X] You have made at least one Star Wars-inspired video (Two)
[X] You want everyone to ditch the webcams and invent holographic-enabled comlinks already!
[] You know what “THX-1138” means and you look for it in all of the Star Wars films
[X] You know exactly what alien species you would be and what kind of job you would have if you lived in the Star Wars galaxy (Human Jedi)
[X] Your favorite phrase is, “A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away….”
[X] The only comic books you read are Star Wars
[X] You can’t listen to Liam Neeson’s voice without thinking, “Qui-Gon Jinn!”
[X] You know more about the actors who were in Star Wars than you do about any others
Current Total: 9/10
It Has Been Assumed That You…
[X] Wait outside of the movie theater for two days to see the latest Star Wars film
[X] Exercise by staging lightsaber battles with your friends and/or siblings
[X] Know all of the movies by heart
[] Don’t have a life beyond Star Wars
[] Are mortal enemies with Trekkies/Trekkers
[X] Can’t go a single day without thinking about Star Wars
[X] Have all of the answers to Star Wars-related questions (I guess...)
[X] Are obsessed with Star Wars
[X] Would buy anything with the words “Star Wars” on it
[] Only play Star Wars music (Nah, I like One Direction, Taylor Swift, and listen to ALOT of music)
[X] Only play Star Wars video games (Because I hardly play)
[X] Only read Star Wars books and/or blogs (Books I read others too for school, of course)
[] Would only marry someone who was just as crazy about Star Wars as you are (Nah, Legolas is not in Star Wars...)
[] Don’t discuss current world issues, only current Star Wars issues (World issues are important)
[] Only watch Star Wars
[] Wouldn’t ever speak if Star Wars had never existed
Current Total: 9/16

You Have Been Asked At Least Five Times…
[X] What's the difference is between Jedi and Sith
[X] Why you like Star Wars so much
[] What’s wrong with Star Trek?
[X] Why you talk so much about Star Wars
[X] Why you still like Star Wars, since it’s a “kid’s” show (I get angry every time, and had to calm myself with the Jedi Code)
[X] What’s so great about Star Wars?
[X] If you went to see The Phantom Menace when it came out in 3D
[X] If you’re going to see the other Star Wars films in 3D
[X] Which is worse: Ewoks or Gungans? (People around me don't like Star Wars and they don't know what a Gungan is... or Ewok, but some do)
[X] Why you fire up when someone disses Star Wars
[X] Why George Lucas made the movies in the wrong order
[X] Why you get all excited whenever you hear the words Star Wars and Special Edition in the same sentence
[] If you named your new pet something Star Wars-y (No pet, but named by imaginary dog Chewie)
[X] If your family gets fed up with your love of Star Wars
[X] If you play SWTOR or KOTOR
[X] Who shot first: Greedo or Han?
[X] If you can speak Huttese (Not the exact phrase, since they don't know what Huttese is. Star Wars language on that desert world or something like that)
Final Total: 15/17
0-5….Do you even know what Star Wars is????
6-25….You’re an average casual fan, but not a nerd.
26-50….You’re pretty knowledgeable, and therefore a Star Wars nerd. You probably also appreciate Wookie Cookies.
51-75….You’re a Star Wars nut and not afraid to let people know it
76-95….You’re a Star Wars geek, and you want the whole world to know it. Don’t tone it down!
96-102....You are a total, die-hard, super, ultra, unsurpassable, mega-humungous Star Wars geek!
103….It don’t get no bigger than you. You, my friend, are the ULTIMATE Star Wars die-hard! Wear your Yoda ears proudly ‘cause you are the ULTIMATE!
My score is 84... not bad. Most of the things require money and stuff to do it... so I can't tick that though I would really want to do it. Some is a view point from Star Wars (like I don't like troopers that much), and I think Star Wars can live with Star Trek. I think it would be good to add "Went through this list carefully and did it" and "Have contributed to Star Wars Fannon" and "Greatest Dream is to contribute to Star Wars Cannon" and "Refer to things as Star Wars stuff, like notebook as datapad". Oh well, May the Force be with you! :D

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dawn and Dusk of the Dark

Chapter 13

The sight of the emperor's face yesterday plagued me with nightmares. When I finally woke up, I wondered why, with all the money he had, he won't buy synthflesh or something to cover it up.

I don't think I care anyway. Just waking up was a relief, I thought as the guards led us out into the night to yesterday's place.

Today was just like yesterday, except I trained my eyes to look at the floor instead of the emperor or the dying people. The second day of the fete week has less people, but it was still a lot.
They took prisoners in front of the crowd. Ask them for last words. Offer them blindfold. Hung them up. Shot them. It was like this all morning. Déjà vu- which I mentioned I hated for a thousand times. My ears were unmerciful; I was hoping I would go deaf and spare myself from the sound of families sobbing when their relatives and friends were killed. A small imprisoned girl next to me screamed out for her mom who was accepting a blindfold. I instinctively looked up and saw her mom turning her head and giving her a sad smile and a shake of the head. The girl got a slam which she hardly noticed, and sobbed for her mom. The crowd almost can't take it. Almost. I can't, though. It was Kalifa's hand around my mouth and body that got me to stay in place. I angrily blinked tears away.

In the end of the morning executions, the emperor announced that he will be going offworld to attend some other public executions, and that his officers are going to take over. I was half wondering if he'll blow a kiss to the silent crowd to get them clapping at least politely. What I saw was relieved glances that the emperor wasn't going to be here. I was glad too, even though Kalifa already told me that he won't be staying.

We were marched back to the prison, where we hung around until dinner. I noticed that the surviving prisoners who haven't yet given up hung at the door, hoping to be the first for food. Kalifa didn't seem to take any notice of that. But when dinner came, she was still the first to get most of it, and wrestled the others to give to her. Like yesterday, she shared them equally.

A girl came up and sat with us. "I'm Numi. I'm nine years old," she whispered. "Why are you doing this?"

Kalifa's eyes were kind. "Because every one deserves food, Numi. Everyone deserves fairness and freedom. The Empire just doesn't know this."
Numi's stomach rumbled. Barriss leaned over and gave her some remaining bread. Reluctantly, she accepted with a nod of thanks. Although it was clear she tried to contain it, her eyes brimmed with tears.

"No one has ever been nice to me before... except my..." The last word, "mother" stuck in her throat. She's got my emotional, too. Oh great. It was the last thing I needed.

Barriss put an arm around her. "Don't worry. You'll be safe. Courage, dear one. You have nothing to lose."
She sniffed and looked around, as if expecting her mom. "I thought I heard my mom say that..." She broke into sobs.
"Courage, dear one." I heard that before, too. In my mom's voice. I looked at Barriss and Kalifa, but they just shrugged. Whatever they did comforted me. I hope it was the same for Numi. I hope they don't ask me to help though. I'm not the comforting type, and it always got awkward when I tried to.

Numi looked up and met Barriss's eyes. "You promise me?"
Barriss nodded. She had never yet broken her promise before, so I guess she's coming along with us. Kalifa reached the same conclusion. I can see in her eyes that she agreed, but reluctantly. I can hear them whispering while Numi went to Eroda and Eva, while Ward and I was just sitting there looking dumb.

"We can't afford to pick up other strays," Kalifa said, "Maybe this would do, but that's it."

Barriss nodded and turned back to Numi, who wanted to ask something. "My mother is in my heart, isn't she? The voice came from my heart."

"Those who love us never truly leave us, Numi. She'll always be there, just not in a physical way."

That comforted her. That's when I realize that all pairs of eyes in the prison was on us.

Kalifa saw this too. She stood up. Her voice, so soft and low, rang throughout the chamber. "This is what happened yesterday. This is what happened today. And this is what will happen tomorrow, if we are not there to stop it."

A stirring went through the crowd.

"When the war ended, is this what you want? No freedom, no justice? To see our loved ones slaughtered just like that? I don't know who you are or what you do, but I have a feeling that if we don't act now, we will all be killed just like they did."

Barriss joined her. "The empire is ruthless. You all know this. If we start now, what happened to you... or worse... could happen to your loved ones. We ask you again, is this what you want? If we stand up now, endure the pain and suffering, it will be guaranteed that your children won't."

A rodian stood up. "I have no loved ones left. But my children are my people. I trust you will guide us through."

Eva nodded. "It would be much better if the emperor is just thrown in the garbage chute," she commented.

Everyone laughed, or at least smiled. It was the first time I saw many people doing this. I can't help smiling, too.

We all stood up. Kalifa took two fingers, touching each other, and placed it over her heart. I don't know what it is, but everyone did it and I have no reason to stand out.

"Life is short," she whispered softly, "It is up to you to make it sweet. Welcome to the Eleven."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Dawn and Dusk of the Dark

***It's been awhile since I've posted my fan fiction, so here it is!

Chapter 12

The night was cold and still. The only light came from Coruscant’s moons, which shone bright and clear. The silver light was reflected in our eyes, and we intend to enjoy our first and last night under the twinkling stars. But we can’t.
We were led off to yet another holding place. We already saw the platform of doom, where many of us will be executed when the sun came up. Barriss and Kalifa knew this. Yet their manner remained calm and confident, which was the only thing keeping me from paranoia at this point. It seemed to work for Eroda, Ward, and Eva too. If they think we all could survive, then I guess we can. Right?
I tried to find the answer in the night sky. But not even a breeze responded to my question.

Bit by bit, the sun came up agonizingly slowly. But finally pedestrians began to pour out on the streets, dragging their footsteps as slowly as they can without rousing suspicion from the troopers. That gave me one shred of hope. They don’t want this to happen either. I had to remind myself that that won’t really help me anyway.

Soon citizens that look like they’re forced to be here were finally assembled. The trumpets blew, indicating that the emperor is about to arrive. A cloud car-or at least I think it was one, I don’t know-came and touched down, and the people cheered politely. There was no enthusiasm in there. If I wasn’t part of the show, I would have laughed at their monotone cheer.

Once the emperor came down, I got a hard slam at the back of me that took me by complete surprise. I fell on my knees with a crash inside my head. I could swear something was broken. Glancing left and right, I saw that the others were also on their knees. We’re apparently forced to pay respect to the emperor. I can see Kalifa’s eyes burn.

I risked a look up, and I wished I hadn’t. His sight alone was painful to the eye. His face was heavily scarred and full of wrinkles, and the skin was an abnormal shade of grey. His back was crooked, and he walked proudly but had a slow gait that would fool a person into thinking that he’s helpless. At least he’s covered in rich black cloth, or the chill in my spine would have sent goose bumps despite the warm weather. But what struck out to me most were the yellow, malicious eyes that held the proof of corruption.
He scanned the area, taking in everything from the smallest to the largest. Then he settled on the platform and spoke from the podium. There was absolute silence.
“Welcome, welcome! Happy Life Day!” said the emperor. He paused, waiting for a cheer or anything. Several officers clapped their hands politely, but when they saw that no one’s joining in they quickly stopped. The emperor ignored this.
“We bring you…” he droned on and on about goodness knows what. The only thing he mentioned that caught my ears was that Vader isn’t coming. I’m glad. I don’t want to see another ugly face around here.

My eyelids were droopy from the lack of sleep at night, but now I was too tired to care about anything. I slept, only to be awoken by the sharp nudge from Eroda. I thought she was warning me not to snore since guards were behind us, but it was because the executions were starting.

The guards took a man who look resigned to his fate. They roughly pulled him up and shoved him in front of the crowd. His eyes were shut from the sunlight when they asked if he wanted any last words and if he wanted a blindfold. Oh, how sweet of the empire. All he merely said was goodbye, but I can see it moved the crowd. Maybe only a bit. But still.
I was used to seeing death and dying around me in the prison. But this one still moved me too. It showed me how evil the empire was. Now, more than ever, I made it my goal to bring it down and perhaps execute the emperor the way he did to this guy. I liked him, even though I never knew him. I had a feeling that he would have made a good friend.
This is what happened for the rest of the morning. They announced the name of the prisoners and their crimes, which I strongly suspect are false. Then they pulled the prisoner in, asked him/her/it for any last words, and offer a blindfold. Then the crowd stayed there and watched as people in front of them died. I gritted my teeth. I wanted to do something badly, and all I can do is stay here.
Suddenly I saw an arm move and catch Kalifa. It was Bariss’s. It looked as if Kalifa could barely restrain herself too. I had forgotten that they were here.
In the afternoon we were marched back to the prison, where we stayed. I was thinking it was pretty pointless to take us there in the first place, but maybe it’s just to show us how they’re in control. It hardly matters though- since they already know we’re going to die. Or they think so.
Kalifa moved next to me. “We’re going to do something. A wise teacher of mines said there is always hope where the Force dwells. And the Force dwells everywhere.”
I nodded glumly. “My mom said that there is nothing that lasts forever. Then this won’t too. I only hope I live long enough to see the day it dies.”
Kalifa nodded. “We all do, Kaayla, we all do.”
We sat in silence for a long while, only to be broken when the guards throw in food like we’re dogs. Kalifa was first there-as fast as lightning- and took all of it. She separated it into equal pieces for every prisoner. “We can’t afford to have another fight,” she said.
I agreed. After my small dinner I was ready to sleep since I know we’ll wake up early tomorrow. We all huddled together for warmth. Just before I drift off, I heard Kalifa saying something next to me.
“There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.”
Just before I surrender consciousness I wondered where I heard that before.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay REVIEW

I'm not really sure what to think of this book. It has the magic of the two other books, but it was not as much as that, and the roller coaster ride we were on was slowing down. Suzanne Collins has proved how excellent her ideas are in the last two books, but this one did not show it as much. Nevertheless, it was still addicting.

The districts of Panem are in open warfare with the Capitol. Katniss Everdeen had survived the Capitol's Hunger Games twice, and now she is expected to put aside her feelings and become the Mockingjay- the symbol of hope for the rebellion. But is she up to the task?

It turns out the awful cliffhanger in the last book wasn't much of a cliffhanger after all. District 12 was destroyed, end of story. Throughout the book it has ups and downs, and it was okay. The book inspired me sometimes, and other times it made me laugh. It was never boring, just sometimes things aren't my taste.

Katniss Everdeen, the star of the book, doesn't seem herself anymore. I really liked her because she was brave, selfless, cunning, clever, and tough, and a great hero. Now, I don't really know what happened to that girl. She still has a shadow of herself, but now she's a pawn of the war. I had some hope she will rise up, but it diminished more and more as I neared the end of the book. When she shot Coin, it seemed as if it was right to hold on to hope after all, only to be disappointed again by her reaching for nightlock. Her excessive emotions aren't necessary. We didn't see her in much action scenes, but just around doing pretty much nothing well suited to the story. Still, I like the fact that she thinks she will get through at the end, no matter how much the losses are.

The ending was really depressing for me. Gale was as good as dead, and I was actually hoping that he would be the one who ended up with Katniss. She needed him. What Collins has done made me angry. Finnick's death struck me hard, and I was left thinking about Annie and everything. But she took it just fine, and that bothered me. Boggs's death also did. Prim's death actually got me crying, and I was thinking all along that Katniss volunteering as tribute in the first place has lost its purpose. 

There were extraordinary ideas in this book. The Hanging Tree haunted me, and I love it even though it was creepy. This last sentence ("You love me. Real or not real?" "Real.") was very emotional. Other quotes were good, like you ignoring the past is repeating it, or that Katniss despises monsters called humans despite being one herself. The book struck me as inspirational many times, and sometimes humorous like the seeing Finnick in his underpants line.

The grammar, as of the other two books, could be improved. Less run ons, fragments, commas at the wrong places, etc. That would help a lot. However, there were great descriptions and inspiring moments. In the end the good guys won- but the cost is depressing. A story without a happy ending would just make me sad, and books are supposed to make me happy. Also, I was really tired of the love triangle. 

In conclusion, this book was awesome, but I expected better. I was left with something to think about, but it's sad. Collins taught me a very good lesson about evil on both sides- and I would want to read this book again, and watch the movie when it comes out.

That's it... May the Force be with you!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire REVIEW

The first thing I wanted to do when I finished the first book in this series was to read the second book in the series. It was not what I expected, but I was not disappointed. I did not like it as much as I liked the last book, but this is still awesome. Suzanne Collins's story took many unexpected paths that got the readers hanging on in a roller coaster ride.

On the ruins of North America a shining Capitol stood with twelve outlying districts. The Capitol, a tyrannical government, was about to face its worst nightmare: a full scale rebellion, which Katniss Everdeen may have helped ignite the sparks. Upon winning the Hunger Games against all odds, she was supposed to live a happily ever after... but that wasn't going to happen when the Capitol wants revenge.

Katniss Everdeen was somehow like an ordinary girl, but she has definitely been through more than most adults have. She is tenacious, selfless, and great with a bow and arrow. I really like her- but she has self doubts and still holds the lives of her loved ones close, like most people would. Though adding fire to the flames would be the right thing to do, it would probably cause the lives of her loved ones.

The story starts off with filling some of the gaps about what happened in the short time between this book and last book. In addition, it introduces new ideas that will turn the wheels of the roller coaster Collins put us on. This is how I like it- ending every chapter with a mild cliffhanger to made the readers want more. However, the huge cliff hanger at the end killed something inside me, but fortunately I had the third book beside me or I would have gone paranoid. The ride took a dark turn when Katniss is to enter the Hunger Games again, and when she realizes there is something in play that she doesn't know about, and I wondered like she did. I was surprised the way the Hunger Games ended, as those who read the book know.

Some ideas were really creative, like how the clock works. There were inspirational moments, and others devastating (like Cinna), and others humorous like what the prep team considers as an emergency.

There was once when the author left me off. What is the main character trying to achieve? It wasn't stated clearly. There was the trying to protect loved ones, but she didn't really want the Capitol to continue its reign. The Hunger Games she entered did not even fit in this part well. In the Hunger Games, her goal was to survive. This is more like telling a life of someone- with no clear main problem, unless you say that trying to make peace is it.

The faults I find in the book surprises me. First of all, I'm not a romantic person, and I definitely don't like the love triangle no matter how much people it appeals to. The kisses were unnecessary. Some of it, like the engagement and pregnancy is surprising to me, but I didn't give it much of a thought except for when it will affect the plot of the story (like Snow not accepting). I like Gale, but I want him as her friend. Peeta is a nice guy, but I don't feel like he's the right one for her even though those of you who read the last book knew what happened. The poor writing in the book frustrates me sometimes. There are too many run-ons and fragments, and frequently adding periods to make a point does not make a story flow. The cliffhanger at the end just blew me up. The story should not have had such an ending. However, I can try ignore them and focus on the excellent plot.

In conclusion, I loved this book. It has its flaws but so does every story. This could still be one of the greatest trilogies in history, and I can't wait until the movie comes out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Top Ten Movie Heroes and Heroines

I saw Jedi Filmaker and Shena's blog do this, so I thought I'd give it a try. I combined male and female together all in one post. I try to place them in order, but I really can't since I like them all equally. I wanted to add more beings like Plo Koon, Anakin Skywalker, Mulan, and others, but then I already reached ten so I just eliminated them.

My best hero of all times would have to be Obi-Wan Kenobi. I like everything about him. Matthew Stover's summary of him rings true hereA phenomenal pilot who doesn't like to fly. A devastating warrior, who'd rather not fight. A negotiator without a peer, who'd frankly rather sit alone in a cave. He is a Jedi Master. General in the Grand Army. Member of the Jedi Council. He is modest, centered, and always kind. He has become a hero. He is the ultimate Jedi. This is a characteristic of Obi-Wan that he is unaware of.

I don't need to explain more since you all know how awesome he is from his personality to his skills to everything.

To me, Ahsoka is a great hero. She's tough, brave, and yet compassionate. She has a good sense of humor, and is firm in her beliefs. Sometimes she's headstrong and reckless like her master, but that only makes me like her more. I really love how she was once the little togruta who stepped off that ship, and she became a Jedi of deadly beauty.

Siri Tachi is one of my favorite girl Jedi. She has a good sense of humor and a great personality. Her violet lightsaber is one that I'd like to have. Her lightsaber skills are extraordinary even from a young age, and so is her stealth skills, which was revealed when she was undercover as Zora. Her romance with Obi-Wan made me love her even more.

First queen, then senator, Amidala has proven herself as an extraordinary women. She wasn't a damsel in distress, but was able to shoot her way out of a situation. She calls for a diplomatic solution first, but when action speaks louder than words she doesn't hesitate to use aggressive negotiations. She was kind, and she believed in goodness until the end.

I loved the Harry Potter saga before I love Star Wars, so Hermione Granger was my favorite for a long time now. Though bossy at first, she was a loyal friend and incredibly intelligent. She was brave enough to be sorted into Gryffindor, and she was fiercely dedicated to bringing good to the world, for example with the S.P.E.W.

Bobby Pendragon from the Pendragon Series. One of my favorite sagas. He suffered many losses, but he kept going. He had an option to stop and rest, but he did not. He followed evil to destroy it, and his determination made me like him so much. Need I say more?

Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games. She's brave and selfless. She kills only with a reason to, and she feels the consequence as well. Also, she's tenacious and definitely a "girl on fire". I love her abilities to shoot with an arrow too.

I also like Narnia, and especially Peter. He was a great swordsman- in Narnia anyway. He was brave and fought for the Narnians even though he wasn't one of them until he was a high king. He looked after the others well too.

I extremely love Legolas from Lord of the Rings. He's fighting for good. His bow and arrow skills are excellent, and he can kick butt. He can live, like, forever, and, oh, just look at him. The picture seems to say it all. He's like Obi-Wan to me.

The last one I don't have a picture of, since it's too small. Anyway, she's got green eyes, red hair, and fair skin. She goes by the name of Tallisibeth Enwandung-Esterhazy (Wow, long weird name), or better known as Scout for her abilities to quickly analyze a situation. She was very tenacious,  and she never gave up even when all hope seems lost. She was born on Vorzyd V in slums, so her parents begged a passing Jedi to take her to the temple to escape poverty. She was weak in the Force, so many people doubted she will become a Jedi, and thought she would go to the Jedi Service Corps. However, much to everyone's surprise, she was picked by a Chankar Kim to be an apprentice, but she died in the Battle of Geonosis, leaving her masterless. After pushing herself hard, she miraculously won the Jedi Apprentice Tournament and got a new master, Jai Maruk. But he died as well. She returned to the temple afterwards, but no one knows what happened to her until she escaped order 66 and stayed on Mandalore, though not completely giving up the ways of the Jedi.

Here's a quote from Yoda to her from Yoda: Dark Rendezvous (That book is awesome, I recommend it):
"Too few Jedi have I already. But even had I a crop of thousands, small one, I would not let you go without a fight. Spirit and determination you have. Between the stars, so much darkness there is. Why would I throw away one who burns so bright?"

Pax Chizzick to her:
"Tallisibeth, being a Jedi is about being resourceful, keeping your eyes open, and never, ever giving up. You taught me a lot about being a Jedi today."

That's it for now... May the Force be with you!