Megiddo's Shadow by Arthur Slade

Devastated by the death of his beloved older brother, the young but determined Edward Bathe enlists to try to avenge his brother’s death. Abandoning his bed-ridden father and their farm in Canada, Edward travels to England to prepare for his chance to fight. Once in England, he shows an innate ability to train and ride horses. As a result, he is sent with a cavalry troop to Palestine in order to aid in the fight against the Turks. Once Edward reaches the front, his eagerness for revenge is replaced by fear and the realization that in war, you must kill or be killed. There is no in between.

This historical fiction novel about World War I is exceedingly excellent. Everything that happens in the story feels so real that the reader himself/herself feels like they are right there next to Edward. The author helps you peer into Edward’s mind and see every thought and feel every emotion. When Edward feels love, you feel love. When Edward feels grief, you cry your eyes out with him. When Edward is in the heat of battle, your own heart begins to race even though you aren’t in any real danger (except maybe of getting a paper cut from turning the page lightning fast because you can’t wait to continue reading).

Another aspect of this book that I really admired was the depth and concreteness of the characters, especially Edward. He is a very full character in the sense that he has a “real” past (real in the sense it could have happened to any normal person but it’s not real because Edward’s a fictional character) and he has “real” morals. For example, Edward is a good singer, just like his mother. He and his mother used to sing in the choir at their local Church. This is a totally random piece of information about Edward’s past that tells you so much about him. He is talented, he is religious, and he is close to his mother.

4.5 daggers out of 5 daggers

Tragically yours,
Gabriel Gethin


Breaking Dawn By Stephenie Meyer

This review was originally written to go on Toad Hill, but I, Twyla Lee, sneakily stole it to put it up on 3 Evil Cousins. After this review, we just might have to adopt Briar Kasvi.

Breaking Dawn is the fourth, and last book in the Twilight Saga, books focusing on clumsy, lovable Bella Swan, and her supernatural boyfriend, Edward Cullen. If you haven't read these books yet, run away from this review, dash to the store, and pick up Twilight. As Boodle's awesome review expressed, Twilight is super.

See, for the past year, I was totally obsessed with Twilight, loved the characters, the world, the books, obviously. My friends and I made up Twilight games, pretended we were werewolves (go ahead, call us geeky), and just basked in the glory of these books that were, ultimately made of coolness. Bella, in the first three books, was easy to identify with, klutzy, human, and with the luck to be adored by an amazing supernatural being, whom any girl (including me) would easily fall in love with. They were great, with fierce fights between vampire and werewolf, vampire and human, vampire and vampire. So of course, I looked upon the release of Breaking Dawn with mounting anticipation.

I was deeply disappointed.

The first 100 or so pages consisted of little but lengthy descriptions of the birds and the bees, followed by bloody, violent, graphic pain coming to our much loved heroine, Bella. I cringed to read it, disappointed in the lack of interest or focus on the supernatural, feeling it was inappropriate to include so much about sex in a book that was aimed at not just teens, but tweens as well, like us.

True, the second half of the novel improved a good bit, with the introduction of a wonderfully lovable new character (who, by the way, possessed one of the worst names known to man, toad, or vampire), and the reappearance of the Volturi, exciting villains hailing from Italy. Though the resolution to their visit was not as exciting as I wished, I enjoyed watching Bella discover her vampire power.

So. I was just really, really sad to see a series that I loved with so much devotion close with a novel that I found to not be much better than any sappy love story… just… disappointing is clearly the operative word here. It was interesting the way they introduced the point of view of another character, and, living amongst animals, I found it quite a useful insight into the world of wolves. The second part of the book is pretty good, not as good as the first book, and not good enough to redeem the whole thing, but pretty good all the same. I liked learning about all the different vampires.

Anyway. Though I ADORED the first three books, and would certainly give them a full five stars, I feel I have to do this, as an honest reviewer… It pains me to give a book in the twilight saga anything less than a million stars, as the world of vampires, and all but the last book deserve, but I am going to give Breaking Dawn two stars.

And yes. This book has dulled my imagination, spirit, and overwhelming awesomisticness (modesty too, it seems), enough so that I am not even creative enough to come up with anything cooler than stars.

Note: This book is seriously, unpleasantly gruesome, I described one of the scenes to my sixteen year old sister and showed her the passage, and she was cringing and whining (at me, grr) for the rest of the day. I wish I hadn't read this book—the more I thought about it afterwards, the worse it got.


Briar Kasvi


Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

YA Alert! Check out Boodledoo's TOAD HILL review of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Interesting fact: Twilight's 498 pages were written in only about three month's time.


The Silenced by James Devita

YA ALERT! Check out Briar Kasvi's TOAD HILL review of The Silenced by James Devita. Interesting Fact: James Devita is also a playwrite and actor.

Memory Boy by Will Weaver

Two years after the catastrophic volcanic eruption of the Cascade range, most of the continental United States are covered with ash. 16 year old Miles Newell, his parents and 12 year old sister Sarah escape their Minneapolis home in the wake of flaring violence, rioting and robbery ignited by the natural disaster. Tailed by bandits everywhere they go, they flee through the wild to their woodland cabin, surviving thanks to the survival stories told by Miles' old friend Mr. Kurz.

The family's hopes for safety are shattered when they arrive to find their home occupied by unfriendly strangers. Miles' family turns to his amazing memory and his knack for tinkering to help them find Mr. Kurz's cabin.

When I first picked up this book -- okay -- it seemed interesting enough but as soon as I started reading it I became completely enthralled and I couldn't put it down. The people-powered vehicle Miles constructed, the Ali Princess was a good idea and I had a vivid image in my head of a mixture of a bike, a wagon and a sail boat. I was a little annoyed when the author alternated between the past and present. I also felt the book also got predictable whenever Miles and his family visited a town or place congregated with people. (of course, the bandits would be there to chase them.)

Overall, this book was very suspenseful and kept me on the edge of my chair the entire time.

I award this book four and a half daggers out of five.

Trooper Cordell