26 June 2016

Five Kingdoms: Death Weavers Book Review

Brandon Mull, a modern fantasy author renowned for his inventive tales and descriptive language recently published his most recent work in his critically acclaimed Five Kingdoms Series: Death Weavers. Although this is the fourth book in the series, this work is not necessarily his best in the series thus far. This series details the adventures of Cole, a teenager abducted from our world, and his efforts to restore balance throughout the Outskirts, the intricately crafted world of the Five Kingdoms Series.

Plot: In relation to the plot, although the overall arc of the Five Kingdoms Series is intriguing and engaging, this work was lacking in the development of the plot. The introductory action of the novel was decently written. Within this introductory action, Cole strikes a bargain with an echo, (a wandering soul equivalent to a ghost). Mull then expertly foreshadows the severity and possible ramifications of this seemingly harmless bargain. However, as the consequential occurrences of this bargain unravel, the plot soon begins to unravel as well. His friends captured, Cole is alone, forced to rectify his mistakes by entering the echolands, an intermediary stage in the afterlife. Although I will not delve into the specific conditions of the echolands, within this setting, Cole treks across great distances to visit and converse with a series of people in hope of discovering the whereabouts of Destiny Pemberton, a princess that is critical to the revolution enacted throughout the arc of the Five Kingdoms Series. Although this in itself is a stable plot, as Cole continues to converse with others in the echolands, he is consistently redirected to another person that possesses the crucial information . Thus, the plot becomes redundant and unnecessary.

Setting: The setting of this novel is my favorite aspect of this work. Consisting of two contrasting environments - the echolands and the deadlands, these two regions compose the kingdom of the Necronum afterlife within the Outskirts.
 - (echolands) - Vivid descriptions, character to Mull's writing style, are seamlessly woven into the plot as this setting is characterized. However, the most intriguing aspect of Mull's description of the afterlife is the clever and original decision to incorporate various sounds into the setting - intertwining these sounds through correspondence with the inanimate and breathing objects of the echolands.

 - (deadlands) - Contrasting to the echolands is the deadlands, decaying territories directly opposite to the idyllic paradise of the echolands. The deadlands are ominous settings, adding depth to the darkness lurking there.

Characters: Mull's characters are often complex - acting in predictable and habitual manners and are thus perceived as authentic and believable. However, in this novel, although certain characters develop, some remain static throughout the novel - imprisoned or undeveloped.

 - Cole - Cole, the primary protagonist of the series, is the character within this novel that develops the most. Although Cole primarily exemplifies a glorious bravery, in this novel, without his companions, Mull represents the vulnerable aspect of Cole's character - introducing a more desperate courage than his expected bravery.

 - Mira/Jace - Although these two character are briefly mentioned - after their capture toward the beginning of the novel, they are imprisoned for the majority of the novel and do not develop. Although I acknowledge that in order for the vulnerability of Cole to be represented the absence of his companions was necessary, Mull could have included some description of their imprisonment or possibly failed attempts at escaping.

This is my first book review (ever). I hope you found this review informative and engaging. Although my recommendation of this book is not great, I do recommend investing the time in reading the Five Kingdoms Series, as the series itself is very interesting. If you would like to read other books by Brandon Mull, you can visit his website here.

20 June 2016

Ars Antiquua, Stipes Novus - (Old Art, New Post)

As I was purging through my closet yesterday, (besides a colony of spiders), I found a painting that I had created during one of my years of junior high. Prior to the assignment of this painting, my class and I had been studying African American artists, including painters, writers, sculptors, and weavers. As we progressed through this unit, we also read the poem: "The Creation", composed by James Weldon Johnson, and cited from The Book of American Negro Poetry. After being read this poem, we were distributed copies of this poem and were asked to find a passage that we felt that we could easily portray in a painting. After the first reading aloud, I knew exactly which area I would like to depict. 

(Although I did not include the complete poem, a link is posted above. However, I did include the passage of the poem that I chose to portray):

And He set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.
And the light that was left from making the sun
God gathered it up in a shining ball

Inspired by this passage, this is the painting that I created a few years ago (and found yesterday):
I hope you enjoyed this post, and I look forward to sharing new (and old) art and writing that I may find!

15 June 2016

Newbery Honor or Newbery Medal?

There are two distinct Newbery Awards - the Newbery Honor and the Newbery Medal. The John Newbery Medal is a prestigious literary award granted to "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children", as inscribed on the insignia of the medal. The Newbery Honor award is granted to contributions of literature that although are recognized as significant, receive the worthy title of "Newbery Honor Book" instead of receiving a prestigious Newbery Medal. The Newbery Honor Books are often perceived as "runner-ups" to Newbery Medal Books.

For many years, although I was aware of the Newbery awards, I have remained unsure about the difference between a Newbery Honor and Newbery Medal. Frankly, when I read my first Newbery Honor Book, Charlotte's Web, I was not aware that this novel even received such a prestigious literary award. However, considering this novel, I realized that Charlotte's Web did affect me in a more moving and profound way than any routine series of chapter books. As I began to immerse myself in the lengthy list of books granted Newbery awards, these are the novels that most significantly influenced me as I read them, and long thereafter: The Westing Game, The House of the Scorpion, The Wednesday Wars, The Graveyard Book, The Underneath, The One and Only Ivan, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, Charlotte's Web, and recently, Bud, Not Buddy. (These books are in no particular order). 

Other Newbery Award Books
Although this second list of novels received either of the two Newbery awards, these books did not influence me as profoundly as the previously listed books. However, regardless of personal preference, these contributions to literature are not generic novels, and certainly received a Newbery Honor award for a reason. Therefore, my personal preference should not stop you from delving into any of these works: The Golden Goblet, The Bridge to Teribithia, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Dear Mr. Henshaw, The Sign of the Beaver, Hatchet, The Giver, and Paperboy.
What are your favorite Newbery Honor/Medal Books? Post in the Comments Section below

14 June 2016

An Acrostic for "Acrostic"

noun: acrostic; plural noun: acrostics
  1. a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words

As stated by the dictionary definition of an acrostic, this form of poetry, puzzle, or general composition is a form in which specific letters in each successive line form a word(s). As I was contemplating how I could relate this interesting form of composition into a blog post, I realized that although I try to write at least every other day (hopefully more often), it is often difficult to think of creative writing prompts or exercises. Thus, as I stumbled upon acrostics, I decided to compose an acrostic for the word "acrostic". Although I created an acrostic for the term "acrostic", this creative exercise can be completed using any word - including the names of characters and places. Although acrostics limit detailed descriptions, this form of composition aids in flexing the creativity of a writer as a casual prompt. 








Creative Writing

(Although this acrostic for "acrostic" is a stretch, it is the best example that I could create.)
Also, if you would like to share any acrostics you have created, please post your acrostics in the comments section below this post.

11 June 2016

Centum Verbi (One Hundred Words) for One Hundred Pageviews

Today I earned the hundredth view of my writing blog, Scribentia. Having begun this blog on June 6, I am appreciative of the progress that this blog has made since that date. However, I am aware that one hundred pageviews is not an impressive number, especially considering that the most popular blogs attract over one hundred thousand unique viewer daily (and acknowledging that at least a dozen of the pageviews are my own. ) Regardless of the amount of pageviews, I will attempt to publish frequent posts that continue to maintain substance and relevance, and not sacrificing quality over quantity.

08 June 2016

Top Ten Reasons I Enjoy Blogging

10. It is very satisfying to view published blog posts
9. I can develop in my passion and interest for writing through research and publishing blog posts
8. I have the opportunity to write about writing
7. My writing is not restricted by specific assignments/prompts
6. (Although I am yet to have any comments on my posts), as soon as my blog posts are commented on, I will be able to discuss writing with other individuals that share my appreciation for literature
5. (As monochromatic as the Blogger themes are), I am able to customize and personalize my blog
4. My creativity is strained thinking of blog posts - even though it is only Day Two
3. Breaks are not dictated by the ringing of a bell
2. My summer break does not solely involve sleeping in/taking naps
1. I have an excuse to drown myself in caffeinated drinks - especially coffee and tea

During the academic school year, I was assigned a project with a similar premise. This "Top Ten" list was assigned for my Modern World History class and consisted of a compiled list of reasons relating to the historic downfall of an empire. Thus, I was inspired to produce my second blog post, in which I listed the primary reasons I enjoy blogging. However, do you have any suggestions that you would like to add to this list? If so, please comment in the area below. I would like to hear all suggestions.

(Although this is a drawing of a coffee cup, I prefer tea.)

07 June 2016

The Meaning of Scrībentia - (Pillar Post)

Scrībentia, the name of this blog, is a Latin term that directly translates into English as "the writing things". This name was chosen because although I am especially appreciative of classical literature; I am also fascinated by the Latin language. Thus, as a high school student, I am developing this interest through enrollment in a successive Latin course. However, this appreciation for classical literature translates to my own writing, as I  aspire to represent the sophistication of classical literature within personal composition. The posts that I publish and draft will be relevant and interesting, centralizing the themes of writing and creativity. In addition to detailed posts, I hope to include complementing visuals that I will originally produce and display. Valē, and thank you for your interest in this blog and in reading this post.
(Scrībentia written in detailed calligraphy)