Shakespeare’s Star Wars

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Shakespeare’s Star Wars is a three book Shakespeare-style play of the original Star wars trilogy.

Of course, this means that everyone uses archaic speech, the main thing that makes this book entertaining… especially with sci-fi Star Wars tech:

“The full report hath said that they are arm’d.”

“But with such sticks and rocks as would not harm

A womp rat, and much less an AT-AT. Thou

Wilt not fear armies of twigs. ‘Tis true?”

The three books are named Verily, A New Hope, The Empire Striketh Back, and The Jedi Doth Return.

Also included are action texts, ([Exit Grand Moff Tarkin.) and the starts of scenes and acts are marked. One of these books could be used for a play script, if the props could be attained.

A challenge presented to the author of these books was on how Yoda should speak. In the end, he settled that Yoda would speak in haiku form:

“Anger, fear, hatred-

from the dark side they all come;

Its minions they are.”

Naturally, the trilogy stays true to the original series, and does not deviate in any way to the plot line. It’s basically the entire story with the normal speech turned Shakespeare-style. But even- especially- if you have seen the movies, it is a very entertaining set of books to read.

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Divergent

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Divergent is a dystopian future where society is split into 5 different “factions,” each valuing above all else a single virtue. It is all in all a well written book, but as I call it, “A good idea poorly executed.”

First, a summary on Divergent. The dystopian world is divided into five different “factions,” or political groups. The people in this world live their lives based upon their ideal virtue, which differs from faction to faction. At age sixteen you have to choose whether you stay in your natural-born faction or choose to abandon your family and live with different people forever. Also, an “aptitude test” is given before the choosing–a simulated experience where you have to make decisions. The results are then studied and the test administrator tells you which faction you belong in based upon your actions and choices during the simulation.
Unfortunately, when the heroine, Tris (then called Beatrice) takes the test, her results reveal that she has aptitude for not one, not two, but three different factions. The test administrator deletes her results and tells her that it is very dangerous to be “Divergent,” the name that is given to people with multiple aptitudes.
To make a long story short, Tris leaves her home faction–to the chagrin of her family –and joins Dauntless, the faction valuing bravery. She has to learn to fight, shoot a gun and perform in fight simulations. Tris falls in love along the way, and discovers a conspiracy against Divergent people and Tris’s home faction.” Tris and Four (her boyfriend, later) end up having to fight for their lives and try to save the political leaders from being brutally killed by the mind-controlled Dauntless.
Now, a few complaints. The factions are an interesting idea, but the thought that the vast majority of people would only have aptitude for one virtue is laughable, at best. At worst, it’s worrying. In a world where people only value one virtue, “their personal” virtue, you’re just asking for political dispute. Also– how do you agree upon anything? All terms are based on what we as a whole value most. If America was split into five parts, and one part disagreed that freedom was a base right of man, where would we be?
For another thing, where are the other virtues–chastity, prudence, fortitude? In a world where these and other virtues are absent (for the most part), what keeps the world from turning into a free-for-all, where you can do whatever you want and it’s morally permissible–as long as you keep your virtue in mind.
Finally, on to the story itself. I felt very excited after finishing the first book in the series, but it all went downhill from there. (If this next part is me being a “hater,” I apologize!) This is getting into the entire trilogy as well, and there are SPOILERS if you have not yet read the books, so I’ll give you the gist right here in case you don’t want it spoiled–the books are not worth reading because they are filled with overly violent battles, overly intimate romances not appropriate for people under high school (and even some people in high school!), and overly fake “Virtues.”
At the end of the second book, there is a scene where the characters are watching a video where people are being brutally killed and bloody images of that kind. Tris says that “it went on and on until I wanted to scream.” Or something like that. Well, that’s all fine, but I can’t understand why the video was any different from the life Tris was living.
I mean, seriously. She saw someone fall off of a roof and die. She saw one of her friends’ dead bodies after he killed himself. She shot one of her best friends when he was under mind control. She saw her mother shot and killed. She shot another guy in the arm. She saw another friend get filled with lead. I could go on!
Tris is living a bloody, battle-filled life, and I can’t see why Ms. Roth is trying to make Tris out as not being desensitized to this horror when she obviously is. Innocence is good. Fake innocence is not.
For another thing. You can have emotional intimacy and wonderfully appropriate romance together. I have read so many books labeled ‘romance’ with no intimate scenes whatsoever that were beautifully written (Jane Austen!). In Pride and Prejudice, one of the best romance novels of all time, Darcy and Elizabeth never even held hands! It was good enough for them in the 18th century, and it should be good enough now. Divergent is not labeled a ‘romance’ book at all, and yet there are multiple intimate scenes in the second and third books! Come on, guys. We’re better than this. Who do you think would be happier, Darcy and Elizabeth at Pemberly, or Tris and Four (Tobias) in this post-war, post-apocalyptic half-destroyed city, mowing down Dauntless and Erudites with machine guns if they get too close?
One final point. When I finished Divergent, I was excited and interested in the trilogy. By the end of the second, my brow was constantly furrowed and I kept flipping back to make sure this was the book I wanted to read. By the last book, I almost ditched it in disgust before I even finished it, but a friend is the one who made me finish. The plot overall was half-baked, in my opinion, and the seemingly meaningless twists only made me more bored.
A disclaimer. I am hard to please. I appreciated (SPOILER!) Tris’s sacrifice at the end of the final book, as well as many conversations Tris had with Four (not the romantic ones! The ones where they talked about worthwhile things, and virtue!) and her disgust with the suicide as well as other things. I enjoyed some parts of this series, and there were many worthwhile scenes. But I’m sorry, they don’t balance out the bad, boring, and weird parts.
I would not recommend this series. The overall plot is boring, the intense romantic and violent scenes are far too much, and the virtues are not enough to make up for it.
By the way. I have a lot of friends who obsess about this series. I am not judging them, nor am I judging you if you like these books. I am judging the writing.
Sorry this is so long!

Independent Study

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Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau is the second book in dystopian trilogy, The Testing. If you have not read The Testing yet, read it first (I would definitely recommend)!

Cia had been chosen for the Testing, survived, and is now headed for the University of her dreams. All of her friends who passed the Testing with her are excited for Examination Day, which is how they are placed into their fields they will study. Cia can’t help but wonder what happened to the other candidates who did not pass. She is worried about the tape that she found in the Transit Communicator that she stole from her brother Zeen before the Testing. It warned her about the harsh punishments to those who gave a wrong answer, how people she thought were her friends turned against her, and the memory swipe at the end that prevented her and the remaining candidates from remembering the experience. Cia wants to believe that it is all made up, but she knows that it is true, and she is determined to find out what is going on at the University and try to put a stop to it.

This book was just as good as the first and picked up right where it left off. If you are looking for a book that will keep you on the edge of your chair, this is it!

The Testing

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The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau is a 325 page dystopian story. Sixteen year old Cia Vale lives in a future world that is demolished from the Seven Stages War. The community is separated into different colonies so that it can rebuild itself. Every year during the graduation, some students are chosen to go into the Testing, which is a series of tests that determine if you can go into college and then onto the government to create solutions to the problems in the world. Cia wants to be selected so she can continue her education, but no one from her colony, the Five Lakes colony, had been selected in many years. When she is called up to go into the stages of Testing, it comes as a surprise. Cia’s father had been through the Testing and could not remember any of the trials he had to face and believes that there is a memory wipe at the end of the last test. The advice he gives her before she leaves is to trust no one. As Cia goes through the stages she realizes the horrors and secrets that are hidden behind the Testing and tests not only her knowledge but who she really can trust.
I decided to read this book because I read one of Charbonneau’s other books, called NEED. I really loved reading NEED and saw that she had wrote a bestselling series called The Testing. This book was similar to Divergent and The Hunger Games, but I liked how the characters have to be creative and know a wide variety of knowledge to outsmart their peers. I loved this book and can’t wait to finish reading the second and third book of this series!

The 100: Homecoming (Book Review)

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“Clarke stared at the crash scene, eyes straining in the dark, waiting for the inevitable moment when training would kick in, when her instincts would anesthetize her panic. But hovering at the edge of the wide expanse of debris, absorbing the destruction, all she felt was horror. It was far worse than when the hundred had landed. From what she could see, three dropships had slammed into the ground just a few dozen meters apart. It was amazing that they hadn’t crashed on top of each other. Their jagged metal carcasses protruded from the earth around the water’s edge, looming high above the surface of the lake. Motionless bodies were scattered everywhere. The fires had mostly gone out, but the stench of burning metal lay heavy on the air. Even worse than the sight of so many bodies was the growing number of wounded. By Clarke’s quick estimation, there were three hundred and fifty or so survivors in various states of distress.” – Excerpt from The 100: Homecoming

The 100: Homecoming, written by Kass Morgan, is the final installment in The 100 trilogy. After landing on Earth, the hundred have struggled to create a sense of order amid their chaotic surroundings. This all comes crashing down when the new dropships arrive from space. With the return of authority on Earth, the delinquents must face their crimes they thought that they left behind.

In the final chapter of Kass Morgan’s whirlwind dystopia thriller, readers discover what it truly means to survive. As the fight for power between the delinquents and the new arrivals ensues, see Clarke, Glass, Bellamy, and Wells come to terms with their harrowing surroundings. I highly recommend this story for anyone looking for an amazing story filled with action and romance. (Let it be noted that the television adaptation on the CW is also perfectly exciting.) Fans of Morgan’s dangerous world will enjoy revisiting their favorite characters and see what happens next. The 100: Homecoming is an excellent story that anyone can enjoy.

The 100: Day 21 (Book Review)

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“No one wanted to stand near the grave. Although four of their own were already buried in their makeshift cemetery, the rest of the hundred were still disturbed by the idea of lowering a body into the ground. No one wanted to stand with their backs to the trees either. Since the attack, a creaking branch had become enough to make the anxious survivors jump. And so, the nearly one hundred people who’d gathered to say goodbye to him stood in a tightly packed semicircle, their eyes darting between the corpse on the ground and the shadows in the forest… They had been sent to Earth as living test subjects, the first people to set foot on the planet in three hundred years. But they were mistaken. Some people had never left.” – Excerpt from The 100: Day 21

The 100: Day 21, written by Kass Morgan, is the second installment in the wildly popular The 100 trilogy. It revisits the unfamiliar and dangerous world that the delinquents have been forced to survive in. Faced with new threats, the group must find a way to protect each other and fight for one another. They realize they are not alone on the ground and struggle to survive together. The 100: Day 21 is an excellent story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Fans of the first book will love the sequel that intertwines heartfelt romance and pulse-pounding action. I highly recommend this book to anyone in search of a great story that will engulf them in all the drama and action. The 100: Day 21 is an amazing read that anyone can enjoy. (For anyone wanting even more The 100, I recommend the critically acclaimed television show that can be found on the CW.)

The 100 (Book Review)

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“For a moment, she was aware of only colors, not shapes. Stripes of blue, green, and brown so vibrant her brain couldn’t process them. A gust of wind passed over her, making her skin tingle and flooding her nose with scents Clarke couldn’t even begin to identify. At first, all she could see were the trees. There were hundreds of them, as if every tree on the planet had come to welcome them back to Earth.” – Excerpt from The 100

The 100, written by Kass Morgan, is a critically acclaimed dystopian novel that is also a hit television show on the CW. It is the first book in the trilogy and introduces readers to a dangerous new world. It has been many decades since the radiation that wiped out everyone on the Earth. The remaining survivors live on The Ark space station, but to test if the Earth is inhabitable, they send down 100 expendable delinquents to the ground to see if it is sustainable for human life. The 100 quickly realize that they must adapt to survive and that they may not be alone on this strange new Earth.

Meet Clarke, Wells, Bellamy, Octavia, and more of the 100 delinquents. Together they must fight to survive as they experience love and loss in this harrowing world. The 100 artfully combines action and romance to create a wonderful story that readers won’t be able to put down. I highly recommend this excellent trilogy (and the television show!) that offers an exhilarating new story to experience and delve into. The 100 is an exciting new read that will leave readers wanting more.