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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lauren Owen: IMG The Other Vampire



It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »

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Customer Comments

Jack Stevenson has commented on (4) products.

The Diamond of Darkhold: The Fourth Book of Ember (Books of Ember) by Jeanne DuPrau
The Diamond of Darkhold: The Fourth Book of Ember (Books of Ember)

Jack Stevenson, May 15, 2011

As the fourth and final book in Jeanne DuPrau’s enjoyable “Books of Ember” series, The Diamond of Darkhold smoothly polishes off the enjoyable post-apocalyptic series, but still manages to leave many unfinished questions for the reader. Returning again to the main plotline of Books 1&2 (Book 3,The Prophet of Yonwood, was a prequel) the duo of the inquisitive Doon Harrow and the adventurous Lina Mayfleet stumble across a book that a roamer had brought to town as a fire starter. Deciding to buy the book, Doon finds that it is another book that seemed to be made by the mysterious Builders of Ember, and was meant for them; however, most of the pages were missing. Doon and Lina then decide to travel back to the City of Ember to find whatever was left behind, in hopes that it can help them and the Village of Sparks survive. Throughout the book, themes of adventure, rebuilding, friendship, and exploration are constant. Many other styles seen throughout the series persist in the final book as well, including DuPrau’s stunning ability to describe familiar things as we know them in a sense that makes them seem strange and new to the people of this amazing, post-apocalyptic future: “She had no idea what horses were like. Maybe they were terrible, savage animals. This one certainly looked strong enough to give a person a deadly kick; maybe it would bite.” However, all was not perfect in this finale; the ending does not answer all questions, leaving many other questions only partially answered, even with a possibly major cliffhanger that could never be described in a sequel. Other parts of the book may fit together awkwardly at times to readers, and near the end, events that are mentioned are quickly explained, with some events that could of been chapters-long simply condensed to a paragraph. However, this book can be a satisfying conclusion to the series for some, but can leave much more to be desired for others in its ending and delivery.
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The Red Pyramid: Kane Chronicles #1 by Rick Riordan
The Red Pyramid: Kane Chronicles #1

Jack Stevenson, January 16, 2011

One of Rick Riordan’s newest creations, The Red Pyramid, strays from the mythology of his first books, and creates an even more believable and realistic experience for the reader. Kicking off a new series known as The Kane Chronicles, Riordan decided to stray from the previous Greek mythology used in the Percy Jackson series for something even older: the Egyptian Mythology, keeping the historical-based theme of the book, and adding emotional exploration and action into the mix of already countless themes. The book starts out with the description that this is a writer’s interpretation of several recorded messages, then joining the Kane family, a widower father with two kids named Carter and Sadie Kane. Carter and his father Julius travel the world as Archaeologist and son, while Carter’s sister Sadie stays with her grandparents who won custody after the mysterious death of their mother. On the one day that they can all legally be a family, Julius takes them to the British Museum, where a series of unpredictable events happen, throwing Carter and Sadie into an Egyptian reality that they find hard to believe. From there on, Riordan builds up a world and characters from the beginning. Carter has lived with his father for his entire life, but due to his father never staying in one place for more than a week he never had any real friends. Sadie has always lived at her grandparents with what most would assume is a normal life, but she has almost never met her father. The world he creates is no less beautiful and vivid: “A river winding through a desert canyon. The sky was a blanket of pitch-black clouds, and the river’s surface seemed to boil.” In my opinion, Riordan has done it again, recreating the wonder of a world past into the present, with the spirit of his original books intact. I personally had a hard time putting this book down and would give it a full 5-star rating. Rick Riordan’s newest creation has kept me and countless others in awe, and no-doubt waiting for April 2011, when the sequel of this already impressing first book of the trilogy comes out.
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Jack Stevenson, November 30, 2010

Necropolis, the fourth and most recent book in the impressing “The Gatekeepers” series, is a great book, although not the best book for new readers. Necropolis, starting right after the third book in the series known as Nightrise, immediately draws away from the cliffhanger ending of the last book, to tell the story of a girl, named Scarlett Adams, who had a near death experience. While this may not seem important at the beginning, it ties into the plot later on. This kind of storytelling is present throughout the series, which is entertaining to readers of the entire series, makes it hard for readers who just want to jump into the series at any point. Another storytelling device the writer borrowed from a previous book is that the book will continuously switch between the story of Scarlett, and that of the book’s main protagonist Matthew Freeman. Long time readers of the book will feel a rush of horror, action, and suspense at every turn, leading to the major cliffhanger that leaves the entire world in the balance. This book is a wonderful read for most audiences of most ages, but I would recommend new readers to start with the first to avoid spoiling the plot. In my opinion, Necropolis is a wonderful book that beautifully expands the Gatekeepers universe nicely, while adding a hint of horror at every turn.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)



Jack Stevenson, November 30, 2010

Necropolis, the fourth and most recent book in the impressing “The Gatekeepers” series, is a great book, although not the best book for new readers. Necropolis, starting right after the third book in the series known as Nightrise, immediately draws away from the cliffhanger ending of the last book, to tell the story of a girl, named Scarlett Adams, who had a near death experience. While this may not seem important at the beginning, it ties into the plot later on. This kind of storytelling is present throughout the series, which is entertaining to readers of the entire series, makes it hard for readers who just want to jump into the series at any point. Another storytelling device the writer borrowed from a previous book is that the book will continuously switch between the story of Scarlett, and that of the book’s main protagonist Matthew Freeman. Long time readers of the book will feel a rush of horror, action, and suspense at every turn, leading to the major cliffhanger that leaves the entire world in the balance. This book is a wonderful read for most audiences of most ages, but I would recommend new readers to start with the first to avoid spoiling the plot. In my opinion, Necropolis is a wonderful book that beautifully expands the Gatekeepers universe nicely, while adding a hint of horror at every turn.
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