Book – Son by Lois Lowry
Review by Gina Mekus
Son is the fourth book in The Giver Quartet. Claire is a birthmother in her community. In the community where she lives, people are assigned their jobs. When Claire gives birth to a son, she feels an attachment to her son that the other birthmothers do not. Birthmothers are not allowed to keep their sons or daughters and each baby is assigned to a family. While waiting for her son to be assigned to a family, Claire is able to interact with her infant son. When her young son has to leave the community, she sets off to find him. Claire is shipwrecked and taken to a village that is very different from the community where she comes from. She experiences many new things. Claire meets many new people in the village and one of them helps her prepare for the difficult journey to find her son. During her journey, she meets a man named Trademaster who promises that she will get to meet her son if she makes a trade. What are you willing to trade to get what you want? That is the question that Claire has to answer. Does she find her son? Read the book to find out!
The book is divided into three “Books”. Book 1 is called Before and takes places in the community. Book 2 is called Between and this is the part where Claire is shipwrecked, lives in the village, prepares for her journey to find her son, and sets off on her journey. Book 3 is called Beyond and this is the conclusion. The themes that are explored in this book are love, obligation, loss, and sacrifice.
Fans of The Giver and of Lois Lowry’s other books will enjoy reading this. Readers who enjoy science fiction will find this book appealing to read. I liked that there are returning characters from the other books in the series and we got to learn more about them. I enjoyed getting to know Claire and the other new characters. I felt that I got to know the new characters very well. The plot and the characters made this book an excellent conclusion to the series. It is not necessary to read the other books in the series in order to understand the plot, but I recommend reading the whole series. It was an easy read and the plot kept me wanting to find out what happened next.
DVD – The Secret of Kells
Review by Kayla Ferguson
In this gorgeous and touching movie that was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated film, young Brenden is a novice monk in a monastery in Ireland during the Dark Ages. The Abbot knows that eventually they will have to face the terrifying Viking warriors who have been ravaging Ireland, burning and destroying everything in their wake, and he is determined to build a wall around the monastery that will keep out the attackers. Despite the Abbot’s admonishments, Brenden is more interested in the beautiful works of art, the illuminated manuscripts, created by the monk scribes. When Brother Aiden, the greatest artist of all, arrives at the monastery, Brenden is torn between helping the Abbot with the wall and helping Brother Aiden with his masterpiece: the Book of Kells. But when the Vikings do attack, Brenden learns that what seems weakest is sometimes what is truly strongest.
Fact and fiction, magic and art, are mixed in this beautiful movie that shows the creation of the Book of Kells, a real medieval illuminated manuscript that is considered one of the greatest works of art in Western Civilization. The animation of the movie itself cleverly mimics the style of medieval art, giving the film a unique look. There are several scenes where the characters move across “panels” on the screen that makes it look like they are walking through the pages of a book. The Celtic music of the soundtrack is haunting and enchanting, and there is a gorgeous song sung in Irish Gaelic by Christen Mooney, who plays the fairy girl Aishling. Subtle religious undertones and references to Celtic mythology provide depth to the story for those familiar with Irish legends and early Christianity, but those who are unfamiliar with those aspects can enjoy the movie just as much. It is a sometimes sad but ultimately uplifting story about the importance of art, culture, and beauty in the midst of trouble, loss, and darkness. This movie is worth several views: the first time to take in the sheer physical beauty and the second time to absorb the equally beautiful themes and messages.
If you are interested in art, medieval culture, early Christianity, the Dark Ages, or Irish mythology, or if you enjoy music groups like Celtic Woman, Celtic Thunder, David Arkenstone, or Enya, or if you like movies such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, or Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Tangled, or Frozen, watch The Secret of Kells!
Author – Jennifer L. Armentrout
JLA is one of my FAVORITE authors! She is a #1 New York Times and International Best Selling Young Adult author – she also writes New Adult and Adult Romance under the pen name J. Lynn.
If you’re looking for fantasy or paranormal, I HIGHLY recommend The Covenant Series and The Lux Series. If you want a good mystery/thriller, check out the standalone, Don’t Look Back. Click here to browse JLA books at EMPL, and for a complete listing, visit http://www.jenniferarmentrout.com.