Book Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction

Age Recommended: 14 and up

This book was well-written but haunting. I would definitely recommend this to people who enjoy reading fantasy novels because the story was unique from the cliche plots of many other books of this genre. All in all, my expectations were high for this book, and it did not disappoint.

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Luke has just been pulled out of school to start his ten years of government service.  He’s pleased that at least his family will be together while working, but he’s torn away from that fantasy and pushed into a harsh reality when he is taken away from his parents and siblings and sent to another place.

Luke’s family goes on to work at the house of one of the most prestigious bloodlines, who are known for their special abilities, while Luke is made to work in a hard labor camp. He is allowed no contact with the rest of his family and ultimately joins a rebel force that helps him survive in the labor camp.

However, he finds out that the rebel force that offered him an escape is working against the very people his family is serving. Moreover, his sisters seem to be enchanted by this family and acting against the family might put them at risk as well.

Will he choose his family or his future?

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Gilded Cage

Book Review: Naming the Stars by Susan Koefod

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Sci-fi or Fantasy

Age Recommended: 11 and up

The characters in this book were very well developed, and I enjoyed reading the book until the last few pages, where I felt that in a rush to end the book and wrap it up, the author made it too confusing.

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Mary Louisa Moura has disappeared. Her parents have no recollection of her, her possessions are all gone, and nobody can see her. Mary is terrified, desperate, and alone, with nobody to go to. Until Fish.

Fish is a swimming instructor, and happens to be the only person that can see Mary. She begs him for help, and on the way learns that he has more than a few of his own demons to deal with.  As if the situation isn’t bad enough, Fish finds a picture of  a person from about a hundred years ago that looks like Mary, and shows it to her, but it doesn’t actually look like Mary. Mary now has completely different features, and learns that Fish never actually saw the real her.

When Mary realizes that she isn’t actually herself, how will she get her old life back?

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Naming the Stars

Book Review: When Asia was the World by Stewart Gordon

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Non-fiction / translated biographies

Age Recommended: 13 and up

It’s this time of year again… summer assignments. This book wasn’t as boring as I expected it to be, and I enjoyed reading the accounts of people who lived many centuries ago. However, the author could have done a better job linking the different chapters of the book to each other, as they were all independent stories, and the only thing similar about them was the fact that they all took place in Asia and were in consecutive time periods.

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This book focuses a lot on the change and continuities over time in the Asian world from 500 to 1500 CE. Some chapters discuss the evolution of religion as an ideology of empires, and others cover the political and social effects of religion.

My favorite chapter in this book is chapter eight, because while it discusses Islam, a sensitive topic in society today, it also clears up a lot of the mystery surrounding this religion and its way of thinking.

Here is an excerpt from my assignment that talks about the a possible reason for the decline of an empire.

The later destruction of the royal library (140) showed an almost Nazi-like hatred for things of the past, or things of other cultures. It displayed a very rapid decline in the levels of tolerance that rulers had for people of other cultures, or people from other world regions.
This decrease in tolerance also led to “whole regions permanently altered (141)” and the “end of Buddhist culture (141)” which was inevitably detrimental to Asia in the long run. It led to the failure of conquest because of the lack of belief in an ideology, followed by great wars that split kingdoms up even more.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend this for people who like history.

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks Who Created the “Riches of the “East”