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The Demonata: Death’s Shadow by Darren Shan

Death's Shadow     The Demonata: Death’s Shadow by Darren Shan

Death’s Shadow is the seventh book in the ten book long series The Demonata by Darren Shan, who also wrote The Cirque du Freak series (called The Saga of Darren Shan in everywhere but America), along with some other teen horror titles.

 

The last book in the series, Demon Apocalypse, hell quite literally broke loose when Lord Loss, the main villain of the series, tried to open a portal that would allow a whole slew of demons to break through into the human’s realm. Grubbs Grady, Kernal Fleck, (both who are protagonists for some of the other books in the series, and are also pieces of the Kah-Gash, a powerful weapon that could destroy the demon universe for good), and Beranabus, the ancient magician, were able to stop him, but not without some sacrifices.

It turns out that Grubbs’s younger half-brother, Bill-E, was the one who activated the tunnel, and the only way it would close was by killing him. However, something strange happened after Bill-E’s death- his body came back to life and was taken over and changed into Bec, the young priestess who stopped the last tunnel from opening thousands of years before, and whose body inhabited the cave ever since. As the third piece of the Kah-Gash,  Bec helped the others push back Lord Loss and the his demon allies, and now has returned to life in the modern world.

 

Death’s Shadow is told in Bec’s point of view, as she tries to adjust to the new modern way of living. However, Dervish, who is Grubbs and Bill-E’s uncle, doesn’t exactly make it easy for her, as the only thing he thinks she’s good for is to reminisce on Bill-E’s life.  Though eventually Bec gets him to come around, but soon after they are attacked by werewolves and are forced to leave Carcery Vale and try and find and help the others against the fearsome monster that appeared in Demon Apocalypse.

 

As well as pushing the plot forward at warp speed, Death’s Shadow also provides the back-story for Beranabus, the ancient and mysterious magician tasked with  preserving humanity against the demons, as well as provided information about the mysterious Kah-Gash and the reasons for its existence.

 

All in really have to say about this book is that it’s another really good “middle book”, the one that more to set up the next one than actually has its own definite plot line. It also provides a whole lot of world building, and highlights one of my favorite character in the series.  Overall, pretty solid piece of work.

 

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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The Demonata: Demon Apocalypse by Darren Shan

Demon Apocalypse   The Demonata: Demon Apocalypse by Darren Shan

Demon Apocalypse is the sixth book in the ten book long series, The Demonata by Darren Shan, who also wrote the very popular vampire book series The Cirque du Freak, also known as The Saga of Darren Shan for anyone not in the States.  The Demonata is a whole lot different than his first series, both stylistically and editorially, which shows his growth as a writer and the risks he is willing to take.  The Demonata is a lot more non-linear than Cirque du Freak was, and it also has a more hopeless vibe to it. It also seems like it is meant for an older age group.

 

Demon Apocalypse picks up right after Blood Beast left off: after Juni Swan, a mage who was dating Grubbs’s uncle/legal guardian, convinces the transforming Grubbs to run from his uncle to escape being executed by the extremist organization: The Lambs, they escape onto a plane headed for freedom– or so Grubbs thought, because it turns out that Juni was on the demons’ side the entire time and has summoned Lord Loss, along with some other demons, onto the plane.

Not his best idea.

Not his best idea.

Scared, Grubbs does his best to fight off the demons, and luckily some familiar faces from the series show up:  Beranabus, an ancient magician who has dedicated his life to finding the Ka-Gash, an ancient weapon that is rumored to be able to destroy the demon universe completely, and Kernal Fleck, a younger mage with the incredible ability to see magical lights that can be put together to make portals to the demon universe. Kernal is another main protagonist of the series, and the second book, Demon Thief, was told through his point of view

They rescue Grubbs and try to convince him to help them in their quest to find the other pieces of the Ka-Gash, but he’s not for it, believing himself to be too much of a coward. However, once new information is revealed about the night that Grubbs and Juni made a break from Carcery Vale, he agrees to helped Beranabus and Kernal to help save his uncle Dervish and his half-brother Bill-E.

After that, the book turns in a race against time to stop the demons from passing through the tunnel that Grubbs and Bill-E accidently dug up in Blood Beast. Stakes are high, the world is at stake, and nothing is as it seems.

 

The last five books have been building up to something really big, and this book was the thing that it was leading up to.  However, I really can’t say what that thing is, as it affects the entire rest of the series and would give away a ton of the mystery in . Let’s put it this way: we find out more about the Kah-Gash, and what exactly it does, and a whole bunch of characters from earlier in the series appear again to fulfill their role for the battles in the rest of the series.

 

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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100 Banned Books Series: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

to kill a mockingbird   100 Banned Books Series: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

 

What is it about?

To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of Scout Finch, an eight-year old white girl who lives with her older brother Jem and their father Atticus, an esteemed lawyer in the town.  She and Jem, along with her other friend Dill, become very fascinated with their reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley.  The third of the book is about Scout as she grows up and learns more about life and the small town she lives in, as she, Jem, and Dill try to lure Boo Radley out of his home.

About a third way through the book, Scout learns that Atticus has been assigned to defend Tom Robinson, a respectable black man, against a rape accusation from Bob Ewell, an extremely poor man of ill repute who claims that Tom raped his oldest daughter Mayella, despite evidence to the contrary.

What makes this book so unique and well-regarded is that the heavy themes of racism, rape, and classicism are told through the eyes of a young child.  It’s also interesting to see Scout interact with the adults in her town: my favorite moment is when Scout is forced to go to a ladies social hosted by her Aunt Alexandria, and one of her neighbors, Miss Maudie, quickly tells off one of the other ladies for claiming that black people couldn’t be educated.  Also, a major theme of the book is the class system of the town, in which everyone looks down at the group of people a step lower than they are, with the black community at the bottom.

Why is it controversial?

While the frank writing style and young protagonist is what makes this point so special and well-renowned, it is also what has caused it to go under controversy.  Many parents really did not like the idea of an 8-year-old being the protagonist of a book with themes such as rape, implied incest, and full-out racism, and they especially didn’t like their high school children reading it.  Also, there is some harsh language in the book, including the use of the “N” word, which was deemed inappropriate for high school students.  Depending on who ask, this is either one of the best books American literature has to offer, or one of the most depraved.

My thoughts?

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time, and in my opinion, it is one of the best books American Literature has to offer.  This is a book EVERYONE needs to read. It’s beautiful, gripping, and all around amazing.

 

There is an acclaimed movie adaptation of the book that is now considered a classic, mostly because they found a really good actor to play Atticus.  While it’s no substitute for the movie, it is still worth watching.

 

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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