Friday, 2 November 2012

Litspiration Challenge #1

Litspiration Challenge:
     Litspiration: A combination of the words literature and inspiration. The challenge is to be inspired by literature to create something relevant to what inspired you. I chose a drawing depicting a character that will be in a graphic novel that I am making for an electives class.

     Why did I chose to depict them in this way?
     Well, since I created the character himself, I think that this is the way he would depict himself. Not a hero, but a man with a goal. Someone who is on a quest to get something of value to him. I didn't colour it because it really didn't need colouring to create what I wanted shown. I think it gives it that handmade feel that my character would like.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Book Review #3

Ulysses Moore - The Door to Time
By: Pierdomenico Baccalario

      When Jason and Julia's parents decide to move from London to a quieter life in Kilmore Cove, the eleven-year-old twins react in very different ways. Julia misses shopping in London, while Jason is excited to explore the mysteries of their new cliff-side home. They soon become friends with Rick Banner, who is a year older than them. So when their parents head back to London for a few days, leaving them in the care of Nestor the groundskeeper, Rick comes for a sleepover. Together, they unravel the mysteries of Argo Manor and find the Door to Time. This is the first book in an eight-book series. So far, only the first four have been translated from Italian to English.

Critique and Analysis:
        I haven't read too many books about twins, but from what I understand, most twins experience some sort of mysterious - possibly spiritual - connection. Baccalario ignores this more usual treatment. Instead, Jason and Julia are pretty much complete opposites - Jason is a bit of a dreamer, while Julia is a more down-to-earth type person. The characterization of the twins as complete opposites is a technique Baccalario uses to help the twins
decipher clues, solve puzzles and move the story along. The plot technique that I really disliked was the frequent use of "Deus ex Machina" - a plot device used to keep a story going when the author has come to a major
sticking point, or is in need of something almost magical to happen to a character. Baccalario uses this technique frequently, such as when Jason falls off a cliff and saves himself by grabbing a protruding branch, or when Jason, Julia and Rick track down the Kilmore Cove postmistress and convince her to open the post office when it's normally closed on the weekend. Perhaps this book is meant for slightly younger readers; I found it a bit frustrating that I had to regularly suspend my sense of disbelief! One of the things I really liked about this book was all of the hidden references to Greek and Roman mythology. For example, Jason is a character in the Greek myth "Jason and the Golden Fleece" while Julia is the daughter of Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. Jason of the Greek myth is an Argonaut, and their new home is named Argo Manor. One of the minor characters is named Ms. Calypso, the name of a character in the Greek tale of Ulysses (part of the book's title). When Ms. Calypso selects a book for each of the children to read, her choices include "Wuthering Heights", in which there are 3 main characters: a brother, sister, and adopted child (Jason and Julia, and then Rick represented by the adopted child), all living in an English Manor. She also selects "Ramses" (a foreshadowing of the book's ending), and Jules Verne's "The Mysterious Island" (in which "Deus ex Machina" is a recurring plot device and may foreshadow another adventure in this series). Strangely, even though there was a lot of "Deus ex Machina", I enjoyed the sneaky references to Greek mythology and the various puzzles and clues enough that I feel compelled to read the next book in the series.

Book Review #2

Warriors: The New Prophecy - Midnight
By: Erin Hunter


     Midnight is the first book of the second "Warriors" series, which are all
about a society of cats - personified, wild cats. Each of the four cat clans
has its own territory in the forest and each clan has a leader, a medicine
cat, warrior cats and other members. Each cat's name is two words put
together, such as Brambleclaw. The first part of a cat's name is given by
its parents. The last part of a cat's name changes over time, beginning with
"kit" when it's first born, changing to "paw" if the kit becomes a warrior
apprentice, and changing again if the cat becomes clan leader, medicine cat
or full warrior. On death, every cat's spirit joins the StarClan; this clan
of ancestor spirits tries to help the other four clans survive in times of
great need.


     At the start of Midnight, Brambleclaw (a ThunderClan warrior) has a dream
in which his StarClan ancestors instruct him to go see what Midnight has to
say. Meanwhile, a medicine cat has a vision of great disaster. Soon, an epic
quest begins to save the clans. Four cats are called upon to use their
courage, skills and wits to survive and save their clans. As their journey
takes them to places that have only been dreamed of, they encounter a guide,
and try to unravel the mysterious prophecy from StarClan: "Darkness, Air,
Water, and Sky will come together ... And shake the forest to its roots."

Critique and Analysis:

First of all, the title of this book is significant. Midnight is the name of a character the cats meet near the end of their long journey. Midnight is also when one day ends and another begins, a time of transition; the StarClan’s prophecy foretells a great transition for the warrior clans, as an outside force threatens society as they know it. I think the most important part of the plot is the journey. One warrior from each clan is called to join the quest to understand the prophecy. Two other cats join the foursome. As they face obstacles, defend themselves from attack and overcome other problems, the clowder (the collective term for a group of cats) changes from a bunch of individual cats who just happen to be travelling together into more of a team. Although the journey takes place beyond the forest where the clans live, Hunter effectively uses two narrative points-of-view to ensure the reader is kept up-to-date on what is happening in the forest while Brambleclaw and his fellow-travellers are on their quest. She tells the story of the journey from Brambleclaw’s point-of-view. Leafpaw, a medicine cat apprentice, is the voice telling the reader what is going on back in the forest. Using two separate voices to tell parallel stories taking place in two distinct settings makes it easy for the reader to follow the changes in the narrative point-of-view. Even though it was somewhat interesting to think about the title, the plot, the setting and the characters, for me the most interesting part of the book was to learn what cats might think of everyday objects. For example, cats think of humans as “Twolegs”, consider housecats as pampered “Kittypets”, and fear the giant Monster cats on the Thunderpath (which are the vehicles and roads we take for granted). I really like cats. And I find Hunter’s personification of the warrior cats intriguing. Add in the cliff-hanger ending to “Warriors: Midnight” and I feel compelled to read the next book in this series.