Fallen Dreams

My dreams are lined up, upon a wall
One by one they begin to fall
They land with a crash
on my head with a bash
And I begin to feel not so tall

But then I remember not to despair
For life ahead of me is many a stair
I collect my dreams
Stitched back at the seams
And venture out again but with great care

Hope has returned to the depths of my heart
My reason to live is no longer tart
I gather my wits
Though they are in bits
And climb up the wall, as fast as a dart

-Ival Ty Crisp

Abarat by Clive Barker

Rating:
Characters: 20/20
Plot: 19/20
Originality: 20/20
Writing: 20/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 99/100 or A+
Source: Library

Summary: Once upon a world, where time is place, a journey beyond imagination is about to unfold. . . . It begins in the most boring place in the world: Chickentown, U.S.A. There lives Candy Quackenbush, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future might hold.

When the answer comes, it’s not one she expects. Out of nowhere comes a wave, and Candy, led by a man called John Mischief (whose brothers live on the horns on his head), leaps into the surging waters and is carried away.

Where? To the ABARAT: a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day, from The Great Head that sits in the mysterious twilight waters of Eight in the Evening, to the sunlit wonders of Three in the Afternoon, where dragons roam, to the dark terrors of Gorgossium, the island of Midnight, ruled over by the Prince of Midnight himself, Christopher Carrion.

As Candy journeys from one amazing place to another, making fast friends and encountering treacherous foes–mechanical bugs and giant moths,miraculous cats and men made of mud, a murderous wizard and his terrified slave–she begins to realize something. She has been here before.

Candy has a place in this extraordinary world: she is here to help save the Abarat from the dark forces that are stirring at its heart. Forces older than Time itself, and more evil than anything Candy has ever encountered.

She’s a strange heroine, she knows. But this is a strange world.

And in the Abarat, all things are possible.

Review: The imaginative world of Abarat has found a spot in my heart and has nestled deep down, never to be forgotten. “One of the best, most amazing books I’ve ever read”, is something I say about only a few really good books. This is most definitely one of them, no doubts. As you can see, I gave it a very high rating, nearly perfect. It certainly deserves it.

After reading Abarat, I have become a great fan of Clive Barker. His mastery of literature rivals his beautiful and very imaginative illustrations. It is a truly gorgeous book, strange and very appealing artwork adorning nearly every other page, encouraging the reader onward with the story. A true work of art.

I have always believed that the ultimate fantasy is a fantasy that appeals to every emotion of the reader. Wonder and excitement yet also hatred and disgust are prevalent throughout the plot of Abarat. Hearing this might cause some people to be overly hesitant about reading it, but it should not be the case. Fantasies are where readers will lose themselves in strange new worlds. Without all emotions, those pleasant and those unpleasant, the world will feel hollow for the reader. The fantasy will no longer be a fantasy. Fortunately, I found the world of Abarat to be one of the most fantastical and mind-capturing worlds I have ever delved into. Absolutely amazing. πŸ˜‰

Abarat is the first of The Books of Abarat series, a supposed quintet. The next installment is titled Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War. Look for my review in the future, I will definitely be keeping my eye on this series. πŸ˜‰ 

http://www.clivebarker.info/

Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull

Rating:
Characters: 19/19
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 19/19
Writing: 18/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 96/100 or A
Source: Library

Summary: After many centuries of plotting, the Sphinx–leader of the Society of the Evening Star– is after the final artifacts needed to open the great demon prison, Zzyxx. Kendra, Seth, and the Knights of the Dawn are in a race to strange and exotic preserves across the globe in an effort to intercept the final artifacts. The stakes have never been higher. The risks have never been more deadly as the forces of light and darkness collide at last.
Review: Wow, what a way to end the series! Brandon Mull must be proud of his masterpiece because I’m sure many readers were absolutely satisfied with this fifth and final book. I certainly was. πŸ˜‰ The ever building excitement of the series reached it’s climax and blew away all doubts of a weak ending. I wouldn’t want to give anything away to those unlucky ones who haven’t had the chance to read Fablehaven yet, so I won’t say too much more. 
I was hyped up and also kind of melancholy after finishing the series. It definitely earned a place in my heart along with a few other memorable reads. I will look onward with continued passion as the author’s next series The Beyonders captures my attention. I have loved reading Fablehaven and I am sure will enjoy it again and again in the future. Thank you, Brandon, for a much wanted dose of inspiration.

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

Rating:
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 19/20
Originality: 20/20
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 95/100 or A
Source: Library

Summary: Picking up where the last novel left off, Kendra and Seth are still at Fablehaven with their grandparents. Suspicions have been cast on the Sphinx and his loyalties. Kendra has been recruited as a Knight, and the family agrees that she should infiltrate with hopes of claiming the next artifact before the Sphinx can get to it. And Fablehaven is under attack by a mysterious darkness that is spreading extremely fast. Can Seth and the rest of his family and friends discover the cause and stop it before all of Fablehaven is lost?
Review: Arguably the darkest book of the series, Grip of the Shadow Plague sure gripped my attention. πŸ˜‰ I enjoyed this addition to the story of Seth and Kendra Sorenson more than the last two. I agree that the plot was probably the best part of book, subtly hinting at what is to come in future books. I absolutely loved the introduction of the Centaurs as they are exactly portrayed as in my imagination. The writing is as solid as ever and Brandon Mull’s top-notch imagination supports his endearing originality. Excellent. πŸ˜‰

True Life

  A muse has bestowed upon me the gift of an insight and after much pondering I am ready to write about it. πŸ˜‰ I haven’t posted anything philosophical or spiritual for a while as most of my recent musings have been more of the internal, reflective type. That still really isn’t much of an excuse for not sharing. I believe that I should express myself and share what my developing consciousness has to offer because if not, how could I ever be true about myself? After struggling with the words to begin, I am finally ready.

Life as we know it is an illusion.

An awesome way to start, right? It seems so dramatic, I love it. πŸ˜‰ Actually in truth, it’s not quite as dramatic as it sounds. I am not going to talk about aliens imprisoning humans and placing us in computer created alternate realities just so they can eat us later. Nothing quite so Matrix-y. Although what I do have to say is still pretty serious. Our comprehension of life is definitely flawed. Humans have allowed their minds to triumph over the true joy of living. Most of us are possessed by our egos, the voice in our heads that is constantly in conflict with life. Who would have ever thought that we may be thinking about life too much instead of actually living it?

We humans live a seemingly complex life. I stress ‘seemingly’ because life is in fact simple. We view the very essence of our existence as though it was bagged down by constant constraints and complications. In reality, it’s all in our minds. So no more worries, right? For most people, life is the persistent struggle of gaining and losing. We try to reach some form of fulfillment or satisfaction through our power or possessions. Our struggles are futile. We will never feel fulfilled and will constantly seek more as a means to remedy our feeling of being incomplete. This is because material possessions and delusions of power cannot complete us. They are mental baggage and slowly pollute our Spirit. Only living in harmony with life, and not fighting it, will we be fulfilled and experience true joy, not the illusion we are familiar with.

The central goals of Buddhism are to achieve Nirvana (spiritual enlightenment) and to eliminate suffering. Suffering means that pain is inevitable in life. Birth is painful, sickness is painful, aging is painful, and death is painful. It is painful to experience unhappiness and displeasure; it is painful to want something and not be able to have it; it is painful to have something and lose it; it is painful when a pleasurable experience ends. This is suffering, the conflict our ego constantly puts us through. It does not accept the inevitable pain of life and constantly fights it, causing us to suffer.

If you have finally just realized that you have suffered your entire life, than you are probably in a pretty pessimistic mood right now. But never fear! Suffering is of the ego, but the ego is not of awakened life. πŸ˜‰ This means there is a way to eliminate suffering and truly experience the joy of life through achieving Nirvana, awakening, or reconnecting with God.

The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are a way of approaching suffering. They are as followed:

1. Life means suffering.
 2. The origin of suffering is attachment (ego).
 3. The cessation of suffering is attainable (Nirvana) (God)
 4. The path to the cessation of suffering (Eight-fold Noble Path)

The Eight-fold path is the path to end suffering- a gradual path of self improvement and finding God. It is as followed:

1. Correct thought: avoiding covetousness, the wish to harm others and wrong views (like thinking: actions have no consequences, I never have any problems, there are no ways to end suffering etc.)
 2. Correct speech: avoid lying, divisive and harsh speech and idle gossip.
 3. Correct actions: avoid killing, stealing and sexual misconduct
 4. Correct livelihood: try to make a living with the above attitude of thought, speech and actions.
 5. Correct understanding: developing genuine wisdom.
 (The last three aspects refer mainly to the practice of meditation:)
 6. Correct effort: after the first real step we need joyful perseverance to continue.
 7. Correct mindfulness: try to be aware of the “here and now”, instead of dreaming in the “there and then”.
 8. Correct concentration: to keep a steady, calm and attentive state of mind.

Nirvana is not a place like heaven, but rather an eternal state of being. I consider it to be another name for God, Goddess, Spirit, Love, etc. It is the end of suffering; a state where there are no desires, and individual consciousness comes to an end. Realization that we are all one spirit connected through God arises. Attaining nirvana is to relinquish clinging, hatred, and ignorance. Its achievement entails full acceptance of imperfection, impermanence, and interconnectedness. It is true life. πŸ˜‰

In my opinion, one of the most beautiful moments of life is when somebody finds that the truth they were searching for has been inside of them the whole time. Their heart is their own temple and they discovered it through their own means. They are truly on the path to uniting with God/Christ. I find that more and more of humanity are becoming aware that God or Spirit are much more a part of their lives than imaginable. This realization can come from inside AND outside of religion. In fact, many people are turning away from religion as a whole. This does not necessarily mean that they are Godless or sinful, just that they wish to discover truth in their own, more personal way. They wish to be free from dogma and pursue a more intimate relationship with their creator.

As more and more people accept and discover spirituality, the collective consciousness of humanity rises. Spiritually enlightened humans are becoming more frequent. God IS being discovered, even if it seems unlikely at times. As the grip of the ego lessons just the slightest among us, it will try even harder to corrupt our spirits before it is truly diminished. And someday it will be diminished. I guess it could also be considered the return of Christ, depending your beliefs.

Humanity is definitely on a path, collectively and individually. It is up to each individual to accept their part in the interconnected web of life and discover Spirit/Love in their own way. It is up to humanity as a collective whole to rise up and Ascend to a new plain of consciousness, to coexist harmoniously, and to eliminate the unnecessary suffering that constituted a false life. It is up to us, yet it is our choice to seek God and true life.

-Ival Ty Crisp

Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull

Rating:
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 19/20
Originality: 20/20
Writing:18/20
Recommendation: 19/2
Overall: 94/100 or A
Source: Library

Summary: At the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother, Seth, find themselves racing back to Fablehaven. Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists — a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper — to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power. 
Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world. Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble? Can they overcome paralyzing fear?
Review: The second installment of the Fablehaven series is even more satisfying than the first. Brandon Mull, talented author, has marvelously concocted another spin to the plot. I really enjoyed the new characters that have been introduced. Only a great literary master could create such vivid personalities. Like a delicious chocolate, Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star, is truly something worth indulging upon. I am looking forward to reviewing the next book with much anticipation. 

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Rating:
Characters: 17/20
Plot: 19/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 18/20 (Kind of reminds me of my own)
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 92/100 or A-
Source: Library
Summary: For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite. Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken–Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good–powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.
Review: I stumbled upon Fablehaven in the library, and wow what a good find it was! Brandon Mull has crafted a beautiful, exciting, and dark world that I fell in love with at once. His talents are evident just after reading the first chapter. Fablehaven is a book that all will enjoy. It is a story that any fantasy lover would adore. It is truly a must-read. πŸ˜‰

Septimus Heap: Darke by Angie Sage

Rating:
Characters: 19/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 20/20 (A worthy epitome of ultimate creativity)
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 97/100 or A
Source: Library
Summary: In the sixth book of the Magykal series, Alther Mella has been Banished, a Darke Domaine engulfs the Castle, and a Darke Dragon is on the loose. Septimus must use all of his skills to save the Wizard Tower from destruction: He must enter the Darke. But he cannot do this alone. With the help of Jenna, Alther Mella, Marcellus Pye, and his estranged brother, Simon Heap, Septimus and Marcia Overstrand, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, battle the spreading Darkenesse. Will Septimus succeed in protecting his Magykal world?
Review: The latest book of the Septimus Heap series is simply phenomenal. Angie Sage has expressed her top-notch literary powers once again and has surely appealed to many readers in the world. I loved reading Darke and found it definitely not lacking. Warning: Adrenaline rushes may be frequent while devouring this book as I did. The sheer indulging glee I experienced while feasting upon this work was unbelievable. πŸ˜‰

Septimus Heap: Syren by Angie Sage

Rating:
Characters: 20/20
Plot: 20/20 (Veryy veryy goodd) 
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 97/100 or A
Source: Library
Summary: In this fifth book in the Magykal series, Septimus ends up on a captivatingly beautiful island, one of seven set in a sparkling sea. He’s stranded there with his badly injured dragon, Spit Fyre, along with Jenna and Beetle. There are some strange things about the island, including a Magykal girl named Syrah, a cat-shaped lighthouse that has lost its light, and an eerie presence that sings to Septimus–can he escape the persistent call?
Trouble is also brewing for Lucy and Wolf Boy, who have become entangled with some nefarious sailors at sea, and for Milo Banda, Jenna’s father, who is harboring a mysterious treasure chest in his ship’s hold.
Review: Syren is undoubtedly my favorite addition to the series so far. Angie Sage has devised a masterpiece of a plot with much excitement and enjoyment sure to befall any reader. Sage has crafted a beautiful setting, the island of Syren, and her descriptiveness of its beauty is… ah…”Je ne sais quois!” My favorite character addition to the story is probably Jim Knee, a slightly ungrateful jinnee. I shouldn’t say any more about him, for fear of spoilers. Anyway, I must commend Angie Sage for once again bringing us readers and reviewers another very satisfying literary entrΓ©e. Bravo!

Septimus Heap: Queste by Angie Sage

Rating:
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 18/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 19/20 (Infallible as usual)
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 93/100 or A-
Source: Library

Summary: There’s trouble at the Castle, and it’s all because Merrin Meredith has returned with Darke plans for Septimus. More trouble awaits Septimus and Jenna in the form of Tertius Fume, the ghost of the very first Chief Hermetic Scribe, who is determined to send Septimus on a deadly Queste. But Septimus and Jenna have other plans as they are headed for the mysterious House of Foryx, a place where all Time meets and the place where they fervently hope they will be able to find Nicko and Snorri, who were trapped back in time in Physik. But how will Septimus escape the Queste?

Review:  The fourth book in the story of Septimus Heap reveals a thickening of the plot. An unforeseen twist envelops the reader as they divulge upon Sage’s next book. I loved the introduction of several new characters and hope to see them in later installments. Tertius Fume proves to be a very worthy adversary for Septimus and I don’t believe he is finished quite yet. Angie Sage obviously has something in store for us in Syren, the next step of the series. Fabulous!

http://septimusheap.wordpress.com/