Category Archives: Reviews

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Book Review: The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

Hello!  Welcome to another book review!  The Calling by Rachelle Dekker is the second book in the Seer Series, the first of which, The Choosing, I reviewed a few weeks ago (find that review here).  You probably haven’t read the first book yet since my review about it was only posted a few weeks ago, so I’ll make sure not to totally give away how it ends.  Enjoy!

The Calling by Rachelle Dekker:

This book follows the story of Remko Brant, a character from the first book and main character of The Calling.  Remko has fled the city to escape the corrupted government, known as the Authority, and has chosen to follow Aaron.  Aaron is a man who contradicts the Authority by telling people to let go of their fear and live in peace, knowing that they are loved.  The group of people who have chosen to follow him and his ideas are called The Seers, and Remko is the unofficial leader of the group.  He leads the other Seers on missions into the city, where they try to rescue prisoners that the Authority have locked up and recruit more people to join the Seers.  But, as these galavants into the city become increasingly risky, Remko questions whether they are any good, or if The Seers should just stop fighting.  Is Aaron telling the truth?  If so, are his words worth all the Seers who have been caught or killed?  Who can be trusted?

My thoughts:

As I mentioned in my review of The Choosing, these books are dystopian novels.  The Calling is a typical sequel to any dystopian series; in the first book the characters realize the problem and rebel against it, and the second book usually consists of the continued rebellion, fighting, some betrayal, and almost victory.  This pretty much sums up what happens in The Choosing and The Calling.  The plot line is basically the same as any other book of this genre, but that Biblical twist I mentioned in my first review is present in book two as well.  Characters struggle internally with what they believe to be true and have a hard time “letting go of their fear” as Aaron instructs them to do.  This Biblical allusion aligns with what the Bible says in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” Though this book followed closely to a classic dystopian story, it was nice to have a new element to keep it fresh.

Like the first book, The Calling is written in a few different perspectives- mostly from the perspective of Remko, but also from the perspectives of Carrington Hale (the main character in The Choosing) and Damien Gold, the new Authority president.  There was some mystery in this book that kept me hooked on the story, as well as some enjoyable action scenes.

I would give this book 3 and a half out of five stars.  Out of the two books in this series, I definitely liked the first book better.  In The Choosing, there was a lot more variation to the events of the story, whereas with The Calling it seemed like the characters kept doing the same thing over and over again.  There was plenty of action, but it was just repeated a lot.  As for things to be aware of while reading this book, the only comment I would make is that there is some violence, the extent of which being description of dead bodies and fights involving gunshot wounds.

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Book Review: The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

Hello everybody!  I hope you are having a wonderful summer, and Happy Fourth of July to all of you.  One thing that I like to do during summer when I don’t have any school or homework is read a lot of books.  I recently found a new series of books at the library that I had never heard of before.  Book one, The Choosing, and book two, The Calling, by Rachelle Dekker.  I decided to give them a try and tell you guys what I thought about them.  After reading through my past book review, I realized that I outlined the entire story without leaving anything out for you guys to read for yourselves.  So, my reviews are going to be a little different now, more reviewing and less summarizing (also, I started a summary of this book and it got to be three notebook pages long and I hadn’t finished it yet…….).  So, without further ado, let’s get on into it!

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker:

This book is about a girl named Carrington Hale who lives in a world about 250 years from now, where the way of life is completely different from today.  The government consists of The Authority, a group of men who pretty much dictate everything.  They institute The Choosing ceremony, where every girl who is 16 goes to be chosen by a man for his wife.  If a girl does not get chosen, she becomes a Lint, someone who spends the rest of her life working, and is considered worthless.  This is what happens to Carrington.  She is devastated, and basically disowned by her family and the community.  She goes to work as a Lint, but soon discovers a man named Aaron who tells her that life could be different, she is not worthless, and her Father loves her.  Carrington wonders, could this be true?  Should she follow this radical man and go against the only values she has ever known?  When she realizes the corruption of the Authority and their twisted ways, can she find the light amidst all the darkness?

My thoughts:

This is a dystopian novel, but it has a surprising Biblical twist.  The character of Aaron that I mentioned above is a Jesus figure, a man who comes along with radical beliefs and is happy to share them with anyone who wants a new way of life.  The Authority hates Aaron, and those who follow him are persecuted, almost always killed.  Characters struggle to know if they should follow Aaron and risk their lives, or continue living under The Authority’s rule where everything seems to be safe.  I really liked the addition of this Biblical twist because it made the book less of the typical and generic dystopian novel and more of an interesting read.

The Choosing is written from multiple perspectives, the majority of the book being from Carrington’s perspective, but also from the perspective of the antagonist (who will remain unnamed until you read the book, ha ha) and Remko, an Authority security guard.  I liked reading each character’s perspective and getting to know more than one character more deeply by reading about their emotions and how they personally deal with circumstances.

Overall I think I would give this book four out of five stars.  This was one of those books where it took me a little while to get into it, but when I did, I enjoyed it.  There is nothing whatsoever that I would call inappropriate in this book.  Just as a heads up, there is a little bit of violence (description of dead bodies, some description of murder, and mild description of a girl being tortured), but I think anyone in middle school or above should have no trouble reading it at all.  For those who have read The Hunger Games or Divergent, this is lighter violence than either of those.

Tell me what you think in the comments!  Are you going to read this book?  In a few days I will be posting a review on the sequel to The Choosing, The Calling, so stay tuned for that!

 

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Movie Summary and Review: God’s Not Dead

Hi everyone!  This review has some spoilers that you might want to skip if you are interested in watching this movie.  They are clearly marked, so you can just skip down to where it says the spoilers have stopped.  Enjoy!

Josh Wheaton is excited to start his freshmen year at college.  For one of his electives, he decides to take philosophy, and on his first day of taking the class, his professor (Professor Radisson) asks the entire class to write three simple words on a piece of paper: God Is Dead.  Josh is taken aback by this, for he is a strong Christian.  Professor Radisson comes around to collect the papers, and Josh does not give him one.  “I can’t,” he says, “I’m a Christian.”  Professor Radisson is obviously very against Christianity, and this act of defiance on Josh’s part angers him.  He tells Josh that if he is so sure there is a God, Josh must defend his position successfully, or lose 30% of his final grade.  Josh accepts, even though he is greatly troubled by his professors adamant atheism.  He talks to Pastor Dave about this, and Pastor Dave encourages him with a few Bible verses.

Josh starts presenting about God at the end of every philosophy class, often followed by snide and snarky comments from Professor Radisson, even leading to threats.  Martin Yin, a Chinese exchange student in Josh’s class, is awestruck at Josh’s courage to defend his faith and immediately questions him about Christianity.  He develops a strong interest in becoming a Christian and excitedly calls his father to share his discovery with him.  Mina, Professor Radisson’s girlfriend, is fed up with his passionate dislike of Christianity.  Being a Christian herself, she breaks up with him.

**SPOILERS**                                                                                                                                                           Mina’s unexpected breakup greatly upsets Radisson, and at his next philosophy class, he gets into a heated argument with Josh.  Josh angrily asks him why he hates God, and Radisson reveals that his mother, who was a Christian, died when he was 12 years old.  He can’t understand how a loving God would take someone with so much faith away from this life.  He therefore hates God.  Mina goes to a Newsboys concert that Josh and Martin are also attending.  While she is at the concert, Radisson confusedly takes a walk.  He seems to be wrestling internally with faith and atheism.  As he is crossing the street, a speeding car comes out of nowhere and hits him.  Pastor Dave comes rushing over from his car that was at the same intersection of the accident.  He quickly determines that Radisson’s ribs are crushed and he won’t live, but he asks Radisson if he is a Christian.  Radisson says he’s terrified, that it’s not time for him to die yet.  He wants to repent and become a Christian before he dies.  Pastor Dave tells him that he can do that right now.  Right before he dies, Professor Radisson gives his life to Jesus Christ.  Josh Wheaton’s defense that there is a God was not in vain.  He influenced many in his class, including Professor Radisson. **END SPOILERS**

I highly recommend watching this movie.  The above summary does not include everything that happens, because there are a number of extra side stories in the movie that were not vital to the overall plot.  Although in my opinion there were a few parts that were a little unrealistic, it does a great job of conveying how much God can change someone’s life.  It is true that sometimes our faith will be tested and people will want to know why we believe in Jesus.  It might not be so stark as is represented in this movie, but it will happen, and we need to be able to stand up for our faith and stick by what we know is true.

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Wonder: Book Review

Hi everyone!  For this week I wanted to write a book review on a book that I’ve recently read called Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  This book is geared towards kids ages 10-12, but I think it can be impactful for any age!  (NOTE: There will be spoilers in this review so read with caution.)

Summary:                                                                                                                                                                             The main character in this book is a boy named August Pullman.  August has a major facial deformity and his parents, in order to protect him from teasing or bullying, homeschooled him for his elementary school years.  When he reaches 5th grade his parents decide that he needs a more advanced education therefore they send him to a traditional school.  August is very nervous at first, but soon finds that though some kids do stare at him, a lot of the kids are super nice and want to be his friend.  He makes friends with a girl named Summer (yes, they make a lot of jokes about how their names are August and Summer) and a boy named Jack.  However, Jack finds it hard to keep up the “cool” reputation while still being friends with August, so he says some pretty mean things about August to some other “popular” kids, not knowing that August was nearby and could hear.  August goes home in tears and doesn’t plan on ever going back to school until his sister (Via) persuades him to go back.

When Jack finds out that August heard his mean comments, he sincerely sees the error of his ways and ask August if they can be friends again.  Meanwhile, Julian, the most popular kid in school, is appalled that Jack (his former friend) would choose August over being “cool”, so he gets pretty much the whole school to give August, Jack, and Summer the silent treatment.  But it doesn’t stop there.  The kids send mean notes and do anything to show the three that they are social outcasts.  One night when the fifth grade class is on a nature field trip, Jack, August, and a few other boys in their class find themselves alone in the woods.  They run into some extremely rude 7th graders who not only say some of the meanest things you can think of about August’s face but they also get into a physical fight with the 5th grade boys.  August is beyond hurt and on top of that humiliated at being seen crying in front of his classmates.  But when those 7th graders said those mean things about August, his classmates (the ones who weren’t talking to him) stood up for him and didn’t like those big kids pushing around their fellow classmate.  Their eyes were opened to what it’s like to be bullied, and they (like Jack) changed their ways.

Why I liked it:                                                                                                                                                 This book shows you that people who look different or seem different to you are just people who can be fun and nice if you get to know them.  Also being “popular”, if you think about it, really doesn’t matter.  What matters is being a good friend and making others feel loved and included.

In Wonder you get a peek into what it’s like to be teased and bullied.  You may not have someone at your school with a facial deformity like August, but anything you say can impact someone’s feelings just the same.  School is coming up (I know, I can’t believe it!).  Think about what you say about someone else before you speak.  Start the school year off well!

Thanks for reading this review!  I hope you enjoyed it, and make sure to look for future posts.  (If you subscribe to my blog then you won’t have to look for a new post- you will get an email anytime I post something new!)