Sigh. I have very mixed feelings about this. I love the first one, enjoyed the second one and feel like this book three is very fillerish for the final book. A lot of the scaryness is gone. It's very political and not at all why I started this series and got so invested. I'm one of those people that like to read, be entertained without the necessities of making everything political.
I love Theta and Memphis. They are probably my favorite characters in the book. Jericho didn't do much this time around and even Evie was a little boring at times. Its a long one and half of it wasn't necessary.
I'll still read the next one but I'm hoping Libba Bray has more of that scary, ghostly goodness left for this series.
It was Bendis/Bagley's Ultimate Spider-Man that brought me back to comics after a decade-plus break, and no matter what else I read, it was one of my Top 2 titles on my pull-list. Financial concerns got me to stop reading/collecting about a year before Miles Morales showed up. I was able to deal with letting everything else go, but USM was tough -- especially when I heard about this new kid. I never learned much about him, I know he's Afro-Hispanic, that his uniform is the best one since Ditko's original, I heard they did a good job showing Miles and his parents going through a Charter School lottery, I know he's popular enough they brought him over from the Ultimate universe.
Still, I saw this cover floating around Twitter last week and thought it looked pretty cool, so grabbed it when I had a moment. There's a lot of Miles, his family and his school, not a lot of Web Head. But when he shows up, it counts.
Miles is having some Spidey Sense problems, which is leading to problems at school -- a suspension and some trouble with his History teacher. He's not sleeping well -- tormented by nightmares about his uncle's death. Miles starts to wonder if people like him -- descendants of criminals --should have super-powers, if he should be a super-hero. It's hard to describe the threat that Miles and his alter-ego face, really it unveils itself slowly throughout the book. But it's a doozy, and it's not what it seems to be early on.
I think Miles is a great character, he's Peter Parker-esque in the best sense of the word, while being his own guy. His parents are fun, his dad in particular is a wonderful character -- a great dad, it seems. Miles' best friend and roommate, Ganke is a hoot. There's a girl, of course, because he's 16. I don't know if Alicia's a fixture in the comic or not, but it'd be interesting to see how she is outside of this.
Oh, Miles having camouflage powers? That's just cool.
I think Lockard went over the top occasionally with his narration. Maybe part of that is pandering to the 11-13 year-old audience that Audible tells me this is directed toward. Maybe he and the director are just excitable and/or excited. It didn't detract from anything, it was just occasionally too much. By and large, his energy kept things moving, lively -- just the way a Spider-Man story should be.
This isn't for everyone, but for those who like the idea of a Spider-Man novel, for fans of Miles Morales, or those who are just curious about him -- this'll entertain. I won't say I've read every Spider-Man novel printed in the last couple of decades -- but I'm willing to be my percentage is pretty high. Miles Morales is among the best.
Arawn-Death-Lord has managed to get his hands on Dyrnwyn, Gwydion's sword, which has emboldened him to move his forces to launch an all-out assault on the Kingdom of Prydain. Gwydion and his allies move quickly to assemble the forces necessary to stand against him -- basically, it's an Armageddon-type situation, and all hands are needed.
Taran is sent to the Free Commots, where he spent so much time recently to gather their support -- and he does so, almost without trying to, becomes the leader of the assembled forces (such as they are) of the rather libertarian people. Before you know it, Taran's leading his band into battle at the side of Gwydion and the other warleaders. It's a stretch to believe, but at this point, you go with it. The forces marshaled against the High King are strong enough to make this an uphill battle, but when treason rears its ugly head and the forces of Prydain are divided against themselves, it really seems that all hope is lost. Eventually, Gwydion and his forces head off on a last-ditch effort to stop the Death Lord, while Taran, his companions, allies, followers and Glew take on a vital, but smaller task that will allow Gwydion's hail Mary to work.
And frankly, that whole treason storyline bugs me -- not just because it's evil, but because it's futile, stupid, and pointless. I think this was Alexander's biggest error in the series. It serves no real purpose but to stack the odds against the armies of Prydain.
Finally, we get final battles -- The Death Lord and his forces are defeated (spoiler, children's fantasy written in the 60's features good guys winning); the future of Prydain is settled; other Tolkien-esque things take place as is fitting in the conclusion to a fantasy series (actually, Tolkien was probably following the same older rules and tropes as Alexander, but we now associate them with Tolkien, not his predecessors).
Taran finally grows up into what Alexander's been holdig out for him all along -- it takes the whole novel, but it happens. Gwydion is probably the least interesting he's ever been here, which is a shame. Eilonwy? Oh, Eilonwy -- she's just so perfect (as a character, probably annoying in real life -- still, someone you want in your corner). I loved everything about her in this book. I wish Gurgi had a little more to do, and that Glew had far, far less. Fflewddur Fflam remains <b>the</b> unsung hero of this series -- the sacrifices he makes, the efforts he makes, his wisdom, etc., are all overshadowed by his comedic use. What he goes through moved me more this time through than any of the deaths. As an aside, the first time I saw a picture of Lloyd Alexander, I shouted -- Fflewddur! I don't know if it was intentional, or if I just had a strange imagination, but he looks exactly like a Fflam.
Oh, and there are many, many deaths -- mostly nameless soldiers on both sides, but there are quite a few named people, too. Some get great heroic moments, others are just named in a list of the fallen. I remember the first time I read this book being very upset by just one of them -- it was quite possibly the first time in my young life that anyone other than a dog, an ailing elderly person or a villain had died in a book I read. I still get sad when I read that particular one, but it doesn't get to me as much.
James Langton's performance here is consistent with what he's done for the last few books. If you liked him before, you'll like him now. If not . . .
I remember liking this more than I did, even just a few years ago when I read this with my kids. Still, a great way to wrap up this series -- Alexander ties up everything that needs tiring up, he rewards all the surviving characters in a fitting way and sends our heroes off on new adventures. There's still a bit of fun, a little adventure, and character growth throughout, with all things ending up just where they need to satisfy readers. It's really easy for adult-me to see where kid-me fell in love with the genre thanks to this series. Still, a fitting conclusion to this series -- which I still recommend for young and old (primarily the young).
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess is one of my favorite books I've ever read. Although its very simple, It's so fun and has a great moral behind it so of course i would recommend reading it in the classrooms. The book is about the mean ole Grinch in Whoville who tries to put a stop to Christmas. Cindy Lou Who teaches the town and the Grinch that Christmas is't just about at the presents of the material things. Christmas is about being together and the things that don;t come wrapped in perfect little bows or cost a lot of money. Family and the people you are with mean the most. I would rate this book a five out of five and it is listed as a on the Lexile scale as a 510L. An activity I would get my students to do would be to complete a story map of the book. I would then want for them to illustrate the events of the story they have included in their map.