IRJE 4, the dumb kidnapper

The second book of the Folk of the Air series The wicked king is a great continuation of the first one named The cruel prince. The whole series is famous and well-known across the world among young people. The story continues after a few months where the first one ended. The main character, Jude, tricked everybody into crowning a new king that was in her power because he signed a bargain with her. She, in fact, became the King of the Elfhame and needs to deal with every problem in the country. Her old bullies and kingdom enemies hate her and plan a vicious scheme about how to get the crown for themselves.

“I don’t know what trick you performed on him, but I will discover it,” she says, unnerving me with how close her guess comes to the mark.

“You think I performed a trick because Cardan likes me better than you,” I say. “But you shot at him with a crossbow bolt. Of course he likes me better.”

Her face goes pale, her mouth opening in surprise.

This was one of the funny-serious situations. Jude is kidnapped under the sea in the Sea kingdom on the order of the queen. The queen’s daughter, Narcisia, is one of Jude’s bullies who is in love with the real king. It is hard for Narcisia to believe that he talks to Jude more than to her. She believes that she tricked him into something and that he does not love her. Jude answers in a funny way that of course he likes her more when you shot him with a crossbow (which she really did, out. of jealousy).

IRJE 3 “promise”

The cruel prince by Holly Black became a popular book this summer. I am always scared to try popular books because I get too overwhelmed by everybody’s reactions and that might ruin it for me. But this book did not disappoint. The main character Jude is a human girl from the human world. But her mom had a secret. There is a different world with creatures that she thought are just in books. When a man from her mother’s past visited their house and killed her, Jude and her two sisters were taken and forced to live with him in Faerie. She has a very hard life as a human among magic-gifted creatures because, for them, she’s just an inferior human, a servant.

“Would you forswear a promise for me?”

“What promise?”

“Any promise,” he says lightly, although it is no light thing he is asking.

“I guess it depends,” I say, because the real answer, a flat no, isn’t what anyone wants to hear.

“Do you love me enough to give me up? Isn’t that a test of love?”

“I-I don’t know,” I say. All this must be leading up to some declaration on his part, either of affection or of a lack of it.

“Do you love me enough to weep over me?”

“You mean if you were hurt?”

“I mean if I hurt you.”

I chose this quote because this was the first time she trusted a faerie after her whole life hating them. He told her how beautiful she is, how special she is, and made her feel like never before. And she fell for it. This dialogue happened at a royal ball when they were dancing together. He was just playing with her feelings and dumped her. It was a big betrayal from his side that I did not expect at all which made this book even more interesting (I got really mad tho).

Cookie

It was a sunny day. The birds sang their songs while trees slowly moved in the autumn breeze. It looked like a typical day for me. Except it was not. The lesson ended after an hour and ten minutes and everybody was hungry for lunch. I crossed my fingers, hoping for good food. I don’t have any more money to buy my own lunch so this is the only hope I had. Which then paid off. The food was exclusively magnificent that I had to take more portions. But to have the full experience of it I still needed a desert. Fortunately, there were fortune cookies which I personally love. Today is a suspiciously good day, I thought to myself. But why would I be mad or sad about it? It is awesome to have good days. I chose a random cookie and sat back down at the table.

“Where did you get it from?” my friend asked me after she saw the cookie, “I didn’t see it there,” I explained where it was but she did not want it anymore. It was too far supposedly. Bad for her. I had planned to eat the cookie and throw away the paper inside. It was almost the beginning of the class so I threw the cookie in my bag and forgot about it until the end of the school day. When the classes ended, my friend had big news for me, “There is a big lottery for a million dollars today at the shopping center that we love! We should try to register there.” I don’t really believe in lotteries and this kind of stuff, but why not? I had a good day so maybe I could have a chance? I was thinking about it on the way to my house until I remembered the cookie. They usually have lucky lottery numbers inside! I’m glad I didn’t throw it away before.

After I got home and did my work, I took my computer out of my schoolbag and searched for the shopping center’s website. It was easy to find. I clicked on the Lottery icon and registered myself. In the meantime it was loading, I found the cookie and broke it open. Good days and bad days will find a way to get to you and will rotate one after the other. Your lucky lottery number for today is 1233 21 666. What a weird fortune. But I still tried it and put the number from the cookie on the site and waited for announcing the winner. And guess what. It really was my good day! I won! I told everyone and then went to bed filled with joy. But the cookie was right in more than just numbers. The whole thing became a curse for me which I realized soon enough. The good days started to be followed by terrible days and there was nowhere to run.

(pt. 2 probably next time)

Canada the forever lasting dream

Řehořka was lying in her hotel room, bored, and empty. She and her family were on vacation in Canada. It was a long journey full of stress. The tiredness fell on them right when they got to their rooms. They dropped all their suitcases and lay on their beds. Řehořka did not do anything now for two days and that was killing her. She was excited to explore more of the wild nature Canada had to give. She loved forests and the peace of nature. After a long time of thinking, Řehořka went to her parents and asked them for the plan.  Their plan was very unsatisfying: laying down and relaxing in the spa. Why didn’t they go somewhere else than Canada then? Řehořka wanted more. She told her parents she’s going out and went to the forest near the hotel. She took everything that the hotel recommended: a bottle of water, good shoes, anti-insect spray, and more. They also warned her about bears being there once in a while but she wasn’t much stressed about that. She knew how to fight.

The forest was darker than she thought but beautifully green. The colors were so vivid, not like in her country with old plain forest with just a few trees. And the trees here were HUGE. Řehořka couldn’t slowly see their top. She loved it. There were just a few more tourists on the way but they disappeared the second she saw them.  She was alone. Řehořka was fine until she realized that something is behind her. It was too scary to turn but she forced herself. There was nothing. Řehořka felt safer but the feeling did not disappear. She decided to go back and found her way to the hotel. It was getting darker and darker. Damn it, thought Řehořka, I forgot to check the time. It was already six, almost time for dinner. She rushed the path but suddenly, the bush right next to her moved. No, not the bush but something in it. Řehořka stood still like never before. The pressure of the scary forest and her imagination paralyzed her in place, unable to move. before she even realized something, there was a grizzly looking her right in the eyes. Řehořka’s mind went blank. She didn’t perceive anything. The only thing she could think about was to survive.

Řehořka started runing for her life but it wasn’t enought.

IRJE 2 “show her the truth”

NINTH HOUSE is a fantasy book about the main character Galaxy “Alex” Ster. The author of this book is Leight Bardugo. She is a popular author in the fantasy genre and wrote many books that became bestsellers, one of them got a Netflix adaptation. The story is telling Alex’s experience at a magic school Lethe that is specialized in ghosts. And since she can see ghosts from her youngest years, that’s where she belongs. The school found her in the hospital after she overdosed herself by drugs that helped Alex with her special power. She had nowhere to go anymore and the school took her under its wings to continue its research on Grays (how they called ghosts).

As soon as the gate shut, darkness enveloped them. From somewhere beneath the house, a howl sounded, high and hungry. Galaxy Stern had asked what she was in for. It was time to show her.

I choose this quote because it shows her first experience in this arcane school. Alex got a guardian named Darlington who is supposed to help her with her studies and show Alex around. She asked him what she was in for and he unleashed a troop of dangerous “dogs” on her to show Alex how dangerous this school is. In the end, nothing happened to her and Darlington proved his point.

the secret behind plants

Oh, how I love plants. They make everything look cozy and positive. Their green color makes things look bright and colorful. Plants have useful skills that most humans do not have. Plants talk about their owner without embellishing. If the plants are happy and living, the owner is happy as well. If they are dying, maybe the owner is dead. Or lazy. Or the owner forgot to water them. But it says a lot more than one would think. Sometimes, people don’t even try to take care of them with the excuse “They will die in my care.” But if they would try slowly, with just one little plant, they will eventually get used to it. After some time, they could try to buy more and sooner or later have a big garden filled up with colors and scents. Thats why my mom always loved them. She had a lot of friends who she treated like her beloved plants. If you give them food, time to grow, and love, they’ll love you back.

Comparing

They shall not grow old is a documentary about World War I and soldiers’ experiences of it.  All quiet on the western front and Soliders home are texts about two individuals and their memories and stories. There are some similarities between these three. For example, TSNGO* and AQOTW*F showed also a good side of war when soldiers had fun and a great time with their friends.  But also when they feared for their own life and were scared of the shells. Few of the veterans from TSNGO said that they felt joy when they succeeded in their attack on the Jerries which refers more to the Soldier’s home – Krebs enjoyed the war and its adrenalin. But what all of the documents and texts had in common was the weird feeling on the first front, without sleep and always looking behind your back if there aren’t any shells flying on you. And when the soldiers got home, it wasn’t their home anymore.

*TSNGO – they shall not grow old.                                                                                     *AQOTWF – all quiet on the western front

IRJE “Seven husband but one”

One of the books I recently finished is The seven husband of Evelyn Hugo by Tailor Jenkins Reid. As the title reveals, this Hollywood superstar had seven husbands altogether. But she wasn’t always famous. She was born in the poorest and most toxic place in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, and lived there for fourteen years. Her only way from there was her body (because she looked much older and grown up), and her ticket to Hollywood was her first future husband. She never really loved any of them after the second husband because:

“I was going to see her. You’re right.”

“You were going to cheat on me?”

“I was going to leave you, I said. “I think you know that. I think you’ve known that for some time. I am going to leave you. If not for her, for me.”

“For her?” he said.

“I love her. I always have.”

As you can guess from the quote, she was bisexual and loved her best friend who was a lesbian. But in that times, this topic was a big taboo and their relationship was very complicated. This quote is the first time Evelyn said to someone that she loves a woman and it was a big moment. Even after this, she needed to hide this truth for the rest of her life, or else she will lose her job and be imprisoned. So the reason why I chose this quote is that if she lived just few years more, she could live a peaceful life without fear of losing everything. It is indeed interesting how the time changes everything.

WWI Experiences

Harold Krebs and Paul Bäumer – two soldiers who fought in World War I. Harold from Solider’s home, who fought on the Allies’ side, USA. Paul from All quiet on the western front, who fought on the German side. Both had different experiences and still had the same results.

Bäumer did not like the war. Deep inside he was scared of dying:

 All my efforts subside like froth into the one desire to be able just to stay lying there. My limbs are glued to the earth. I make a vain at-tempt;-they refuse to come away. I press myself down on the earth, I cannot go forward, I make up my mind to stay lying there. – p. 211, chapter 9 from AQOWF

He also went through a lot of loss. He saw dying every friend he had made in the army or before from school. Paul survived a lot of bombardments and attacks. He was young and did not know anything but war, he did not have anything else but war.  When he came from war for a few days, he did not want to talk about it in any way. People, and mostly his dad, were asking Paul about details from the First front and Paul always answered in the most indirect way. His dad was eager to introduce Paul to his friends and asked him to wear his uniform. He found himself that he doesn’t belong to this community of people anymore and preferred to be alone. Paul did not want to make a big deal from it all. People would not understand and so he tried to talk in different ways.

Paul was not living just in his war life and was trying to talk to other people than from the army. For example to his old friend from school. They talked about everything new that happened to their old teachers and more. He went to Kemmerich’s mother to announce her son died and lied about how he died to make her feel better. His mother also wanted to know the detail about the front but Paul said that it’s not that bad and she should not worry. His mother had cancer, so it would not be good for her.

After all, he lived through, he was relieved when he died:

Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come. – last page of All quiet on the wstern front.

Krebs lived the war. He joined the war in 1917. The author did not talk about his experiences from all of the battles he survived but Krebs still enjoyed reading about war and wanted to talk about it. The problem was that no one was interested to listen to his stories. His dad was not interested at all and his mother asked just to feel like a good mother. He came six months after the war ended and lost his time to be a hero. There were a lot of lies and exaggerated stories and he didn’t like to lie and made up stories.  There was no one that could understand him.

Harold lost the ability to love in the army. He liked the girls in his town but he didn’t love them. It was too complicated. He did not love his mother but still cared about her, or felt like he should care about her. He also liked his little sister. This “useful skill” of not loving made this war not so traumatizing for him but it changed his social life for a long time, maybe forever.

“Yes. Don’t you love your mother dear boy?”

“No,” Krebs said.

His mother looked at him across the table. Her eyes were shiny. She started crying.

“I don’t love anybody,” Krebs said. – p. 6 from SH

So in the end, they both suffered the same. They were not capable of making it back to normal life because society did not understand them.

 

Personal response

All quiet on the western front was one of few books I’ve read about World War I. The way it was written showed the reader feelings of ordinary soldiers, the proper side of war, and made us feel just a little as people in the war did. It is impossible to feel exactly like the soldiers for us people who have never been to war. Sometimes it was hard to put my (modern) thinking with the way soldiers in 1914 thought in different situations where I would see the end of my world.

The story was chronologically written and the characters had grown together with us. Some of them died, someone had their personality changed, and some lost their “humanity” and sense in life out of war. It was really sad but realistic reading about all this loss. We could easily emphasize the characters.

The image it gives me is more negative than positive. I see dead bodies, trenches, dark atmosphere. I see dark trees, dark hills, and dark shell-holes. It is not an image that I would really enjoy but it’s also showing that it was written realistically.