The Beginning Of An End

The Beginning Of An End

In Some Stories The Ending Is Just The Beginning


Author Katherine Applegate, who gave us such stories as the Animorph series, Crenshaw, and The One and Only Ivan; just to name a few. Has blessed the world with the first gripping installment in a new fantasy trilogy, Endling: The Last. The narrative presents an assembly of a rather motley crew, trapped in a suspenseful drawn quest. Centering on Byx, the curious and youngest in the litter at 11 years-old of a nearly extinct governing species known as Dairnes – a highly intelligent, doglike, anthropomorphic creature who can talk, walks upright, can glide, and has the dangerous gift of being able to discern any lie. When Byx ventures beyond the safety of the pakc's carefully hidden home, she finds herself the savior to a humorously polite creature, a Wobbyk named Tobble.

They both work to keep hidden from hunters intent on harming them as they make their way back to the packs home. A 14 year-old tracker named Khara, whom is often disguised as a boy, saves them from meeting the same fate as Byx is pack. The slaughter of her community leaves her the last of her kind, an endling. Khara takes the grieving Byx and the silly Tobble to an island city to consult a scholar whom Khara trusts and believes will protect them. The motivations and strong, persuasive, emotional convictions of the presented characters'; give a depth and sense of urgency to the adventure as the motley group team up with new allies – both anthropomorphic and humans – each with their own motivations for joining the quest. As Byx seeks to find a safe haven, and to see if the legends of her people are true; that there is a hidden Darines civilization to the North. Though they begin as strangers tangled in a web of survival, they become their own kind of family. One which will uncover a great secret which may in fact threaten the very existence of every anthropomorphic creature in their world.

Alright, so the book is meant for the 8 – 12 age range. But I myself, a man in his late 20's primarily reads Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Adam Nevill, and Clive Cussler (to name a few). Found this book and its story to be something I could not put down. Reading it in just a few days, I was absolutely absorbed into the story with rich and emotionally believable characters. When I find myself stopping mid paragraph to write down a quote, I know a book has truly grabbed me, and is something to learn from and share. Rarely does this happen with any genre or style of writing. One of my favorite quotes in the mentioned book, which I must admit I have started to use myself: p. 167: "…I recalled my father's words: to rush is not necessarily to arrive." Take a moment and read something outside your normal genre or style and you can be surprised by what you may find. With Endling: The Last, I know I sure was. Little did I know that the book I would randomly pickup just walking the isles in Barnes and Noble would be such a gripping read.

Amazon readers give this book an average of 5 out of 5 stars; Goodreads gives this a 4.5 out of 5 stars; Common sense media also gives a 5 out of 5 stars; While Barnes and Noble also gives a 5 out of 5 starts rating. I myself am excited to give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. There a few spelling and sentence mistakes that required me to re-read the sentence to understand what was being said. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to read something new and different as well as to kids and youth as it has a lot of powerful messages.

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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11 Superheroes I'm Most Nervous For In 'Avengers: Endgame'

Listen, Marvel, I didn't make it all this way for you to kill off all of my faves.


SPOILER WARNING: If you have not seen the movies up through Avengers: Infinity War, be warned, there will be spoilers ahead.

I love superhero movies. I have been watching the Marvel movies ever since the first "Iron Man" came out. Each time there's a new film, I love to see what the writers have come up with - at least until "Infinity War." It was devastating to watch all of the heroes fight Thanos only for him to snap half of the population into dust. Well, our wait for the next part in the saga won't be that much longer. "Avengers: Endgame" comes out in April, and we already have trailers! Based on how "Infinity War" ended and the trailers for Endgame, here are the heroes I worry about in the next movie.

1. Iron Man

The poor man had to watch Spiderman turn to dust, and now he's lost in space! I can't handle it if Tony Stark dies. Just let him live!

2. Captain America

I know he made it through the dusting, but Chris Evans made a post about saying goodbye to Steve Rogers, so I am WORRIED!

3. Thor

Thor has lost everything, so at this point, who knows what he is willing to do to save the world.

4. Loki

I know he died. I do. However, I am worried that he is ACTUALLY dead and not just pretending to be dead only to show up as his father again.

5. Groot

I was devastated when Groot died in Guardians of the Galaxy, so I DON'T want to go through that again.

6. Bucky Barnes

Bucky just can't catch a break. He was just minding his business in Wakanda and then he got dusted. Where is the justice?!

7. Sam Wilson aka Falcon

I love Sam's friendship with Captain America, so I would hate to see anything happen to him!

8. T'Challa aka Black Panther

Wakanda can't lose another king! Plus, who will Shuri make fun of?

9. Rocket

Rocket didn't deserve to watch his best friend get dusted! I just want him to be happy!

10. Gamora

She had such a sad death scene, but that can't be it right?? Please, don't tell me that's how her story ends!

11. Peter Quill aka Starlord

While I'm still mad at him for ruining the plan to take the gauntlet from Thanos, I still don't want anything to happen to him!

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