The Magnum Opus: A Review

The Magnum Opus by Christine & Christopher Kezelos is a branching story based on their short stop-motion animated video The Maker. It’s on their Zealous Creative channel on Youtube, which has many other stop-motion animated videos as well. As soon as I found out they had written a novel based in the same world as their short video, I immediately bought it.

Don’t worry if you have never watched The Maker, although I would highly suggest doing that first, but the video is summarized within the first couple of chapters in the book. One thing I wish was in the book, that was in the video, is the showing of the music alphabet. The Makers are a race of magical beings that use music to bring other Makers to life, after making them, among other things. I think that was one of my favorite parts of the video was when you could see the translation of their music alphabet to ours. But I move along.

The story begins with the explanation of how the Maker cycle works. A Maker opens its eyes, the hour-glass turns, and a beautiful symphony blares to life inside the workshop. The music pushes the newly brought-to-life Maker to make a brand new Maker. When the Maker is finished building the next one, they must play the Maker song and bring the freshly made one to life. The book describes this so well, I recalled this scene from the video. After the first couple of chapters, we break into the new part of the plot. The Maker cycle is broke, and it is up to Ario to fix it.

The plot flows beautifully. I really like all of the characters. All of the main, and even the annoying Lorcaan, feel well fleshed out. One thing that I’m not a fan of is the name Lord Crone because generally the word crone is associated with an old woman who is ugly, or a witch, or something along those lines. Other than that, I really liked the characters. I liked how some characters were from different seasons, it was like each one was represented. They each worked together, and did well.

The setting of this was beautiful. The entire kingdom and surroundings were described in such detail that you can see it clearly in your mind. The time is set in Winter for the most part. I liked how the weather had an effect on the journey to find the Magnum Opus. Just the entire idea of the seasons and what the Makers do for them, is so cool. Read this book! Watch the video! This is really good, the plot is well thought out, the characters are fleshed out, and the setting is beautiful. Buy this book! It really is good.

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Scythe: A Review

Scythe by Neal Schusterman is brilliant. The characters are flushed out. The settings feel real. And the pacing, the pacing is amazing. We begin with meeting the two main characters, Citra and Rowen, and how they react to meeting a Scythe. The title word is actually a profession in Neal Shusterman’s novel. To be a Scythe, is to carry the lives of all those you’ve taken. Technology and medicine have advanced to the point where people don’t die, if an accident happens, they are revived. Scythes “glean” people. That is the only way to die.

Through each of their unique encounters and reactions with the same Scythe, the are asked to join in the training to be one. To learn how to take life. They learn, and fight, but ulterior motives are at play as the plot moves along and we learn some pretty interesting info on the High Scythe. As Citra and Rowen train with Scythe Faraday, we learn about Scythe Curie, and Scythe Goddard. Honestly, I hate Scythe Goddard, and until part of the way through the book, I hated reading anything he was in. His character was so well written that I just felt sick whenever I read his parts.

I loved the setting, and the edition of an all-knowing AI that monitored every aspect of life except what the Scythes did. The AI kind of turned a blind eye unless the Scythes became too unruly. The founders of the Scythes put in a backdoor in their deal with the AI just in case something like Scythe Goddard became too out of control.

If you like Young Adult novels that are set in the future, read Scythe. It’s not a dystopian novel, it’s actually more like a utopian book with a conflict in a certain group of people. I love the idea that no one can die until someone is killed by a Scythe. I can’t wait for the next in the series, even though Scythe seemed to be a self-contained novel. I loved it!