Warcross Book Review

By Savannah Shah

I recently had the delight of purchasing and reading Warcross by Marie Lu. The book was amazing, and I was not disappointed with Marie Lu’s creative story. Lu is responsible for writing the Legend trilogy and the Young Elites trilogy, which are both amazing series that I highly recommend. Even if you’ve read Legend or the Young Elites, Warcross is a whole new story that has similarities to her other books but manages to be different in an amazing way.  She manages to bring a nice mix of action, romance, mystery, and suspense to all of her books; Warcross managed to deliver all of those perfectly.

The story centers around a girl named Emika Chen. The world that Emika lives in is the same as ours, except that virtual reality is real, and a lot better than the one we have. The virtual reality in the book immerses the play into the game by tricking the player’s brain into thinking that the fictional worlds are real, all using glasses in the real world. So many people love the NeuroLink, what the virtual reality is called, that a free game came with the glasses known as warcross. The game is much like capture the flag in that there are two teams that try to catch the other players object, in this case a jewel called an artifact.

After the NeuroLink hit the world by storm, teams made of the best players around the world were entered into the championships to see who the best warcross players really were. A giant event is held every year to see the teams play off against each other. That is when things got interesting because Emika accidently glitches herself into the kick-off of the championships. After the creator of the NeuroLink, Hideo Tanaka, learns that Emika is a bounty hunter, he urges her to come to Tokyo, the headquarters of the NeuroLink, immediately. From there, Emika goes undercover to find a security issue in the midst of the championships.

The way Warcross is written was absolutely wonderful. Not only was the story absolutely amazing, the writing also adds to the experience. There was no cursing in the book, but there were “romance” scenes which got a little mature, although these tend to be common in Lu’s books. Inside the warcross game, there are fantasy worlds that Lu describes perfectly, such as floating islands and giant robot fights. This book is a sci-fi fantasy that any young adult reader would enjoy.

At times, warcross seemed slow. Usually between the championship games or right after one. During the slow portions of the book, there was usually character development, which helps make up for the loss of action. On the other hand, the action scenes were absolutely amazing! Lu manages to make the action scenes come to life by not only focusing on the main character fighting, but bringing the world around them into play. It makes the Warcross world seem much more in depth.

The plot line was simple to follow, which made it a highly addictive read. As the book started to come to a close, Lu left the ending open for a second. One of the plot twists was slightly predictable, but still was a surprise when it was revealed. Oh, I may have forgotten to mention how big the main plot twist was! I did not see the major plot twist coming at all! Every reader is wondering how the next book will play out because of the major cliffhanger the book left off on. The book left a lot of things open, making the sequel a must read. The Warcross sequel doesn’t have a title or release date yet, but I’m sure one will be announced soon.

After all was said and done, Warcross turned out to be an absolutely amazing book! The highly addictive science fiction book was a wonderful read that I highly recommend! The slow parts were a disappointment, but the amazing story made up for it. Fans of Marie Lu’s Warcross are extremely excited for the sequel and cant wait. I highly recommend Warcross to any reader and hope they enjoy it as much as I did.

 

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Junior Varsity Volleyball Game:

 
By Allison Miller
 
On the nineteenth of September, the Tricity Girls’ JV Volleyball team faced off against Trinity, away from home. The winner of this game depended on who won the most of three separate games. At the end, the Tricity girls won two of the three matches, each section being around half an hour long. I interviewed player Elizabeth Bower about this game, asking her about how her team played, how the Trinity girls played, what the atmosphere of the three games was like, and what the special moments of this face-off were.
 
She told me that their first win was tough, but that during the second game, her team did better, as they were more warmed up. This was seen clearly, as the score for the second game came out as twenty-five to nineteen, with Tricity in the lead. I asked her how her team worked together overall, and she smiled, telling me that the team works amazing together. They know how to work off of each other’s playing even though the team has not been together for very long.
 
Bower said that even the weakest players on the Trinity team played very strong. They worked together just as great as her team did. The Tricity team noted that the opposing team’s strongest player was their setter, who was an eighth-grader. This setter was number fourteen.
 
Bower and many of the Tricity girls personally knew some of the other team’s players. She, in fact, told me that she knew all of the opposition, and had been friends with many of them in the past. As well as knowing the other players, many of the faces in the audience were familiar to the Tricity girls. Bower said that although the crowd wasn’t very large, there was a lot of bystander support. Many family members were in the audience, both of the Tricity girls and the Trinity players.
 
Finally, I asked Elizabeth if there were any great moments for either her team or the opposing one. She revealed that her team definitely formed a better playing environment throughout the course of the game, as her teammates were able to make many improvements into building up their teamwork skills. She acknowledged that the other team seemed to work greater together after the first game, as though they were also seeing this same effect occur on their side of the net. Bower noted that it was strange that their team only had one setter. I understand that this may have put them at a disadvantage, yet they were able to work around it by predicting their teammates moves through good communication. I’m told that both teams performed some very good saves throughout the course of the game, keeping their adversaries from scoring on them. Last but certainly not least, Julia Goswick of the Tricity team made an impressive block as the other team had a near-clear shot to take. Goswick came in at the last second to knock the ball back to the other side of the net. All the girls’ hard practice paid off at this game. Regardless of who won, however, both teams played with skill and were ultimately good sports no matter the previous relations they had with their adversaries.
 
I asked Elizabeth to think of anything else about the game that made an impact on her playing or her team. Her response was a laugh before telling me that her team was extremely grateful for the air conditioning in the building the game was held. She said that the team doesn’t usually get to play in the cooled off air, so she and her teammates all appreciated it.
 
This volleyball game gave these girls a good opportunity to work and build friendships with their fellow teammates as well as have an amazing time to show off their athletic skills in a friendly competition. This three-game set may have ended up with a winner and a loser, but the girls on these teams should still continue to be proud of the time and hard work they put into practice for the game. All of the players were able to learn to better communicate with the people they needed to work within an easy and friendly way. No matter who won and who lost, I hope that the girls on both sides of this match will keep their good sportsmanship and be able to further their talents in sports.

Who Killed Markiplier Review

by Molly West

Who Killed Markiplier is a series done by Mark Fischbach, more commonly known as Markiplier, and other members of his team, “Teamiplier”. The first chapter was released on October 10th, 2017, with the final chapter being released on October 13th, 2017—though Mark had been teasing at it since October 5th, 2017. WKM was an instant fan favorite that is likely to live on in their hearts for a long time.

The series is from a second person perspective, meaning you the viewer acts as one of the main characters. It takes place in a large mansion know as Markiplier Manor. We the viewer have been invited to poker night. There is a wide cast of characters attending the party, which is as follows:

-Markiplier

-Damien “The Mayor”

-William “The Colonel”

-Benjamin “The Butler”

-Chef “The Chef” (he is confirmed by Mark to have no name other than Chef)

-Abe “The Detective”

We are also introduced to two other characters later, known as Celine “The Seer”, and George “The Groundskeeper”.  Two of these characters, the Mayor and the Colonel, are also played by Mark, while the other characters are played by his friends. As for the plot, many theories circulated the internet for weeks. On October 28th, 2017, though, Mark explained the entire storyline in a charity livestream. Though there are still some gaps, it goes like this:

Mark, Damien, and William all grew up together. It is imagined by some that Damien and Celine were siblings. Mark and Will may have also been related since they grew up in the same household. Mark and Celine were married for some time. However, Will and Celine ran off together, leaving Mark depressed and alone. It may be that at one point, he tried to kill himself; however, it did not work.

That was when he realized that this house was different from the rest of the world. Markiplier Manor does not follow the normal laws of reality—it is completely different. To test this, Mark tried killing himself many times. He was stabbed 37 times, poisoned, beaten, strangled, drowned, and shot, in that order. Why? Because the house instilled in his mind a plan to get revenge. After all, William stole Mark’s wife and owed him large amounts of money. However, Mark believed this was his idea. That’s one of the things that the house does to you.

The night of the party, there is a brief party sequence that seems like nothing at first. However, it predicts the whole series to come. The most important details of this scene are Damien doing a keg stand, William and Abe playing Russian Roulette, and when the viewer passes out at the end of the night and Damien is trying to help them. One thing that was imagined for the story was that Mark and William went down into the wine cellar together. Mark tried to tell Will that there were no hard feelings, and he pulled out a gun, offering to play a game of Russian Roulette to settle their fate. His plan was that William would shoot him, thus pinning him as “the murderer”—and that’s exactly what happened. However, Mark said this scene cannot be confirmed canon, as it was not in the video.

The next morning, Benjamin gives the viewer a hangover cure and Damien questions why Mark planned this party out of the blue. Then, the body is found. Mark falls out of the ceiling with a crack of lightning. Abe asks the viewer to be his new partner, and even after he shows us a long line of photos of his past partners who have died, they say yes. They investigate the house, and throughout it all, the Colonel stands out as the most suspicious. This is what Mark intended; he wanted to make it painfully obvious that William was the killer. However, a fork is put in Mark’s plan when Celine arrives at the crime just as Will and Abe are fighting.

Mark’s original plan was to use Will’s body. However, after this plan was ruined, the house gave him another plan: why not use Damien’s body instead? Celine tries to access otherworldly forces to communicate with Mark. The seer knows something in this house is not right, pointing out that each time someone says “murder” there is lightning (this goes for all of the characters except George). However, while the viewer, the Detective, and the Chef are outside talking to the Groundskeeper, the house began to violently shake. While William was sleeping, Damien and Celine were in the Seer’s room trying to talk to Mark. However, Mark killed them.

The Butler and the Chef leave. The viewer explores the house in a world referred to as the “Upside-Down”, only to find a room that the house hid from us. It is full of tabs and pictures of everyone in the house. On a typewriter, the words “the colonel did it” are repeated over and over. The Colonel finds this room and realizes the detective made it. Enraged, he goes after the Detective, and they fight. However, in the fight, William accidentally shoots the viewer. When they die, we are confronted by Damien and Celine in the upside-down, with Mark’s body in front of them. They explain the situation and how there is only one way they can save you. You agree to let them in, and thus you wake up.

This is not the end. After William sees you, he starts to think it was all a joke, and that his friends are still alive. When he stumbles off, the viewer grabs Damien’s cane. As they grab it, though, their hand turns into Damien’s. The mirror reflects who appears to be Damien (Mark), but with messy hair, a loose collar, and dark circles around his eyes. When he cracks his neck, the mirror cracks, revealing a word of black and white with red and blue highlights. Then, he storms off, leaving us in the mirror forever.

Damien doing a keg stand shows how he would end up in the Upside-Down. William and Abe waving guns around show how they would have multiple gunfights. When the viewer passed out and Damien was trying to help us, it showed how we would die. Damien is the only one who really cared about us.

The Who Killed Markipier series is the backstory for two of Mark’s egos. The Colonel is Wilford Warfstache, and Damien and Celine combined to make Darkiplier. Since these egos were already close to fans’ hearts, they were pleased to see a backstory for them revealed.

Now, in my completely biased opinion, Damien is the best character in the whole series. He is a soft, pure, boy, and he is the only one who truly cared about us throughout the series. All he wanted to do was help and he did not deserve his fate. Also, it is basically canon that he is gay, as Amy and Kathryn (members of Teamiplier) said they liked the idea of him being gay. That only makes me love him more. He deserves happiness and I would protect him with my life.

Who Killed Markiplier is one of my favorite series on YouTube. There are so many small details and hints that I could not even include. The acting is on point, and it made me feel a wide range of emotions. I cried at 1 A.M. over Damien and William multiple times. It takes less than an hour to watch and is worth it. Go watch it. Now.

Airplane Travel

 
By: Maya Schenne
 
Have you ever been on an airplane? If you haven’t, I will show you the step to step process of airplane travel. Those who have been on an airplane before, feel free to compare your own experiences to this. All airports are different. When you first arrive at the airport, you take your luggage to the counter. They weight it, and you put a tag on it with your name. They put it on a conveyor belt behind the counter, and that takes it to the place where they load it onto the plane. Then, you take your carry-on (if you have one) and go to your gate. But first, you must go through security.
 
Security is the part that takes the longest. First, you must wait in line until you reach a stand with a security guard. They check your ID and plane tickets. Then, you get into the line to go through the metal detector. You put your bag on the conveyor belt and take off your shoes, belt, jacket, etc. You also have to take all the change out of your pockets. Make sure you don’t have any metal on you. If for some reason you have a metal hip, leg, etc., you tell the security guard and you use a different metal detector.
 
Some airports let you leave your shoes on. The airport in Phoenix lets you keep your shoes on, but the airport in Omaha, Nebraska, makes you take your shoes off. They all have different rules. After security, you might have a little time before your flight leaves. Most airports have restaurants where you can get food because airplane food is expensive. One flight I was on, a little container of Pringles cost eight dollars.
 
After you get some food, you go towards your gate. They start loading the plane by group numbers. I was in group six out of the nine groups. While you wait, there are rows of chairs to sit on. Most airports have places to charge your phone, too. Once they call your group number, you go to the counter with your tickets. The person scans your ticket and lets you on the plane.
 
You walk down the tunnel towards the plane with your carry-on. Sometimes, you might not have a tunnel, so you have to walk outside and up a staircase to board the plane. They have those more in warmer weather places. They had one at the Mesa Airport once. Once you board the plane, you have to find your seat.
 
Usually, there are three seats on both sides. Some planes have two. The first-class section usually only has three or four rows of two. Once you find your seat, put your bigger carry-on in the overhead bin. If you only have one (and it fits under your seat) you can keep it with you. As soon as you sit down, put your seatbelt on.
 
As you wait for the plane to take off, you can read the safety manual in the pocket on the seat in front of you. There is usually a safety manual, a magazine, a paper bag, and a food menu in the pocket. The flight attendants show you a demonstration of everything covered in the safety manual. As the plane is taking off, you aren’t allowed to have large electronic devices on (laptops, tablets, etc.) You can have your phone, as long as it’s in airplane mode. Your ears will pop from the change in elevation. You can chew gum, or pop your ears by plugging your nose and blowing. Either one will work.
 
While the plane is in the air, you can get out your laptop, tablet, etc. or do other activities like reading or drawing. The flight attendants will come around with a cart and you can get something to drink. You can also order food, but that costs money. You can move around, but while you sitting, you have to keep your seatbelt on. There is a bathroom in the back of the plane and sometimes in the front.
 
As the plane is preparing to land, you have to be in your seat with your seatbelt fastened. Your ears will pop again. When the plane touches the ground, you aren’t allowed to get out of your seat until the seatbelt sign turns off. When it does, you can get up and get your carry-on out from the overhead bin. If you are sitting in the back, you have to wait for everyone in front of you to leave.
 
After you get off of the plane, you have to go to the baggage claim to get your suitcase. You don’t have to go through security this time. Once you get your suitcase, you can leave the airport. You have successfully survived an airplane flight. Now, you can tell all your friends that you’re an airport pro.

Carpe Diem

Halloween is now over. Kids now have a hefty stock of sweets, and the costumes have been donated or thrown away because honestly who reuses costumes? Now it’s time to celebrate the next holiday coming up; Christmas! Grab the trees and tinsel! Santa Claus is coming to town. Lights up at every house, and the Christmas commercials are playing nonstop.

I’m gonna stop you right there.

Unknown to most people, there’s actually another holiday between our creepy day of the dead and the day of snow and presents. It’s a little thing called ‘Thanksgiving’ and believe it or not, it’s really quite important. Sure, you don’t give eachother gifts or dress up and get candy from strangers, but it is just as if not more critical to history.

If someone is to really understand the importance of Thanksgiving we would have to start at the beginning. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year, and it was proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day in 1863 during the Civil War by Abraham Lincoln. However, what began all of this turkey eating and family get together? September of 1620, a small ship named the ‘Mayflower’ sailed from England to what they called ‘A New World’, better known as Massachusetts. It took sixty-six days but at long last, they landed with about one hundred and two people onboard.

They were met with a brutal winter. With that winter came diseases they couldn’t fight such as scurvy and famine, as they couldn’t grow anything during this time. Only half of the original crew survived to see their first spring in this new land. Many more would have died as well if it hadn’t been for the help from the Native Americans who had been living there first. In March, the remaining settlers moved to the shore and were met by a Native American from the Abenaki tribe who spoke English. The Native American told them to stay there so he could get them some help. He then returned a few days later with another Native American named Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe. He had been kidnapped and sold into slavery before he ran away to London and returned to his homeland. There, he had become fluent in English and taught his fellow Native Americans it as well.

This man was bought by a white man and forced to do slave work, yet he looks at the dying pilgrims and doesn’t let them just kick the bucket one by one. Personally, I would have said ‘Your mistake for coming over here, bye!’, but not Squanto. He helps to teach them to grow corn and catch fish in the rivers around them, what plants to eat, and which ones were poisonous to them. On top of that, he personally assisted in forging an alliance with the Wampanoag tribe that lasted for fifty years. It’s one of the few examples of peace between Europeans Colonists and the Native Americans.

The pilgrims’ first corn crop was a success, and the current governor, William Bradford, arranged a giant feast to thank the Native Americans for their help and to celebrate their alliance. The funny part is, that during the three-day feast they held, turkey may not have even been on the menu. Although there’s no solid list of what foods were eaten that day, deer was brought by the Native Americans according to one of the pilgrim’s journals, along with swans, lobsters, and other assorted birds, eels might have also been feasted on. The pumpkin pie that this holiday has been associated with for many years has absolutely no connections with the ‘First Thanksgiving’. In fact, no desserts were there at all!

Even with the multiple ways we have changed these traditions, the baseline of what this holiday means remains. It’s about the fact that even back in the 1600s, we worked together to try and make the world a better place. As cheesy as it is, it’s true. Without the help of the Native Americans, everyone on that ship would most likely be dead and history would be very different. That’s what they were thankful for, and we should still be thankful for it as well. Christmas is about giving loved ones gifts, but Thanksgiving is about reminding yourself that we’re all in this together. Squanto saw this centuries ago, and it’s something that still applies to this day. Sometimes we have to put aside all the differences we have because underneath it all, we’re all human.

 

By: Ellie Cartier