Category Archives: Fiona Higgins

Book One of Magnus Chase Series Enthralls Readers

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by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

Anyone who grew up loving Greek mythology has probably heard of or read the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The popular young adult series by author Rick Riordan captivated young audiences with its witty characters, harrowing adventures and intriguing concepts in 2005, continuing on until 2009 with Percy Jackson and The Last Olympian.
Then, a year later, another series emerged by Riordan; The Heroes of Olympus. Using the original cast and including many more, Riordan took us all on another journey of epic proportions. Still, though, he wasn’t done yet, and after the final book in the series The Blood of Olympus came out, we discovered another series; Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, with the first book being called Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer.
In an abrupt change from Greek to Norse mythology, Riordan swept audiences away with a brand new cast of characters including the titular Magnus, a demigod and the protagonist. All the new characters do not disappoint in the least.
In Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer, Magnus has been stranded on the streets for two years, ever since his mother died. Out of nowhere, his estranged uncle takes an interest in finding him and uses him to find a lost sword. From there, it is a whirlwind of breathtaking events, one after another, building up Magnus’ relationships between Samirah, a middle-eastern Valkyrie, Blitz and Hearth, a guardian dwarf and elf respectively, and Loki, God of mischief, lies, and evil.
One of Riordan’s specialties are witty dialogue and complex characters, and he does not disappoint. The narrative is flowing and never feels awkward or like it is stalling for time, and the characters never once felt like they were forced. They seem very genuine and relatable, making it that much easier to dive into the story headfirst.
Rick Riordan is a former teacher, having taught history and English in multiple middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and Texas. While teaching, he wrote an award-winning mysteries series entitled Tres Navarre. This series won Riordan the top three national awards in the genre, called the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. According to Riordan, the inspiration for his children’s novels came from stories he told his son before bed. He now lives in Boston and writes full time with his wife and two sons.
When I was younger, I was extremely into Greek Mythology, and was a little unsure going into the first book of the Magnus Chase series. After all, Norse mythology wasn’t something I was familiar with. After only a few chapters, though, I fell in love with this book the same way that I did with the Percy Jackson series. Its sarcastic characters and exciting story are completely captivating, and they make you forget that you are even reading to begin with, instead making you feel like you’re involved in it. You will not regret picking up a copy of this book.

Black Friday Undermines Meaning Behind Holidays

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by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

Whether you love Thanksgiving or hate it, one thing cannot be denied: Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of family, not commercialism and shopping. There is the rush to shop for food and sure, maybe some disagreements, but the sentiment is still there. Love, family, friendship, togetherness and being thankful for what you have in life… that’s what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about.
That is why Black Friday could not come at a worse time.
Obviously, the crazy 50% deals at almost every store like Macy’s and Kohl’s are a steal, and when every single little item the entire store is advertised as a “perfect gift for the whole family”, it seems like it could be the best day ever. But, take a step back and reconsider.
The day after Thanksgiving, the holiday of caring and being thankful, we immediately go out and fight tooth and nail for a 40%-off Xbox or flat screen TV at Sears. In essence, we disregard all of our lovely moral standings we held so dear the day before.
To go along with this negativity, Black Friday is dangerous. This year alone, two people have died and four more were injured in stores on their Black Friday shopping spree. Throughout the years, various organizations like BBC, CBS and NBC news have reported on this atrocities, which include but are not exclusive to, a worker dying in a Long Island Walmart after getting trampled by a stampede of shoppers in 2008 (NY Daily News), an 11-year-old girl being sent to the hospital after being hurt in a Black Friday crowd in 2013 (Norwalk Reflector), and a shirtless man using a belt as a whip outside a Vancouver Black Friday sale just this year (CTV News). Countless videos on multiple streaming sites show people wrestling with each other, pepper-spraying each other, and participating in other violent acts during the Black Friday mania.
While a lot of Black Friday has transitioned online, there are still a lot of people who choose to do their shopping in-store. Even with Cyber Monday happening just a few days later, the citizens of the United States and abroad will still take the risk of getting trampled to death to get a new set of bath towels.
Even stranger is the fact that many stores, including Macy’s, Walmart, Apple, and Nordstrom started doing Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving. That’s right, they could not wait 12 hours to get those deals out. Starting sales this early could cause people to rush or even miss Thanksgiving, choosing cheap furniture and kitchen appliances over family and thankfulness.
There’s nothing wrong with having a giant nationwide sale in the holiday season. Honestly, it makes sense that we would; Christmas and other winter celebrations often involve exchanging gifts, and it is nice to get them for a huge discount. However, given the catastrophes and frankly disrespectful day that we have chosen to place it on, it would be much better if we as a society chose not to support this strangely disturbing tradition, at least not on the day it is currently on.