The Torn World by Melanie Karsak

*Contains spoilers for The Harvesting, Midway, The Shadow Aspect, and Witch Wood.*

The Torn World
by Melanie Karsak

  • YA, Fiction, Horror
  • 14+ for gore, mild language, zombies and witchcraft
  • Published August 31st, 2016 by Clockpunk Press

     "Our world is dead.

     With the undead walking, vampires hunting, and kitsune closing in, everything seems lost. Layla and the others will need help if there is any hope of survival. But how can you endure in the dying world?

    Join Layla, Cricket, Amelia, and the other survivors for the final chapter of The Harvesting Series in The Torn World."
- Goodreads


     Like the rest of the series, this book was FANTASTIC! Melanie Karsak is such a great writer and knows how to make the characters relatable, even though they're trying to save the world from zombies and vampires. Unfortunately, the series is over and we'll never join Layla, Cricket, Amelia, and the rest of our their friends in adventure again! I'm upset to see them go and will be missing them for a long time! Hopefully we'll get a couple additional novellas about life after the series ends so I can get the much needed closure!

     Why do I need novellas for closure? Well, I need these novellas because ONCE AGAIN an author finished off a series with a cliffhanger! WHO DOES THAT? I trust them with all my feelings and they throw them out the window along with all of my favorite characters, like say for instance a certain girl's fiancĂ©! I hope that all of these cruel authors find a book that causes them the amount of emotional pain they're causing me! If there ever is another book in the series though, I will buy it and read it IMMEDIATELY! (When will I learn?!) Despite my obvious frustration with the ending, the book really was enjoyable and I wish I could read the series for the first time again!


     If you like young adult fiction and are looking for your next book, I totally recommend The Harvesting Series, which consists of three books and two novellas. If you are reading this review, you (hopefully) have read the other four parts of the series, but if you haven't and are holding back because of the horror, don't let that stop you. I read the first book as a twelve year old who was still afraid of the dark, and LOVED it! (You'll have to take my word for it because I'm ashamed of the post itself, and how bad of a reviewer I was, but if you insist on proof you can find it in August of 2014.) The series never loses it's appeal and actually gets better as it progresses! I recommend this book to anyone looking for a young adult book to add to their bookshelves. (I mean look at those covers!)

Similarities Between Liesel Meminger and Lisa Jura

     This is an essay I wrote for my English class comparing Leisel Meminger, the protagonist of the novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and Lisa Jura, protagonist The Children of Willesden Lane by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen. If you've haven't read these books, then you definitely need to, as they're two of the most accurate holocaust books I've ever read. The Children of Willesden Lane is nonfiction, but don't let that steer you away from it. It's written like a fiction story, but also shows how the Holocaust affected countries outside of Germany.

     “This was her family, they had helped her through it – this was their answer also.” (Golabek and Cohen pg. 213) While it’s referring to Lisa and the others living in the hostel, this quote can also apply to Liesel, Max, and the Hubermanns. Both girls got torn away from their families and, due to fear and respect, grew to love and trust the people living with them. Liesel and Jura are .

     Lisa has a hard, troubling life, in which she loses not only her family, but everything she’s ever known. She has to leave behind her sisters, parents, and her childhood home to be shipped off to England for her safety. She then spends the time before Sonia arrives alternating between guilt for leaving instead of her sister and feeling alone in the world. After she moves to the hostel, Lisa feels like she belongs somewhere, and once she has the scholarship to work towards, begins to regain some of the happiness that she had lost since arriving. She begins to bond with the others living in the hostel, eventually thinking of them as family. However, she doesn’t think of them as a replacement for her family, but rather an extension of it.

     Liesel’s life wasn’t exactly a walk in the park either, losing her family at the young
age of ten. This young, innocent girl has to hold her dying brother in her arms as she prepares to face this new world alone. Not a day later, her mother gives her to two strangers, one of which is known for her harsh language and treatment. This leaves Liesel wondering why her mother doesn’t love her anymore and feeling alone in the world. She grows to love the Hubermanns and later, Max, after bonding over nightmares and a love for words. Without this adopted family, Liesel never would’ve become the loving and caring person she grew into, nor would she have ever experienced the one thing she loves the most, words.

     Both girls represent an underlying theme in their story, love and loss. For Lisa this love comes into play when there’s nightly bombings, causing everyone to comfort each other and bringing them closer together. In The Book Thief, however, Liesel is first shown love when her papa teaches her to roll a cigarette instead of trying to comfort her. In both instances, the way the people are acting makes the girls feel safer and, in turn, starts to bring them closer together. Although they both grow to love others, neither girl forgets everyone they’ve lost in their life. This fact helps them love more because they know what it’s like to lose someone close to your heart and don’t want anyone to go through what they did.

     “A definition not found in the dictionary. Not Leaving: an act of trust and love, often deciphered by children.”- Markus Zusak. As for loss, the love developed leads the girls to be hurt more when they lose their new family members. Neither girl’s worst loss was to death however, but to people leaving them without saying goodbye. For Liesel this loss was Max, who left because he was tired of putting the Hubermanns in harm, although they welcomed this danger. Lisa’s loss was much worse however, as Aaron left by choice instead of by requirement, and although he did come back, he would never be the same after seeing the horrors of war.

     Both The Book Thief and The Children of Willesden Lane teach important lessons such as how to love and cope with loss through their main characters Lisa and Liesel. They suffered as much as they laughed and, in the end, lost many dear loved ones, while gaining some in the process. Everyone could learn something from Lisa, Liesel, and their experiences, and understand that, no matter what, there’s always someone worse off.

Identity Crisis: Hogwarts Edition

     Okay, so I never remember my Pottermore information, so every time I go on I make a new account and redo everything, and I've always had the same results. Until NOW! I recently made a new account and took the sorting hat quiz and... my house CHANGED! I've always been a Ravenclaw, I pride myself on it, although I typically walk the line between Slytherin and Ravenclaw. I am now a Slytherin, and I love Slytherin, honestly they're so underrated, but I'm having an identity crisis! What if everything I thought I knew about myself was wrong? I didn't even know my true Hogwarts house! Okay rant over, let's move on now.

     In other news, I've also become a Horned Serpent in Ilvermony (what is it with snakes J.K.?) and I'm very proud to be the house of the scholars. Their house pictures are so pretty, I love it! I also took the wand test and got the same thing I always have, 10 3/4 inches, unicorn hair, hard flexibility, although the wood type did change from god knows what to pine. According to Pottermore, wands with unicorn hair centers are the least likely to switch over to the Dark Arts so YEAH for good Slytherins! Last but not least, I took the patronus test and got a falcon, which to be honest, I really don't know that much about. So, other than the house swap I'm the same wizard I've always been and plan to stay that way! What's your house, and if the answer is "I don't have one" then why are you still here? Share your wizarding information below, and if you're a proud Slytherin then hit me up in the comments!

Luna Lovegood and Clarisse McClellan: One and the Same

     So recently I had to read Fahrenheit 451 for school, for the second time, and I realized just how similar Luna Lovegood and Clarisse McClellan really are. Now, with Luna being one of my favorite characters, it was extremely hard for me to accept the similarities between the two, seeing as I REALLY dislike Fahrenheit 451. I've been thinking more about these two characters and, after finally accepting the similarities, admit that they are virtually the same in every way possible.

     Neither character is afraid to show their true colors, a fact made very evident through both the dialogue and actions of both girls. These girls are both considered outcasts in their separate worlds for nothing other than being different. This doesn't stop them from doing what makes them and loved ones happy, however. In Clarisse's universe, she's considered "antisocial" and "weird" for not wanting to sit in front of a TV all day, preferring to talk to people or think instead. She enjoys the simple things in life, such as talking, thinking, and walking in the rain. On the other hand, Luna is considered weird in her world for very different reasons. She can be spacey and sees things in a way most people don't, choosing to look past appearances, and instead judging people based on their actions. Both girls are very carefree and choose to look at things in a different way then most.

     Impact On Others

    Neither girl has many friends and the few they do have are very dear to their heart. Until her fourth year of Hogwarts, Luna's only friend is Ginny, and even the supposedly "kind" house treats her rudely. She opens up a new, though strange, world to the Golden Trio and, eventually, they become friends. Although she's just another friend to the trio, Luna loves her new friends enough to paint a mural of Neville, Ginny, Harry, Hermione, and Ron on her ceiling. Similarly, Guy Montag was Clarisse's first friend, apart from her family, and she loved talking to him. She felt that he understood her and listened to her, even when nobody else did. Both girls value friendship above anything else, and would do anything to keep the few friends they do have.


    Both girl's personalities are very unique, belonging only to them, but I wouldn't have them any other way. Personally, I like to think of Clarisse McClellan as a Ravenclaw, as she fits all the personality requirements, intelligent, creative, thoughtful, and open-minded. Clarisse and Luna are like two peas in a pod, and I firmly believe that if they met they would instantly be best friends. They display their quirks proudly, whether that be through searching for Nargles (I need a pair of these Dirigible plum earrings), or walking around tasting the rain. It would be a shame to see either girl lose these precious habits that make them so interesting.

     Blond hair and fair skin is a common factor between the two, but very rare in both worlds. I believe that this paleness is symbolic for the innocence both girls embody. They've both witnessed horrible things, but have never done anything, hence the dark eyes (loss of innocence) and the pale features (innocence). The worlds of both girls are populated mostly by brunettes with very few blondes thrown into the mix. Also, the girl's look different from the rest of their society, a physical representation of the way both girls are outcasts.      

    While both girls are outcasts for most of their lives, both girls do find a place they belong, although Clarisse's time doesn't last much longer. Apart from a few minor details (like Clarisse dying, but who needs to remember that right?) Luna and Clarisse are extremely similar in most ways, including, but not limited to, looks, personality, uniqueness, and their impact on others.