Poison Study: Maria v. Snyder. (Spoiler Free)

This book. Is amazing!It was spectacularly written and the story line was beautifully developed; it was an intricate work of art that I loved reading. I cannot even being to describe how happy I am with this book, but I am certainly going to give it my best shot. 

This book. Is amazing, I put it down not three minutes ago and I am currently buzzing with the thrill of finishing a good book and starting a fantastic series. It was spectacularly written and the story line was beautifully developed; it was an intricate work of art that I loved reading. I cannot even being to describe how happy I am with this book, but I am certainly going to give it my best shot.

To start off with I unfortunately have to point out two minimal negative. Firstly, I wish that the romantic sub-plotline was a little more developed, while the build-up was beautiful subtly and not at all like a cheesy romance where you just have to roll your eyes, I feel like if it weren’t for the blurb revealing how it would go I wouldn’t have seen he romance coming and therefore, it would’ve been an out of nowhere occurrence, it also seemed like the development to the point of romantic action was a little rushed to build further up the sequence of events leading to the end. I feel like we weren’t given enough time to properly enjoy the pairing before chaos ensued. Another negative which is barely even a problem was a slight nuance of predictability. I kind of saw the plot-line evolving the way it did before it actually started developing. Now, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m such a seasoned reader that I can spot familiar tropes a kilometre away or if it was just the writing; so I’m only going to mention it instead of talking about it more, just in case it is just me.

Now that the gross negatives are out of the way, on the the gushing and frankly overwhelming compliments and good opinions on this book. HOLY CRAP it was fantastic!

So, right away we’re thrown unceremoniously into the story; and not in the ‘what the heck is going on?’ kind of way, but being thrown smack bang into the story and introduced to Yelena who is a prisoner, whose sentence of hanging is about to be carried out when she is given an unexpected reprieve. Continue on with her fate, to meet the noose or to become the Commander’s food taster, to risk her life everyday in order to ensure the leader of her country’s food to test for poison. She chooses to take the position and beings training under the eye of Valek, the commander’s advisor. The story is set in a fantasy setting; a country called Ixia where they are under martial law with a man called the Commander heading the country. The country is then further split into 8 section with each section under the rule of a General under the Commander’s rule.  It’s an intricately written story and Snyder does beautifully to set it up without the reader feeling overwhelmed by information. It’s done in a way that’s gradual and uses language we can understand and told through flashbacks and other characters stories to reveal how the world is shaped, formed and run. For me, fantasy has always been a challenge; but this series is brilliant and brings a whole new amount of faith into my exploration into the genre. It is truly hard to write a fantastic fantasy novel with a balance of information and plot working together; but Snyder has done it ten-fold. I cannot wait to read the next instalment in her series, and hopefully any others she has written after that.

This book is beautiful written and published, It is a wonderful beginning to what i hope will be a wonderful and fantastic series. I would recommend it to anyone who ants to read a good fantasy novel to open them up to the series.

Til Next Time,

L.K.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

An interesting start to what I hope to be a great Trilogy.

NON-SPOILER SECTION:

The story if an excellent start to a series, with an ending that makes a reader want to continue the story as soon as possible. However, there are some elements to the story that (to me) were predicable. The mythology and world-building involved was elegantly written with just enough mystery to promote continued reading. I love the development of the characters and the way they were subtly described across the book. Laini Taylor really creates a beautiful and mysterious story  that I can’t wait to continue to explore, the only negative I would say would be the  slight predictability to some events.

The story line was given just enough history to make sense with the attitudes of surrounding background characters such as other Chimera and Seraph. I liked especially how Kaoru had a unique childhood and she had a unique perspective on the world around her. Prague was also a beautiful setting for this book which added another element to the story with the descriptive language that brought the story that resides in the paranormal into everyday life; making it all that more emotive. Aviva as a character was an interesting construct, as he remained almost threatening and elusive until almost the end of the story. He himself grows as a character, going from a cold, unfeeling soldier to someone who dares to hope again and feel once more. His past like Kaoru’s remains mysterious progressively being revealed along the plot line, which is shown to be interwoven.

The structure of the paranormal worlds is also curious and well-written. The societies explored are those of the Seraph and Chimera, along with a few other locations. Each is written to have it’s own structure, religion, ceremonies and lifestyle. Its an incredible feat attempted with grace and intelligence. Its revealed through the perspectives of the main characters, but in a way that allowed their reliability to create an understanding in the author. Seeing these instances through both of the character’s eyes also allows for the unique situation of seeing how the perspective of the opposing societies were formed and how each are trying to reach an understanding within themselves of how their world and others work. Its almost like feeling as if you’re the intruder in your own home.

Mystery within this book is a dominant theme. The four most explored mysteries in this book are: Kaoru’s past, Brimstone’s work, the Hamsas and Akiva’s past. Koran’s past is the element that I believed to be obvious. There were hints that I picked up throughout the book which maybe only to me seemed to be a gigantic red arrow pointing directly to the answer, still there were moments when I had my doubts and considered other options, but when it was confirmed I was really satisfied by being able to guess the outcome. Brimstone’s work and the other three were elements that had me guessing until their reveal. Brimstone as a hulking yet soft hearted Chimera is someone who raised Kaoru from birth along with the other Chimera in his dwelling which acts as the portal between the human world and the Chimera domain. He deals with teeth, collecting them and making them into necklaces all the while using his hands and senses to understand their value. Why he does this remains unknown until Kaoru’s history is also revealed. Which brings the Hamsas unknown element into the light and stringing along to the finish line is Akiva’s past. Though some gaps remain in the story where they are headed is sure to fill them, I also look forward to how the story is going to progress now that there is little reason to continue dealing into the past.

All in all this story, a story of love, war and hope is something I look forward to continuing to read; especially to find out how the story evolves.

 

 

Jurassic Park & The Lost World- Michael Crichton (Spoiler Free)

The book series, turned movies that fascinated a generation with dinosaurs.

Jurassic Park and the Lost World are an interesting new perspective on the consequences of science and getting involved in the competitive market of the biochemistry industry. These two tales follow the sequence of events that follows when a company called “In-Gen” succeed in their endeavour to bring the extinct race of Dinosaurs back to life, and to features these creatures in a theme park that is believed will enrapture millions. Michael Crichton takes utterly believable scientific theory to create this utterly enchanting and horrifying world. However, amongst the creating of this story and following the plot line of the movies we all know and love; he gets caught-up in what I call the “World-Building” of his novels. See in my -admittedly somewhat unsupported- opinion there are three main ways in which an author writing a novel that has rules outside of reality can express how their world of fiction functions.

The first is the ‘Sporadic Approach’. The ‘Sporadic Approach’ as the title would suggest is when the author/writer introduces the audience to the rules of this reality as the time for such knowledge approaches. This is usually done through plot devices, and expressed in short bursts of a large amount of information being introduced with long gaps in-between in which the rules of this reality remain stagnant and applied to all characters. Then as the plot finds it necessary these rules are either challenged or applied to. This is commonly seen in TV shows such as Teen Wolf, Vampire Diaries and Once Upon a Time. It is also found in books such as, Vampire Academy, Mortal Instruments and Harry Potter. It can be useful in cases which the world being introduced has a lot of differentiation from reality, in order not to overwhelm the reader and allow for some semblance of understanding to occur gradually along with a relationship with the characters.

The second approach is called the ‘Gradual Scheme’. The ‘Gradual Scheme’ is essentially like a steady flowing river of information, where instead of small clumps of world building occurring throughout the book, there is an underlying plot line introducing the inner-working of the world. This is usually revealed through the eyes of a character new to the situation, in most cases the main character. It is also useful when there are organisations or small groups with a hierarchy involved directly in the plot. For instance, say the story is about a rebellion against a higher ‘evil power’. The rebellion would have its own hierarchy of people in power and its own inner workings of operations along with people important to 1) the main character or 2) important to the overall plot line. The ‘evil power’ would probably mirror this design. The main character who we as an audience learn through, would probably view these places as alien terrain and as such would observe things that someone who was used to this environment would glaze over. These details often give us an idea of how things work. Also, other characters might take time to explain things and events to the main character which is another method to introduce the situation. This method is commonly seen in Shatter Me, Star Wars, Divergent, Twilight and Avatar: The Last Airbender. It is a useful method to employ in story wiring when there are multiple plot lines and character developments to consider whilst still making sure the world structure makes sense.

The third and final method, which is employed by Michael Crichton is called the ‘Info Dump’; and again with a revealing name we can gather what it means. The ‘Info Dump’ is when during the story, usually at the beginning, the author takes the time to build the world before falling into the main plot of the story. This usually occurs when the main characters are other wise occupied and the plot has not even begun. It condenses all the rules and structure and in some cases the history before the event into one section so that there is no need for it later and there can be more focus on the action occurring. This is usually done in a round-about way in which the main character is not particularly involved at all. In the case of both Jurassic Park and The Lost World, Crichton takes the time to offer some opening history of the goings on before anybody really goes anywhere near the dinosaurs. Int he first book, most of the beginning chapters centre around the science of bio-engineering and how it is a competitive industry for people who set out looking for ways to profit from science. It also goes into the history of bio-engineering and a introduction into the company that is In-Gen and its competitors. Whilst it is sometimes essential for this information to be out there, in this case I believe it took away from the book.

While the science explored in both book is fascinating and something I wouldn’t mind reading about in a different context, it does indeed take away from the books in terms of its ability to keep the reader’s attention. What was revealed in the ‘Info Dump’ was important to the story as a whole and if told during the action sequences would’ve slowed down the book. But I can’t shake the opinion that this information could’ve been better revealed, perhaps through plot devices such as, speech between characters, the observation of other, an argument, or causal mention even. The biology could’ve also been implemented into the plot in a bit more of a subtle way that just was given. Nonetheless, it was a good book. I really enjoyed it and was quite surprised about the underlying scientific theory and how it played into the book as a whole which i didn’t realise until the end. Once the main plot line got started everything was smoothed out and became quite enjoyable; and even though I have seen the movies numerous times i still found myself loving the novels despite how closely in the beginning they aligned with each other. They were truly unique and i only wish that Crichton had considered writing some more to add to the series, though I suppose I can be satisfied with his involvement in the movies that followed.

Stranger Things: Review. (Spoilers Ahead)

What an incredible TV show!

I went into this show with admittedly some hesitation; as I am a gigantic chicken when it comes to all things Horror and Thriller. Sill I continued forwards, motivated entirely by the sheer amount of popularity this show had received, it had to all be for something didn’t it? So I strived forward, only to be extraordinarily surprised. It was a brilliant show filled with so much drama, unpredictability, hope and a serious amount of confusion and mystery.

In a way that is similar to a show like Neighbours, Teen Wolf and Katie Mcgarry books, the Story follows three to four different groups of people all, (except one) working towards a single truth that has been hidden from the world for a long time now. It all starts with four boys, who are essentially outsiders who have formed a formidable friendship are playing Dungeons and Dragons in one of the boys basement. The boys, Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas are in the middle of a campaign when a creature (in this case a tiny little figurine) called the Demigorgon stomps onto the board, and their game has to come to a close. That night when the boys separate and go to their own homes, Will finds himself stalked by a mysterious creature that trails hi to his house and snatches him. Vanishing without a trace.

From there on the story splits into many perspectives; one of Will’s mother as she try desperately to find Will, in sometimes unusual ways. The second perspective is of the three remaining boys trying to figure out how they’re going to try and find Will without their parents knowing their out and about. During their first night trying to find Will they stumble across a mysterious girl with a shaved head who’s name is Eleven. Eleven or Elle for short seems to have a serious mental mojo going on; she has Telekinetic and Telepathic abilities that are beyond comprehensible. Together the four kids grow closer as friends they also get closer to uncovering the mystery behind Will’s disappearance and Eleven’s abilities and how they’re all connected. The third and fourth perspective follows two of the siblings of the four boys. Nancy who is Mike’s older sister and Jonathan who is Will’s older brother. These two perspectives merge together when Nancy’s friend Barbara goes missing in the same way that Will did and Jonathan manages to get a picture of the creature that did it.

From there Will’s mum Joyce teams up with Sheriff Jim Hopper who discover in their own way secrets of their own, Joyce finds a way to communicate with Will where he is and a way to be able to tell when the monster who took him is close.  Jim Hopper discovers those who are behind all these supernatural occurrences. Together all three stories come together like puzzle pieces to reveal the whole picture; revealing everything, from the location of Will, to how it came to be, the creature that took will to the people who created Elle and summoned the creature. The season ends in a dramatic series of action packed events that leave the audience begin for more. Personally, I’m not entirely happy with the ending myself; don’t get me wrong I’m very satisfied with Will’s return and Hopper getting together with Joyce. I’m a little unsatisfied with Nancy ending back together with Steve (Her boyfriend in the beginning of the season) rather than Jonathan, and what makes me more upset was the fate of Elle, just after Mike admits his feelings. I mean come on!

Hopefully everything turns out better for Season 2. Which I will definitely be dying to watch this coming year, believe it! Trust me, this show is a must watch.

Til next time,

L.K.

 

 

Passenger: Alexandra Bracken (Spoilers Ahead)

While i approached this book with caution, i was surprised at how much i liked it 🙂 Read more inside.

NON-SPOLIER SECTION:

i went into this book with admittedly a little trepidation, i’m not overly fond of books that are set in the past, being someone who strongly believes in equality in all forms; reading books set in eras where races are turned into slaves and women are treated like objects to be kept pretty makes me frustrated and angry, it sweeps me up into a mindset that is consumed by social grievances and distracted from the plot and characters. But with this novel – which i believed will be – turned series, i was surprised to say the least that i wasn’t turned into an irrationally angry human being but rather fascinated with the plot line and trying to guess the outcomes of the story that Alexandra has concocted. It was interesting, sweet and complicated in a way that is unique to my reading experiences, however it was a bit of a long read, that had a tendency to drag a little bit. Nonetheless it is a book i am satisfied to recommend.

 

SPOILER SECTION:

In general, this book was really quite good, the plot line was really well-developed and thought out. The characters were really beautifully written and they evolved in their own ways that was developed steadily along the plot line. In terms of adversaries, in this case Cyrus Ironwood; he wore his black cape with pride and played the part of the dictator splendidly (by played i hope you know i mean written). An unexpected quasi-villain was Rose – Etta’s mother – her utter disregard for her daughter’s life was beyond cold and callous, she was so intent on the “good of the future” that she became cold and manipulative of her daughter, and despite all this Etta still adored her mother like any daughter would, which speaks less of her mother and more of Etta. Also, Sophie as a character was really quite interesting to explore during the course of this book. She evolved from a slightly annoying and completely haughty child to someone who was a genuine threat with her greed, selfishness and desire for power leading her to stalk Etta and Nicholas throughout time and come close to ending their lives with her actions causing dangerous consequences.

Etta and Nicholas’ journey is a compelling one which makes you want to continue reading until the end and is what is going to motivate me to buy the next instalment to the series. it all begins when Etta’s violin recital goes awry and she is kidnapped by Sophie and taken to the 1700’s from there she and Nicholas meet and develop feelings for each other and their ways that have been developed by their vastly different upbringings. Etta is taken to NY on board a ship that has been commandeered(?) by Nicholas and his crew in order to take the girls to NY on orders of Cyrus Ironwood. On their journey Nicholas and Etta develop the beginnings of a friendship that leads to Nicholas swearing to protect her should Ironwood have bad intentions. When Ironwood reveals his plan to manipulate Etta with the life of her mother being threatened in order for Etta to retrieve an object that Rose has hidden somewhere in time and space. This object is called the Astrolabe and it has the capacity to create time portals that did not previously exist. They are left a letter concealing a riddle that leads them on the path to the astrolabe. In a very treasure hunt type plot they travel through all time periods imaginable, surviving wars and ancient civilisations all the while falling more and more for each other. It really is an entertaining read that i believe will make an enjoyable series, however many books it ends up spanning.

On negative aspect i’d like to mention though it may seem little is descriptive language. Whilst the characters and plot-line are quite artistically developed, she lacks i descriptive language. A lot of the time the places and people that are encountered, including the main characters and described in ver little detail and in some aspects i myself had to fill in the gaps as much as i could in order to picture what is happening. If asked i couldn’t even begin to describe the appearances of the main characters, only their personalities, that goes for the locations and times visited as well. If theres one thing i would change about this novel it would be that. Otherwise i am quite pleased by the overall book and writing style.

Til next time!

L.K.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: J.K. Rowling

WOW! i couldn’t put this book down!
Keep reading for the full review…

Holy hell this play is extraordinary!

J.K Rowling has done it again people!

NON-SPOILER SECTION:

It’s hard to even begin to express how much i loved this play, but i am going to try. For those who have never read a play before and need everything, both plot wise and character-wise explained in the text to understand what is going on, this may be a bit of a difficult read for you, but it is certainly worth it 🙂 For those whose imagination completes the scene with help and sometimes regardless of the words, then reading this play will be as good as if it were a novel. Trust me, no matter what level fan of Harry Potter you are (unless for some reason you hate the series, in which case my question is: How?) then this book/play is a must read.

SPOILER SECTION:

The fun begins! So this play essentially follows the life of the young progeny of Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter as they embark on their Hogwarts years. Albus Severus Potter and Scorpious Malfoy become the most unlikely of friends on their first day on the Hogwarts express, on this day we are shown so much of our beloved characters and how their lives have moved on! it is truly beautiful and sentimental for a Potter fan, i may or may not have cried a little. Nonetheless, despite my tears, the story goes on and with some handy stage directions we are shown snippets of the boys through the first couple of years at Hogwarts, Albus despite his family’s affinity for a certain Red and Gold themed house gets sorted into Slytherin along with Scorpious who i’m pretty sure everyone knew that on the inside he bled green and silver. But for Albus and Scorpious this sets into motion their lives as they know it, Scorpious has to live with rumours that he is Voldemort’s child, and Albus constantly feels like he is in the shadow of his father who everyone claims to see as the ultimate hero, because of this the relationship between the two are strained. Harry struggles with everything he has to try and connect with his son, but Albus just feels invisible and unworthy. Naturally this isn’t a family drama where there’s tears and emotions and fighting thats between loved ones; but a danger that is unexpected and thrilling. But more on that later.

Let’s talk about our beloved characters! Hermione Granger nee Weasley is Minister of Magic, I’m so proud of our little bookworm! Ron Weasley obvious married Hermione Granger and now managers Weasley Wizard Wheezey’s (I think that’s how it’s spelt) with two kids Rose Weasley and Hugo Weasley; Rose is her mother all over, and we don’t get to meet Hugo unfortunately… Harry Potter is head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Ginny Potter is the editor for the sports section in the Daily Prophet and they have three kids, James Potter Albus Potter and Lily Potter. Draco Malfoy marries Astoria Greengrass and has a child – Scorpious Malfoy. Our characters go through a hell of a lot of character evolution. Harry evolves as a father coming to terms with who he is, and how he has – accidentally – treated his son, Draco becomes a better person who shows that he is capable of love and compassion, as well as being honest and a good person; which is a nice change for him; and something I can honestly say I’m proud of.  Despite the fact that he grew his hair out in a pony tail. But despite his atrocious hair choices he manages to bury the hatchet with the Golden Trio.

Back to the boys. They embark on a journey in order to save Cedric Digger’s life in the Tri Wizard Tournament; but as we’ve seen and been told numerous time, playing with time is a serious mess, that can create numerous problems. As we seen when they boys try and fix time, they inevitably create about four different realities that all have different combinations of craziness, most of which amazing people die and in some times Ron and Hermione aren’t even married. But they come a long way and even run into some old favourites… like Snape, Lily and James Potter (the originals) and even given some surprising revelations like the fact that Voldemort does in fact have a child, who is not Scorpious, thank the Lord. But Scorpious evolves from someone who is afraid of himself and stirring up trouble, afraid to live up to his Father’s schoolyard reputation, and who is secretly harbouring a crush for Rose Weasley to someone who is brave and proud of who he is and who he wants to be. As for Albus, he goes from bing someone who feels like he has something to prove and harbouring a feeling of invisibility and feels of inadequacy based of his father’s success in life which he perceives to have been an easily obtained stars due to Harry not being honest with his son. But then he evolves into someone who understand himself and his father more and into someone who is proud of who he is and his Slytherin alliance… Something that is such a huge step for a person his age.

this coupled with a good story, brilliant plot-twists and amazing characters makes this one hell of a play that you have to have read at least once in your life.

Til Next Time,

L.K.

 

 

Dare You To: Katie McGarry (Spoilers Ahead)

I’ll say it once, i’ll say it a thousand times, i’ll say it forever. I love Katy McGarry. If you love a good book, this one is definitely for you!

I’ll say it once, i’ll say it a thousand times, i’ll say it forever. I love Katie McGarry!!!!!

NON-SPOILER SECTION:

This woman has cemented her spot as my favourite contemporary author with absolutely no effort on her part, well, she wrote the book but you get my point. Dare You To is a re-read and a spectacular book that i love reading over and over again. This woman is a brilliant author, and i should know, I’ve read everything she has ever written. She’s not like most contemporary authors in that their books are filled with such sweetness and adorableness that you squeal like a little girl; intact Katie’s books are so real and filled with emotion that you’d have to be heartless not to be taken on the ride that is her stories, and it is no different with Dare You To. Ugh, this book was amazing!

I just finished it and my heart feels like it’s been through the ringer right alongside the character’s and the ending is so much more satisfying because of it. It is the second book to a some-what series that binds together the lives and hearts of Beth Risk and Ryan Stone. Beth is someone whose had a hard life and Ryan has seemingly the perfect life with cracks and breaks that no-one bothers to see. Their relationship is rocky, beautiful and unique and i’d be lying if i didn’t say i loved every moment of it.

SPOILER SECTION:

Let’s start with Beth. How do i even being to describe Beth?

Beth has spent her life growing up on the other side of the tracks not ever entirely sure if the pace she decides to go home to is safe. She is surrounded by drugs, crime, gangs and a feeling of helplessness disguised by a stone heart. She relies on very few people in her life, Isaiah, Noah and herself; to escape a feeling of sinking and being chained to a life she can’t escape she let’s bad decisions take her over and she ends up on the road to becoming an addict without an escape into the potential that she has for herself. Stuck in a situation where her mum is a drug-addict and whose boyfriend is abusive to both her and Beth, even though Beth lives with her aunt and he choices seem limited Beth does everything she can to survive. All this comes to a halt when she is arrested for almost taking a baseball bat to Trent’s (her mother’s boyfriend) head. She is then taken in , albeit forcefully by her uncle who takes full custody of Beth as she is only 17 and gives her a second chance at life. Beth evolves so much as a character and a person, she learns how to open up and allow herself to care for others and start to trust other people with who she is and she starts to face her fears. This growth is explored and described beautifully by Katie through beautiful metaphors such as when she learns how to swim in the lake with Ryan, by letting Ryan teach her how to swim Katie is communicating to us that Beth is finally opening herself up to Ryan and the world and realising all the possibilities that escaped Beth before. Not to mention the bird trapped in the barn metaphor showing a struggle for life and being blind to those trying to help the situation and in panic not seeing the clear escape; which strikes the audience and Beth in its significance although unseen at the time. And when Beth finally let’s herself have hope! There aren’t even words that describe how i felt in that moment. Beth’s relationship with Ryan is like a healing balm to her soul and the door to her heart and who she is and can be; the same goes for Ryan.

Let’s talk Ryan Stone. Oh Ryan *sigh*. I relate to him on so many levels. Ryan is a star Baseball player who has only known Baseball, with dreams to make it into the Pros, but he is confronted with troubles at home as his parents can barely stand to be in the same room after his older brother came out as Gay and was subsequently kicked out of the house. Ryan feels like his entire world is crashing down around him and he can barely cope but he tries by holding onto the one thing that remains constant. Baseball. His future. Except when it’s no longer certain, as when find out when it is revealed that he has a secret talent. He is an extraordinary writer. Battling with expectations and being unable to admit to himself what he really wants to do Ryan does everything he can to preserve what he knows; one: that he loves Baseball and two: he never looses. Ryan goes through so much change and growth that i have mamma bear feelings of pride overtime i think about it!! he grows into his own person and starts making his own decisions despite what his controlling parents think. He does so many brave things is this books its heart-warming. he re-connects with his brother, he chases his dreams of becoming a writer, he falls in love, he denies his parents the ability to control him and he makes a path in life for himself that can only lead to the kind of satisfaction you feel when you’ve followed all of your dreams and came out on top (if a little bruised and battered) He goes through his own personal hell and come out stronger than ever before and i will never not love Ryan Stone as a character, especially the way Katie writes him and his emotional state.

Usually around here is where i mention any negatives about the book that i found… but i have none so…

 

Til next time!

L.K.