The Big Book Musical Tag [Original]

It was some time since I last did a book tag, but none really called to me. So why not make my own? This is a tag I came up with while listening to some musical numbers such as ‘Wide smile, High Style/C.B.’, ‘When the chips are down’ and other great numbers. I ended up daydreaming about my favourite books getting a musical but since I do lack some means, I thought a book tag would suffice. For now.

So,

YOU ARE PUTTING TOGETHER A BOOK MUSICAL!

Who doesn’t love a musical version of one’s favourite books? So why not make your own? Every question presents you with one or more choices for what book or set of characters would probably make the best of the musical song trope. All you have to do is imagine how their song would be like, and you’ll know if you’d want to see and hear that or not.

(OBS! You are allowed the pick several answers, as the songs can vary a lot depending on the singer (ex. with the “I Want” – song can be either from a protagonist or an antagonist and therefore changes the whole concept)

 

Relaterad bild

|Introduction/Opening Song| This song will set the premise of the story but also work as a kind of synopsis (example; “Harry Freaking Potter” from A Very Potter Sequel or “The Gospel Truth I from Hercules). Which book would have an awesome introduction/opening song number? 

Okay, Imma be a bit obvious here and pick The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan.  Why? Because the book actually starts with Apollo/Lester recounting the events in the previous book like a gospel/epic with Calypso adding helpful background choir (“A pathetic mortal! Most worthless of teens!”)

 

Bildresultat för one jump ahead gif

|”I Am” Song| This is a song to introduce a protagonist (or antagonist), with themselves singing about, well, themselves. Thus establishing their characteristics, role and motivations (examples; “One Jump Ahead” from Aladdin). Which character would have a great “I Am”- song?

 

This was a bit of a tough one to pick, mainly because there are so many lovable anti-heroes that’d make a great “I Am”-number. But I’d like to see Denth and Tonk-Fah from Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson introduce themselves to princess Vivenna with a song number. Considering that their introduction was “hi we’re your kidnappers” and their weird sense of humour, it’d actually be hilarious to see these mercenaries trying to convince a conservative princess about their questionable profession through a song.

 

|Parental Love Song|  Nothing’s like a mother’s love. Or father’s. However it is, the parental love song is, usually in most animated musicals, some kind of lullaby where the parent sings about their love, faith, hope and dreams they have for their child, the protagonist (“Deliver Us/The River Lullaby” from Prince of Egypt or “Every Mother’s Pray” from Quest of Camelot). Which fictional parent would have the best ‘parental love song’ number?

I can think of quite a few parental characters whose lullabies would probably stir the hearts of listeners. I decided I’d love to hear a song from Offred from A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood to her son. Either as she fled with him, or a song praying for his well-being as she is in confinement.

 

Bildresultat för part of your world gif

|’I Want’ Song| This song can be sung by either the protagonist or the antagonist, it can be either inspiring (“Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid) or more darker and obsessive (“The Room Where It Happened” from Hamilton). Which character would perform the best “I want” song?

This one wasn’t exactly a hard pick for me– there’s nothing more I want in life than a song of longing and (lost but found) dreams by Molly Grue from The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. Her anguished speech when she meets the unicorn has always stuck with me, especially as years go by and still no unicorn has come to me…

 

Bildresultat för the fox and the hound best friends gif

|The Friendship Song| This song number is sung usually by two or more friends together about their friendship and how great they are together (ex. ‘Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim’ from Aladdin The Broadway Musical). Which book characters would together make the best ‘Friendship song’?

For this one, I’m choosing the absolutely fabulous duo of Niccolò Machiavelli and Billy the Kid in The Secrets of Immortal Nicholas Flamel-series by Michael Scott.Yes, the characters are their historical counterparts. It’s actually revealed that Billy the Kid is the one that inspired Machiavelli to live and care, while he himself is a figure Billy looks up to. So I need them to sing together and for each other. Please.

 

Bildresultat för be prepared gif

|The Villain Song | Time for the introduction of the main antagonist(s) of the story. The villain song can vary from being just an “I Am” or “I Want” song, but could also be the villain singing while trying to recruit someone (example “Be Prepared” from The Lion King). Which villain would probably have the most iconic villain song? 

So this one is obviously the harder choice. Who to pick? There are so many villains that you just know would make iconic villain songs. I know that I love villain songs with ‘style’, a bit of humour and a very dramatic and self-confident(/absorbed) villain. So I’m picking two very underestimated villains, Set from The Red Pyramid and Setne from The Serpent’s Shadow from The Kane Chronicles-series by Rick Riordan. Both are the poster-immortals of “Affably Evil” and are both very dramatic (especially when it comes to outfit/style choice so kudos to them).

 

Bildresultat för I have a dream gif tangled

|Crowd Song| This number is a big group singing a song together, and a must for every musical. The song is usually meant to show the conflict in which the big part of the characters are in direct consequence to, and their different attitudes to it. Examples are the several “Facade” songs from “Jekyll & Hyde” in which the people sing about society’s questionable norms. But it can also be a way to just introduce a larger set of characters and the environment the main character is in (ex. “Fixer Upper” from Frozen or “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted). Which book would probably introduce the best crowd song?

A crowd-song about and from the dangerous court of Caverna in A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge would be a great way to establish the lethal position that Neverfell finds herself in. I’ve read a lot of books which talks of “dangerous courts” but in the end only romanticises them, whereas Caverna’s actually makes you wish you’d never have to go there, ever.

 

Bildresultat för i am moana gif

|”I Am Becoming” Song| This song is a character development, or sanity-slippage, song where the character who sings this is developing in character as they sing it. Like stated, it could either be inspiring (“Let It Go” from Frozen”) or more on the sanity-slippage side (“No Good Deed” from Wicked). Which character would have the best “I am becoming” song?

Why do I make such hard questions? There’s plenty of wonderful character developments that could make for great songs. However, after marginalizing my choices (not an author or book I’ve already picked etc…) I remembered Leo Kall from Kallocain by Karin Boye. I absolutely loved his moment at the end where, where the villainous protagonist walks out into the snowy night, suddenly feeling at peace for the first time in his life.

 

Bildresultat för shiny tamatoa gif

|”The Hero Sucks” song| Like it says on the tin, this song is usually sung by the story’s antagonist about, well, how much the hero sucks (ex. ‘Shiny’ from Moana/Vaiana). Which antagonist from a book would do the best “The Hero Sucks”-musical number?

Prince Regal in Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb would deliver quite a ruthless one to Fitz, in a more ‘down to business’ manner than just ridiculing. Trying to drown the boy at the same time would heighten the effect though.

 

tumblr_o51g4xIVID1r0ksuho1_250|”The Villain Sucks” song| Oh, so the villain thinks they can give the hero a piece of their mind and get away with it? ‘The Villain sucks’ song is sung by one or several protagonists about the story’s antagonist(s) in a not so flattering manner (ex. “The phony king of England” from Robin Hood). Which character(s) would best put the villain in their place through a song?

 

All though Kaladin, Shallan, Adolin, Renarin, Dalinar, Hoid et cetera would line up to give Meridas Amaram a piece of their minds in The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson, it is Jasnah Kholin who’d deliver the death-blow in an epic “The Reason You Suck”-song to Amaram in Oathbringer.

 

Bildresultat för i won't say i'm in love gif

|(In)love Song/Duet| The two protagonists, or at least one of them, realizes they have feelings for the other, and sings them out! They might sing with each other, sing about each other from distances, or do a solo (example “I Won’t Say I’m In love” from Hercules or “I don’t know how to love him” from Jesus Christ Super Star). Which character(s) would do a great number about being inlove? 

So obviously we need a love duet where Sophie and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones sing about each other as they start to realize their feelings. Sophie would make a great “I won’t say I’m in love” kind of number that I never realized I need. 

 

Bildresultat för frollo hellfire gif

|The Villain Love Song| Sometimes even evil has loved ones. Whatever it more of a destructive, creepy “stalker with a crush”-type or a redeeming love for the hero(ine), this song number is the villain singing out about his deranged passion, usually containing creepy and threatening implications that’ll make you understand why it’s a VILLAIN love song (ex. the classic ‘Hellfire’ from The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Which villain/antagonist would have the best ‘Villain love song’?

My vote for this one is clear; Christopher Carrion from Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of war by Clive Barker. Best would be if it took place in the scene in the second novel of the series. The heroine trapped in a dream, awakens in a strange mansion. She desperately tries to flee from him out in a blizzard, while he pursues her with the option that she can join him or perish. I can almost hear the chilling and creepily possessive song.

 

Bildresultat för for the first time in forever reprise gif

|The Counterpoint Duet/Duet Of Difference| One might sing how beautiful life is, another follows how depressing everything is. One sings of hope, another of despair. The Countrpoint duet is not a confrontation song as the two usually are not singing against each other, just singing the same song but contrasting in the lyrics (they can even be at different locations). The point is to show the contrast between two characters (ex. ‘My eyes’ from Dr. Horrible). Which two characters in a book would have the best counterpoint duet?

Hilarious one would be the counterpoint duet about the wannabe pirate king, Captain Kennit, and his followers in The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb. Why? Because throughout the whole series, Kennit’s actions make him misunderstood in the REVERSE way. People don’t see him as the wannabe dictator and conqueror he thinks himself as, but as a saviour and liberator.

Kennit’s right-hand man: “Oh there stands our hero, noble plans to liberate ~”

Kennit, standing alone by the prow: “My right-hand man I shall decapitate ~”

 

Disney Animated GIF

|The Dark Reprise| Sometimes an upbeat, positive song sung previously can take a dark turn. It can be sung by both the same character or some other character, indicating a downer character development, making a contrast between the hero and villain, or just a darker turn on the story (ex. ‘The Last Day Of Summer’ in The Lightning Thief has a dark reprise of ‘Good Kid’). Which character would have the best ‘Dark reprise’ in a book? (PS. Hard time coming up with an answer? Think about a previous answer (ex. ‘I want/am’ song), which character in the same book would do a dark reprise of it?

Oh, there are so many good options, I’m actually gonna go with the Sleepless from Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson. From a fun and goofy song about a subject he brought up earlier in the novella, to a nightmare fuel reprise near the end. Kids, always ask yourself why a person ask a specific question.

 

Bildresultat för goodbye may seem forever gif

|Grief Song| It’s the tear-jerker number where a character (usually the hero) sings about their losses, maybe about a break-up or another character’s death (ex. ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’ from Hamilton). Name a book/character that would have the best ‘Grief song’.

Oohhh so many. I mean, how many book scenes haven’t broken hearts and shattered dreams? Since Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge is my latest read that tore out my heart and smashed it into a thousand pieces, several times, I’m going with it. There are so many options to which part should be made into a song, but honestly, the end with a ‘letting go’ kind of song for her massacred people would probably have a whole audience in tears.

 

Bildresultat för savages pocahontas gif

|Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Confrontation/Finale| Alright, not really the trope name but we’re gonna have the final confrontation in our musical be a big crowd song with multiple characters coming together and singing through the climax. It can be like a triumphant or dark reprise (ex.  “Facade reprise 4” in Jekyll and Hyde) or just a final confrontation between heroes and villains (ex. “The Son of Poseidon” from The Lightning Thief, which is also a triumphant reprise of the previous “I am”- song). Which climax in a book would make the most epic number?

The Fire Chronicle (and its ‘successor’) by John Stephens has everything a finale would need in one of its climax scenes– a mob song part, a ‘desperate-call-for-saving’ part, the goodbye, and the choice which will make the point-of-no-return.

 

Bildresultat för strange magic tell him gif

|Final Love Duet| Ah, the great finale. The conflict is solved and now the loved ones can be united and live happily ever after (until the author publishes a new spin-off series). Which characters would have the sweetest and best final love duet together? 

A satisfying but emotional end with Aliena and Jack in The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is all I need. 

 

And I Tag YOU!

Advertisements

T5W: Independent Ladies

And it’s time for another weekly Top 5 Wednesday! This week’s topic is on female leads that have romantic interests, yet still focus on their mission/job/quest, you name it. It’s a great topic because honestly, I myself would love some book recommendations on this one. I get so disappointed whenever I get into a book and suddenly the interesting premise is ruined because she gets intrigued by some boy who the majority of the time I couldn’t care less about. So, great topic!

If you’re interested in joining the weekly meme, you can find it here at Goodreads.

3456605. The Halsing Sisters from Summers at Castle Auburn [x]

Despite this being a romance fantasy, you’ll be delighted to find it the kind of slow-burn romance. Although one might harbor a minor crush, there’s too much as stake to even care for romance until more important matters are settled. The “not getting distracted” part also helps when you literally have 0% idea that both you and he has feelings for each other.

 

51YC-J89tWL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_4. Princess Sarene from Elantris [x]

How can you possibly get distracted by your love interest when you think he’s dead? Besides, there’s plenty of plots and conspiracies to unravel than to consider that the very tall man you’re having a small argument with is your presumed dead betrothed.

Brother+bear_61f03a_6250649

 

3f3196e9d70505be173ffb0b112bb3a03. Miryem and Irina from Spinning Silver [x]

I picked this mainly because both plots to overthrow their love interests so they’re literally not letting their love interests getting in the way. It’s so refreshing reading a YA fantasy with romance that still manages to focus on the character arcs of the heroines in far more than her relationship with love interest.

 

 

2. Malta Vestrit from The Liveship Traders [x]ship-of-destiny

If you’ve just started reading the series, you’re probably thinking I’m joking. Especially, since she mostly only cares for flirting and toying with guys. But seriously trust me, she became one of my absolute favourite characters of all time. And her character development begins as she realizes the futility in playing the damsel in distress, to watch as her little flirt tries but fails at doing anything that could help the ones she loves. Malta finds a hidden strength when she suddenly starts to take action.

1. Irene Winters from The Invisible Library-series [x]

Love interest is introduced in first book. We have to wait 5 books before they actually get together. I LOVE it. I love this series so much, this will always be the one I recommend anyone when they complain about the romance focus in these kinds of books. Irene is just awesome and gets to be professional, meaning that she can be ‘Oh he’s attractive’ and then move on from the subject to do her work. This series has so much to offer, but I think the main reason we readers can enjoy it is that romance can be present but not outmanoeuvre more interesting and important elements in the story.

8de1334e-c1f4-4442-a954-08e544698dcf_2019021219043545447ea4739-d719-4e2f-a829-406299517b040e2761a9-952c-4466-9102-0c915ebcfd85_201902121909486542553bce2-f74d-41ca-937b-7021a129c19a

 

Do you agree/disagree? What books do you know where the female lead doesn’t get tangled up in romantic interests at the cost of character and plot? Comment below! x

Book Review: Gullstruck Island

gullstruck-island

Title: Gullstruck Island

Author: Frances Hardinge

Publisher: MacMillan Children’s Books, 2009

Genres: Middle-Grade/Ya, Fantasy, Adventure

Three Word Description: Not As Expected

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

 

 

“On Gullstruck Island the volcanoes quarrel, beetles sing danger and occasionally a Lost is born . . . In the village of the Hollow Beasts live two sisters. Arilou is a Lost – a child with the power to depart her body and mind-fly with the winds – and Hathin is her helper. Together they hide a dangerous secret. Until sinister events threaten to uncover it. With a blue-skinned hunter on their trail and a dreadlocked warrior beside them, they must escape. Can the fate of two children decide the future of Gullstruck Island?

Discover a dazzling world, a breathtaking heroine . . . and an incredible adventure. For on the island of Gullstruck nothing is exactly as it seems!

With a cast of larger-than-life characters, this is a richly imagined adventure no child will be able to put down – or ever forget!”

***

I want to laugh at this summary. I cannot remember the last time I stumbled upon such a misleading description of a book. Sit down people, I’m gonna tell you about this book that I didn’t give 5-stars on Goodreads because of “an incredible adventure”. It is the work Gullstruck Island that truly is not what it seems. 

Oh so you got this book, thinking it’d be like it ‘says on the (back)-tin’?

dd9591534c6f67e6ca124bee0da8e3e9d2ac731d89a21427394f17fdcfc5131d

 

I went into this book, thinking I’d be focused on Frances Hardinge’s creative work and how it has developed from this book, which was published in 2009. Instead, I found myself trapped on an emotional rollercoaster which would shoot out in anger and dip down in despair. Oh, they promised you wouldn’t forget the story alright. But they never told you why.

This isn’t a story of just two sisters escaping from a mysterious assassin and uncovering a secret. The first part of the book may think this is what it’s building up to, albeit a bit slow. And then it completely escalates. I was debating on whatever or not to reveal the very core theme of this novel, as I myself prefer to know as little as possible. However, I really want with all my heart that everyone should read a middle-grade/YA fantasy that deals with such a horrifying subject. The main theme of this novel, is in fact Genocide. Gullstruck Island corporates the genocide which took place in colonial time, during the Holocaust, throughout history and can be found even in the future from when it was written.

Hardinge’s work is really not meant for just kids and teens. The book is written in such a way, from characters, writing style and plot, that anyone can ‘enjoy’ it. Enjoy however is not the word that really describes the number of times I chocked on tears or had to pace in anger. This book was great by any means, by all which I will soon be going through, but it’s not something you’d sit down on a couch with and a nice warm cup of tea to feel cosy. This is a book that’ll constantly have the kettle boiling in order to make yourself Camomille tea to calm your nerves. 

For throughout the majority of the book I was filled with such an overwhelming mix of anger, desperation and grief. Despair is perhaps the best word; utter despair. I cannot count the number of times I had to put down the book, to enter my imagination where I could reach Gullstruck Island myself. Where I could grasp at every villain, every impassive character, every single background character that revolted at a people and whispered rumours of them with no regards for the consequences. This despair completely filled my imagination of me shaking, punching, shouting at every character that allowed these horrible things to happen.


” ‘I never thought I would hear you shouting. It doesn’t suit you. It makes you ugly.’

Grief was ugly. Rage was ugly. Fear was ugly.

You made me ugly,’ “


Of course, it was far from just the theme and how well it was handled that made this book great. No there were so many things that made this book just so good. For a start, we have the main characters; Arilou and Hathin. And from the beginning, you’ll find out that they’re not all that they seem. As for all Hardinge’s books, I can see that characters and their development is not a challenge for the author. Her young heroine Hathin develops such determination and courage that I was immensely inspired by her, yet at the same time, my Big Sister instinct wanted me to do nothing less than wrapping her in blankets and murder everyone who hurt her. But in all, Hathin is my latest addition to ‘favourite heroines of all time’.


You are dust, her eyes said. You are dirt. You are nothing. Why do you bother surviving? Why are you still alive?

I am the dust in your eyes, was the answer in Hathin’s look. I am the dirt that will bury you. I am the nothingness waiting to open up under your feet. And I can hold on longer than you.”


 

Knowing Hardinge from her later books, plot-twists and tiny but extremely significant details, is just what I expected and was rewarded from her. However what really stuck with me is how the world creation has such an important meaning for everything in the story. It’s learning a culturally-‘affected’ saying earlier, only for it to later break your heart (as an example). The existence of gods and beasts are ever-present but in such a way, that you’ll understand that Gullstruck Island could just be any Pacific island. The magic and deities are much to these islanders as deities and mythical creatures are to believers today. And there’s no proof they don’t exist, especially not when you can feel their wrath. I really wish I could go into more details, but as always, these reviews are spoiler-free.

And of course, it’s always necessary to discuss the antagonists. By Gullstruck Island’s theme, you may have guessed what type of villains you may find. However, what really stuck with me here was how frighteningly real Hardinge’s villains were here. Not mythical, immortal, impressive or anything like that. No, the villains are the indifferent men and women, the angry mob, the man who never thinks of an ethnic group as people, and a woman who can play with some children and then not hesitate to murder other. If you think no villain can top the amount of hate that Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter-series amassed, you’ll find her match in Gullstruck Island (and in the opinion of one who hasn’t read the HP books, her ‘better’). There’s a villain with such unspeakable cruelty that it wasn’t the ‘love to hate’ category they would go. No, this villain fits in the ‘I don’t even want you to breathe inside this book’.

***

So would I recommend this book? With all my heart. Like I’ve made pretty sure throughout this reviewing (which I’m writing while I’m still devastated) that this is not a ‘light’ read. This isn’t the book you read when you expect to be transported to Narnia. Gullstruck Island is painful, it’ll make you angry and it’ll drink your tears. But it’s also beautifully written and will spark your own imagination, perhaps make you see nature in an entirely different light. Most importantly, it teaches readers of all ages about the horror of hate-crime and genocide.

 

A Song & A Book #62

Today’s song is;

you wake up a stranger to yourself then you
learn to live with her
sit in her clothing ’til you fill out her figure
you know life’s no bella telanovela

And the book I chose for this song is;

51PvUDrhu8L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.”

Book Review: Shadow Captain

35077169

Title: Shadow Captain (Revenger #2)

Author: Alastair Reynolds

Publisher: Gollancz, 2019

Genres: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Three Word Description: Space-journey, Sisters, No-Romance

 

 

 

 

How can one enjoy freedom in the present, when one is still trapped in the past?

 

After many years of waiting for a sequel I never thought I’d ever see, it was with no little amount of surprise that I stumbled upon this book on display! Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds is the second book in his Revenger-series set in a very distant future, where two Ness-sisters leave home to sail in the sky, or space (in our vocabulary).

In the previous book, the elder sister Adrana Ness was captured by the fretted Bosa Sennen and Arafura “Fura” Ness managed to free her and capture her foes spaceship. However, it was not all glory– Fura was forced to become ruthless, and Adrana suffered such deep psychological manipulation that she once put a knife to her sister’s throat. After the defeat of Bosa, the crew find that the rest of the worlds have assigned her crimes on them— and now Bosa’s enemies has become theirs.

Revenger was told first-person through Fura, with a narrative I deeply came to love. Not because it was poetical in any way, but because of the great use of unreliable narrator trope and a clear change of views as her character developed. Now, the p.o.v. switches to Adrana instead in Shadow Captain, something I didn’t really know how to feel about first. However, the first few chapters I felt like I could accept it, yet I still yearned for the narrative of Fura, especially since her manipulations and ambitions become more and more clear to Adrana. Unfortunately for me, it took a good while before I could get into the character and story. But, that was the same with Revenger.

Adrana Ness had suffered under the claws of Bosa Sennen, but in the first part of the book, it was as if she’d forgotten her time as a prisoner. In fact, she seemed like one of the most mentally healthy of the crew and always supportive and kind to others. I didn’t dislike her, but her narrative lost interest to me for a great while.

But then, Reynolds does his thing. It is revealed to both Adrana as the reader that Bosa Sennen still has a hold on her from beyond the grave, something in the form of her nature. Adrana tried but cannot escape what she went through. It is revealed very little to readers about her time as a prisoner, but enough to understand that psychological and physical torture was a part of it. The sister who believed in morals and cared for others, was also capable of acting on her late captor’s ruthless desires. 

I felt that Adrana as a character became more interesting as it followed the same kind of mental and narrative ‘game’ as it did with Fura in the first book. However, Reynolds brought something new, and he made sure that Adrana did not become a copy of her sister’s character development. For as Fura could relinquish her feelings, Adrana could still feel. She knew what she and others were doing was wrong, yet she was trapped on too many levels in order to act differently. However, morals are subjective, and while Fura had little qualms about manipulating others, Adrana never saw any wrong in doing her own manoeuvrings.

In short, Adrana as a character came to grew on me, but it still took a little too long for my liking. I also felt that the plot was a bit too slow to develop, and since there was no real clear and interesting enough ‘red thread’ to follow until more than 100 pages in, scenes could feel long and uninteresting when there was nothing to look forward to. Reynolds did build up an original and interesting world, but his descriptions could be too long. Once I counted three pages to describe one aspect of a thing I could not even comprehend. Because that’s another barrier that plummetted my experience far greater than other things; the vocabulary. 

English is not my first language, but I have no problem reading advanced adult literature, including nonfiction. But so many advanced mechanical and technical terms gave me a headache, and I gave up on trying to understand what the author was even describing. I usually don’t have a problem understanding descriptions but these were just too difficult. It kind of errs me when writers use a too advanced vocabulary to describe something that already is difficult to understand. Yes, Reynolds, you were a space scientist, but your readers probably aren’t. What is even the point in sharing something when you cannot even bother to make an attempt at explaining so others understand? As a non-native speaker, of course it made me question if maybe I was just too stupid to understand. Looking up the author’s education saved a bit of my self-esteem.

Honestly, the most interesting and shocking things happened too near the end, so we never got to see the consequences of what happened. It took me half the book to finally get sucked into the story and not needing to force myself to pick it up, which did of course feel a bit rewarding. Still, half the book is always a little too long when the book is ‘only’ 400 pages. I’ve read books that were 1000 pages and I didn’t get sucked into the story until around page 400, but then you had so much more time as a reader to appreciate the story from that moment as well as the build-up. After the climax had happened the story continued longer only to draw the readers into an enormous cliff-hanger. Like I said, I loved what happened at the last part of the book but honestly? This makes me wonder if I won’t look back at this one as the ‘second book syndrome’ of the series. But I’m afraid that once again I’ll have to wait many years for the third book to even make that judgement.

In summary, my feelings are mixed on this one. Things happened too slow for my liking, too much explanation of things in a too advanced vocabulary for me to even understand. But I’m glad I finished it, I came to really like Adrana’s narration and I’m honestly really excited to see where the story will go from here.

T5W: Nostalgic Ships

No matter what your thoughts are on romance and love in media, you gotta admit that we all had those characters that we just needed to be together forever. And this will be the topic for this week’s Top 5 Wednesday;

“Discuss the first fictional couples you ever got butterflies over, or couples you used to be really into when you were younger.”

Now, as you will see below I have chosen to only enlist films and tv-series, not a single book! Why? Oh, because I didn’t read that much when I was young. Also I found it easier to ship characters together that you saw on a screen I guess.

If you’re interested in this weekly meme, you can find the Goodreads group here. Below is my listing from number 5 to 1!

arton10295. Kaj x Gerda from Snödrottningen/The Snow Queen (1957)

I watched this movie a lot when I was a kid and I will always be emotional about the story. The symbolic roses, Kaj being bewitched, Kaj betraying Gerda, Gerda going on an impossible journey to save him… this movie is the only acceptable adaptation of H.C. Andersen’s work. Can you GUESS my disappointment with the ‘loose’ adaptation called Frozen?

2019-02-06 (2)4. Rakinos x Emma from Creepschool

An emo girl x a water fae/nymph/creature ?? Emma is saved from drowning by Rakinos who falls in love with her, and ends up discarding his form in order to become mortal and be with her. I think all girls that grew up with this tv-series got unrealistic expectations of boys and first love because of Rakinos.

CvQHD4DXgAE-rVv3. Haku x Chihiro from Spirited Away

The moment Haku and Chihiro met on the bridge, followed by what must be one of the most epic music, I fell. in. love. I was so devastated at the end and had to come up with scenarios where Haku and Chihiro reunited. Because, they would, right??

Hjørdis2. Jesus x Josefine from Jesus og Josefine 

Any danes here? This was THE ship of all Julkalendrar, A tv-series during december up to christmas. I can’t remember when it aired, I think I was like 8 when I saw it (it had aired a few years back then already). And yes, it is that Jesus. The story follows Josefine as she can travel back-and-forth to Palestine where she meets Jesus, who’s about the same age as her then. Not only is there plenty of romance-subtext for even a daft kid like me to get, there was also plenty of emotional moments.

Dan Håfström, Hanna Zetterberg1. Ronja x Birk from Ronja Rövardotter (TV-Series)

This is probably any swedish kid’s first OTP. Ronja and Birk are children of two rivalling robber families, which results in their own rivalry between them first. The scene where they challenge each other over jumping between two cliffs will always be one of the most iconic scenes of this tv-series.  However, their developing friendship makes them the scandinavian Romeo and Juliet, and GOD did I not root for them to get together. We all did.

 

Do you agree/disagree? What were some of your first OTPs? Don’t forget to comment below! x

 

 

Book Review: A Face Like Glass

31915219

Title: A Face Like Glass

Author: Frances Hardinge

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Children’s, 2012

Genres: YA, Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Three Word Description: Out-of-the-Rabbit-hole, Creative, Wonderful

 

“In the underground city of Caverna, the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare—wines that remove memories, cheeses that make you hallucinate, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. On the surface, the people of Caverna seem ordinary, exc12ept for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to express (or fake) joy, despair, or fear—at a steep price.”

Enter Neverfell, a twelve-year-old girl with such a dreaded face she must hide it behind a mask. One fateful day after chasing a run-away rabbit, Neverfell finds herself outside of her care-taker’s home and around people of the higher society in Caverna.

***

Honestly, I don’t know where to start with this review. This book had me hooked from start to finish, couldn’t possibly release it. Ever since I read The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge did I fall in love with her writing, and despite this being her earliest works I’ve read, it did NOT disappoint.

Loving a book and trying to convey that feeling into words is probably one of the things I find hardest as a reviewer. What can I say without spoiling anything? How can I possibly make you feel what I feel, for you to start reading it? I feel like I’ve tasted something so delicious yet I can only describe that foreign taste to you. With a language that lacks the words, and a shotgun to my head unless my words travel too close to the truth. Alas, I shall make a try.

Describing why I loved the story is kind of hard without spoiling anything. However, I can tell you that it’s never fully predictable with so many twists and turns in the plot. I can almost hear Hardinge, whispering to herself as she outlines the plot– “we’re all mad here”. For there are some elements that would make this a re-telling of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, however the book differs so much that I honestly think the comparison is unfair. Perhaps what the novel’s closest adaptation to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is the entire spirit and feeling of the classic.

Like Alice and her adventures in Wonderland, the story follows mainly the perspective of Neverfell who is new to Caverna, her own Wonderland. Since the world outside her confines is almost as much a mystery to Neverfell as for us readers, it’s a great way for Hardinge to build up her world and plot with Neverfell’s guides as the reader’s guides as well. Considering the weird and fantastical properties of most things in Caverna, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

And then there’s the concept. The whole deal with humans being unable to work their face muscles into facial expressions is just one of the bizarre things about this novel. However, it has a very important and symbolic meaning for the novel’s theme– our right to express ourselves. Where the rich crowd to the trendiest Facesmiths for a delicate new Face, must the working class be content with the Faces of the aristocracy’s choosing. But it’s not only the Faces that matter in this story. Keep everything in mind, for anything can turn out to be Chekhov’s Gun.

Although the story may sound grim, it actually has plenty of humour and light-hearted moments. All from a character being forced to chase and stop our heroine from licking a wall, to two mortal enemies comically trying and failing to have each other assassinated in one scene. This novel is one of those bizarre mixes of light-hearted humour, then a sudden murder from nowhere occurs and you don’t know how to classify it. After all, this book is meant for younger readers, and I think it’s brilliant that Hardinge managed to make a certainly darker Middle-Grade/YA novel without being too heavy on the ‘grim’ side. Kids and teens aren’t stupid, they can perfectly understand elements and subtext in the book that makes one truly see what a dystopian it is.

And then we have the characters. Every single named character has a distinct personality and felt so… Intriguing. Unique in their own way. A heroine navigating the dangerous underground city. A grumpy Cheesemaker and caretaker. A villain with a personality for each of his brain-halves. An ambitious but divided friend. A powerful patron that creates forgetting Wines. A mysterious woman with a smile from Neverfell’s past. And a crafty Kleptomancer that steals for the chaos it will bring. But most dreaded of all are the mapmakers of Caverna.

There’s so much I wish I could talk about these, but I will constrict myself to focus mostly on the main character Neverfell.

The main character will no doubt make some readers frustrated with her in the beginning. She is young, naïv and has been alone with a grumpy old man for seven of her twelve years in a cavern full of cheeses. Of course she was terrible at dealing with life in the upper city-circles at the beginning. She’s extremely gullible and believes everyone to be sincere, at the beginning not even fathoming that one would lie or deceive her. However, Neverfell’s view on the world and others in the start is a very important part of her character. The following character development is, by consequence, very satisfying. If you have ever read Hardinge’s other books like The Lie Tree, for example, you’ll know how perfectly she writes a girl’s raw emotions.

I never had a problem with Neverfell has the main character (but I read other reviews to understand how people feel on different areas), because Hardinge didn’t enforce Neverfell’s naïv views as a dogmatic truth to how the world is. Neverfell never means anyone harm and doesn’t even hesitate to save others, but for her character development means understanding who is in need of help, and who isn’t. She is naïv, but she is the first one who is ready to risk her skin for someone considered lower than her, because she cannot understand their corrupt world view. Like I’ve stated before, I’ll value a character and book much higher if the hero or heroine is greatly flawed in the beginning and gets to actually grow as people.

Of course, it’s also important to remember what we should all be judging books by– the villains. And Hardinge delivers in this one. One of the villains I’ll mention here, ‘The Grand Steward’, is such a dreaded character that even I as a reader would never want to be face-to-Face with. He never hesitates to kill everyone and anyone he suspects of treason. Hell, you only need to stumble as a servant and he will have your head. Despite having lived for centuries, he himself is in one way, dead from the start. As he never lets his guard down, he takes turn letting his brain-halves sleep, resulting in different personalities depending on if his left-eye or right-eye is open. Which eye is open can, therefore, determine your chances of survival when meeting him. Not only did I really enjoy this character as a villain, his and Neverfell’s strange relationship, a coldhearted tyrant and a naïv but honest twelve-year-old results in some great character dynamics.

***

In summary, it’s not exactly a shock that I LOVED this book and I’d strongly recommend anyone to give it a go! x

A Song & A Book #61

Today’s song is;

A small piece of ice, lodged in my mind
Lodged in my thoughts, lodged in my eyes
Cold all around, cold all around
Warm from inside, warm from inside

And the book I chose for this song;

25489134

“At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.”

(Super) Exciting Book haul

So today I visited the lovely Science Fiction bookshop in Stockholm’s Oldtown, planning to buy like two books I’ve been meaning to buy for some time. And then I couldn’t stop myself. I had prepared a big budget when buying, but I maaaaay have been a little too…generous.

Mum, if you’re reading this– I’m so sorry but I regret nothing

Below are the books I bought, but know this; I prefer knowing as little as possible before starting a book, so there’s no synopsis of the stories, instead it’s about my experience with the author/previous books.

 

35077169 Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds [x]

This. This is the first book I saw when entering, and immediately a bell rang. I knew this cover design. I rush forward, and I almost choke when I realize that this is a sequel to a book I never thought would get a sequel. And I had no idea it recently came out!

Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds is the sequel to Revenger, the second book I reviewed when starting this blog (my review here)! I absolutely loved this book, it wasn’t perfect but god was it clever and so… subtle. The story follows our main character ‘Fura’ Ness as she runs away with a sister to work on a spaceship, but they end up attacked by the fretted Bosa Sennen. Together with what could have been just another Alpha Bitch™ character, Fura goes on a journey to escape the men sent after her from her father, while trying to save her captured sister.

I don’t want to read the synopsis of this second book, but let me tell you; Fura Ness is what Holly Black tried to make Jude in The folk of the Air and Marie Lu tried to make Adelina in The Young Elites. Also, it’s one of those rare Female p.o.v. YA’s with not a single love interest and zero focus on romance.  Read it. 

36642458Skyward by Brandon Sanderson [x]

Ah, yes. If you’ve been following this blog for some while you will be quite aware who Brandon Sanderson is. If you’re new– I’m just gonna be brief with you. In my religious love for books, he is a god of SciFi/Fantasy.love his books, but mostly I get so intimidated starting one book because they’re just so… sacred to me. But now I got my hands on this ScFi of a girl and her dragon spaceship who’s gonna fight aliens.

 

 

26821724A Veil of Spears by Bradley Beaulieu [x]

The third instalment in The Song of the Shattered Sands series, I’ve been unable to read it when it came out due to studies. But now I don’t have any excuse at all! This series is wonderful, set in a fictional world inspired by the Islamic golden age but with elements of the pre-Islamic Middle East, one girl is set on destroying twelve kings. The book series starts with a gladiator fight with our main character Çeda, and you realize immediately it’s gonna be bloody brilliant. This series is what I always recommend anyone who was disappointed in Throne of Glass – series by Sarah J Maas. 

38204046 The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden [x]

Another book in a series, also the third instalment, this was one series I was expecting to be disappointed in. But Arden completely surprised me with her first book because I actually adored it. She just captured that feeling of eastern fairy tale perfectly. I’m european, so I saw a lot of russian and slavic (sometimes inspired) old animated movies as a kid, and reading this book series felt like I was once again watching one of those. And just look at that cover. So perfect, so wonderful.

 

gullstruck-island Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge [x]

Frances oh Frances, wherefore art thou such a great author? I’ve read three of her books and LOVED every single one; The Lie Tree, A Skinful of Shadows and most recently read A Face Like Glass. Like my most recent read, this is not set in a fantasy world with… Volcanoes? Like I’ve said, I prefer knowing as little as possible before reading a book, and this is no exception. But like Brandon Sanderson, this is an author I will probably never be disappointed in.

I’ve done ‘A Song & a Book’ for both The Lie Tree and A Skinful of Shadows to give you an idea of the books. A review of A Face Like Glass will be up very soon!

38659947 Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge [x

You think I can walk past the shelf with all of Hardinge’s books and pick just one? HAHAHAH what do you take me for. I’ve heard such great things about this book that I can’t wait to start reading it! All I’ve gathered about this book without reading the description is that there’s a sassy little girl, a murderous goose and some kind of con-artist..? Honestly, what more do you need to know before reading it?

 

 

Are any of these books on your TBR? Have you read any? Or are you just curious about authors or series– don’t hesitate to leave a comment! x

T5W – Books I’d love to see as Bollywood Musical adaptations

Since I started blogging again, of course I must continue with this great weekly meme, Top 5 Wednesday! As by fate, I have free range this week when it comes to the topic, and therefore decided to do something fun with it. My choice? Consider which books would make lovely Bollywood musical adaptations! Because why not?

Below is my list ranked from number five to one. If you’re interested in participating in this weekly meme, you’ll find the group here.

 

tumblr_o2i2e31c301tt6s82o2_5405. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik [x]

There’s plenty of potential here to turn this fantasy romance YA into a Bollywood musical! With several Female p.o.v.s with stories of unwanted marriages and search for wealth and independence, I can very well imagine this Russian-inspired story to make a great movie.

2sc3av4. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson [x]

In a world where gods are rulers and colour is a sign of magic, two separated sisters must survive in two equally dangerous environments– the court and the street. I can almost imagine the colourful dance scenes, the different ones from the more traditional dances like Kathak in a court setting and more free folk dance-inspired Bollywood dance scenes on the street.

tumblr_oua2vve9by1utg7eko1_2503. Twelve Kings in Sharakai by Bradley Beaulieu [x]

Although this story is set in a fictional Middle-Eastern/North African land, it would still be awesome to see an action Bollywood musical adaptation with amazing sword dances! Festival dances! Court dances! A badass female lead set on destroying twelve kings, what more is needed to say?

 

 

2. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine [x]giphy (2)

This amazing re-telling of Cinderella would make for an awesome Bollywood musical. A girl who leaves her abusive home to go on a journey to rid herself of the gift (curse) that makes her obedient? Finding love and saving his life? Hell yes!

giphy1. Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn [xThis novel would make for such a perfect Bollywood musical, filled with balls and festivity scenes (aka Dance scenes!) and the main heroine often going for walks on the palace ground in the night (more room for more musical numbers!). And of course, it has its good share of weddings, forbidden love and other essential themes of a Bollywood romance.

 

 

Agree or disagree? What books would you love to see as Bollywood musical adaptations? Comment below! x