Monday, 23 April 2018

City of Ashes Chapter 12: there was some wine involved

So I might have got a bit tipsy and decided to write (some) of this recap--maybe it'll make me funny? Maybe it'll just make it more difficult to edit, who knows!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

The triumphant return and chapter 11 of City of Ashes!

Hello, hello!

A few things to say--first of all, I'm so sorry for abandoning this for nearly two years. Well, I say abandonment, but in reality, I always sort of knew I'd be putting this blog on hold while I travelled to Australia (click here if you'd like to read about my shenanigans there).

The point is, I'm back, and I have time to read again! And write snarky things! And boy, oh boy, do I have a lot of snark in me right now. In terms of projects, I will continue with The Mortal Instruments (because my hatred of Cassandra Clare still runs so, so deep), but I'll also be starting a new series come June!

As many of my friends know, I have a really deep-seated hatred for the literary canon; specifically, I'm really mad about what is still consistently taught in high schools and lower-level university courses as 'classic' literature while completely ignoring other seminal works that are often (read: always) more diverse.

So, starting this June, I will also be revisiting novels and stories that I studied in high school and university, discussing whether or not I think they need to be retired from the curriculum, and suggesting ones that can perhaps replace them. I will, of course, also continue the book reviews on my GoodReads of the books I'm reading right now as well.

I have a few other ideas up my sleeve, but at the moment those are the two I'm most sure will be happening, so stick around!

And now, of course, on to the recap!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

City of Ashes Chapter 10: I'm not saying I'm sick of vampires-- wait, no, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Maybe I'm being unfair to this chapter, because I got a bit tricked into reading a romance novel between a vampire and a witch the other day (why can't I just have my witchy paranormal novels? Why can't that be the next trend?!), but god I am sick to death of them.

Pun intended.

me when people tell me about the new vampire YA novels out

Not only that, but Cassandra Clare has named this chapter after my favourite line in one of my favourite poems ever, which has tainted it forever and I'm a bit pissy about it. I'm not trying to be elitist about it, it's a very popular and common poem, but seriously, why.

Anyway, onwards!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Divergent Chapter 16: It's a whole lotta nothing for twenty pages!

The readability of these chapters is pretty good, honestly. I know I gripe on the writing and how boring they are, but in terms of actual word flow-- it's really good. I just wanted to put that out there, because the problems I do have are strictly with the lack of proper plot and just general need to edit out superfluous details.

So right into it we go!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Review of Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't hate it! It wasn't my favourite book, ever, but I didn't hate reading it and will definitely check out the next book. I think a large, large part of why I struggled with reading it is the book itself is presented as fantasy/paranormal but... it's a romance novel. Like, if you go in knowing it's about 80% romance, then you're prepared and you can focus on the relationship between Matthew and Diana without being like, "Uh, don't you have a plot to take care of?"

The plot itself really only got interesting in the last 100 pages or so, but like I said, the whole rest of the novel is about how pure and magical their love is, so that isn't surprising. But once the plot gets started? Actually really compelling and made me want to read and find out more, especially with how it ended

Which leads me to the biggest issue I had with this book: the characters. Diana and Matthew are the biggest Mary-Sues I've read in a while. Diana fulfills the trope of character that IS SO STRONG! SHE'S SO STRONG AND AMAZING!! WE'RE NOT GONNA SHOW YOU HOW!! BUT WE'RE GONNA TELL YOU OVER AND OVER!! At one point I literally felt like I was reading Twilight all over again, there was such a lack of character. Diana is supposed to be this strong-willed, fearsome witch, but she never does anything that really shows that, and when she DOES, it's because of Matthew! Also, the constant gender stereotyping toward women in this book really pissed me the eff off--enough that I actually put the book down a few times. Also, for a novel about magic and witches, there was remarkably none, and that pissed me off.

So, yeah. Solid 3 stars, but I'm only reading because I like magic and stories with witches (seriously if I'd known there were vampires in this I might not have read lol), and the next book looks promising with its content. But definitely go in expecting a LOT of romance, because that's what you will get.

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Friday, 14 October 2016

Review of Haruki Murakami's "Norwegian Wood"

Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars.

How to write a novel like Murakami:

1. Add one young male protagonist with Caulfield'esque detachment (and ability to divide readers) with little to no description and absolutely no redeeming or even definable traits.

2. Add one young female character with a name after a colour (or vegetable or something else uncommon or unique) and a completely unexplainable attraction to the main male protagonist.

3. Do not mix well.

4. Add two female supporting characters who are also, inexplicably, attracted to the main male protagonist. Make sure they have no defining traits that aren't inextricably linked to femininity or being a good wife. Also make sure they have reached Amy Dunne levels of 'Cool Girl' but with absolutely no irony.

5. Add lots of weird and uncomfortable sex scenes and make sure there is not even the slightest chance of homosexuality. In fact, even if the scene has homoerotic elements, make sure it's all about how strange and fucked up that is.

6. End the novel the same way you'd end any of your papers that you were trying to up the word count in in seventh grade, by summarising the whole point of the novel and making sure that you add some extra philosophical and universal bullshit to really feel like you're saying something deep.

I wish I could say I read this book so fast because it was compelling and impossible to put down; in reality, I was bored at work for 7 hours and it was raining.

I really loved Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, and so was excited to keep reading his work. What I'm starting to understand is that Murakami has a formula he follows (which is fine), and that sometimes it works, and sometimes (in this novel, for example), it really, really doesn't.

The whole novel had so many insensitive moments to mental health, complete with the whole 'mentally fragile woman who needs to be saved', and the 'hardened mental patient with a soft spot for the mentally fragile woman' tropes. It's irritating to read, because his prose is so gorgeous that you feel like its being wasted on such insipid and downright irritating characters.

Not to mention, I understand there is a cultural difference, but if I can go the rest of my life without reading a sex scene between a 13 year old girl and a 31 year old, I will be extremely fucking happy. The amount of infantilization in this novel made me supremely uncomfortable, and you can explain it away with a cultural difference, but male authors DO THAT SHIT HERE, TOO.

All in all, the novel was forgettable, and really one of his weaker works. It actually makes me want to stop reading his writing, now that I've seen so starkly exactly what formula he follows when writing. It would be refreshing to read his beautiful prose with a female character that wasn't magic and ethereal and had some substance, but I guess that won't be happening too soon.

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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

City of Ashes, Chapter 9: Plot Twist of the Century (that everyone saw coming)

After last week's sheer ridiculousness with Divergent, I can't believe I'm actually happy to return to City of Ashes. I'll say lots of terrible things about CC and the writing, but at least she managed to make a semi-compelling story (albeit a partly plagiarised one).

As you will remember, Clary and Jace kissed at the end of the last chapter, and then Simon ran home crying and retching once he realised his girlfriend was in love with her brother.

artist's rendition of Simon after leaving the Seelie Court