“Halayda”– Fae a la YEAH!

“Halayda”– Fae a la YEAH!

 

Hey, y’all!

Sorry that it’s been AGES; work and stuff’s been driving me up the ROOF. But anyways, enough excuses– time to get down to the nitty-gritty.

Today I’m going to be reviewing a new fave book of mine, a book called, “Halayda,” the first in a series called the “Star-Fae Trilogy,” by Ms. Sarah D. White. (Who I would love to interview on here for you guys, but we’ll see what happens! 😉 She is really nice; we’re FB pals, and I’ve already asked her a good bit about the characters!) Long story short, I won the chance to get a free book from Uncommon Universes Press, an indie publishing company, and, after much contemplation, settled on this book (it was between that, the “World Building” book, and “Coiled”. Which I still may buy and review later.). This series is going to be my very clean sub for the “a lot less than clean,” Sarah J. Maas series, “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” which I have no to little desire to read namely because of aforementioned reason. But “Halayda’s” pretty clean– some cursing, here and there, but nothing super vile. For the most part, I was pretty satisfied and overall really liked the plot, the characters. But it distresses me, however, that, since it’s published by an indie publishing company, the hype is considerably less… so I’m going to be giving her a little boost in the marketing department… 😉

It was so good, but so under-hyped, that I was genuinely shocked that there was NO REAL ART OF HER CHARACTERS!!! (This is a book that’s good enough to be made into a movie that we’re talking about here.) I mean, aside from two portraits from Julia Busko of Taylan and Sylvie respectively (which were NOT how certainly pictured either of them– she forgot Sylvie’s waviness in her hair, and Taylan looks like a red-haired Legolas…), there was nothing, zip, nada. Which is why I’m eventually going to dedicate an entire post on here, my blog, to nothing BUT “Star Fae Trilogy” characters. I may not be as experienced an artist as Busko, and my phone may take extremely shoddy pictures, but it’s worth a shot at doing them justice! (Already did Casimir, since no one else did. I wanted him done the MOST, and man alive, did he turn out great! Sarah herself was very pleased 🙂 So that made my day! Taylan and Sylvie are up next– debating on whether to draw Syl with or without her wings– then Diza, then Zad.)

It also helped that a lot of the characters would often say, “Stars,” in amazement, reminding me immensely of The Lunar Chronicles.

(early apologies for formatting; my “insert,” tab is NOT favoring me today…)

Anyways, here’s my take on her, “Halayda” (I’ll do my best to limit major spoilers!):

Story Summary:

A mortal alchemist and a faerie king align and join forces to protect both their realms, but specifically the cruel, manipulative Star-Fae Casimir, who purposely endangers Faerie in order to draw out the Faerie Savior, known as the Dragonfly. Along the way, the protags are aided by sass masters, as well as hubby and wife, Zad and Diza, two other faeries (Pooka and Dulahna, respectively), some members of the Faerie Royal Court, and also– eventually– the Wild Hunt (consisting of pookas, kellishes, and cuanns 😉 Look ’em up!) in the task of stopping Casimir and restoring the realm.

What was Done Well:

  1. The Characterization. The characters were played off beautifully, so realistically. The sass could’ve been upped a tad for my taste, but I did enjoy the playful banter she had between Zad and Taylan, Sylvie sassing Casimir, and Diza sassing Velene. There’s no better verbal play against villainy than sassiness! 🙂 The romance was also subtle at times, not too mushy. That aside, I did like how she didn’t try to make her characters too perfect; Taylan had a HUGE skeleton in his closet and was very secretive, whereas Sylvie not only had the burden of saving the whole world shoved onto her shoulders all of a sudden, but she also was very insecure about herself, about her abilities. Her wanting to hide under her blankets and snuggle up when things got bad reminded me heavily of, well, me (Yes, I have a comfort pillow that I hug. A lot. Sue me.). She also reminded me greatly of Alina Starkov, in that aspect– both are very down about themselves and their abilities, and both have villains who kinda sorta take credit for giving said female protags power, and shame them when they don’t use it.insecuritygif
  2. The Detail. Some of it was more detailed than others, but I loved how she described the Wellspring, her characters’ appearances, the shifting mountain where all the past, present, and futures are connected and can be seen. AND THE FATE THREADS!!! She did herself very well in the world-building department. wellspring3. Suspense-Building. The tension was already there at the equinox party thingy, but it exploded into immediate chaos after Caylus and Cronies Co. decided to crash the party with tons of alchemical poisons, dousing Taylan’s realm and affecting everyone in it. Needlesstosay, some (OK, probably most) members of his Court were NOT too happy about it, and this builds up until we eventually reach… TREACHERY!!! (And the “lesser of two evils” kind of logic. Go figure.)treasongif4. The Faerie Groups. If you know me, I like categorization. I’d say order too, but then I’d be at risk of some nutjob like Casimir trying to butter up to me. But annnyyyywwwhhhoooo… I love categorization, like the factions in Divergent, like the Grisha orders in The Grisha Trilogy, etc. So naturally, I liked all the orders of Faerie put into the book for your convenience, so you weren’t totally lost.
  3. 5. Finally, I LOVED how she blended alchemy with magic– two worlds collide!! Literally. Enough said.

What Needed a Bit of Work:

  1. Plot talky– more tell than show. This was one of the few things that someone else pointed out that made me think, “They have a good point…” As much as I loved the book, the story, the characters, something was a little off. Something that was preventing it from FULLY achieving ULTIMATE GREATNESS, and being up there with the rest of the fabulous, really great books. That something was, primarily, not so much showing as telling. If it’s any consolation to Sarah, though, I’m probably equally guilty of this vice, and struggle with it quite often. I like to talk, to explain, when I NEED to learn to IMPLY. You can say just as much, if not more, than the average explanation by just implying or even STRONGLY implying something. She does sometimes, just not most of the time. And that’s OK– just something to remember and work on, in the future.
  2. The glossary at the front of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the glossary, it was really, really helpful. BUT I feel like when you put it at the FRONT, right in FRONT OF the story you’ve written, it’s like you expect readers to memorize every little thing– and I know that’s not true, that it’s there to help clarify, and for their benefit. As a reader, I’d much rather look BACK, towards a glossary that’s in the same place as an index. Keep-Calm-and-Write-On
  3. Lastly, the cursing. Granted, I know, it’s a part of everyday speech. This comment is probably more of a personal preference, more than anything. I was a little surprised to find it in a believer-authored book, and although SUPER strong language isn’t used, it was still frequent enough to bother me a hair (I think it was actually more frequent in this book than in, “Shadow and Bone” O.O). For me, when I write, I’d much rather say, “So-and-so swore…” and get on with the rest of the sentence; I noticed Ted Dekker does that a good bit, as well. But maybe that’s just me. 🙂

Overall, great book from a great author. Am looking forward to reading book two of the trilogy when it hits the market early 2018, seeing the Diza-Casimir confrontation, and stopping whatever Casi’s up to next!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (like I said– I’m a hard rater, but anything 3 and up is really good, by my standards!).

___________________________________

Image Credits:

http://jmhackman.com/2017/04/04/guest-post-by-sarah-delena-white-author-of-halayda/

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34210549-halayda

https://tenor.com/view/palpatine-treason-star-wars-emperor-gif-8547403

http://www.hippoquotes.com/davina-joy-quotes-tumblr

“How Far I’ll Let It Go”: A Reviewing Contrast of Both “Frozen” and “Moana”

“How Far I’ll Let It Go”: A Reviewing Contrast of Both “Frozen” and “Moana”

What do “Frozen” and “Moana” have in common, you might say? They’re about almost completely different things, in literally ENTIRELY different settings!

Well, there is one MAJOR element they DO share: They are both INCREDIBLY hyped. As in, hyped beyond the imagination, so much that it can be immensely annoying to non-fans. Which is why I’m here to do a little comparison-contrast today. Let’s see how the two teams, “Team Frozen,” and “Team Moana” respectively, line up when it comes to:

Story

Culture

Sidekicks

Music

Villains

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS! ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!

First, let’s begin with story:

“Frozen”: A girl with magical ice powers is locked away from society, and is terrified of showing everyone what she can do. Meanwhile, her lonely kid sis longs to reconnect with her, but due to her being consistently shut out, makes her easy prey for the true bad guy of the movie, who proposes to her on the spot. Later, things go horribly wrong as said older sis with magical ice powers reveals said powers under stressful pressure and in refusing said younger sis’s request to marry said bad guy (who they don’t realize is a bad guy until the very end). So, long story short, older sis runs off to the wilderness to live alone so she can’t hurt anyone anymore, but in the process accidentally lets off her powers on FULL steam ahead, effectively freezing over EVERYTHING in the land. Younger sis treks off to find her sis and bring her back, accompanied by eccentric guy, a fairly intelligent reindeer, and an obnoxiously goofy snowman that everyone but me seems to adore (for the record, I was on Christoph’s side when he said he was gonna tell said obnoxious snowman that he would melt in summer time). They succeed in bringing the older sis back after a few mishaps, unveil and defeat said bad guy, and have a typical, la-de-da happy ending. My story rating: 6 out of 10. A bit predictable, fairly unoriginal, and probably would’ve been better had they stuck closer to the original “Snow Queen” script (bonus in going with the latter idea: No Olaughs.).

elsagif

“Moana”: A young island girl turned village chieftaness feels called to the ocean, but never really knows why. Her eccentric grandmother shows her that her islander people were once voyagers, but that all changed when a “demigod,” Maui, stole this ancient heart artifact thingy, which destroyed their main goddess thingy, and a terrible volcano demon monster started to terrorize the ocean, destroying islands and vegetation in its wake. In fact, it is this need for her people’s survival, along with the fact that the ocean chose her specifically to restore the heart thingy, that sets her on her own journey to hunt out Maui himself– the latter who, as it turns out, can’t do diddly squat without his precious hook. They have a run-in with a treasure collecting giant crab to find said hook, then set off to defeat the volcano beast of death– which actually turns out to be the aforementioned goddess of greenery and vegetation, only without her heart. With it restored, she in turn restores all life lost, from vegetation to Maui’s hook (which got totally fried in their fight). Moana then shows her people that there’s no need to be afraid of the ocean any longer, and they all return to their voyager roots, with her at the command. My story rating: 5.5 out of ten. I don’t know what exactly, but this story lacked something in the plotline, SEVERELY. Although, in fairness, I think that happens when you’re on a raft thingy for days with little provisions, a grumpy “demigod,” and essentially nothing going on. I did like Moana’s character, spunk and gumption though– brownie points for that.

moanagif

Culture:

“Frozen”: According to numerous sources, the setting of “Frozen” was heavily inspired by Scandinavia. It mimics their clothing, their building structures and even maypoles. My culture rating: 7 out of 10. 

“Moana”: Based on the Polynesian islands in Oceania, the film also hit some New Zealander spots– specifically with the tattoos both islanders and Maui receive. The filmmakers did some research on islanders, as well as Polynesian and even New Zealander mythology and history. Additionally, Maui is briefly seen performing a very short-lived haka, or intimidating New Zealander war dance (that I fully appreciated, seeing as I’ve a New Zealander friend from college who actually did his one presentation on Maori language and culture, including the haka, briefly even mentioning this film as he did so.), during the face-off with the volcano demon thingy. My culture rating: 7 out of 10. 

mauihaka

Sidekicks:

“Frozen”: In both movies, there are two sidekicks. In “Frozen,” those sidekicks are Sven and Olaugh… oh, sorry, meant Olaf. Personally, I like Sven much better (he’s cuter and more intelligent, for one thing), but hey, if people want to super hype Olaf, go for it– just be aware that make people like me like him even less than we already do. Anywho, Sven proves pivotal in getting our heroes to the right place at the right time, whereas Olaf, who supposedly is normally “comic relief,” aids a badly in-need-of-aid Anna. I may not like Olaf, but at least he does something important. My sidekick rating: 5 out of 10. 

olafgif

(If only. If only.)

“Moana”: Two main sidekicks here are Hei hei the rooster and the porkchop (OK, OK, the piggy. You PETA people, sheesh.). They’re both essentially just Moana’s pets, and, I’ll be honest– they don’t do a whole lot for the story, sadly. The piggy, Mua, encourages Moana to go into the ocean, but is even more discouraged and frightened than she when that turns into an epic fail, and almost gets them both killed.  Hei hei, on the other hand, seems even less intelligent than Odie from Garfield (which is saying something), and only really reacts if it thinks it can eat something (even if it’s not edible– like a rock or the ancient artifact) or if its out in the middle of the ocean, practically alone. Annnnddd…. cue panic mode:

heiheiscream

Not saying it’s not funny, I am saying the rooster’s eyeballs probably take up like 90% of his lil noggin, and thus leave very, very little room for brains. Brains to help them out even remotely on their quest. Kudos for trying to be funny, though (was more successful than Olaugh, that’s for sure). My sidekick rating: 3.5 out of 10. 

Music:

“Frozen”: I personally think that “For the First Time in Forever,” is the even remotely decent song in the whole film. Just me, personally. Don’t even TALK to me about… you know… THAT song…. *runs off gagging* My music rating: 1.5 out of 10. 

“Moana”: “You’re Welcome” was majorly cliche (not to mention extremely narcissistic); even the giant, treasure-hoarding crab’s song was better than that. But Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go,” was terrific and beautiful, full of determination and inspiration. And, OK, I’ll admit that I’m biased– Alessia Cara did a FABULOUS remake job on it. My music rating: 6 out of 10. 

moanagif2

Villains:

“Frozen”: OK, OK, “Frozen” may have won this one. May. Namely because there was an actual villain-villain to deal with, a classic Machiavellian. BUT they did need to work on make him a LITTLE more subtle. Yes, he was pretty subtle, and I would say that caught most off guard (to be fair to the franchise overall, I was warned in advance by a then kindergartner, a first-grader, and a second-grader, BEFORE I saw it. But that’s besides the point. I think I still would’ve at least been suspicious; no one goes THAT far into a movie without at least an indicator of who the bad guy is.) But for a total surprise, cue out motives. Sounds counterintuitive, I know, but hear me out. If they did that, no one would suspect, because he SEEMINGLY has no motives for doing what he does– just a gallant, gentlemanly figure trying to help out. Of course, NOT playing the “I’m the youngest out of several brothers,” card might make it slightly harder to win over the ladies. But on the other hand… maybe NOT.

Hanspunch

(That was a haymaker hook punch, BTW… a punch only really thrown on either street fights or boxing matches. Not really a proper punch.)

My villain rating is… 6 out of 10.

“Moana”: Saddens me to say this, but “Moana” actually fell a bit short in this department, considering the only real threats were a giant packrat of a crab, animated coconuts, and a humongous lava beast– the latter, the main  antagonist known as Te Ka, turning out to be the earth “goddess” from earlier. Shaaammmmeee, beating up on someone who isn’t really a bad guy but just is missing her heart and wants to make things right again. Shaaammmmee. That for the most part means we’re basically villain-less. For the most part.

transformationgif

My villain rating: 2 out of 10. Namely because of the coconut guys. 

Annnndddd our totals are “Frozen” with 25.5 points, and “Moana” with 23 points. Ooooo, so close, but sadly, “Frozen” heads a bit with slightly better concepts in both the villainy and story departments than “Moana.” However, “Frozen” still falls flat on its face for lack of originality in some areas, and coming up short in the music department.

svengif

On the the other hand, had they made “Moana’s” plot more thrilling and engaging, given Hua the porker and Hei Hei more to do than just be adorably funny, and given us a TRUE villain, it DEFINITELY would have beaten “Frozen,” hands down. I mean, let’s be honest– the animation in and of itself already outdoes “Frozen’s”. Off to a good start.

Moanahighfive

Have you watched “Moana” and “Frozen”? What did you think?

__________________________

Image Credits:

https://www.tumblr.com/search/oc:%20te%20fiti

https://www.tumblr.com/search/anna%20punches%20hans

Moana GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

https://ohmy.disney.com/news/2013/11/20/our-favorite-gifs-from-the-frozen-clips/

Moana GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Moana GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

https://www.tumblr.com/search/artist:haka

https://tenor.com/view/frozen-olaf-impaled-hurt-oh-gif-4693646

https://www.tumblr.com/search/heihei.

http://screenrant.com/moana-frozen-box-office-prediction/

 

 

Over The Moon with”The Lunar Chronicles”

Over The Moon with”The Lunar Chronicles”

 

I’ve been meaning to post on here (eventually) about my newest love for a newer, non-Grisha-Trilogy book series, but haven’t really had the time… until now.

Enter the Lunar Chronicles. Dun dun dun duuuuunnnnn….

For those not in the know, “The Lunar Chronicles” is the series you want to delve into if you like fairy tales, “Once Upon A Time,” “Star Wars,” or just fantasy. Think SW meets the Grimm Brothers a la Terminator.

Now, while the idea of crime-fighting cyborgs GENERALLY doesn’t appeal to someone like yours truly, I will say I made the exception. Just this once, for this FANTASTIC series (besides, it’s portrayed in a manner very similar to extremely handy prosthetics.  I think I’ll live.). Not too long ago, I finished the series with hungry bravado, before finals even started, but unfortunately, have not begun to write said review until afterwards (Because busyness. I apologize profusely.). That being said, the read was worth it. And reviewing it tonight will be worth me forgoing and sacrificing the Taekwondo forms I was going to practice for exercise tonight(because, let’s be honest, I haven’t been practicing consistently for a week… :/ oh well, guess there’s always tomorrow… I have the whole danged week, after all…).

So anyways, enough chit chat; let’s get to the nitty gritty!

Pros/ What was done well:

  1. The Characters and Characterization. I seriously love what Marissa Meyer does here; she basically takes a classic fairy tale, puts her own spin on it, AND still has elements that causes it to remain true to the original stories. And if you look for the character parallels, you WILL find them. (i.e., Aimery Park= Queen’s Mirror; Jacin the royal guard= the huntsman in “Snow White,” etc.) If you look for storyline parallels, they are usually there, in some way, shape or form. But I also love what she did with all the characters. Cinderella= Cinder, the spunky, sassy cyborg mechanic who is (spoiler alert) the long-lost Lunar princess. The Big, Bad Wolf= semi-mutated human-wolf hybrid former soldier who went rogue, for the sake of his love, who happens to be Little Red’s counterpart. Rapunzel= expert and extra adorable hacker shell girl who has spent too much time in her satellite hovering around Earth, and little actual time in the real world. Her crush, Thorne, literally pilots a ship called the Rampion (another name for the plant called, “rapunzel”.). Snow White= an extremely kind princess, who is kind to the point that it literally costs her her sanity. Literally. In fact, the last one reminds me a LOT of Luna Lovegood, in a good, charming way. 🙂rampioncrew
  2. The SHIPS. Oh GOSH. THE FREAKING, FLIPPING SHIPS. Sooooooo many freaking ships, and while ordinarily this would bother me, Meyer pulls it off pretty well. They don’t obstruct the plot all that much; they contribute to it. Almost everyone is paired with SOMEONE suited for them and their story/situation, and none of the ships bother me (unless you count the possibly shipping Sir Hayle with Levana in Fairest. 😛 ). My fave ship is probably Kainder (Prince Kai + Cinder); they’re both royalties with the weight of nations upon their shoulders– I love it how they can connect and easily relate to each other, how Cinder doesn’t have to manipulate him to get him to like her, like some Lunars would. It’s adorable, almost as adorable as Cress. cress1
  3. I find the amount of “Star Wars” references almost… disturbing. Disturbingly GOOD, that is. Meyer herself admitted that Thorne and his beloved ship are (obviously) based off of Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon, Iko is kind of inspired by R2-D2, plus, we have some intergalatic political matters, and glamours (her own version of a “Jedi Mind Trick”) underway. So instead of “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” it becomes, “these aren’t the wanted criminals who are trying to take down the Lunar Queen that you’re looking for”. Add a touch of Panem fashion to some of the aristocratic Lunars’ fashion statements, and BAM! Brilliance. (OK, OK, I’m geek-biased… sue me. LOL)
  4. The sympathy for Levana does NOT ECLIPSE HER VILLAINY!!! First off, BRAVO. This is a very, very difficult thing to pull off, even for talented authors. I cannot honestly express this enough: give a little too much in the “sympathy” department, and people are going to feel sorry for them to the point of perhaps even defending the villain’s cruel actions, which you do not want. On the other hand, a boring, “mwa-ha-ha” villain often dulls the plot; complexity adds interest. Meyer does this pretty well; Levana is given something of a sympathetic backstory, having neglectful parents who were assassinated when she was young, along with an abusive older sister. BUT she chooses, from then on out, to make bad choices, purposely– and, with each bad choice, transforms her into a crueler person. From murdering her beloved so she could form a political alliance, to trying to kill her own niece to keep her throne, Levana has a beautiful glamour, and is vicious, with the right amount of an interesting story to keep the pages turning. I rarely hear voices of sympathy or defense of her actions from fans, it’s done so well. You, Ms. Meyer, get the medal of the evening. *applause*levana
  5. Research. Meyer obviously did extensive research on certain things in her books, whether it was mechanics, survival-based, etc. Not every author does this, and does it well; some people make stuff up without really looking into anything. But yeah, it goes to show you, a lot of research really pays off in the end.

Cons/ What could have been done better:

Honestly, not a whole lot, so I’m not even really going to make a list on this one. There were maybe one or two minor things in the storyline that either bothered me a tiny bit, or weren’t super believable. One such thing, for instance, was Winter and Scarlet winning the mutant soldiers to their side so quickly. I get that they were on a time crunch, Meyer was on a time crunch/deadline, but it felt slightly rushed at the least. At least give it more time to develop, like Wolf and Scarlet’s relationship, which started to blossom after at least several days, not just a few hours. I also never really got why the whole “Peony chip” thing held so much significance, since it was just tossed away in the Benoit field later and kind of forgotten. (I mean, I got WHY they showed what Peony meant to Cinder, and the fact of what the chips were being used for, but since both are so important, I would assume it wouldn’t be tossed aside so meaninglessly like that, without much thought afterwards.)

Overall, my rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars. I’m a tough rater, so kudos to whoever makes it to 4+ stars. 🙂 These books and series are usually ones that have earned it, and “The Lunar Chronicles definitely has.

___________________________

Image Credits:

http://maybeicantbesaved.tumblr.com/Books

Veronica Roth’s Latest Makes Its Mark

Veronica Roth’s Latest Makes Its Mark

 

 

… Literally.

OK, I promised you guys some reviews of some of the new books and movies I’m going to be reading/seeing, and it’s high time I made good to you on those promises. I am a girl of my word.

carve-the-mark-book-trailer

So, predictably, this first review is about Roth’s latest work, “Carve the Mark.” As per usual, there will be a substantial amount of SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW, so do NOT READ THIS if you’ve NOT read the book, and do NOT want to be spoiled. You have been warned.

Overall, I think Roth set the bar a little TOO high with her debut trilogy, “The Divergent Trilogy,” because “Carve the Mark,” fell slightly short of, well, HITTING said mark (if you’ll excuse my punniness.). That is not to say that I did not enjoy the story; it’s just not as good as the Divergent trilogy, is all. The story’s atmosphere had a Star Wars-y touch to it, like futuristic tech, planet-hopping while scavenging for useful goods (cough… Rey and jawas… cough…), a cruel dictator who seems to be related to one of the protags, etc. They even have their own version of the Force (no, I am not pulling your chain), called “the current,” that many of the peoples in this universe seem to revere or even worship. All this I can easily appreciate, without acknowledging she might’ve swiped an idea (or two) from George Lucas or even from the author of Shatter Me (my fellow book reviewer and good friend said the two sound quite similar in concept). There was also a predestination theme I thought some of my more Calvinistic friends would be appreciative of; every person in the universe has a specific Fate. Some of the Fates are not as always as they might appear, but they, combined with the current-wielding characters, are ultimately the driving force behind the plot.

So, while I won’t be spoiling EVERYTHING by revealing the WHOLE plot (I’m assuming that you WANT to read this book, if you haven’t already, and don’t mind spoilers by this point), I will be giving insight into what I thought Roth did well/could be improved. Here we gooooo…

Cons/What could have been improved:

  1. Some of the explanations were a little vague, and hard to follow at times. Sometimes, I would not fully grasp things until a bit later. But maybe that’s just me. It IS, after all, the author’s job to SHOW, not tell. It’s just I think there is the occasional time where they need to be more apparent, more explicit, in their showing. Of course, there are times (such as suggestive scenes) where I am quite satisfied with being spared all the explicitness, and just have a general impression that “such and such” happened, without knowing details. But some things are vital to the story, like organs are to a person’s being. While it may be good to not reveal everything at once, and thus keep your reader reigned in with some sense of mystery and suspense, when a clue about the mystery is dropped, you don’t want to be so vague that it almost entirely goes over their heads (again, maybe I’m just that oblivious, as per usual. But hey, maybe I’m NOT the only one…). Some vagueness is good, as long as it’s not overdone.
  2. Who’s the real villain? A lot of the time, it’s very obviously shown to be Cyra’s dictatorial older brother, Ryzek. And for the most part, I would agree with that. However, about halfway through, up to the end of the novel, I would also call Sifa, Akos’s mom, pretty manipulative. And not always in a good way. She’s an oracle, and can see all these Fates, all these possible futures, similar to Seth in Ted Dekker’s In the Blink of an Eye. Like Seth, she is able to manipulate people and events by what she does, and what she tells them, to her liking, so whichever future she wants to happen will happen. It makes me wonder if she has an ulterior motive or two in mind, and if Roth is going to write a second book that details that….

ryzek

3. It moves pretty slowly throughout, with more of the action being placed at the beginning and ends of the book. Granted, this is how a LOT of books roll, so I can’t entirely criticize this; however, I will readily admit that much of the slowness of the plot, especially in the middle, along with some vagueness, genuinely made it tough to keep going, keep trudging through. Even though now I am very glad I have, but a LOT of the plot twists and climatic point were kind of shoved together at the end, like several atomic bomb droppings that you really, really had no idea were coming, no implication of whatsoever. I mean, yes, you know a certain character *might* die. But that’s really, for the most part, the only real implication you actually get. If spread out slightly more evenly (naturally, you WANT the REALLY gripping stuff for last), it will keep people reading, and less tempted to give up siding in the quest alongside the protags. Keep it rolling, Roth, keep it rolling, and you’ll have us ALL in your snare. You are a talented writer. This is too important for super-slow middles.

akos

Pros/What was done well:

  1. The romance. As we all know, there has to be a certain degree of romance for me in a good novel that SUPPOSEDLY has a bit of everything in it– what I like to call, “a buffet novel”. Too hot on the romance, and I start to feel sick-ish, like I ate a truckload of Peeps, and feel the need to immediately stop the story and close the novel, to lose the attention the author’s worked so hard to gain. Too cold, too distant, makes me think the romance unbelievable and inauthentic, and just not cut out for the story– in fact, the story, in this instance, may just be better off if the romance WERE cut out, period (and I have a high tolerance for non-romantic stories too, especially if they’re adventure/fantasy.). I have a special, happy medium, sweet-spot that few authors have succeeded in hitting with me. Roth, in this novel, has actually succeeded in hitting that mark, almost exactly. Akos and Cyra meet due to his being captured, and, since his Fate is to serve the family of Noavek (which, now that I think about it, makes for an even BIGGER possible plot twist at the end… #futurebetrayal?), he ends up having to be a servant to her. Now, hear me out, it’s a bit like “Beauty and the Beast”: Cyra’s the kind of cruel captor, and her currentgift is to cause herself and others (when she touches them) pain, via thingies called “currentshadows”. Her brother uses this ability to torture his enemies, etc, but the fact that his sister is incapacitated by it herself (rendering her essentially useless to him) he uses Akos’s currentgift, the ability to stop the flow of current/others’ currentgifts via physical touch, he gives Akos to Cyra as a servant. No, they do not do things together; initially, he is just for pain relief, but since he’s literally the only person she can touch without hurting (as well as her newfound friend and sometimes confidant), their relationship soon blossoms. It’s beautiful, but subtle. And it’s truly remarkable how they work together, how they would do almost anything for each other. Yet, their romance is NOT the main point of the book; it does NOT take it over. This is the one thing CTM does well, in where Divergent failed. Roth is getting better at this part of the writing game. 🙂

cyra

2. The currentgifts, and almost anything current-related. Basically half the stuff in this world (spaceships/shuttles included) run on the current. Special talents and powers are gifted through the current; what is interesting is that not all are beneficial. It’s interesting because normally when we think “superpower” we DO think, “beneficial,” like, “Oh, it’d be cool to fly or turn invisible, or have super strength!” We don’t think of the consequences of those powers, such as perhaps setting everything we touch on fire if we’re pyrokinetic, or, in Cyra’s case, causing her and everyone she touches excruciating pain. Roth develops a fascinating idea here. When you give a sculptor clay, they take it, and mold it into something beautiful after playing with it a while. When you give a word artist words and an idea, who knows where they’ll take it.

3. The plot twists. OH MY FREAKING,FLIPPING GOSH, ALL THE PLOT TWISTS AND CONSPIRACIES. Namely at the end, it leaves you drooling for more. Why and how did Lazmet Noavek survive, and if so, why is he no longer on the Noavek throne? What of Cyra’s heritage? Akos’s future loyalties? What does Sifa intend to gain by manipulating the future? Is Isae truly the real chancellor of Thuvhe? What was Orieve Benesit’s currentgift? All these questions, mostly burning in me due to the ending, are causing me to strongly suppose there will be a second installment, and this will not, repeat, will NOT be a standalone story. There is more here than meets the eye.

My rating: Overall, I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Needs a bit of work, but with possible improvements, it could truly be morphed into something great.

cyragif

___________________________

Image Credits:

http://www.pinterest.com (for “Carve the Mark”)

http://sassynicos.tumblr.com/ (warning: inappropriate content; this is just where I found Ryzek’s pic when on Google Images)

http://www.thefandom.net/books/watch-striking-book-trailer-veronica-roths-carve-mark/

 

http://www.epicreads.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-carve-the-mark/

Review: Into The Jungle

Review: Into The Jungle

Hi, everyone!

So, tonight I’m going to be reviewing Disney’s newest rendition of “The Jungle Book,” which I just finished watching on Netflix (because I’m too cheap to keep going to a theater. LOL.). As an overall Disney fan, I loved it. The scenery and screenplay was awesome, and the little tidbits they added to make the story more interesting was both fascinating and mostly beneficial.

The filmmakers did an amazing job of choosing the setting, and how they shot the film. The cameras were in all the right places at all the right times; you felt as if, at times, you were actually Mowgli– whether it was tumbling down a wet, mud-slicked ravine to get away from Shere Khan, darting past trees, gazing into Kaa’s ominously mesmerizing eyes, or staring down Shere Khan.

Speaking of Kaa, I’m right glad that she (?) made only one appearance. (I totally called when she was going to make her (?) cue, even before the snakeskin discovery.), although I was genuinely surprised they decided to switch his gender to female. I suppose it was an effort to give Kaa a more seductive, more alluring sort of feel, with her (?) being all mesmerizing and “I’m-gonna-swallow-you-alive-and-whole,” sorta business. Still, the fact that hypnotism overall mortally terrifies me, and that I generally don’t like or trust snakes (the animals or the people) made me relieved that she (?) only made one appearance, rather than 2-3, as the original film portrayed.

The actor who played Mowgli did marvelous. Not only did he look like the original, but he acted like the original. I like how the directors played into Mowgli’s creativity even more at the end; this led to one of the few differences between the endings of the original Disney film and the live-action: Khan actually perishes in the fire, in the latter.

The story was excellent, as well, with a few tweaks. Aside from Khan’s death and Kaa making only one appearance (thank goodness), we have the watering hole truce (a nice story play-off, if I do say so myself), the monkeys kidnapping Mowgli at a slightly different time, King Louie being a Gigantopithecus (instead of an orangutan– most likely to emphasize his kingship, power and influence), Baloo using Mowgli to get down honeycomb rather than bananas, Khan trying to sway wolf pups to his side rather than their mother’s, the cut-out of Mowgli with the vultures when he’s down, the alteration of when Mowgli tries to join the elephants (he instead shows them a deep respect by bowing at different points in the story, and at one point uses an invention– rope– to help rescue a little elephant), and the fact that ultimately, Mowgli decides to stay in the jungle with his friends, since the threat of Khan has been eliminated. There is now no need for the man village, for the young girl to make her flirtatious entrance into Mowgli’s  life. This, above all else, was one of the major storyline differences– and one of the few I’m not entirely sure I actually agree with. After all, if the man village is introduced, then forgotten, it is simply a red herring– a “rabbit trail” to make us go down with hope that it might, just might, be like the original film. There is no real point to having introduced it into the story if they are not going to do anything with it, unless they wanted to reference both Kipling’s book and the original, or wanted to use it as reference to Mowgli’s past. That aside, it serves no real purpose, since Mowgli remains in the jungle at the end, Bagheera content, and the main antagonist thwarted (but…. KAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

On to antagonists other than Kaa, Shere Khan was pure malignity. Note, not motiveless malignity, but malignity. He had motive– he was burned and scarred for life by his arch-nemesis’s dad. He had a goal– eliminate any human in the jungle, regardless of gender or age. He was not even a Machiavellian villain, but at the same time that was something that kind of worked in favor of making you love to hate him more– he not only wanted to kill Mowgli personally, but wanted to propagate the rest of the jungle into believing HIM– starting with the wolf pups Mowgli had grown up with. When he opened his mouth, I somehow expected a different voice from him, however– something more, I don’t know, suave, cool and yet deadly. The actor’s voice almost sounded a bit too upbeat for the job, IMO, but I guess it’s a challenge to voice a character like him.

One of my favorite characters was Bagheera. His no-nonsensical way of looking at life, dedication and loyalty to his friends, as well as his subtly dry sense of humor, reminded me immensely of Obi-Wan. ….Apologies, “Star Wars” fangirl in me just kicked in.

Anyways, I overall rate this film a 4.5 out of 5 stars, and would recommend any Disney, or even non-Disney, fans to watch it. You won’t be let down, and you can count on the “bare necessities” of the film to leave you on the edge of your seat, hankering for more.

 

____________________

Image Credit: http://www.readthespirit.com/visual-parables/the-jungle-book-2016/

The Grisha Trilogy– A Review

The Grisha Trilogy– A Review

Having a frequent craving for fantasy, action and adventure stories (with just a TOUCH of romance), I was looking forward to reading something new and gripping this summer, and consulted my one dear college friend, regular book reviewer, extremely avid reader, fellow fangirl, vlogger and overall wonderful person, Macy, on which series I should tackle next; she suggested the Grisha Trilogy, which is filled with climatic scenes, fantasy, nearly-magical, matter-manipulating Grisha, and of course more frequent– cough– “shippers’ scenes” (as I so affectionately call them.).

While the series had more romance-y bits than I had anticipated, I still for the most part enjoyed the series, with a few personal annoyance hitches once every so often, and even got two of my besties back home hooked. While I had serious doubts about the series initially (WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER ZONE UP AHEAD!!!!), it mostly evened out towards the end, and gave at least a partially satisfactory conclusion.

When I first started the series, unlike most (average) readers, I could not sit still. I was genuinely anxious, because I felt like I was constantly comparing her works, published and popular and usually GOOD, to my own, which are still a work in progress. But once I was able to sit back and relax a bit, I found myself enjoying the actual story, while not liking other parts as much. Here’s what I thought, overall, about the Trilogy:

Cons (I make it always a habit to get these outta the way, so they don’t ruin the good):

  1. Portrayal of faith.  Ms. Bardugo, the author, has a curious way of superstitiously objectifying faith, hope, and even love in ways I find to be at least fairly despicable. God is not mentioned at all, only people praying to/idolizing “Saints,” people who may not have even been believers in Him at all but simply miracle-workers who were killed in some gory manner JUST because they performed miracles– and some of those miracles may have even been considered “abominations” (cough… Morozova… cough…), even by the book’s standards. Faith, especially in book 3, “Ruin and Rising,” is often displayed in cult-like fanaticism, which isn’t true to ACTUAL faith at ALL. Bardugo herself stated that although she was born in Jerusalem, she considers herself superstitious in some ways; this makes me wonder what her religious beliefs are (if she has any at all), and if these beliefs could very possibly be affecting her writing. We shall see what she says, if I ever get the chance to ask her that….
  2. Acceptance of immoral lifestyles. Although there’s nothing TOO explicit (I’d wring her sorry neck if it was otherwise), there are many, many references to sleeping around (i.e., the Darkling and female Grisha, Mal and several pretty young women), homosexuality (in “Ruin and Rising” only), blending some good and some bad together and calling it fine (granted, I both agree and disagree with her decision to avidly write good and bad in her protags; she states that no one is wholly good or wholly evil, which is something I’ve obvious mixed feelings on…), etc. What gets my goat is that both Mal and the Darkling get annoyed/ angry with Alina, the protag, for falling for the other or Nikolai, but still see absolutely NOTHING wrong with sleeping around like prostitutes themselves…. and then Alina proceeds to be the only one who seemingly feels guilty about having even remote feels for the other guy. Ugh, MEN. *heaves big, frustrated sigh* ( OK, minor rant over, LOL.) The homosexuality and her sneaking in highly leftist propagandistic themes (most LGBT ones) are the primary reason I will NOT be reading one of her more recent books, “The Six of Crows”, which is said to have even more of “sexual orientations” in it.
  3. The bad guy being SUPER obvious at the beginning of the story.  Really, Ms. Bardugo? You expect us NOT to believe, at the very beginning, that a character legitimately titled, “the Darkling,” who can summon darkness, can slice a live man in two without batting an eyelash, and kidnaps a young woman seemingly for “the good of the country,” ISN’T up to something?? Up your game, girl.
  4. Often gets you to root for the LAST said guy you SHOULD be rooting for… ^ I actually kinda wrote an entire article sort of about this, a while back. While I give Ms. Bardugo kudos for making him detailed, multi-layered (in a way), with an enigmatic personality that keeps you guessing at times, it makes you really think, “Does she actually WANT me rooting for the bad guy? I mean, we see all the horrible things the Darkling’s done, all the people he’s brutally murdered, tortured, etc, and we STILL want him to basically take over Ravka and win over Alina?” We’re aware that she confessed in an interview with her editor that in fact she wanted to make him a cold, ruthless dictator that simply oozed charisma and seduction, stating that she wished to make a villain you couldn’t just dismiss; however, she admitted she was genuinely surprised to hear even one person say that all the Darkling’s actions were perfectly defensive, despite all he’d done, because his motives were at least somewhat good and he loved Ravka. Bardugo confessed that even with those as semi-motives (power-hungry motives aside), he shouldn’t get a free pass on murder and torture because of it. And yet, looking back on her creation, and how/why she created him, I can’t help shaking my head and thinking, “You brought this on yourself, sista.” 

Pros:

  1. The DETAIL. The biggest thing that impressed me was the detail in her books; the descriptions were all so deep and VIVID– especially physical descriptions, character descriptions, and even animal descriptions, but emotional ones, too. She set the scene in a land similar to tsarist Russia, and, for the most part, I think she out-did herself describing it all.
  2. Detailed, often multi-layered, unforgettable characters. Speaking mostly protags and antags, Bardugo’s got the gift for this too, I’ll admit. The Darkling has easily become one of my favorite-of-all-time antags, having an obvious love-hate thing for him (it got to the point where I caved in to buying a body soap that smells like him and a poster with his symbol on it off of Etsy. I think I’ve gone off the deep end. Officially.). I can really, really relate to Alina a good bit, despite belief differences, especially the parts where she feels insecure about herself and her powers, when she feels different from others, and how she feels towards the Darkling is similar to my own feelings, on some different levels (although I wanted to crack her across her head for naively falling for his game so soon, so early in the very first book. You do not get into big, black carriage and go with Mr. Creepy to the Little Palace. You do not become his little political pawn of a princess that he can dress up, parade, and use to whatever his liking. You do not– Oh, why am I bothering when she does it anyways? 😛 ), namely in “Siege and Storm” (book 2). I like Genya a lot, too (she and David are so cute, being potential opposites:3 ). I also am a big fan of Nikolai; I positively ADORE his charmingly scheming demeanor, his bantering with Alina and/or Mal, and all of his wonderfully quotable moments. I love his two powerful, yet moving personas: Pirate (or, as he prefers to be known as, “privateer” 😉 ) and prince, as well as the sporadic and oh-so-charming way he proposed to Alina in “Siege and Storm” and the comical conversation that follows shortly afterwards. I think he’s my other, secondary G.T. crush. Ms. Bardugo herself called him one of her favorite characters to write, along with the ever-bratty, stuck-up Zoya. A well-picked favorite, if I do say so myself.
  3. Plenty of action, adventure, and climatic scenes. The ones that got me are when (more spoilers!) Alina protected the stag in “Shadow and Bone;” the scene and confrontation in the chapel at the end of “Siege and Storm,” and the hunt for the firebird/realization what/who the real third amplifier is. The series is also not lacking in comical scenes, from Nikolai to Alina and Mal’s bantering.
  4. THE GRISHA. Think similar concept to ATLA benders, only… different. The Grisha are magicians of sorts; they can manipulate matter that’s already there whilst making it LOOK like magic (It’s called, “The Small Science”.). For instance, an Inferni can’t be like a firebender and summon a flame, they need combustible gases in the air, along with a flint to strike a spark. There are three orders: Corporalki (Healers and Heartrenders, who normally wear red kefta– special coats only Grisha are permitted to wear), Etherealki (Summoners– Tidemakers, Squallers, and Inferni. They all wear blue kefta. The Darkling and the Sun Summoner, Alina, also fall under this category because they can summon darkness or light, but are also in a different category all their own; the Darkling of course wears a black kefta, whereas Alina’s kefta color varies.), and Materialki (aka Fabrikators, separated into two groups: Durasts and Alkemis. Purple kefta.). Healers can heal wounds together almost seamlessly, Heartrenders can mess with people’s hearts– literally– and slow their heartbeats to put them to sleep or squeeze until it stops beating altogether (scary, I know.). Tidemakers, Squallers, and Inferni can all summon and manipulate the elements around them to their advantage, respectively ( water, wind, and fire). Durasts can manipulate solids, such as steel, rock, etc, while Alkemi specialize in poisons and liquids. Genya is a Tailor, a special type of Grisha who’s a cross between a Corporalki and a Fabrikator, but instead of making clothes, she can literally REMAKE your face (nifty for disguises), such as erasing freckles/acne/wrinkles, making your eyes a brighter/darker color, or changing your hair color. (Hence the reason she’s kind of vain.) Me? I’d love to be a Squaller… give myself “air boosts” when I run, to make myself feel like flying… air cushions beneath me in case I fall or something… blow-dry my hair quicker…. :3 #perksofbeingaSqualler

 

Welp, those are my thoughts overall on the series. 🙂 Feel free to comment and discuss if you’re a fan or if you’ve read the G.T. too, and let me know what you think! 😉

_______________

Image Credit: http://lifeofabookwormbyninaeudora.blogspot.com/2015/09/review-grisha-trilogy-leigh-bardugo.html

To Suppress Or To Cave In?

To Suppress Or To Cave In?

Lately, I’ve almost been having what you might call a “Me Crisis”. Not quite there, but almost. It’s one of those fights that you fight with yourself, with half of you wanting to do something, really wanting to do it, and the other half obstinately resisting that desire.

The fight is almost like those little characters in the Disney-Pixar movie Inside Out, only, instead of being named after individual emotions, they are named for my particular personality traits, or rather, they encompass certain aspects of myself. If something conflicting, confusing, or desirable comes up, they basically play tug-of-war until someone wins. Allow me to introduce the key players that are now permanently stuck inside my brain, being the way I’ve coped with the world since I couldn’t write/vent as much as I used to be able to:

Emoti, aka Emotional Side of Me. She is my ditz. My impulsive ditz. My impulsive, romantic, immature, irrational, loud-mouthed and often bratty ditz. She is my high-functioning autism on steroids, and I often have a challenge in controlling her; however, she is also responsible for any joy, excitement, and passion I feel (cough… fangirling… cough…), so she isn’t a TOTAL brat 100% of the time. (This is probably why she hasn’t been locked up, like a certain someone else inside my head… but I’ll get to that one later.)I often picture her as a smaller, giddier, more excitable, entirely blossom pink version of me inside there.

Sensi, aka Sensible Side of Me. She is my conscience, my mother hen when my folks aren’t around, whatever you wanna call her. She’s the one who usually prevents me from doing stupid things, or berates me when I do do them, and also keeps a tight leash on both Emoti and the other certain someone inside my noggin. She is my intelligence, my logic, my maturity (yes, when I try I can be mature thanks to her), my realism, my common sense (when I choose to use it), my big, caring heart (and any selflessness I might have within me), my altruism, and sometimes, my courage. She is more the embodiment of my Christian beliefs and virtues than the other two. I picture her as me with a ponytail, a hooded sweatshirt and jeans, calmer and more collected, and with a golden-ish yellow hue around her.

Certain Someone Else Inside My Head– aka My Subconscious. Probably the most dangerous part of me, this part is always kept under lock and key, and strict surveillance, by Sensi. She is basically Emoti’s worst qualities times 10, is inconsiderate, selfish, immoral, lustful, cruel, has no control over herself whatsoever, etc, etc, etc. I don’t wanna say it, but she’s kinda pretty much the “deeper, evil, sinful” part of me, aside from Emoti, who only embodies it on a smaller scale. Minus the horns and the pitchfork. (LOL) She has wild hair, leery eyes, and a emerald-greenish hue around her, and is almost always locked inside my small mental cage, and buried deep, deep within the recesses of my brain, where I hope and pray with all my might that she never, ever escapes. Unfortunately, sometimes her influence will seep out and either a., affect Emoti and tempt her to unleash Subconscious, or b., affect me directly and tempt me to do something completely out of line, whether it be immoral, weird, cruel, or something you would not at all do in a social situation. To my knowledge, there are only two known ways of unlocking her, and I’m really not big on either idea (but, knowing MY luck, there’re probably MORE ways…). Think of her as Yakumo Kurama from Naruto’s  “Ido,” if you will. Not the best influence, and someone you definitely want to steer clear of.

…. Now, you’re probably wondering, why am I bringing all this up? Well, recently I’ve been reading a semi-popular fictional series known as “The Grisha Trilogy” by Leigh Bardugo– just finished the first installment, “Shadow and Bone,” in fact. (Spoiler Alert, if you haven’t read it yet– if you don’t want to be spoiled, then turn and run away while you still can!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!) One of this story’s main theme’s, other than literal darkness, to my surprise, was that the protagonist, Alina, was like me. Not just in persona, but in have inward struggles with her own version of MY Subconscious. And, not gonna lie here, it was SCARY similar.

To understand all this, I’ll give you a brief summary of the plot (hence, the major spoiler warning beforehand): Alina Starkov and her friend/ childhood crush Mal are orphans and are drafted into their country’s military, Mal as a soldier for the King’s First Army, and Alina, as a cartographer. They attempt to cross the Fold, aka the Unsea, created by the Black Heretic many, many years ago to separate them from the regular sea and is filled with horrific monsters called volcra. They are attempting to cross the Unsea for resources on the other side while aided by the mysterious Grisha, magicians of sorts that can manipulate matter to their will while making it look like magic. They are attacked viciously by volcra, and, in an attempt to save Mal, Alina unintentionally wards off a volcra by using a power unknown to her: she can summon and create light. When she wakes up she is taken to the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha/ Second Army (which, his name should puh-ritty much divulge ALL you need to know about the guy… Mark my words, NEVER trust someone w/ an obviously dark title/name, a pretty boy face, and chock-full of power.); the latter investigates to see what she really is, and, upon provocation, manages to force her into exposing herself by cutting her, the light coming out as a defense mechanism. She is then taken to the Little Palace, where the Grisha stay in the kingdom of Ravka, and is trained in the way of the Grisha Summoners, since she is a special and unique Sun Summoner, of the likes that no one else has ever seen. The Darkling in particular pays special attention to her on at least a couple different occasions (much to some of the other female Grishas’ jealousy), telling her his supposed goals and wishes for the future, strongly desiring her to help him achieve such goals. On two of these conversations, he kisses her, and very nearly manages to seduce her in the second. Shortly after the second, she is confronted by Baghra, the Darkling’s mother and Alina’s personal tutor, who is heavy-set on Alina fleeing due to the Darkling being the Black Heretic and lying to Alina all this time, only wanting her power for his own selfish gain– to take over the country.

….Imma stop there before I give too much else away, and because I stopped close to making my point. When the Darkling seduced Alina, while a part of her was confused about she wanted and mildly resisted, a part of her also strongly desired it (thankfully, the description the author gave didn’t go past almost- intimate caressing or I would’ve a REAL bone to pick with her… If you’ll excuse the pun.). And I’m pretty sure you can guess which part of me was secretly dancing and even swooning for the ever-good-looking-yet-lying-and-manipulative Darkling all that time.

Later on, Alina, like me, realizes that though that desire is a part of her, choosing to resist and rebel against it and against the Darkling’s future advances in the first book (much to Subconscious’s disappointment and Sensi’s relief.) is the wiser, better option. But the book opened my eyes to something: how our Subconsciouses, our “Ids,” as Wikipedia calls them, can manipulate dangerous, sinful desires of our fallen hearts into actuality if we aren’t careful. And though, thankfully, I’ve NEVER experienced what Alina experienced with Mr. Creepy (I instantly got an “Orochimaru/Chase Young” vibe when I first read about him, I’ll put it that way. And that, no matter HOW many people swoon over the dude and wish him and Alina in a relationship, his actions speak infinitely louder than his words– cutting a man in half in front of Alina’s eyes, slitting a beautiful stag’s throat without hesitation or remorse, oh yeah, and when he’s not caressing, cooing to and making out with Alina he’s threatening to kill her and Mal. Yeeeeeppp, sounds like a real lover-boy… Not. More like lust-boy.), it’s good to know my struggles aren’t just mine, and I can and will resist those wicked, subconscious desires buried deep within me.

I’ll close with a quote from both Mother Gothel from “Tangled” and the Darkling himself (they’re amazingly similar.):

“You want me to be the bad guy?  FINE! Now I’m the bad guy!”– Mother Gothel to Rapunzel, “Tangled”

“Fine, make me your villain.”– The Darkling to Alina, after she thoroughly resists him.

Yes, you are the villains. Glad we’ve made that clear to everyone.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, but the evil I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Romans 7: 15-24, NIV

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21, NIV

Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/142637513175976173/