Kindred Spirits – Rainbow Rowell

“However Elena changed or grew, Star Wars seemed to be there for her in a new way.”

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“If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does. What she’s not expecting is to be the last in a line of only three people, to have to pee into a collectable Star Wars cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels.”

World Book Day was on 3rd March this year and saw Rainbow Rowell as one of the contributors to the teen category. When I was a child, World Book Day was like Christmas to me and now that I am in my twenties, I still make at least one purchase from the choices each year. Also, Rainbow Rowell’s writing just makes me all warm and happy inside, even if it is short.

Kindred Spirits follows Elena who is a Star Wars fan and decides to join a long line of people camping on the street in the final days leading up to the Midnight screening. She has her tickets, she has her sleeping bag, and she is prepared. What she isn’t prepared for is that only two people are in line: a bearded man named Troy who has been to nearly every Star Wats opening, and Gabe who is closer to her age and doesn’t talk much. It certainly challenges Elena’s expectations as it’s her firs time camping out for something she loves.

Troy tells stories about his adventures at various Star Wars events while Elena tries to keep hidden the fact that she has only seen the original trilogy, not the prequels.

The great thing about this short story is that you don’t have to like or have even seen Star Wars to enjoy this creation because it’s about so much more than Star Wars. It’s about loving something so much you’re willing to queue for hours for it; whether it’s camping out to be at the barrier at the show of your favourite band, or queuing outside a bookstore, to be at the front for the signing of your favourite author. It’s about the feeling of anticipation.

It’s about the memories you make – no matter how disgusting and unmentionable they may be – and the friendships you gain in the process. It’s an idea that I think everyone can relate to which is what makes this so wonderful to read.
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Book To Movie Talk: Allegiant

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*not spoiler free*

When I saw the first trailer for Allegiant, my expectations were low. As more trailers and teasers were released my expectations continued to sink. I doubted the film itself would be good let alone accurate. I knew going into the cinema screen that this adaptation would not be the Allegiant I hold close to my heart so of course I was apprehensive.

Here’s a breakdown of the important new characters added to the cast for this part of the series:

David played by Jeff Daniels

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Matthew played by Bill Skarsgard

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Nita played by Nadia Hilker

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Starting off with the existing characters, Theo James failed to impress, yet again, as Four. I’ve always found Four to be a painfully boring character in the books so if Theo intended to transfer that to screen then I guess you can say he was successful. I used to enjoy Shailene Woodley as Tris but in this film she is surprisingly underwhelming. Despite the fact that the existing characters find out in Allegiant that everything they know is a lie and that people have been watching them through cameras their whole lives, they seem content with this in the film, while the book versions go through a massive adjustment period. It just completely threw the tone off in the film, getting rid of any possible tension.

The new characters don’t leave much to be desired either. Remember Nita in the book and the role she played? She might as well not exist in the film. David didn’t seem nearly as desperate and evil, appearing laid-back more than anything else, and Matthew plays a considerably smaller role with the humour and charm that made me appreciate him in the book vanishing into thin air.

The only actor to give a good performance was Miles Teller, returning to the role of Peter, who had screen presence and made the terrible dialogue he was given funny, even eliciting a few laughs from me.

But the lack of emotions from any of the characters led to the events of the film not feeling believable which is key to a story with this kind of concept at its core.

I was already aware from the promotion prior to the film’s release that things would be different; the main factor fans picked up on being the changes to the “world beyond the wall.” That 21st century, modern day Chicago from the book seems like a pleasant dream when you set your eyes on what they have done to the world.

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Everything beyond the wall is a wasteland. The world is split into 4 places:

Chicago – the city ruled by factions that the characters believed to be the world

  • The bureau – genetic welfare headquarters
  • The province – essentially the government that the bureau has to report to
  • The fringe – a place where those who survived what ravaged the world are living in poverty.

Neither the fringe nor the province exists in the book and I am still trying to understand why they needed to add it. I would have found this slightly bearable if the locations looked real and less like a soft play centre. The source material doesn’t lack the information or action to make this watchable and not seem stagnant so why the creators felt the need to include such massive plot changes just seems redundant to me, unless they were trying to purposely destroy this series, in which case they’re doing a fantastic job.

Natalie’s diary is given to Tris by Matthew to help her understand the important role her mother played and come to terms with her new surroundings. In the film, David gives Tris memory tabs that allow her to relive parts of her mother’s life in the fringe, before she willingly entered the Chicago experiment. Another unnecessary change.

The only part I saw of book Allegiant depicted on screen was the trials.

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This scene opened the film and showed a sense of madness that had taken over the city as everyone rallied to see the deaths of those that had persecuted them. I will admit, the only moment that elicited any emotion from me other than disappointment was when Caleb was in the cage waiting for his trial and screaming to Tris “please don’t let them kill me.” Even Evelyn with the devastating fear that crippled her in the book fell utterly flat on screen.

There just seemed to be a lack of conviction in all the information given and it felt that none of the cast really wanted to be there, not that they were given much good direction in this script.

I reached a point during the viewing process where I tried to look at the film as if I hadn’t read the book before and even then it just didn’t make sense. Making Tris out to be someone who is a “chosen one”, not fully explaining what makes people genetically damaged or pure. Frankly, it’s just a mess.

But in the end, I am a fan of this series and I will see the final part titled “Ascendant” when it is released next year. I just hope to the book adapting gods that the ending stays the same.

 
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Lady Midnight | Cassandra Clare Signing

Hello my lovely readers!

Yesterday I went to the book signing for Lady Midnight by the wonderful Cassandra Clare. This was my second time meeting her and I thought I’d bring you along on the adventure with me!

The next book in The Dark Artifices series is called “Lord Of Shadows” and will be set in the faerie world where we’ll get to meet the unseelie court and the unseelie king. I cannot bear to wait a year to get my hands on it!

– Charlotte

Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

“Cristina handed Emma’s stele back to her. ‘I’ve always wanted a parabatai.’ She said a little wistfully. ‘Someone who is sworn to protect you and watch your back. A best friend forever, for your whole life.”

 

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Blurb: “In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word. A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other – but they can never fall in love.
Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter. She lives for battle. Alongside her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols Los Angeles. Where vampires party on the sunset strip and faeries – the most powerful of supernatural creatures – teeter on the edge of war with the Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries are found murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held by the faerie courts. All they have to do is solve the murders within two weeks… and before the murderer targets them.
Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents – and can she bear to know the truth?”

 It has been a long two year wait but Cassandra Clare is finally back in our book-loving hearts with a brand new Shadowhunter series called The Dark Artifices. Following Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, readers are thrown back into the Shadowhunter world, but this time in a new location. The characters reside in the Los Angeles Institute meaning that those who know Cassandra’s works well are completely out of their comfort zones, minus the snippets of information about runes and parabatai that – if you have read her other series – is all too familiar. If you’re new to Cassandra’s work, or looking to get into it, this is a fantastic place to start because it lives up to the hype that has been mounting up in the final months to release.

The brilliant thing about Cassandra Clare’s writing is that you know it will make sense. Everything is planned to such an extent that there aren’t any plot holes sneaking through. Just when you think you’ve worked out what’s going to happen, she throws another curve ball at you, leaving you stumped. I’ve seen many people trying to guess the ending to Lady Midnight but no one could possibly predict the actual ending. Personally, I never saw it coming.

I will admit that I struggled to get into this book at first. While The Dark Artifices is an entirely new series, there is a massive amount of information dump for the first 100 pages. Details are given about how the Shadowhunter world works and its inhabitants but as Lady Midnight is set five years after the events in City of Heavenly Fire a lot of the information being thrown at me were things I already knew so I had to take into account that someone should be able to pick up this book not having read any of the other Shadowhunter books. I do have to say that if you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments series yet and plan to, read that first and then come back to Lady Midnight.

Emma Carstairs is being crippled by her need for the revenge of her parent’s murders. The Clave tells her the deaths were the work of Sebastian Morgenstern but Emma knows that isn’t true. When she discovers another body drowned and covered in the same unnerving markings that her parents were, her suspicions are confirmed. Julian Blackthorn is her parabatai which carries a lot of weight in the Shadowhunter world and he is one of the only people who believes Emma. Together they start to uncover the true darkness hiding behind these murders while struggling to keep their parabatai bond intact.

The idea of parabatai is something I’ve always found fascinating in this world and it was interesting to see the negative side of that play out in the sense of not being sure if you want a parabatai anymore and feeling any pain they feel, after all it’s a life-long commitment.

I didn’t reckon much to Emma Carstairs in City of Heavenly Fire and when I found out that she was going to lead this new series, I was slightly worried. I have never been so wrong. Emma is a fantastic character. She’s sassy, determined, and her narrative is so strong that she feels like a real person. Emma lives at the Los Angeles Institute with Diana Wrayburn and the blackthorn family which is quite big. As a result, Emma’s storyline is very frequently overshadowed by what is happening with the Blackthorns which really put me off the book at times. While the Blackthorn storyline was important, it just seemed to push Emma out of the picture to the point where she became more of a side character to Julian. This is what led me to giving Lady Midnight a four star rating instead of five stars.

Another character addition I enjoyed was Cristina who is staying at the institute for a year. She fit in so well to the group and provided a good branch of support for Emma whenever it was needed. She was insightful, funny and just the kind of person you’d want to have your back.

Along with the information dumps and blackthorn storyline taking over, there are so many references and even appearances from Jace and Clary that (although they had connections to Emma) it just felt like Cassie was pandering to fans of The Mortal Instruments and although I adore that series with all of my heart, I wanted this to be more about the new.

This may be an unpopular opinion but I adore the faeries and the seelie court. They’re just so difficult to believe because while they can’t lie, they can evade the truth and so you never really know what to expect from them. It keeps you on your toes while reading any chapters with them in.

Overall, Lady Midnight lives up the hype and is a fantastic adventure but isn’t without its flaws.
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The One Where I Shamelessly Promote Myself

Hello my wonderful bookish people!

As you may or may not know (depending on whether you check out the links at the end of my posts) I am also a booktuber! I make videos on book hauls, monthly wrap ups, book to movie talks, and most importantly reviews! Some of the reviews are different to ones that I post in this magical place so please feel free to check it out.

To give you a bit of a taste, every month I will post here my wrap up for the month so you lovely lot can see all the books I’ve read during that month which I may not mention on here. It’s like being part of a not so secret club! *hands out honorary badges and cookies*

Bye for now!

Charlotte

The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper – Phaedra Patrick

“Would she want you to be sad?”

“No. But it’s hard.”

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Blurb: “Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30am, just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same grey slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his plant, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met – a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.”

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Arthur Pepper is a man in his late sixties who is very much stuck in a rut. He gets up at the same time every day, eats breakfast at the same time every day, and constantly waters his plant. It’s coming up to the one year anniversary of his wife Miriam’s death and he struggles to separate his perceived memories from how she actually was, for example, he pictures her in certain clothes then goes through her wardrobes and thinks “Miriam would never wear this” even though she clearly did.

One day he finds a box and inside is a charm bracelet that he’s never seen before. Examining the charms he discovered that the elephant charm is engraved with the word “ayah” and a number. Research reveals that “ayah” is Indian for nurse and he calls the number. The phone is answered by a Mr Mehra who says Miriam was his child carer when he was a young boy and mistakes he made led to her leaving and he gave her the charm as an apology. Arthur never knew she had ever been to India let alone worked there so he finds himself wondering what stories the other charms hold. He finds links between the tiger charms and a lord living at Graystock Manor and so Arthur’s quest to discover more of his wife’s secret life continues.

I expect that to be the sole focus of this book but I received a lot more than I bargained for. In addition to the charm plot line, the subplots create more depth. You learn about Arthur’s estranged children, Dan and Lucy, and why they are just that. The characters Arthur meets who are linked to the charms are just so well written that they stand as potentially real people with their own complexities. They didn’t feel like they were just there as part of a series of events and left a lasting impact.

I found Arthur selfish at times such as a moment of reflection where the prose shows he never asked his wife about her life before they met because he “never expected her to have one” but he’s a man who had his life toppled over so I could cut him a bit of slack. He throws his routine out of the window and ventures places he’s terrified of going to, pushes his boundaries just to learn more about the woman he loved. This leads him to reconcile with his family, grow as a person but most importantly, let his wife go.

The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper is an absolute delight that you don’t want to miss.

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