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Review: Divergent (film)

It’s taken me a while to get around to writing this review but I’m glad I’ve had time to think about what I liked and didn’t like about the film. I was excited to see what they would do with Divergent because I read it a little while ago so was looking forward to being reminded of how much I liked it. 

I was impressed with how closely it stuck to the book. There may have been small changes that I didn’t notice due to not remembering all the small details of the book but it seemed to stick to the story well. I really enjoyed the small details that were kept in to explain larger or future plot points. For example, I liked when Tris made to defend the boy who was being bullied in the queue for the Choosing ceremony and how Caleb stopped her. A small thing but it helped show why she might have wanted to join Dauntless. Also the bit where she just looks at a factionless person on the street after she has taken the aptitude test spoke for a couple of plot points - Tris’ reluctance to be as selfless as Abnegation requires and her society’s fears about being factionless. You can see that thought went into setting up the society’s extremely structured system. 

I’m guessing this may be a pretty unpopular opinion (I haven’t read any reviews yet…) but I didn’t think that Theo James and Shailene Woodley had much chemistry. I’m sorry! Four and Tris are a good couple in Divergent because they challenge each other and their developing relationship is great to read but I didn’t really feel this came across. The only time I felt much emotion from them was their fight scene towards the end, (I don’t think that’s too much of a spoiler.) Shailene was a really good Tris though. I don’t really know what I expected but she brought out Tris’ rebellious spirit and made it seem like Tris was a fun character to play.

The film is quite like the book in that there is a lot of action and it felt very fast-paced. I think this worked for the film but it might have been nice to see a few more quieter moments, such as Tris talking with Al to set up the reasoning behind why he turns on her later.

I’ll look forward to seeing what they do with Insurgent…

Rating *** 3 stars

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Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

In a world dominated by a military lifestyle, Kestrel, the General’s daughter, is trying to find her place. When she pays over the odds at auction for a slave, for reasons unbeknownst to even herself, she sets off a trail of events which force her to make some important decisions about her future. The slave, Arin, has many secrets which will impact upon Kestrel’s life and the lives of those around her.

This book is set in a militaristic alternate world which owes a lot to the Greco-Roman traditions. I really like that while this is still a kind of fantasy, it’s almost an alternate history because some of the traditions and social systems can be found in our own history books. What is particularly refreshing about this book is that Kestrel is not an amazing fighter by any means, but she does have a brilliant mind. She thinks through strategies and shows her intelligence. The way in which she reads people’s emotions and motives reminds me of Katniss in The Hunger Games. It is always good to read about a YA heroine who is valued for her sharp mind.

The characters are well drawn, particularly the two main ones, Kestrel and Arin. Kestrel and Arin’s interactions are dominated by what the slave/mistress dynamic means to them and how it changes everything. This makes for interesting reading as their relationship is constantly shifting and they cannot take any truth for granted. The plot moves on at a fair pace and is certainly one that you’ll be thinking about when you’re not reading it.

This is the first in a trilogy and it is set up brilliantly for the next book. When I was reading, I could not think how there could be any kind of ending to this but Rutkoski manages it and is able to really open up the story to leave you wanting the next instalment right away.

Well worth a read! Check it out when it is published in the UK on 3rd July. The perfect series to begin reading this summer.

Rating - **** 4 stars

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Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Em and Finn are trapped in cells next door to each other and the only way to change their situation is to travel back and change the past. The stakes are pretty high for these two teens as they attempt to thwart the controlling influences which have so dramatically impacted on their lives. In a world where time travel has become possible, Em and Finn must ensure that the power to control the past, which has fallen into the wrong hands, is used only for the right reasons.

The plot is interesting and I like the ideas that it presents. Em and Finn must avoid running into their younger selves even though they play pivotal roles in the mission they have to complete. They also have to try and change different elements of their recent history to see what has the greatest effect in the future. The book is fairly fast-paced and will ensure you are eager to find out how the complexities can be resolved.

The writing isn’t brilliant, particularly in the first half of the book. There are a few dodgy similes when a simple description would’ve sufficed. I enjoyed the plot and the fact that it kept me interested but its conclusion left me slightly baffled. I won’t give away any spoilers but it wasn’t as clear and satisfying as I was hoping for.

It’s a diverting read and will engage you but it’s not quite what I feel it could’ve been with a little more editing and character depth, perhaps.

Rating - ** 2 and a half stars.

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Review: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas

In Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass, we are introduced to Celaena Sardothien, a trained assassin who is fiercely independent and rebellious as well as being lethal. For those of you who fell in love with her in that book, you have to read this one. The prequel, The Assassin’s Blade, tells the story of how Celaena came to be a prisoner in the salt mines of Endovier. This is where we first meet Celaena in Throne of Glass so it’s fitting that readers should get the chance to see how she got there. It’s an interesting story and one that deserved to be told.

While these books have been out as ebooks for a while, if you’re anything like me, you might have been waiting for the release of this book. What I hadn’t realised is that the five novellas carry on from one another so you don’t really feel like you are reading separate stories because the plot is continuous. Maas’ pacy writing and character-building is to be found in this novel as much as in her others. The Assassin’s Blade and Throne of Glass are so memorable because Maas’ eye for Celaena’s character is so good. This book would not be as captivating with any other heroine. Celaena is unpredictable and mesmerising. Her backstory is equally so. The things which we find out about how Celaena became such an infamous assassin really help to explain why she acts the way that she does which is very satisfying. It’s good that the prequel is an addition which supports and grows upon the Throne of Glass series rather than being just an extension and a chance to tell a few more stories.

Celaena’s adventures before the events of Throne of Glass are very fitting and Maas has chosen well which stories to tell. I didn’t realise I was curious about her history until I started reading The Assassin’s Blade and found I couldn’t put it down. Celaena gets herself into dangerous situations and will have you squirming as you read about them.

For fans of the original series, there are a few tidbits relating to Throne of Glass which you will definitely enjoy. Much as Cassandra Clare has done with her prequel series, you can play spot the original character with The Assassin’s Blade, which is always fun.

For me, this book achieved that one thing that a prequel should achieve - it made me want to go and pick up the original book straight away.

Rating - **** 4 and a half stars

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Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This is the story of a boy who dies and then awakes to find himself alone in the world. To tell you any more would give away some serious spoilers!

Having your main character die on the first page of the book is a gutsy way to begin a story and it works well. I was immediately hooked. Especially once Seth has woken up in this other world completely alone. The world he wakes up in is very dystopian as everything in it is broken, old or burned away.

As time progresses, Ness drip feeds us information which is great. It’s paced very well. It wasn’t so slow that I didn’t care but the plot was well-drawn out and revelations and discoveries are made at various points. Seth’s character is developed through glimpses of the world he left behind as well as his attempts at making his way in this bleak, lonely world. What I loved was the insight into his old life. The backstory is very well-written and as you slowly come to realise how and why Seth died in the first place, you become more and more invested in his potential second future.

I love that I could never guess where this book is going. When you read a lot of books, you feel like you can guess the plot of most books but Ness really outsmarts the reader and keeps you guessing with every new piece of information. As for the rather ambiguous ending, I can’t make my mind up about it which is, I imagine, what Ness wanted. I would’ve preferred a clearer ending but that’s personal preference.

This is well-worth reading if you like dystopia. It’s not a full-blown dystopia, really, but it’s close enough that if you fancy a bit of a change then you’ll enjoy this. There’s a great deal of emotions and drama teeming under the surface. Seeing as the book has a quote from John Green on the front, you can probably imagine in what vein this book is written.

Ness’ writing is crisp, clear and never overly descriptive. There’s a perfect balance to his style of writing. I really must read his Chaos Walking series.

Rating - *** 3 and a half stars.

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Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

My first book and first review of 2014 is of Requiem, the final installment of the Delirium trilogy. This review does have spoilers for the first two novels, Delirium and Pandemonium. The trilogy is set in a world where love is a disease for which every teenager is eventually given the cure. For some though, it is too late, love has taken hold and they won’t give it up. Our heroine, Lena is one of these people and the fight for her heart is a fierce one.

Requiem makes use of that which seems more and more popular at the moment: the split-narrative. This decision can work well or it can annoy readers and that really depends on the book, the writing and the story being told. Having thought I would hate it, I actually quite enjoyed it with Requiem. Hana had a much more interesting story to tell than I feared. Lena’s and Hana’s narratives allow us to see what is happening on both sides of society in this world which was particularly useful in this novel. It had been a while since I had read the first two novels so it was good to be able to get to know Hana’s character again.

I enjoyed this novel and I’m trying to work out why because there were actually quite a few bad features to it. The plot is the standard fare of third-books-of-dystopian-trilogies; rebel group, strictly controlled society, cracks begin to appear in said society, eventual revolution with a few deaths thrown in for good measure. Think Mockingjay, think Allegiant and you’re about there. This series isn’t quite as engaging as those two series. It is, however, different. The best way I have thought of to describe Requiem and the Delirium trilogy as a whole, is quiet. In a good way. It’s quietly majestic and idealistic in its ideas about freedom, love and friendship. I don’t mean idealistic in a disparaging way, it’s really quite refreshing for someone who reads a lot of bleak dystopian fiction. There is more violence, particularly in Requiem, perhaps Oliver wanted to keep up with the death and destruction of the aforementioned Mockingjay and Allegiant types but she doesn’t really need to. What kept me reading was a need to find out what happens to the characters at the heart of the story, particularly Lena’s choice between two loves.

The ending to this novel brought about dread, as I realised there were only 50 pages left and too many things that needed to happen. Unfortunately, the end of the novel is rushed and there isn’t enough of an emotional conclusion. It’s very bizarre because that is what Oliver has been best at elsewhere in the series. The choices that Lena makes, while not entirely random are still not explained satisfactorily which is disappointing. It was an odd end to a story which has a lot of potential for drama and emotion.

While that did all sound fairly negative, I did enjoy Requiem. I think this is mostly because of my memories of the first book. I remember feeling overwhelmed by Delirium and recommending it to a lot of people. In my opinion, it would have worked perfectly as a standalone book. Yes, the ending is heart-wrenching but it is so memorable.

Rating - *** 3 stars

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Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Celaena Sardothien is a heroine whose story you’ll want to read. In a life that includes the brutal murder of her parents and years training to be a skilled assassin, she now find herself in a slave labour camp where she has developed a hard heart that will take a lot to soften. When offered the chance to earn her freedom by fighting in a tournament to become the King’s Champion, Celaena reluctantly decides to journey to court and live amongst those who caused the defeat and suffering of her people.

It should have been a simple deal, fighting against other skilled soldiers and criminals to become the King’s Champion, serve for four years and then gain her freedom. What she find though is that there is a great deal more lurking at the heart of this castle and its corrupt court than she could ever have imagined.

Celaena is a great heroine. She’s feisty, witty, skilled and entertaining. She’s also arrogant, brutal, vain and self-centered at times. I love that when reading Throne of Glass, you probably won’t like her all the time. It makes her and the story much more interesting because you can’t always guess what’s going to happen. As she arrives at court, many want to know about her past, this will include, you, the reader! I’m hoping we find out more about all that has happened to her in the next book(s).

The story has a very similar premise to Poison Study by Maria V Snyder so if you enjoyed that, you’ll like this too. It’s not quite as good as Poison Study but it’s still very good. The world Sarah J Maas creates is captivating and as the book goes on, the world opens up to reveal that there is more to it than you may first think. Maas’ writing is a great balance of description and dialogue which makes for a page-turner.

The love story seems fairly standard when it’s introduced but it does become more interesting as it goes on and you’ll certainly be rooting for one of the two men in her life. The play for Celaena’s heart becomes particularly complicated with the final twists and turns of the book.

I was really pleased with this book and was craving something I would really get into and not be able to put down. I think it speaks for itself that I finished it yesterday, went out and bought the sequel, Crown of Midnight, and am now halfway through…

Rating **** 4 stars

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Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (film)

Wow. I finally saw this on Sunday and I’m still reeling. I really like The Hunger Games film so I’m really glad that Catching Fire continues to impress and ups the ante.

As with THG, I’m impressed with how closely the film follows the book. It was also so involving and entertaining that I wasn’t constantly keeping track of what had been left in and what was left out like I normally do with adaptations. I could only sit back and enjoy the thrilling story play out.

The acting in this film is amazing. In my opinion, there’s not one person who lets it down. Obviously, Jennifer Lawrence is the perfect Katniss and you won’t be able to take your eyes off her. By the end of this film she has cemented herself in this role and you can see what she will become in the next two films.

The effects on this film are stunning too. Now I am the greatest advocate for reading books, I think they’re awesome. But I have to say, I don’t think I really got the full effect if how horrific the Quarter Quell arena is until I watched this. The poisonous fog scene was horrible to watch and the ravenous monkeys were terrifying. Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Sam Claflin were suitably terrified in those scenes and really made it believable.

If I had to pick something I wasn’t wholly satisfied with then I think it would be the balance of the love triangle. I won’t say much in case there are genuinely people who don’t know what happens and who Katniss ends up with. But considering who she ends up with, I’m not sure it will be completely believable. I think the emotions of the love triangle are slightly underplayed. On the upside of that, the political and social themes are really brought to the forefront which actually makes a welcome change from relationship drama in films! So really, I’m not complaining about the lack of feeling for Katniss/Gale/Peeta because other things are being prioritised and that’s good.

One small thing that I particularly liked was that the film ended with the same line the book ends with. Small detail but it works well in the book so why change it. I for one am very ready to watch Mockingjay!

Rating - **** 4 and a half stars.

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Review: Ender’s Game (film)

I read Ender’s Game recently, you can find my review here. I loved it and had high hopes for this film but feared the worst. I didn’t think that Orson Scott Card’s vision of a Battle School for children in space could be realised on the big screen without becoming laughable. I had a pretty specific vision of many scenes from the books and I just couldn’t see how this film might work.

Thankfully, I was wrong. I was really impressed with Ender’s Game.  The producers/directors/anyone in charge actually included all the complex ideas that make Ender’s Game so memorable - the manipulation of children, fear for the future, fear of our own darkest potential, friendship. I was worried that they would ‘dilute’ this and make the most child-friendly version possible but they didn’t. As such the film is still suitable for children but appeals to an older audience too.

Asa Butterfield is brilliant. He managed to portray Ender’s young age while still believably transforming into a strategic leader and then dealing with the consequences of his actions. He really encapsulated the two sides to Ender and blurred the line between where one ended and the other began. He is such a believable young actor. During scenes with big names like Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, I was watching Asa because he was the most interesting. Perhaps that’s because of the character but I think Asa was a great pick for the character.

The Battle Room in the film is excellent. I had imagined something much more primitive but the version in the film is just beautiful. The special effects are impressive and you have to remind yourself that it’s not real. There is a particularly triumphant battle scene which has some suitable dramatic music that is so memorable. The music in the whole film was very emotive.

I was impressed that the film showed Ender’s isolation and the adults’ manipulation of him so well. It can never be as good as experiencing it through Ender’s eyes in the book but it transferred to the film well.

The last 20 minutes or so were really good. It was all very dramatic but also understated in a way, the drama and excitement wasn’t at the expense of emotion.

Overall, I was very impressed! I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like. I’d still recommend reading the book first, just because it’s so good.

Rating - **** 4 stars.

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Review: The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

The Time Keeper explores the myth of how humans first began to measure time. The eponymous time keeper is Dor, or Father Time. He becomes obsessed with measuring time and before he knows it, man is measuring every second of every hour of every day. This book tells the story of the legend who prompted man’s fascination with time.

Rather than being science fiction, Albom’s novel reads like a fairytale as he uses simple language to explore a deep topic. Dor is shown to be a very human character at the beginning, before he becomes the mythical Father Time, allowing the reader to empathise with him. Albom’s time keeper is an unwilling one, once fascinated by measuring time, Dor is forced to endure humanity’s never-ending requests for more time. He discovers two people on either side of the spectrum, one who is desperate for more time and will pay any price to get it, and one who is very ready for their time to be up.

Mitch Albom’s writing is intriguing. His language is fairly simple, his novels are fairly short, yet his chosen themes are of extreme significance and complexity. The quest for more time is universal. What you may not have considered, is what if someone was forced to listen to those pleas? And so, The Time Keeper obliges with just such a story.

I enjoyed how different this book is and how it made me think about how short our time really is here. I love Albom’s message that man alone is governed by time and that this is both extremely useful and very limiting. There are countless messages that can be taken away from Albom’s simple yet memorable story, I think he intends it to be that way. Albom does not preach that we should appreciate our time or not become fixated with it, rather he portrays people whose lives have been taken over by an obsession with time.

An interesting read, one that won’t take much of your time but will make you consider how much you actually have.

Rating - **** 4 stars

…apologies for any and all time-based puns and overuse of the word time. It was unavoidable.

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Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

:: WARNING! Spoilers! ::

Apologies, I don’t normally write reviews with spoilers in but I feel that I can’t guarantee that this is completely spoiler-free.

Allegiant is the conclusion to Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy which introduced us to Tris, Four, Christina and many other characters who live in a city divided by factions, different social groups that each prize one attribute above others. This way of living presents its own challenges and allows questions of morality to arise in this dystopian world.

The story in Allegiant brings the reader to a point where everybody knows this dystopian world will be changed/fixed/improved in some way but no one can quite agree what should be done. As much as I enjoyed the dystopian world of Divergent and Insurgent, I wasn’t quite as captivated by it in this book. It’s inevitable that this book would be different as the protagonists go outside the city for the first time and learn about why their city is the way it is. I just felt that the series lost its sense of identity a little bit. I wasn’t really as invested in what was going to happen to any characters that were not the main ones.

In this book, Roth splits the narration between her two protagonists for the first time. Having read the end of this book, it’s quite evident why she does that. Unfortunately, Tris and Four are both quite similar characters so, particularly in the first half of the book, I sometimes forgot who was narrating unless it was obvious because of the storyline. They’re both strong and stubborn and determined and a lot of other generic descriptive words so it was a bit same-y at times. I love their dynamic in the first 2 books but once they’re fully together, it felt like drama was just created to keep their relationship interesting, Sorry, I know it’s harsh but hey, it’s my opinion.

There is a lot of politics going on in this book so a great deal of the story is planning and discussing. I’m not exactly an action junkie but I would have liked a few more exciting scenes such as the memorable ones from the earlier books (the ferris wheel, the zip wire, the fear landscapes).

So let’s talk about the BIG thing that happens at the end. I don’t want to say it outright because I really don’t want to spoil people (even though I’ve put a warning on this post). I was pretty shocked at Roth’s decision to include so much death and destruction at the end of this book. It’s a very brave decision and I can’t help but admire it because it’s so easy to end things fairly happily and write in a few token deaths of minor characters. Whether this particular death (if you’ve read it, you know the one I mean…) was the right decision, I can’t say. I only finished it this morning and I’m still not sure. Everyone will have their own opinion. It did feel like quite a bleak ending to be honest, even with those few hopeful tidbits thrown in. I did enjoy the final scene, it was nice that it echoed a Divergent scene and gave the series more of an arc, a feeling of an ending.

I’m writing this review now and then I’m going to read other people’s reactions, which is always how I write my reviews. I’m intrigued to discover what other people thought of this book, in particular.

Allegiant is well-worth reading if you’ve read the first 2 in this series. I would recommend rereading Insurgent if you don’t remember it very well. I didn’t do that and I feel like maybe I should have because then I would be slightly more invested in what happened in this book.

Rating - *** 3 stars.

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Review: Russian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz

Russian Roulette is the much-anticipated prequel to the Alex Rider series. It tells the story of the assassin, Yassen Gregorovich, who is introduced in the Alex Rider series, who has had an eventful life, one that Rider fans will want to hear about.

The best way I can find to describe this book is that it is like ‘old school’ Alex Rider. For fans of the Rider series, there are a few firm favourites such as Scorpia, and that is the book that Russian Roulette reminds me of. This is not just because of the subject matter but because it is full of action, with a protagonist who is similar to Alex.

Yassen’s story is immediately interesting. From the traumatic experiences in his small village in Russia, to his forced servitude to a cruel, powerful man, Yassen has to cope with a great deal. You begin the book from the unique position of knowing that the child who you are sympathising with will grow up to be an assassin. This may sound odd but Horowitz pitches his story perfectly so that you understand what makes Yassen who he becomes. He never forgets to show the reader Yassen’s humanity and very real thoughts and regrets.

Horowitz has a real flair for the dramatic and the poetic. It is never overdone but it gives this book, and his others, a unique character that makes his writing so recognisable.

In many ways Yassen is a more introverted protagonist than Alex ever was. Alex had more of a bite, he was never afraid to talk back to his superiors. This is why I think it’s so intriguing that Yassen is presented as so thoughtful and so utterly defined by his experiences. It was an unexpected difference between the two characters but as they have so many similarities, it is good that they can be set apart in this way.

If you’re an Alex Rider fan, you really should read Russian Roulette. Even if, like me, you thought you’d forgotten most of the details of many of the Rider series, you will still enjoy this. It makes me want to be 14 and read this series all over again for the first time.

This novel is a rare thing - a prequel which is as much worth reading as the original series.

Rating - **** 4 stars.

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Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Having read The Fault in our Stars over a year ago, I felt I had just about recovered enough to try out another John Green. I went for Looking For Alaska, mostly because this is the one I could borrow from my friend, not for any particular reason. I can kind of guess I’ll like all of his books anyway. What I learned from The Fault in our Stars is that once you start a John Green book, it will pretty much demand your attention and you won’t be able to stop thinking about it. The story of loner Miles’ arrival at a new school and characters such as the Colonel and the eponymous Alaska, are no different.

If you’re not familiar with John Green, where have you been? But really, I have to admit, his books, when described to me, sound like EXACTLY what I go a long way to avoid in my reading choices. I don’t like books written about ‘real life’ or anything which will make me really sad, even when it’s ‘life-affirming.’ The Fault in our Stars was the first exception and Looking For Alaska is probably the second. Green’s writing is so vibrant and captivating even when things get a bit emotional that you’ll forgive him for slicing open your heart and making you cry many many tears. This is the kind of book I can get along with. Yes there are sad parts but it IS fulfilling. I finished the book with more closure than I was expecting and many more laughs to myself than I was expecting.

Looking For Alaska is really well-structured and will build up your anticipation and your fears and then a BIG event happens. I won’t spoil anyone but what is great about this book is that you get to see the real aftermath of the big event. It would be so easy to put this 20 pages before the end and finish off with a few stock phrases and with no satisfactory ending. Green doesn’t do that. He provides you with some answers eventually while still letting you make your own mind up.

I’m not sure whether it’s because I read The Fault in our Stars first but Looking For Alaska didn’t seem quite as good. The characters are witty and interesting but the influence that TFioS had on me was really something.

I do intend on reading more John Green but not yet. Maybe it’ll be an annual John Green. I’ll make it a thing. Which one should I read next year?

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Review: Wool by Hugh Howey

On a future earth where the air is toxic and humans have been forced to live underground, Howey tells the story of a brave few who wish to know exactly what happened to their world. Living in a silo deep underground, humans fear being put to cleaning - being forced out into the treacherous outside and given their one last task of cleaning the lens which allows those underground to see out. But is there more to this toxic air than meets the eye? 

To put it simply, Howey has created a unique world. His vision is imaginative and captivating. It is also has that elusive thing - originality. I did not read this and draw comparisons to other novels, I simply drank in Howey’s brilliant description and let him to build his own world and his own characters. The protagonist, Juliette, is engaging, real and understandable. Her reactions to the extreme situations she is forced into are great to read and feel very relatable, despite the fact that her life is very different from our own.

Howey effectively portrays the claustrophobic mindset of the people in the silo. People of all ages live there and none of them have ever been on the surface of the earth. They live in fear of even thinking about the outside in case they are declared a threat and put to cleaning. Wool is a real page-turner because it is unlike anything else. There is an unrelenting mystery at the heart of the book as a few people begin to dig deeper into why they are underground and investigate the motives of those who are in charge.

Wool is well-worth a read if you are a fan of dystopia. It’s intelligent, excellently paced and will stick in your mind long after you’ve moved onto your next read.

Review - **** 4 stars.

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Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (film)

I cannot believe this film has finally come out. It feels like it has been in the making for so long and we’ve had so much promotion stretched out over a long time but finally, it is here! City of Bones has been one of my favourite books for a really long time. It’s got this quality about it that makes you want to reread it and find out more about the Shadowhunters’ world. Boy, does Cassandra Clare oblige. With The Infernal Devices, the planned The Dark Artifices, the mysterious TLH, The Bane Chronicles and numerous snippets and extras, Clare knows how to keep readers happy. Safe to say, my equally eager friend and I went into the cinema with high hopes and a slight dread that it might not be all we hoped.

There were a lot of good things about the film. Lily Collins wasn’t too far off what I imagined as Clary. She was definitely the character who I felt was best portrayed and most similar to the books. Jamie Campbell-Bower has a lot to live up to with Jace’s charismatic personality and witty comeback for everything. I don’t think he quite pulls it off. BUT. I think it’s more problems with the script, than it is his acting. The script and the dialogue were what most bothered me about the film. Clare’s books are witty and captivating to read, fans will easily whizz through the latest instalment in a day or two because they’re such a thrill to read. The dialogue in the movie was pretty stilted at times, there was one line about how Jace has never met an angel until now, that was just way too cheesy. I don’t know if I’m remembering things incorrectly and this is actually from the book but it really didn’t work on screen and it was a teensy bit gushy at times.

I enjoyed Robert Sheehan as Simon, definitely not what I imagined but his character worked really well on the big screen. I liked Alec and Izzy too but I have a feeling that might be due to having read the books. They didn’t get many lines really and I can’t help but feel people who haven’t read the books won’t really appreciate who they are, which could be a problem when they are involved in more important storylines later in the series.

I loved the final climactic battle with Valentine, Jace and Clary. They played fast and loose with the book a bit here and I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it yet, but the ‘snow’ makes for a great visual effect. I have to say though my friend and I were not fans of what they did with the sibling issue. I won’t spoil it, I’ll just say that I completely understand why they’ve presented it as they have, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Overall, I’d say the film is about 60-70% right. I’d love to give it 100% but there are a few things that I have to be honest about and admit that I didn’t like. But hey, this is all my opinion! I’d love to hear what other people thought.

Rating - *** 3 stars.

Filed under tmi the mortal instruments city of bones film review cassandra clare books adaptation