5 stars · books to movies

Thor Ragnarok: Movie Review

This was my least anticipated Marvel title for a while now. I never really expected to actually see it in theaters.

I’m so glad that I did.

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Thor: Ragnarok follows a more Guardians of the Galaxy kind of tone when it comes to superhero films. It doesn’t take itself too seriously–actually, it doesn’t take the previous two Thor films too seriously. It pokes fun at itself, while simultaneously building on the mythology of the world and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was fun, and sad, and had a lot of amazing fight scenes complete with superpowers and explosions.

Basically, all I want in my Avengers films these days.

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Thor has always been my least favorite Avenger–maybe tied with the Hulk. And because both of those Avengers happen to be in this movie, I never really gave it much thought. The previous two Thor movies never really stood out to me. They were dark and serious, without the hearty punch that’s come from previous Marvel movies with the same tone. Which is crazy to me because undoubtedly out of the favorite characters of the MCU is Loki. The previous Thor movies didn’t have the charm and heart of the Captain America films. None of the punchy pizzazz that comes with Iron Man. Those two series succeed in having rather dark and twisted plots, amazing characters to pull them through, and memorable witty moments.

Thor didn’t really succeed with the funny for me until this movie.

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I will admit that Ragnarok did at times feel like it was trying too hard. That it wanted so much to be seen as something separate, so it could be more successful, that it was punching its way out of the setup given by the previous movies. What happened to Thor’s friends? I could only remember Lady Sif. Where did all of his friends go? Thor really doesn’t seem to care. He cares a whole lot for saving the world (well, stopping the start of the end of the world, I guess) but it’s a lot of generic for the greater good and not the good of, you know . . . all those guys he spent thousands of years fighting beside.

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The character of Thor himself was decidedly different. Of course he would have changed, what with the ‘stuff’ he’s been through (I have to be vague–I literally have no idea what he’s been up to and he gives the vaguest answer, too, okay?) and the whole Jane situation (does anyone else remember when Thor used to date Natalie Portman?). There were just a few random moments where Thor seemed very un-Thor like for the sake of throwing in a few extra jokes.

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BUT I will say that those are the only bad things I can say about this film. As soon as I finished watching it, I decided I wanted to watch it again. I loved the amazing settings, the new characters introduced, the dynamic between Thor and Loki (I MISSED THIS SO MUCH). I want more. Am I a Thor fan now? I guess. Am I even more excited for the next Avengers movie? I didn’t think it was possible, but YES.

Have you seen Thor: Ragnarok? What did you think? Most importantly: What was your favorite joke?

I give Thor a resounding 5/5 stars because the entertainment of it outweighed anything else.

 

 

 

 

5 stars · action · books to movies · Uncategorized

Books to Movies: Logan

I can’t accurately express how completely excited I was for this movie. Wolverine and Hugh Jackman are undoubtedly one of the best character and actor pairings I’ve ever seen. As in if anyone else ever tries to play Wolverine in my lifetime I’ll be disappointed.

It’d been a while since I’d seen any X-Men film, really, but all of them pretty much stand on their own as separate films, which is nice if you really aren’t sure about where to dive into the movieverse. I’d say watch at least a few of the originals before getting to this one because, after all, you want to save the best for last, right?

This review will only contain mild spoilers, but if you want to know absolutely nothing about the movie other than knowing I give it 5/5 stars, get out now.

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Let’s talk about characters. I loved the dynamic in this film, because it makes everyone seem so much realistic, more fleshed out, than happens in most superhero films. As always it was amazing to see the relationship between Logan and Charles, aka Patrick Stewart, because I think they have one of the greatest, most interesting relationships out of all of the X-Men. They’re just so good. I can’t even reflect on it without getting hit by a mixture of emotions, that I don’t think I could accurately explain even if I spoiled everything in the entire movie.

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Laura. I’m torn between wanting desperately to adopt her, giving her the good life she deserves, and running as far away from her as possible because she’s terrifyingDafne Keen conveys so much while not speaking a word, and as a child actress that’s only more impressive. I want more movies with her. I want a trilogy that’s only about her. Because those fight scenes including her were so intense, I couldn’t sit back in my seat.

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Still, what I love about these movies (or just Wolverine in particular) is the tongue in cheek humor that comes with it. Maybe to keep me from being a complete and utter sobbing mess, there are still lighthearted moments perfectly interspersed in the script.

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I love that while there’s backstory here, while we know everything that’s going on — behind the amazing action sequences there’s so much character work happening. Between Laura and Logan and Charles, yes, but even minor characters have their chance to shine. And I loved every minute of it.

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That ending? Perfect — perfectly devastating. Everything I’d dreaded and hoped for realized.

Have you seen Logan? What did you think?

 

 

 

 

 

books to movies · fiction · young adult

“A Monster Calls” is becoming a movie???

Apparently I’ve been living under a rock, because not only is A Monster Calls becoming a movie, the trailer for it came out over a month ago.

Yes, so apparently I missed it, even though this is one of the best children’s/young adult books I’ve ever read, written by one of my favorite authors EVER. Apparently he also wrote the screenplay for the film, so that makes me doubly excited! I was actually fortunate enough to meet him at BookCon last year and he is incredibly nice, too. So basically everything about this is going to be perfect.

I mean, Liam Neeson is in it. This book gave me so many emotions and just judging from this trailer, I feel like the movie is going to capitalize on that, too. Click the video below to watch for yourself and let me know what your thoughts are. Are you as excited as I am?? I can’t wait to see this.

books to movies

Fairy Tale to Film: Cinderella

I have to admit that when I first heard about a live-action version of Cinderella being produced, I wasn’t too excited, except for the fact that practically anything Disney will be great. Not as excited as I was when I heard they’re making a live-action Mulan. I was honestly going to wait until the DVD release to finally watch this. But hearing everyone raving over the film (coupled with my chance to watch a Disney movie in Downtown Disney!) convinced me to buy a theater ticket.

Even though it isn’t my favorite Disney film (animation or live action, as Tangled will always have my heart) it was still completely magical to watch. And I’ve already bought some of the soundtrack for myself.

While I heard this version made people cry, I only teared up a few times. Once of sadness, once when Ella looked incredibly happy and the cinematography was so great that I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with emotion.

Everyone knows the Cinderella story so it isn’t like it can be spoiled and most would assume that the live action film covers the ground laid out by the animation. There you’d be wrong. As I’d hoped, Cinderella combines more, previously unused elements of the original fairy tale as well as cherished portions of the animation. Definitely worth a watch, if you’ve been afraid they only copied themselves. Disney never does the same thing twice–they redo it bigger and better than before.

This movie is just beautiful. I could rewatch it just to get a chance to appreciate more of the details in the scenes. I also need to look out for hidden Mickeys and Easter Eggs!

Of course, I loved Helena Bonham Carter’s scene-stealing moments and wish that she’d been in the movie a little more. Cinderella herself wasn’t exactly as I’d pictured her to be, but that’s what comes of turning an animated princess into a real-life lady. Still, she was fantastic at presenting the kind of silent strength Cinderella has to have.

Overall, I really loved this adaptation when I hadn’t expected to like it very much. I’ll recommend this to other people and I’d even say give it a chance in theaters. It’s worth the ticket!

What’s your favorite Disney movie? What do you think of this adaptation?

2 stars · Fantasy · fiction · young adult

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy

author : richelle mead

pages : [paperback] 332

memorable quote Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.

favorite character : rose

summary :

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

review :

I started reading Vampire Academy because I’ve been hearing a lot about this series, there’s now a movie about it, and also the library I visited was the smallest thing in the world and didn’t have a large selection. I figured now was the time I needed to give it a go, because I always wanted to give it a shot–even though if I ended up really loving the series, that meant there’d be a LOT of other books for me to read because it’s a long one and now there are spin-off books, too. Well, unfortunately, Vampire Academy just didn’t make the cut for me, like I’d feared it would.

First of all, I did like and appreciate how snarky Rose could be and following her adventures was mildly enjoyable. Still, the writing didn’t leave much of an impression to me because to my taste it was fairly bland with no exciting descriptions, no hint of intrigue. Instead halfway through the book I still wasn’t certain of what the plot would be. Shouldn’t each book, even in a series, have its own little plot? Basically I think that this first book is being used to set up something in the rest of the books. Much of it was fairly predictable. I don’t know if there’s going to be some big reveal later on that would shock me, but I don’t want to slosh through more books to find out.

Honestly, I can see why some people might enjoy these books. They’re definitely not hard to read and if you’re into vampires, the take they have on those creatures is pretty interesting. But for me, I was a little bored. I wanted more action, adventure, cool vampire moments–not endless, repetitive school and training days and then predictable little plot twists.

I don’t think I’ll be recommending this book or this series to anyone–and it already has enough followers that it won’t matter in the least. I’ll just say to anyone hanging on the edge like I was, thinking they should at least read the first book to see what it’s all about–maybe pick up something else instead.

2/5 stars

Uncategorized

Big Hero 6 Review!

 

If you haven’t heard about the latest Disney animated film, have you been living under a rock? Big Hero 6 has been out for a few weeks now and I saw it on opening night. Yes, I’m that committed to my Disney. And I have to say that there was a very weird crowd at that showing at the local theater–everyone college age or older, with some people very rude and obviously unable to properly stick to movie etiquette. Totally different from my last Disney movie extravaganza, when my cousin and I went to see Frozen opening night and we were the only two in the theater. Yeah, I didn’t know how big that one would turn out after the, well, lack of a turn out. Ha.

Luckily, it seems like Hiro and his motley crew of superheroes are bringing in the crowds and praise that they deserve. I loved the humor, the action, and the awesome characters that this film brought to life and I know that this will be one of those movies that’ll be around for ages to come.

If I had to pick a favorite hero out of the six, I’d be hard pressed to choose. Hiro, Honey Lemon, and Baymax are definitely in my top three, but all of the characters–even the ones who aren’t superheroes–were well-crafted and had me in love from the first few minutes they were on screen. They all had their quirks but they were so real. I could imagine it was my friends up there (my science-y friends, because unfortunately I’m not one to brag about my math, science, or engineering skills). They were fighting for good, kicking butt, and delivering great one-liners that I’m going to have to memorize and quote.

To touch on the humor of the movie, I think that without it I wouldn’t have loved the film as much. Not that I wouldn’t have appreciated the action and beautiful animation, but this just added another fun element to everything else. Baymax got the most laughs out of me, I think. He was so adorable and cuddly, yet entirely clueless. Though I have to say that Hiro’s reactions to Baymax doing anything wrong were equally cute and had me laughing as well!

 

 I loved Big Hero 6 so much that I’m tempted to see it in theaters again–even though there are about a million other movies coming out that I should pay money to see. I feel like it’s one of those Disney movies where you can watch it five times and notice something different about it throughout each viewing. I can’t wait to see what other people think of this movie and especially to find out about all of the Easter Eggs undoubtedly in this! I did spot a few while watching, but I was spending so much time focusing on and rooting for the characters that I didn’t look at the scenery so much!

If you haven’t gone to see this movie yet, with the holiday season upon us I’m sure you’ll find SOME free time to head to the theater. And this should be the first film that you pick to see! You can literally bring everyone in the family (well, maybe don’t bring a baby) and they’ll enjoy it. I promise.

books to movies

Book to Movie: The Maze Runner

I’ve been so excited for this movie! When I first read the book, it was back when young adult movie adaptations were just getting started (think Twilight) and I was so sure that The Maze Runner was going to see the spotlight one day. I’m so excited that I got to see the movie on the day that it came out, after years of waiting!

I’d definitely recommend checking out the trailers for this movie because I think they did a fantastic job capturing some of the suspense and intrigue that really make this trilogy special. I’m no expert on film but really loved the angles used and how those few minutes really captured the emotion of the book as well as the movie.

Our leading man, Thomas,  is played by Dylan O’Brien. I’ve only seen a few episodes of Teen Wolf and he has a small appearance in The Internship but I always had it in my mind that he was a great actor so I was excited when I heard that he was Thomas. I think he did a fantastic job creating Thomas’ character even through the confusion and memory loss Thomas experiences. Because I haven’t seen O’Brien much on screen, I think that also made it easier for me to imagine him as that character.

The same was true for most of the boys. Some of them began to get mixed up with one another (because in a pack of all boys, things can get confusing) but overall I was happy with the group. Chuck was appropriately adorable. Alby was a great leader. I wish that we’d gotten to see a little more of Minho and Newt. Also, it’d been a while since I read the book, so I completely forgot Frypan’s name and they never directly introduced him in the movie. I was sitting there in the theater thinking, What are they calling him? Fred? Frank? until it clicked.

As with all book to movie adaptations, I was terrified that The Maze Runner was going to tear apart one of my favorite books. Instead, it showed off some scenes that looked absolutely amazing done in film. I think that the Grievers were awesome and terrifying, even though they were nothing like what I’d pictured in my head (think Robosnail from Rugrats, except smaller and more terrifying). The maze scenes were awesome, with all of those moving parts and great effects. The Glade was less impressive but I think that’s because it can do nothing but pale in comparison to the awe of the maze.

There were some parts of the book that were completely left out. I won’t point out anything very specific because I think you could watch the film, like it, and then go to the book to get another great story that’s slightly different. There was so much between Thomas and Teresa that just wasn’t included, so I don’t know how they’ll skirt around that when it comes to the next movie. I think that overall I wasn’t too annoyed by anything that was taken out of the film because it’s been so long since I’ve read the book. I’ve learned my lesson not to reread the book right before the movie or I’m almost guaranteed to dislike the film!

The great thing about reading the book before the movie? You get to enjoy the theater’s reaction to a plot twist you know is coming. Yeah, maybe I was a little too smug, looking to see how my friends who hadn’t read the book were reacting to what was happening. There was a particularly funny part for me when everyone thought the movie was over, but I knew that the action was just getting started. I feel like with The Maze Runner, which absolutely thrives on plot twists, there’s never any way of knowing where the story’s going to go next.

The ending disappointed me a little. I hate enjoying an adaptation and then leaving the theater unsatisfied because they just needed to change up the ending. It happened with The Giver. Divergent. Now The Maze Runner. The end is important because it’s the last thing I get before I leave so of course I want it to be on a great note. Not that I’m saying they completely changed the end of this; they just left it off at a different part and didn’t go quite as far with the plot as the book does, which is annoying.

Overall, I was so impressed with The Maze Runner that I need the sequel immediately. I’ve heard that they’re planning to make one, but it isn’t coming until 2016. How can I wait that long? If this movie does well in the box office, I’m hoping that means The Scorch Trials will have an even better budget for a greater movie–not that I’m saying the visual effects in this first installment didn’t impress. Far from it. The maze was terrifying realistic and the Grievers . . yep, part of my nightmares now.

I’d recommend this movie to fans of the book, those unsure of whether they want to read the series, and people looking for a movie filled with suspense and action. This is a book that I read and thought would be even cooler as a movie. I’m glad that the film proved me right.

books to movies

Books to Movies: The Giver

A few weeks ago one of my favorite books of all time, The Giver, was released in theaters. I had mixed reactions when I saw the trailer; this book has been a part of my life for so long. My first meeting with it happened in the fifth grade when my teacher would read us a chapter or two after recess. The story blew my mind; up until then I’d never known plot twists like those that were thrown into this book. It sparked my love of books that could surprise and shock me; it heightened my imagination.

I really didn’t want it destroyed by film, even if that would never change my love for the text. The trailer was terrible, really, and it confused me that they showed clips of things that happen at the very end of the book. Why would they want to give so much away? I decided to give the movie a try anyway, thinking it better to hope for the best than never know what the film is like.

It was . . . interesting. Certainly not as bad as I feared it would be but not one of my favorite adaptations and I have no idea how people who haven’t read the book will take this novel. Surprisingly, when I went to see the film the theater was filled mostly with older people so I wonder if their reaction to the movie was different than mine was.

There were some scenes in this I was absolutely excited to see, that I’ll cherish because I think they were captured so well. I loved whenever Jonas was with Gabriel because his changing reaction to the baby really showcased his altered personality and emotions. I also liked seeing him receiving the memories, particularly the sled ride and when he first experiences painful memories on his own.

From the trailers, I was afraid that they wouldn’t incorporate the literally colorless environment of the book, yet my fears were unfounded. I loved how they visually showed Jonas’ transition from a world void of color to one vibrant and alive.

What didn’t I like about this film? Two things immediately come to mind:

1. The fact that Taylor Swift was part of the cast. She had a minor role and if they make the other books into movies she’ll never appear again but she’s definitely a singer, not an actress. While I have nothing against her music, I’ll definitely start disliking her if she throws herself into other movies. I really think that getting some unknown actress would have been a better choice because she would have been able to deliver Rosemary’s few lines with much more feeling. As it was, I felt nothing for Rosemary’s tragic past, nothing for the Giver and his loss, because Taylor Swift’s bad acting was too distracting.

2. The end. Well, not the very end- I think they did very well in showing how the book finished. I’ll try to explain without spoiling anything. Basically, Jonas’ friend has to make a decision that was never there in the book and the whole scene wasn’t well put-together, anyway, so I wondered why they threw that in instead of what actually happened in the novel. It was so awkward, forced, and drew me out of their world because I was thinking about how that would have never happened.

Overall, I enjoyed my time watching this movie. I really recommend you watch it, yet perhaps it’s one better seen on demand than in the theater. I didn’t really end up minding how they aged up the characters as much as I thought I would. Jonas was still Jonas, which was the important thing, and I think he captured that most brilliantly in his scenes with the Giver. I don’t know why this movie isn’t getting more recognition because it isn’t great but it’s nowhere near terrible. Give it a try! If you’ve seen it already, let me know what you thought of it.

books to movies

Book to Movie: If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman is a fantastic novel. While I haven’t had the chance to read it again for a few years, I’d highly recommend it for anyone looking for a quick, dramatic contemporary read. Recently the book was turned into a film and I had the chance to see it on opening night last week.

I’ve figured out that the longer it’s been since I’ve read a book, the better a chance there is that I’ll enjoy the movie adaptation. Contemporary novels also seem easier to translate to screen because we don’t need any time to be immersed in that world; it’s the one that we’re already living in. Knowing that I loved the book and not quite being able to remember the details had me going into the movie excited but with little expectation. I’ve also learned not to get my hopes up.

I’ll start with my impression of the material released before the movie was out. I really liked the animated posters made for If I Stay; in fact, I even like the book cover for the movie, which is the same as the poster pictured above. Capturing other aspects of Mia’s life, rather than simply having a cover of the actress who plays her, was a fantastic choice. I also think that they did a great job with the covers, being able to show the story to people who might never have heard of the book before. I did tear up at the trailer.

Now on to reviewing the actual movie. I was a little worried about the actors chosen for the film because I’d never seen Chloe Moretz in a film like this and knew nothing about the guy they chose for Adam except (like most of the time) he didn’t fit the image I had in my mind of what Adam might be like. And, well, I expected him to be more conventionally handsome. I feel like throughout the movie, Moretz did a better job of convincing me that she was truly her character, but I also came to accept Adam because I think he nailed his personality exactly.

One thing I didn’t like about the two? Well, it wasn’t the actors, but the fact that the director decided that they needed to have so many scenes making out. Okay, I get it. You love each other. That doesn’t mean that we need to spend five minutes every fifteen minutes staring at you while you ever so slowly kiss each other. I mean, it was touching at first, but after a while it kind of felt like they were those people who make out in public places, the ones you just kind of want to nudge out of your way and try to forget.

One of the most powerful scenes for me was when Mia’s grandfather came to speak to her in the hospital. Up until that point, I’d been teary, but with that performance I completely lost it. It makes you think of those you lost and how maybe they were in pain and just needed to let go, even if you didn’t want to lose them. It reminds you of how lucky you are, if you’re healthy and you’re loved ones are, too. It’s something that we don’t really appreciate it until we realize it’s gone and we have no way of immediately getting it back for ourselves. I have no idea what the actor’s name is, who plays her grandfather, but he was my favorite.

I wish that the film had focused a little more on the relationships Mia had with people such as her grandfather, her friends, and maybe a little more time with her family, too. Sure, I liked seeing all of the cute scenes with her and Adam, but he isn’t the only one who factors into her decision of whether or not she should stay in this world or decide to let go.

If you haven’t read If I Stay, I’d say you could decide whether or not you want to read it before the film. The ending might be more spectacular if you read it first; it was fun seeing how all of the people in the theater who hadn’t read the book reacted! But if you see the movie first, you’ll enjoy it and then be compelled to learn more about the characters. Maybe even picking up the companion novel, Where She Went, too.

I’d give this book to movie adaptation 4 out of 5 stars and will be recommending it to others.

5 stars · Fantasy

The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

 

The Queen of Tearling

The Queen of Tearling #1

author : erika johansen

pages : [hardcover] 448

memorable quote Even a book can be dangerous in the wrong hands, and when that happens, you blame the hands, but you also read the book.

favorite characters : kelsea & pen

summary:

Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother – Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid – was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea’s uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea’s 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother’s guard – each pledged to defend the queen to the death – arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding…

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom’s heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother’s legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea’s story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance – it’s about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive…

review :

 I absolutely loved reading this book and can’t wait to see what Erika Johansen has in store for us in the sequel! Although this book is a little massive so that might be daunting to some readers, that only tempts you to slow down your reading pace so that you can spend more time in this complex, medieval yet somehow futuristic world that the author has constructed for us. Even with all of these pages I still have questions about how the New World came to be the way it is; I don’t really understand the Crossing, which seems to mean that people from America as well as other countries like England came to this new land to start over. A lot of important technology and most doctors were lost during the passage, leading to this medieval world. Oh, and there’s magic.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand it all from the summary; there’s a lot going on in this normal. There’s black magic, and a war brewing on the horizon; there’s a young girl learning to become a queen and a guy who seems more like a ninja with the skills he has than a queen’s guard. Even the tiniest little characters have you feeling something for them because the author takes time to make them human, focusing a certain scene on someone or showcasing an important portion of a character’s personality. I particularly liked the little jumps in point of view that would show the Queen of Mortmesme, giving a peek into what the enemy was doing, or views from other characters that I will not name lest I give anything away.

There were points when I wondered if all of that text to tell this information was necessary; after reading, I didn’t feel that way at all. Reflecting on it, I absorbed so much that I can still perfectly picture the world that was created. While this novel wasn’t packed with action, I didn’t come into it expected it to be that way. I feel like anyone will love this book if they’re a fan of great writing, characters, and ideas, as well as complex kingdom management, watching the development of characters, and little spurts of intense suspense sprinkled throughout the text.

Although the fantasy aspect of this book was not at the foreground, I’m hoping that more of it will come into play in book two. I’m also hoping for a glimpse into the rest of Mortmesme, maybe some more action on that front. I’m excited to see how things will play out; in the meantime, I’ll be recommending this book to anyone who’s looking for something else to read! If you haven’t had this on your radar yet, pick it up now!

5/5 stars