books to movies

Books to Movies: City of Bones

City of Bones isn’t one of my favorite books but I think it’s a very interesting series with so many interesting aspects that could easily be made into a big cinematic experience. Clary and Jace are good characters and their relationship is definitely a complicated one. Of course, I was really interested in seeing what they’d do about that cliffhanger ending that could possibly turn away audiences if a second movie was ever in the works. Now that I’ve seen the first movie, I’m not so sure I want to see City of Ashes made in this same way.

From the beginning I had my doubts. Book to movie adaptations have been really hit or miss lately. I’ve come to terms with the fact that a lot of different changes are going to come in these movies and perhaps some things will be added in. But when it comes to City of Bones things got ridiculous pretty fast. Things that couldn’t possibly have happened in the books, that were never in the world-building that came with the creatures, Shadow Hunters, and everything in between, were thrown into this movie. Sometimes I just found myself staring at the screen wondering why someone thought it’d be okay to completely redo the lore like that.

Jamie Campbell Bower wasn’t and never will be my Jace. He’s supposed to be the most attractive guy around and know it; that’s one of the important aspects of his character. Bower doesn’t do that for me. At least he didn’t have to try to perfect an accent for this role; I’m still unsure why they suddenly decided all of the Shadow Hunters had to have accents. It was odd and didn’t do anything for me.

I really liked Simon, Robert Sheehan, partly because I’ve seen him in other things and already knew that he’d be able to take on this role. I wish that more of him had been shown and know that if they ever did make the second book into a movie, they’d definitely be able to capitalize on his abilities.

And Lily Collins as Clary ended up being disappointing as well. I tried so hard before the film as released to be impartial about the decision to cast her and ended up failing. I never felt like I could relate or empathize with her in the movie. Part of it was the writing, I must admit. It seems like the writers of this movie liked forcing the characters to make improbably dumb decisions. (Let’s temporarily freeze a herd of monsters and walk delicately through them instead of killing them!) But Collins wasn’t Clary. She was more like a diluted, distorted version of her.

If you’re a fan and tempted to watch this adaptation like I was, I suggest saving yourself the time and assuming this will be as disappointing as it looks to be. I didn’t even enjoy the score and that’s something I usually don’t even need to think about while watching a movie unless it’s so awesome it demands notice. This one seemed to have misplaced itself at all the wrong moments and favored cheesy pop songs to ruin scenes from the book. Despite a few good action sequences, a few scenes I’d really wanted to see come to life, and Robert Sheehan, I say you should let this movie pass on quietly and hope that eventually they’ll try to redo this.

5 stars · Fantasy · fiction · science fiction · young adult

Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe

 

Happy Birthday to Me

Author: Brian Rowe

Pages [ebook]: 316

Favorite Characters: Kimber & Cameron

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day!

High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game all on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a popular pretty boy who’s never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.

All Cameron wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition. When he finds love with a mysterious young woman, however, he realizes his only hope for survival might be with the one person who started his condition in the first place…

Review:

 After the first few pages of Happy Birthday to Me, I was sucked into the story. Cameron is such a great character to read about; not quite a bad person, not fully good. His worst faults are selfishness, vanity, and arrogance. Though all three are not uncommon among boys today, they were portrayed in ways that subtly hinted he could be a better person if he actually tried.

Then, of course, he’s cursed to age a year with every day that passes. With that, his life is forever changed.

I loved the writing style of this novel. It was simple diction yet not dull for that, and the plot moved along so quickly I never wanted to stop reading! There were moments when I despised Cameron, moments when I rooted for him, and hilarious times when I wanted to laugh out loud. If a writer can pull you through all of those emotions in a smooth, effortless way, I’m destined to love that book.

And I did fall in love with Happy Birthday to Me. The story was unique as well as interesting-I liked seeing the little changes that came with each passing day. By the end, I was putting aside every other thing I had to do just so I could read the conclusion.

 This is a fantastically fun read that I immensely enjoyed and am sad to see finished. The different elements meshed together in a seamless fashion to form a great young adult novel. It’s definitely one of the better books I’ve read lately. I highly recommend Happy Birthday to Me, and give it 5/5 stars.

5 stars · fiction · history · romance

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

 

Water for Elephants

Author: Sara Gruen

Pages [paperback]: 331

Opening Lines: Only three people were left under the red and white awning of the grease joint: Grady, me, and the fry cook. Grady and I sat at a battered wooden table, each facing a burger on a dented tin plate.

Memorable Quote: “Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important.”

Favorite Characters: Walter, Marlena, Jacob, & Rosie

Available now!

Summary:

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski’s ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out – orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive ‘ship of fools’. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn’t have an act – in fact, she couldn’t even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

Review:

I came into this book not expecting much at all, and ended up excessively loving it! This is one of those stories where you think you’ve figure out exactly how everything is going to go . . . And then nothing turns out the way you thought it would.

Books that have a frame for the story like Water for Elephants had will, if done well, really get me to know and love the characters. Having Jacob’s narration of the circus events interrupted by ‘present day Jacob’ was a nice little detail. I definitely felt sad for the ninety-something year old, feeling nearly helpless and lonely. As he feels he’s losing control of his life, his mind slips back to the past, and through these lapses we’re told the story.

I never knew anything about how circuses traveled about in the past, and hearing about the cutthroat America during the Great Depression certainly brought an overpowering feel of reality to the story. Jobs were few and far between, and those that had them did anything they could to keep them. Describing the desperate times, the hobo jungles, and the pay cuts served to present a great representation of the time period.

I loved hearing about the different circus acts, though I know that was but a miniscule part of the story. The tiny facts and funniest little things kept my interest and had me smiling. This book is definitely dark and depressing at moments. At others, it is brilliantly bright and full of hope. Any novel that can pull off both sides of the spectrum nearly flawlessly is excellent in my book.

I give Water for Elephants 5/5 stars. It was fantastic, and I’ll definitely have to check out the upcoming movie now! I really recommend it. I have a feeling it is one of those books I will never forget.