While I try to figure out where I am trying to go with my blog, here is a lovely book review.
Normally I try not to read a book after it has gone all main stream, I like being a partial hipster and ‘discover’ a book before it has a Wikipedia page. But some books are amazing and should be read no matter what. The Millennium Series is such books.
Written by the late Stieg Larsson, his trilogy starts with the well-known ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and introduces us to Lisbeth Salander, Mikael Blomkvist and many other unforgettable characters. The first book takes the world head on, and it rips away the friendly Sweden presented by IKEA and shows us a darker underworld. It is not the true face of the world they live in, but it is a face.
As far as the movie goes, I only saw the American version and it was very dark. Not as dark as the book but in terms of accuracy, it was as dead on. At first I felt like Lisbeth was too weird to relate to. As I read more, I realized I wished I could be more like her. She is like a female Batman who is willing to take that last step over the edge to save more lives. You know which one. But she also remains true to herself and her convictions. Also I would never want to be on her bad side.
The next book continues some time later in ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire’ where Lisbeth is accused of three murders. To my annoyance and delight, the book follows everyone BUT Lisbeth so you have no idea what her reaction or even her guilt to the murders. It was a great move on Larsson’s part and I wish he were alive to write more books about her.
Finally, in ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’ Lisbeth is on trial. This book above all others is more of a conspiracy novel and it reads as such. Is it still good? I say so but now I want out go out and solve crimes. There ought to be a warning label. But the base plot revolves around how women are treated by men in Sweden. To be honest, it is a bleak view of how many women are treated all over the world. Does Lisbeth come out on top? You will need to read yourself. All I know is that her sense of justice in the world comes from her upbringing and in her shoes I don’t know if I could be half as good.
Another key plot is the matter of her sanity. Without going into detail, I do feel she is not normal. She feels little or no fear through the series as a normal person does. She sees a problem, finds a solution, and protects herself like a one woman army. Is it dangerous? Yes. But she is not some weak little thing despite her outward appearance.
In terms of the book itself, I could go on and on about how great it was. I will instead point out a few cons. My biggest issue was the unreality of it. Rather than pick a woman lead who the reader can relate to, I found someone I wished I could. The ideal heroine. Does she have relatable qualities? Yes but they are the extreme in everything. She is super small, very antisocial, genius smart, computer whiz full of calm rage against those who are wrong. Its un real. But amazing.
Also, he head jumps. This is more of an editing issue, and it is unfortunate that he died before any of the books were published. This is most evident in book three when you get a head view of multiple people in a scene. It’s annoying but does not really detract from the story and the majority or readers would not notice. But if you write, that is certainly something to be on the watch for.
My last con is that the book is slow at first. There were many chapters where I wanted to skim over the dates and facts that were part of the history. There were more than a few sections that could have been deleted. At around 800 pages for each book, the word count is a little too high and could have done with some cutting. I think part of why this was not done is because these books are the last ones he (the author) ever wrote. Every word is precious and it is something to remember. At one point he felt it was important. And we all know that any time we need to cut something out there is a little whimper from our manuscripts.
Please read these books. They are amazing in their own way.
Looks like I am a little late to the party where everyone is sharing a review of Snow White. I am also finding a lot of people liked it. Which makes me wonder, have I turned into a sheep as well? Cause I sorta kinda loved it…
Before I start, let me apologize to my best friend Mira. I had promised her we would make fun of the movie in the safety of my home, complete with throwing popcorn at the screen and hoping the cat did not eat it all.
****WARNING: Spoilers Ahead****
Much to my surprise, I liked the movie. It was nothing like I expected and honestly I did not mind spending 2 hours in a dark theater. Also I was feeling all the beards (not literally, but damn they are sexy) and Charlize Theron is amazing.
So where to start?
Chronicals of Narnia
Joan of Arc
I knew it was going to be one of those days. I actually yelled at my coffee maker to brew faster. I am a self-admitting addict to caffeine. The most I can go is a couple days with no coffee. Even then I will drink tea.
The thing is, this whole week has been that kind of week. The one where you have a million things to do but have no motivation to do it. My educated guess is that I am slowly becoming a zombie.
Speaking of zombies and Halloween-esq creatures, has anyone watch American Horror story? It is this new show on FX from the creators of Nip/Tuck. Comes on after 10 PM and it is soooo weird.
Basically, this family is having trouble with some internal issues. Rather than deal with them, the whole family moves across the country to the ‘murder house’ and every episode features a murder in the beginning. We are talking graphic and disturbing images with creepy as heck imagery. It gets the point across.
The husband, Ben, cheats on his wife Vivianne after she suffers a horrible miscarriage. Right away you dislike him. It does not get better. His behavior gets worse and while he has an impressive body he is mentally and emotionally crippled. This guy is seriously messed up and easily manipulated. Which I guess since the mental and physical do not match that is a cool gimmick used by the creators. Aside from that, the dude cries too much. But he is not an antagonist, not in the really malicious way. His inner demons are pretty much at work destroying him.
Vivianne the wife. I see her as weak. She takes the cheater back. She allows him to take care of her so she does not need to work. She insisted on moving to a new state to escape her past without really dealing with it. She is constantly a strong victim in that she will get herself into trouble and then stubbornly try to fix her situation. She has some success.
The daughter is Violet, who of the group is the teenage daughter and the most realistic person on the show. She portrays typical teenage behavior in addition to being the strongest personality. She accepts there are un-pleasantries in her life and is often berating her parents on their behavior. Awesome start. Also the actress is from NJ =D
We also have the creepy neighbor, the dead maid who switches between old and young, the burned man, the disturbed boy and various other characters who are simply plot devices.
Each episode features a murder followed by the present day residents being affected by the murder. Awesome? Not really because there is no flow. Each episode has little connection to the previous one. Granted this is only the 3rd episode but still. I prefer more connection.
Any way, maybe more on this later but for now? Lame show. Too much cliche.
Last night I finished reading the Mistborn Trilogy. For those who do not know it, the author is some random guy named Brandon Sanderson. You know, the one finishing Wheel of Time? Yea, that guy. I had no idea who he was. But I looked up his site. And the man has a way with words that blows me away.
My sister first told me about Mistborn. For awhile I did not read them because I have other books to go over but eventually I began. The books blew me away and last night I cried like a little girl at the ending. Maybe it was because of watching Titanic, maybe because I had a weird day at work but the end of the last book left me in tears. It was that good.
Basically, a girl who is nobody discovers she has special powers. In a world that is dying will she be able to save it not from men but from a God intent on destroying everything?
So. I am giving scores from 1 to 5 in the following areas.
World building – 4. Sanderson creates a landscape that is nothing like Earth, but you can still see yourself there. Not exactly alien but not the world we know.
Characters – 5. I have never cried over a character before, but each time a character died or prevailed I felt an emotional reaction. There were several laugh out loud moments. But the bad guys… Imagine a tall creature coming towards you. He can almost see through your soul because instead of eyes, there are huge metal spikes. And he cannot be stopped. Or even the Koloss, blue creatures up to 12 feet tall with skin tearing and blood dripping and there is an army of blood frenzied creatures. Or an immortal God King who can supress all your hope at a better life.
Consistancy – 5. Many authors spend time on little details that are unique but do not serve a purpose. There are plot holes and it happens. The mind of a writer is not always logical as it takes a huge amount of imagination the rest of the world envies. But even the tiniest detail, the smallest habit becomes a huge plot point. Sanderson used every tool he had made and even a seasoned reader like me had multiple “WTF” Moments. Genius I tell you.
Protagonist – 4. Vin is strong, beautiful and ruthless. She fights to survive and to protect those she loves. Trained as an assasin and a nobelwoman she is deadly but commpassionate. She is like every female protagonist in one.
Antagonist – 5. How do you fight a God? How do you kill one? How do you keep hope when he is everywhere and can influence almost everyone? How do you make him fear you?
Read the books if you have not already. Sanderson is incredibly talented and he will influence readers and writers alike for years to come.
Group Read: Mistborn – The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (reflectionsinapuddle.wordpress.com)
Mistborn: Birthright (jonrmoss.wordpress.com)
Mistborn: The Hero of Ages, Review (kevinjjmurray.wordpress.com)
Mistborn: Birthright is Coming in 2013 (tor.com)