Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus #5) by Rick Riordan * * * * *

I have finished this book some months ago, but only got around to reviewing now.

This is the last book in the series. I was saddened by this, because I had really grown to love the characters. I did like the ending though. However, I wouldn't mind short stories about them like five years down the road. Some story lines had a rather abrupt ending, I felt.

The story branched off in this book as well. I was very glad to see Nico have his own voice. He had been a favourite of mine for some time. 

Overall, it's very hard to talk about this book without spoiling the others. I am glad that I read all five books together, because they came together as one more than the previous five. They were also more adult than the previous five. While both end in battle and some deaths, this was different. In fact, there were more than one battles, and all of them were unique. The talents of the different demigods were used in complex ways, and there wasn't just one individual that stood out.

Reading this series as someone completely out of the target demographic, as a 32-year-old woman, I still enjoyed it. It was fun on one hand, but the characters were complex and individual enough to make me care about them. Even though they were half my age, their struggles were very adult. I wondered if it really was for kids, and they are, but for the more mature. However, adults can also enjoy them, because the topics are very mature. What were those topics? Well, dear reader, you'll just have to find out for yourself. ;-)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Insurgent (2015) * *

I sat in to see this movie with mixed feelings. I was pretty bored by the first movie, and I wasn't sure if I would be more entertained by the second. In the end, it was okay.

Unlike the first movie, which had an interesting beginning, boring middle, and more exciting ending, this movie had a steady pace. While I wasn't at the edge of my seat, it was interesting enough to not cause me to start creating dishes for my other blog in my head. However, it wasn't exciting enough to actually make me feel.

In the review of the previous movie I had a few questions. Now let's see if they were answered.
  • What is the wall for? - We sort of get an answer.
  • What is the rest of the world like, and why isn't anyone trying to find out? - We sort of get an answer for the first part, but not the second. It still doesn't make sense to me why people just take at face value that the world beyond the wall is terrible. On some of the shots there were clearly forests beyond the wall as well. There are always people in every group that see the horizon and just want to find out what is beyond it. Yet in 200 years apparently no one like that was born there.
  • Why are there still so many houses with holes in them? Shouldn't they have been repaired by now or torn down? - In this movie we see some new buildings as well. Now that I know it's been 200 years, I'm still wondering why the old ones aren't torn down or repaired? They would be dangerous. Falling debris all over the place! They could build a skyscraper taller than any other building, but not deal with the old ones? Makes no sense!
  • How long ago was this war thing, and what are the general facts about it? - We only learned that it was 200 years ago. So they think. Maybe not.
  • What are the Gryffindors, sorry, Dauntless protecting people from? It feels more like they're trying to control the people who like to climb on walls for no apparent reason, and don't know that there are mountains in the world. - Apparently, in this movie their role is to bully the other factions.

The whole factions thing makes even less sense. From the movie it seems like the faction is innate. It has biological implications, because there are machines that can tell what you are. Now how is that possible? Really? Just think about it. There is no concrete biological indicator to a person's core personality. In fact, it's impossible to determine how much of who you are is genetics, and how much is experience. This world is inherently flawed in that way. In other books when there are such cast systems, they are a lot better explained. One way to go about it is like in The Hunger Games, or in real life, India. You are born into a group, and that is where you stay. Another way is interfering with nature. In Brave New World the development even as an embryo is carefully controlled, and when they are born, through conditioning and other methods reinforced. They interfere with nature and nurture to get the desired outcome.
In this world, they do neither. Determining a faction based on just the dominant personality trait is very faulty, and makes absolutely zero sense. In fact, it's not feasible.

The story itself was okay. Really not much to say about it. No great surprises, even though I never read the book. Okay, the plot point of the "message" was not something that can be foreseen, but everything else about it was obvious. Even the ending, though the precise message I wasn't able to determine, I knew it would say something similar.
The ending scene left me questioning what they could possible put in the next movie. I guess I'll find out next year. I am a bit curious, but I'm working myself through A Dance with Dragons, and I intent to finish it before reading anything else.

The actors, well, Tris didn't get any better. Not much in the passion, or smiling department. I get that she's supposed to be this tortured heroine, but the only time she seemed to actually show emotions was when she was trying to kill someone with her bare hands, or crying. Though the crying looked so awkward, I kept thinking that they should just make her stop.
Four got a little better. We learned some of his story, and he also seemed to be more into Tris than she was into him. Though there were some nicer romantic moments, that almost made the whole movie better.

Overall, it was an okay movie. I didn't hate it, just kept thinking how some parts of the story made no sense, and how some were weird. It's really watchable. The scenes were nicer than the previous movie, and there was also more action. I don't intend to rewatch it ever, but I'm glad that I saw it, because it would bug me after having seen the first movie.