Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2) by E.L. James

In a way, I got desensitized by now against some aspects of this god awful story. The bad writing is a given. The facepalm moments with the Inner Goddess and the subconsciousness are also there. It never really stops being disturbing that Ana basically has three people in her head with their own personalities. Maybe she's actually a schizophrenic in a mental institution and all this is in her head. What an idea! Something like in Sucker Punch. She's actually being abused by a guy there, but in her head he's Grey, and they are having a love affair.

You may be wondering what happens in this book. Actually, I'm kind of wondering about that myself. The only way I could actually finish this thing was by listening to it being read out by Mark. This books is really boring, and about three things happen in it. The rest is sex. I think probably even a porn addict would be fed up. This is where it's obvious that the book used to be fanfiction. Fanfics are updated once a week at best, and that way you get the sex scenes in instalments. Being read one after the other becomes too much, especially because the plot is almost non-existent.

In a way, the first book was actually a lot better than the second. It had more things going on, and there was some conflict. I almost enjoyed that in a "shout at the insanity of the book" way. There isn't too much conflict in this one, and if there is, it gets quickly swept under the rug by either sex or alcohol. Not necessarily by Christian. There is one case where an uninvited guest comes into Christian's apartment, who sends Ana away to deal with it. So far so good. So what does Ana and another person do? Go for a drink.
I just don't have much to say about it, since it's really just glorified porn at this point.

Overall, I'm wondering what I'd rather do; bang my head against a wall, or read this.

Doctor Who: Royal Blood by Una McCormack * * *

I haven't read a Doctor Who book in a while, and when I saw this at WHSmith, I had to grab it. It was a good book, but I felt it lacked in some ways.

The story itself was intriguing with the mixture of medieval and modern equipment and surroundings. Trying to evade a war is never easy, but in a way the plot was given away from the start. The search for the artefact felt glossed over. Probably the biggest problem of the book was that the author was trying to keep it short, but by doing that was afraid to get into anything in detail. Most of the book was taken up by talking, plotting, without anything much actually happening.

The Doctor seemed to play a minor character here, and I found that that must have been because the author didn't have a good grasp of him. It was a bit strange, because one of her other books, The Way Through the Woods is actually one of my favourite Doctor Who books.
Clara was more of a central character in the story, getting mixed up in trying to stop a war. She seemed to have gone rogue, acting on her own.
Bernhardt was the author's own character. For some reason, his parts were in first person. This constant change of perspective was very strange. I do see the point in it, but the story was disjointed because of it. 

Overall, it was an interesting story, but lacked depth and excitement. Hence only three stars, since it wasn't bad, just not enough.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer * * * * *

Winter is the last novel in the Lunar Chronicles, which was kind of sad. I discovered the series a few years ago, and devoured the first two books. They had the perfect blend of adventure and romance, without the romance overpowering the adventure, as so often happens with books aimed at young adults. Frankly, I like some romance with my adventure, but if there is too much of it, I get bored. Then throw the book against the wall.
This book I started with a mix of anticipation and sadness. I wanted to find out how Cinder would get her throne, since she obviously would, but I knew that once I turned the last page, that would be the end of my adventures with the girls. Yes, I did tear up in the end for these very reasons.

The story itself is the longest, and the most complex of the series. There are times when I wonder how they're going to get out of the situation. All the girls have their roles to play, the end result could not be reached by the end. I also liked how no one comes out without reminders of the things they've gone through. It's very hard to write about the story without spoilers, but suffice to say, yes, it does take place on Luna, and we actually do get to see a great deal of it. It makes me hope that some day we do see the series made into film, because I would love to see it all on the big screen. However, I somehow think it would be better as an anime. Probably because of the Sailor Moon influence, but I kind of saw them as anime characters in my head.

Cinder is not the centre of the story. She is kind of the main character, but everyone is equally important, and gets equal time. These books are, in a way, very feminist. Cinder is a mechanic, Cress a hacker, Scarlet a bad-ass farmer, kind of like a pioneer woman. Winter has some issues, but in spite of her problems and limitations, she still gets things done. It could be said, that Winter does it with her feminine beauty, but that's not actually true. She wins people by paying attention to them. Her beauty comes from an inner gentle heart, and that is really what people respond to.

Levana is the villain. I thought a bit about if it would have been better to have a man as the antagonist, but not really. There are some issues that are brought up that can be talked about even outside the world of the book. After all, she was hurt by her sister, so she hurt her niece, and her people the same way. We could have pity for her, and Cinder does as well, but the truth is, she could have been a better person with what happened to her. Often, in the real world, people who have injuries, bad things happen to them, we treat them as saints, and expect them to be pure. We make allowances for them. The truth is, most of the time, their experiences don't make them good people. If they were good to start with, they will be good afterwards. However, if they weren't, they'll just be worse after their negative experiences, because often they feel entitled to be mean.

The guys in the story do their fair share, they're not there just to look pretty. While they are protective of the girls, they don't try to stop them from doing what they need to. They all work together as a team of equals.

Overall, a very good finish to the series. I did stall reading it at times, but that was more about prolonging getting to the end, than not wanting to read. I know the author is going to publish a collection of short stories, which I'll read, but I wouldn't mind if she thought of another series in the same world. I wouldn't mind going back. The question now is, what to read next that won't feel like rubbish after this?