On Reading Comics

For the past few months, the majority of my time has been filled with revising for exams or doing exams. So I didn’t have much time to read novels, especially not any chunky classics!

However, I was able to read some comic books. To anyone who enjoys reading but is pressed for time, I really would recommend just going to a library and taking out some comic books for light reading.

Probably the best graphic novel I picked up was one called ‘Maus’ which is based on a Jewish family’s experience of the Second World War, and how they coped afterwards. This book was so emotional, and at times very hard hitting,  yet still managed to interject some humor.

I also read the first two volumes of ‘The Sandman’ by Neil Gaiman. This series is so cleverly done, and the art style is beautiful but disturbing at the same time. Another series I started was ‘Scooby Apocalypse’. A twisted version of the Scooby Doo we watch on TV, this series gives new life and more mature  to the characters. The art is very bright and cheerful, even though at times the story is dark.

Finally, I can’t talk about comic books without mentioning a superhero comic. I didn’t delve into any Spiderman or Batman, but instead picked up one of the newer additions to the superhero world- “Hellcat”. This comic was fun, charming, and very current, with lots of pop culture references and girl power. Honestly,  I thought that this book would be cringey, but ended up really enjoying it.

So I would definitely recommend that anyone who likes to read novels also has a go at reading some comic books. There are so many genres and styles out there and the plots are no less sophisticated than those of novels.

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The Hobbit- A Discussion about Prequels and Book to Movie Adaptations.

I am currently about two-thirds of the way through “The Hobbit”. Having watched the movies first (which is always a mistake, I know), I can’t help but notice how different the movies and the book are. And honestly, it’s not hard to see why. The Hobbit was written before LOTR, but the LOTR films were made before The Hobbit films.

Therefore, while The Lord of the Rings book leads on from The Hobbit novel, the fact that the LOTR was adapted into film first means the Hobbit films had to fit into the LOTR film universe and franchise that already existed. This could explain why The Hobbit was made into three 3 hour long films, to mirror the LOTR films. However while The Hobbit films might be satisfying prequels to someone who has only watched the LOTR movies and not read any of the books, as someone who has read most of the Hobbit and all of LOTR, I cannot see how they can justify going so far off the original story.

The Hobbit films may as well be a different story, as they go so far from the original. A prime example of this is the addition of the character Tauriel. Did we really need that love triangle? I don’t think so.

At the end of the day, the LOTR and the Hobbit are novels which will never be forgotten. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 30 years children will be studying them at school. Therefore I believe that the Hobbit deserved to be recognized as a story independent of the LOTR franchise and made into a 2 hour or so long movie without adding pointless characters and forcing it to fit perfectly with the LOTR film franchise. Pointless love triangles take away from a classic story. You wouldn’t add an extra love interest to something like Jane Eyre, or Pride and Prejudice when making it into a movie, so why do it with the works of Tolkien? I think it was quite disrespectful to the original author, as if Tolkien was still alive I don’t think he would be very happy about it at all.

Suicide Squad | Movie Review

After the complete and utter mess that Bat man v Superman was, I was NOT looking forward to watching another DC film, or any superhero film. I went into this film with very low expectations, but I was still disappointed.

The beginning of this film is probably the most lackluster opening ever: we have to listen to rushed back stories of all of the Suicide Squad which try and make it seem like they have actual abilities to justify them teaming up in the first place when most of them are just your everyday criminals. (And why would you hire criminals when Batman is around? Hiring his enemies instead seems like asking for trouble.)

The rest of the film is … not awful on the same level as Batman v Superman, but it definitely isn’t good. Will Smith was probably the best part of the film, and I almost wish they just made a film focusing on Deadshot instead. The Joker was barely in the film, which was disappointing: again, a film focused on the Joker and Harley Quinn instead of shoving them in with random villains would have been better. I had the same feeling about Katana,  who just didn’t fit into the story at ALL. Why would someone who isn’t a villain and doesn’t even speak the language of her teammates be in the team? What if they need to communicate about something important? I’d rather watch a film set in Japan about Katana than see her shoved into some random team.

This brings me to the main problem I found with Suicide Squad- the ideas, characters, atmosphere and story didn’t mesh well together AT ALL. Even some of the casting choices (such as Cara Delevingne as Enchantress- seriously, whose idea was that?) just didn’t work. And the editing of the film was so awkward, the story didn’t flow, some scenes just seemed random, and it just wasn’t very enjoyable.

I don’t know what DC is trying to do, because to me it seems like they are doing everything in their power to make their cinematic universe as terrible as possible. This is an issue because Marvel will soon be able to monopolize the superhero film genre, as DC becomes known for making awful films. We need competition between companies (eg Dreamworks vs Disney, etc.) within genres. But DC isn’t bringing much to the table.

Hopefully DC can make a comeback with Justice League, but I’m doubtful.

The Problem With Harry Potter

You’d think after 7 books, 8 movies, theme parks and spin off books (e.g. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) , we’d have had enough of Harry Potter. But no. We are going to be blessed with a spin off play and a spin off series of films.

I don’t question the fact that Harry Potter is a decent series, but I don’t think it deserves to continue getting so much attention. This leads me to the “problem” with Harry Potter: it never ends. Book shops in England have whole sections dedicated to the series, Primark is full of overpriced Harry Potter t-shirts, and despite the main series having ended years ago we just can’t seem to let go of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Harry Potter as much as the next person, but it is so overrated! And these days, it seems to be more about making as much money as possible by rehashing the covers and churning out tons of overpriced merchandise than promoting a quality series.

Maybe I’m blowing this out of proportion, but this obsession with all things Potter is getting a little crazy. I’ve never seen another series get so much worldwide attention and have such a dedicated fan-base. And the fact is, Harry Potter is good for a kids book,  but it isn’t exactly a masterpiece. It’s a book about some posh wizard kids at boarding school. All that makes it stand out is that JK Rowling has combined the boarding school story with a wizard story and made something sort of original.

Meanwhile, more underrated series in the fantasy genre like School for Good and Evil and the Inheritance Cycle get such a limited amount of attention even though they are just as good as Harry Potter. It doesn’t seem fair that this series should continue to dominate for so long when at the end of the day there are better books out there. If I was a parent, I’d rather my child read a variety of less popular  novels than was just obsessed with this Harry Potter craze.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte | Review

PLOT

Today I finished reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. The first part of the book was … interesting. Jane Eyre opens by detailing the life of poor orphan Jane, sent to live with her mean aunt and cousins. This part of the book seemed unoriginal to me, because so many books start with an orphan living with mean relatives. I felt quite bored, especially as at the start of the novel I didn’t really feel any empathy for the character of Jane.

Jane then goes on to narrate her life at the Lowood school which she is sent to for education. This part of the book was definitely more eventful than her family life, and while I was not particularly enjoying the book at this point, I felt like it did pick up a little bit.

For me, the book started to be enjoyable to read when Jane left school and became a governess at Thornfield. This is where the drama starts and it gets exciting. I couldn’t put the book down once I got to this part, because everything that happens is suddenly so much more interesting once we meet Rochester. Without wanting to spoil anything, it really is worth persevering through the less interesting parts of the novel because the good parts are really good.

CHARACTERS

One of the things I liked about this book is that most of the characters were there for a reason. There weren’t any that were useless to the plot. My main issue was that Jane isn’t the easiest protagonist to sympathise with, and I found myself becoming slightly irritated with her.

The character of Rochester was probably one of my favourites in the book. I found the part where Rochester pretends to be a fortune teller a really funny side to his character. While Rochester is essentially the stereotypical mysterious older love interest, I don’t think this really took away from the book much.

The side characters like the Reeds, Mrs Fairfax and Helen Burns were all necessary to the story and interesting enough, but nothing remarkable.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the second half of this book, but the first half was nowhere near as good.

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte | Review

I started reading Wuthering Heights on Tuesday and I wasn’t able to put it down. I finished it on Thursday and I want to read it again already.  I was completely wrapped up in the story in a way that I wasn’t when reading books by the other Bronte sisters.

I thought that Wuthering Heights was going to be boring, and at first the story seemed a little slow, but about a third of the way through the story began to speed up and I really enjoyed it.The plot was a bit confusing at times with all the links between all the characters, and I didn’t really have a suspension of disbelief while reading it, but it was still a good book. I liked the plot in general, and I liked that it had a pretty clear plot, unlike some books I’ve read before.

I have mixed feelings about the different characters. The character of Heathcliff was my favourite. I didn’t really know much about the novel before reading it, and I didn’t know he would become so dark, so cruel and so sneaky. But when he did, I really liked that side to his character. The romance between him and Cathy was beautiful. While the character of Cathy annoyed me a lot on her own, combined with Heathcliff there was a lovely romance.

The character Nelly Dean was probably my least favourite. It felt like she was forced into the story because she was the narrator. I kept thinking “Why would a servant be around when…”, and I don’t think she really added anything to the story. I felt a similar thing about Mr Lockwood, other than being a narrator he didn’t give anything to the story.

I didn’t mind any of the other characters, though some of them seemed a bit cliche – like Linton Heathcliff, the sickly invalid type, and Hindley, the classic alcoholic character.

Overall, I really enjoyed Wuthering Heights, its been on my “to be read” list for a long time, and I’m glad I finally read it.

 

Demon Road by Derek Landy |Review

Derek Landy has been one of my favourite authors ever since reading the Skulduggery Pleasant series. So of course I had to start reading his new series, the Demon Road trilogy.

“Demon Road”, which is the first book in the series, is one of those books which you can’t put down. It’s fast paced, full of action, and though it has flaws they don’t spoil the enjoyment of the story.

My favourite thing about Derek Landy is how his stories are a mashup of different genres. Demon Road is as much a road trip and adventure story as it is a horror one. But it works. Landy mixes up demons, vampires and murders and it makes one hell of a book.

The characters also help this book to be as enjoyable as it is. If you’ve read Skulduggery Pleasant, you know that Landy’s characters are often smart and sarcastic or stupid and hilarious. The main character, Amber, is so much more likeable than Valkyrie from Skulduggery Pleasant. She’s a demon running from her parents who are trying to kill her. And her companions Milo and Glen are also solid characters. However any Skulduggery Pleasant fans will probably see a lot of parallels between some of the main characters in Demon Road and the ones in Skulduggery Pleasant.

I really enjoyed the book, sometimes the plot felt a bit rushed, but I didn’t mind. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, “Desolation”.