“Geekerella” by Ashley Poston

Geekerella(Author: Ashley Poston) + (Year: 2017) + (Goodreads)


Review:

Geekerella is a pretty cute retelling of the classical fairytale. I was immediately drawn to it because I’m a sucker for this type of books. I can say that although I have enjoyed similar novels more, I still liked Geekerella.

Since we are all familiar with Cinderella, I will not get into the story behind Geekerella, except that it’s obviously a modern-day version of the story, pumpkin truck and all.

I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between this and A Cinderella Story, one of my favourite movies during my pre- and early teens. Both movies approach the story in a modern way, but they don’t have much more than that in common. So in this sense, Geekerella succeeded in adding originality to the famous narrative.

I also liked the way the author built the main characters. They were well-written and thought-through. My favourite character, however, was one that might have gone under the radar. The dog. He was amazing. No… he was… a good boy!

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The characters that I didn’t like were also the ones that were not very well written, in all honesty. Like Elle’s mother or Darien’s father. They were pretty important to the plot. Just as Chloe was. And yet, all “bad” people in the book seemed a bit shallow and there were no real reasons for their actions. This was probably the main drawback in Geekerella. Once the story was adapted to modern days, it needed a valid reason to be the way it is. In the fairtytale, a character like the evil step-mother makes sense, but that’s not exactly so if the setting is contemporary. It needs a lot more explaining in order to seem as plausible as the feelings of Elle which were the result of her step-mom’s actions.

As for the fandom story. Well… I do believe in the power of the fandom, and I have been and still am in some fandoms myself. Yet, it seems a bit hard for me to actually imagine passion as strong as Elle and Darien’s. To know everything about a show in such extent, as well as to be completely submerged in the world of the fandom, seems a bit excessive and while I’m not judging or mocking anyone, I do admit that I simply have a hard time understanding it.

“Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care” by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don't Care(Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley) + (Year: 2017) + (Goodreads)


Review:

To say that I didn’t love this volume would be a lie. I don’t even think I’ve experienced such anticipation and excitement to get my hands on a comic book volume. And Snotgirl managed to deliver.

It’s safe to say now that I am a huge Bryan Lee O’Malley fangirl. His humor and satire are so on point, both here and in Scott Pilgrim. He manages to catch the gist of an entire generation and twist it up in such a way that you find it both funny and endearing, and, at the same time, you know what he is criticizing.

In Snotgirl, Lottie Person is very relevant to our daily experiences. She represents a huge percentage of the girls nowadays: those who are actually Lottie’s, those who want to be Lottie’s, and those who stalk Lottie’s on social media and both see through them and still find them entertaining. I’m pretty sure I fall into the last group, considering that I follow a bunch of beauty and travel bloggers on Instagram, just to find myself sometimes annoyed by how fake everything looks, and at the same time, to “Awww” at pictures of their cute purse-sized doggies and to take fashion advice. So when I say that I feel that this comic book is relevant, I’m convinced it is.

Lottie as a human being is a hot mess of bullshit. She reflects perfectly the fact that outward beauty can sometimes greatly overshadow the need to actually be kind, nice, or at least… “real”. I personally know people who appear as the nicest, most positive and fun people to be around. But once the phone is locked and no one is recording for Snapchat, they don’t really have much to say and the smiles have been used up for dog filters.

At the same time, Lottie is completely smitten with herself, with her problems, her needs, her obsessions, and she is greatly out of touch with the world. Contrary to what might come to mind from the title (at least it did for me), she is not a superhero. However, she is superweird. There’s still a lot that I want to learn about her and about her issues, so hopefully another volume is to come.

The secondary characters in Snotgirl are also very fun, my favourite being Coolgirl. Still, I think that Cutegirl was also hilarious, and although I didn’t like her as a person, I loved reading her mean humor.

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The best thing about this comic book, however, is the art. Both the illustrator, Leslie Hung, and the colorist, Mickey Quinn, did a fantastic job and it was a true pleasure to just stare at the pictures and drool. In fact… I’m pretty sure that the moment I find a proper quality picture of Lottie, I’m changing my phone background.

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Looking forward to Vol. 2!

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Good question, sister.

“Halo: The Fall of Reach” by Eric S. Nylund

(Author: Eric S. Nylund) + (Year: 2001) + (Goodreads)


Review:

*** 1.5 stars ***

Well… at least I tried.

I have a friend who is a big Halo: The Fall of Reach fan and in his attempt to get me interested in the story, he convinced me to give it a shot.

I really, really tried to like the story, the book, the writing… I couldn’t.

Halo: The Fall of Reach to me was poorly written and rather dreary, shallow and messy. Many events came to be in the book, but the story moved so little in terms of world-building. Yes, of course there were big events, but most of them were battles between the Covenant vs Deus ex machina. And my curiosity about the essence of this world was hardly nourished.

For starters, the core of the story were the war and the creation of the Spartans because of the war. But those two ideas were developed in such a strange way that I couldn’t really make myself take the story seriously. The Spartans were described in very contrasting ways, which could make sense if developed properly (the people who support the idea of the Spartans’ creation – the Spartans themselves – the horrors of their creation – the people who would like to see them fall), however the majority of these contrasts were written in a very off-hand manner, so it just seemed like that was “writing for the purpose of filling pages” in between epic battles.

And don’t even get me started with the battles. There was so much… I would say, “military jargon”? Just commands, terms, words that may make sense to gamers, but not to a casual reader… More so, however, the battles were lead solely relying on miracles, a.k.a deus ex machina. Half of the battles scenes between generic ships and ship crews went on like this:

“- We have to fight!
– Sir, they are turning around!
– Oh no, we will die!
– At least we are going to die in honor!
– There’s nothing more to do! We will die!
– UNLESS! Turn the ship, yeah, hit them Covenant bitches, uh uh, how do you like me now?!
– Oh sir, you saved us! How did you come up with this brilliant plan?
– Nah, it wasn’t anything special.”

In general I just couldn’t get engaged in the story. Not my cup of tea at all, I admit, but I still thought it might surprise me. It didn’t.

“The House” by Simon Lelic

The House(Author: Simon Lelic) + (Year: 2017) + (Goodreads)


Review:

The House was, at first, a suspenseful and quick read, and I managed to get through the first half in a matter of hours.

However, that was the moment I realized that this book is not going to live up to my expectations and that it’s not at all what it seemed to be at the beginning.

Judging by the description, I expected a truly “grisly” story with many twists and turns. Yes, there were twists, I will give you that much. But there was nothing very grisly, as there was also nothing very scary. And ultimately, the climax of the book was so ordinary and unpredictably predictable that I kept reading expecting something more to happen, because this just could not be it. It was. The book ended and I could not, for the life of me, believe that this was the actual event that we had been waiting for.

The things that The House did wrong for me were, as follows:

  1. After reading the book, I saw that many people highly appreciated the prose. Which part, though? Half of the time the characters were chatting among themselves. That was the first thing that made an unpleasant impression on me. The chapters were going back and forth between Syd and Jack and the two of them were bickering and correcting each other, mumbling, leaving half-finished sentences… I just imagined the two of them in person and they seemed like the two most annoying people that could have been telling this story.
  2. The abovementioned Jack and Sydney were such horrible people! How could any person actually root for a spineless momma’s boy and a bitch who is coked out of her mind? Seriously? Both of their narrations were of childish, immature people, who are barely hanging on the balance of their existence, both asocial, awkward and troubled. And what’s more: neither one of them actually achieved any personal development at any point in this book. Jack was annoyed that Sydney was doing drugs, but he didn’t actually try to stop her, he kind of just offended her on the topic. And Sydney did all sorts of despicable things which he just accepted because he lacks backbone. That never changed either.
  3. The villain of this book? Also the two supposed main characters. The person who was accused of being the bad guy was just so unconvincing and had such a minor presence, that I just couldn’t accept that this is actually happening and that that person is actually the direct cause of all of the events. The supposed villain’s indirect effect on the story is completely palpable, that much I can say. But at no point did they seem like they actually belonged in the present-time events in the book.
  4. The ending: generally, I support justice and retribution. So if I had known how the story ends before reading the book, I would have expected to like the ending. Yet, I absolutely did not. What happened did not seem like justice. It seemed like the origin story of yet another villain, or villains. I believe that out of the ending of this book, and namely the effect it had, or did not have, on the main characters, only more evilness and insanity could arise. No, thank you.

“Prague Nights” by Benjamin Black

(Author: Benjamin Black) + (Year: 2017) + (Goodreads)


Review:

Don’t let the beautiful cover and the fairytale-like description fool you, this book is nothing like what it seems.

I was beyond excited to request Prague Nights on NetGalley. And I can’t tell you how happy I was to start reading it.

Sadly, it was in vain.

Prague Nights is a dreary, boring, uneventful narrative about some equally boring events that did not happen in the court of Rudolf II.

In theory, this book could have been fantastic. Rudolf II was obsessed with the occult, with different curiosities, he was a patron of art and magic. Looking for the philosopher’s stone in 16th century Prague? How awesome is that?

Not very awesome, in this book.

The narrator and main character, Christian Stern, is a person who needs a hard slap. He is not remarkable in any way, he is not particularly talented, nor is he very smart, for that matter. Christian Stern is ordered by the emperor to investigate the death of a young girl. What he does instead of that is snoop around the court affairs, have sex, and think how he should investigate but isn’t. There is not a drop of suspense, because the narrator is in no way engaged in the drama unfolding in the palace. He is no part of it, he doesn’t know what the relations between the other characters are, he is usually at a loss as to how to act and what to do. The main event of the book being the death of Magda Kroll, Christian Stern plays no role in solving it. He just follows what other characters tell him to do and ends up learning information that is completely inconsequential, as everyone else already has the knowledge. Even in the end, he is just a passive observer. He doesn’t manage to achieve absolutely anything.

More so, out of what could have been an absurdly beautiful scene for the events of the book, my dream city of Prague, what we get is usually Stern’s cold house where he has sex. No enchanting adventures in the maze of streets of old Prague, no hidden treasures, no magic, no life in this book.

All of the events simply happen and we are forced to read about them from the view-point of the most uncharismatic outcast in the court of Rudolf II.

Lastly, what could have been the two most interesting characters in the book, Rudolf and his son Don Julius Caesar, are just mentioned as background information, and often mocked, while in reality, they were both probably insane, but also very interesting people.

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