Friday, 1 December 2017

Review: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to be completely honest here: I picked up Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow simple because the cover looked nice, and then the peek under the dust jacket revealed something ever lovelier. Sometimes, picking something up based purely on the cover can work out as I found myself having a delightful little romp through the Free State with Morrigan. We learned about a place where Wunder was real, and magic seemed to be imbeded in every street corner.

The plot is as follow: Morrigan is a cursed child, due to die on Eventide. Her status as being a cursed child makes her the unfavourite in her own family, and generally disliked by the people around her. They don't say it, but her death date being confirmed means that their life will be easier. The fated Eventide comes, and a very ginger man appears, offering Morrigan a chance to live. Her life from then is, well, wunderful.

... Yeah, sorry, I couldn't resist the pun, even if the author could. Some of us have weaker wills when it comes to making puns and apparently I am one of them. Morrigan is a lovely protagonist. While her life could have left her feeling morose and down the entirety of the book - justifiably so - she instead does her best to look for the good in the world, allowing herself to feel happiness and joy and belonging in what becomes her new home with the people who become her new family.

The place Morrigan has ended up seems to have magic built into it, and it makes for a very interesting world that can react and change to the person who is there. This makes the setting almost a character in and of itself, and I always like when that happens. Adds a lot to a story.

Only 3 stars because... well, this did feel like a lot of set up with not a lot of pay off. Yeah, if I have to fault one part of the book, it's that the climax feels incredibly rushed and that if you blink you would miss it. I could be missing the fact that that's the point, but personally I felt it was all done too quickly - I would have liked to have seen it last maybe a page more?

Still a fun book worth picking up. I'm looking forward to seeing what other adventures Morrigan will have.

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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Blazing Transfer Students! / Honō no Tenkōsei REBORN

Like a lot of people do, I have Netflix, and use it to check out things I may have otherwise not had the chance to be able to watch. Though I should admit I have the UK version of Netflix and there's still a lot of stuff on there that's to be unlocked - I'd really like to see Fate/Apocrypha sometime soon! Anyway! Within the last week, I found a comedic Japanese drama that is only eight episodes long and that I binge-watched and enjoyed a lot. That show? BLAZING TRANSFER STUDENTS


So, first of all, this is technically anime done as live action. Not going to lie? This is something I would like to see more of. Don't get me wrong, I love the sheer amounts of anime that make it over from Japan, but it would be cool to see some more of their dramas and what not. You can learn a lot from watching the media of another culture but that's not my point here.

This show is technically a sequel series to the original manga Honō no Tenkōsei, written and illustrated by Kazuhiko Shimamoto. The manga originally ran in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from 1983 to 1985, and from what I've been able to see of the manga? Yeah, it's very 80s. Even though the Japanese 80s was different from the British 80s, there's still a very similar feel to material from that decade and yeah.The manga is a parody of shōnen tropes related to school martial arts stories and this sequel series basically continues that. The basic plot goeth thusly: Takizawa Noboru is transferred to a new high school, in which all disputes are settled through fighting. He quickly runs into the school bully - Ibuki Saburo - and ends up beating him in a fight. There's hints of a love triangle, and all the over the top stuff you'd expect from a series that is primarily about the comedy. There have been two OVAs by Gainax, each one with a different twist on the ending.

Here's the thing? That above? You do not need to know it to watch the series. Hell, I only know it through Googling to help make this post a little more informative. For Blazing Transfer Students, the plot goeth thusly: seven boys - all named Kakeru - are transferred to the one school and brought together to become agents who go into problem schools and fix their problems. It still parodies all the shōnen tropes, including each type of shōnen protagonist in the seven Kakerus. The parodies are updated to include newer stuff that has come into use and become cliche since the original manga was released.

The seven Kakerus are played by an idol group known as Johnny's WEST. I ... know very little about idol groups, but as comedic actors I've got to say they all seem to have good timing and each embody their character well. My personal favourites of the Kakerus are the delinquent and the boxer, but that doesn't meant to say I don't like any of the others - they're all very likeable. The plots are fairly over the top and everything is driven by the rule of funny. Which actually means each of the Kakerus gets interesting development for their character that you wouldn't necessary associate with their cliche, but there it is.

I'm trying to think of more to say about this series so I don't end in just yelling at people to watch it... even though that's exactly what I want people to do. Listen, it's light-hearted, ridiculous in the best ways, and genuinely funny. It knows exactly what it is, and never tries to take itself more seriously than it should. There's even hints of a potential second series, though I think that is going to depend on the ratings on Netflix. Which is why I say please go watch this.

No, seriously, you'll enjoy yourself and it won't feel like any time has pasted. The humour is a bit over the top but in the best way. Just... trust my judgement and go check out Blazing Transfer Students.

And be hot-blooded about it!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Seeing Justice League!

Yes, finally I am seeing the team movie from the comic company that dominated my childhood. Look, Marvel was having the whole clone saga thing, and DC had Young Justice. Of course my leaning was obvious. Seeing the film at 10.30am - so in about 15 minutes! (Okay, it will be about that by the time this is posted. At writing, it's still tomorrow it's happening but I like the queue feature). Hopefully will share my thoughts once I'm back!


(Okay, just realised that while I promised to share my thoughts following Wonder Woman, I never did. Here we go: IT WAS REALLY GOOD, AND DIANA IS A BLESSING TO US ALL. Yeah. I liked it.)

Monday, 20 November 2017

Review: How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lilly Singh, a.k.a iiSuperwomanii, is one of my favourite Youtubers. When I saw that she was releasing a book, I felt that picking it up was probably a good idea - helped along by the fact that it was in Asda and fairly inexpensive. In essence, I guess you could say this is a sort of self-help book, but written in a style and tone that is very similar to her videos. This means that while you will be reading some solid advice - because I cannot deny the advice for life in the book is pretty good even if I'm having some difficulty putting it into action - you'll also get a good laugh or two as you do that.

Yeah. Unusually, I can't really think of much else to say here. It's a fun book with good advice contained on the pages. I liked it.

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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Review: Undercover Princess

Undercover Princess Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I saw this boom on the shelf at Tesco. The cover and the brief blurb intrigued me so I picked it up. I'm actually pretty glad I did. The book follows two young girls - Ellie and Lottie. One is a Princess and hiding it, the other is pretending to be the Princess to keep her safe. It follows their first year at an exclusive school - Rosewood Hall - and trying to work out just who is after the Princess before it's too late.

For as Prince and Pauper like - sort of - the plot is, it's a take on the thing I haven't actually read often. The idea of someone willingly stepping up to offer all they have to help protect another person, and the close bond that can form as a result was an interesting angle to take this from. The friendship between Ellie and Lottie is very heartwarming, two young girls doing their best to keep this big secret - though technically it's not, people just believe one of them is lying - and bonding very quickly. While they both come from very different sorts of backgrounds, there's enough common ground for them to have a fast friendship.

This book focuses more on Lottie's out of place feelings, so it would be interesting if - in the next book or so on - we see more of how Ellie can feel out of place. It's a surprisingly quick read, the events managing to jog along quite well. Occasionally the time skips - to cover a whole year - can feel a little odd, but that would happen with any book of this style.

Overall? I enjoyed the read, and I'd like to see what else happens to these characters. I like them. So, yes, worth a read.

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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Review: The Little Prince

The Little Prince The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Little Prince is one of those rare books that although I have read it many times, I always seem to read it again feeling as though it's the first time. My personal belief is that this has something to do with the way the author narrates the story to us. As though it is a friend recounting a personal experience that caught them off-guard and want us to hear this whole bizarre tale.

It's a beautiful book, that can never be denied. The story - such as it is - follows a pilot who meets a young boy, who seems to be Prince of his own small world. The titular little prince demands that the pilot draw him a sheep, and their friendship begins from there. And really, it's from here that I have to express difficulty in trying to explain the story of this book. It's not that it's hard, it's just that nothing I say seems to fit the feeling that comes with reading it. Which ... is honestly this simple enchantment.

It's a book that can be read by any age, and there will be enjoyment from it. People will love the simple narration style, the adorable art work, and the odd sense of melancholy throughout the book. The pilot seems to miss the little Prince, and the little Prince seems sad about his small little world and there's something about it that rings with the bittersweet feeling that is nostalgia.

It's beautiful, though, really cannot deny that. One of those ones I'd love to get a fancy copy of. That being said? Any copy of this is worth reading, and you really won't regret it.

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Saturday, 21 October 2017

Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle: The Official Movie Novelization

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: The Official Movie Novelization Kingsman: The Golden Circle: The Official Movie Novelization by Tim Waggoner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Kingsman: the Secret Service. As in the film, not the comic. I've never actually read the comic that the film is based on. I'm not sure whether that's good or not but as it's own entity, I really enjoyed the film. It paid homage to the classic spy movies, while at the same time building its own identity, with good action and humor. Obviously, when I heard about the sequel, I knew I was going to go and see it. Finding out there was a novelization of it? Yeah, that was a must read.

As with many novelizations of movies, this helps to fill in a little more detail which can make some plot points more understandable, and help to really expand upon character motivations. From what I've heard, there was roughly 80 minutes cut from the final product, and reading the novelization helps to give a rough idea of what they would be.

While I did enjoy this book, I have to say that as a novelization it doesn't stand too well on it's own. It does read as something that would be a lot more fun to watch, and some of the pacing feels odd in places. It is a quick read though, and quite fun, so value for money in that sense. I enjoyed the move, thought the book was decent, but overall I wasn't overwhelmed.

It was fun though. That's what you want from fiction with spies. A bit of fun.

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