Month: May 2018

All of This is True

Release date: 15.5.2018
About: In this genre-defying page-turner from Lygia Day Peñaflor, four teens befriend their favorite YA novelist, only to find their deepest, darkest secrets in the pages of her next book–with devastating consequences.
Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to hear the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her.
Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck–especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too.
Penny Panzarella was more than the materialist party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was–and she was willing to share all her secrets with Fatima Ro to prove it.
Jonah Nicholls had more to hide than any of them. And now that Fatima’s next book is out in the world, he’s the one who is paying the price…
Perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying–and told as a series of interviews, journal entries, and even pages from the book within the book–this gripping story of a fictional scandal will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
Buy it here


Character/s

This book wouldn’t be the same without each and every one of these complex characters. Their personalities don’t work in isolation and are a result of actions of others. Meeting them in a Pretty Little Lies post-event environment makes for some unreliable narrators and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Plot.

It’s a puzzle piece plot that will only make sense once you get to the end. Because of the nature of the plot, I can’t actually talk much about it, other than the fact that it will consume you completely. You will not want to put it down until you have all the answers.

Writing

It’s amazing when you have so many different characters with their own narratives going on that a writer can give each one a unique voice on paper. You don’t have to read the start of chapters multiple times to find out whose views your reading.

 

Ascension by Victor Dixen @VictorDixen

Release date: 28.6.2018
About:
Six girls, six boys. Each in the two separate bays of a single spaceship. They have six minutes each week to seduce and to make their choices, under the unblinking eye of the on-board cameras. They are the contenders in the Genesis programme, the world’s craziest speed-dating show ever, aimed at creating the first human colony on Mars.

Leonor, an 18 year old orphan, is one of the chosen ones.
She has signed up for glory.
She has signed up for love.
She has signed up for a one-way ticket.
Even if the dream turns to a nightmare, it is too late for regrets.
Pre-order here


Characters

I love Leonor. She’s a good voice to have when you’re stuck in space; she grounds you, so to speak. When you have a character like her; passionate, flawed and insightful. The way she works through the speed dating is interesting and something I easily identify with. Not only that, it adds a level of internal conflict that some narratives miss.

We learn bits about the other crew, but it’s those left on earth that are the most interesting. We have Serena, who communicates directly with the participants and becomes the ‘host’ of the broadcast. She’s a piece of work, you’ll quickly learn, but I want you to find that out for yourself.

Plot

It reads like a brilliant Sci-fi blockbuster. There are many threads in play and they change your perspective like a rubrics cube, waiting to be solved. Being the first in a trilogy, you go in knowing that you will have a resolve of some sorts, but there will be questions left unanswered to ensure you want more. It’s expertly done so that it doesn’t feel like it’s the first in a sequence, but a story in its own right.

Writing

Being a translated story, there’s always a worry that the writing loses something. This story, I’m delighted to say, doesn’t. It’s language is clean, its engaging and powerful. It makes for such a consumable, compulsive read.
I just wish I knew enough French to read the other two books in the series. Yes, they’re already published guys but you need to have progressed further than a GCSE in French to be able to access them.

Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton

Release Date: 8.2.2018
About:
Lily has died in a car accident. The trouble is, Lily’s really not at all sure she wants to ‘move on’ . . . This funny, heartbreaking novel is perfect if you loved John Green or The Lovely Bones.
Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road.
She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. And very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance, arrive and she sees her own body that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead.
But what is she supposed do now?
Lily has no option but to follow her body and sees her family – her parents and her twin brother – start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity – to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . .
Buy from Here


Character/s

Lily is one of the most interesting characters I’ve seen on page. She’s dead from the moment we meet her, so we never really get a true sense of who she was. Being in the first person means we get a reflective character full of regret. It’s just as untrustworthy as other characters you meet and establish as untrustworthy.

Plus, a good chunk of the time, she’s not being herself. She’s being her brother. Now that is interesting and is truly good at showing how little we can sometimes know people.

Plot

The supernatural Freaky Friday plot really works here. It toes a perfect line of light-hearted scenarios and a deep emotional look at grief and loss. It’s not for everyone, but for those people who have lost someone close and have found it difficult to process those emotions, this might actually be the story for you.

Writing

The sign of good writing here is how the movements of Lily. Regardless of her form; ghost or host, there’s no confusion as to where she is or who she is. The writing also keeps emotion in play while allowing the reader to remove themselves from the grief.

Avengers: Infinity War (12a) With Major Spoilers

Release Date: 26.4.2018
Summary: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
Time: 2hr 36


The Good

The first good I really need to talk about is Thanos. He’s the first decent villain in the Marvel Universe (Loki is an  anti-hero, not a villain in my eyes) and he does up the stakes a little more.
The crew count was handled well. Certainly much better than Civil War, which felt very bloated and overwhelming in terms of characters. This film upped that count, but was as strategic as a game of chess in its placement of characters and relied heavily on perfect smaller team ups than aiming for everyone on the screen at the same time.
The humour was on point! Those beautiful one liners and the films play on language; from Peter Parker’s pop culture references to Thor and Steve’s misunderstandings, it’s the perfect lift to a film that has very heavy emotions throughout.
Spoiler (This is the ONE I wouldn’t want spoiling so highlight the section at your own peril)
DINKLEDGE!!! If you didn’t know, I have major love for the Dink! He’s just amazing in everything he does and he’s the kind of bloke I’d love to sit and have a drink with and put the world to rights, you know? So having Dink play a giant who towers over Thor was just a stroke of genius. 
Spoiler
For once, we where light on the romance, save for already established pairings. It was great to not have that trope in play, meaning any romantic gestures in play had deep rooted meaning and purpose.

The Bad

While the handling of the cast was good, it didn’t escape without casualties. Black Widow is reduced to mere window dressing and it doesn’t do one our long standing heroes justice. It was almost to the point where I wish they’d benched her until the second outing.
Some of the CGI was ropey. If you’re truly into a film, you possibly don’t notice until watching at home. However, I’m a little concerned that there were bits I picked up on (namely the Hulkbuster Iron suit) on my first viewing. Not because I wasn’t engaged, but simply because they stuck out like sore thumbs.

The Ugly

The ‘deaths’. So there’s two separate deaths in play here. Firstly, we have the one that the Russo brothers had declared of one main cast member ‘there’s no take backs this time’. I believe this is the opening sequence death of Loki. It lacks the punch that it could, mainly because that dude has played dead so much it feels like a bit. It didn’t have any emotional resonance for me.
Nor did the final rug pull of the Infinity gauntlet dusting genocide. I’ll admit, I did gasp at the first character’s disappearance and I was close to tearing up. That was until we lost pretty much everyone who has been confirmed for a solo outing film in the next however many years. To me (and I know its not everyone’s thoughts. A student was unimpressed that I did not warn her about the ending), it takes away any jeopardy for the characters. It’s a shame, because this was the first film in a long time that made me feel there was something at stake.

Side bar- this isn’t the fault of Infinity War. The biggest problem was Avengers Assemble and the choice to resurrect Agent Phil Coulson. Damn, that death meant something. That death gave the assembled heroes something to avenge. Most of all, that death had me crying like a bitch. I wasn’t expecting it, I wasn’t prepared. I was begging the screen for it not to be true. I mourned the character who had been given a place in my geek heart.
Then in a ‘it was all dream’-esque twist of fate, my tears had been wasted and I vowed never to cry over a Marvel death again.

Except Yandu! Damn, that was a harsh blow and was more about his words preceding his death than anything else. I sobbed like a baby with that one too.