The Boy A Thousand Years Wide

Title: The Boy A Thousand Years Wide

Author: David Spon-Smith

Genres: Adventure | Dystopia | Fantasy | Paranormal | Post-apocalyptic | Romance

Length: 422 pages | 4191 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 1/5

Premise:

Baxter lives in the Burroughs, where every so often someone is taken to present as a sacrifice to the Reapers, in order to keep the City safe. His mother was taken from him and so was his brother and now it’s his turn.
A stranger arrives, saying he will help him. Can Baxter trust him? Or his twin that lives inside him?

Review:

When I first came across this book and saw the title I knew I had to have it.

Let me just say right now judging a book by its title is just as bad as doing it by its cover.

I don’t believe I have ever read a book with such bad prose in my entire life. These characters speak and act like they’re from the ghetto, particularly our main one, who is the novel’s narrator. There is a lot of I says and ain’t, for example.

But it wasn’t just the characters, mind you. The entire narrative was cringe-worthy. You might think well, that’s stylized writing, the character sounds that way so it is accurate that his thoughts would too. But no, that’s not it at all. His thoughts are written in a similarly terrible way, from utter lack of punctuation to words being glued together to all those pet peeves anyone who loves grammar will have. Let me give you a few examples:

(…) close to the fire, were its warmest.
I pass it too him.
We we’re all like that once
You have to hold your line, fight you’re instinct to swing
We cut across the landscape like an arrow threw the air
She clear’s her throat

And then we have this rough kid from the hood thinking all sorts of pretty metaphors, such as:
Waves of snow capped mountains roll up and down like crumpled paper. A dusty twilight haze drips down from the clouds above. The moon blossoms in the sky.
The mountains twinkle back at me, sunlight sparkles off the snow like the world’s been blanketed in glitter.

What??
*sigh*

Moving on. From the beginning, I felt some transitions were not very clear – as in, one minute the character is standing in one place doing something and then he is elsewhere. Example, not even one of the best but still:
I don’t know about you but I could sure do with a little shut eye.”
Morning comes. Birdsong cuts through thehush(…)
So the main character gets told the other one wants to sleep and that’s it, they slept and now it’s morning. Again, not the best example but the only one I could find at the moment. But oh then there’s this one where several people are standing near each other (though never clear how near, but close enough to have a conversation), a kiss occurrs, and no one comments on it? There’s no thoughts whatsoever? No one reacts in any way. So weird.

And then the story. First of all, we keep hearing about this Mary character during the entire time and how Baxter must find and protect her because he promised his brother. So I was like. Ok. Was she his brother’s girlfriend? Cause the main character’s kinda acting like she’s his. And if so… Why?? There was not a single reason why I felt those two might be connected let alone in love with each other.
And then the story is that Baxter must find his beloved while at the same time try and be claimed by his angel father. Who apparently can only claim him when he is close to death or something. I don’t know. Never made sense to me. The angels themselves seemed useless most of the narrative, other than being able to teleport. One of the characters has already been claimed but does nothing extraordinary. What a waste.

So we basically get moved around from place to place with descriptions of Baxter’s ‘twin’ rearranging his internal organs and muscles and telling him what to do and, of course, Baxter not doing it and going against anything anyone who has more than proven to be his friend tells him to do.
This main character… I simply could not connect to Baxter. I can respect the fact that he had no proper education – heck no other character apparently did – and a very rough childhood with everyone he cared for being taken away but the fact that that he was a raging teenager, who just could seem to control his temper or be polite to those who helped him throughout the entire book was really annoying. He was no longer naive, just plain dumb and irritating. Like when you tell a kid to do something and he says no just because, you know? At some point I was just so tired whenever I’d read his lines because he was just to rude, unappreciative and irritating! And then after a while he goes and that’s when it hit me, numerous times. And I am like. Really? That’s when it hits you? Again?

I kept wondering when things would get different because there I was travelling through snowy landscapes with the bunch of them, hearing Baxter ponder how the howling wind and the crows or whatever were an omen that bad things awaited them so they should definitely turn back and even though occasionally it got a bit creepy, most of the time I was like… When is this going to get interesting??

There just wasn’t much character building. On the other hand, there is a lot of throwing up and spitting on the floor whenever something is mentioned that a character doesn’t care for. There’s violence, lots of blood-shedding, demons and just plenty of dark stuff in the middle of a lot of snow.

There’s also no real world building, other than lots of snow and dreary landscapes, bad guys and that’s about it.
Do I know why it’s always winter? No. Do I find out how the world got to its current state? No, other than a few ominous remarks about greed. How did angels and demons even come to have such an active presence on Earth? No idea.

The whole book was a draft of those characters’ potential. Yeah, they could fight, but none of those sequences seemed that special, probably because I felt I kept reading the same thing over and over and also because I simply could not care about the characters.
Now had they been claimed and something interesting had actually come with that… I am sure that would have created some nifty fireworks.
In the end, I spent the entire book knowing the important revelations ahead of time, so I was even more bored. The mysterious stranger Axel. Dun dun dun. Who must he be? Could it be… Baxter’s brother Alex? I mean come on… Axel… Alex. It’s that obvious. I’m not shitting you. And his twin. We keep being told Baxter’s father is with him, guiding him. Who else could it be? Eurgh. Oh and the fabled Michael son, who could he be??
I think the only thing that surprised me was a certain character’s betrayal.

Grammar and punctuation aside, the whole thing just didn’t feel very cohesive. There was the issue with transitions, the story was predictable to the point I kept seeing stuff that I felt was obvious but it wasn’t to the characters and the potential behind the concept was not nearly well explored. And yeah, the writing. That alone deserves a couple of stars knocked out.

I kept hoping the ending would redeem the book. No such luck.
Characters who were thought dead return (can’t tell you how much I hate that, it is so overdone!), bad guys are defeated (much too easily, might I add – come on, a wolfhound kills a hellhound? A perfectly normal blade to the stomach kills a demon?) and the much yearned for father goes off to another quest. Só what happens to the Michael son everyone struggled so much to find and get claimed? Does he go with his father? Does he make plans to become a great warrior and do his part in whatever war is coming? No. He heads off to live in a prairie with his girlfriend and friends. Because friendship and love. Ah!!

So what did I take away from this book? Snow, violence and an annoying main character. And an enormous headache from trying to decipher the writing. Can’t say it was a positive balance. It was not my intention to write such a scathing review but this book felt like a waste of time and I cannot honestly think of anyone who might thoroughly enjoy it, which is a first for me.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Oct 21 to Oct 27, 2015
GR Review

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The Intern

The Intern

Rating: 4.25/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.

Review:

This was a surprisingly positive experience.

First of all, I think that pretty much any other actor in the role of Ben Whittaker would not have been able to shine the way that Robert DeNiro did. I felt like he was almost a presence, not really an active character, and yet he always managed to stand out, even when he didn’t say anything. DeNiro turned Whittaker into the perfect listener and a compassionate human being, the effortless gentleman that just does not exist anymore.

It was truly a pleasure to watch him, as well as Anne Hathaway. I was afraid that this would turn out to be yet another romantic comedy with no content whatsoever and it wasn’t, at all.
Hathaway plays the role of the successful young woman who rose to the top on her own. She owns a company and is struggling to deal with the rapid growth. Someone who is obviously in a position of power decides to start a senior internship program and that’s where DeNiro’s character steps in.

At first, Jules (Hathaway) pays him no attention and even tries to get rid of him. But then, quiet Ben turns out to be just the thing she needed. I think she never really finds out how protective he was of her and that made the story even more special. He was just there. It made me appreciate the people in my life who are just there and I never stop to appreciate it.

It is a fairly light movie but with content and even a bit thought-provoking. You don’t see much of that these days, so I definitely recommend that you go watch this.

Funny Video

I am actually not much of a YouTuber but lately I came across something hilarious, thanks to someone at work, that I just had to share:

Did you know about this or I have been living under a rock? :)

Remake

Title: Remake

Author: Ilima Todd

Genres: Adventure | Dystopia | Fantasy | Romance | Science Fiction

Length: 304 pages | 2858 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 2.25/5

Premise:

In this world people are made in batches. Our main character is Nine, the ninth female born into her batch of 10 females and 10 males. Soon she will be Remade and get to choose what gender she wants to become, which facial and body features she wants to have and also choose her Trade.
This is true freedom… Right? Soon, Nine will know that not everything is what it seems and that there are dark truths behind all this Freedom.

Review:

The concept behind Remake is very interesting. Males and females having their hormones suppressed until the age of 17. It made me wonder if this is how they would turn out. I am still not quite sure because they sounded like perfectly normal teenagers, except they all looked androgynous.

However, I just could not connect to this main character. Like I said, she struck me as a normal teenager with normal reactions, thoughts and doubts, except they were taken to a whole new level because she and the others actually got to choose who they want to be remade into, from every detail down to the gender.
There was a lot of pondering on why to choose either gender. She asks herself several times what it means to be a male or a female. It got a tad repetitive at some point, as did her insecurities. It’s refreshing to have a main character that is not all hands on approach but only up to a point. Then it just sounds whiny. And boy was she whiny.

Also, she never questioned anything. Example: they have history lessons about how Earth’s overpopulation led to people being made in small batchets. Was our main character never curious about how they were created before? No. I guess she just assumed they were always made, even though she has no idea how. Then there’s this virus that killed lots of people because there was overpopulation? How can no one question that?

Nine’s whole existence revolved around her red hair and freckles, who no one in her batch had, and her best friend, who stood up for her on every single occasion. So here we have a main character who wants to be just like her brave friend. Not find who she is, no, she wants to be exactly like her friend. I could have lived with that if there had been proper explanations and character development.

Things got a bit interesting after the shuttle crash. New characters and a new way of living comes into the picture.
But once it turned all teenage loveish I went back to losing interest for the most part. Nine – and yep, she kept that ridiculous name the entire book, even when said love interest suggests a much better one for her – slowly grows into her own. There’s a lot of playful banter and yet more indecision. Then all of the sudden promises of eternal love and everything it entails. *barf* (sorry, let me wipe that for ya…)
Sorry. I am just not a fan of hateful relationships turning into love just because, or love triangles for that matter. Both of those need to be really well done to catch my interest. Neither did in this book.

And then it got even worse. There were things that just didn’t make sense. These people put trackers on everyone. When Kai’s mother gives them directions to the underwater rebel camp, telling them they can take out her tracker out, I was like… Wow. Leading the enemy to the rebel camp. Brilliant idea. That’s not stupid at all. *le sigh*

From then on, I cannot say I enjoyed the book much. I had figured out most of the revelations well before they were told, except for one which did surprise me.
In the end, I finished not even knowing how such a world was possible. I have read a lot of dystopias and can’t say I ever finished feeling this way. It’s just so odd.

Alas, it was a quick read and I think some teens will enjoy it. I did feel engaged by some of the descriptions and the writing was very easy to follow. There are several intriguing concepts, such as being able to change everything in your body, if you would feel happy then, at what lengths you’d go to fit in, the importance of family, amongst others. Being a christian, I enjoyed those and others.

I definitely enjoyed the first bit of the book more because it introduced me to a new reality. Too bad I felt it was not properly backed up and there was just too much teenage stuff for me to enjoy. I did not find the main character interesting in the least and the romance completely overwhelmed what could have been a great dystopia.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Oct 18 to Oct 20, 2015
GR Review

Village of the Damned (1960)

Village of the Damned

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
In the English village of Midwich, the blond-haired, glowing-eyed children of uncertain paternity prove to have frightening powers.

Review:

Well, I couldn’t resist, I watched the original.

Now that’s more like it! Proper suspense, ever since the reaction to the blackout. There really didn’t seem to be much in the remake, everyone just moved on with their lives. In this original version people actually seemed baffled, wanted to know what had happened and were frightened of the possible outcome.

Everything in general made more sense. And the fact that the movie took place in England was a lovely bonus. Everyone was so polite and efficient!

There was concern with press from the beginning, which made perfect sense.
The scene where Gordon receives the news of his wife’s pregnancy was so well put together. Witty and intriguing at the same time.
The women were actually scared during their pregnancy because they could not account for it and started wondering about what exactly was growing inside them. They didn’t just go around their merry lives as if nothing had happened as they did in the remake.

There are so many examples of little things that made me thrilled…
The rapid growth of the fetuses.
The dog’s reaction to the baby.
The trick with the box.
The fact that there were other children in Midwich and that they were the first targets, not the adults.

Most of all, there was progression of plot and events.
The children’s powers were not immediately discovered. Adults did not just stand by and watch. Occurrences were taken into consideration, decisions made. They played an active part in the development of circumstances. And what a development.

The only thing I did not like as much as in the remake was that they would talk amongst each other. As a hive mind, that should be unnecessary.

At first I wasn’t sure what to make of their thoughtfulness towards the women in the shop and their maintaining dialogues with humans, such as David with his mother. But the fact is it made them seem interested in knowing humans and their intentions, unlike the very smart zombies in the remake. They actually wanted to learn from us, not just annihilate our species.

This movie was just incredibly thought out and executed. In light of it, the remake feels even less well put together. Almost as if a collection of individual scenes purposely made more gory than the original, just for the shock factor. No wonder it lacked cohesion.
The only thing I liked more there was the idea of a mate and the prospect of what a lack of one might to do such a creature.

There was very little I did not absolutely enjoy in this original version of Village of the Damned.
I never thought I would feel so excited about a movie made in 1960. I highly recommend it.

Village of the Damned (1995)

Village of the Damned

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A small town’s women give birth to unfriendly alien children posing as humans.

Review:

I have been wanting to watch this movie for ages now. I actually had not realized there was a previous version from the 60s, though. After finishing this version and reading a couple of reviews, I think I would have been better off watching that one instead.

Don’t get me wrong, there were still some pretty scary scenes. It’s just that they were mostly scary due to the gore and obvious horror, not so much the psychological thriller aspect that could have been developed here.

I thought that if maybe I did not end up enjoying the movie much it would be due to special effects having developed so greatly in the past 20 years, so it would strike me as corny. But really, it wasn’t that at all. I felt a lack of cohesion in the plot, the acting really wasn’t that good (not too bad either) and in the end, given this awesome premise, the movie could have been so much more.

There could have been a lot more suspense, or at least more properly done. The women never even wondered about what was growing inside them, just went about their normal lives. Husbands who could not have possibly have conceived the child come back as if nothing happened and there is just no bafflement regarding the entire predicament!

When I thought the horror was finally building up it would have no proper resolution. After a while, even the children’s powers got dull, creepy as they were, because I knew what was coming next, in one form or the other.

I had really hoped I would be terrified watching this. I even watched the movie late at night. In the end, I was just disappointed and slightly bored.
Maybe I will watch the original some time.