The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.

Review:

I’d say I was pretty disappointed with the ending to the Hunger Games movie trilogy.

Not that I remember much of past movies, but I did feel the perspective or atmosphere of the setting changed quite a bit. There’s a lot of planning and plotting and then running and chasing and then all of the sudden characters who played fairly active roles in previous movies die and I didn’t really feel much emotion, at least not from the characters from whom it should have come.

At other times, the movie dragged on unnecessarily and some dialogues were cringe-worthy.

I felt that the resolution to the conflict which has been lasting for so long was rushed and some things certainly did not make sense.
So let me get this straight – Katniss chooses Peeta over Gale because Gale could not protect Primrose? Seriously? Also, Peeta gets magically cure and can suddenly control all his urges and they live happily ever after?

Alas, it makes for a good action movie, with lots of running around and fighting and a heroine who still somewhat manages to stay likeable, even despite the loathing love triangle but who, to be frank, I did not recognize much anymore. Here is a girl who one minute wants to do the right thing and the next she isn’t looking at means to achieve her end.

I don’t know. I was puzzled. It’s an entertaining movie but it didn’t give me the closure I expected and the ending was completely ridiculous.

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The Pestilence

Title: The Pestilence

Author: Faisal Ansari

Genres: Dystopia | Fantasy | Paranormal | Religion | Science Fiction

Length: 269 pages | 4736 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

When a mysterious electrical phenomenon occurs, a young man finds that he gained abilities which may help other people. Another man also gains a mysterious gift.
And now… The Pestilence is coming.

Review:

When I first began reading The Pestilence I had a bit of trouble immediately placing the story in space and time. I don’t think I had ever read a book placed in the Middle East (shame on me, I know), but I thought the characters sounded oddly American to me. And then I saw miles being mentioned while action took place in London, Paris and Palestine and it bugged me. Mistake perhaps, as the lack in punctuation when addressing a person and other few minor ones.

Then I figured out that action took place in modern-day and my impression was very good. For a time I actually wondered if I was reading fiction because it totally sounded like something that could be happening nowadays. I never thought it would be possible to make a fantasy story this contemporary – or vice versa. So one minute everything is all so realistic and then boom, a light phenomenon occurs and everything changes.

The narrative develops as a countdown to an even called The Pestilence, interspersed with interviews with BBC’s correspondent in the Middle East, as well as other information obtained in a very mysterious way – calls, emails, etc and even comments from the general public to the media reports, which brought yet more realism to the narrative.

I was a bit confused at times because the story would jump back and forth in time. Most times, it did not take me long to readjust and it gave sense to what was previously told. On the other hand, some days seemed to last a long time while I had the sense some others were skipped altogether, so I did have a bit of difficulty keeping track of time.

Still, most of the time The Pestilence was a fast paced thriller and I kept wanting to know what came next. There were a couple of occasions when I was a bit ticked off, particularly when a video of a certain event was mentioned at least three times, every single time described as if it were the first but I was always interested in seeing how the story would pan out and the suspense kept me on edge. The writing really was quite good.

Make no mistake, this novel approaches a lot of religious stuff, even though several characters are not religious, particularly the main one. If you cannot deal with it, don’t bother to pick the book up.
If you can, you should, because it is much more than that. I truly enjoyed the way some events developed and despite thinking there were many characters I enjoyed meeting them and though most were useful to the story in some way or the other.

I just did not know what to make of some of them and wished they had been developed better. Also, I was unsure of the way they dealt with the situation. In such a globalized age, where everything is exposed, and these events immediately were, I thought for sure they would attract more immediate attacks and/or government and private security institutions in a heartbeat. Not to mention the main religions would most definitely have a say. It was like everything was global but at the same it wasn’t, know what I mean?

At the very least they would want to stick the guy in a lab and perform all sorts of tests on him. But, again, the story is very Americanized, and we see a character telling everyone that in this time and place he would have to go willingly to have those tests done. Seriously? In the Middle East? I don’t know.

So then we meet the other guy, the philanthropist, whose agenda is never clear until the end. His purpose seems noble, although many disagree with them. How he deals with their disagreement is a clue to what comes later but I was still mindblown and to be honest a bit unsatisfied.
The ending was simply much too abrupt and not knowing what the heck was up with a couple of characters bugged the heck out of me. I did not know this would be book one of a series but still, I wish I had had more closure.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the novel. I just didn’t relate to the characters much and did not understand why they would react the way they did. I still can’t get over the absence of any reference to Mariam’s affair or the brother that Samuel brought back from the dead telling the family to end his life because of God had wanted to give him a second chance he would have. I was like… Seriously? Well then go back to your grave, you, you… Bah.

In the end, I enjoyed The Pestilence but found it lacking in some aspects, enough not to give it 5 stars. However, I still recommend it and I know it will stay with me for a while.
I would definitely read the next ones in the series, if only to know if I would get closure to the aspects I found lacking in this one.

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 Nov 13 to Nov 23, 2015
GR Review

The Viper and the Urchin

Title: The Viper and the Urchin

Author: Celine Jeanjean

Genres: Adventure | Mystery | Steampunk

Format: Mobi

Length: 308 pages | 3679 locations

Source: Author

Rating: 3.25/5

Premise:

The Viper is a quirky assassin who wants to be famous. Rory is an urchin who relieves people of their belongings with the goal of becoming a great sword master.
When their paths cross, a wondrous adventure will begin.

Review:

This book was unique, for sure. It’s steampunk all the way and some of the descriptions are very interesting and will grip you.

One of our main characters is an 18-year-old urchin who looks and acts like a 14-year-old.
The other is a dandy assassin with a love for poetry, who cannot stand not being dressed properly or the sight of blood.

This Viper character is an odd one indeed. He kills people but only with poison he makes himself and claims no one does it better – amongst other things. Most everyone is below him and he makes sure he shows that. I have to admit I never really got why he killed. But following him around was fun. For instance, his leaving his mark before the poison truly set in because he did not want to deal with the nastiness of its effects. And if blood was involved… Well then, poor little Viper would not be able to handle it at all. Not a pretty sight.

Rory has no manners and does what she has to survive. I did not find her as interesting as the Viper, probably because I did not get as much backstory but it was an interesting ride. I have to admit I did not enjoy the story quite as much as those two bantering. That was definitely the highlight for me. I even laughed out loud on a couple of occasions.

But don’t get me wrong, there are several great things in this book and, as I mentioned, it is quite unique, not only due to the quirky characters. There are also no love interests! There are no predictable twists and turns and I did enjoy it for the most part.

There was just something about the novel that did not cause me to engage with the characters, particularly Rory. I really think not knowing her backstory had a great deal to do with my lack of enjoyment at times. The lack of development of other characters also put a dent in it. I guess it took me so long to get through the book that, though the world creation was very well done, the fact that most of the characters felt like strangers to me didn’t allow me to enjoy the novel as much as if there had been such a set up, as well as a better wrapping up of the story. The Old Girl said that Myran was caught but last I heard she dove in the water.

And I never really got why it was so obvious that the doctor who had died in the baths had been the one to create the poison who killed the other guy.

I recommend The Viper and the Urchin if you enjoy steampunk, mysteries and are sick and tired of romance in YA.

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

Read from Oct 31 to Nov 12, 2015
GR Review

Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds – and remembers.

Review:

Ok this one is going to contain a few mild spoilers, can’t help it!

I am not sure if I had ever watched a Guillermo del Toro movie because I have to be honest, I don’t generally look at the director of whatever movie I am picking, but I have to say I was thoroughly impressed.

There was little I did not enjoy about the movie much. I mean, Edith could have wondered where her husband went when she woke up in the middle of the night, I never really got the deal with her and Alan and some scares were a bit predictable but boy… What a beautifully weaved horror story.

I think this was the only movie I have watched to date where even ghosts that had good intention were outright terrifying. I jumped on my seat a couple of times and in the end I was so glad the doggie did not get hurt.

The outstanding performance for me here was definitely Jessica Chastain but everyone did so well. The development of each character was beautifully done.

Acting aside, I would have to say that a big strength of this movie would be the wardrobe. And the setting. And the soundtrack. Ok, you got me, everything was awesome. But…
Those colours… So rich and luxurious and even a plain nightgown was so elaborate.
The constant whatevers cascading down from the hole in the roof, I could never really tell whether they were leaves or ash or whatever.
It was all just so dauntingly magical.

And at night… Well, at night the house just came alive in the most terrifying manner. If I am going to be pickier I would have liked Edith to be more scared. I know I would have pissed myself in her place. But it makes sense in the movie, given her past.

Anyway, long story short, it’s an awesome movie. Go watch it. Preferably in a big screen. It is well worth the money.

Review Quote

Ana’s Lair was just quoted and I would love to thank the author Sara Snider.

Click the cover to access the link

You can find the original review for the book here!

The book only costs 4.99$ and it is great fun. It is different from what is out there so I definitely think you should give it a try.

Let me know if you read it, I would love to compare notes :)

October 2015 Wrap-Up

October was a so-so month.

I managed to watch a few movies and I enjoyed them for the most part. I discovered a funny video that totally made my day and am planning on watching it whenever I need a little pick-me-up.

As for the reading, the first half or so of the month wasn’t too bad. I read some pretty nice novels. In fact, the quality seemed to be increasing as I went along. I had a really good time reading them.

I had a buddy read of the book Annihilation and I thoroughly enjoyed it, as always. I absolutely adore sharing my thoughts as I read along and hearing what others think.

However, I had such a bad streak towards the end of the month that I fear I am getting into a slump. I didn’t read for 3 whole days – that hadn’t happened in a long time and I cannot seem to focus on my current one.

Oh well, new month, new possibilities!


Summary:

Total Books Read:8

Longest Read: The Boy A Thousand Years Wide (422 pages)

Shortest Read: Conguise Chronicles: The Rise Of the River-Man (Mutter’s Story)(108 pages)

Book of the Month: Master (Book of Immortals, #3)

Favourite Cover:

Challenges Progress:

GoodReads: 98/100
2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss: 50/?


October Books:

 

The first book I finished in October was One Last Thing, by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue.

It was an interesting book that approached very sensitive topics, but the perfection of the main character and her family completely irked me.
It didn’t help that I kept guessing the major revelation.
It was still fairly well written, even with all the drama, and I enjoyed reading it because the message was quite hopeful.

I rated it 3/5 stars.

 

 

Krabat, by Otfried Preußler was an interesting one.

It read like a folks tale and it was a unique book.

Despite the insta-love and other things that put me off a bit, I enjoyed it very much.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 

I then did a buddy read of the book Annihilation (Southern Reach #1), by Jeff VanderMeer. It had been on my to read list for a while and I am so happy Netgalley gave me the opportunity to read it.

This was a surreal book. The suspense never relented and the only thing that put me off a bit was the writing. At times, it got too descriptive, and not nearly enough mysteries were solved by the end of this first book of the Southern Reach trilogy.

I rated it 3.75/5 stars.

 

 

I moved on to Master (Book of Immortals, #3) by Kassandra Lynn.

This was an amazing conclusion to the Book of Immortals trilogy.

I only wish it would have wrapped up the wonderful premise brought up in the first book but I still highly recommend all three books. I dare say the fantasy concepts here are unique or at the very least extremely well crafted, so well worth your time.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars.

 

Then I read Awake, by Natasha Preston.
There are very few books which I feel I should not have wasted my time reading. Why? Because I always gain something out of reading them.
Sadly, I didn’t in this case. Nothing whatsoever. The premise was weak and there was too much romance – and a badly constructed one too. Eh, I liked the cover…

I rated it 1.5/5 stars and rounded it up because I feel I was just not its audience.

 

 

Conguise Chronicles: The Rise Of the River-Man (Mutter’s Story) by L.S. O’Dea was the perfect quick read. It is a spin-off of the series Lake of Sins, portraying the experiments happening in Professor Conguise’s laboratory. This is the story behind the myth of the River Man that is mentioned fairly frequently in Lake of Sins.
Most of my complaints related to the romance, but that’s not new. Everything was extremely well conceived considering how short this story was and I recommend both it and the Lake of Sins series.

I rated it 4.25/5 stars.

 


Then I read Remake, by Ilima Todd.
I was disappointed to see what could have been yet another amazing dystopia being completely overwhelmed by romance. Some concepts could have been so awesome, had they been better explored. My favourite part of the book was the beginning, watching a new way of life and thinking unfold. Then it all went downhill because of the silly romance and not getting resolution.

I rated it 2.25/5 stars.

 

 

I finished the month with The Boy A Thousand Years Wide by David Spon-Smith. First of all, there is no chance this book went through editing. I just don’t buy it. Secondly, it was bad. I haven’t read such a bad book in a long, long time. I am so sorry, I usually even give the benefit of the doubt in case I feel I am just not the right audience but in this case I simply cannot contemplate anyone enjoying this book as a whole. Not if you appreciate a good story.

I rated it 1/5 stars.


Where I got the books:

Author:

  • Book of Immortals: Master (Book of Immortals, #3)
  • Conguise Chronicles: The Rise Of the River-Man (Mutter’s Story)

Netgalley:

  • One Last Thing
  • Krabat
  • Annihilation (Southern Reach #1)
  • Awake
  • Remake
  • The Boy A Thousand Years Wide

 

Movie Reviews:

 

Reblogs:

 

Other Posts in October:

 


How was October for you?
Do you have a Wrap-up post? Please link it below!