Book Discussion · Misc · Miscellaneous · Uncategorized

Carolyn Reacts to Negative Amazon Book Reviews

When I’m looking up book reviews on Amazon, I can’t tell whether reviewers are being serious or trolling me half the time. But reading the negative reviews are so fun because they’re sometimes just really funny because they’re just..plain..wrong. But anyways, I compiled a few of the funniest ones I’ve encountered recently..

Cress by Marissa Meyer

cress

Girl, if this book doesn’t promote health, positive relationships, I don’t know what does. Also, are you saying I should stop reading this book because it has cooties?? Also, I didn’t know “kissier” was a word.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

paranormalcy

Well…that’s unfortunate. I The spider probably crawled in between the pages while someone was packaging it and the person got scared so they just closed the book on it lol. Glad you enjoyed the book though..

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

goldencompass

Well first of all, I’m insulted, I haven’t heard from your people yet. Second of all, EFAAAL sounds like a cult. And lastly, I really want to meet these “frieds”.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

lord

The only thing I got from this was how he/she spelled hell.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

pandp

VICTORIAN KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS I CAN’T

but also, Jane Austen was satirizing the social norms of her time; it wasn’t necessarily meant to be a romantic book but come on, how can you not like Elizabeth and Darcy together.

pandp1

I’m pretty sure making Pride and Prejudice a 3D movie is not going to change your attitude about it. I mean maybe if they served you tea in the theater or if you could somehow feel Darcy’s coat? Oh wait, that’s 4D..kind of..

pandp2

Please calm down..

gatsby1

You’re welcome.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

gatsby2

  1. Please stick to picture books then
  2. Have you lived in this world before?
  3. I hope you took a time machine and saw a movie from 1924 because this book was written in 1925

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

redeeming1

Yup this book was the whole reason why you felt like throwing away your virginity. And this book contains a lot of rape so I really hope rape does not make you think in a lustful way..

Have you read any funny reviews lately? What are some ridiculous reviews you’ve stumbled across in your years as a reader?

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Book Discussion · book review · Uncategorized

Script Discussion: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: John Tiffany and Jack Thorn

Based on: Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Genre: Play, Fantasy

Pages: 352

Synopsis: Goodreads

Ratingtealstartealstar

Note: Nonspoiler review first. When you see a spoilers break, everything after is a spoiler until “End of Spoilers”.

 


While I reading this play, I had two, and only two emotions:

and

I’m sorry but I actually cannot take this script seriously, much less take it as the CANON 8th story of the Harry Potter saga. First of all, this is fanfiction. Put it any way you like, that JK Rowling approved of it or that JK Rowling had a hand in it or whatever but bottom line is she did. not. write this script which by definition makes it fanfiction. But the worst part is that it felt like reading a fanfiction. It didn’t feel like Harry Potter. Let me break this down.

Mistake #1

Not using the play format to its fullest potential.

I’ve read a lot of positive reviews stating that you won’t get a lot of worldbuilding and character development because it’s a play and I should forgive that because it’s a play. No. I’ve read plenty of plays that manage to build a believable world while also developing really nuanced characters. But here, gone are the magical and inviting descriptions of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley. Gone the adventure and fun and curiosity of the wizarding world. Instead I get some really awkward stage direction like:

“He meets her look. There’s real emotion in this room.”

or

“Relief floods out of him.”

and even more awkward dialogue which includes one-liners that are meant to be meaningful but just fall flat.

No. I won’t let you do this . . .

If anything, why couldn’t JK Rowling have just written an 8th book and adapted it into a play?

Mistake #2

The ridiculous plot

I can’t really go into it without giving spoilers but it’s ridiculous because it brings so much plot from the previous Harry Potter books and tries to make it relevant like 20 years after it actually happened. You know what I would have done if I was craving previous Harry Potter books? Oh that’s right, I would just reread them. It was completely and utterly pointless. This is where it feels most like fanfiction because fanfiction writers love to think about the possibility of different alternate situations that a book could have played out. Like what if Hermione didn’t marry Ron?and blah blah. This play felt like that. Instead of being a cohesive plot, it just randomly tried to incorporate some events for shock points and nostalgia. Like hey, remember when this sad/happy scene that happened in Goblet of Fire? Here it is again, but in play format! Feel sad! 

Mistake #3

Who are Harry, Ron, and Hermione again?

Harry, Ron, Hermione in Cursed Child felt like mere shells of themselves. Ron is reduced to being the comedic relief, stopping by some scenes to say some meant-to-be funny jokes. I did not see any of Hermione’s know-it-all intelligence and need to always fill in with an answer. Ginny was just there to be Harry’s wife. Rose Granger-Weasley was there to idk, remind us that Ron and Hermione had a kid? and then disappeared for the rest of the play. Where is Teddy Lupin? Dead, for all I know. Snape (yes he appears) says some uncharacteristically nice things. Harry is..not Harry..And I get it, people grow up and they change but really? to the point where I don’t even recognize them?

Mistake #4

Inconsistencies and Inaccuracies

This play deals a lot with Time-Turners and they were so inaccurate and inconsistent plotholes that didn’t make any sense. Transfiguration inaccuracies. Character inconsistencies. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

I gave it a 2 stars because the themes had such potential! The play explores Albus’s relationship with his dad, Harry Potter and what it is like being the son of a celebrity. I liked the continued exploration of Albus and his fear of being sorted into Slytherin and his friendship with Scorpius. Imagine Harry Potter and Draco, archnemeses have sons who are best friends. But none of it had really any depth for me to feel really invested. 

I understand that I have not seen this play yet and a play is meant to be performed but half of the play is the script and a bad script really hinders a performance no matter how good the actors or set designs are.

At this point, the continuation of the Harry Potter series needs to stop. I understand the need for more, I really do. But there’s just too much.. It just doesn’t feel magical anymore. They feel like blatant cash grabs. I’m happy where HP left off and I hope that my imagination can fill in the rest.


SPOILERS AFTER THIS BREAK

SPOILERS


Really?? Voldemort had a daughter?? That’s literally the topic of like half of HP fanfics. I hate the I-am-your-father or familial tie trope soooo much. Because it is such a cheap way to create drama and shock. And it wasn’t even done well like in Star Wars. And Voldemort and Bellatrix?? So you’re telling me that somewhere between taking over the world, Voldemort and Bellatrix somehow had sex?? And how convenient since Bellatrix was literally one of the only female Death Eaters we really meet. Honestly that is just an insult to Bellatrix.

Also, am I really suppose to believe that CEDRIC DIGGORY out of all people becomes a Death Eater??? That’s even more unbelievable than Voldemort and Bellatrix. And the reasoning is so stupid too. He gets humiliated and suddenly he wants to be a Death Eater. Really?

Also, Severus actually says

Tell Albus Severus–I’m proud he carries my name.

??????!!! That’s hilarious. Did you literally forget who Snape is?? He hated Harry. Why would he be proud his son carries his name??

I do not believe that Harry would ever say to Albus to not be friends with Scorpius. Harry Potter should be, out of all people, the one to understand how important friendship is and the importance of being able to choose who your friends are.

I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the queerbaiting in this book and how there were so many hints as to Albus and Severus liking each other more but they turned out to just be friends? Idk how I feel about that because Scorpius liked Rose from the beginning I feel but I can see how some people would feel that way because there were some “you’re the only one who understands me” type thing.

I didn’t notice it the first time but people were also saying how it’s bs how Hermione becomes a bitter old spinster if she didn’t marry Ron. Idk how I feel about that because on the one hand it feeds into this stereotype that women who do not marry and become children become pitiful spinsters who are mean but then it wasn’t like Ron turned out great either. He’s kind of a mess at this point. But the reasoning for why he married Padma was so flimsy. So just because he didn’t ask Hermione to the Yule Ball, he ended up marrying Padma..ok..But then now that I think about it is so out of Hermione’s character to just give up on life if she didn’t have Ron..ugh.

I thought you couldn’t let anyone see you if you were using a Time-Turner but Cedric saw Scorpius? Hermione also saw Albus and Severus when they were using the Time Turner for the first time during the Triwizard Tournament.

END OF SPOILERS

Let me know what you thought of HP and the Cursed Child! Did it live up to your expectations? Did you love it? Hate it? What do you think of the continuation of the Harry Potter canon? If you want to talk spoilers, just put spoilers in your comments and let’s talk =)

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Book Discussion · book review · Uncategorized

Discussion: On rereading and how a 4-star book became a 2-star book

15753977Author: Marie Lu

Categories/Genres: YA, scifi, dystopian

Pages: 305

Previous Rating: 4/5

Reread Rating: 2/5

VERY MILD SPOILERS BELOW

 


I have very fond memories of Legend by Marie Lu, an action-packed dystopian YA novel set in future LA. June is one of the Republic’s best students. Day is a wanted criminal. June’s brother, Metias, is killed and June wants revenge. They discover government secrets. While this is happening, a rebel group called the Colonies is always mentioned and there’s also a plague going around because why not. I’m pretty sure it was one of my favorite books at one point and I considered it one of the better YA dystopian books around.

Before I reread it, I only remembered that I liked the romance and that I really liked the conspiracy elements. I thought it was well-written and that the world was well-developed for such a short book.

So I decided to give it a reread and in a surprising turn of events (a rude plot twist), I ended up being severely disappointed to the point where I wanted to time travel back and slap my old reading self and ask myself why I was reading this.

old self: *On the computer* *sees present me*

me: so why exactly did you like this book?? I don’t get it??

old self:

WTF who are you??!!!

me: GET MORE STRICT WITH YOUR RATING SYSTEM.*disappears*

old self

she looked a lot like me..

That’s probably one of the sad things about rereading. Sometimes your favorites just don’t hold up and then you realize your nostalgia was filling in the gaps for you once you get further away from the book. You remember the feelings but you don’t remember much else. 

Granted I did read this book almost 6 years ago so the experience of rereading was almost like reading a new book. Almost. It’s more like slipping on an old Halloween costume and finding out that it’s too short and tight now. But anyways this book is classified as a dystopian and now that I’ve reread it, I struggle to really comprehend why it’s classified as such because honestly, nothing about this government is explained. Here are some worldbuilding things that irritated me that I did not notice the first time I read it.

  1. You have to take a Trial test (which sounds like the SAT–I would definitely fail that) and that basically determines whether you get a good or a bad job which I feel like is logistically kind of hard. I mean is it a scantron test?? What if the grader grades it wrong? What if it doesn’t go through the machine right?? What if someloses it ??What if I bubbled in incorrectly but I knew the answer?? So many things could go wrong..

2. There’s also no sense of what the hierarchy of this government is. Like there’s an Elector, also a Commander but no one else?? Like is LA run by two people?? Damn, this is basically hiring a 16-year-old to catch a notorious criminal..makes sense.

3. Oh, there is also a plague which does not seem to exist out of the confines of the plot. The plague affects one person in this entire book and there’s not really any mention of the plague ever..like ok..

I suppose I’m just more way more picky about worldbuilding now. What once was merely an annoyance is now a nuisance that I can’t brush off. It’s also interesting how much scientific inaccuracies bother me now. Take, for example, this quote:

I have what the Republic considers good gene–and better genes make for better soldiers make for better chance of victory against the Colonies.

Do you know how many genes there are?? What do you mean good genes? Genes are good for some things, not good for others. And if she’s talking about intelligence, there really is no such thing as an intelligence gene and even if there are, it depends on the type of nurture you had. Nature vs. nurture and all that.

But honestly, the real question is should I even be bothered by this? I mean so what, if there are scientific inaccuracies. I suppose I care because there’s already a lot of misinformation out there. Maybe it’s an aftereffect of being a science major for four years.

And the thing about reading action-packed books is that the second time you read them, you know what’s going to happen so that air of surprise and anticipation is just not there anymore. You should come for the plot but stay for the characters. Except the characters aren’t the best either. I actually should applaud Marie Lu a little for creating such believable characters within such a short span of time (this book clocks in at 305 pages with a pretty big font too). But that does not stop me from being bored by these characters. June and Day also basically kind of sound the same. June and Day do sound different in the sequels but that does not really come across here. I also read reviews about people complaining about the “instalove” between June and Day and I really didn’t think so back then but now the instalove was hitting me in the face and I’m wondering how I didn’t see it before. They basically start trusting each other like the day after they meet each other. And it’s just basically smooth sailing from there. Now I don’t mind instalove, as long as you build conflict even after they fall for each other like for example The Wrath and the Dawn. I suppose in 6 years I’ve met so many different characters that these characters just don’t cut it anymore.

So after this enlightening experience, I suppose I am now

  1. a more picky reader
  2. I care a lot more about worldbuilding
  3. I need more complexity in my characters
  4. I’m also more attuned to an author’s writing

 

But here are some questions I’m curious about: when you read a book, are you more attuned to certain aspects more than others? Does your profession allow you to detect some types of inaccuracies more than others? If so, do they bother you while you’re reading? Have you reread a book recently that disappointed you? How much of your preconceived notions when you read it the first time affected your reread of it? How much of nostalgia affected your view of the book after you’ve read it? I would love to hear your thoughts =)

 

 

Book Discussion · thoughts · Uncategorized

Should there be trigger warnings on books?

 

Before 2007, Yeonmi Park lived in North Korea under wealthy standards until her father was caught participating in an illegal trade business during the economic collapse and sent to a labor camp. Faced with starvation, Yeonmi Park, escaped to China along with her mother only to fall into the hands of human traffickers. She does eventually escape to South Korea and is now serving as a human rights activist. She wrote a memoir about her journey, In Order To Live, which was published in September 2015.

I have not yet read the book but it can be safely assumed after reading and watching reviews that she suffers through a great deal of violence and tragedy both directly and indirectly. One reviewer in particular I watched said that she usually avoids these kinds of books because she is a sensitive person and it’s difficult for her to stomach things like this when it’s actually happening in someone else’s life.

To which I say, isn’t that our responsibility as readers? Isn’t it our responsibility to broaden our perspectives to other people’s lives? Are we really going to run away from things that can make us uncomfortable and even offend us sometimes just so we can have peace of mind? What about learning to critically analyze our own culture and society through these lens? 

Another point I would like to make is that by putting trigger warnings on books, you are emphasizing the actual event instead of the repercussions which can be just as important. If I saw a trigger warning that said “rape” in this book, all I can think about is that there is rape in this book instead of focusing on the fact that maybe this book is about someone coming to terms after being raped. It’s like if someone slapped a sticker that said ice cream on the cover and basically all I’m waiting for while reading the book is when the person is going to eat ice cream.

Trigger warnings may actually exist soon enough. About a week ago, Laura Murphy, a Virginia mother, was appalled to hear that part of her son’s required reading was Beloved by Toni Morrison which contains explicit sexual content. A bill is now making through the Virginia legislature which would require K-12 teachers “to identify classroom materials with “‘sexually explicit content'” and “notify parents who would have the right to ‘opt-out’ their children and give them something less objectionable to read. It’s not censorship but it basically is a trigger warning.

Some books that would contain this label if bill is passed:

I have not personally read Beloved but I have read The Bluest Eye and it does contain the same kinds of sexual content in the form of rape as I think Beloved has. And I have to say that is there anything that’s truly objectionable nowadays? There has to be some controversy. It sparks discussion and a meaningful conversation about our society. And I don’t think anyone reads Toni Morrison’s works for pure enjoyment. She is not Sophie Kinsella. What she is is a writer of brutal human condition and what it means to be black in America. That’s not an easy discussion to have and sheltering is not going to make hardships go away. I also would like to point out again that putting a label on a book as having sexually explicit content makes it seem like the topic should be discouraged from discussing altogether which I think is hugely disrespectful to people who have actually experienced this. It also, again, latches onto the fact that it has sexually explicit content which completely disregards everything else this book is actually about. Rape is not about rape. It’s about power. Torture is not really about the act of torture either. It’s also about manipulation.

Take A Little Life by Hanya Yanigihara for example. Sure, it has abuse of almost every kind in this book but if I had purposefully censored myself from reading it, I would be missing

Scene from 1984 movie

out on an incredible story about redemption and friendship. Take 1984 by George Orwell which contains torture *shudders*. I would be missing out on a story that although fictionalized says a lot about totalitarian governments and the nature of political propaganda and power. In fact, Yeonmi Park herself read 1984 after escaping and when she read it, she felt as if George Orwell truly knew what she went through.

 

“I read to fill my mind and to block out the bad memories. But I found that as I read more, my thoughts were getting deeper, my vision wider, and my emotions less shallow. The vocabulary in South Korea was so much richer than the one I had known, and when you have more words to describe the world, you increase your ability to think. In North Korea, the regime doesn’t want you to think, and they hate subtlety.

I know I cannot speak for everyone because everyone has had different experiences and everyone has their own reasons for not reading certain things that are totally valid. In fact, I can’t stand watching or reading torture but I think that it’s still an important topic that should not be gleaned over. But bottom line for me is that trigger warnings is censorship by choice.

Do you think there should be trigger warnings on books? What do you think of the Virginia bill?

Some articles where I did my research if you’re interested:

Yeonmi Park

The Virginia Bill

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Book Discussion · book review · Uncategorized

Book Review (In Graphs): Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

15507958

Title: Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Pages: 369

Synopsis: Goodreads

Rating: tealstartealstartealstartealstar  (4/5)


 

Characters

me4u6

me4u2

Dialogue

me4u10

My experience

me4u

*Considering I knew pretty much what was going to happen at the end. I mean, EVERYONE kept telling me about how much they cried and I think I was so determined not to cry lol.

me4u3

The Writing

me4u4

me4u7

 

me4u5

 

Final Thoughts: A conventional love story with some insightful commentary about the everyday struggles of a paraplegic and what it means to make decisions for someone else and an unconventional ending. From a writer’s point of view, it wasn’t all that great but I still found myself enjoying it and I had a good time with it. You win this time, Jojo Moyes. Side note: Sam Clafin and Emilia Clarke are really good casting choices for these characters. I kept imagining the characters as them while I was reading. Granted I did watch the trailer first before reading the book but whatever..What did you think of this book? And how much did you cry?

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Book Discussion · Uncategorized

Spoiler Discussion: Winter by Marissa Meyer

This post is just gonna be me ranting about this book. I finally read it and I ended up giving it a 3.5 stars. It would have gotten a 3 stars if it hadn’t been for the pure enjoyability of it. I’m sorry if this post makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

-Was it just me or did this book just scream The Hunger Games to me?? Like screamed, like in your face, screamed. Except the entire revolution was squeezed into one book. Just no. It was so generic and cliche.

Here are some of the similarities I found:

-rich, ignorant people wearing funky clothes check

-a tyrannical ruler who is so cruel check

-the ruler’s henchmen (aka the thurmaturges) who need to enact extreme violence and murder on the innocent people in order to make Levana seem more evil blah blah blah check

-Different sectors (aka districts) with the outer sectors being poor and the closer ones being rich..There’s even a lumber and agriculture sector (i mean come on really??)

-Cinder is like the face of the rebellion (aka the Mockingjay)

The thing I really liked about the Lunar Chronicles is for one the characters. I think the characters are endearing and fun without being too cliche and cheesy. It’s like the equivalent of Disney characters and despite knowing that, I found myself really annoyed with them in this book. Well, not annoyed, more like bored. Their actions just had an air of predictability to it. For example, when Thorne kissed that Lunar girl because she manipulated him and Cress got really angry and I just knew that the Lunar girl was glamoured to look like Cress. I mean, come on, it’s pretty obvious.

And then the whole conversation that happened after was annoying too like

Cress: I don’t want to be just one of your other girls.

Ugh, can I just roll my eyes. One of the most cliche lines of all time.

reaction nicki minaj ew disgust roll eyes

Also, when Wolf was modified with something I already forgot and it made him kind of forget Scarlet or made him think that Scarlet didn’t like him. He only forgot Scarlet for like a hot minute and then he was already fighting by her side. Why so much buildup for so little conflict?? Where is the tension?? Anyways I think Wolf and Scarlet are still tied with Cinder and Kai for my favorite couple of the series with Thorne and Cress being my least favorite. IDK WHY, everyone loves Thorne and Cress a lot and I just am kind of meh about them.

funny pitch perfect i dont care

I feel like the couples didn’t even spend that much time together and I would have liked more of the friendships to develop and play off each other like Scarlet and Winter. I really liked the interaction between Thorne and Kai but that was only one scene!!

I also couldn’t really get on board with Winter and Jacin as individual characters. I really don’t know why. There was no history to Jacin except his childhood with Winter. It was all fun and cute at the beginning but when I realized that was all Jacin was..I got bored. And I couldn’t really get a good grasp on Winter’s character.

I did really like the whole fight scene at the end though especially how Levana manipulated Thorne to hurt Cress and both of them hurting Cinder; that was pretty epic. And Marissa Meyer really stepped up the action in this book which made it really fun but I feel like she just went through the motions of having a revolution and didn’t really add any surprises..I mean there were surprises just not ones that really surprised me if that makes sense. It just got really boring near the end because they would get themselves into a situation and then escape. Repeat this 500 times. Boorrringg.

And can I just say that the scientific terminology got really annoying. Ok, it might have been me being the science major that I am but when that one doctor says to Winter when she’s on her deathbed: “all her biological systems will shut down.” no one says all your biological systems are going to shut down. That’s just a way of saying you’re dying in a “scientific” way even though it just sounds vague and not scientific at all. Obviously all your biological systems are going to shut down, no one says “biological systems” because your whole body is biological. I really don’t know why I’m ranting so much about this little thing lol.no kenan thompson snl saturday night live swipe left

Also, I can’t really count the number of times, Cinder or someone made a really “inspirational” speech about “omg, no more will you suffer under manipulation from the Lunars if you join me!!@#@#@#$12” like ok cool, let’s move on..

jon stewart the daily show idgaf i dont care who cares

-I really liked all the nods to the original fairytales like the poisoned candy, the kiss while Winter was asleep, how Winter is the fairest of them all and more beautiful than the queen, how Kai gave the cyborg foot back to Cinder near the end.

-And can I just say that I fucking shipped Iko and Kinney from the second they set eyes on each other. Ugh, they would be so cute.

A lot of people have said that they wish one of the main characters had died because the plot was too convenient. First off, did any of the main characters die in Star Wars? That was also an intergalactic war..uh no. Well, I mean does Yoda count? And yet I still got the emotional weight that I should have felt because there was an intergalactic war. This series has a very lighthearted tone to it and if someone had died, I think it would have ruined that tone and feel that the other books had.  What even counts as too convenient? This book was never meant to add to the conversation about war and revolution; it was just meant to be a fun story about good vs. evil. I think it felt convenient because all the character dynamics were really simple.

What did you think about Winter? Did you think some parts were unnecessary? What did you think of the plot and its logistics? The character dynamics? Favorite couple? 🙂

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Book Discussion

Spoiler Discussion: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

So I just finished An Ember in the Ashes yesterday and I wanted to spew out my thoughts. I will be posting up my non-spoiler review very soon if you haven’t read the book. But for now, long story short, I gave it a four out of five stars so I really enjoyed it. Spoilers from here on out!

The Masks and the masks

First off, I still don’t get what the masks actually look like…like it would have to be thin I’m assuming because how else would it meld into your skin??

The Precious Cinnamon Rolls aka our main characters

I really liked all of our main protagonists. I have a soft spot for Elias (add him to my list of book boyfriends) but I really liked Laia too. I feel really bad for all the shit she had to go through at Blackcliff but her character development was beautiful. You know, not always believing what people tell her and finding out the true meaning of courage and sacrifice (I sound like a Hallmark card). Helene was understandably frustrating. I mean she has grown up in a world where loyalty to the Empire is a must. I mean you have to remember that the way she thinks about slaves and scholars came from the empire teaching that to her so I can’t really be expected to like her way of thinking. I’m super happy about getting her point of view in the sequel and I almost wish she wasn’t blood shrike because I would want to be at least a 20 mile radius away from Marcus.

The Not So Precious Cinnamon Rolls

I really liked the Commandant’s character and how she showed absolutely no mercy because usually there’s some small chink in the armor with these types of characters or some really tragic backstory but there isn’t with her character and the fact that Tahir was brave enough to push the boundaries on the violence (that “k” scene tho..) really amped up the tension and suspense because I was actually scared when Laia would go off and spy for the Resistance thinking she was going to be caught at any moment. Heck, I was even scared whenever she was talking about basically anything to Izzi.

I also kept thinking something bad was gonna happen to Izzi but nothing happened so that was good..*knock on wood*

The drama! The romance!

I also have mixed feelings about this love square that we’ve got going on or more like two love triangles..I liked that there was a love triangle with a male character but I felt like it wasn’t necessary. Because romantically, there’s nothing really to explore with Helene’s character. I don’t think there was any way it could have worked because Elias doesn’t want anything to do with the Empire but Helene wants everything to do with the Empire. I feel like even if they were good friends, Helene would have still done the deal because that’s how loyal she is. On the other hand, I felt like the love triangle with Laia, Keenan, and Elias was more warranted because Laia feels that Keenan understands her predicament whereas Elias understands her as a person. But I got annoyed with Keenan, mostly because I ship Elias and Laia.. The moon festival scene was so cute *_* and who can forget the scene after the Third Trial..

Also, I low-key ship Keenan and Izzi..

Also, it sounds really harsh but I was kind of annoyed with Darin for going to jail!!!! (jk) But Laia was sacrificing everything for her brother. I just feel like I needed more development and interaction between Laia and her brother for me to be invested in their relationship.

Oh No You Didn’t

I knew that the Test of Loyalty was definitely fighting Helene but I didn’t quite believe it because that is just cruel. Fighting your best friend to the death?? But I think it’s interesting that one of them would have killed the other and there weren’t any real hard feelings after that from Helene. Like ok, you almost killed me!! But that’s ok because you were just doing your job!! ha. ha. ha. I thought one of them would have backed down and say no but I liked that Tahir pushed the characters to their limits (almost).

For the literary critic in me

I have noticed a recurring trend in YA. It’s ok if there’s extreme violence in your book but the romance always has to chaste..like what..it doesn’t fit..

One thing that did really bother me throughout the book was the use of sexual assault. Not in the way it’s used necessarily (although the scene with Marcus and Laia felt a little gratuitous to me), but the concept surrounding it. The Commandant mentions that it would have been better if Laia had been scarred because then she would have been ugly and not be raped. This sentiment is consistently mentioned and it bothered me because beauty does not enter into the rape equation. Being beautiful does not give you a higher chance of being raped. That’s essentially like saying if your clothes are too revealing, you have a higher chance of being raped or vice versa. Rape is about power no matter who it is.

I realized I had a lot to say so kudos to you if you stuck till the end. If you did, comment moon cake below and let me know your thoughts! 😉

sigfinal