Daily Prompt

The Vessel

The incessant creaking of wood and ropes combined with the rush of the ocean to produce a noise that made it difficult to hear when below decks. Although the ship was state of the art, she couldn’t help fear curling through her gut.

Wiping her clammy hands on her dress, she looked up at the sky visible through the hatch above her. It was a blue as it had been the day she left behind everything. Hope had filled her heart then, and it grew as the horizon spread before her. Months had passed since that day, when it was only supposed to be weeks. Morale was almost non-existent and she had heard the murmurings of the crew against the captain for nights on end. Something was going to break sooner rather than later and she wasn’t sure which way it would go.

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Daily Prompt

Unrequited Love:

When I met you I had no idea what would happen. It was an average day as I hauled the buckets up and down the stairs. You barely looked at me as you passed, so I ignored you in return. The next time I saw you though, was when I was being whipped and you intervened. You walked me to the kitchen where Amity cleaned my wounds. After that you smiled at me when you saw me. All of a sudden you didn’t seem so horrible. Then you spoke to me. Just little things here and there, but enough that I could see you actually cared. When I walked in on you one day, looking as though you were bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders, I realised things had changed. I think you did too. You looked at me, all brown eyes and stress, and you reached for me. I held you as you poured it out. After that we were closer, and I began to hope. I don’t know why. It never stood a chance, but as time went on a curl of hope unfurled in my chest. Then you came home from the ball with her on your arm. She is a beautiful inside as she is out, and you looked at her like she hung the moon. Things didn’t weigh as heavily on you after that. It got serious very quickly, and the hope withered. It hurt, but watching you fall in love made something in me smile. So watching you on your wedding day, a grin ear to ear, I took a deep breath and finally let you go.

Daily Writing

Hey everyone,

So I’m still terrible at publishing here, so I challenging myself. Everyday I am going to publish a short para/response to a writing prompt. All the prompts are from here. So here is the first one:

Outside the window

Stars stretched across the midnight sky. Tiny pinpricks of light that were inconsequential by themselves, but when viewed together, they produced a sight that counteracted the cold breeze meandering through the field. Her chest expanded, as though she was trying to breathe in the calmness. No clouds met her eyes as she continued to stare at the sky and the temperature continued to drop. The new moon left the area shrouded in darkness, creating both a sense of security and unease. Just as she hid in the dark, so could other things. Far more dangerous things that could use the darkness to their advantage.

As to the future of the blog, I’m on uni break so fingers crossed I’ll start updating regularly.

 Bea xx

Blog Update

Hey everyone (haha everyone),

So, I’ve basically been MIA since my last blog post on Empire of Storms (read it here), and I’m sorry. This hasn’t been intentional, but life’s been busy (isn’t it always) and I let it get on top of me. Unfortunately, I’m completing my honours in history so this year’s not gonna be much better.

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Credit: https://www.tenor.co/view/guilty-ericforman-that70sshow-gif-5332532

 

So I’m gonna alter my blog slightly. I am going to keep doing some reviews,but mainly of movies cause I’m not going to be able to do much reading for fun. Instead, I think I’m going to publish more random things on my blogs. Randoms thoughts. Random pictures. And to be honest random things on my honours topic (which is the legend around the Romanov Grand Duchesses).

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Credit: http://bavatuesdays.com/the-peoples-open-education-jam-or-say-it-with-a-gif/

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post more regularly, but we’ll see.

Talk soon,

Beatrix

 

 

Empire of Storms

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Photo Credit: https://yabookreviewsandblogs.com/tag/empire-of-storms/

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Empire of Storms is the penultimate book in Sarah J Maas Throne of Glass series, and it is a masterpiece that not only lives up to but also exceeds the standards created by the previous books. Maas somehow ups the ante in everything that has been happening, which has created a highly addictive, rollercoaster of a book. It’s unpredictable, but not in a way that’s off putting. Somehow, it all makes sense and everything ties in together.

I would say my favourite thing about this book is probably the character developments and dynamics. Aelin continues to grow and develop as a major power player, who somehow delights in tormenting her companions by only letting them know about her plans at the last minute, but also has them and their safety at the heart of her plans. She is simultaneously shown as being incredibly independent to the point of frustration for Rowan and Aedion, but she is so dependent on both of them that she does certain things purely to protect them. However, despite her apparently becoming all-seeing to a certain extent in terms of her planning, and then having contingency plans to back up all of the other plans, the events at the conclusion of the novel show that she isn’t all-seeing and makes her seem a little more human, because I must admit throughout Queen of Shadows and the start of Empire of Storms, I found that Aelin’s planning skills were starting to border on being a little unbelievable and unrelateable.

Character developments within this book aren’t just limited to Aelin. I would say that Dorian and Manon seem to have changed the most throughout Empire of Storms. Readers see completely different sides to both of them that haven’t been seen before. In Manon we see a softness that causes a major plot twist that I wasn’t really expecting to happen when it did. I think I was expecting it to happen at some point in time, but Maas made it shocking. In Dorian however, there is an edge that definitely wasn’t there before, and I really enjoyed reading this. Considering what he has been through, particularly in Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, I loved that we saw that it affected him because I feel like sometimes author’s aren’t always good at showing how events can shape characters, and it was amazing the way Maas handled what happened to Dorian to keep him as the character we know and love, but also show that he has changed, as anyone would have if they had been through what he went through. I am also a huge fan of what Maas did with Manon and Dorian, which once again wasn’t completely unexpected, but it felt like a really natural progression and result of their growth as characters.

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Back Cover Artwork. Photo Credit: http://worldofsarahjmaas.com/post/147394712079/the-stunning-back-cover-art-for-empire-of-storms

In terms of continuity with the rest of the series this keeps everything going and adds on without feeling forced. I found that I was reminded of certain things that appeared in Throne of Glass or the prequel novellas that I had kind of forgotten about. A lot of depth has also been added to previous events and choices made by Aelin that I had barely noticed first time round, like the fact she dyed her hair red and fought under the name Ansel of Briarcliff at the beginning of Queen of Shadows. I won’t say why this is important, but this seemingly inane fact played a big part in one of the major twists at the end of Empire of Storms. This also ties in with what Maas tends to do with Aelin’s plans and the reveal of them. As I said previously Aelin takes great delight in revealing her plans to her companions whenever she pleases and, as a reader, I can never pick what’s going to happen either. Maas keeps it as a surprise for the readers by not really mentioning anything about it at all, and it gets revealed to there readers when Aelin explains to the rest of her court how she did it. All of a sudden little throw away lines of text that I tended to note but then disregard make sense. The initial reveal is always a shock, but then as it gets explained and I think back to the part being discussed I would literally have an ‘aha’ moment and honestly, I think this technique is amazing. I’ve gotten used to sometimes being able to guess plot reveals and twists in other books so I love that this keeps it fresh. The only thing I ever knew for sure in Empire of Storms was that Aelin would always have something up her sleeve and some plan going. This in turn made the ending even more shocking as I was not expecting it at all.

Though I don’t want to give too much away, this ending also made Maeve, the Fae Queen into a much bigger player in the next book than I thought she was going to be. Whilst with everything I knew from the previous books it was obvious that she was going o have some role in Aelin’s quest to get the wyrdkeys and the lock needed to get rid of them, I always thought she would be a lesser player in comparison to Erawan, but now, I really don’t know which one is going to turn out to be the worst out of the two. Plot wise this is great, because it raises the stakes even more than they were already raised in this book with its reveal about wyrdkeys and what Aelin needs to do to end it all. It also sets up the next book to be an absolute mammoth of a book, which to be honest I didn’t think was completely possible with the size of Empire of Storms, and I cannot wait. Even though it will be bittersweet because obviously it will be the conclusion of this series, I am honestly so excited for it.

4.75 out 5

Till next time,

Beatrix

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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Photo credit: Google Images

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a book and a movie retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with zombies added to it. I read the book a few years ago, but haven’t read it since because honestly, the addition of the zombies was a little odd. Even so, I decided to try the recent movie version because I was intensely curious about how it was going to translate from the pages onto the screen, and also how it compared to other movies, namely the 2005 version starring Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFayden and Donald Sutherland purely because it’s the version I’ve watched the most.

I really enjoyed some of the aspects of this movie. Visually, it is amazing. The costumes and detailing was meticulous and beautiful. The outdoor scenery was gorgeous, but had dark lighting because the sky appears almost perpetually stormy and grey. In saying that, some scenes were of almost stereotypical English countryside with bright sunshine, which was jarring when zombies appeared because, the make up and effects on the zombies made them appear extremely realistic, and completely out of place.

Character wise, it was very interesting. Matt Smith’s Parson Collins was hilarious, silly and light hearted. This works well against the deadpan humour throughout the movie, though there are other scenes that were just as amusing. One of these was the proposal scene between Elizabeth (Lily James) and Mr Darcy (Sam Riley). This Mr Darcy is more open and emotional than the 2005 Mr Darcy (Matthew MacFayden), which was nice. This helped to lead to the full-blown brawl between the two that included Elizabeth brandishing a fire poker. Other moments of levity included Lena Headey playing the formidable Lady Catherine with an eye patch. However, I kept expecting it to turn into a complete horror movie at any moment, so I spent much of my time watching and waiting for the penny to drop.

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Gif credit: https://exitpursuedbyabear.net/diary/and-zombies

Though I enjoyed it, there are some points of this movie that I had a problem with. The movie deviates from the book in several ways. I won’t say whom, but in the book there is a character that has been infected by a zombie, but in the movie it is a completely different character. This allows, and causes, different events to happen and different characters to meet whom have never met in any previous versions of Pride and Prejudice. These all lead to a different ending in the movie than what is in the book. This is good in one way because it allows everyone to be surprised, but at the same time, it could be off putting for people who love the book the way it is.

Another point is that the movie doesn’t explain very well where exactly the zombies are. They are clearly in the vicinity of London, but there is a wall surrounding London and there is something called the Royal Canal. It seems that the zombies are trapped in an area called the in between, which made me assume that another wall had been built and zombies hadn’t spread throughout England. But, and it’s a big but, the way the characters talk about the zombies and an introduction at the beginning that explains how the zombies came to exist, make it appear that the zombies are all over England. Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to this bit, but I got quite confused and kept wondering about it, which obviously then worked to make me not pay proper attention to the movie. Also, a strain about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are said to be harbingers of the Last Judgment, was added which I don’t remember from the book at all, and this strain never seems to be properly resolved by the end.

I’m going to finish on an ambiguous note, and that is the zombies. The make up and special effects are on point, and the zombies look incredibly believable. This is clearly good, but its not good if you’re a little scared of zombies like I am. It’s so unnerving how realistic and believable they look, that I was watching this a ten in the morning and still felt like I had to periodically look out of the window to check there wasn’t any of the zombies in our back yard. I do not recommend watching this at night if you’re prone to being scared of zombies unless you have someone who is willing to let you hide in their shoulder.

Though entertaining, this movie won’t be winning any awards and is something that I probably won’t watch all that often, mainly due to the zombies.

3 stars out of 5.

Alice Through The Looking Glass

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So I finally got around the seeing Alice Through the Looking Glass, which I have been looking forward to seeing ever since it was announced. Not having read the book, I was very curious about where they were going to take it and I was worried that it would bomb out like many a sequel has done, but it was really good and I wasn’t disappointed by it at all.

In typical Tim Burton style, it is a visual feast of fantastical colours, characters and settings. All characters and settings have their own clearly defined look that, particularly in regards to the characters, is easily recognisable from Alice in Wonderland Alice, (Mia Wasikowska) is really the only character who has major costume changes both in the movie and from the previous movie. The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) also experiences changes, but it is in his colouring rather than his costuming. Alice Through the Looking Glass centres on the Mad Hatter being sick due to missing his family, and throughout the movie he is slowly leeched of colour as he becomes more weak and, arguably, deranged. He is still clearly the same character and the changing colour works, but I felt that the make up that made his look so iconic in the first film didn’t have the same feel in this one. Whilst it was never normal, it felt somewhat authentic in the first movie, but it didn’t this time, which often worked to pull me out of the film because it distracted to me.

The character of Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) is depicted as the main antagonist in the trailer. He is both the keeper of and connected to the Grand Clock, which controls the past, present and future of Underland. Both the Clock and Time are run by the chronosphere, which Alice has to steal to travel back in time to save the Hatter’s family and thus save the Hatter. Time chases her because of dire consequences that are caused by someone taking the chronosphere. I think his actions and the reasoning behind them, wanting to save Underland, make Time more of an anti-hero rather than an antagonist. However, in saying that, he does do things, such as making the Hatter, the Doormouse and the March Hare stuck at one minute to teatime, that make him an antagonist, so maybe he’s just an interesting mixture of both.

Through rampant time travel, the audience sees Mirana, the White Queen, and Iracebeth, the Red Queen, as children. This helps to develop and deepen both characters. An accident that occurred in childhood explains Iracebeth’s large head and some of her actions, while the fact that Mirana unintentionally cause the accident gives her flaws and makes her a realer character. It doesn’t explain all of Iracebeth’s actions but does explain some of her motives.

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Interestingly, despite the time travel and the interwoven viewing of younger and older versions of the same character, I felt that Alice Through the Looking Glass flowed much better than what Alice in Wonderland did. There was less repetition than was seen in Alice in Wonderland through the constant question of whether Alice was the ‘real’ Alice, and the pacing felt better. I think this was in part due to the fact that Alice goes back to the real world part way through the movie. This allows a certain parallel to exist between the worlds, that is Alice dealing with or doing something that was thought the be impossible, and allows her to grow as a character because the audience is able to see differing consequences for her growth at different parts of the movie.

I also found the ending to be much more enjoyable too. Mrs. Kingsleigh, Alice’s mother (Lindsay Duncan), became much more outwardly supportive of her daughter, which in turn causes her to make a decision at the end that goes against what society expected, which I think shows the influence Alice had on her because up until that point she appeared very concerned with what society’s expectations were.

Much like with the Alice in Wonderland the ending is advocating for people to follow their own path regardless of what society says, which I think is something that needs to be shown much more often than it usually is.

3.5 stars out of 5.