Posted in TV

Shadow and Bone – Netflix review 🐐

Shadow and Bone (TV Series 2021– ) - IMDb
all images credit to Netflix

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I’ve always preferred sci-fi to fantasy, but all of the series in the Grishaverse (Shadow and Bone trilogy, Six of Crows duology, Nikolai duology) have consistently been some of my favorite YA fantasy novels. Packed with lush prose and complex worldbuilding that can’t be matched by much else, it truly stood out amongst the vast field of YA fantasy.

So naturally I was excited, but more than a little nervous that Netflix was developing a show based off of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. I haven’t enjoyed much of Netflix’s original shows other than Stranger Things and The Umbrella Academy, and I hadn’t heard of any of the actors. But the more they revealed, the more excited I got. And now that I’ve watched it, I think it restored some of my faith in Netflix. Shadow and Bone is, for the most part, every bookworm’s dream: an adaptation where the love for the source material shines through in every line and episode.

So let’s get into it, shall we? Bc I’ve got some THOUGHTS

But be warned! This review contains some spoilers for both the show and the books, so tread lightly!

Shadow and Bone: fans saying same thing about Netflix's new show | HELLO!
T H E M

THE GREAT:

  • The casting: As I said earlier, I hadn’t heard of any of the actors in the show prior to watching this. (Not even Ben Barnes…apparently he was in one of the Narnia movies? I wouldn’t know, I think the only one of the movies that I watched was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe…) (EDIT: no wait apparently Baghra was also Madam Hooch??? I knew I recognized her from somewhere) But the vast majority of them were INCREDIBLE. Not only did quite a few of them stay true to the characters, but they felt like the perfect actors for these characters. Some of my favorites in particular were Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker, Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov, Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa, Daisy Head as Genya Safin, and Kit Young as Jesper Fahey. (Also, David was precious. I forgot how wonderful he was. And HELNIK. HELNIIIIIK.)
Shadow and Bone' Trailer: Can Alina Bring the Light to Save Everyone?  (VIDEO)
The perfect Alina. Gaaaaaaah

And on that subject…

  • Mal is actually likable now? I just found him…so bland in the books, and Archie Renaux’s portrayal seemed to flesh him out a little more. Still not my favorite, but I get more classic hopelessly-romantic-idiot vibes from him now. What a guy.
Shadow and Bone | Netflix Official Site
d’awwwwww

  • Faithfulness to the source material: I didn’t take the time to re-read everything before binging all this, but even then, there were so many iconic lines that made their way into the show that I noticed. The show’s character’s were so wonderfully true to the novel’s, and all the details about the world made the show radiate such love and respect for the original Grishaverse novels. I mean, part of that’s definitely because Leigh Bardugo had a fairly prominent role in the show, but still.

  • Sets and costumes: EVERYTHING LOOKED SO. SO. BEAUTIFUL. The decor and keftas (can we talk about THE DETAILS IN THE KEFTAS???) in the Little Palace were especially gorgeous, and I loved all the landscapes that we got to see, especially in Ravka. Ketterdam was definitely a favorite of mine as well.

  • CGI: For the most part, the special effects were great! The Fold must have been such a pain to animate, but it was 100% worth it: just as terrifying as I imagined it! (And, by extension, the volcra. Guuuuuuh.) All of the Grisha magic looked amazing too.

  • Diversity: One thing I will say in Netflix’s favor: a lot of their original shows do a good job of having a variety of characters of different races, sexualities, and gender identities, and this one was no exception! Most of the characters who were POC/LGBTQ+ in the books were rightfully so here, and the decision to make Alina mixed-race and Mal POC was great! Say what you want about Chosen Ones, but isn’t it pretty cool that we have a mixed-race Asian character as our chosen one here? I think so.

  • Milo the goat: self-explanatory.
Why Milo the Goat Is the Best 'Shadow and Bone' Character - Thrillist
the look of love
  • The Leigh Bardugo cameo: tears. TEARS.

But, of course, the show wasn’t *entirely* without its flaws, which I’ve been itching to discuss…

THE NOT-SO-GREAT:

  • The Darkling: okay, unpopular opinion time. Ben Barnes’ acting was fine, yeah, but he just…was not a good fit for the Darkling. His voice is great and he’s clearly a talented actor, but he was barely menacing. He just looked like a pretentious hipster in a big furry cape. I guess that made him easier to hate (because, y’know, the Darkling is a nasty manipulator), but…nah. I loved him as the villain in the original novels, so that was a major letdown.
Which of Leigh Bardugo's Books is The Netflix Show Based On? -
nope

And on that subject:

  • WHY, WHY WHY DID THEY BRING IN THE ALEKSANDR REVEAL IN SO EARLY? I’M STILL SO MAD ABOUT THIS. UGH. We got the information that he’s Baghra’s son/the Black Heretic/all that jazz in book 1, but we didn’t get his name until the end of Ruin and Rising, and it was an appropriate bombshell of a reveal. I suppose they wanted to “humanize” him and all (please S T O P ), but if you already have the Black Heretic/Baghra reveals at the ready, then what’s the point? To whoever’s idea this was, I just wanna talk…

  • Nina not being plus-sized: for the most part, like I said, the show stayed pretty close to the characters, but not Nina? COME ON. Danielle Galligan was fine, but there’s plenty of plus-sized actors they could’ve chosen for the part. It just doesn’t sit right with me that they erased that part of her character. Ugh.

  • The new Six of Crows subplot felt a little rushed: okay, I’ll admit that it was probably hard to incorporate SoC into the Shadow and Bone timeline when the original books happened after all this. But even though I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Kaz, Inej, Jesper, and the rest of Ketterdam, their new subplot just felt…flimsy. Shoehorned in. I did like the bit with the Conductor, but it just didn’t have the care and weight put into it that the other parts of the show did.
Shadow and Bone' Fans Debate Who Will Be the 'Star' of the Netflix Original  Series

All in all though, this made my stupid little Grisha bookworm heart so happy. This is the kind of love that should be put into every novel to TV/film adaptation: respect for the source material, but adding in some fresh twists, but not enough to make it unrecognizable. I was a little scared for this one, admittedly, but I’m so glad that none of my fears came to pass.

Except for the Darkling, of course. :/

MY RATING: ★★★★☆

TW/CW: racism, sexism, graphic violence, blood, body horror, animal death

Today’s song:

this just came on shuffle and I had to listen to it on repeat again…I FORGOT HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS SONG

That’s it for this TV review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

April 2021 Wrap-Up ☔️

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Whew, April was definitely…a month…

So let’s elaborate:

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

I didn’t get to blog as much as I wanted to this month, but I did have (and still have) lots of tests to study for, so you can probably expect a similar amount of activity next month as well. I got the SAT out of the way, though! Pretty proud of myself for that. I just got an email saying that the scores are coming next week, so…

Mr. Krabs Mad Blank Template - Imgflip

And I’m so done with precalc. SO DONE. ONE MORE MONTH…

But other than that, I’ve had a pretty good reading month! I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to, but I got to read a whole bunch of my most anticipated reads of the year, and found a whole bunch of 5-star reads! All of my preorders seemed to arrive in the middle of the month, I’m happy to say.

I watched a whole bunch of good stuff this month as well, movie and TV-wise; we watched Ex Machina and Shin Godzilla (hands down the scariest version of Godzilla, my mind will not be changed), I finished up Falcon and the Winter Soldier (hit or miss, but it got good in the end), and last but certainly not least, Shadow and Bone! I’m super excited about the latter; I finished it last night, and it was so faithful to the book, for the most part! I’ll try and do a review soon, because man, I have some Thoughts™️

no mourners, no funerals in 2021 | The grisha trilogy, Six of crows, Crow
Everyone’s favorite bisexual sharpshooter supreme

Also, this will come in later in the post, but I think I’ll start doing a fixture in these wrap-ups with songs or albums I’ve listened to over the course of the month, so see below…

READING AND BLOGGING:

I managed to read 21 books this month! Just barely, though…like I said, not as much reading time as I wanted to have (why, why, WHY did I take THREE AP classes this year), but I read so many amazing novels!

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: This Golden Flame (9781335080271): Victoria, Emily: Books
This Golden Flame

This Golden Flame – Emily Victoria (⭐️⭐️.5)

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: You Should See Me in a Crown (9781338503265): Johnson, Leah:  Books
You Should See Me in a Crown

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1) – Rebecca Roanhorse (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Salvaged – Madeleine Roux (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable, #1) – Charlie Jane Anders (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Verona Comics – Jennifer Dugan (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Finding Yvonne – Brandy Colbert (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

You Should See Me in a Crown – Leah Johnson (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

Heartless – Marissa Meyer (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Sword in the Stars: A Once & Future Novel eBook: McCarthy,  Cori, Capetta, A. R.: Kindle Store
Sword in the Stars

Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun – Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Iron Heart (Crier’s War, #2) – Nina Varela (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Tales From the Hinterland (The Hazel Wood, #2.5) – Melissa Albert (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

A Conspiracy of Tall Men – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Record of a Spaceborn Few – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2) – A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

5 stars:

Amazon.com: The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country  (9780593465271): Gorman, Amanda, Winfrey, Oprah: Books
The Hill We Climb

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country – Amanda Gorman (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Internment – Samira Ahmed (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2) – Leigh Bardugo (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook – Mike Mignola (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Aurora Burning (Aurora Rising, #2) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (re-read FOR BOOK CLUB I SWEAR SHH) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (NOT COUNTING RE-READS): Rule of Wolves5 stars

Amazon.com: Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology, 2) (9781250142306):  Bardugo, Leigh: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

This whole album is INCREDIBLE, depressing but there’s some top-tier sci-fi vibes going on
Another album from one of my favorite artists that I listened to in its entirety
I CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR THIS ALBUM NEXT MONTH
Yet another album that I’m very excited for
Discovered them through Consequence and I think I’m hooked!
Listened to this for most of this week, major Sparklehorse vibes

DID I ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH WITH MY APRIL GOALS:

  • Read at least 20 books: 21!
  • Take some time to study for the SAT (you got this!): Did that! Of course, now I need to do the same for AP exams…

GOALS FOR MAY:

GIF studying - animated GIF on GIFER
  • Take some time away for the AP exams and finals
  • Take care of yourself!

One more month, and then it’ll be summer…

That’s it for this monthly wrap-up! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags

How I Choose My Books Tag

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles! I have the day off school today and not much homework, so I thought it would be a good day to do one of the many book tags I need to do. It’s snowy and chilly outside (we’re still not out of snow season yet in Colorado), so all the better reason to stay inside…

I found this tag over at ohsrslybooks (Joy has a lovely blog that you should absolutely check out!), and the tag was originally created by thebookishunderdog.

Let’s begin, shall we? This looks like a lot of fun!

📚HOW I CHOOSE MY BOOKS TAG📚

Find a book on your bookshelves with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book?

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books

Marie Lu is one of my favorite authors, and I knew I needed to pick this one up because she’s never failed me. I picked up The Kingdom Back at my first trip back to the bookstore after the pandemic started.

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

Crier's War (Crier's War, #1) by Nina Varela

For some reason, I was initially hesitant to read Crier’s War, but I ended up picking it up for the sci-fi/fantasy blending and the sapphic romance. Oh, and that GORGEOUS COVER. And I enjoyed it so much! At the time I’m doing this tag, I’m reading the sequel 🙂

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick a book at random. How did you discover this book?

Amazon.com: Honor Among Thieves (Honors Book 1) eBook: Caine, Rachel,  Aguirre, Ann: Kindle Store

I think I found Honor Among Thieves from Goodreads and EpicReads, and picked it up because I’m always hungry for sci-fi. I eventually bought it at Barnes & Noble, and it paid off 100% – one of my favorite sci-fi trilogies now!

Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox: 9780593296738 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

I picked up The Absolute Book after a family friend recommended it to me. And…man, I feel really bad about it, but this was just not for me. Way too many characters, concepts, and plotlines to keep track of, and it simultaneously felt like everything and nothing was happening. I was pretty sick of it by the halfway mark, but…it’s 640 pages long. Not that I have a problem with that, but it was confusing all the way through.

Pick a book that you discovered through booktube/bookstagram/book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?

Amazon.com: These Violent Delights (9781534457690): Gong, Chloe: Books

These Violent Delights was easily one of the most hyped books of last year, and after reading it last week, I’m glad to say that it lived up to a good portion of it! Such a fascinating Shakespearean retelling.

Find a book on your shelves with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

scythe – The Bookish Mutant

I think what drew me to Scythe was its highly original take on your typical YA dystopia, with an inventive concept that was executed beautifully over all three books! I’ll always recommend this one.

What book did you discover through a film/TV adaptation?

I'm Thinking of Ending Things: A Novel (Packing may vary ): Reid, Iain:  9781982155841: Amazon.com: Books

I watched the Netflix adaptation of I’m Thinking of Ending Things last year and adored it, and I finally got around to picking up the book earlier this year. I loved the book as well – definitely had a more horror sensibility than the movie, but still thought-provoking and chilling all the same.

Think of your all-time favorite books. When did you read these, and why did you pick them up in the first place?

Lemme go back and look at my big three…

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: 9780141393391 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

I read Frankenstein for a project in my English class freshman year. There were a lot of factors that went into picking it up – there’s a song I liked (and still love) that referenced it, I’d seen the National Theatre adaptation, and a lot of what I’d read/seen at the time was influenced by it.

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1) by Amie Kaufman

I read Aurora Rising right at the end of my freshman year, and I specifically remember re-reading it three times in a row after buying it. (That’s how much it stuck with me!) I picked it up because of how much I loved the Illuminae Files, by the same authors.

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron (9780062652850): Poston, Ashley: Books

And last but not least, I read Heart of Iron while I was on the plane to Chicago for a vacation a few years back. (I finished it in about a day, once we were in the hotel room.) I picked it up because it sounded like a fascinating and super fun sci-fi retelling…and because the Kindle edition was cheap, so it couldn’t go wrong, right?

I TAG:

late night reading

Today’s song:

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (2/2/21) – I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Ever since it released on Netflix, my brother was trying to convince the whole family to watch I’m Thinking of Ending Things. My parents watched it beforehand, and I myself ended up watching it over Thanksgiving break. It’s certainly a bleak and depressing film, but I somehow was able to disconnect myself from that aspect; in that way, I could see it for the grimly poetic piece of art that it is. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that it was originally a book!

So of course, I put it on hold on my kindle. I finally got to read it last week, and I must say, what a complex gem of a novel!

Enjoy this week’s review!

I'm Thinking of Ending Things eBook by Iain Reid - 9781501126963 | Rakuten  Kobo United States
Normally, I’m not one for book covers being changed to the movie posters, but I liked the simplicity of this poster, and it actually translated well to a book cover.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things–Iain Reid

After a short time dating, Jake is finally taking his girlfriend to visit his parents and childhood home. Unbeknownst to him, his girlfriend continues to have misgivings about the situation. As the road unfolds before them, the situation grows continually stranger, and she wonders if Jake–and the life he’s constructed–is real at all. One thing is for certain–she has to find a way back home.

The Corners of the World Our Mere Prologue — People like to think of  themselves as points...

TW/CW: suicide/suicidal thoughts, violence, blood, descriptions of animal death

I’m Thinking of Ending Things was one of those films that made me want to write a 17-page essay in my head minutes after watching it, and I’m glad to say that the source material was no exception! This novel is one that continually defies categorization, a beautifully absurd bundle of philosophical musings and gripping psychological horror.

I watched the movie a few months before reading the book (oops), and so I ended up imagining the characters, for the most part, as they were in the film. For the most part, the film stayed very true to the book; I recognized quite a few familiar elements as I went along, and the mood was very similar to that of the film. (However, I was a bit disappointed to see that Jessie Buckley’s iconic car poetry wasn’t originally in the book…) This is my first experience with Reid’s writing, and what stood out most for me is that he’s mastered how to deliver a consistent creeping sense of dread. Even though I knew the truth behind everything after seeing the movie, it was still chilling to watch everything slowly unravel.

Reid absolutely has a talent for building a story for our young couple, and then slowly but surely unraveling it before your eyes; a backstory is established, but with each detail that he throws in, you begin to suspect more and more that something is gravely amiss. That, pieced together from the posthumous police reports, makes for a piece that’s wonderfully intricate. Even going off the ending of the film, I still had an absolute blast trying to piece everything together and pick it apart again. In short: most everything you see in this novel is important, and then it isn’t. You’ll see what I mean.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is by all means a character-driven novel; the first third is almost entirely composed of past memories and Jake and his girlfriend discussing life, the universe & everything on the way to Jake’s parents’ house. In another novel, I might just think that these two were just vessels for the author’s thoughts, but no–there’s actually a fount of subjects that were quite profound. Many of them have stuck with me for a while afterwards. And both the message and the resolution of the book is quite bleak (as the title and the first line suggest), but for me, it was more the experience of piecing everything together that made reading this novel so memorable.

As for the ending…this is clearly the part that Charlie Kaufman took the most creative liberties with when making the film. It’s certainly a lot more horror-like than I expected, but it packs just as powerful of a punch. There’s no sugarcoating here–it’s raw, it’s bare, and it’s dark, but it wraps the book up in a twistedly perfect way. It left me feeling stunned in the best possible way.

All in all, a grim, psychological novel that’s like nothing I’ve ever read. 4.25 stars!

Split Infinitives

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a standalone, but Iain Reid is also the author of Foe and the nonfiction novels One Bird’s Choice and The Truth About Luck.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: September 21-27, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope you’ve all had a lovely week.

I’ve only been in school for about a month, but I can already tell that the “Crash Course” theme music will haunt my dreams by the time May rolls around…

It’s definitely been an…okay week for me? I got back on my normal reading schedule, but I’ve had an amount of schoolwork and studying to to that’s definitely not ideal, but hey, first world problems. I’m gearing up for a similar week next week, so I might not be able to post quite as much.

I’ve been outlining for a story idea that I’ll probably whip out come NaNoWriMo season, so that’s been going slowly but surely. I also watched Netflix’s adaptation of Enola Holmes Friday night, and…well? Millie Bobby Brown was amazing, as always, but there was something missing. There were a few changes from the book that really seemed unnecessary, but I understand that most adaptations do need to change up the source material a tad bit. I still think that Sherlock should have been portrayed as more of the mansplaining jerk that he was in the books, and Henry Cavill would have been great at that, but alas, nope.

I’m glad that I haven’t read a bad book this week! Aside from re-reading Aurora Rising yet again (shh, I swear it’s just for book club purposes), I got some great content through my last eARC and my new library books. I’ve got a bunch more ready, so I think that this week could hold another week like it!

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

All Our Hidden Gifts–Caroline O’Donoghue (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue

Aurora Rising (Aurora Cycle, #1)–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720964): Kaufman,  Amie, Kristoff, Jay: Books

All These Monsters (Monsters, #1)–Amy Tintera (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

All These Monsters (Monsters, #1) by Amy Tintera

Unearthed (Unearthed, #1)–Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Unearthed – Amie Kaufman

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Struck–Jennifer Bosworth

Struck (Struck, #1) by Jennifer Bosworth

Star Daughter–Shveta Thakrar

Amazon.com: Star Daughter (9780062894625): Thakrar, Shveta: Books

The Assignment–Liza M. Weimer

Amazon.com: The Assignment eBook: Wiemer, Liza: Kindle Store

Sea Sirens–Amy Chu and Janet K. Lee

Sea Sirens GN (2019 Viking) A Trot and Cap'n Bill Adventure comic books

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Geeky Stuff

Cursed–Netflix Review ⚔️

Wanneer komt Cursed seizoen 2 op Netflix?
All images credit to Netflix

Hello again, bibliophiles!

I don’t do many reviews of movies and TV shows here, but I figured that I would pour out some thoughts for this one. After reading Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller’s Cursed back in April (and loving it), I figured that I would give the Netflix adaptation a try, since I didn’t have much else to watch save for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which I’m steadily binging at the moment). I finished the show in about a week, and overall, I liked it–for the most part, a faithful adaptation, but at times, a forgettable one. I don’t regret watching it, but it’s nowhere near my favorite show.

Movie Review: The legend of King Arthur is reenvisioned in ...

In summary: Cursed is a 10-episode adaptation of Wheeler and Miller’s 2019 novel, a retelling of Arthurian legend before King Arthur pulled the sword from the stone. It follows Nimue (Katherine Langford), a Fey girl whose home has just been burned down by the Red Paladins, an army of monks bent on purging the Fey from Europe. Her mother’s dying wish was for her to deliver the Sword of Power to Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård), and Nimue, fueled by anger at the slaughter of her family and people, sets off to find the famed wizard. Joining forces with Arthur (Devon Terrell), she goes in search of Merlin, only to discover that the sword that she wields may have a darker power than she could have ever imagined.

Alright, folks…below, I’ll break down what I liked and didn’t like, so be prepared for quite a bit of rambling! This review/breakdown may contain some spoilers, so be warned.

THE GREAT:

  • The opening title sequence and transitions: Absolutely GORGEOUS. The watercolor style was so detailed and beautiful, and it meshed so well with the general mood of the show.
  • The instrumental score: I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again: Jeff Russo can do no wrong. Though this score isn’t as notable as the ones he did for TV shows like FX’s Legion or Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, it was certainly a masterfully composed score, especially in the opening theme and some of the songs from the final two episodes.
  • The sets/filming locations: Every single location that Cursed was filmed in was such a joy to take in. The forest setting made for countless beautiful shots, and even the more fabricated ones, especially in the Fey refugee camp of Nemos, did volumes in immersing the viewer into the story.
  • Cast diversity: Kudos to Netflix for casting a variety of actors from all different backgrounds, from the protagonists to the side characters, for the show! There’s quite a few POC characters both at the forefront (ex. Arthur and Morgana) and in the background, so that was always good to see. There was some LGBTQ+ representation as well, which I’ve been going back and forth about. Morgana, one of the protagonists, is in a sapphic relationship with Celia, but in the first few episodes, Celia is killed when their nunnery burns down. She appears in later episodes, but as an…undead puppet of a spider demon. It’s dangerously close to the horrific “bury your gays” trope, but…yeah, I don’t know. On one hand, it’s set in Medieval Europe, and in a nunnery, no less, so the relationship likely wouldn’t have ended well even if it hadn’t burned down. On the other, Celia didn’t have to be killed off/resurrected for Morgana to have character development–Celia could have run off with her, and there still could have been tension there if she had joined her, Nimue, Arthur, and the rest. I’m still unsure about it, but at least they…tried. And I think there were a few LGBTQ+ couples present in the Fey camp in the background.
  • Faithfulness to the source material: For the most part, the Netflix adaptation followed the book closely, which was great to see! There’s a few tweaked details, but they didn’t bother me much at all.
3 Brand New Netflix Shows You Should Check Out This Month - My ...

Now, some of the characters/performances that I liked:

  • Arthur and Morgana: As brother and sister, they didn’t have the best chemistry, but individually, both their performances were good! Arthur was simultaneously bumbling and steadfast, just like I imagined him in the book. Morgana was similarly endearing, and they way that the show ended, I’m interested in seeing how they *might* continue her arc.
  • Merlin: A lot of the criticism that the book got was about Merlin, specifically about how they had massacred his character, making him a more arrogant man, and more than a bit of a drunkard. But even though I love Arthurian legend as much as the next person, I understood the change–Cursed is supposed to be a prequel to the events of these legends, and it would make sense for Merlin to be a younger, more disillusioned character, before he became the wise mentor figure that we know and love. Skarsgård’s performance was well-translated from the book, and I liked following his character.
  • Uther Pendragon: He’s exactly the kind of character that you love to hate. Pendragon was the perfect, whiny and overtly arrogant and hotheaded king to contrast with the other characters.
  • The Red Paladins: Though Sister Iris was a bit underused, the Red Paladins are just as chilling as they appear in the novel.

THE NOT-SO-GREAT:

  • …Nimue: I liked her character in the book, but Langford’s acting just felt…so flat, so lacking in emotion. I wanted to root for her, but there was such a lack of heart in the character that I could barely muster up any emotion.
  • The romance: They had this in the book as well, but I wasn’t as much of a fan of it there, either. It felt like it was needlessly shoehorned in to appease the Teen™️ audience.
  • The gratuitous violence: Again, I suppose this means that it was faithful to the books, because the book was very violent, but it was definitely a bit much. Some of it felt like it was only added in for the shock value, and could have been cut out in the long run. Also, the effect of the blood splattering onto the camera lens works well in present day/more futuristic media, but it took away from the Medieval European setting.
  • The subplots: At least they got tied up at the end (somewhat), but they didn’t contribute to the story. Pym’s whole arc with the Red Spear felt wholly unnecessary, and just fan service that assumed that everyone would appreciate that they kept their comic relief character alive and giving her a romantic arc. Most of the Red Spear characters bugged me as well (especially the captain). The subplot with Morgana, Celia, and the spider demon was a little bit better, but it didn’t do much to the story, other than giving the allusion that Morgana might become more powerful than Nimue herself.
  • That awful song at the end of episode 9: OH GOD. OHHHH GOD. NOPE. Aside from being blatantly manufactured to be put in the show, it again took me out of the setting. I mean, it’s not like a medieval sea shanty would have worked any better for the scene, but I found myself rolling my eyes sky-high.
  • The acting: Even though I listed some of the good performances above, most of them were…good, but forgettable. Other than the characters listed, nobody quite stood out for me (save for Sister Iris). Decent, but nothing that blew me away.
New Trailer for Netflix's Arthurian Series CURSED Based on Frank Miller's  Graphic Novel — GeekTyrant

Overall, Cursed wasn’t spectacular, but I don’t regret watching it. The filming locations, score, and transitions were gorgeous, and it mostly stayed true to the source material, but it was dragged down by a few unnecessary subplots and forgettable acting. I’d give it a solid 3/5.

★★★⭐︎⭐︎

Would I recommend it? I suppose I would. For all you fantasy lovers and fans of the original novel who don’t have much else to watch, I’d encourage you to give it a watch. As long as you have the stomach for quite a lot of violence, though.

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out this week’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song.

That’s it for this TV review! I hope you enjoyed it. Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: July 20-26, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope you’ve all had a lovely week, and that you and your families are all safe and healthy.

[dons a pair of sunglasses] IT’S LEO SEASON…

Zodiac Sign Cat Sticker by Pusheen for iOS & Android | GIPHY

Aaaaaaanyway, I’d say that it’s been a nice week. I can’t believe July is almost over already…

I’ve been practicing with putting on my new contact lenses with…[ahem] varied results, but hey, I suppose these things take time. Even though my reading week started off disappointing, I got around to reading two good eARCs (I’ll review the other one next week). I’m SO CLOSE to being finished with my Iron Giant puzzle, and I finished my short story for Camp NaNoWriMo! It’s nearly 10,000 words, and I think I made it appropriately depressing. I’m still working my way towards telling people coherent summaries of my various WIPs, but I will say that it’s a bit of a fairytale, and one that involves quite a lot of bad luck and an unexpected, amphibious child.

I also finished the Netflix adaptation of Cursed (expect a review of that soon), and I’m SO excited for season two of The Umbrella Academy!

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)–Genevieve Cogman (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: The Burning Page (The Invisible Library Novel Book 3 ...

Serpent and Dove–Shelby Mahurin (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Serpent & Dove eBook: Mahurin, Shelby: Kindle Store

FORESHADOW: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading & Writing YA (Anthology)–Emily X.R. Pan et. al. (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading ...

Dustborn–Erin Bowman (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Dustborn by Erin Bowman

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orïsha, #2)–Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Virtue and Vengeance (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Legacy ...

Goddess in the Machine–Lora Beth Johnson

Amazon.com: Goddess in the Machine eBook: Johnson, Lora Beth ...

Honor Lost (The Honors, #3)–Ann Aguirre and Rachel Caine

Amazon.com: Honor Lost (Honors Book 3) eBook: Caine, Rachel ...

Into the Crooked Place–Alexandra Christo

Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

Monday’s Not Coming–Tiffany D. Jackson

Amazon.com : [by Tiffany D Jackson] Monday's Not Coming Paperback ...

Today’s song:

Okay, I know that I’ve said that The Beatles should rarely be touched when it comes to covers, but THIS GIVES ME ALL THE CHILLS. LISA HANNIGAN AND JEFF RUSSO CAN DO NO WRONG, I SWEAR…

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekly Update: July 13-19, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you and your loved ones well.

You know what one of the strangest feelings (for me) is? Sometimes, I’ll watch a certain movie so many times that I’ll only be able to see a certain actor as the role in said movie, and then I’ll see them in something else, and it’s either impossible to make the connection or it just weirds you out for a bit. Sorry, that was kind of long winded and weirdly-worded, but I’m not sure how to put it into words. But anyway, I watched Alien (1979) on Friday night, and let me tell you, seeing John Hurt after having only seen him in the Hellboy movies (when he was far older than he was in Alien) was weirdly bizarre. I’d just permanently imagined him as Professor Bruttenholm, so…

Also, the John Hurt Professor Bruttenholm will always be the superior Professor. The reboot was way too out of character.

[ahem] Now, back to our scheduled program…

Overall, I’ve had quite a nice week. I’ve gotten a lot of reading done after said library haul, and though there were a few disappointments, I enjoyed everything that I read. Camp NaNoWriMo has been going smoothly as well; I surpassed my goal of 5,000 words for my short story, and updated it to 7,500 so I could get to the end of July. It’s one of those instances where I wish I could just give my past self a little reassurance–the first few days, I panicked a bit that my short story was too short for the word count limit. And now, here we are…

Everything Is Okay GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Other than that, I’ve made lots of progress with my puzzle, watched Alien, listened to a bit too much Josh Cohen, and started watching Cursed. I enjoyed the book, and I’m about three episodes into the show. The trailer looked like it could go either way, and so far, I’d say it’s pretty good. Once I finish it, I’ll try and put together a review. We’ll see.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Iron Flower (The Black Witch Chronicles, #2)–Laurie Forest (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

Amazon.com: The Iron Flower (The Black Witch Chronicles Book 2 ...

Surviving the City (Surviving the City, #1)–Tasha Spillett and Natasha Donovan (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Surviving the City (Surviving the City (1)) (Volume 1 ... - Amazon.com

All the Wandering Light (Even the Darkest Stars, #2)–Heather Fawcett (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: All the Wandering Light (Even the Darkest Stars Book 2 ...

When We Were Magic–Sarah Gailey (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: When We Were Magic (9781534432871): Gailey, Sarah: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)–Genevieve Cogman

Amazon.com: The Burning Page (The Invisible Library Novel Book 3 ...

Serpent and Dove–Shelby Mahurin

Amazon.com: Serpent & Dove eBook: Mahurin, Shelby: Kindle Store

FORESHADOW: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA (anthology)–Emily X.R. Pan et. al. (eARC)

Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing ...

Dustborn–Erin Bowman (eARC)

Dustborn by Erin Bowman

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: March 2-8, 2020

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Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

Hopefully, you’ve all had a nice and productive/fun/eventful week 🙂 This week’s certainly had its ups and downs, but hey, it picked up by the end of the week. I had a pretty prolific posting week and a productive reading week, with The Theory of Everything [sobs into a bucket] and Sex Education factored in, so that’s a plus.

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Also, I found a very tiny spider that’s taken up residence behind my bathroom sink. I have named her Martha. I wish her all the best.

And hey, happy International Women’s Day! Hey, good thing I read Rebel Girls today…

And finally, Radiohead’s album The Bends recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, so I guess I have an excuse for Tuesday. THE BENDDDSSSS

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: 

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens through the Ages–Saundra Mitchell (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for all out saundra mitchell

 

Mammoth–Jill Baguchinsky (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for mammoth jill baguchinsky

 

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)–Philip Pullman (⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to 3)

Image result for the golden compass book 10th anniversary edition

 

Rebel Girls–Elizabeth Keenan (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for rebel girls elizabeth keenan

 

POSTS AND SUCH: 

 

SONGS:

 

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK: 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story–Alexander Freed (re-read for book club)

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The Secret Side of Empty–Marie E. Andreu

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Crown of Coral and Pearl–Mara Rutherford

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The Past and Other Things that Should be Buried–Shaun David Hutchinson

Image result for the past and other things that should stay buried

 

Today’s song:

In case any of you need some levity in your life…

 

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

Posted in Book Tags, Books

Six of Crows Book Tag

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Hi again, bibliophiles!

I figured that today would be a good day for a tag, and in lieu of the announcement that the Netflix Shadow and Bone/Six of Crows show has wrapped up filming, I figured this one would be fun to do. (I’m kind of scared for how the show will turn out, because some of the Grishaverse books are kind of my babies, but that’s a story for another time). I found this tag over at SMELLFOY CAN READ?

Since I should probably give this post a little pizzazz, here’s some Six of Crows art from one of my favorite comic artists/book cover artists, Kevin Wada. (Same guy who drew the covers for Carry On and Wayward Son, actually!)

Image result for six of crows kevin wada

Let’s begin, shall we?

 

The Thief • Kaz Brekker: A Layered or Complex Character

One of my first thoughts here was Art from Like a Love StoryDefinitely someone who presents a tough exterior, but is deeply wounded on the inside.

Image result for like a love story

 

The Wraith • Inej Ghafa: A Book With a Twist You Didn’t See Coming 

Without question, the end of ThunderheadThe ending came out of nowhere…I think I still bear the scars from having to wait almost two years to see how it all turned out…

Image result for thunderhead neal shusterman

 

The Sharpshooter • Jesper Fahey: An Author that Never Misses the Mark

Though I haven’t read any of his adult works, Jay Kristoff has never disappointed me. With his signature wit and heartrending writing, I’ve never read any book by him that I didn’t like.

 

The Heartrender • Nina Zenik: A Book that Broke your Heart or Gave you All the Feels

There’s a long list, and since I’ve already spoken about the aftereffects of A Monster CallsI’d have to say To Kill a MockingbirdFeels were had. Tears were shed.

Image result for to kill a mockingbird

 

The Convict • Matthias Helvar: A Character Caught Between Two Worlds

My first thought here was Abe Sapien from the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. comics. I mean…the guy’s amphibious…talk about being literally and figuratively being caught between two worlds…

Image result for abe sapien the drowning

 

The Explosives Expert • Wylan Van Eck: A Book that Went Out with a Bang or a Cliffhanger 

Yikes, can I put Thunderhead on here twice?

Just kidding. Dare Mighty Things certainly ended with a bang AND a major cliffhanger. Talk about another ending that absolutely wrecked me.

Image result for dare mighty things book

 

I tag any fellow Six of Crows fans who’d like to participate!

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Since I’ve posted twice today, head over to this week’s Book Review Tuesday  for even more Radiohead  today’s song.

That just about wraps up this tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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