Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (9/12/20)–Science Fiction Books 🛸

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is sci-fi…

You know what that means…

AHAHAAAAAAAA MY FAVORITE GENRE WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

But anyway, I have lots of sci-fi on my TBR, so I’ll take some picks from there for this week’s Top 5.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER: 

9/12/20Science Fiction Books

9/19/20—Award-Winning Books

9/26/20—Guilty Pleasure Books

10/3/20—Intimidating Books

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

Dune, Frank Herbert

Check Out the Artwork for a New Edition of Frank Herbert's Dune | Tor.com

I’ve been meaning to read this one for a year or so; my brother read it for an English project (the same one that lead me to Frankenstein) and liked it. And the new trailer got me SO excited, so of course I’ll have to read it before December! (Did that Pink Floyd cover give anybody else chills, or was that just me?)

Seven Devils, Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

Amazon.com: Seven Devils (9780756415808): Lam, Laura, May, Elizabeth: Books

I’ve been eager to read this for a good year and a half, ever since the first tiny synopsis compared it to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (Star Wars? Of COURSE you have my attention, shut up and take my library card…)

Unearthed, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Unearthed – Amie Kaufman

Two words: Amie Kaufman. I put this one on hold at the library recently, so I might get to read it next week!

Struck, Jennifer Bosworth

Struck (Struck, #1) by Jennifer Bosworth

This one’s been on my TBR for years, and I really need to get around to reading it…

Landscape with Invisible Hand, M.T. Anderson

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson

I almost picked this one up about a year ago, but I set it aside because of how short it was. Nonetheless, this still sounds like a unique and fascinating sci-fi!

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Star Wars Chewie GIF by Nerdist.com - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (8/11/20)–Honor Lost (The Honors, #3)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! I hope you’re all having a lovely week, and that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

Those who’ve managed to stick around this blog for a while know how much I’ve loved The Honors trilogy. The world of YA sci-fi–particularly space opera–is a small one, and it’s hard to come by one that has the perfect mix of elements that make for a thrilling joyride through the universe. So you can imagine how excited I was to finally get my hands on the final book in the trilogy (and it wasn’t just because I could finally talk about it with my school librarian, who read it before I did 🤣). And I’m happy to announce that Honor Lost did not disappoint!

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the two previous books, Honor Among Thieves and Honor Bound, so tread lightly if you have not read them and intend to!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: Honor Lost (Honors) (9780062571052): Caine, Rachel ...

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

My library copy, feat. some more quality sci-fi

Anything that you can imagine in the universe, Zara Cole has likely fought against it. Be it human crime bosses, vengeful Leviathans, or gangs of power-hungry aliens, she, Nadim, Bea, and the rest of their ragtag crew have faced it down. But now, they may have gotten into a war that they can’t escape from.

Lifekiller, an interstellar entity bent on devouring all worlds that fall in its path, is on the hunt. And Zara and her crew are at the top of its Most Wanted list. Can her newfound family defeat this world-swallowing entity–or will they fall prey to it?

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - Ending Scene GIF | Gfycat

Finishing a series is always bittersweet. There’s a satisfaction of knowing what happens to our beloved heroes, but it’s always followed by the lingering feeling like you’re saying goodbye to a friend. And now that the Honors trilogy has come to a close, I can say with certainty that it will always have a special place in my heart. Aguirre and Caine pull out all the stops to make a blazing firework of a final installment.

You all know how much of a sucker I am for the found family trope, and Honor Lost has made the sweetest, most tender, and lovable gang of space misfits! Besides the original crew of Zara, Nadim, and Bea, we also get to see more of Chao-Xing (absolutely iconic), Starcurrent (MY PRECIOUS CHILD), Xyll (objectively deserves better), Suncross and the rest of his crew (“Cheers, I’ll drink to that, bro”), and all the rest. They each had such distinct personalities and impeccable chemistry, making for a cast of characters that made me feel every feel in the universe.

Now, CAN WE TALK ABOUT ZARA AND BEA? At this point, I think they’re one of my favorite couples in YA sci-fi. Period. Not only do we have a sapphic, multiracial relationship, they bounce so well off of each other, and they have the most caring and beautiful relationship. I just…[happy queer tears]

Happy Cry GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Going off of that…this is one of the only aspects I wasn’t a fan of in the novel, but how Nadim factored into the relationship. Let me make myself clear–I’m 100% fine with polyamory, but what makes this kind of odd to me is the fact that one party is…well, y’know, a sentient alien spaceship. A spaceship. There’s obviously a connection between the three of them, but I felt like it could have worked just as well if Nadim’s role was purely platonic. Then again, you’re talking to someone who’s favorite movie is The Shape of Water (and yes, I did think that *the scene* was plenty weird, but it didn’t take away from the film for me), so take that as you will. Like the aforementioned film, though, this didn’t take away from my rating of the novel, mostly because I have a major soft spot for Nadim. Gotta love him.

Even though the Lifekiller is your standard, world-devouring, overpowered sci-fi villain, Aguirre and Caine made it work–he lurks more at the edges of the novel, not truly showing up in full until the climax. Add in some past grudges from Zara, and there’s plenty of heart-pounding conflict to carry the final installment. Through it all, there’s resonant and timely themes of acceptance, family, and individuality, making for a beautiful sendoff for an unforgettable trilogy.

Overall, a thrilling and heartstring-tugging end to a sci-fi trilogy that is not to be missed. 5 stars!

james mcavoy | Tumblr shared by Lux on We Heart It
Will I include an X-Men gif in every post I make this week? Stay tuned to find out!

Honor Lost is the final book in the Honors trilogy, preceded by Honor Among Thieves (book 1) and Honor Bound (book 2). Both Ann Aguirre and Rachel Caine have other works in several genres besides this trilogy.

Today’s song:

ALL RISE FOR THE COTTAGECORE NATIONAL ANTHEM

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

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (7/27/20)–One Trick Pony

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

I figured that I’d mix it up a little for this week, since I don’t give a) sci-fi and b) graphic novels as much love on my Goodreads Monday posts, even though the former is my favorite genre. This one’s been on my TBR for about a year and a half, and it looks absolutely fascinating.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (7/27/20)–ONE TRICK PONY by Nathan Hale

Amazon.com: One Trick Pony (9781419721281): Hale, Nathan: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

The aliens have arrived. And they’re hungry for electricity. In the Earth of the future, humans are on the run from an alien force — giant blobs who suck up electrical devices wherever they can find them. Strata and her family are part of a caravan of digital rescuers, hoping to keep the memory of civilization alive by saving electronics wherever they can. Many humans have reverted to a pre-electrical age, and others have taken advantage of the invasion to become dangerous bandits and outlaws. When Strata is separated from the caravan, she must rely on a particularly beautiful and rare robot pony to escape the outlaws and aliens — and defeat the invaders once and for all.

So why do I want to read this?

the excelsior file: one trick pony
Art by Nathan Hale

First of all, unrelated to the plot itself…I am LOVING this minimalist color scheme. Reminds me of the different colors in The Search for WondLa trilogy–most of it was rendered in shades of gray, but for each book, there would be a different color incorporated in–green for book 1, blue for book 2, and orange for book 3. Seems like Hale’s gone in the same direction with yellow.

That aside, this sounds like a truly unique graphic novel! I haven’t read anything of Hale’s before (though I think I might have another of his graphic novels on my TBR? Not sure), but One Trick Pony has the potential to be incredibly inventive. I love the design of the aliens, and there’s inexplicable charm about a lone girl riding atop a mechanical pony through a wasteland invaded by aliens. Count me in!

Star Wars Wednesday: The Force Awakens GIFs Paired with Bible ...

Today’s song:

Aww, this song…

Always makes me think of late summer in 2018, after I’d bought The Rose Society

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

Posted in Book Tags, Books

“This is My Genre, Tell Me Yours” Book Tag

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at Misty’s Book Space, and I thought it would be such a fun tag to participate in! The tag was originally created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek.

RULES:

  • Credit Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of the tag, use the created tag name graphic and link back to his blog. (Also, if you want to learn more about the tag you can see Drew’s post HERE.)
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag as many people as you want.
thisismtgenrenrwlogo

Let’s begin, shall we?

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GENRE?

Science fiction, without a doubt.

These Are Not The 130 "Star Wars" GIFs You Are Looking For | Star ...

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR FROM THE GENRE?

Can I include two? Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (co-authors of The Illuminae Files and the Aurora Cycle, and the latter is also the author of the LIFEL1K3 trilogy) never fail to disappoint; with their talents combined, every single one of their novels together is guaranteed a 5-star rating from me.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE GENRE THAT KEEPS PULLING YOU BACK?

With sci-fi, there’s an almost endless amount of possibilities, but I am always eager to read anything involving aliens, thrill rides in space, and everything that goes along with it. It’s easy to mess up, to be sure, but when an author hits the right note, I will enjoy every second of it.

WHAT IS THE BOOK THAT STARTED YOUR LOVE OF THE GENRE?

The Search for WondLa: Amazon.es: Diterlizzi, Tony, Diterlizzi ...

Tony DiTerlizzi’s Search for WondLa trilogy was my gateway into sci-fi literature, the summer before 5th grade. I instantly fell in love with the characters and the worldbuilding, and it inspired me to become an author as well. I’ll always hold this series close to my heart.

IF YOU HAD TO RECOMMEND AT LEAST ONE BOOK FROM YOUR FAVORITE GENRE TO A NON-READER/SOMEONE LOOKING TO START THE GENRE, WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron eBook: Poston, Ashley: Kindle Store

Heart of Iron would be a spectacular starter for anyone who’s looking to get into the genre. This novel really has it all–political intrigue, witty banter, a misfit crew of thieves, and lovable characters. Oh, and there’s the POWER COUPLE OF THE CENTURY, JAX AND ROBB. It’s also a retelling of the story of Anastasia, which might be a better starting point for some, if they’re already familiar/semi-familiar with the gist of it.

WHY DO YOU READ?

My, that’s a weighty question…

Reading is so many things for me. It’s an escape, a chance to connect, a way to spend the day, a source of inspiration. I’ve always been a voracious reader, but there’s not a singular reason why I’m so drawn to it. There’s always been the aspect of escaping to fictional worlds for a moment to distract from reality, but in my favorite books, I haven’t just found an escape, but something that speaks to me, something more than just bound paper. It’s hard to pinpoint, but there’s a fount of reasons why I read. Either way, I don’t know what I’d do without books in my life.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

GIFs for Bookish Posts, Part 4: Cute Animals & Mood | Naty's Bookshelf

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out today’s Goodreads Monday for 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 (6/23/20)–Fourth World

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I hope you’re all having a good day. I had a lovely hike yesterday, and just a spectacular day in general…and I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY WIP.

I FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT! THIS IS THE FIRST OF MY IDEAS THAT I’VE ACTUALLY BOTHERED TO WRITE OUT IN FULL!

vince mcmahon excited gif on Make a GIF

So that was certainly a bright spot.

Now, back to our scheduled program…

I found this book on Queer Books for Teens, and the fact that it was a) sci-fi and b) had great LGBTQ+ representation ultimately hooked me. I quickly found it on the Kindle library and read it. But while it boasted great representation, Fourth World failed to meet its ambitious premise.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Fourth World (Iamos Trilogy, #1) by Lyssa Chiavari

Fourth World (Iamos trilogy, #1)–Lyssa Chiavari

2073. Isaak Contreras struggles to go through the motions of his life on a Martian colony. Two years ago, his father disappeared, leaving him to long for him back in his life. But when he finds an artifact hidden among his father’s old possessions, he stumbles upon a conspiracy hidden by the Martian government–one that may answer the question of the humanoid skeleton that the archaeology team dug up on Martian soldier. What they’ve hidden? A portal to another world, and one that may not be as alien as they believe it to be.

Now stranded in this foreign, dystopian world, Isaak is taken in by Nadin, a girl struggling with an oppressive society of her own. But what they both don’t realize is that the ground beneath their feet is not so different as they thought. Will they be able to save both of their worlds?

David Rose Schitts Creek GIF - DavidRose SchittsCreek Eh ...

Let’s start off with the good aspects. Our cast of characters is incredibly diverse–virtually all of the characters are POC (Isaak is Latinx, Nadin is POC, and several other POC side characters). Additionally, Isaak is demisexual, and Nadin seems to be on the asexual spectrum. So props to Chiavari for creating a wonderfully diverse cast!

Now…other than that…

[awkward silence]

Eh…

The main problem of Fourth World is that it seemed to get lost within itself. The plot became very convoluted far too quickly, and I found myself losing interest rapidly. There’s an interesting, almost cosmic-horror aspect of it (Remember what I said about the humanoid skeleton they dig up?) that was well-executed at the start, but failed to capture my attention as the book went on.

The concept of a past civilization on Mars is fascinating, but I found it poorly executed. There’s so much possibility for these kinds of societies, but alas, it fell into the trap that all too many sci-fi YA novels fall into…

Ah, yes, Aliens™️, but…they’re basically just humans with different hair/eye colors. NOT AGAIN…

Black Ink Crew Stop GIF by VH1 - Find & Share on GIPHY

[Luke Skywalker screaming] “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

And beyond that, this past civilization is the exact same, overdone, dystopian society. You’ve got your oppressive class systems, your tyrannical government, and your secret, underground resistance, and the realization to our naïve heroine that the world she’s grown up in is far worse than she imagined. At this point, the trope has become so overdone that it doesn’t get any emotion out of me anymore. Sometimes, it can creatively done, but in the case of Fourth World, it…just wasn’t. Nope.

Overall, Fourth World was an ambitious sci-fi novel, but while it scored points in the diversity department, it crumbled to pieces in most other places. 2 stars.

Sorry GIF by Michael Bolton - Find & Share on GIPHY

Fourth World is the first in the Iamos trilogy, followed by New World (book 2, 2018), and One World (book 3, 2020).

Today’s song:

Okay, Danny Elfman, I love you, but the fact that you decided not to release this is a crime. A CRIME.

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

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (6/8/20)–The Sound of Stars

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

Continuing on with LGBTQ+ books, this one’s been on my TBR for a while. And from the description, it’s virtually everything that I’d ever want in a sci-fi novel. I am on an eternal search for quality YA sci-fi, so I REALLY hope to read this one soon!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (6/8/20)–THE SOUND OF STARS by Alechia Dow

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars (9781335911551): Dow, Alechia: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.

So why do I want to read this?

Aliens

Music

Libraries

LGBTQ+/POC representation

this is everything i've ever wanted gif | WiffleGif

I might be setting my expectations too high, but I might have just found another dream book…

Like I said, I’m a huge lover of sci-fi, and the addition of a secret library and a shared love of music seems like the exact type of thing that I would immensely enjoy in a novel. A friendship between a human and an alien and bonding over secret art is just the kind of content that I’ve been wanting to read for ages.

And in times like these (and all the time), it’s so important to support POC/LGBTQ+ authors, so I encourage all of you to spread the word about such novels, review them, and recommend them to friends. 💗

black lives matter – GIF

Today’s song:

(Why yes, I did watch Baby Driver yesterday, why do you ask?)

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

Posted in Books

Pride Month Book Recommendations, Week 1: Sci-Fi

Happy Thursday, everyone! 🌈

For this Pride Month, I’ve decided to do a batch of weekly recommendations of LGBTQ+ books. I’ll do a different genre each week (though they’ll all probably fall into the YA category), focusing on books with LGBTQ+ protagonists/casts of characters and themes. We’ve come quite a long way in YA, so why not celebrate it?

Let’s begin, shall we?

PRIDE MONTH RECS, WEEK 1: SCI-FI

  1. Once and Future, Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy |, Paperback ...

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Pansexual protagonist, some of the side characters are gay, genderfluid, and asexual, respectively, wlw relationship with protagonist

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75 (rounded up to 5)

Once and Future is a genderbent, feminist retelling of the legend of King Arthur (set in space!), and it’s an absolutely WILD ride.

2. Heart of Iron duology, Ashley Poston

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron eBook: Poston, Ashley: Kindle Store

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: mlm relationship between two of the main characters, wlw relationship between some of the side characters

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I know I blab about this one quite a lot, but both Heart of Iron and Soul of Stars are truly masterpieces. Plus, Jax and Robb are one of my favorite couples in YA literature. Period.

3. Dreadnought, April Daniels

Amazon.com: Dreadnought: Nemesis - Book One (9781682300688 ...

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Protagonist is a trans woman/lesbian

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A poignant and potent spin on the classic, superhero/coming of age story, as Danny comes to terms not only with her gender identity and sexuality, but with her newfound powers. I read this one a year or two ago and haven’t gotten around to reading book 2 (Sovereign), but I REALLY need to do that soon!

4. The Disasters, M.K. England

Amazon.com: The Disasters (9780062657671): England, M. K.: Books

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Protagonist is bisexual, gay love interest, trans woman side character

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Again, it’s been over a year since I’ve read this one, but it was very Guardians of the Galaxy-esque, and an absolute joy to read!

5. Crier’s War, Nina Varela

Amazon.com: Crier's War (9780062823946): Varela, Nina: Books

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: wlw representation between the two protagonists

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Though I was initially hesitant about reading this one, it turned out to subvert all of my expectations and make for a lushly written novel with romance to DIE for! I suppose you could debate whether or not this is sci-fi or fantasy (I mean, there’s…androids? Basically…), but I’d say it’s a combination of both genres.

6. Aurora Cycle, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle Book 2) eBook ...

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: There’s 7 POVs/protagonists in the series (though it later gets knocked down to 6); one is bisexual, another is a lesbian

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You all knew I was gonna put this one in here…but hey, this series is genuinely masterful, and spoke to me on so many levels.

If you want more YA LGBTQ+ novel recommendations, I highly recommend visiting Queer Books for Teens! They have all sorts of recommendations for LGBTQ+ books of all genres, but mostly YA.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! WHAT ARE SOME LGBTQ+ SCI-FI BOOKS THAT YOU LOVED? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS! 🏳️‍🌈

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (3/2/20)–Do You Dream of Terra-Two?

goodreads monday header.jpeg

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

This one is a more recent addition to my TBR. It hasn’t gotten a lot of hype or recognition, but if it lives up to my expectations, it seems like a fascinating of sci-fi, with a bit of horror blended in. (???)

 

Let’s begin, shall we?

 

GOODREADS MONDAY (3/2/20)–DO YOU DREAM OF TERRA-TWO? by Temi Oh 

Image result for do you dream of terra two

Blurb from Goodreads: 

A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. Four are decorated veterans of the 20th century’s space-race. And six are teenagers, graduates of the exclusive Dalton Academy, who’ve been in training for this mission for most of their lives.

It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.

 

So why do I want to read this? 

Other than my insatiable appetite for sci-fi, I’m interested to see how this alternate history plays out. The synopsis is reminiscent of books like Contagion, Tangled Planet, and The Pioneerall books that have been chiefly speculative sci-fi, with a blend of survival horror within them. If anything, I’m just expecting a fun, sci-fi thriller that’ll keep me on the edge of my seat. Also, the title is pretty fun, not gonna lie.

Image result for ooh gif

 

Today’s song:

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Movies

I Am Mother (Movie Review)

Not sure if I should start out this post with my usual bibliophile greeting, since this isn’t the most bookish of posts, but hey, we’re all bibliophiles here, aren’t we?

Last night, I finally got around to watching I Am Mother, a movie that caught my attention when it came out last summer. I won’t detail the main reason why until around the end of the post, but needless to say, I put off watching it for a while. I’m not sure where my expectations were, but I was pleasantly surprised (and a bit freaked out, not gonna lie) from the results. An incredibly tense and well-done film that’s lingered in my thoughts since the moment I switched the TV off.

BE WARNED: I’m not sure if or how I’ll go about reviewing this without substantially spoiling the film, so for those who haven’t seen I Am Mother and intend to, you may not want to read this. 

 

Image result for i am mother poster
Also…this poster…*chef’s kiss*

 

The film follows Mother, a caretaker droid with one task: to nurture the next generation of humanity after an extinction-level event wiped out much of the human race. In her lair, she raises her female child, referred to only as “Daughter,” teaching her about her species as she grows. But when she enters her teenage years, Daughter begins to grow suspicious that Mother may be hiding something from her. Her suspicions are confirmed when a woman shows up outside of her dwelling. She and Mother take the injured woman in; while Daughter is eager to care for her, Mother is more hesitant, almost reluctant to help her in any way. The woman (who also goes unnamed…nice…) is also reluctant of the droid’s help, claiming that it was a droid just like Mother who caused her injury.

Conflicted by the opposing truths of Mother and the woman, Daughter begins to delve deeper into her situation, spurred on by the woman, who claims that it was droids, not the contagion that Mother claimed, that wiped out the human race. A delve into the laboratory where the other embryos are kept leads Daughter to the discovery that Mother’s intentions are far more sinister; the droids intend to make a new human race, one less fallible than the humans of old, and the children who do not live up to the droid’s standards are terminated.

After the disturbing revelation, the woman convinces Daughter to go back outside with her, where they discover that the droids have already begun to lay the groundwork of their plan, making the air and ground fertile. But the woman has been withholding secrets as well–though she spoke of more humans, she appears to be the only one left in the vicinity. Betrayed by both sides, Daughter returns home with the intention of rescuing her newly born brother, who is currently under Mother’s care. Reluctantly, she shoots the droid who raised her from birth, saving her baby brother as she breaks down into tears. The film ends with her beginning to raise her brother, and staring hopefully into rows of unborn embryos in Mother’s laboratory.

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Nearly every scene in I Am Mother is beautifully shot; the director clearly has a penchant for symmetry, which shone through in every camera angle, from simple landscape shots of Mother’s dwelling, to a particular shot of Daughter staring at the woman through the infirmary window, the glass pane separating them an on-the-nose portrayal of their moral divisions. For the most part, the FX were well done, though Mother herself, though smooth in design and execution, didn’t seem quite as computerized as she was intended to be, mostly in the way she ran, however tense some of those scenes were.

As a whole, I enjoyed the acting a fair amount. The best of the cast, in my opinion, was Clara Rugaard (Daughter); she stunningly portrayed Daughter’s naïvete and eventual growth into an independent young adult. I didn’t particularly care for Hillary Swank (the woman from outside) as much, but she did an excellent job of making her pain seem all too real.

Now, for the most part, I feel that Rose Byrne was a good fit for the voice of Mother, though she did add to the feel of her not being mechanized quite enough. Though the writing shone through, her voice didn’t feel as though it belonged to a robot, though it was on its way to being there. I haven’t seen her in much other than her role as Moira McTaggert in the newer X-Men films, but I’d say she did a good job with Mother other than that.

Other than some political undertones (possible anti-abortion weirdness; I’m personally more pro-choice myself, but the undertones weren’t blatant, and I may have misinterpreted them. They don’t align with my personal beliefs, but hey, think and believe whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting anybody) and a few more nitpicky aspects, my only problem with this film was the second-to-last scene. In it, we see the woman in her dwelling on the outside. It is revealed earlier that Mother is part of a hive-mind who is working to “repair” the human race, and her consciousness exists in all of the droids that we see throughout the film. One of these droids, not so unlike Mother herself, approaches the woman, makes a remark about how she’s surprised that she’s survived this long, and hints that it’s “almost as though she has a purpose.”

The scene is the last that we see of the woman and this droid, and goes unresolved for the rest of the film.

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What? WHAT? What exactly are they hinting at? If they have the audacity to leave such a cliffhanger unresolved, is there going to be a sequel???

I dunno. Anyway.

 

Before I end this review, I’d like to address one more question I’ve had about I Am Mother since the trailer was released. The plot, or at least the first third of it, almost resembled a favorite series of mine, almost to a T.

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Yep. That’s right. GUESS WHO’S BACK…

Regardless, the first novel follows a strikingly similar plot–that of an adolescent girl, raised by a robot called M.U.T.H.R. in an underground facility. As she grows, M.U.T.H.R. continually tells her that she is not ready to go to the surface world, and that her being human is “special”.

Sound familiar?

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Though I Am Mother takes a far more sinister turn, it shares some major similarities to the series, what with WondLa ending up as a journey on an unfamiliar Earth, now colonized by alien life forms while humans dwell in the shadows. The later books do take several dark turns, but not quite in the way that I Am Mother did. So why all these similarities? I’ve done a bit of digging on the internet, but all I’ve found is that either the (tiny but mighty) WondLa fandom just came out of its hole and said “Hey waaaaaaait a minute, that’s kinda funny…”, or that the film is “loosely based” on the novel. And if the latter is true, it’s very loosely based. Very. It went from “Sheesh, did they just paraphrase the dialogue from the first few chapters?” to “[glances at book] THIS is what it’s based off of?” in a split second. Even the outside view of Mother’s dwelling likened to the illustrations of the abandoned Sanctuaries in WondLa. I’m still scratching my head on this one, but either way, a very different interpretation, if that’s what it was.

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Though it wasn’t without its flaws, I Am Mother was certainly a well-done and thought-provoking movie that continually kept me on the edge of my seat. I’d give it a solid 8/10.

 

Today’s song:

(This one’s been lodged in my head since this morning…)

 

That just about wraps up this review! I hope you enjoyed this deviation from my normally bookish content…

Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books, Music

Book Review Tuesday (1/28/20)-Stranger in a Strange Land

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Happy Tuesday, earthlings!

After Ray Bradbury opened my eyes to the vast world that is older sci-fi, I began receiving more and more similar recommendations on Goodreads. This one, in particular, caught my eye–mostly because of the beautiful cover art, not gonna lie, but what I found inside its pages was so much more. Though dense at times, and not without its flaws, but an incredible feat of literature nonetheless.

Enjoy this week’s review!

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Stranger in a Strange Land

Valentine Michael Smith is a newcomer to planet Earth, the famed Man from Mars that has recently captured the public imagination. Curious–and a bit afraid–of what this strange planet has in store for him, he ventures out into the vast world, with the help of  Jill, the nurse who broke him out of the hospital. The more Valentine learns, the more he realizes how different he truly is–though he looks like a human on the outside, he possesses powers far beyond human ability. Powers that could put his life–and the lives of those he holds dear–in jeopardy.

 

WHEW. Man, what a unique book!

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The further you read, the more you realize the level of care that Heinlein put into this piece. Every detail, from the political ramifications of Valentine’s existence, to his native Martian customs, is so wonderfully complex. Of course, that did lend itself to an impressive amount of info-dumping, which made reading some portions of the book a bit of a headache, but hey, at least the guy’s taking the time to think all of this out.

Even almost 60 years on, much of the book still holds up. Definitely not all of it–we’ve still got a heady dose of problematic sexism and such peppered in, but hey, I wouldn’t exactly expect a white guy in the early sixties to be the wokest author on the market, not by a long shot. Not that this makes it okay, but I wasn’t exactly expecting a feminist work from this. But other than that, the writing, the lovely imagery, and the startlingly realistic public backlash to the very existence of the Man from Mars speaks to many of our issues regarding xenophobia today. Even the absolutely scathing commentary on organized religion found within the pages–I mean, the main branch of Christianity that’s evolved in this future world sounds like a religious version of a high school assembly–doesn’t seem far off from what could evolve in the near future.

And beyond that, I’ve always empathized with alien characters. I’ve felt like something of an outsider my whole life, and part of me felt such pain for poor Valentine. Mostly in the first half of the book, at any rate, but nonetheless.

All in all, a solid four and a half stars for me. 

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Before I go, here’s a fun fact: according to John O’Connell’s Bowie’s Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie’s Lifethere was almost an adaptation of Stranger in a Strange Land in the early seventies, with David Bowie as Valentine Michael Smith. And by Bowie, I mean ZIGGY ERA BOWIE.

ZIGGY ERA.

I WOULD’VE WATCHED THE EVER-LOVING HECK OUTTA THAT, LET ME TELL YOU…

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aaaAAAaAAAaAAAAaaAAAAAAAA

 

Today’s song:

4:49–4:54: TURN YOUR VOLUME DOWN A BIT JUST A WORD OF ADVICE

 

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

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