A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab Book Review

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Review by: Dancingonrain

I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started reading it.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, it was more that I was still trying decide what I thought of it.  Normally when I start a book, I can tell if I think I’m going to enjoy it or not, but with this book, I wasn’t sure until a few pages in.

There were parts in the beginning that I enjoyed, but there were also parts where I wasn’t as invested in as the rest of the parts.

But after reading the whole book, I can say that I rather enjoyed this book.  I thought it was a little different than some of the other fantasy books out there.  That being said, the only other books where the protagonists are traveling from world to world that I have read before have only really been Harry Potter.  I have watched a few television shows and movies that travel from world to world, but not as many books so, for me, I enjoyed that this was a little bit different than some of the stuff I’ve read in the past.

And the ending was definitely worth the entire rest of the book.  I think my favorite part of the book was Masquerade and on.  I still enjoyed the earlier parts, but from that point on was my favorite.

There was definitely a dark component to this book, but I thought the author did well with balancing it with a few comical and happy moment here and there.  I loved both the comical/happy and dark parts of this book.

One thing that bugs me is when the female protagonist is hard headed and ignores what a guy says just because he’s a guy and she thinks the only reason he’s telling her not to do something is because she thinks he thinks she’s a girl and therefore cannot and/or should not do something, but when she goes through with ignoring him, she gets in trouble.  That’s not a strong female protagonist; that’s a stupid protagonist.  You see this all the time in tv shows.  The female protagonist says something along the lines of: I can protect myself or I can handle it.  And then in the next scene she’s either getting kidnapped, losing, or dying.  That has always bothered and annoyed me how writers do that.  For once I’d like a character who says: I can take care of myself and have it actually be true.

Although Schwab’s main female protagonist did that many times, it was just who her character was and it was apparent from the start that she was stubborn.  I think it also helped when even though that was her character, in the end, she always came back around and did something to redeem herself.

I also enjoyed reading about a close relationship between two male characters.  So many times you see stories about two men who are close to one another and then the audience automatically wants them to be a couple.  While, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with gay couples, I don’t think there’s enough stories out there where there are two men or boys who have a close relationship to one another and it’s completely platonic.  Men can show they care about one another without it being because of some ulterior sexual motive.  I appreciated that aspect of this book too.

Although I wasn’t sure about this book 100% going into it, by then end I was definitely satisfied.  So satisfied that I bought the second book in the series.  I would recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy where the characters travel between different worlds to try and accomplish something much bigger than themselves.


The Angry Birds Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

Ever since I saw the trailer, I didn’t have high hopes for this movie, but since I had a chance to see it for free I thought why not?  It wasn’t like I had anything to lose.

My first impression from watching the trailer for this movie was spot on.  This movie was definitely not worth the price of seeing it at a theater.  And there were so many things throughout the movie that either didn’t make sense or were pointless or, in other words, you could have cut scenes out and it wouldn’t have affected the movie’s plot or characters what so ever.

The main protagonist known as Red (creative, I know) is a delivery bird or a party clown.  I’m not actually sure which one it was.  Maybe both.  Anyway, he has severe anger issues.  Go figure.  He was going nowhere fast until one day a group of pigs led by one named Leonard land on Red and the rest of the flightless birds’ island in hopes to be their friends.  Later their ulterior motive is revealed, which, if you’ve ever played the angry birds games, you’ll know what that is: to steal the birds’ eggs (and eat them).  The last bit of the movie was basically like the game, but in a movie-screen-animation-mode where Red and the rest of the birds tried to get back their eggs from the pigs.

What probably bugged me the most was I didn’t think that adults would be interested in seeing this movie, children would be, but there were many adult jokes and sexual innuendos that only adults would have understood.  Parents, have fun explaining all of those to your children.  Still, that particular aspect wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Not only that, but Red, the protagonist who we’re supposed to be rooting for, is kind of an ass and not really likable.  When the pigs first arrive on a boat, they accidently hit his house and destroy it.  I think we’re supposed to feel sorry for him that his house that he spent five years making was destroyed in mere seconds, but all I could think was karma, dude.  If they were trying to make Red a sort of anti-hero, (I don’t think they were, but if they were,) it needed work.  Deadpool is an anti-hero who’s entertaining to watch.  Red was just a dick.

How does Red solve the problem of the pigs stealing their eggs?  He spends it by taking the rest of his village to the outskirts of the pigs’ village and destroying their home.  Yes, please teach your children that revenge will always solve everything.  They’re totally not better ways to go about it.  Not to mention that Red kind of deserved to have his house destroyed after he enjoyed vandalizing other people’s (aka birds’) creations.

Another thing I didn’t understand was that Red and the rest of these flightless birds were supposed to be living on an island that was not well known to others out there.  A small, secluded island where basically everyone knew everyone to some extent and where most of the homes are right next to one another (except Red’s.  I guess the thinks he’s better than society and everyone else so he built his home away from the others).  And yet, the first scene of the movie has Red running through a large forest just to get to a house to make a cake delivery and be a birthday clown.  The scene made it seem like he was hopping from island to island.  I thought he was running from the pigs at first, but no, he was just making a special delivery.  Why was that necessary?

This movie had multiple scenes where it was obvious the creators had just dragged it out for the sake of making it to the time limit.  There was one scene where Mighty Eagle pees into a lake where Chuck (yellow bird) and Bomb (black bird shaped like a bomb) were drinking out of the scene before.  It may have been cringe-funny for a few seconds, but then the scene just continues with the eagle peeing on and on and the two birds gagging over and over.  It really did not need to be that long.  They’re grossed out; we get it.  Move on.

To be honest, I think I liked the yellow, speedy bird, Chuck, better than the protagonist Red.  I found him more entertaining and much more likable than Red.  There was one scene that was basically the same as one from X-Men: Future Days Past where Quicksilver dealt with the guards too fast for them to see, except replace him with Chuck.  I found this scene entertaining and it was consistent with Chuck’s behavior from the start of the movie, unlike Red’s.  His behavior was all over the place.  He was good.  He was a jerk.  Then he was good again.  Then he was an ass.  And so on.  Throughout the movie, I could not stop seeing Chuck as a different version of Olaf from Frozen, but I rather enjoyed that.  Makes sense since it’s the same voice actor.

If there was one thing this movie actually influenced me about it was that I should go fiddle around with the iphone game again, but I was not at all “wow-ed” by the movie itself.  The game itself was more fun and addicting than this movie.  It’s a real shame because there was a great acting cast, but their talents were not utilized as well as they could have been during this movie.