Blood and Chocolate Annette Curtis Klause
The main reason that sparked my interest was that the protagonist was a female werewolf. Which, to me, was something I’ve never read about before and I was curious as to see how the author portrayed her; trying to blend in the femininity and sentimentality with the animalistic, brutal traits of a loup-garou.
In the beginning, all I was thinking was… this protagonist, Vivian… is too perfect. But I mean, pretty much all heroines in YA novels were Mary Sues so I shouldn’t have been surprised. It’s just that she flaunted it, she was confident in her looks. In retrospect though, I think that even though she was just perfect outside, there was definitely an inner turmoil about her pack, her nature and humans around her. She had insecurities about her place in the world and they weren’t trivial shallow ones. Which made me like her more, but I can’t say she’s a favourite character.
I felt that the novel focused a lot on the sentimentality, emotional life that Vivian was going through and I guess I wanted some more observations on the characters around her and her past. But then I realized that it’s a third person limited omniscient narrative… I have definitely underestimated this novel because I feel like that perspective is a hard one to execute well and consistently (which Klaus did). Taking that into consideration, Klause portrayed each and every character well given the small amount of “screen time” she gave them through the eyes of Vivian.
I also liked the rather sensual narration; it wasn’t superfluous, it wasn’t perfect throughout but it was done quite aesthetically. I liked the development and pacing of the story. The plot isn’t particularly original, it’s the generic premise in many werewolf fiction but it was definitely executed well. I was thoroughly satisfied with the ending, it’s definitely not a typical happy ending, there was a slight twist.
I felt like maybe sometimes I have too much expectations for YA novels, I keep expecting more stylistic narration or exploration of themes and setting but I forget that I’m already 18 and these books are meant for 14~16 year old who are just looking for a thrill not profound literature. All in all, it’s one of the better written YA novels about werewolves I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Add me. Though I will post most of my review drafts here (and finished reviews on TCL)
YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE, ANS. NOT THE ONLY ONE. I have an intense love and hate relationship with the series, but most of my love lies for the characters that Suzanne Collins unjustly slaughters off. And the hate lies for everything else, but especially the writing. The writing is not excellent.
Oh good, it just seems that everyone is raving about how wonderful it is and I’m just like… really? Is it really that wonderful? I mean, Suzanne Collins has definitely re-imagined the setting to be an interesting place but it’s just not executed very well. And I dislike how Mary Sue Katniss is but I actually quite like most of the other characters which Collins puts NO emphasis on.
I think the reason why everyone thinks it’s so great is because Collins is probably the first author to introduce it into the YA fiction section. There are so many adult fiction that have already incorporated a similar setting. *sigh* YA fiction these days makes me sad; the repetitive writing style, characters, plots etc etc. It’s like there’s a certain boring framework every YA author has to follow. Or maybe I’m just too old for it now that every flaw is like a glaring unlikeable-no-matter-what error.
SINCE I CAN’T REBLOG YOUR RESPONSE (Tumblr, you do this to spite, I know it), here we go. The biggest issue I have with The Hunger Games is the lack of plausibility of the universe. Adults airbrush their skin tones to look like walking rainbows and undergo surgical procedure to have cat whiskers in the future- why would anyone fancy that. I understand your feelings with YA fic entirely, I think that’s essentially the element that makes up YA- love triangles. WHY HAVE PLOT WHEN YOU CAN HAVE BOYS.
Haha, I took the time to *reblog* the responses :D But I do agree with you. I think if Collins wanted to go that far, she’d have to build it better. My problem is that everything felt shallow, she only superficially covered various aspects. It’s almost like Twilight all over again, why do books that don’t deserve so much attention, get so much attention? Why do people no longer rave about wonderfully written literature? And oh gosh, the love triangles HAVE GOT TO STOP. They’re absolutely trite and it’s like, if the YA doesn’t have some sort of love triangle or harem going on… then it’s no longer classified as YA. At least Peeta wasn’t some bad but hot as hell boy or angelic, wonderfully, dazzling boy. I felt that his character wasn’t the recycled character… though Katniss definitely was.
I certainly think I even enjoyed City of Bones more than this book. The “idea” may not be the most original (nor is HG actually) but that one was rather witty and clever. And the characters were pretty well-rounded and likeable.
I Saw The Devil - A VERY disturbing korean thriller about a secret agent who seeks revenge on a serial murder/rapist who had raped and killed his fiance.
Review - It was, simultaneously, a very sad, heart-wrenching, emotional film. I loved the emotional aspect of it though the action scenes were really brutal and hard-to-stomach. If you watched and liked the film Old Boy, then you’ll probably like this one as well, though the plot in this one is fairly straightforward. Not recommended unless you can stomach disturbing, graphic scenes of violence.
The Godfather Part I - The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.
Review - A classic. The acting, the plot, the setting, everything was just perfect. It’s NOT an action film, I’d classify it more of a drama action film. Sure, there’s lots of shooting but it’s the emotional struggles, the political versus personal struggles, the relationship struggles that the characters endure that is the emphasis of the film. Some parts can be a bit slow, but everything is wonderfully portrayed. It is beautifully done and the music is perfect.
The Godfather Part II - The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba.
Review - I actually quite liked this one two. You really get to see how Michael’s family starts to deteriorate and I absolutely loved the historical bits about Vito Corleone as well. Brilliantly filmed as well.
Star Wars Saga (6 films in total) - Already wrote a review on this. I disliked how Anakin’s character was sort-of incoherent and illogically developed. Also, I felt like the casting was done so the actors/actresses looked the part, but didn’t act the part. There’s just so much potential and possibility with it, but the directing was just done so badly, it was a bit of a pity. Don’t recommend it unless you’re a sci-fi, fantasy lover or if you want to just say “yeah, I’ved watched the classic sci-fi”.
The Hunger Games (#1) by Suzanne Collins
Points to talk about before I forget
- Katniss’ “perfection” ~ she’s self-sacrificing, the ultimate hero, object of adoration though she is absolutely oblivious to it, long-time love subject of Peeta though with all the cleverness of the world, she fails to see that; a cliché I sort-of dislike. It’s incoherent how someone so observant, street-smart, and intelligent can fail to notice the other person’s obvious infatuation.
- Slow beginning, could’ve been made better if prose was better. Felt like the prose was too easy and simple (especially for older audiences who can/should appreciate beauty in language of a novel). It wasn’t even stylistically simple (or if Collins was trying to, it failed).
- Katniss does not do much killing despite being a protagonist and very predatory in abilities. You’d think the protagonist, put into a situation like that, and someone who has no reason not to kill, her very talents and personality is that of someone who is capable of killing especially when pressured, would kill more than two people… but Katniss doesn’t. Which robs of character development, emotion and plot thrill.
- The glamorous Olympic-style start of the game was fairly intriguing and fun to imagine. Definitely contributed to the atmosphere of the game, how it is treated as propaganda/media.
- World-building: doesn’t really give off a dystopian feel, just an other-worldly feel, maybe because of insufficient imagery (?)
- Relationship between Katniss, Rue and Prim: almost made me cry… maybe because I have a sister and I would do anything for her as well ~ the only thing that I could relate to with Katniss. Though it wasn’t portrayed as well as it could’ve been (more depth please!). Though the scene with the flowers and Rue was beautiful.
- Katniss and Peeta: a shallow portrayal/development of their relationship. Maybe due to the nature of narration. But even Katniss’ inner struggle and Peeta’s hints weren’t particularly conveyed in the most efficient manner.
- Lack of character development in general. Katniss is practically a Mary Sue, and she’s a very flat character despite being the protagonist. Peeta doesn’t change much either and other characters aren’t revealed much.
- The atmosphere wasn’t developed well enough to feel like it was a new fresh innovative retelling of a common premise.
Compared with Battle Royale - because everyone is comparing the two even though they are very different
- Premise is the same, same type of characters involved (Effie/BR act announcer, the Gamekeeper/Sakamochi, Peeta/Noriko, Cato/Kiriyama, Katniss/Nanahara, Glimmer/Mitsuko, )
- BR is about social portrayal, it thoroughly goes and explains the backgrounds and personalities of most characters, the story is about a class and the survivors whereas HG is about personal portrayal of Katniss’ story.
- BR is about the characters emotional struggle linking that with their history, actions and how the nature of the game brought about the darkness/insanity within them, HG is about survival of a huntress
- BR is more graphically violent, as if the author didn’t censor anything that could’ve happened, and even perhaps exaggerated the gore whereas HG was definitely written with a target audience in mind, rather timid violence throughout majority of the novel and only violent in idea (when Cato was attacked by the mutts)
- BR emphasizes on the horror of the “game” (the terror it brings the students, the epiphany of what the society really is in the eyes of the students, the perversion of adults who prey on the weak, the power of government), HG emphasizes about Katniss’ general survival story
Conclusion: I like BR more because of the intensity and realistic (though slightly gory) portrayal of the premise. Though I think the violence may be just an exaggeration to emphasize human nature when pressured into a survival-of-the-fittest situation. I think Hunger Games just kept falling short in each department (plot development, character development, stylistic prose, moral message/depth of story) whereas BR does accomplish in most departments. I think the main thing that really got me (for BR) is that overall, it was more emotionally charged, more character portrayals, stylistically written and in-depth in terms of explorations of themes and the adolescent perspective (curiosity on violence, drugs, music, sex and maturation of forming own ideas/opinions about the world, politics etc). Yeah, some people may be put off by the violence and some explicit, graphic endeavours in heavy, disturbing subjects, but I feel like it’s almost a matter of cultural difference and if put aside all expectations for it to be like your generic dystopian YA novel, BR definitely wins the battle.