Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Tuesday, October 25, 2016



2.5 out of 5 stars

I delved into this book expecting an original, incredible story about a girl who could not stand her class, the Reds being oppressed and looked down upon by their "superiors", the Silvers. However, despite all of the hype and rave surrounding this book, I found that was not the case. In my opinion, at least. The synopsis glorifies the narrative, makes it sound unique and original, but I didn't think it was very good. Many reviewers compared Red Queen to Red Rising by Pierce Brown, and I can see where they're coming from. This book's premise is eerily similar to that of Red Rising's, what with the social hierarchies of color, the protagonist's determination to revolt against the members of the topmost class as result of the death of a loved one, revolting requires going undercover and posing as a member of the opposition, etc. The only difference being that while I absolutely loved Red Rising and couldn't get enough, Red Queen didn't really cut it for me.
The writing was poorly executed (not that I'm much of an expert) and I had a lot of trouble connecting with Mare, and all of the characters for that matter. Maybe it was because of the writing or that Mare is, arguably, an unlikable and narrow character. To tell you the truth though, I don't think the situation was based on the latter. Here's why: I've read a lot of books and one thing I've come to realize is that a reader can connect and sympathize any character- protagonist or antagonist, main or supporting- just as long as the writing depicts that character in a way where we'll be able to do just that. I don't quite know how explain this, but while I was reading Red Queen, I felt like there was a proverbial shadow cast over the story. Like I was merely reading about a Mare Barrow and her world, but I didn't feel like I was a part of it.
The first half of the book was very slow, there wasn't much excitement. Things really started to pick up in the second half, but even that wasn't very good either. The love triangle the author was attempting to create wasn't very convincing. I couldn't even figure out Mare's feelings for her main "love interest" Caleb, let alone her second. There wasn't much love there. It was more of an indifference than love. The reason I'm giving this book two and a half stars instead of the one and half is because of the ending. I didn't think much of the first half of the book and was particularly surprised when I got to the last few scenes and found that I kind of enjoyed them. I think I'll continue on with the series, but it's not exactly high on my priority list. 

Soundtrack Sunday

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Happy Sunday, everyone! Last week, I decided to re-read one of my favorite classics, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. So, this Sunday, I curated a playlist inspired by the beloved novel. Personally, I love the era and location in which the story is set, and I also love classical music. In fact, it's my favorite genre, so choosing this novel for this Sunday's soundtrack was an excuse for me to showcase my love for classical music. Some of the tracks I added are particularly lengthy, so there aren't many tracks in total. Without further ado, here is the Pride and Prejudice playlist:

What do you guys think? Love it? Hate it? Don't care much for classical music?

TV Shows: Game of Thrones Season 6: End of Season Review

Friday, October 21, 2016

I know I'm super late with this post, but I've been trying to do this season justice. Season six of GoT ended months ago, but I am still in awe, shock, and a range of different emotions that ensure I am definitely NOT over it and won't be for another year or so, just in time for season seven. Unless, the rumors are true and season premier will be delayed another month or so, in which case I will not be okay for another year and a half.

This season was arguably the best season of any series. People have argued that the series finale was the best since Lost, but since I haven't watched Lost I can't back up the claim. But I will say that the last two episodes of season six have confirmed that GoT is the best show there is and quite possibly will ever be. Period.

Pre- Season 6:
Me: "I'm ready, I'm ready. I'M READY!"

Post- Season 6:
Me: *Left utterly speechless*

After the tragic death of Hordor and the revelation that the reason Hordor only says "Hordor" is because of Bran's interference with the past, Benjen Stark, Bran's long lost uncle aids Bran and Meera in temporarily delaying the White Walkers' inevitable attack on Westeros. Instead of killing an actress she was closely watching like she was ordered to, Arya warns her that she a fellow actress has wished her dead, the Waif was then ordered to dispatch of her. Tommen demotes Jamie from his position as the leader of the King's guard after he attempts to spare Margaery from the High Sparrow, who had- by then- already converted to the Faith.

The start of this episode was one of my favorite moments this season. In it we learn that the Hound is in fact, alive, something I suspected to be true for a while. He's found honest work with a small village-in-progress number of people. The people are a hardworking and all-around good people, which is REALLY saying something for this show. For the first five minutes or so, I pretended that all was well in Westeros...until three men from the Brotherhood Without Banners show up. They slaughter everyone in the village, save for the Hound who was busy chopping wood for fires and such. The Hound eventually goes heads back to the village and sees what had been done. He knows exactly who was responsible and confronts the three men and kills them (they had shown up earlier that same day). In Braavos, Arya is attacked and stabbed by the Waif, she apparently "kills" the Waif while sporting multiple stabs in her abdomen. I'm not so sure I believe that, but that's a discussion for another day (look out for a crackpot theories post in the coming months, ideally a few weeks before the premier of season 7). 
Trial by combat, a long standing ritual throughout Westeros is banned by Tommen. In its place he sets trials by faith, which as we all know, does not bode well for the majority of Westrosians, particularly Cersei. At Riverrun, Brienne tries to convince Brynden "Blackfish" Tully to surrender after she promises Jamie that she will get Tullys to do so. Her attempt is a failed one, as a result, Jamie threatens to kill a captured Edmure Tully's son. Emdure, perceived to be the true powers that be in Riverrun, is obeyed when he tells his soldiers to stand down. Blackfish vehemently urges that the soldiers to fight to protect Riverrun. In the end, the soldiers- more loyal to Edmure than his elder- surrender and open the gates for Jamie and his force. Brienne and Pod narrowly escape. In this episode, I was convinced Jamie reciprocated Brienne's feelings for him. They like each other, but refuse to act on their feelings. Tyrion plays the role of temporary ruler in Daenerys's stead, who returns just as the city is under attack by slavers who do not approve of the abolishment of slavery.
Woo! This here is the episode we were all waiting for: the ultimate demise of Ramsay Bolton, the most hated character since King Joffrey. But, prior to the Battle, Daenerys tries to come to terms with the slavers in Meereen. They, of course, refuse her offer so she burns down their entire fleet by dragon fire and permanently establishes her rule. You can be sure nobody's going to even think of crossing her again. In Meereen at least. The rest of the world hasn't yet had the privilege (more great disadvantage, really) to see what she's capable of. Even, Theon and Yara Greyjoy swear an oath of allegiance to her. Yara even hints that she wouldn't mind

Monthly Wrap-ups: August & September 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The summer was mostly a slow- blogging month for me, as you can so obviously tell, what with the lack of posts. It wasn't so much that I didn't have the opportunity to publish reviews and other posts, I definitely did. It was more of the fact that I wanted to take a short break, and the short break sort of got out of hand. Initially, the hiatus was supposed to last about two or three weeks, instead, I got carried away and let it go on for almost two months ("carried away" isn't really the right phrase though, it has a positive connotation, and I didn't really enjoy the "break"). When I started blogging again, which was some time last week, I felt a sense of great relief; I felt awesome blogging again. However, my absence from the blogging platform didn't mean I stopped reading. In fact, I read quite a few books over the summer, ones that I haven't quite posted the reviews for yet, but will be doing so in the very near future.

Also, my birthday was on September 4! I am now officially 20! (how can you be so unofficially?) I feel old and decrepit. My 20th was marked by my first real financial hurdle. Now, I'm truly starting to experience the burden that is adulthood. I guess you can feel a certain age overnight! So far, 20 is treating me well, but I don't like it. Not at all. Take me back one year!

The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu
The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu
Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

This is a playlist I created for my Arabic music. As you may or may not know, I'm Arab (but I'm convinced, and pretty certain my maternal relatives are Eastern European, their physical features suggest as much). My parents are Sudanese so I was exposed to different aspects of Arab pop culture growing up. Anyway, I missed listening to Arabic music so I created a playlist just for Arabic songs. One of the criticisms I have of Arabic music though is that its very narrow in terms of genre. The majority of songs are pop-oriented. There isn't much diversity. Regardless, I love it and listen to this playlist whenever I felt patriotic (which has happened a lot in the past weeks) The artists are mostly Lebanese, Egyptian, Tunisia, and Iraqi. I would recommend you listen to it even if you don't understand Arabic. They're mostly love songs, you'll get the jist of them.

I don't know quite where to begin in describing this show...oh wait, I know! IT'S AMAZING! I know what your reaction is. You might be thinking something along the lines of  "This looks like crap" or "What's so great about this?" but you just wait and I'll tell you why it's so good. It looks like a low budget show and it might well be, but its awesome: The show centers on five delinquent youths who land themselves in community service. One day, as they're carrying out their community service duties, a storm brews and the lot get struck by lightening. But this isn't your run-of-the-mill thunderstorm. The lightening strikes equip each of them with superpowers. They begin to realize this as they all agree that they haven't been feeling like themselves. Some of the actors may look familiar, and that probably because you've seen them before. For instance, Nathan Young is played by Robert Sheehan who played the role of Simon Lewis in the City of Bones movie. Simon Bellamy is played by Iwan Rheon who played the role of Ramsey Bolton in Game of Thrones since season three, I think. The brief synopsis I just gave might sound a bit tacky, but give this show a chance. You won't regret it. Trust me, its awesome!

Warning: The regular cast is replaced by another after season three.

Typography Tuesday

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pride and Prejudice | Jane Austen

(Mr. Darcy, somehow always offending someone)

Movie News: The "Fallen" Trailer Discussion

Sunday, October 16, 2016

After years, not months or weeks, but years of patience. The trailer for the Fallen movie has FINALLY been released, along with an anticipated release date, but I'll address that issue later. I've been a fan of Lauren Kate's Fallen series for quite a long while now, I'd read the very first book about three or four years ago and I recently published a brief review of the book which can be found here. I've read the first three installments maybe four times since then. Sometime along that period, I came across a tweet- I think it was- published by Lauren Kate claiming that the rights to the theatrical adaptation of Fallen were bought by some major entertainment production company. I was ecstatic. It didn't take very long to recruit cast members and begin filming.

I had certain people in mind for the film but wasn't bothered at all when they weren't cast. A Fallen film was production! i didn't particularly care who was cast at that point. Besides, Jeremy Irvine could pull off his character, Daniel and Addison Timlin could pull off hers. I was content. However, weeks passed, then months and no new information had been put out about the Fallen movie. After about six months or so, I was sure it had entered its post-production phase and it had. I just wasn't sure what they were waiting for. We (the fans) were given nothing more than single picture of Cam (played by Harrison Gilbertson), Daniel and Luce (played by Jeremy Irvine and Addison Timlin, respectively). I was all we had for subsequent months and I gave up. Until, a few days ago, my sister found the trailer. I was skeptical of its officiality, I was convinced that it was one of those fan made trailer, but, of course, it wasn't.

Together, my sister and I watched the Fallen trailer. I knew what I was in for: a slightly cliche, inaccurate representation of a well-loved book, but I was ready and I expected it. But that didn't stop me from laughing throughout the duration of the video. I wasn't exactly laughing at its ridiculousness, because it wasn't ridiculous as much as it was how I anticipated it to be. The very first thing I noticed was Luce's hair, it was supposed to be cropped, it wasn't in the film. Next, in the book Roland suggests that Luce check out the Special Collections in library after she visits Arriane and finds that she isn't in her room. In the movie, Miss Sophia tells her to do so and there she finds Daniel who isn't drawing a landscape mind you, but is dozing off. Third, when the statue of the angel comes toppling down, Luce just stares up at it, Daniel swoops in and "saves" her. The scene in the book was written in a more plausible way, Luce wasn't paying attention to the statue. In the movie it was as if she was waiting for it crush her.

All in all, the trailer was alright. I definitely will watch it when it hits theaters, or rather if it theaters. Apparently, the anticipated release of the movie is between November 10th and February of next year. That's preposterous, is it not? But I conditioned myself not to concerned with book adaptations anymore. So if they decide to show the movie this century, I'll got see it and if they don't I won't think much of it.

Here's the trailer we've all been waiting for: