Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

I remember reading this book years ago in highschool as the first book in the book club I had just joined.

We got to pick books out of a crate and I was one of the last ones to pick, and the cover of Legend looked interesting.

I started reading it on the bus ride home that afternoon and I was done by the end of the week.

I was hooked in an instant. It was an easy YA book to read, and it was the first book that I read that had a dystopian theme to it. I was putting my foot in the water with Legend, and quickly dove right in because I loved it so much.

One thing I really enjoyed about Legend was jumping between two different perspectives. Marie Lu wrote her entire trilogy about Day and June, two “perfect” characters, or so their tests and evaluations tell us, who have two different experiences in life.

June is hunting down Day, whom she believed killed her brother, and we get to see their interactions from both perspectives.

Usually having different perspectives in the same book isn’t much of a big deal because plenty of books do it.

That is true, but most of them have different character perspectives because they are focusing on different parts of the world, and having just one person’s perspective wouldn’t give readers a large enough scope of what is happening.

In Legend, and the other two books in the series, Day and June spend a lot of time together.

Day is from the poorer part of society, and we get to experience his life as a rebel, helping out the poor much like a Robin Hood sort of figure. He pulls off some pretty insane stunts and is a genius in his own regard, he just does things on his own.

June on the other hand, works for the “government”. She is top of her class, and like June, is able to perform some very remarkable physical stunts and is also a genius in her own regard. She is also fairly well off in life, and hasn’t known poverty.

The two different perspectives in the books is a nice change. It gives us the poor and the rich side to everything. When one character is living their everyday life, the other is exploring it for the first time, and as a reader, this style of reading was nice, because it’s different.

June knows her truth of certain events that happen in the book, and Day knows his truth. Jumping between perspectives gives us a look at the inner thoughts of both characters when the time is right, but also puts us outside of their mind and their thoughts when the stroy needs it to happen.

Marie Lu has done a wonderful job utilizing the different perspectives and making the two characters bounce off of eachother nicely.

Like I said, it is a fairly easy read, but it is good. If you like dystopian style books mixed with some spy and mystery novel aspects I recommend Legend.

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Book Review: The Book Thief

Book Review: The Book Thief

When I think back about this book, I can honestly say that there are no happy memories that come to mind. From how I recall The Book Thief, it’s similar to A Series of Unfortunate Events–it’s just miserable.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book as a whole. I thought it was fantastic, but there weren’t any moments that I genuinely remember being happy about it.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

I hadn’t heard of this book before I started reading it, but I really enjoyed the suspense and the drama that came from it. 

If you’ve ever read the book, you’ll remember that there is a very interesting narrator–Death. Yes death is the narrator of the story, and because this is World War Two, you can imagine how busy he was collecting the dead. 

Death foreshadows constantly throughout the story, so we know a bit about which of the characters will die. I think Death’s perspective adds to the building suspense through the story. 

You might assume that Death being a narrator can be sort of intimidating. I mean he’s Death, why wouldn’t his POV be dark and greusome right? 

The truth is, Death was one of the brigher parts of the story. He was a ray of sunshine through some of the darker moments. 

I do not carry a sickle or a scythe.
I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold.
And I don’t have those skull-like
facial features you seem to enjoy
pinning on me from a distance. You
want to know what I truly look like?
I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue.


The Book Thief is also a bit of a different view of the Holocaust, because it focuses on a little German girl, Liesel, who is living in Hitler’s birthplace.

And the character growth, in my opinion, is remarkable. There are many characters that we hate throughout the story, only to love them by the end. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you haven’t read it yet. It’s technically considered a YA book, but I think it has more impact the older you are.

I will give you a fair warning though, if you want a fast read, this book isn’t for you. It’s a bit of a grind at times. You’ll feel like your clawing your way through mud, but that slow crawl adds something to the story. It adds a sense of accomplishment and connection to the entire story. 

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I’m not one for re-reading a book, but this one is on the short list for books I plan to re-read in the future. 

I have never met someone, or found a single review that has said anything against The Book Thief. Many people state it is a modern classic. It is truly a remarkable book, and I will firmly recommend that EVERYONE should read this book if they call themselves a book lover.  

Book Review: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Book Review: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

A century before A GAME OF THRONES, two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros…

Rating: ★★★★☆

Author: George R.R. Martin

Continueing with the Game of Thrones theme that has been so popular lately, for whatever reason, this week I decided I’d review A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, a prequel “series” to the main storyline.

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Having read the main series before I got a hold of this, I had a basic understanding of some of the characters in the book.

What I really enjoy about the supplementary Game of Thrones books is that there is usually some really nice artwork to look at while you read. There is some artwork in this one, but not as much as I would prefer, and msot of it is sketches.

I read it probably three years ago now, and I still remember some of the moments in the book because of how cool they are. I remember tjere was one about Duncan, or Dunc, who is the main character of the book, and he is tried for a crime, which causes a trial by combat.

After the combat, which his team had one, multiple royal family members and Kingsguard members were left dead, all because they defended the innocence of some random guy, who was really a sorry excuse for a knight. His main feature was just finding Egg, and guiding him around the world and keeping him out of trouble.

Dunc and Egg make a wonderful pair, and become life-long friends because of the events in this book. Ser Duncan is not only a knight in name, but also one in deed. This is something increasingly rare in the seven kingdoms. There are few true knights and even fewer when the events of A Song of Ice and Fire take place.

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Dunc is a strong and honorable knight, but isn’t all that smart. They call him “thick as a castle wall,” but that’s where Egg comes into play.

Egg is still a boy, though he has a fully developed mind that even the Maesters shall envy. He tempers Ser Duncan’s wrath, guiding him to choose the best course of action. Indeed he has the mind that Duncan lacks. However, for all his intelligence, he still has a whole world to see and understand; he still needs to develop his wisdom.

By being Duncan’s squire, he gets to see honour and decency; he begins to understand how people work, and how best to defeat them; he learns that it can be achieved through words as well as deeds.

The two embark on some interesting adventures. Their first (The Hedge Knight ) is by far my favourite. It depicts the pair’s first meeting, and they discover how important them coming together was. Dunc changes the fate of the Seven Kingdoms. The two only met by chance. Their actions lead to the altercation of who is to be the next King. So, it’s all rather far reaching stuff. The second story ( The Sworn Sword) didn’t quite work for me and felt a little flat in all. The third ( The Mystery Knight) made up for it, though, with its character defining moments.

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Overall they are all a short read, but nontheless are fun to read, and if you are a Game of Thrones fan, they are a necessity.

Book Review: Exploit Me by Charm Anderson

Book Review: Exploit Me by Charm Anderson

So to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect from this book when I started it. The genre wasn’t really in my wheelhouse, so I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not. After finishing the 7 chapters that are out, I have to say I did enjoy it.

Exploit Me comes out on a weekly basis, so I am excited to read the story as it comes along because I did enjoy it.

It wasn’t my facourite book in the world, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hit home a little bit for me.

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I’ve never lived through what Charm writes about, but I don’t think you need to have to be able to take something away from reading this.

The main character is going through many issues, and her world seems to be spiraling around her. Things are getting worse and worse for her, and we get a peak into her mind about how she deals with it.

It’s a little heartbreaking, seeing a character struggle with no end in sight. Usually theres an answer to the problem, or somebody who can come save the day, but as we read Exploit Me, these realities are becoming more and more distant.

If you’re expecting a story with a happy ending, I can’t tell you that it’ll turn out that way. So far, up to Chapter 7, it’s rough. It’s tough to read about a character that is struggling with so many aspects of her life.

I’ve been involved with people who struggle with their self-worth, and the little bit I know about it makes me aware that it isn’t easy.

To wake up every day fighting against yourself and the world. It’s not an easy job, but people do it. People do it day in and day out, fighting.

I’m excited to see where the rest of this story goes. The chapters are relatively short, and you could probably read the whole thing in under an hour if you started right now, and I do recommend reading it.

You can find it by clicking this link.

https://www.wattpad.com/story/150239396-exploit-me

 

Book Review: Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin

Book Review: Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin

Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.

What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why did it become so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What is the origin of Daenerys’s three dragon eggs? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel and featuring more than eighty all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. Readers have glimpsed small parts of this narrative in such volumes as The World of Ice & Fire, but now, for the first time, the full tapestry of Targaryen history is revealed.

Rating:★★★★★ (MY FIRST 5 STAR REVIEW!!!)

Author: George R.R. Martin

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We all know who the Targaryen’s are. Whether you’re a fan of the show or the books we all know that the Targaryen’s are the masters of dragons.

Who came before Daenerys? We know she had a brother, and obviously parents, but turn the sands of time back far enough, and we start to wonder where the Targaryens first came from.

In The Song of Ice & Fire we know that Dragons have been extinct for almost three hundred years, until Daenerys brought Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion over from Essos and began her wars against Cersei and The Night King.

While I was reading the book, there were a lot of moments that were very similar to things Daenerys had done in her adventures, and the phrase “Those who are ignorant of History are doomed to repeat it”  coming to mind.

But, that’s enough of Daenerys, though I’m sure we all enjoyed her in last night’s episode, the season premiere of Season 8!!!

From what I took away from Fire & Blood, the Targaryen’s are this near “godly” offshoot of humans that people seemed more than okay accepting as their rulers.

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Now this could be because of their unnaturally light coloured hair, their violet eyes, or the fact that if you didn’t think that there was a pretty good chance you could be burnt alive by a two ton flying lizard at the drop of a hat.

Fire & Blood was an interesting look into the rule of the Targaryen kings and queens (along with a few other family members) that ruled over Westeros until Robert’s Rebellion.

I was a bit disappointed that it only covered the first half of the Targaryen rulers, but after finishing it up, I’m glad it did. I think if George R.R. Martin had tried to put the entire history of the Targaryens into just one book, it wouldn’t be the same, which ties into my next point.

As a history book, I never thought I would be fascinated with the inner workings of a kingdom more than people fighting each other with their dragons in the Dance of Dragons.

I mean the war was pretty cool, and there were some brutal moments during it that I was excited to read about, but I was more excited to read about Jaehaerys and his wife Alysanne, or Aegon and his sisters Rhaenys and Visenya.

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The political aspects of the book had me sitting on the edge of my seat more than the aspects of war, which takes some great writing to be able to do that.

Fire & Blood takes a look at all of the Targaryen rulers from Aegon I ‘The Conqueror’ all the way until the start of Aegon III ‘The Dragonsbane’ and something really surprised me.

Multiple times in the book there is mention that Targaryen’s don’t suffer from normal illnesses, or live normal lives. They see themselves as this family that sits on a higher pedestal than the rest of the world, and as the world progresses, the people begin to see that too.

But that really isn’t the case. After reading the book you realize that there are a vast majority of Targaryens that are some pretty shitty people.

Incest aside, many of them are terrible rulers, kill innocent people, take multiple wives, kill babies, family members, friends, and countless other issues.

Some fly  off to the pleasure houses of Lys, some are so uninterested in all aspects of life they don’t have a place in society, and some even devote themselves religiously.

When it comes down to it, they are just like any other family. They have some shining stars, like Jaehaerys, and they have some real duds like Viserys.

In my opinion there were two good rulers. Two rulers who actually benefitted the realm and had an era of prosperity that benefited commoners and lords alike. Aegon I and Jaehaerys. Some of the others were okay, but they didn’t tip the scales. More of a figurehead than an actual benefit to the realm.

Some rulers were bad, killing innocents or screwing up the realm.

Targaryens weren’t this godly family that could do no wrong. Maybe it was due to the generations of incest, but many of them were very flawed in some way. There were always a few diamonds in the rough, but no matter if they were a good or bad ruler, one thing made them better than the rest.

Dragons.

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Dragons played two roles in the Targaryen’s history.

Weapon and Symbol.

On one hand dragons were used for exactly what people imagined them to be. They were weapons, flying over the battlefields burning their foes to ash. When they weren’t burning their enemies alive, their enemies were kneeling. Surrendering to that powerful beast and the man or woman on its back.

We see this in the Dance of Dragons, we see it with Aegon I, we see it through the entire history of the Targaryen’s until they finally died out during Aegon III’s rule.

This idea of dragons being a weapon was what made the Targaryen’s the rulers of Westeros after the kingdoms were united. I mean how could you stand up to such raw power. In an instant thousands of your men could be burnt alive, and you were powerless to stop it.

As the kingdoms were united, and warfare between the kingdoms died out, the dragons lost their role as a weapon, and became a symbol. A symbol of peace to be exact.

It wasn’t until Jaehaerys I that the dragons truly became a symbol of peace. I might be wrong but I don’t think he ever used his dragon in a battle. His dragon was used for efficiency. He would fly it around the seven kingdoms and meet with lords and ladies, commoners and royalty alike to learn from them.

He wanted to create a better kingdom, and learning from its people was the best way to do that, but horses were too slow. His dragon could get him across the world in a few days.

This efficiency, and his own nature made Jaehaerys the best Targaryen king in my opinion.

Now back to the dragon as a symbol of peace. Under his rule, Jaehaerys basically stopped all wars. There were some battles that took place during his time, but they were minor skirmishes for the most part, and it was in part to do with his dragons.

Imagine being a villager, living in a village you hadn’t been away from for more than a day, and a dragon flies overhead, landing in the next town. As cool awe-inspiring as that would be, it would be terrifying. This beast could kill you in an instant, and that’s how everyone saw it.

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Jaehaerys wouldn’t have done that. He would have found a peaceful solution to solve an issue, but the idea was there. Nobody wanted to fight against these dragons, so they became peaceful. They accepted peace, and didn’t look for war when there was no cause to.

I think Daenerys’ dragons are the opposite. Her dragons are weapons through and through, and come the end of the series I don’t think there will be a place for them.

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I don’t think the Westeros we have now, the one Danny wants to create has a need for dragons, and I hope she realizes that.

I could get in to how they are her children and maybe she can’t have human kids while they are alive, but I think that Danny might have to kill her dragons in order to get the world she wants.

She wants to break the wheel, and having dragons might help her do that, but it won’t help her make the new world that she wants to make.

What do you think the role of dragons will be for the end of Game of Thrones? Will they stay around? Will they survive the battle of Winterfell? 

And what do you think of the Targaryens as a family? This role as rulers has been put on their heads for nundreds of years, but maybe they arent as worthy as people think? Or maybe they are? let me know in the comments. 

Book Review: The World of Ice & Fire

Book Review: The World of Ice & Fire

This is a little known book in the world of Westeros, and I figured I would give it its moment of fame this week before Season 8 of Game of Thrones comes out this weekend. 

Rating: ★★★★☆

Author: George R.R. Martin

I’m a big fan of history, as you probably know by now, and I’m an even bigger fan of fantasy book series, which you should know by now and if you don’t then you do now.

The World of Ice & Fire was a perfect combination of both worlds because it’s an annotated history of the Game of Thrones world that I’ve fallen in love with since reading the books and watching the shows.

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That’s one great thing that Martin has done with his Song of Ice & Fire world. He has built it up so well and so perfectly that you could probably make stories for years to come, just based on information that has already been written.

He’s created the history of these kingdoms and their stories that The World of Ice & Fire can feel like you’re reading a real history book sometimes.

If you want to pick this one up, don’t expect much of a “story”. It reads a lot like a history book. Each of the major houses in Westeros are written about, showing their history since their founding basically, with a few major events highlited for each.

Most of the names in the book one will be one’s you’ve heard before, but only the more dedicated fans will know how everything connects together. Just watching the shows and then reading this might make you a bit confused, but you can definitely do it.

Probably about half of the books gives a brief overview of what each of the Targaryen kings during their reigns. Since there has been so many it sort of glances over each of them and their more notable events, with the more important ones getting more pages than the less important ones.

The other half of the book is about the major houses’ histories, and the history of some of the other cities and countries in the world that you may have heard of at some point.

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It talks about white walkers, the first people in Westeros, some major battles, Old Valyria, Robert’s Rebellion, and everything in between. It’s a nice little book to read if you’re big into trying to predict theories for upcoming books or episodes.

What I really love about the book, and what really made me enjoy the experience of reading it is the beautiful artwork inside. Almost every page has some illustration on it, and some pages there’s nothing but.

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It almost feels like what I imagine the history books of Westeros to look like, which is a little added bonus I really enjoy. It’s really a piece of art, and if you want to consider yourself a Game of Thrones nerd you definitely need to give it a read.

I don’t really know what else to say. It’s a history book of the entire world, so there’s not even moments I’d want to point out that really stood out to me because that’s not the type of book it is, and I don’t think that was the intent of it.

The intent wasn’t to tell a story, the intent of the book was to help create the story that was already being told. I think that’s the case with all of the supplemental Game of Thrones materials.

They aren’t made to tell their own stories, they’re ment to tell the complete story of A Song of Ice and Fire, which they are all only an aspect of.

Next week I’m going to be taking a look at another Game of Thrones related book, but I’m not going to spoil it just yet. 

I would love to hear what you guys are most excited for in the upcoming season though. Let me know in the comments!

One Piece Arc Review: Orange Town

One Piece Arc Review: Orange Town

We are back again this week with another One Piece Arc Review. This week I’m gonna take a look at Orange Town, which is the second arc of the manga, and the second of the East Blue Saga.

This is a pretty important arc for the overall One Piece story because this is the first time we experience two important characters, Buggy and Nami, and we get to see our first devil fruit that doesn’t belong to Luffy.

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We also get to see a bit of Buggy’s story in a few flashbacks, and later realize that he was a crewmate of Shanks way back when, and that Silvers Ryleigh was a member of the crew as well, which solves a few puzzles later on in the story.

Despite all of the importance it has in character introductions, new devil fruits, and future plot points that are hinted at, this arc didn’t really leave any lasting memories for me.

It’s not really a bad arc. It follows the common pattern of Luffy and his friends coming to a certain island and freeing the civilians from their evil overlord.

It’s also one of the few times that Luffy gets help from a “crew mate” to beat the bad guy. Nami doesn’t do a lot, but she does enough to give Luffy an easier time of beating Buggy.

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It’s also a rather playful arc, since Buggy and his crew members all revolve around circus performances and use them to fight Zoro Nami and Luffy.

A big problem I have with the arc is that the Strawhat Pirates are at their awkward phase of members, where they don’t quite have enough yet.

If we want to get technical, the crew only consists of Luffy and Zoro at this time, though Nami does help them out a bit, especially when fighting Buggy. There’s only two true members who don’t even have a flag or a ship yet, but they’re going against quite a few of Buggy’s crew.

The numbers were okay in the first arc, because there was only one bad guy at a time that needed to be taken down, but the numbering feels sort of awkward in the Orange Town arc, and in the Syrup Village arc.

It’s not really the story’s fault since it’s right at the beginning, but it just doesn’t sit right for me having Luffy and Zoro fighting multiple bag guys at once and defeating them so easily.

I just find it’s a bit awkward, and Oda uses this arc and Syrup Village as a learning experience for the future arcs, and I think that the problem is solved come the Baratie arc.

I don’t think the earlty arcs are a bad thing. I think that there are quite a few moments in the East Blue Saga that are really iconic, but none of them are in the Orange Town arc unfortunately.

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Buggy is the comedic relief character in the series (basically when Usopp isn’t around) and it doesn’t really make for a good enemy.

The best part of the arc is Chouchou, the dog that doesn’t leave his master’s pet store until he comes back. It’s a sad story because Chouchou’s master is dead, but seeing Luffy’s interaction with the dog gives us a good insight in to Luffy’s beliefs which help us better understand our main character a bit more, also this is the first instance where we see Luffy able to conenct with an animal and understand their feelings and convictions.

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Overall, it’s not the worst arc in the series, and it’s not the best. It’s kind of just average. Even the new devil fruit we get to see isn’t anything that cool, it just lets Buggy break himself apart into different pieces, which Nami beats pretty easily on her own, and she is far from a good fighter at this time.

 

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