WandaVision: Episode 7 “Breaking the Fourth Wall” Review

Here comes the obligatory warning that the following post does in fact include SPOILERS, so if you haven’t been able to watch the episode yet, I recommend you return afterwards. Here we go!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Wanda starts to loose grip on her universe after expanding it, while Monica tries to reenter the hex to help everyone inside before Hayward does something drastic.

My thoughts?

If this episode wasn’t a mix of Modern Family and The Office, then I don’t even know. I guess we are through all the decades now? It should be interesting what the theme of next week will be, as I do believe we have now reached the end of Wanda’s broadcasting era. I was a little disappointed to see that the episode wasn’t longer though, because there was an announcement that the last three episodes would be an hour long, but I am happy about whatever WandaVision content I can get and it was obviously going to end on a cliffhanger anyway, since we are in the final stretches of the show.

Still, this episode had some reveals that a lot of us had guessed for a while, which may not seem super exciting to most, but it was the big set up for the grand finale. I don’t think it was the best episode of the season, but I also thought that the reveals were well done. There’s grief, pain and still a lot of fight left in our characters to explore.

I’m going to keep the “outside Westview” thoughts really brief, because as we know from last time, most of it has been absorbed into the hex now.

  • Hayward is still hellbent on destroying Wanda at all costs. He really does not grow on me.
  • Before Darcy got sucked into the hex though, she managed to decode his file, which had the codename Cataract. Fun fact: cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye that leads to the decrease of vision, hence it being a really apt name for Hayward’s plan to use Vision’s corpse as a weapon for S.W.O.R.D. (which was explicitly against his wishes and I knew they were doing something sketchy in that lab).
  • Monica’s engineer friend (Major Goodner doesn’t mean anything to me, but she did know Monica’s mother and seems loyal to her) brought a whole space rover, but the border was too strong and Monica (against Jimmy’s protests) went into the anomaly by herself, ultimately activating her powers/mutant genes (which makes her and the twins the first official mutants in the MCU)
    I have no idea by what name she will go by (Spectrum, Photon, Pulsar, …), but her abilities allow her to transform herself and perceive any and all kinds of energy and light, which is why her vision changed, she wasn’t affected by the hex and could withstand Wanda’s blast to a degree.
    Either way, Monica was the star of the episode! Confronting her own grief and memories led to her only getting stronger and I think she really made an impact on Wanda, if only a certain someone hadn’t inserted herself.
credit: Marvel Studios

Poor Wanda. Just when she wants a day for herself, it becomes abundantly clear just how little control she has over Westview. She was really on the brink of giving in to life just being meaningless, letting her grief and depression almost reach a peak. Here are my observations about what’s happening inside the hex:

  • First of all, Darcy’s transformation to an escape artist was odd. It makes sense with her being cuffed before the transformation and wanting to help vision “escape” when he tried to exit town, but still. While I did enjoy her teaming up with Vision and filling him in on his history, ultimately making him understand why Wanda is grieving and maybe acting irrationally, I thought there was much more that could have been done with her character. Darcy Lewis is so funny and always secretly wanted a guest spot on the show, but this was kind of meh to me.
  • So, the world is definitely glitching and while it could have been jotted down to Wanda having used up too much of her powers or just losing control in general, I think it was pretty apparent in this episode that she just plain wasn’t the puppeteer people had made her out to be.
credit: Marvel Studios

Ad Break: I’m not sure my theory from last week about the ads reflecting the infinity stones really pans out here, because none of this screamed Power Stone to me. Anyway, the commercial seemed pretty straight forward, addressing Wanda’s state of depression, wanting to be left alone and escaping to your own reality. The name for the anti-depressant, Nexus, was well chosen. In the Marvel universe, the nexus is the interdimensional gateway between all realities, once again heavily referencing the multiverse. Wanda is also a Nexus being, which means she can open portals etc.

  • I adore the twins, but especially Billy! My little Wiccan always wants to take care of his mom, even when he hears a bunch of voices and noise in his head. Interesting to note was that he was the first one to pick up that Agnes was “quiet”, meaning she could deflect his powers. But where are the twins now? I do worry about them. Which leads me to the next point and probably main reveal of the episode.
  • Children once again have been an underlying theme throughout the episode. They appeared to stall Darcy and Vision, but usually are absent from town. There was also a missing child visible on the milk carton (that kept going through it’s glitches of different decade-styles) and with the twins now also being nowhere to be seen or heard, it seems quite difficult not to think it has a meaning.
  • After Monica confronted Wanda, Agnes took her home to calm her down. When Wanda inquired about her boys, Agnes said they were in the basement, so that’s where Wanda went and it was so apparent that something was going to go down. The music became sinister again and as Wanda progressed, the aspect ration changed to the one usually used for scenes set in reality outside of the hex. I love that the continued use of aspect ratios and sound has given each era and scene an identifiable look and vibe.
    In the “basement” Agnes finally, finally reveals that she is indeed the much suspected Agatha Harkness and behind all the misdeeds that happened in town. Now, who is the person working with her though? Is the book she’s having the Darkhold? Is it maybe the book that has gone missing/was stolen from The Ancient One’s library in Doctor Strange, tying him into the storyline again?
credit: Marvel Studios

I know I say this pretty much every week, but what a gamechanger! I adore that WandaVision still keeps upping the stakes, even though a lot of us guessed that Agnes would be Agatha Harkness. It’s not so much about the surprise of it all as it is about the repercussion this knowledge has. The revelation still worked and added great tension for what’s to come. After all, it doesn’t look like Agnes/Agatha is working alone either.

credit: Marvel Studios

ALSO, I hope none of you clicked away before our first post-credit scene of the season! We see Monica snooping around Agnes’ house and finding the entry to the basement, just to be caught by “Pietro”. Is he the infamous and never seen Ralph? And who is Ralph really? “Snoopers are gonna snoop”, so we shall find out!

PREVIOUS WANDAVISION REVIEWS


How are you feeling about this episode? Are you looking forward to or dreading the end of WandaVision? Let’s talk!

WandaVision: Episode 3 “Now in Color” Review

As promised, I am back with another WandaVision review! As with the previous post, I would like to point out that this is meant to be read after watching the episode to avoid any kind of spoilers. I will not hold back!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

After discovering Wanda’s fast pregnancy, the pair tries to prepare for the imminent birth as best as possible, all the while fighting off their growing suspicions of something being off in Westview.

My thoughts?

As we are hurtling through the decades with WandaVision, now squarely in the 70s, I adore how easily recognizable they make their inspiration in terms of intro and style of the episode. This time we clearly got an homage to the Brady Bunch, which seems fitting as it was the birth of the (at least to Wanda and Vision) unexpected twins.

In the comics, their sons William and Thomas (on the show only lovingly called Billy and Tommy for now) mirror the powers of Wanda and her late twin brother Pietro. It will be interesting to see where they go with the boys on the show as their lore in Marvel history thus far is quite scattered. It does, however, point to the much suggested involvement of Mephisto in whatever is happening to Wanda. Since it has been said that WandaVision will also heavily tie into Doctor Strange’s Multiverse of Madness and Mephisto is a main antagonist of Doctor Strange (and often Spider-Man too) as well as Stephen Strange being a big part of the twins’ lives, things are shaping up to go even more into that direction. We shall see!

credit: Marvel Studios

I do enjoy the general progression of the show! Much of the appeal is due to the dichotomy between fun, silly sitcom tropes and the complete tonal shift to dread and more serious matters. Both, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, deserve a tremendous amount of praise for how quickly they manage to switch between these contrasting emotions and portrayals. It’s often quite chilling to go from discomfort to bliss in an instant. I wasn’t sure how soon they would get into the nitty-gritty of their world, but I thought there were some incredible revelations this week.

I’ve mentioned before that I believed that important moments were shown mostly through Wanda’s eyes, but this week had an interesting shift to include major moments with Vision alone. He seems to be more plagued by whatever is off about their town and neighbors than Wanda is, which makes sense in that we believe she is partially responsible for what is going on. Once again, he got cut off by Wanda when he started asking too many questions (prompting me to believe my internet wasn’t working right, when it really was some smart editing choices). It shows an awareness and consciousness on his part that I probably did not expect in a character that is supposed to be deceased and possibly only imaginary.

This time, I have no useful theory about the “commercial break”. It was obviously a Hydra reference again, prompting the potential customers to find their inner goddess. If my suggestions last time had been correct, with the ads pointing to significant events in Wanda’s life in chronological order, there should have been an Ultron or Quicksilver reference, but we got that from Geraldine instead.

UPDATE on Hyrda Soak and it’s possible connection to previous Marvel content:

credit: Marvel Studios

While Vision was off on his own, getting warnings about Geraldine having no home, family or husband in Westview, Wanda also had a confrontation with the very same woman. If the final scenes of the episode are anything to go by, it looks like Westview is a very real town, but shut off from the rest of the world and suspended in old-timey sitcom bliss. Whoever lives there is bound to it and cannot leave. It looked like Wanda was not pleased to have her possibly self-made reality disturbed by a S.W.O.R.D. agent and therefore kicked Geraldine/Monica out, once again confirming that she has tremendous power over what is happening.

Now that we know all that, I simply have to wonder why Agnes and Herb showed concern about Geraldine’s presence in Westview and why Agnes stopped Herb from saying anything more to Vision. Clearly, they are stuck in that town as well, but do they not want to get out or are they worried that confronting Wanda (and Vision) with reality would end up putting them in danger? As Agnes is rumored to be Agatha Harkness, a fellow witch and potential villain, she might also have her own interest at heart in keeping Wanda put. It’s fair to say that I am curious! While the episode definitely answered some questions, it also opened up an onslaught of new ones!

I have to say, I wish they would continue with airing two episodes each week. On the one hand, I am glad that I am forced to be patient instead of binging it all in one go and then being miserable it’s all over, but on the other hand, 30-minute-long episodes are just not enough. This show is so much fun and so brilliantly intricate, I just want more.


Are you all caught up on WandaVision? Did you enjoy their take on the 70s? Let’s chat!

WandaVision: Episode 1 & 2 Review

Back in the day, and I say it weirdly like that on purpose even though I mean only a mere three years ago, I used to do weekly reviews of single episodes of certain shows. More accurately Doctor Who, because that was really the only show I did that for (check out the last review here). But, something about WandaVision, along with a little poll on Twitter, has compelled me to take up the weekly reviews again. So, I want to warn you that these posts will not be spoiler-free, but rather my unfiltered thoughts right after the episodes have aired!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Wanda and Vision have moved to the lovely town of WestView. They try their best to fit in and seem as regular as they can, however, it does not take long before they realize that something is off. Strange things keep happening, but are Wanda and Vision prepared to face reality?

My thoughts?

I have waited for this show for what feels like forever. WandaVision was the very reason I got a Disney+ subscription in the first place and I am so very happy that it is out now and that I LOVE it. With Marvel’s entire slate moving to the Disney platform, I was worried about the content a little bit, but with WandaVision they have proven they are not afraid of going into a weird direction.

Modeled after 1950s to 60s sitcoms such as Bewitched, the first two episodes of the new Marvel series take you on a ridiculous ride full of laugh-tracks, tailored theme songs and animated intros. Everything our two leads do is both extremely over the top and very in character for who they are supposed to be. It is fun to watch, but at the same time they keep the viewer wondering what all of this is about. Much as the trailer was confusing, you do not get a lot of insight throughout the first two episodes. They do, however, manage to create a wonderful feeling of dread on top of the silliness and jokes. Something is off and you are very aware of it, it’s just about figuring out what that something is now.

credit: Marvel Studios

Well, here is where it might get really spoiler-y, because these are some of the most important observations I have made (at least I think they are important):

  • Both episodes had short interludes of what looked like old-timey commercials. One was for a Stark Industries produced toaster, which also featured the first time color was shown on the show. Previously, it had all been black and white. The second episode showed a Strücker watch with a clear reference to Hydra. I don’t know if they maybe just want to hint at important parts of Wanda’s life (her home getting blown up by Stark weapons and her powers stemming from experiments done on her by Hydra – even in chronological order) or if it is something different entirely.
  • Another occurrence that was notable in both episodes was a human getting hurt and that being a huge part of Wanda’s awareness that something about her life was off. I found it interesting that these instances mainly involved Wanda and not Vision (although he did save his boss using his abilities in the first episode), because people were turning to her to DO something.
  • We do know that Wanda is in some form of simulation, as it is shown that someone is monitoring her and Vision and the life they are trying to create. There are credits shown for WandaVision’s life within the episode that do not correlate with the actual writing, directing and producing team, although the names didn’t mean anything to me. However, to stay in world, it seems Wanda has more control over her environment. At the end of episode 2, Wanda is confronted with something she does not wish to face, so, she reverses time to change events in her little TV world. Through that color is introduced to the entire scenery as Wanda and Vision learn they are expecting a child (or rather children, I suppose. You know, do it for the children).
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Most notably in all of it though was the symbol/logo shown on both the colored toy helicopter Wanda found in her black and white hedges as well as the beekeeper who came out of the canals. (Edit: also on the folder of the person who was monitoring Wanda and Vision on the screen) While the red and gold coloring may have been a misdirect to Stark again, the logo of a sword can quite simply only mean a connection to the S.W.O.R.D. organisation. In the comics, it was another counterterrorism and intelligence agency along the lines of S.H.I.E.L.D. just with a focus on extraterrestrial threats. Reports suggest though that the Sentient World Observation and Response Department has a new name and purpose on WandaVision, since the acronym now stands for Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division. All of this makes a lot of sense in the context of WandaVision, as they are both basically sentient weapons.
  • In conjuncture with the last point, we need to talk about the magnificent Teyonah Parris. She introduces herself as Geraldine in episode 2 of WandaVision, but we already know that she is slated to play Monica Rambeau (Carol Danver’s friend Maria’s now adult daughter), which leads me to believe she is a S.W.O.R.D. agent and working on the WandaVision case.

I think that is all for now on my part. I am sure there was much more to observe, especially since Agnes will likely play a vital part as well and I haven’t even touched on her yet. I am so looking forward to exploring more decades, styles of television and just plain story with WandaVision! Also, if you noticed in my post that I am referring to Wanda more than both, her and Vision, it is solely because something tells me he is not quite real. I would love for them to be able to be together again, but I am not sure Marvel is that charitable towards my feelings. I think a lot of this is possibly just all done for Wanda.


Have you watched the first two episodes of WandaVision? What are your thoughts on it? Let’s talk!

T5W – Books You Shouldn’t Be Spoiled For

spoiler

It’s Top 5 Wednesday, a meme hosted by booktuber Lainey aka gingereadslainey for which you can join on the Goodreads page here. The topic for this week was “Books You’ve Been Spoiled For” but since that has never happened to me or at least not in a significant way that I can remember I decided to tweak the topic a little and talk about books for which you should stay as far away from Spoilers as possible.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel like there are some books that can’t be spoiled for – like a simple romance. It’s a little obvious that in the end the boy/girl is getting the boy/girl. But then there are those books that are just better the less you know about them – everything feels like the biggest twist in the history of literature! So, for the sake of not spoiling anything, I won’t even comment on the books and just list them. Sometimes it’s an actual single turn of events that made me put them on here, other times it’s the entire course the story is taking. See for yourself!

Red Rising/Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

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Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? Do you see where I am coming from? What are some books you got spoiled for or wouldn’t want others to know anything about in advance? Don’t hesitate to link back to you T5W post in the comments below.

Doctor Who: The Zygon Inversion

Although the title may seem very similar to last week’s episode, it is indeed a new one. The Zygon Inversion is the conclusion to the Zygon Invasion, so let’s do this! Spoilers ahead!!

inversion

What was it about?

The Doctor could escape Zygilla’s (=faux Clara) attempt of assassination and the real Clara is seemingly also still alive, but trapped in her own mind while being in the Zygon Pot. Through some clever (mind) tricks involving the Osgood box, or rather boxes, ceasefire between humanity and the Zygons could ultimately be restored again.

My thoughts?

I was really worried that the Zygon Inversion wouldn’t hold up to it’s predecessor episode, but all the fretting was for naught. Twelve and Osgood escaping the airplane crash actually made sense, Clara fighting her “evil” counterpart was extremely well done and Capaldi finally got to make a speech that will keep you thinking for a while.

That was actually my favourite part of the episode – Twelve trying to get through to Kate and Zygilla/Bonnie. I’m not sure if my brain fails me or if Capaldi really hasn’t had the chance of performing a great monologue, but I feel like his previous dialogue was a lot more clunky. This one was very Matt Smith-esque though and even reminded me in parts of his speech in The Rings of Akathen. I also liked it when Twelve mentioned that it was the 15th time that he wiped Kate’s memory because of the boxes. There’s just no way around it, there are always consequences to a war and the Doctor pointing out that it can only end with the parties sitting down to talk and that being something they should have done from the beginning melted my heart, because there is so much truth it that. Another lesson of how important communication is.

For a moment there, I was really confused about the two Osgoods. I am happy though that they are likely to appear in the future. However, I don’t want them or one of them to become a companion. Somehow I don’t think it would work with Osgood being such a fangirl in the TARDIS.

Last but not least, was the scene at the end another ominous reference to Clara’s dooming fate? Only time can tell and I’ll let the Doctor be the judge of that.

Next episode will mark the first standalone this season, so I am fairly excited to see if they are able to create a great arc for just one episode. Any thoughts you would like to share?

Doctor Who: The Zygon Invasion

A little late this time around, but the NaNoWriMo kick-off and generally getting ready for Halloween prevented me from watching Doctor Who live. However, I finally had time to watch The Zygon Invasion and am now ready to talk about it. Spoilers ahead!!!

zygon

What was it about?

We are back on the Day of the Doctor. Osgood and her Zygon counterpart explain how the peace treaty works, Zygons living peacefully among humans, in human form. But there is a splinter group of rebels that no longer wants to hide their true self. They kidnap the Osgood who is still alive and blackmail/threaten UNIT. The Doctor is of course already on the way to help, but little does he know how far the invasion has already progressed and that this time around he can’t count on his beloved companion, Clara.

TO BE CONTINUED …

My thoughts?

I loved this week’s episode, mostly because it felt very current. While the hints aren’t connected to any real life situation per se, there are parallels to the current refugee crisis, the paranoia and fear coming with it and also some references to terror units and drone strikes. I like how Doctor Who can tackle those topics and make them relevant without overdoing it, making you think without actually connecting it to real life events. And I get the Zygon’s point. They want to be themselves. Doesn’t everyone? Just that resorting to emotional blackmail and terrorism isn’t the way to get anywhere.

Another thing I loved, was the fact that Osgood is back. She clearly mourned the loss of her “sister” and I like how they dealt with the story and (after 2 years) finally filled some plot holes. Also, she has a new awesome fashion statement. Her character just feels so genuine, so I’m interested to see what part she will play during the Zygon Inversion. I have to say though that I am not a huge fan of Kate’s part in the story. Besides Doctor Who showing off that they can shoot all over the globe, we don’t learn anything new about the Zygon threat. It’s just supposed to build up tension I guess, but it didn’t do much for me.

While the Doctor’s guitar playing and disco references are getting a bit on my nerves by now, I keep liking Clara better each episode. I thought she was brilliant and her Zygon version was really awesome too. You just knew that something had to be up with her, that she wouldn’t just leave a child screaming behind with some strange people. But for some reason I didn’t think she was a Zygon until we saw the pods. Also, I get more and more curious as to how she’ll be leaving the show.

All in all, I am excited about next week! What did you think? Like or loathe or no opinion at all?

The Magician King Book Review

I’ve done it! I’ve finally continued with the Magician Trilogy by Lev Grossman and can cross of the first book from my September TBR, namely the second book in the series: The Magician King. Despite my worries, I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than the first part! So, since I already reviewed the the first book The Magicians spoiler-free (click here to read it), this review will obviously contain Spoilers!!

10819920Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.
Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they’d hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia’s illicitly learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.
(source: Goodreads)

As I mentioned above, I liked this book better than the first one. The characters were a little less miserable or at least slowly figuring out what makes them happy. Also, the pacing wasn’t as terribly off, even though the structure of this book was very similar to the first one, separating it in 4 major parts as well.

Part 1: The gang (Eliot, Janet, Quentin and Julia) have ruled in Fillory for a while now and Q is getting restless. It’s time for an adventure.

Part 2: Q messed up, because his quest only brought him and Julia back to earth and that’s the last place they want to be. With the unexpected help of Josh and an Australian girl named Poppy they manage to get back to Fillory.

Part 3: A year has passed since Q and Julia left Fillory and Eliot took on what should have been Q’s real quest all along. He wants to be a hero, unintentionally ends up in the destroyed Neitherlands, but actually finds out what the quest to find the 7 golden keys is really about.

Part 4: Having all the keys, the gang saves the day by keeping magic from getting extinct. But Quentin has to pay the ultimate price for being the hero – never being able to return to Fillory while leaving all his friends behind.

The Magician King offered a detailed account of what happened to Julia while Quentin was in Brakebills and I have to say that I could’ve easily done without some of the chapters. I get that it was important for her overall journey, to really understand how the events of the book and her change came about, but I am not one to dwell in the past (at least not in books). Often I just wanted to keep reading about what happened in the present, but the Julia-chapters were strategically positioned to be in between cliffhangers. It’s not that her story wasn’t interesting, I just wish her chapters were even more succinct and on point. (even though I will give them that they were shorter than normal chapters) I guess I just really didn’t like to read the rape-scene towards the end …

This time around there were a lot of characters I would’ve liked to hear more about. I was really glad that Q took Benedict on the journey and even more devastated when he died. I think that character would have had so much more potential and then they just had to leave him behind in the Underworld. Also, for some weird reason I wanted Q to take the children with him (Eleanor and Thomas) even though that would’ve been a terrible idea. Questing is no place for kids! Still, I have hopes of seeing Eleanor again in the story and poor Thomas should get to go on an adventure as well!

There is another map in the book, I am glad they keep putting those in! (As I said, maps are always a plus!!)

magician king

So, ultimately there was a lot more excitement and action in The Magician King and I started to like Quentin a little better. In the end I just felt really sorry for him and it actually made me want to continue reading the series, which I am going to do right now.

Fazit: 3.8/5 stars. I am slowly warming up to Quentin and now I want to know how his story ends!

P.S. I have a hard time imagining any of the content from Book 2 in the upcoming Magicians TV show …

The Magicians Book Review

Despite my fears, The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman actually arrived in time for me to still read at least the first book and let it count for my August TBR. So, let’s talk about the first part of the trilogy!

magiciansLike everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined.

(source: Goodreads)

Disclaimer: I want to say up front that this book isn’t extremely explicit, but it does include sex, drugs, violance and profanities.

I have a hard time expressing how I feel about this book. It was a bold move by Grossman to put 5 years worth of story in only 400 pages and I am not sure it paid of entirely. The book is split into 4 parts and without really spoiling anything I can tell you they are as followed:

  • Part I: It’s basically Quentin’s discovery of magic and his entire (!!!) 4 years at Brakebills, the magical university he attends. That part takes about half the book only.
  • Part II: Is the brief period after graduation and not knowing what to do really.
  • Part III: It’s the quest Quentin and his friends embark on.
  • Part IV: The time after the quest and the set-up for the next book in the trilogy.

Calling the Magicians a mix between Harry Potter and Narnia is somewhat accurate, although it is a lot more on the Narnia-side. Quentin has this obsession with Fillory, a magical land from his favourite childhood-book-series. A lot of what happens in Fillory happened in Narnia as well if I remember correctly and there are just a lot of similarities that can be drawn.

I think my major issues with the novel were the pace and the characters.  I would have liked to see more of the university rather than breezing through the semesters and just hearing about Quentin studying. There were really only two or three interesting scenes in that part of his life and it dragged a bit to read about it. Also, it didn’t actually make Brakebills that appealing. I mean after reading all that, I have no desire to go there and actually think I would fail the entry exams big time.
Then the characters. The only ones I kind of liked were Alice and Eliot (when he wasn’t drunk). But everyone was just so miserable ALL THE TIME. It didn’t make them very likable and it was just generally a downer … for me to truly embrace a series, I need to actually like the people in the book.

However, I did love that there was a map in the book (always a plus!) and in the end there were a couple of things that surprised me and I enjoyed it getting more fast-paced in the later parts. I am going to read the other books as well, but I doubt they’ll ever become one of my favourite series.

fillory

Fazit: 3.4/5 stars. I wasn’t overwhelmed but I can see why it would appeal to some people.

P.S. Stay tuned for my first thoughts about the Magicians TV show that will be airing on Syfy 2016!!

A Court of Thorns and Roses Book Review

Everyone is raving about Sarah J. Maas and her brilliant books. I wanted to test my patience and wait until the series are all entirely released, but then I was at the bookstore and they didn’t have any of the books I wanted to buy. So, I ended up buying A Court of Thorns and Roses and definitely did not regret it since!

16096824Feyre is a huntress, not because she enjoys it so much but rather out of necessity to provide for her family. The forest is a dangerous place though, especially with rumours of the much hated faeries returning to the human world. When one day she encounters a wolf on her hunting grounds that’s about to attack the only prey she had seen all day, she kills it. What she didn’t know was that the wolf was a magical creature and that killing it had consequences.
Now she is given a choice: Die on the spot or leave her family forever to live out the rest of her life in the fairie kingdom.
But imprisoned in the foreign kingdom, Feyre’s feelings for her captor Tamlin slowly grow into something else and she may be the only one to help him save his world.

(For a full summary and more details on the book, just click on the cover to be redirected to Goodreads!)

ACOTAR has quite the fairy tale vibe just with actual fairies in it. The main plot resembles very much Beauty and Beast in the beginning and then there are elements thrown in from Cinderella and the Gallant Tailor and who knows what else. Since I love fairy tales of all kinds, I quite enjoyed that. Also, I always say there is nothing wrong with using familiar story elements as long as you add your own twist!

Feyre is the kind of person that’s very popular in today’s culture: badass female who does everything for her family, is responsible, smart and has a thing for archery. I liked her well enough as a main protagonist, but mostly enjoyed her musings about art and colours and light. The only thing that was a bit annoying is that she thought pretty much everything that had to do with faeries was impossible to paint. I got it the first ten times around.

Now, let’s talk about the even more important people in this book: the men! So, Tamlin is apparently super-hot, Lucien has a great sense of humour and Rhys is just really intriguing. Who wants to move to Prythian with me?
Okay no, but seriously, these guys are really easy to fall in love with. Apparently Tamlin is everyone’s favourite, but not mine. I much more enjoyed the scenes with Lucien and/or Rhys. Rhys sort of reminds me of Warner from the Shatter Me series … a bit of a psycho with a good heart. And what was that in the last chapter? I would love to see more of him in the second part, but I just hope that he doesn’t turn out to be some sort of Jacob to Tamlin being Edward Cullen. The mating process sounded a lot like imprinting to me …

So, overall it was a gripping read. It started out very calm, easing you into the world, getting to know everyone. And just when you thought everyone was happy and could live on like that forever the real action begins and there are some more gory scenes. I loved it!

Disclaimer: there are quite some sexy scenes in there! I definitely didn’t mind, but thought I should mention it.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Even though there was no cliffhanger, I want the next book RIGHT NOW!

P.S. I love how at the end of the book there is a guide on how to pronounce all the places, names and kinds of faeries. Some were obvious, but for others it was quite helpful!

My Heart and Other Black Holes Book Review

I still struggle a bit for words when it comes to Jasmine Warga‘s My Heart and Other Black Holes. Before buying the book, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and I was worried I might not like it because of the hype that surrounds the book. Man, am I glad that was not the case! This review includes minor Spoilers!

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My Heart and Other Black Holes revolves around 16-year-old physics nerd Aysel, who wants nothing more than to die. Yet, Aysel is afraid she won’t be able to do it on her own, so she searches the interwebs for a suicide partner. Coincidentally, a sporty and popular boy from a neighboring town, very much the opposite of her, is in a similar situation. Together they decide to help each other die, but in truth their relationship could change everything.

I guess my summary isn’t as perfect as the one on goodreads, but it’s succinct just the way I like it. So, where do I begin now? It’s such a smart, special, weird, insightful, sad but hopeful read. I went through it all rather quickly, even though the story had me close to tears several times. Never did I expect a book about potential suicide to harbour so much hope! It’s rare to find a person who truly and completely gets you and not just the good parts, but genuinely everything – Aysel and Roman seem to have had real luck in that department.

Depression is a serious topic and should not be treated lightly. Jasmine Warga manages this all extremely well in her debut novel. I cared and understood the characters from beginning ’til end and I like that she had such an easy style of writing. It was very much like people think and talk. Aysel had such an odd mix of a vivid, heartbreaking and at times hilarious voice and that made the heavy topic more relatable and bearable. Also, I really enjoyed her inclusion of poetry (such as John Milton‘s Paradise Lost) as well as Einstein‘s Theory of Relativity. It gave those sources new meaning as well.

If I had to complain about something, and this is seriously a minor “issue”, I think that I would have liked it a bit better if Aysel and Roman hadn’t fallen in love but rather just stayed friends. It’s not really bothering me and it definitely doesn’t hurt the story, but I just feel like it’s important to know that you can get out of a depression like that with the help of friends and not just finding true love.

Fazit: very authentic and heartbreaking story with a happy ending!

I’d love to read some more of Jasmine Warga in the future. I can imagine great things coming from her!