Sunday, June 20, 2010

Percy Jackson - and why adults should get to enjoy junior fiction too

Until the movie was released I had never heard of Percy Jackson, but it looked like the kind of children’s fantasy story that I’d enjoy so off I went to watch it.

And I enjoyed it.

So when I realised that the movie was based on a book, and knowing that books are always better than the movie, I figured I would enjoy the book. So I went to my local library and (after standing at the counter for several irritated minutes while the librarian chatted to people and did several other random, unnecessary things) I asked if they had any Percy Jackson books available. She gave me this odd look and said, “You know it’s a Junior book, right?”

Now please tell me: what is wrong with adults enjoying children’s/junior/YA books? Nobody had a problem with it when it came to Harry Potter. Doesn’t everyone know that books for younger people are more exciting than most adult novels? It’s like people grow up and get boring. (Ok, not always. But often.) I just think it’s amazing to be able to escape back to a time when any adventure was possible and a whole world of opportunities lay before us. If only we could all carry that mindset with us throughout life.

PS. I did read “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief” and I did thoroughly enjoy it. (It was way better than the movie!) It’s going onto my “I will read this to my children one day when I actually have children” shelf J

PPS. Roald Dahl was someone who NEVER forgot how much fun a child-like imagination could be!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, by Stephenie Meyer

Firstly, thanks to Stephenie for making this freely available online here.

First line: The newspaper headline glared at me from a little metal vending machine: SEATTLE UNDER SEIGE -- DEATH TOLL RISES AGAIN.

Bree Tanner is the young vampire from the newborn army in Eclipse who almost, ALMOST got a second chance - before the Volturi came along and took things into their own hands - rather horribly. This story is all about the events that lead up to that moment, seen from the point of view of a newly created vampire.

Bree and the other "kids" have been groomed for one purpose only: to hunt down and kill the Cullens and, in particular, Bella - their promised dessert. But Bree isn't as mindless as many of the other newborns and she and her newfound companion, Diego, begin to uncover the truth Riley has been hiding from them, and start to realise just what a dangerous game they've become part of. It is torturous to know the ending of this story and that the characters we come to care for in these pages will meet their demise at the end of it. It almost makes one wish that Stephenie got it wrong in Eclipse!

It was interesting to see things from the other side, to understand how "normal" vampires (vampires who are not the well-behaved Cullens!) live, and to witness first-hand the story leading up to the attack on the Cullens. Being a novella, we don't get to know many of the characters that well (like Diego, whom I kept hoping - just like Bree - would come through that door), but the plus side of the short length is that no time is wasted in getting into the action.

Monday, June 7, 2010

High on Fiction

A good book is like a drug…

It sucks you in, pulls you under. You lose track of reality. It consumes your thoughts, you want to get back to it all the time, need more, need more. And when it’s over and reality hits – wow, what a low... You just NEED MORE!

“City of Bones” is just such a book. 
(And “City of Ashes”… and “City of Glass” too. Of course.)

It has everything: adventure, mystery, romance, fantasy, action, it’s witty, it’s sexy and, to top it all off, it’s wonderfully well-written. I would caution you though… these books should come with the following label:

If you haven’t read any of these books, do yourself a favour and go out and get them. You’ll have the fantastic advantage of not having to wait for the second and third book to be released! And after that you’ll have less than three months to wait for the first instalment of Cassandra Clare’s next series – “Clockwork Angel”. (After that, however, you’ll be joining the rest of the fans in desperate anticipation of the next book…)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Book vs The Movie

What do you think?
I'm guessing that these days movies are generally more popular - especially when the book is one you're required to read for school!
However, in my opinion there really is no competition here.
For me the book is always better.

Think about the following...
  • Harry Potter ~ can the magic on screen really compare to the magic in your mind? Thanks to your incredible imagination you've already created your own Diagon Alley, your own Platform Nine and Three Quarters, your own Ministry of magic. Think of all the detail you'd be missing out on if you hadn't read the books.
  • Northern Lights (aka The Golden Compass) ~ I travelled so far into other worlds and became so involved in Lyra's adventure that I just about lost all connection to the real world while reading this. When I got to the final sentence I could have cried out, "No! How can it just END there?" And the movie never quite lived up to that experience.
  • The Twilight Saga ~ the movies are great but the books... still way better. That love story will never be as all-transcending as it was in my imagination!

Though now that I think about it, there may be one possible exception: The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 
NOW I know that all true Tolkien fans might want to smack me over the head with their largest copy of Tolkien's works (after all, the movies did leave out a fair amount of detail), but I have to say that I found the books a little difficult to get through, what with the extensive descriptions of the landscape and all the songs...

But I thought the movies were fabulously epic, especially on the big screen, and I have the boxset of all three DVDs - the extended editions (which are MARVELOUS!).

Having said all this, I must impress that I DO eagerly anticipate the arrival of any film adaptation of one of my favourite novels. I love to see which actors have been chosen to portray my favourite characters - and sometimes they are just perfect! And on June 30th I will be sitting in the cinema along with the thousands of other fans who have been waiting desperately to watch ECLIPSE!!