Tag Archives: mythology

Book Review and Film Discussion: The Drowning of Arthur Braxton

Today’s post isn’t a conventional review! I was kindly sent a copy of Arthur Braxton, a book I have wanted to read for months, and given that the movie adaptation is out soon (and that this new edition of the book has just published), I thought I would make this review a part-discussion, too!

I’ve been a fan of Luke Cutforth on YouTube for a long time, so when I discovered he was making his first feature film, I was jumping around in excitement. I can’t wait to see it.

Review and Discussion:

Written by Caroline Smailes, published by 4th Estate; adapted into film by Luke Cutforth.

Goodreads Synopsis: Arthur Braxton runs away from school.

He hides out in an abandoned building, an old Edwardian bathhouse.

He discovers a naked woman swimming in the pool.

From this point on, nothing will ever be the same.

My Review: It’s hard to put how I felt about this book into words. It is equal parts strange and wonderful and messed up, but that’s why I liked it.

Reading this book was an incredibly weird experience. Although I enjoyed it, it didn’t instantly blow me away, but it properly hit me after I’d put the book down and began mulling it over. The story, to anyone going in unknowing of the plot, is bizarre, but captivating; teenage Arthur Braxton finds his way into an abandoned bathhouse on a desperate night, and what he finds in there changes his life forever.

I couldn’t like Arthur very much at all, which was sad – but the characters I did adore were the ones that he finds in the swimming pool. Without giving away anything, I’ll say that their stories brought me to tears, and were told in such memorable ways. Lots of people adore Arthur’s character for how brutally honest the representation of his character is, but for me I couldn’t enjoy it too much. I’ll admit that I found it a bit crude in places (even though that is how it’s supposed to be!). Despite being an accurate depiction of a teenager, I just wished he had some qualities I could’ve liked.

I can’t wait to see how the film adaptation presents all of the characters on screen. I’m not sure how accurate they can be (given that there’s a lot of nudity and swearing, and I’m assuming the producers will be aiming for a 12/15 rating) but it’ll be really exciting to see how they appear. The casting looks fantastic so far, and features lots of upcoming talents, so I’m really excited!

The format of the book was really interesting, and not what I had expected! Different characters told their stories in varying styles – parts were in script, parts were conventional storytelling, and a couple of chapters were simply just dialogue. I adored the way in which the plot was told and presented – it felt very refreshing and kept me engaged. I’d love to read more books told in quirky ways like this.

What I also enjoyed about the book was the setting, and how there’s a lot between the lines to read into. Most of the book is set within the Oracle, an abandoned bath house set to be demolished and rebuilt. I envisioned it as a really haunting looking place, but the BTS photos of the set so far are very different – though it looks awesome!

If I am completely honest, I was not blown away by this book whilst reading it – not every aspect appealed to me, and parts were very unsettling. However, I think part of the reason I didn’t fall in love with it was because I wasn’t taking in the mythological aspects of the book – it flew right over my head! I read up on it after reading, and began to appreciate the story much more. There are many layers to this unique story, and it’ll be really interesting to see how Luke, director, translates these from page to screen.

Overall, The Drowning of Arthur Braxton left me in a very weird state after reading. It’s unlike anything I have ever read before; strange, haunting and weirdly wonderful. I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking for a very unconventional story; one that will make you laugh and cry.

I think Luke is the perfect director for this film. By looking at his YouTube channel, anyone might think he’s a strange choice – most of his videos are on the bizarre, funny side – not serious. But I think he’ll bring the brilliant crudeness to the film that the book has; and also, from his directing of various music videos on YouTube in the past, I can tell he’s definitely made for this sort of thing. It will be awesome to see his skills adapting to a much bigger project.

The new edition of this book (cover pictured at the top of this post!) also contains a new introduction written by him – so it’s definitely worth checking that out!

My Rating:

three and a half

I received a copy of The Drowning of Arthur Braxton from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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Book Review: The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson

Published 12th November 2014 by Image Comics.

23093359Goodreads Synopsis: Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5

My Review: I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was about reading The Wicked + The Divine, when I spotted the first volume in Waterstones! I had been reading a lot of tweets about it on Twitter as the individual issues were released, but had to wait until the volume was published as I missed the first issues. There was so much hype surrounding this! And, of course: Gillen, writer, McKelvie, artist, and Wilson, colorist, are the super team that created Young Avengers – without doubt the best series I read last year.

The concept really intrigued me: Re-incarnated gods… as pop stars? It sounded crazy but inventive (And there are some really interesting ways to look a the concept); I was sold. The Wicked + The Divine had me completed gripped from the opening pages and I read the entire volume in one go (then cried a little a lot).

The plot was such a good crime story, laced with paranormal elements (and some really cool outfits.): Luci is seemingly framed for murder, and locked away in prison, so London student Laura decides to investigate and find the truth, investigating into the somewhat sinister worlds of the re-incarnated gods.

On the mythological side of the story, I think I missed some references; I read on Goodreads that the Gods all relate to different famous legends, which brings a whole new depth to the plot: I’ll have to reread it!

Jamie McKelvie’s illustrations, along with Matt Wilson’s beautiful colouring, were flawless. I loved the artwork in Young Avengers, so I knew I would enjoy the art in this series. The whole comic was drawn so beautifully: I loved how the Gods, particularly, were drawn. The outfits and the hair were SO cool. I will disappointed if I don’t see cosplay… OH WAIT LOOK AT THIS AMATERASU ONE OHMYGOSH.

Overall, The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1, was definitely as great as I hoped it would be – and worth the wait to read it, too. I’m so excited about reading on in the series soon! I’m sure it will be a future classic. Gillen has crafted a truly individual story that had me completely absorbed, and I can’t even describe how much I loved Jamie McKelvie’s illustration. I’m counting down until Volume two now… because AGHHH THAT ENDING.

My Rating:

four and a half

I purchased a copy of The Wicked + The Divine in a local bookstore.

Mini Reviews: The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott

I received copies of the first two books in The Name of the Blade Trilogy (Thank you Walker!) by total surprise a few weeks ago, and couldn’t wait to start them. After reading them I thought I’d do a combined-review post… Enjoy!(:

The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott

Published 2013 by Walker books.

20703287Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Mio steals the Katana – her grandfather’s priceless sword – she just wants to liven up a fancy dress costume. But the katana is more than a dusty heirloom, and her actions unleash an ancient evil onto the streets of modern-day London. Mio is soon stalked by the terrors of mythical Japan and it is only the appearance of a mysteriously familiar warrior boy that saves her life. Mio must learn how to control the katana’s legendary powers fast or she risks not only losing her own life… but the love of a lifetime.

My Review: The Night Itself was such a brilliant book! I’ve been meaning to read something by Zoe Marriott for ages, as I’ve only ever read glowing reviews of her fantasy novels. I’m glad I’ve gotten around to The Night Itself at last, as I loved it! I was hooked in from the beginning – literally on the edge of my seat as I read about the freaky events taking place around Mio after she steals the katana.

I’ve fallen in love with Marriott’s writing:  it’s so gorgeous and I was completely immersed. She’s also really talented at crafting memorable characters. Mio was a really great main character, but I also loved her best friend Jack, who I found hilarious!

The plot was crazy and fantastical. I didn’t expect a lot of the aspects, but really enjoyed the story. Highly recommended if you love urban fantasy

My Rating: 

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Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott

Published 3rd July 2014 by Walker books.

15723550Synopsis: Against all odds, Mio, Jack and Shinobu have defeated the terrifying Nekomata. But Mio is still compelled to protect the katana, her family’s ancestral sword, and now the Underworld has spawned a worse monster – one carrying a devastating plague that sweeps through London like wildfire. As Mio struggles to protect the city and control the sword’s deadly powers, she realizes that there is no way she can keep everyone she loves alive … and she must make a terrible sacrifice to save the world.

My Review: I’m always a little bit apprehensive when starting sequels to really awesome books – but Zoe Marriott definitely didn’t disappoint!

I loved how the romance developed between Mio and Shinobu. One character’s development that was most interesting (and shocking!) was Rachel’s, but she seemed a little bit forgotten about towards the end… I’m definite there will be a bigger focus on her, though, in Frail Mortal Heart. 

I wasn’t sure anything could terrify me more than the monsters in book one, but the new creatures after Mio in Darkness Hidden were terrifying! I was genuinely on the edge of my seat for the most part – but there were points where I saw the jump-scares coming.:P

The ending had me in a complete mess. I honestly do not know what to do now until next summer, when Frail Mortal Heart is released.

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^Basically me. // All in all, though, I really highly recommend the first two books in The Name of the Blade trilogy! They were both fantastically action-packed and pacy, and I loved the originality of it. Urban Fantasy is becoming a popular genre, and Marriott’s books really stand out in the market, with the way she blends urban London with ancient Japanese mythology and horror.

My Rating:

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I received copies of The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Review-Graphic: Banished by Liz de Jager

I read Banished, book one of the Blackhart Legacy, over the weekend- and I loved every second of it. It’s a brilliant new urban fantasy, and I think it’s going to be huge! I tried drawing Kit, the protagonist. Yup, obsessiveness. I decided to make a review graphic of the book, because I haven’t done one in a while- and the design & colour scheme for the cover is awesome! So, enjoy (: If you find any parts of the image hard to read, just click on it to bring up a bigger version.

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Banished is published by Tor books UK, February 27th 2014.

Note: I just want to point out that my review is not biased in any way- I do know Liz in person (she used to co-run a book blog!) but in no way at all did that affect my thoughts on the book. My review is completely honest and all my opinion.

I purchased a copy of Banished from a bookstore.

TEARDROP

This week’s a bit of a review-catch up! I haven’t written many reviews this month, and I need to get some published, in time for my Steampunk event on the 1st!

By Lauren Kate, published by Random House.

Teardrop (Teardrop, #1)Goodreads Synopsis: Never, ever cry…

Seventeen-year-old Eureka won’t let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning. She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean.

And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea. Suddenly her mother’s death and Ander’s appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don’t make sense.

Can everything you love be washed away?

My Review: Ah! So many mixed feelings about this… I’m not entirely sure how to review it! Teardrop was a great book… But there were points when I was just really unsure of what to make of everything.

I’ll talk about the characters first! Eureka sounded really unique. And she most definitely was. She’s a very conflicted teenager, who recently attempted to kill herself, because of all of the trauma she had gone through with her mother’s death. Right from the beginning, where she’s stuck in another psychiatrist’s office, I could sympathise with her. She was a really realistic character, for the most of the book. At a couple of points, I found it a little hard to love her. But mostly, she was a great character.

Ander and Brooks are the love interests. I got so annoyed… Yet another love triangle, with one mysterious, stranger boy, one male best friend…. Cliched. I’ve read too many books like hat, so this really made me want to give up. Though, I did persevere, because of the book’ school concept! Ander is a character you can grow to like, but I didn’t particularly. He just seemed so… Stereotypical! Brooks, the best friend, I liked much more than him; though, of course, he was a very stereotypical character too.

Onto the plot. The plot was unpredictable, definitely. I had no idea where the story would go, mostly! There were some really cool inspirations behind the story- the mythological aspects. That was the reason that I requested this! It took a while for the whole mythology and mystery behind the objects Eureka inherited to be explained. But I think it was all really clever. There’s a story behind it, based around Atlantis. I’m really interested in that mystery, so obviously I became very interested in this story. I was very worried about all of the revealing: it was, if I remember right, less than a hundred pages until the end before we even got to know a big chunk of everything. I discovered there’d be a sequel (how did I not know this before?!) just before I’d finished. Even though I’m not very keen on a few parts of this book, I probably will rush to the stores as soon as the sequel’s out- as I need to know the rest of the story, and I want the mythology detailed on some more!

The writing was good. I’m not entirely sure how to talk about it… The descriptions, especially of one particularly gruesome scene (which. Was. Awesome.) were really vivid and realistic. Lauren Kate has a really great writing talent. Though, I don’t think it was the best. I wasn’t particularly gripped, as such, but I definitely did want to keep reading!

Overall, I’m really not sure of my overall opinion on Teardrop! The ideas behind it were great, and Lauren Kate has created a book that really details, in a fascinating way, on the myth subject, but just not enough, so everyone who reads it (including me!) will be itching for the sequel. The plot was great, and the events were pretty much unpredictable. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending, because while it was very dramatic and shocking, I didn’t feel like I was pulled into the story enough to enjoy it as much as I would have hoped. Eureka was a great main character, who had an interesting and sad past. I liked her as a character, but really couldn’t get on with the love triangle and the two male love interests who have been used in so many YA paranormal romances before. This book will appeal to lots of people. I’m sure it will do brilliantly. However, I just couldn’t get on with parts. Recommended if you’re a fan of the genre, though!

My Rating:

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This is a good book, but there were just too many points that have been done before- so that made the rate drop from my original idea of a four!

I received a copy of Teardrop from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.