Thursday, 30 June 2016

Worst Possible Plot Points of Cursed Child

So. We're getting an eighth Harry Potter book!

Well, technically it's a script book. From a play. I have a lot  of problems with the whole 'play in London' situation, and with the play in general, but still: HARRY POTTER IS BACK!
And whilst we're all delighted, no Potter book would be complete without servings full of emotional trauma, tears, and fury. It's so wonderful that's we're actually getting answers as to what is happening 19 years on from the Battle of Hogwarts. However, the wait for Cursed Child is agonising; and with anticipation comes plot worries. 

There are just a few not-so-minor potential plot points, that if they do feature in Cursed Child, I may resort to jumping off a cliff. 

Disclaimer - This is all coming from somebody who has not been to the previews of Cursed Child, and probably won't be going to see the play in performance for a couple of years at the earliest. 

Scorpius is bad. Scorpius is evil. 
I'm a big Scorose [Scorpius Malfoy and Rose Weasley] shipper, and anything in which he is a second generation Death Eater or the new Heir of Slytherin, or another sinister character will jeopardize the ship and later become Titanic. Also, based on the Pottermore information Rowling released, Draco is a moderately good person now. Can we just give the Malfoy's a break? 

Rose is a part of said darkness. 

'sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.'

Rose is my favourite next generation character, and even if JKR writes it as cannon, I will refuse to believe she is dark. And to be honest, I don't want Rowling to put Rose's parents [Ron and Hermione] through this either - they need a break from the drama! As long as she doesn't hurt Rose [or Hugo, for that matter], I might be able to mildly tolerate whatever else this script features. 

Albus is a part of this darkness. E.g yet another undiscovered Horcrux that might be able to bring You-Know-Who back
 From the synopsis, it's undeniably obvious that Harry and Albus will both get mixed up in whatever 'darkness' this is, and no doubt Harry, being Harry, won't think before acting and get them in a load of trouble. Perhaps hoping Albus Potter won't be involved in this mess is pointless, but you can't help but want everybody to be okay.

Voldemort 2.0 
We do not need another Tom Riddle. We do not need another Hogwarts school life destroyed by being the 'Chosen One.' Odds are, he'd probably be even more evil than Voldemort, and create an uprising of Death Eaters and Dementors etc, you get the idea... Again, can we not just take 'All was well' as 'All was well?'

Ron and Hermione get a divorce.
This is my #1 worst possible plot point of Cursed Child. I love Ron and Hermione. I love Romione. They have been my OTP since before I even knew what an OTP was. In a 2014 interview with Emma Watson, J.K. Rowling mentioned that she regrets Ron and Hermione's romantic pairing as apparently, they aren't 'compatible enough.' Like a basilisk fang to a horcrux, my soul was destroyed. The trouble is that they seem blissfully happy in the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, so should JKR drop this kind of end-of-relationship bombshell, I don't know what I'll do. That sounds rather dramatic, but when you care for two characters as immensely as I care for Ron and Hermione, they feel like a part of your being. 

I mean, look at how adorable they are together...

Following on from Rowling's Quidditch World Cup article on Pottermore in 2014. I wrote a blog post on 'The J.K. Rowling Law.' My question was 'Is What Rowling Writes Potter Law?
What an author writes, especially in a series such as Harry Potter can be deemed as fictional law, and I think for the most part I have agreed with that. However, with the Cursed Child casting, and Ron and Hermione's relationship, this can be questionable. Should  JKR create Cursed Child cannon that I disagree with, for the first time, I will be willing to ignore it, and escape to the world of Fan Fiction. 

If commenting, please remember to #KeeptheSecrets. Don't be a Wormtail. No spoilers are permitted.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles)The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

Firstly, I want to thank my Book Depository pre-order of Stars Above arriving a day before publication. It was the best thing that could have happened on a bleak Monday morning... I digress.. I'm so, so glad that this book exists, because after Winter, I wasn't ready to goodbye to these characters [I'm still not, but that's besides the point.] 

Let's break this down story by story...

The Keeper - 5/5
Finally reading Michelle Benoit's backstory was amazing. Over the course of the however many pages The Keeper was, it's easy to greatly admire Scarlet's grandmother and her personal history. There's very little of Michelle in Scarlet, but what she does leave in that book packs a punch - especially when reading of her missions to Luna, and her relationship with Scarlet. Learning of how Cinder ended up living with the Benoit's in her comatose state as well really filled in gaps that were left when simply reading the full length books.

Glitches - 5/5
I've never read any of the stories [such as this one] that were issued on Wattpad, and I'm so glad I waited for Stars Above to experience them. Reading this straight after seeing Garan adopting Cinder in The Keeper was heartbreaking - especially when it's revealed that he caught the Letumosis. And we saw Cinder and Iko's first meeting, which was so sweet. The parallels in Glitches to Cinderella was well were so familiar yet contrasted with the original tale wonderfully. 
The Queen's Army 4/5
Honestly, I didn't really care too much for this story, as I can't stand Wolf, but nevertheless, it was still interesting to learn about the genetic transition from a Lunar to one of Levana's soldiers.
Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky - 4/5
THORNE. Again, I didn't particularly love this, just because I think I expected to get more of Thorne's past then we actually did. Of course, this story adds to emphasising his charm, and I enjoyed because it was about him, but did it really provide anything great? No. 

After Sunshine Passes By - 4.5/5
Poor, poor Cress. I felt like my heart had been stomped on after reading After Sunshine Passes By. Cress has always been my favourite character in this series, so it's great to have more of her story. Out of all the stories here, even above genetic modification and Cinder's aunt trying to murder her, this was by far one of the saddest. And Sybil telling Cress that her parents hated her...  This was one of the short stories where I appreciated the background information the most. Throughout the series we're told pieces of information about Shells and their status on Luna, but to see how they are raised, like children in boarding schools, was horrific.  

The Princess and the Guard - 5/5
Jacin and Winter! This was a story that was mentioned in Winter but I'm so so glad that 

we got to see what really caused Winter to stop using her Glamour. Although they're introduced at the end of the series, I think Jacin and Winter's relationship is one of the strongest in the Lunar Chronicles, and seeing them go through everything together, across so many years was heartwarming. I don't believe people give Winter enough credit, because, to stop using your own powers, causing insanity... that's fearless. 

The Little Android - 4.5/5
For the main part of The Little Android, I had a lot of problems. I didn't care for the story, or Mech 0.6. But as the parallels between this and the Little Mermaid became clearer in the second half [such as her taking on a mute Escort Droid's body] I grew to like this more and more. Not one of the best in Stars Above, but still very interesting. 

The Mechanic - 5/5
By this point, you may have established that I'm trying to limit the amount of fangirling that comes across in these reviews, but it's so hard when these stories are so excellent. And The Mechanic is no exception. Kai is portrayed as quietly fierce and humble for a future emperor. Any admiration I had for him seemed to build within these few pages, as he risks everything in his searches for Princess Selene. Additionally, it was refreshing to see this scene outside of Cinder's perspective, and see what Kai was feeling in that moment. 

Something Old, Something New - 5/5
The "Wedding of the Century" as it was so called on Meyer's website, was... well... I wouldn't call it the Wedding of the Century. The couples whom's weddings out of the Rampion crew would have been worthy of "wedding of the century" were not the ones that got married, and that was disappointing . I wanted more of Cress and Thorne though! They were barely interacting in Something Old Something New,but when they did, it was like Christmas had come early. I can't deny the couple that get married are possibly not the ones I wanted or expected to do so, but nevertheless, it was a very sweet, and heartwarming ending.

Meyer provides such rich backstories and dynamics to her characters, and Stars Above was the icing on the cake of an already phenomenal series. Finally, the pasts of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Wolf, Thorne, Kai, and Jacin intertwined, and a series drew to a close in spectacular style. Although, apparently we're getting a graphic novel - Wires and Nerves -  next year; so at least this isn't the end. 

What did you think of Stars Above? What was your favourite story?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Summer TBR: 2016 Edition

Summer is finally here [well, actually, at the time of writing this I'm still uncertain as to when my summer break begins.] With Summer comes plenty of free time, ergo, hours upon hours of reading. Following on from leaving school last year I posted a summer TBR, but this year will be a little different. Whilst I have finished all of my AS Level exams, I need to start preparing for writing my personal statement, and for A2's, so my free time will have to accommodate light studying. 

But anyway, on with the books!


Hogwarts Library Collection by J.K Rowling - I'm ashamed to say that, in spite of being five years deep into this obsession, I still haven't read The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Quidditch Through the Ages, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. What's more shameful is that I've owned my copy of Beedle the Bard since its release in 2008, and yet 8 years on it still hasn't been opened [feel free to curse me, just nothing unforgivable.] However, my favourite podcast - Alohomora - is doing a reread and analysis of the 3 books over June/July, so there doesn't seem like a better time to get caught up. 

At least 3 classics - Throughout 2016, my aim is to read a classic per month as part of my aim to read a wider variety of fiction. This goal was going according to plan until May hit, and I had to stop reading whilst exams were going on. So, I'm one book behind, but there's plenty of time to get back on track. [By the way - a collection of my thoughts on these 12 classics will being going live in December, so watch out for that.]

Wuthering Heights - I'm loathing the fact that this is even making an appearance on this list, but Wuthering Heights has been announced as one of my A2 English Literature texts [the first one we're studying, actually.] As someone who struggles a lot with the romantics of the Brontes, I couldn't be looking forward to this any less, and therefore, am hoping to change that view over the summer, and maybe give this a first - non analytical read. 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - because it's the only Rainbow Rowell I haven't read yet. I hated Carry On, and then adored Kindred Spirits; given that this is back to Rowell's typical fluffiness then hopefully this will be loved too. 

Humans of New York; Stories by Brandon Stanton - I got this for my birthday back in December, and in spite of being essentially a picture book, I STILL haven't read this. I think this might be something I want to take my time with, looking through a few pages at a time, absorbing the wonder. 

Finally, there are a few books that I've accumulated over the past year, that if I don't read them in the summer may never be read at all. Examples of this are The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, and The Last Summer of Us by Maggie Harcourt. These are books which as my tastes change, have less and less likelihood of being read, so now is the time. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Changing Your Goodreads Goal:: It's Not a Bad Thing

December always brings thoughts of beginnings and ends. It was a month of deciding my Top Ten Reads of 2015, Resolutions for 2016, and also the Goodreads Challenge Goal. Before 2016, I'd only participated in the Goodreads Challenge twice. In 2014, I set it to 20 books [I was a very slow reader back then,] and reached 92 books in quite the turnaround. Then in 2015, I set it to 50, and managed 62 books. When it came to deciding on what my goal would be for 2016, I was certain of 40 books. 

But then came January 1st, and in a spur of the moment decision, I set it to more than that. It was only 5 more, but it was 5 more than I thought I could reach. I really don't know why I did this, but by week 3 of January, I was already noticing some problems in my goal.

Throughout January, I managed to read 3 books. Each book took me around a week to complete. Not because of being slow at reading, but because of doing things other than reading. This was a decrease on 2015's 5. Looking ahead into later 2016, I knew I had AS exams, which I'd be revising for from before Easter. I also start A2 in September and University Applications. Of course there's going to be a long summer ahead, but who says I'm going to spend all of that time in a novel. When looking at the goal I'd set myself, at the rate at which I was reading, I didn't think it seemed possible.

So I changed it. I changed it back to the original 40. Sure, that's not much of a decrease, but that was 5 books that I'd probably rush and not enjoy. I like reaching goals, I like overachieving. I like pushing past my goals and doing even more. I'd rather feel like that, and appreciate the books I'm reading than hate the books I open simply to add another number to a goal percentage. 

Changing your Goodreads goal is something that people seemed to be massively bothered by. And until this year, I was one of those people. Just because you are decreasing your goal, it doesn't mean your failing. It means you haven't failed at realizing your limits and are just setting a goal that's a little nearer to your grasp. That's not a bad thing.

Holly x