Not the end of the trilogy?

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Okay, it’s been a long time since I actually read this book, but I didn’t want to skip it because I liked it so much.

I really, really liked this trilogy, although as it turns out, she wrote three more afterwards and I’m pretty sure they reprinted them as a … sixlogy?

Last movie I watched:

A Christmas Prince. A Netflix original that was clearly inspired by a Hallmark original. But it was good, for what it was.

Last TV show I watched:

Supernatural. So I guess Mary’s back then? Cool.

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A choice

I am almost 10 books behind on my blog and I was considering giving up. But I’m going to try not to. So here we go:

Summer Tree by Gavriel Kay

This book took me so long to get through, but it was absolutely amazing. It reminded me of Dune in some ways. Like Dune it suffers somewhat from having a million characters and several dozen story lines that can be hard to keep track of. Like Dune, it is a really serious commentary on humanity.

It’s the story of a small group of people who cross from the University of Toronto (which is cool, since I went there) into another world, a fantasy world, right as it needs them the most. Each of them struggle, suffer and make a massive sacrifice in their roles in it’s salvation.

While I read it took long ago to have anything really thoughtful about it now, I definitely recommend it. It’s an adult book for sure, and the writing is slow and careful, but so, so worth it.

Last movie I watched:

Part of Brave. Fun movie. Very Scottish

Last TV show I watched:

Part of Shadowhunters. I’m not sure it’s a great show, but I love it

Newest Obsession

His Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

This audio book set off a bit of a trend for me actually, a Cassandra Clare trend. After one really bad movie and one better, although not perfect, TV series, plus having read the book before there isn’t much to say other than, this book is great! I love it and I was happy to listen to it again.

Last movie I watched:

Pirates of the Caribbean. You know what? The first one was really fun. I really liked it.  Obviously they went down hill a little later, but they started off strong.

Last TV show I watched:

Friends.

Beauty after Tragedy

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Hermione Winter heads off to cheer leading camp before her grade twelve year sure that this will be her year. She and her best friend Polly are co-captains of their team, in a school that loves cheer leading. Her teams is the best it’s ever been. Her boyfriend’s on the team. Surely this will be her year. Until she’s drugged and raped by an unknown assailant at camp. Over the next year she looses friends and gains friends as she struggles to get through her own life but also to live free of the identity of a victim.

This book is powerful. Really, truly. The writing has a beautiful rawness to it, particularly painful to read when it relates to physical pain and sensation and flashback. I found it hard not to have a very real reaction myself (okay, so I cried at work through a few parts) just because of the stunning honesty of everything – the words, the sentences, the characters, the places.

The other things that brought me to tears was the wonderful people in Hermione’s life. From her best friend Polly, to her partners bewildered about how to help their child, the other adults in her life – her therapist, coach, guidance councilor, doctor, police – and her friends, people she’d always known and cared about but she’d never realized how they’d step up to protect her, they are all amazing. And of course, this is the most unrealistic element of the story because in real life, survivors of sexual violence often end up feeling isolated alone and betrayed by the people in their life. But here’s the thing about this book – at least for me it was impossible not to want to be that person who steps up for anyone who needs. Characters that good inspire goodness.

Just for the record, this is not a book about looking for the rapist. Of course some of the story is devoted to finding out who he was, to the police investigation and DNA and that kind of CSI stuff. But that’s not what it’s about, not at all.

There’s very little about this book that I didn’t love. Obviously there’s some pretty serious content, so I’d recommend chatting with any teens in your life who happen to be reading it if you’re uncomfortable with themes of sexual assault, abortion or trauma. But I would also recommend everyone reading it.

Last movie I watched:

I still think it’s the Karate Kid.

Last TV episode I watched:

The Musketeers! Apparently the king just kinda died. Weird.

A very long hiatus

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

My life has been really busy and I haven’t blogged in ages. You may have noticed. Anyway, this blog post is just in here so I don’t forget I read this book and enjoyed it.

One reason Chamber of Secrets is not my favourite Harry Potter:

The lack of wonderful, supportive and fun adults and other mentor figures and the feeling of inter generational overlap. In this one there’s no grown up person to help Harry and co, even passively. I really enjoy mentor characters and they were all missing from this book.

One reason Chamber of Secrets could be my favourite Harry Potter:

The kids really do solve this one on their own and that’s pretty epic. Most of the other ones they have someone on their side but not for Chamber. These plucky kids do it all their own and that’s unique in the series.

Last movie I watched: Noel. Weird Christmas movie. I don’t feel like I get it.

Last TV episode I watched: Supernatual. Castiel! What’s happened to you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethics, Apocalypses and teenage angst

Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson

This young adult novel really depends on a lot of big reveals (like maybe three of them) so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to say without revealing these details, which I don’t want to do because it was a really, really good book and I seriously recommend reading it.

Jenna Fox is seventeen and she wakes up from a year long coma in a new house in California. She doesn’t remember the accident that put her there, she doesn’t remember well, anything really. Her life is in a future when the overuse of antibiotics created a bubonic-esk plague that has devastated the global population and left the survivors at risk from every little infection.  Her father is a leading doctor, her mother used to renovate brownstones, back when they lived in Boston. They tell her everything’s all right now, that she will regain her memories, and get her life back. But there are things they won’t tell her. She slowly pieces together  her old life and a hundred questions, but the biggest one always remains: how did she survive the accident?

For the purposes of this post, my title will be my thesis.

This book had a pretty complex discussion of medical ethics. After the loss of antibiotics thanks to a reckless medical industry a regulatory body called the FSEB has gained significant power and they fight to oversee and limit what the medical professionals can do. Their agenda is personified in Allys, Jenna’s friend, who lost her arms and legs to infection. But on the flip side, there is Jenna, saved by illegal procedures. One girl killed by medical arrogance, one saved by it and in the face of questions like that how are we supposed to decide our own best practices? Certainly right now scientific developments are happening at alarming rates, promising solutions to out most serious problems, but also at a human cost.

As far as apocalypses go, an drug resistant super bug is both a pretty real one and a pretty scary one. Like, right now it’s relatively possible and that’s super, duper scary. This book doesn’t spend a lot of time world building. That’s okay and kind of makes the super threat, which is mostly abstract since it happens well in advance of the book actually starting, kind of scarier then it already is.

The last thing this book was very good and very real I thought was Jenna’s feelings of frustration as a teenager. She’s trapped between wanting to be the perfect child, to succeed, to be perfect, be everything that her parents want her to be and being a young adult, following her passions and bucking those expectations entirely before she can set up her own. The contrast is exemplified particularly by Jenna’s conflict with her post accident self, new Jenna and her recovered memories, old Jenna. I think teens, as well as most other people will enjoy this story and the tension Jenna feels. And that’s not even touching on her complicated feelings about herself and her identity after a terrible accident, something that lots of people who have experienced that kind of trauma might relate to.

It’s a great book, and I have recently been informed, part of a trilogy, so that’s something to look forward to. I strongly suggest picking up this first book at least and just seeing what you think. Obviously, I had lots of thoughts and yours will probably be better.

Last movie I watched:

Full Monty. HILARIOUS GUYS. You don’t think a bunch of out of work steel workers in the north of England who take up stripping could be this funny, BUT IT IS.

Last TV episode I watched:

The last ever Charmed. It was worth the whole dumb 8th seasons for that episode.

I just don’t know what to say

The Roundhill by Dick King-Smith

The Roundhill is a sweet little story by Dick King-Smith, the author of Babe if anyone missed that (I know I did once). Evan is fourteen, it’s 1936 and while he’s happy enough with his life, he feels a little empty and alone. His parents are nice, but very British and not inclined to show affection. He wants to believe in God but he can’t quite understand how God could be real. School is fine but he misses home. Home is full of routines and patterns. The thing he loves most in the world is the Roundhill he can see from his bedroom window,  and goes to visit once every holiday. Until he meets a little girl named Alice who looks uncannily like a a famous literary figure sitting on the Roundhill. They become unusual friends, but Evan knows there’s something even more unusual about her.

I probably would have liked this book as a child, but I was kind of an unusual child. Really, it’s an older story, it’s a slow, meticulous and rather beautiful to read and compared with early readers now, it’s probably not going to be the one more kids pick up on their own. It’s also very serious. Evan is a very serious young man, Alice is a more real character, with none of the whimsical (yet dark) feel of Alice in Wonderland. It also felt like it should have an agenda, although I’m not sure what it was. It might have been an innocent lost theme, but I think that’s often missed by children. It’s probably more of a read together kind of book. And for an adult, they might appreciate all the things their kids are missing.

Last movie I watched:

Atlantis: The Lost Empire. I fail to see how Atlantis was an Empire. They didn’t seem to be invading anybody.

Last TV episode I watched:

Once Upon a Time. This Captain Hook guy seems pleasant.