Category Archives: books

A Hero and a Chosen One Walk Into a Bar

In every story there is a protagonist, the protagonist can either be a primary character, someone the story just so happens to follow, or in some creative cases the enemy of the “protagonist” should the story follow a villain rather than the hero (think Invader Zim). In many stories a a protagonist will more than likely be labeled a hero and in some cases even a ‘Chosen One’. Now a Hero protagonist and a Chosen One don’t have to be one and the same, but in some cases both will be merged into one character for convenience or lack of creativity. There is nothing wrong with having a Chosen One or a hero, but one can’t help but admit that it may be done a bit too much at times.

The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey is pretty self explanatory, but just to give a little more detail as to what goes on is that your protagonist goes on a journey and through a series of events has experiences that cause change in his character which may result in heroic deeds.

I’m going to go farther back than I normally do with my references to pop culture and media and reference the poem known as Beowulf. Yes that long poem you had to read in twelfth grade english class will be talked about a little today, no I’m not talking about that weird CGI movie that came out ten years ago. Beowulf hears of the troubles the monster Grendel is causing because the tenants above him won’t turn down their partying resulting in Grendel  killing citizens under the land of Heorot. Grendel and Beowulf do battle, Beowulf rips off his arm and Grendel dies at home. His mother gets pissed.

Grendel’s Mother gets her revenge, and Beowulf travels to put an end to her too. For these two battles Beowulf is more or less just being a nice guy and is very confident in his abilities. He’s a hero because it’s the right thing to do. After fifty years and becoming a king himself, Beowulf takes on a dragon, but thanks to old age isn’t as confident in his abilities and is mortally wounded while dealing with the dragon.

The story itself isn’t too thrilling, but we have the basic hero of Beowulf who technically does go through change in his story of heroism from confident man who defeated two monsters to a king who wasn’t so sure he could defeat a dragon.

The subject of change for the hero can vary from the confidence of the hero regardless of it being a lack of confidence at the beginning to having confidence at the end or vice versa in the case of Beowulf.

There is also the ‘Zero to Hero’ story where Disney’s adaptation of Hua Mulan (just Mulan for the film) is a good example. In the original story Mulan wanted to join the army in place of her father (after she dueled him for permission and won) and was already a skilled martial artist and capable with a sword and after gaining much credit for her work returned home in retirement accepting no compensation for her work in the military.

The Disney adaption keeps Mulan replacing her father as a soldier, but takes away her badass combat abilities. She instead has to learn and earn her abilities as a soldier with the stakes increased in the film that should the Chinese military discover that she is a woman she will be executed for daring to break social norms by entering the army. Mulan is discovered, but is spared because Li is probably very relieved that Mulan is a woman meaning he isn’t gay. For all her efforts Mulan returns home a changed woman with a better understanding of honor and very happy to see her family (and is even hugged by the Emperor after she blew up his castle and earning the highest headcount of her Disney Princess counterparts).

It could be argued that the Disney film Hercules released a year before Mulan has the same Zero to Hero format and technically it does, but the character Hercules is doing it for selfish reasons at first rather than the selfless reason of Mulan and only learned to be a hero after Megara dies and the gods are freed. Technically Hercules didn’t learn a damn thing in the movie (Hades wasn’t such a bad guy and was just keeping his end of the bargain, Hercules is an asshat).

From the three examples above it could be argued that Mulan is the best example of a hero due to her compassion and will to sacrifice herself for the needs of her loved ones (and a cricket for good luck) while Beowulf was just being a nice guy and Hercules had no idea how to be a hero outside of getting a merchandising deal.

The Chosen One and The Special

What do Harry Potter and Star Wars have in common? Well besides the hero and villain relying on the color scheme of red and green to help the audience determine who is good and who is evil, not that much. Both DO have a Chosen One and do indeed play with the idea of a Chosen One. Normally a Chosen One is someone who is predicted to “save the day and put an end to evil!” Because destiny said so.

While this isn’t a bad plot device for a story, I chose the topic of Star Wars and Harry Potter because most audiences are familiar with these two franchises when it comes to having a ‘Chosen One’ despite the actual label of Chosen One being played with. In Harry Potter, Harry is known as ‘The Boy Who Lived’ and after a run in Voldemort his first year at Hogwarts is the only wizard who can defeat Voldy after Dumbledore himself. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book 5/the one with the blue cover for you muggles) after being responsible for the death of a student and his godfather Harry demands answers from Dumbledore as to why this is happening to him.

Dumbledore explains that because of a vague prediction that Voldy knew of Harry could have been living a normal wizard life while his classmate and friend Neville Longbottom could have been the one with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead, but Voldy picked Harry because he felt Harry was his equal. Dumbledore mentions that Voldy didn’t HAVE to actually listen to the prediction and could have gone on causing problems in the wizarding world, but because of knowledge of said prophesy didn’t want to take risks and decided to go after baby Harry setting the story into motion.

In Star Wars we have the Skywalker family; this starts off with Anakin Skywalker who has a special talent with the force and is prophesied to bring balance to the light and dark side of the force. Anakin is a gifted padawan despite having temptations from the dark side of the force. In the tv series Clone Wars he is shown to be a competent general, but it’s all for naught when in Revenge of the Sith he falls to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader putting an end to his Chosen One status. For the original trilogy audiences figured Luke was the actual Chosen One, and the force even had a back up plan with Leia, but in the end it’s Vader who puts an end to Emperor Palpatine.

In recent movies and spin offs though in the Star Wars universe things are shifting away from having Chosen Ones save the day to a bigger picture type of story I’ll get into a little bit.

The alternative to The Chosen One is ‘The Special’ as The Lego Movie puts it. As the name suggests, the Special is someone who is special, they can be someone immune to most vampire abilities, a vampire with empathic abilities, or in the case of The Lego Movie, someone who will be the best master builder ever! I do like that The Lego Movie also plays with this with the character WyldStyle hoping that she is the special, but discovering it’s a guy who thinks inside the box in contradiction to the outside the box master builders and saves the day more frequently because of it. It is revealed that the Special is completely made up for the sake of one of the protagonists buying time earlier in the movie and that all the protagonists in the movie are ‘The Special’.

Born for the Job

A variation for ‘The Special’ is literally being born into the job. Very good examples of this are Avatar The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. In these cases our protagonist is born into the role of hero due to being reincarnated in the case of Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon), and the light spirit of Raava being transferred into each life and incarnation of the Avatar.

The approach of being a hero is taken to two different extremes with the Avatar series; in the first series Aang is just child when he is told that he is the Avatar and has to defeat the Firelord to restore balance between the four nations. Aang flees resulting in the mass genocide of Airbenders and has to clean up the mess later. The first two seasons of the series Aang focuses more on having fun since he is still a twelve year old, but grows to understand the seriousness of the situation with the Fire Nation and realizes that he is the only one who can fix his mistake. While the first two seasons are more lighthearted, the third season takes a darker approach with the final batch of episodes focusing on the conflict between Aang’s personal beliefs that killing is wrong despite his position of being the Avatar and needing to protect and bring balance to the world and that he needs to kill Firelord Ozai (he takes the third option).

In the sequel series Legend of Korra, Korra is the opposite of Aaeng, when she discovers she’s the Avatar, she’s excited and spent her whole youth training to be the greatest fighter mastering all bending outside of airbending. While Aang was primarily a defensive fighter who went to great lengths to avoid violence as a solution to a conflict, Korra was ready to kick ass and chew gum. Korra’s constant conflict throughout the series is being told that she as the Avatar is not needed anymore. It starts off small when Amon of the Equalist movement tells her she is no longer needed because ‘benders shouldn’t be superior to nonbenders.’ this continues onto the second season where her uncle tries to replace her as the dark avatar, and comes to a tragic level in season three where the radicalist Zaheer wants to kill Korra and end the Avatar cycle for the sake of chaos and anarchy. The tragedy comes at the end of the season where Korra is damaged physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally and is told by her mentor Tenzin that the newly formed air nomads will aid the people of the four nations further pushing the message that Korra isn’t ‘needed’ anymore. In contrast with most tales of the Hero’s Journey, Korra realizes that in contradiction with Aang needing to resort to violence to save the day (he technically didn’t, but there was still fighting), she needed to rely on pacifism and talked her final foe down without resorting to what she believed was needed in the form of brute force and skill to save the day a few years ago.  

Now there’s Sailor Moon; many people see it as the one of the girliest shows out there. They might be right, but who says a story aimed for girls can’t have depth? Compared to the previous two examples, Usagi Tsukino almost had to be dragged into heroics kicking and screaming. The manga, nineties anime adaption, and live action tokusatsu series do a decent job of Usagi’s growth into a hero from her usual cry baby antics (the first episode of the nineties anime is literally named Crybaby Usagi’s Beautiful Transformation). What convinces her to go out and become a hero despite being a crybaby with zero combat ability? Her friend Naru is in danger (she never turns her back on a friend, she’s always there to defend, she is the one on whome we can depend), so she leaps into action without a second thought to save her best friend. As the series continues it is shown that what Usagi lacks in heroism (there are times where Luna and Tuxedo Mask have to talk Usagi into believing in herself to beat the bad guys), she makes up for as a people person genuinely liking most of the people she meets and standing up for oddballs and social outcasts that would later become her dearest friends.

By the third arc of the manga Usagi admits that she has accepted her fate to protect the earth from all who want to do harm to it and it’s people. In the final series arc she even gives a pep talk to a future incarnation of Sailor Moon known as Sailor Cosmos that even though the fight against Chaos seems hopeless, she can’t destroy the Galaxy Cauldron because then there would be no more life and that even if the fight against Chaos seems hopeless, it’s no reason to give up.

The Legend of Zelda

Why is The Legend of Zelda getting its own portion to this essay? Because it’s just that amazing. In nearly each Zelda game, there is one constant. There’s a Link, and there’s a Zelda. Things got a little interesting a few years ago with the release of the Hyrule Historia finally placing some clarity to many fan debates of how the series worked concerning our two main heroes.

Our heroes Link and Zelda are both subversions and straight examples of a hero and a Chosen One (this can vary from game to game). Each Link is a hero earning the Triforce of Courage for their courageous deeds (and in two cases getting the complete triforce). Many fans wondered how each Link was connected, and the only connection between them outside of the green tunic was bearing the Triforce of Courage, thus being the subversion of a ‘Chosen One’.

The multiple Zeldas in the series are an interesting approach to being a ‘Chosen One’ and ‘being born into the job’. It was revealed in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword that there was indeed a fourth goddess for Hyrule known as the goddess Hylia born into a human by choice into the first incarnation of Princess Zelda. From that point onward future Zeldas are by technicality a Chosen One in their adventures not because they are royalty, but because they have the blood of the goddess Hylia flowing through their veins and with this power are trained and obligated to protect the land of Hyrule.

In the most recent game in the series Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, this incarnation of Zelda can’t connect with the power wielded by her ancestors and doesn’t like the pressure of being needed to protect Hyrule due to her inability to connect with these spiritual abilities and would rather be a scholar aiding in the research of past technologies. In contrast the Link of the game is a stern soldier fully devoted to Zelda and to the land of Hyrule ;Zelda laments that Link may have chosen this path because his father chose it and asks him what if he had chosen a different path mirroring his own situation with her own.

Unlike the Zeldas, most Links don’t have the baggage of having a duty to protect the kingdom and are just someone who stepped up to the plate to save the day for various reasons either to save a friend, sister, or because a tree told them to do it.

Subversion of Everything I Just Talked About

I have some issues with Chosen Ones; not that a story is bad for having a Chosen One, but that in writing once you set your protagonist as a Chosen One, you wrote yourself to rely solely on a protagonist. First let’s talk about destiny.

Destiney can tie into having a Chosen One because they’re destined to be chosen (so shocking). Back to Star Wars, in 2003 the video game Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic was released; it is one of the only GOOD Star Wars games out there. You can literally make your Player Character have decisions that affect their affiliation with the Force (as in you gain light side points for giving a man money, or can earn dark side points for mugging that man instead). You can also strike up conversations with crewmembers of the Ebon Hawk, one of them being Jolee Bindo. Bindo provides some insight and an alternative perspective to  the way the Force is seeing as he isn’t on the best terms with the Jedi Order.

One story is how a force user named Andor Vex who is told that the Force has a strong interest in him. Andor takes this as a sign that he will be a great hero and is cocky, this eventually leads to him confronting a villain and is taken captive. Andor begins to mouth off and brag about his destiny, resulting in his neck getting snapped and his body tossed down a hole that leads to his captors getting blown up. The lesson from this is pretty obvious that  just because you are told you have a big important destiny, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a delightful one.

To continue on with the thought of destiny there is Steven Universe; in the later portion of the series the main protagonist Steven begins to think he exists and was created for the sake of a big fancy destiny, possibly from the influence of his friend Connie.

Steven is a unique entity on his show where he’s half gem and half human. He was created because his mother, Rose Quartz, was so intrigued by humans and their ability to choose their own destiny, decided she wanted to have a child so that said child can choose their own destiny. By the episode Lion 4: Alternate Ending, Steven becomes obsessed with finding out more about his life and what his mother wanted for him only to be told by his dad that nothing in Steven’s life was planned and that everything that has happened so far was by pure chance.

Philip J. Fry

Philip J. Fry was the protagonist (sorta) to the animated scifi comedy series Futurama! He was a delivery boy from the year 1999 who got frozen and now lives in the year 3000 (sort of) as a delivery boy. As the series goes on it is discovered that Fry is a very important and special (no not that kind) person.

Because of time travel it is revealed that Fry had a one night stand with his grandmother and is his own grandfather. It seems like a throwaway gag at first, but this makes him the most important being in the universe; because of Fry’s ‘nasty in the pasty’, Fry lacks the delta brainwave making him immune to mind control and having his own mind read.

This doesn’t make him a Chosen One and Fry does qualify as a Special, but his importance is never really brought up. While the Nibblonians were aware of Fry and his importance, once his job of defeating the brainspawn is done (twice) he lives an uneventful life most of the time when he isn’t saving the universe by dumb luck alone.

I really do like the approach to Fry in Futurama since his character arc was planned from the start of the series instead of thrown in out of nowhere as the series went along. Futurama is also filled with constant subversions of science fiction and fantasy tropes that inspire the show and treated with love and respect.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Super heroes, they’re not exactly chosen to do the job of being a hero, but they do a good job of doing it. I like comicbooks, The above title for this part of the essay comes from The Amazing Spiderman as something Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben tells him shortly before being killed. And this quote does indeed echo not only through the Marvel Comic universe, but the DC universe as well.

There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of superheroes drawn and printed onto comicbooks once a month that range from being a mutant, alien, gifted with powers, and so many origin stories of how they became heroes.

A common plot involves the hero getting the power by sheer accident (like Spiderman or The Flash), they then proceed to use said power for the sake of doing good. In the case of Spiderman, it was originally just to find the crook who killed his beloved uncle (like a more sarcastic and middleclass Batman), but Spidey decided to keep on saving the day.

Honorary Mentions

  • Once Upon a Time- the first six seasons of this series followed Emma Swan and her adventures in the small town known as Storybrook as she slowly begins to understand and accept her life as the Savior with constant forks in the road of her eventual destiny of saving everyone (even the villains)
  • The Hunger Games trilogy-I’d Argue that Katniss Everdeen is only a hero because her sister just so happened to be selected to participate in the games. Had neither of their names been selected Katniss and Prim would have just continued on their lives and no big rebellion would have happened.
  • Battlestar Galactica-holy crap this series is all kinds of weird “because God wants it this way” going on.

They All Said Ouch

The hero protagonist has been here a long while and is here to stay. The same thing goes for being a Chosen One. The story of a hero can and has evolved though from basic stories of individuals doing good deeds just for the sake of doing them to complex prophecies saying ‘someone will save the day’, and even stories both real and fictional bringing in a protagonist who came from nothing and caused many great and good things to happen.

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Ready Player One Review

At the suggestion of a friend I listened to Ready Player One (narrated by Wil Wheaton). I wasn’t really expecting anything amazing, and I wasn’t expecting crap. I got neither, but I am underwhelmed.

Spoilers from this point on.

Ready Player One takes place in a near dystopian future where humanity spends most of its time playing the video game The Oasis. The Oasis is the online RPG where most of the art, culture, scientific knowledge, and anything else you can think of is stored on there with countless people playing the video game at all times. The Oasis was created by James Halliday who was both eccentric and obsessed with pop culture from the eighties ranging from cheesy sitcoms, videogames, blockbusters from the time period, to even Japanese anime and Tokusatsu.

The plot follows Wade Watts, a Gunter (low level Easter Egg Hunter) on his quest to find the three keys that lead to the Easter Egg left in the game data by Halliday in order to gain his company and fortune in a contest to find an heir (kind of like Willie Wonka). Things in Wade’s life begin to change when he discovered the first key leading to the Easter Egg by accident causing a chain effect of many other players in the Oasis video game to discovering that the Easter Egg quest is not a hoax after all.

Along with regular players in the game, Wade also has the competition of the Sixers; employees of the IOI company who aim to win the Easter Egg contest to apply the usual capitalism to The Oasis game and ruin it for everyone. The Sixers have countless resources at their disposal and are willing to even resort to homicide in the real world killing both their targets and innocent civilians that are in their way.

While I didn’t hate the story, I feel like much of the story was devoted primarily to exposition of the world of the Oasis and explaining real life secrets in video games and pop culture with the most obscure references known to only a handful of people at most. After most of the exposition is done the story flows fairly well though; Wade becomes famous by accident, goes from living a shitty home life to a more decent life, gets the girl and loses her (it looks like he eventually gets her in the end though), has a heroic blue screen of death, and saves the day by accident.

My complaint is that we don’t really learn much of the real world beyond the video game (which kind of makes sense because the novel wants us to focus on the game and Wade and his friends defeating big evil capitalists). We don’t know just how awful the real world really is; are all the animals dead? Is there no plant life? How is Saturday Night Live still going into the 2040s, how is the Wil Wheaton administration going? We never get those questions or answers in the novel outside of some minor mentioning from the character Art3mis (the “girl I gotta impress” of the story).

The strongest part of the novel is the pop culture references primarily from the eighties. I was a little shocked that I got more of the Japanese culture references in the book instead of the eighties  culture reference (the writers of Glee would be devastated how little I know of Rush). There really is a little bit of everything the reader can relate to even if the reader isn’t into video games or nerdy related content. If they’re into movies, there’s movie references, tv shows, there’s a reference!

Wil Wheaton’s narration for the audiobook was a nice match for the book; he always kept a humorous tone and was serious when it needed to be. I highly recommend anyone interested to listen to the audiobook.

Views on the film adaption

I was vaguely aware of the film adaption of Ready Player One until recently. I can’t help but feel that Steven Spielberg was going for the last breaths of the dystopian “teens gotta save the world” movie trend that was started by The Hunger Games. Obviously the film adaption can’t stay true to the source material (no chance of getting Super Sentai Spiderman Mecha in this film), but it does look nice to look at so I might enjoy what will be presented to the audience.

While I wasn’t too impressed with Ready Player One, it was a fun and exciting listening experience. I give Ready Player One by Ernest Cline two out of three keys.

The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren Book 2 The Siren Review

Whisky Tango Foxtrot is a good way to describe my experience with the second book in The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren trilogy. No I don’t mean it’s a bad read (I enjoyed it alot), but there are enough surprises here that will make the reader wonder if they watched Once Upon a Time and had a shocking cliffhanger presented to them.

Possible Spoilers from this point on, I’ll try my best not to give any, but if you want we can put you under a Siren spell and drown you afterwards.

The second book in the series continues the life of Blaize Trails as he continues to attend the faux ‘pray the gay away’ school known as sanctuary prep. Blaize is still recovering from the trauma of losing his friend Jimmy from the previous year’s encounter with the homophobic group the Zimmerman Zealots.

Despite all his trauma, Blaize is fully excited to leave his homophobic home life and return to sanctuary prep to hang out with his friends and eat hamburgers that heal you. However just because he is returning to his school, doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t any higher for Blaize, his friends, and peers.

Blaize now has the power of the Seeker given to him by his friend Jimmy before he died. Despite knowing better Blaize chooses to keep this new knowledge to himself only and not tell the staff at his school or any of his friends out of desires to not be owned by the government or to endanger any more of his loved ones.

The approach the Siren has taken against the school has also changed; rather than being backwater foulmouthed possible inbreds, the Zimmerman Zealots have expanded their resources to becoming politicians, not the foul mouthed orange kind either. They’ve become proper, have an extended vocabulary, and aren’t always under the control of the siren. Tensions increase when it’s revealed that one of the senators and part time controlled member of the ZZs has been informed that not all ‘healing schools’ are what they claim to be.

On a more teenage first world level of things, Blaize’s second year at Sanctuary Prep isn’t as glamorous as he’d thought it be (second year of highschool is never as glamorous as expected). The topic of bullying returns to the series and the minor character of Tracy returns as a main character. She is harassed by her former friends, but Blaize and his friends show her some kindness and invite her to hang out with them. Too bad her personality is that of an awful person.

The approach to bullying is done differently this time around with the character Roze choosing to do something about it and standing up to the jock crowd and encouraging other students to join in and creating a group known as the Red Shirt Brigade. I was actually reminded of the television series The Good Place at one point in the book with Roze, Blaize, and Cassie teaching Tracy how to be a ‘decent person’ with mixed results.  

The parents of the character Cassie are introduced in this novel as well and along with Blaize’s parents present two different types of homophobia in the book; a nonviolent ‘have you tried not being gay?’ atmosphere is present with Blaize’s home life that frustrates him heavily even though he knows that his family still loves him and struggles with his own emotions of still loving his parents, but being angry with how they view his sexuality. Then there’s Cassie’s home situation; Cassie is abused both emotionally and physically by her adoptive parents causing Blaize to have some relief that despite his parents being homophobic, he is still loved by them regardless.

There is romance in the book, but like with the previous novel I am happy with how it was handled and that Blaize’s affections for a character named Timothy is more in the crush area that occasionally slips into stalker territory instead of constant Twilight Saga level of obsessing over the love interest. I do like that Blaize makes the smarter decision concerning his feelings for Timothy for the greater good of not only Timothy, but all of the student body at sanctuary prep and could relate to some of the heartache that Blaize had at later points in the book.

One final thought is that I am very, very sorry to the author Cody Wagner! Despite my decision not to approach him about the story when I was reading the first book until after I was done, I may have bugged him a little bit with my real time reactions to the events of the book (something tells me JK Rowling and Anne Rice don’t put up with that). It was pretty cool to have him tease me about theories I thought up as I went along reading, and it was pretty cool that some questions I asked that resulted in a “not answering” response were addressed in this book!

I give The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren Book 2 the Siren four Tater Tot Pyramids out of five.

You can purchase the ebook on Amazon Kindle and the paperback edition will be available soon!

A Ring of Endless Light Review

In 1980 Madeleine L’Engle published her novel A Ring of Endless Light focusing on the continued life of the Austin family. In contrast with the Murry-O’Keefe family the books that revolve around the family are mostly stand alone and the reader doesn’t have to exclusively have to read the series in order (as in you could read A Wind in the Door or Many Waters without reading A Wrinkle in Time to get into the story. A Swiftly Tilting Planet requires some previous knowledge of A Wind in the Door.) The lives of the Austin family require some previous reading of books focusing on them.

Spoilers from this point on

The primary theme of this novel is death with the very first page taking place at a funeral of a family friend of the Austin family known as Commander Rodney, who suffered a heart attack after saving a rich kid from drowning. Vicky Austin and the rest of her family spend their time on an island that they normally spend no more than two or three weeks at each summer due to her grandfather’s battle with a form of leukemia.

The topic of death is one that is ever looming over Vicky’s mind due to the revelation that it was her own friend Zachary Gray whom Commander Rodney had saved despite the fact that Zachary was trying to commit suicide at the time. Meanwhile Zachary is trying to come to terms with the death of his own mother who was killed in a car accident, but unlike the Christian traditions of the Austin family, Zachary’s mother was cryogenically frozen in hopes that in the future she can be “saved”.

I haven’t read any of the other novels featuring the Austin family or Zachary Grey, but it’s easy to gather that the worlds of the two families clash completely with the humble, religious, and educated Austins, and the rich, entitled, buy your way out of trouble Gray family. From what I’ve read about L’Engle’s work concerning the character Zachary Gray, L’Engle had seen him as the “ultimate redemption story” she never got to finish.

Although the primary topic of death being a major theme in A Ring of Endless Light, it does play background noise at times to Vicky’s trials as a typical teenager; she likes boys and has “finally become beautiful enough to attract them.” However, unlike modern YA literature, Vicky isn’t in a “team Edward/team Jacob” love triangle. While she does have two characters with romantic interest in her (the above mentioned Zachary Gray and the son of Commander Rodney, Leo), Vicky doesn’t spend her time pondering over “which one is good for me?” and focuses more on herself and concentrates more on helping Leo recover from the death of his father and functioning as Zachary’s moral compass at times.

Vicky also has a third romantic interest named Adam that doesn’t show feelings for her due to the events that previously happened in The Arm of the Starfish (gotta get around to reading that).

How Vicky approaches ‘dating’ each of these boys is actually a relief. She never officially goes on a romantic date with any of them, she actually didn’t like Leo too much at the start of the novel, but does grow to genuinely care for him as a friend by the book’s end even with Leo’s desire to take the friendship further. Despite the best efforts of Zachary and Leo Vicky is very firm in what she doesn’t want from them and by the climax of the book, Vicky has lost any previous infatuation with Zachary after a incident with him flying a plane.

Adam is a college student studying dolphins and marine biology. He’s handsome, athletic, and honestly who wouldn’t fall for someone that is dolphin approved? It’s one thing to be approved by a cat or dog, but dolphins are one of the most intelligent sentient species on earth. If a dolphin approves of a boy, he’s the type you bring home to mother. Adam doesn’t actively pursue Vicky romantically ever in the book, but is very grateful for her help in his research. (Side note, this form of science would probably be mocked in real life).

In terms of the plot with dolphins, Adam hypotheses that because of Vicky’s artistic abilities as a poet, she should be able to connect with dolphins. And that she does through a form of telepathy previously used in L’Engle’s books known as kything. There is a significant amount of growth between Vicky and Adam where towards the end it is all but confirmed the two are in love with each other since Vicky is able to call Adam in her time of greatest distress.

The climax of the novel does heavily involve the above topic of life, death, and dolphins. Through kything the dolphins give VIcky an idea of what the universe is like beyond what she knows of on the planet earth and a deep understanding of what is beyond life and death.

In the climax of the novel while rushing to see her grandfather, Vicky is briefly left in charge of a sickly child also suffering from terminal illness. Sadly said child has a seizure and dies in Vicky’s arms sending her into a deep despair challenging not just her religious beliefs, but everything the dolphins told her and her faith that there is good in humanity despite all the sorrow and evil in the world. The plots come full circle when Vicky is healed of her sorrow through the healing abilities of the dolphins.

Outside of romance and death, A Ring of Endless Light does have some interesting callbacks to her previous work outside of the Austin family. When Vicky has a small conversation with her little brother Rob, he asks her about the possibility of a planet with a population that has no sight and no hearing, which DOES exist in L’Engle’s universe (the planet Ixchel visited in A Wrinkle in TIme). There is also the above mentioned callback to A Wind in the Door, and the fact that Adam did do some research with Dr.O’Keefe (aka Calvin O’Keefe).

I also do enjoy the fact that even though A Ring of Endless Light being published nearly forty years ago, the topics seen in the novel are still relevant today. Is it okay to let a loved one die from terminal illness and is it bad to prolong their life via “hooked up to a machine”? Is it bad to slaughter animals even though said animals eating the source of income/food for your family? Can all diseases be “healed by science”? Etc.

In Comparison to the Disney Channel Original Movie

While the movie adaption isn’t bad (it’s a lot better than any of the DCOMs released since Highschool Musical), it is very toned down from the book in many ways. One of the major differences is the reduction of the cast size from nearly twenty characters, to about eight named characters. The theme of death is toned down significantly with the dolphin plot taking place as the central plot.

Instead of being mystical creatures, the dolphins are still pretty damn mystical, but do not serve the same purpose in the film as they do in the novel, where instead of being the source of Vicky’s healing from her trauma, they’re involved in a “illegal net fishing is bad!” plot that reminded me a lot of another DCOM called The Thirteenth Year.

Zachary is also toned down from being reckless and suicidal to just being rich and unaware of the world around him (his father owns the fishing company that has dolphins getting tangled up in nets). Adam goes from introverted scientist to excited marine biologist who is pissed about dolphins getting killed in fishing nets.

It’s not a bad movie, but if Disney could have gotten away with The Color of Friendship, they could have at least handled the topic of death better than Vicky’s grandfather suddenly croaking after the dolphins were saved (ironically Vickey’s grandfather didn’t die just yet in the book.)

I give A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle, four out of five dolphins (seriously, we need to go back to writing about dolphins in YA, WHY AREN’T THERE MORE DOLPHIN STORIES??)

The Princess Diarist Review

The time has come to review the last novel written by the late, great Carrie Fisher. After discovering how much I liked her writing with Wishful Drinking I thought I could just jump into Fisher’s memoirs of her experience with the first Star Wars film (now confusingly known as episode Four A New Hope). And It was still fairly funny, granted this time there was the main reason why fans wanted to buy the book (this reason taking up two thirds of the book), her affair with Harrison Ford.

No You can’t spoil real life, but I will talk about The Last Jedi a bit here with some minor spoilers, I promise this will be the last time I talk about Star Wars until the end of Star Wars Rebels.

This novel is more or less Carrie talking about her life behind the scenes of what was going on when filming the first Star Wars movie, her life prior to the movie, life as an actress during that time, her hesitation at going into showbiz, her experience with Harrison Ford (gosh he was/is hot. Remember when you didn’t need amazing muscles to be hot?), her life in the world of comicon, and a depressing realization I had that resulted in me taking a few months (and some audiobook sessions) to finish this novel.

The Princess Diarist is a pretty damn good book, Carrie Fisher had chosen to write it solely because one day she was cleaning house and found her old diaries from when she was filming Star Wars, which is pretty cool that she kept and found them and that the ink managed to last for so many years.

As mentioned above the main focus of the book (and one of the reasons why so many people were interested in the book in the first place prior to December 27th 2016) was the revelation that Carrie FIsher had an affair with Harrison Ford. Carrie FIsher didn’t go into too much detail about what went on in the bedroom (with the exception of maybe one detailed poem) as she felt that sex is a private matter.

She talks about the secret she and Harrison Ford shared and how she did have feelings for Harrison Ford that she didn’t want to have because she saw that her father ran off with Elizabeth Taylor and didn’t want to become ‘a homewrecker’ by having an affair with Harrison Ford. The poems she wrote can sometimes be particularly dark to the point that I resorted to listening to the audiobook (which somehow got Carrie FIsher nominated for a Grammy), to highschool crush and feelings, to being in love with someone and knowing that you yourself can be more interesting and better than what you see yourself as and wondering how that person views you. Despite how dark the diary entries go, I feel that people can relate to them even if the situation is just so unrealistic.

I will admit I did get annoyed how the book focused so much on this affair; I understand it’s a secret that Carrie Fisher almost took with her to the grave, but I was hoping for other stories and adventures she had on set of Star Wars. But then again the diary entries that were created partially because of the affair so I understand why so much of the book was devoted to it.

It was fun seeing how Carrie Fisher talked about her life after the original Star Wars trilogy, going through life living in Princess Leia’s shadow, hating princess Leia, liking Princess Leia, understanding that she is only famous because of Princess Leia, hating Star Wars for a little bit, then just growing to accept all of it.

She does also talk a bit about her life in conventions giving small parodies/generalizations of the fans she meets while at conventions. She mentions that despite meeting some fans multiple times, she didn’t remember them, but was polite about that situation, and situations where children thought that Princess Leia was a beautiful young woman still (don’t do drugs kids). Most of all she did like the Star Wars fan base and enjoyed joking around with her fans and just grew to enjoy everything. She accepted what life had given her and was happy to live it.

And now for the depressing realization of this novel and The Last Jedi. Throughout most of the book Carrie FIsher mentioned the topic of death a lot. Most people would say “she was old, of course she’s going to talk and joke around about death,” which is fair enough, I joke about dying a lot too. But then I saw The Last Jedi last week and noticed something about Carrie’s performance and began to tie something with what she had written in the book. Carrie knew she didn’t have much time left on this earth.

Granted she was having a blast on The Ellen Degeneres show a little over a week before she passed away, but who wouldn’t have a blast on Ellen? Even the kids from Thirteen Reasons Why had a blast on her show!

I could be wrong, I really hope I’m wrong about this observations I had while reading this book and seeing her act one last time, but this is a feeling I have, nothing more and nothing less. It was great seeing the crazy lady and her internal thoughts one last time, it’s making me consider going to go see The Last Jedi again on the 27th dressed as a giant prozzak pill.

I give The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher five out of five strange Slave Leia autographs.

Turtles all the Way Down Review

       

Turtles all the Way Down the long awaited novel by John Green after his heavy success with The Fault in Our Stars. If you follow his vlogs like I do you will know that until a few months ago he had stayed very quiet about his work post The Fault in Our Stars. Many fans of his (some known as Nerdfighters) were very excited to see the release of Turtles all the Way Down, and since I have read most of John Green’s books I figured I’d read Turtles all the Way Down too.

        Also fun fact, I had intended to grab the book at Target because Target dictates to me what is worth reading and what isn’t and to my surprise I got myself a signed copy of Turtles all the Way Down. It seems like something silly to gush over, but there’s just something nice about knowing a book you bought was in the same area as their ‘parent’.

Spoilers from this point Onward, can’t jedi mind trick this out of you. Hehe Star Wars reference in a book that has NOTHING to do with Star Wars. And maybe some discussion about John Green’s vlogs over the past few years.

        Turtles all the Way Down follows a girl named Aza Holmsey, a girl who suffers from a form of OCD that involves the fear of Clostridium Difficile (C.diff) and other bacterias to the point where she’s always applying hand sanitizer to one of her fingers that has a perpetual cut due to always pushing her thumbnail into her middlefinger. Aza has only her mother due to her father dying when she was a child.

        Aza also has her best friend Daisy who is a big Star Wars fan having knowledge of the current expanded universe, the Legends universe, and even writing her own Star Wars fanfiction. The story kicks off with Daisy taking interest in the disappearance Russell Pickett wanted by the police for a white collar crime due to a large reward being offered for the knowledge of the whereabouts of Russell Pickett. Because of this Aza runs into Davis a childhood friend of hers and son of Russell Pickett.  

        In all honesty I was a little worried reading the first quarter of the book; worried that this was another flavor of Looking for Alaska in the same way that Paper Towns was due to the mystery of the disappearance of Russell Pickett that our protagonists want to solve. After some bribe is involved the mystery is dropped down to mainly background noise in the novel with the bulk of the story involving Aza’s OCD and how it affects not only her, but her relationships and prevents her from experiencing life in the same way a normal person would.

        I don’t have OCD, I’ve made jokes at the expense of individuals of OCD (mainly out of my lack of education on the disorder and inability to organize my living space), but TatWD gave what has been described by fans on the Facebook Nerdfighters page as a very accurate internal description of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It probably helps that John Green as admitted to having OCD and knowing the experience for it.

        The way it affects Aza outside of the fear of C.diff is a constant fear of not being clean enough and losing the ability to do things that some people would enjoy doing and have no problem doing (such as French kissing) where the thoughts of another person’s bacteria inside of her make her unable to enjoy the sensation and her thoughts focusing primarily on the fact that something that isn’t hers is inside of her.

        Aza also struggles with her relationship with Davis, who she does have feelings for, but the above side effects of her OCD prevent her from enjoying the more physical parts of their relationship. While both of them do have a unique form of communication via text message. Even though Davis does return the feelings towards Aza he does have physical desires (not sexual, but atleast some form of physical intimacy.

Aza does feel guilt for her choice t date Davis despite his dad missing because it distracts Davis from taking care of his little brother Noah who isn’t taking the disappearance of their father in the same way that Davis is.

There is some strong emphasis on parents in this novel, even stronger than Green’s previous work where parents are far from a obstacle in their stories as seen in some other YA books. Aza has only her mother who worries about Aza frequently because of her mental health and just because she’s a good mother. Davis’ father on the other hand abandoned both his sons, was never too close to them, had arguments with his wife before she passed away, had the staff of his house raise his sons, and left all his money to a tuatara named Tua in hopes that the research to discover the secrets to the long life of tuataras can be found and he’d get the credit for funding it. Daisy’s parents are mentioned, but never seen due to Aza never asking about them or ever going over to Daisy’s house.

        My favorite character in the novel is Daisy, as I mentioned before she’s a huge Star Wars fan, but she was fun. There were moments of her being shallow and using Aza a bit (she did kick off the whole plot by making Aza not only trespass on Russell Pickett’s property but start a relationship with Davis Pickett for the sake of information on the whereabouts of Russell Pickett. Daisy also makes some points that Aza’s life isn’t as bad as she feels it is due to Daisy only having a smartphone as her only form of online entertainment which becomes very shocking and impressive when people remember that she has written lengthy Star Wars fanfiction on her smartphone. I felt myself siding with Daisy in one argument when Aza is concerned about her spending habits after they receive their hush money through buying not only a new car, but a new laptop. Daisy argues that Aza has a laptop and a car and lives in a house with her own room despite having only one working parent while she only has her smartphone, shares her room with her eight year old sister, and lives in an apartment complex even though she has both her parents and both of them being employed. Minor fun fact, but the paper BB-8 seen in the photo above was used as a bookmarker because I couldn’t find a bookmark that wasn’t currently being used, you can imagine how delightfully surprised I was discovering that Star Wars was mentioned frequently in this book and how appropriate it is.

        As I mentioned before I don’t have OCD, but anxiety issues; there were parts of the book where I could relate to Aza’s mental health and constant moments of being a prisoner in her own mind and having internal conversations with herself. Some parts of the book were very eye opening at how OCD isn’t “a need to have everything perfectly tidy” as I’ve joked around about in the past, but something more that really does control how a person functions and can prevent them from having a normal life and in some cases making horrible decisions based on the mental argument they have with themselves.

        I really enjoyed Turtles all the Way Down; it was a nice alternative to the usual John Green protagonist of teenage boys feeling the need to prove something about themselves, or being fixated on ‘the girl’. Aza and her friends were really fun and even the main conflict of Aza’s OCD causing problems in her life her friends and family still love and care for her.

        I give Turtles all the Way Down by John Green four Star Wars fanfics out of five.

Star Wars Phasma Review

        Once in the year 2015 there was Star Wars The Force Awakens; many didn’t know what would happen in the seventh unexpected installment of the Star Wars saga outside of large amounts of merchandising, but based on this merchandising we were introduced to new characters. One of these characters is Captain Phasma; she was known as the first female stormtrooper, people knew she meant big business with her chrome armor and phabulous cape. She was described as “this trilogy’s equivalent of Boba Fett” meaning she was meant to be intimidating and evil.

Ironically she technically was like Boba Fett in that she got taken out with little to no fanfare. The best term to describe Captain Phasma in The Force Awakens would literally be ‘epic fail’. She disappointed many fans since her actress Gwendoline Christie was one of the few new cast members of the new trilogy to already have a name for herself due to her role in the HBO series Game of Thrones. To be fair though when a wookie knocks the shit out of you and demands you lower the planet wide shield, you best do what the wookie says.

However as promotion for the upcoming Star Wars The Last Jedi a new wave of merchandising and novels was released, one of these novels being Star Wars: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson. The book actually isn’t from Captain Phasma’s point of view, but rather her story is being told by Resistance spy Vi Moradi as she tells Phasma’s origins to First Order member Captain Cardinal.

Also I listened to this audio book via my local library and the app Axis 360, if you want to listen to audiobooks or just check out books and save money go to your local library (I have a strong feeling someone at my library is a big Star Wars fan).

Spoilers from this point on. Phasma will hunt you down and kill you for any knowledge you may have of her past.

Phasma is evil, possibly one of the most evil non force sensitive being in the new Star Wars canon. Her life was far from an easy one being from the planet Parnassos, a planet all but forgotten and unobserved by the Galactic Republic and the first order under the impression that “there’s no real life there.”

As mentioned above the story actually centers around Resistance spy Vi Moradi who is captured by the First Order and is being interrogated by Captain Cardinal because he wants dirt on Phasma to get her kicked out of the First Order. Vi agrees to tell Cardinal the story of Phasma in exchange for her escape and in hopes that Vi can help Cardinal realize the First Order is not the right side to be on.

Phasma is from a warrior tribe known as the Scyers that is actually very humble, spiritual, and respectful towards life and not allowing anything to go to waste. The Scyers celebrate the birth of children because they are such a rarity and if a child makes it past five years of age it is something worth celebrating. Phasma is a skilled warrior and respected leader of this tribe with many of the few younger members of this tribe looking up to her and trusting in her wisdom. Things change one day when a First Order ship carrying Brendal Hux (father to Amitage Hux) crashes on Parnassos. Phasma and members of her tribe investigate the happenings.

The character who tells of Phasma’s origins on Parnassos is Siv, she has known Phasma her whole life and respects her. However Siv begins to see that Phasma is changing (or rather showing her true colors) as soon as both of them along with other members of the Scyers begin their travels with Hux to his ship. Phasma slowly begins dawning stormtrooper armor feeling that they suit her. It is shown that Phasma is very fond of bloodshed, killing her parents, her brother, many minor characters, and even the youngest child of the Scyers Frey. She eventually kills Armitage Hux and is implied to kill Cardinal after poisoning him and is off to kill both Vi, Cardinal, and eventually Siv to make sure no one knows of her past for good.

Along with the origins of Phasma it is shown that Phasma cares only for herself explaining why she so willingly lowers the shields for Starkiller base during the events of The Force Awakens movie. It’s also shown that her armor is very unique among Stormtrooper armor in that it was forged using the parts of Emperor Palpatine’s yacht.

I felt at times the book spent too much time on Parnassos, but also understand why so much time was spent on there. I also enjoyed the introduction of Vi and Cardinal; it was interesting seeing the perspective of Cardinal, someone who is grateful to The First Order due to him being on the planet Jakku and loathing the fact that the Galactic Republic often ignored outer rim/poor planets like Jakku and supports the First Order so that no other planets will ever be overlooked again. We also get exposition on how this new generation of stormtroopers came about; they’re all more or less kidnapped children and orphans gathered from planets overlooked by the Galactic Republic.

I also felt that the book was very similar to A Song of Ice and Fire; no where near the violence, gore, and sexual activity as A Song of Ice and Fire (I don’t think we’re ever getting a sex scene in Star Wars outside of fanfiction and porn parodies), but the violence and betrayal constantly seen in the book make it seem like Phasma would fit right in at Westeros.

I very much enjoyed listening to this audiobook, I give Star Wars Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson four phabulous chrome stormtrooper helmets out of five.  

 

Leia Princess of Alderaan Review

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        No I am not talking about The Princess Diarist (that will be read and reviewed before the end of the year, don’t worry). I am talking about Leia Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray. I had picked up the book because it was interesting to get a princess Leia story set before the events of A New Hope and because I enjoyed listening to Bloodline also by Claudia Gray.

        The book follows Leia as she goes through trials to earn her status as royalty to the Alderaan royal family and her early adventures as she enters the world of the rebellion against the empire.

Spoilers from this point onward, I’m not a jedi so I can’t mind trick them out of you. Also there will be fanboy tendencies and observations and other nonsense.

        Leia is destined to become ruler of Alderaan, a planet of peace and charity. To earn the title of royalty Leia must master the challenges of mind, body, and heart. At the same time Leia is participating in the Junior Senate prepping to take over the political world of Alderaan when the time comes. Through the story Leia begins to discover her parents involvement with the rebellion against the empire feeling conflicting feelings of joy that people are going to stand against Emperor Palpatine and anger that her parents kept such a secret from her and would betray the way of her people who had been pacifists for centuries.

        Leia’s discovery of the rebellion is actually the end result of her performing an act of charity through the challenge of heart. While “hiring” refugees on Wobani in order to grant them a happier life, she unintentionally screws up negotiations her father Bail Organa had been working on for years to allow citizens from Wobani to immigrate to Alderaan.

        Through her challenge of the Mind Leia notices interesting activity in some sectors and decides to look into it thus discovering a wider rebellion. Her parents aren’t entirely thrilled at the discovery that Leia knows about the rebellion due to her innocence and lack of knowledge about the rebellion being the only thing to protect Leia should the Empire catch onto what the Organa family is up to. An interesting event happens with Leia’s challenge of the body also occurs where in a life and death situation Leia uses the force without realizing it!

        Despite the efforts of her parents Leia becomes more active in the rebellion both intentionally and by sheer accident gaining the attention of Wilhuff Tarkin who slowly becomes Leia’s arch enemy in not only the book, but in the future as well (until Luke blows him up anyways).

        Fans of Star Wars will also see more of Leia’s personal life with Bail Organa and her mother Breha Organa and how they balance their life. Bail is the senator of Alderaan representing the planet in the galactic senate while Breha is the queen and ruler of the planet taking care of things on the planet. It was very interesting to see Bail function out of the public eye as father to Leia with him actually losing his temper at times when Leia got too close to participating in the rebellion. Breha for the first time is very active in Star Wars content with very little of her ever seen even in Legends material. There is actually a very funny scene involving Tarkin and Mon Mothma where an argument is staged to throw off Tarkin to what is really happening in the rebellion.

        There are many shout outs and foreshadowing in the book, one particular event happening on the planet of Naboo that I’m not going to spoil in this review and I encourage readers to look for. There are cameos of C3PO and R2D2 (I kind of feel like it’s mandatory to have them around these days), foreshadowing for Bloodline (guess who that lock of hair belongs to). Other things include the introduction of the character Amylin Holdo who will be featured in Star Wars the Last Jedi this December. In the story Holdo is more or less the Luna Lovegood of the Star Wars universe choosing to constantly wear exciting and detailed clothing compared to the humble simplistic clothing of her people of Gatalenta. Her character arc (besides becoming a close trusted ally of Leia) is finding a balance to be independent of her people without resorting to some stranger fashion choices.

        My only complaint about the book was some possible timeline issues with the television show Star Wars Rebels in relation to what age Leia is when she meets Ezra and the crew of the Ghost.

        I give Leia Princess of Alderaan four Porgs out of five (yes I can rate a book with porgs even if there aren’t any porgs in it!)

Many Waters Review

        As many of you know the new movie adaption of A Wrinkle in Time is set up to be released next year, so out of excitement I decided to reread Madeleine L’Engle’s books because I am a big fan. I then realized I hadn’t ever gotten around to read Many Waters for some reason and was a little shocked I never did so since the story revolves around Sandy and Dennys Murry.

        As mentioned above the story revolves around Sandy and Dennys Murry, the two self proclaimed normal of the Murry children in comparison of the prodigies of Meg and Charles Wallace. When they return home one winter afternoon and go into their parent’s personal lab both Sandy and Dennys are transported to the time of Noah and the ark. Reading this book actually reminded me a lot of the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis which was a science fiction series from a Christian perspective that all other creatures in the universe were aware of the existence of God and the universe beyond them.

Spoilers from this point on, I’m running out of witty things to type in the bold text.

        Unlike the adventures of their siblings Sandy and Dennys are not as adventure ready as readers would believe. For one thing when exposed to the desert climate both Sandy and Dennys suffer from a heat stroke and spend the first half of the book recovering from severe sunburns. At the same time it separates both twins from each other allowing both of them to realize their own personal individual traits that they had never realized about themselves due to always being with each other.

        Along with their own self discovery that both twins aren’t completely like each other Sandy and Dennys begin to realize there is more to them besides being the ‘normal ones’ that they had always called themselves. Dennys has a very strong understanding of the experiments that both his parents perform and the science that Mr and Mrs Murry research and experiment with. In comparison to the adventures of Meg and Charles Wallace, Sandy and Dennys spend significantly more time on their adventure while Meg and Charles Wallace on technicality devoted a few hours to their own adventures (time travel kind of makes it hard to determine who spent the most time on their adventure).

        As mentioned earlier the book takes place during the time of Noah before the days of the great flood. The great flood itself plays a minor role in the story for the first three quarters of the book with major focus being on Sandy, Dennys, Noah’s family and the works of the Seraphim and Nephilim. There is also another tribe of not so nice people who are envious to Noah’s tribe, one of these characters is named Tiglah.

        I want to talk about Tiglah in this review mainly to compare the style of YA writing from when this book was published and how Tiglah would be viewed now. Many Waters was published in 1986 where it was more or less it was frowned upon to be sexually active and open about it as a teenager in the media. In this book Tiglah is in love with one of the Nephilim (fallen Seraphim) and does his bidding for him at one point trying to seduce Sandy and Dennys because the Nephilim are wary of them.

        Throughout the book I felt very sorry for Tiglah and constantly hoped that she would be redeemed; it wasn’t her fault that she ended up this way and clearly she didn’t think that her sexual nature was a bad thing. She admits to genuinely caring about both Sandy and Dennys and hoping that things go well for them as the great flood begins and it is heavily implied that she drowns in the great flood for her ways.

        I think if Tiglah were a character in a modern YA book she would have had more depth to her explored; she may have even been given her own character development and realize that the Nephilim don’t care for her and at least leave her wicked family and ask Noah and his family to give her refuge and teach her to be good.

        Tiglah is also called a slut by Sandy when she tries to convince him to give her his virginity, something that wouldn’t sit well with modern readers (okay more than likely the christian audience would be okay with that.)

        To contrast Tiglah there is Yalith, one of the daughters of Noah; Yalith is essentially a Pure Mary Sue. She is good and kind to all she meets, she nurses Dennys back to health, rejects a Nephilim who claims to be in love with her, convinces the Seraphim to love her (platonically) and is stuck in a love triangle with Sandy and Dennys eventually admitting that she is in love with both of them and it is the mutual love between herself and Sandy that Sandy decides not to have sex with Tiglah. When the issue comes around that Noah can only take his sons and their wives onto the arc and Yalith must be left behind, it is discovered that Yalith is so pure, she can be given a free pass into heaven body and soul because she’s that pure.

        I don’t hate the character of Yalith, but it just annoyed me at times at how she’s presented as the most pure thing in the world and everyone must love her unconditionally. Okay that’s enough ranting about Tiglah and Yalith.

        Concerning the story itself it was very interesting at how ideas and themes presented in the book are actually a very big deal for some people today. One issue frequently brought up is Sandy’s agnostic views and how he needs to “see it to believe it.” At first he treats the story of Noah and the Ark as the equivalent of Norse and Greek mythology, stories told to people that aren’t true, of course with L’Engle being a religious woman, Sandy does believe in unicorns (there is no way I can cover the topic of the importance of unicorns in this book and keep the review brief), but this belief is a result of seeing a unicorn and then believing they are real.

        Sandy also points out in annoyance how many of the women he met on this journey are adapted out of the Bible because the Bible was written by men who viewed the male presence as more important than the female presence.

        Along with this Sandy has comparisons with the unkind people who aren’t part of Noah’s family and terrorists who hijack planes, which in today’s world is a very scary reality that has happened more and more regularly with new forms of shock and horror.

        I’ll end this review by saying that parts of it did hit close to home, particularly since during my time reading this my dad was in the hospital (he is fine and recovering) and one of the biggest plot threads in the book is Noah and his relationship with his dying father Lamech.

I give Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle three out of five cute mini mammoths.

Also small announcement and explanation for things; I will participate in Write a Novel in November this year, so this blog post was partially for me to see if I can write 1667 words in a day. It is something I’ve considered participating in and I hope I can pull it off. This review was 1293 words long meaning I clearly have some improving to do, but book reviews and amount of words written in a day are two very different things. Wish me luck, my theme for this novel will be…mermaids.

A Wrinkle in Time Impressions

Once Upon a time in the distant time of 2001 I was eleven years old and we had a book assigned for the fifth grade class I was in. Little did I know this book would make me want to read more books and would forever change my life and how I viewed the universe and create a dream. The book I speak of is Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. I love this book, it led me to reading it’s sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and the spin off book (sort of) A Ring of Endless Light.

There are sketchbooks I owned that had drawing’s of Mrs.Whatsit  in her non human form, the idea of a tesseract became a concept I kept tabs on growing up and even now think about today as an adult. Despite the heavy emphasis in L’Engle’s work on physics and biology, I was more inspired to focus on writing and literature as I grew up and wanted to write for the YA genre (I ended up with a degree in environmental science).

Then in 2002 it was announced there would be a tv movie of A Wrinkle in Time by Disney. It was awful. L’Engle was asked if it met her expectations, she said “yes. I expected it to be bad, it was.” I only saw a portion of this film, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t like that things were dumbed down for audiences, I didn’t like the acting, I didn’t like the full happy ending presented in the film, and I felt kind of weird seeing Mr.Murrey completely naked a few years later on Queer as Folk.

I expected nothing to be done with A Wrinkle in Time after Madeleine L’Engle passed away mid 2008. I thought this would be the best for the series since her books tackled topics concerning Christianity and science which even more so today is a very touchy subject. Then a few years ago during Frozen it was announced Disney would be adapting A Wrinkle in Time to film again.

This time with Jennifer Lee from Disney’s Frozen was placed in charge of the film. My expectations started to get high; the film went with open casting meaning Meg Murrey and her brother Charles Wallace are now bi-racial. The film also cast Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which respectably.

 Despite my stalking both Witherspoon and Kaling’s instagram religiously very little about how the film looked was revealed outside of casting. I was a little curious to see Kaling in the film since I’m use to Kaling portraying divas as opposed to the wise and intellectual Mrs.Who, I even reread some of the book just to imagine Mrs.Who with Kaling’s shrills. I also wasn’t aware Oprah was an actress, but I guess she is.

When the trailer was released yesterday I was very pleased with what I saw and I hope the film does really well next year. I have high hopes for the film because I feel at this time many of the themes of A Wrinkle in Time are relevant concerning communism and there is a need for figures like the Murrey parents who are both religious, but educated and understanding on many issues in the world. And now here is the trailer to Madelein L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.