Showing posts with label villains. Show all posts
Showing posts with label villains. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

[Review] The Isle of the Lost (Descendants #1) - Melissa de la Cruz: Disney Villains and Fan Fiction

In THE ISLE OF THE LOST, the descendants of the most wicked Disney villains make plans to escape the island their families have been banished to.

What intrigued me: I've watched a bit of the movie and found it pretty cute. I had no idea this was the prequel so obviously I had to read it first before tackling the movie again.

Fan Fiction Feel

THE ISLE OF THE LOST proposes a topic that I've been longing to see for a while: A continuation of the classic Disney movies. This is essentially fan fiction, which I don't really mind because de la Cruz absolutely manages to create an exciting world. I struggled a little bit with the writing, which reads more like Middle Grade than actual YA and uses very simplistic, yet colorful language.
THE ISLE OF THE LOST does read a little like fan fiction, too, involving tropes you probably remember from all our 2009 AO3 escapades. Unnaturally colored hair, protagonists describing themselves while looking in a mirror, stuff like that.

The target audience confuses me a little. Like I said, the language is very simple and feels Middle Grade, yet we have 16 year-old protagonists. If you take a look at the awards it earned, it's always shelves in the MG category. To me, it's somewhere in between. THE ISLE OF THE LOST doesn't really feel like YA or MG, maybe like something in between, mainly due to the fairy tale language and feel. It could definitely serve as a nice transitional novel if you're mainly a MG or YA reader and would like to try out something different.

Massive, colorful world

We learn about the world through the eyes of out four protagonists, children of the Evil Queen, Maleficent, Jafar, and Cruella de Vil respectively. Usually I'm not a fan of multiple POVs but de la Cruz uses omniscient perspective and is very subtle about it all so that you hardly notice you're dealing with some many POVs.

Even though there are four protagonists, the spotlight is absolutely on the world that de la Cruz created. I grew very attached to it, longing for more of the vivid explanations and finding out more about how everything works over there. But at the end of the day THE ISLE OF THE LOST has a very simple concept and it absolutely works if you want to read something light and cute. Don't expect too much, don't expect highbrow language and thrilling plot twists, and you'll be good to go. 


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

ISLE OF THE LOST is a really adorable little book that you shouldn't pass up if you like Disney! It does read a little on the younger side and I think it definitely would've benefited from being marketed as Middle Grade and aging the protagonists down a little.



Additional Info

Published: May 5th 2015
Pages: 320
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN:  9781484720974

Synopsis:
"Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that's been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon's eye: the key to true darkness and the villains' only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it...who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent's daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon's eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen's daughter, Evie, doesn't know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she's a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal's little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he's not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon's eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil's son may not be bravest, but he's certainly clever. Carlos's inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon's eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon's eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She'll just need a little help from her "friends." In their quest for the dragon's eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain't so bad."(Source: Goodreads)



Have you seen the Descendants movie?

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

[Review] Wink Poppy Midnight - April Genevieve Tucholke: Fairytales, Liars, and Tarot Cards




In WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT, a boy is torn between the mean, conceited girl he loved all his life and the quirky carefree new girl next door that makes life a fairy tale.

What intrigued me: The weird title. It's really weird, I had to find out what this is about.

Poetic and very weird

I would've never in a million years expected to end up being so infatuated with this book. WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT is just your average contemporary with a love triangle. Sounds not so exciting, right? But April Genevieve Tucholke wrote this and you bet she put her stamp on it.

The writing is heavenly, beautifully poetic, but just that right amount that's balancing the tightrope between flowery and the magic of a children's book. It reads so easily, many reviewers compare this story to reading fairytales and it's just true. Tucholke writes these three POVs so effortlessly, and all three characters, Wink, Poppy, and Midnight have such strong voices that I'm just absolutely in awe. This isn't a novel, this reads like a poem in prose instead of verse.

Despite only being 250 pages, this is extremely dense reading and as much as I was immersed with the story and wanted to continue - don't binge this. Every sentence holds so much meaning in this that I'm just... how. How can she write like this. 

Truly, 100% unique - but there's a catch.

The big mystery isn't really the main focus until halfway into the book and I can hardly talk about the plot without spoiling anything. WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT is a roller coaster of emotions, of crazy things and fairy tales and monsters and heroes. It's strange, unlike anything I've ever read, but so, so, so captivating and wonderful. 
It's very reminiscent of a Southern-inspired fairytale, it sort of reads like a cross between BEAUTIFUL CREATURES and SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE with a side of the magic from THE RAVEN BOYS.

The one thing that negates all of the wonderful feelings this book gave me is that WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT contains a racial slur in the beginning (g*psy). It's never addressed and used casually. This unaccpetable and has no place in a book for teens. We need to speak up about books who make use of that kind of language. I definitely enjoyed WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT but finding this slur definitely turns my reading experience sour. 

Rating:

  ★★★☆



Overall: Do I Recommend?

WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT is a magically poetic book that magical realism lovers and contemporary fans will enjoy. It combines the two flawlessly without being neither one nor the other. However, racial slurs are not okay and including them in your books is unacceptable.


Additional Info

Published: March 22nd 2016
Pages: 247
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9780803740488

Synopsis:
"Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying."(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT?

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I Fall For Problematic Love Interests | YA Talk




I may not be the only one 

Usually I try very hard to be the voice of reason. But I also have a lot weaknesses when it comes to YA. The second we've got a sexy villain love interest entering the room, I'm suddenly unable to think properly.

After asking some of my friends in the reading community I noticed that all the male favorite characters are usually people that you wouldn't want to meet in real life - especially not in a dark corner.



Top Five Favorite Male Character Answers I got:

- Warner from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
- The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
- Travis Maddox from Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
- Patch from Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
- Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

I haven't read all of these books, but I certainly noticed that there's a trend towards male villains.


Why are the bad boys so appealing?

  • Confidence
A thing that plays a major role when determining whether you find somebody attractive, is their confidence. When you present yourself well, you're more likely to succeed. 

  • "I do what I want"- attitude
I guess it's also a sense of maturity that radiates from men who know what they want and don't hesitate to for it, no matter the cost. They put themselves first to achieve their goals and that's probably what we all should do - of course within legal bounds. I'm not saying you should build an army of robots and invade your professor's house because he failed you in a class.

  • Danger!
With bad boys, you're bound to make more memorable experiences than with the nice guy next door. If the YA heroines stuck in a love triangle between the good guy and the leader of an illegal rebellion against a totalitarian regime, you already know who she's going to choose. 

We read books because we want to experience new things. We want to see the world the way never could in real life.

So hell yeah I'm going to root for the heroine to choose that guy who robs banks for a living over her childhood best friend! I don't care if he's a mass-murdering insane greedy villain, as long as he doesn't torture puppies.

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm absolutely 100% a problematic villain fangirl. Are you?


Who are your problematic favorites?


Come back next Tuesday for a new YA Talk! 

More YA Talks:


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