Author: elenasquareeyes

READ THE WORLD – Russia: Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

It’s 2033, the world is ruined and humanity is almost extinct. Possibly the last of the worlds survivors live in Moscow’s Metro system. There they’re safe from radiation in the city above and societies have formed across the metro system and its many stations. Artyom lives in VDNKh, the north most inhabited station on its line, life there is good, until the station becomes endangered by outside forces. Artyom is given the task to traverse the complex metro system to search for help and to warn every one of the new threat bearing down on his native station, and the whole Metro.

Metro 2033 is an interesting story. It’s quite slow to start with as there is a lot of world-building to do. Each of the different train stations in the Metro have become their own mini society, some have become Communist, some are Fascist while many others have their own capitalist democracy. It’s interesting to see what life’s like underground and how it differs from station to station. It wasn’t till I was about halfway through the book and I felt that I had a fairly good understanding that the story picked up speed.

The whole book is quite exposition heavy really and in some ways, it reminded me of American Gods by Neil Gaiman – both are quite slow reads, with a lot of world-building and main characters who seem to go from A to B without being an active participant in the situations they’re in. That being said, I felt Artyom was a character who actually reacted to the mad and dangerous situations he found himself in and, as the story progressed, he became more proactive and confident in his decision making and abilities.

The people Artyom meets on his journey are all very different. My favourites were those who are old enough to remember life outside the Metro, and everyday normal life in the cities. There memories were often rose-tinted but it was good to see Artyom compare it to what he knows as he was only a toddler when everyone had to hide out in the tunnels. It was those moments where you really got the dystopian aspect of the novel.

Metro 2033 also has horror and sci-fi elements as there’s rumours of creatures who have been mutated by the radiation, lurking on the surface and readying themselves to enter the tunnels. There are some passages on Metro 2033 that are generally creepy and unsettling as Artyom traverses the dark tunnel between stations. There’s some eerie stuff in Metro 2033 but it doesn’t always pay off which is regrettable.

This is the first book in a trilogy and it does leave things on a cliff-hanger. Unfortunately, there was no real build up to the “big reveal” so instead of a plot twist you could’ve figured out yourself, it’s more of a huge surprise. I think I will pick up the rest of the series at some point as I’m intrigued to see what happens next but Metro 2033 didn’t pull me in enough from the start to make me super eager to continue. 3/5.

REVIEW: Rudderless (2014)

When his son Josh (Miles Heizer) dies, Sam (Billy Crudup) stumbles across a box of his demo tapes and lyrics and starts to perform them. Soon he finds himself in a band, trying to use his son’s music to find some piece.

Rudderless is directed and co-written by William H. Macy (who also stars in the film as the owner of the bar Sam performs at) and for his directorial debut he puts together a great film. It’s filled with soft lighting, brilliant performances, wit and emotion.

The script has its twists and it deals with a heavy subject matter but all the cast handles it brilliantly. While it is sometimes a film that tugs on your emotions, it also has humour and vibrant characters that all feel like real people with their own problems.

So much of the emotion in the film comes from the music. It’s where Sam finds a connection with his son and where he finds a lovely yet unexpected friendship with fellow musician Quentin (Anton Yelchin). The songs are all fantastic and it’s the first time I’ve bought a films soundtrack in ages. Each song is touching and they are all well performed, Crudup and Yelchin both have great voices and chemistry both hen performing a song together and in just about every scene they share.

Rudderless is one of those films where I don’t really know how to describe it – it’s full of wonderful characters, a touching story and it is something special. It’s a hidden gem and I feel it’s a film that’s best to go in knowing as little as possible. Rudderless really is a delightful film. 4/5.

Ninja Book Box – A Grand Adventure Summer Reading Box

Last week my first ever order from Ninja Book Box arrived. Ninja Book Box is a UK-based quarterly subscription box that focusses on independently published books. The book featured each quarter are from a variety of genres and are not particularly YA focussed, so if you like the idea of a subscription box but aren’t a huge YA fan, then the Ninja Book Box might be for you.

At the moment, they have a special box for sale called A Grand Adventure Summer Reading Box which contains three books but none of the usual goodies you find in the usual subscription box – this is the box I got. I chose to get this box because while I like the goodies you get in subscription boxes, the main draw for me is the books. This is a cool one-off box and you can choose if you want adult books or kids’ books or a mixture of both – and you can stipulate the age range for the kids’ books.

So that’s what the Grand Adventure Summer Reading Box is so let me show you what was inside.

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REVIEW: Z for Zachariah (2015)

Ann (Margot Robbie) lives alone with her dog after a disaster that wipes out most of humanity, that is until two men, John Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Caleb (Chris Pine), stumble into her safe world.

Z for Zachariah is an eerie film. You get to see how Ann lives a monotonous yet safe life while the rest of civilisation seems to have disappeared. She’s obviously strong and resourceful but she has an air of naivety around her as she doesn’t know what it’s really like outside of her little bubble of safety. So when she encounters first John and then Caleb, who both appear to have seen terrible things, she’s very trusting and comes across much younger than the two of them.

Z for Zachariah is beautifully shot and has some haunting music. It’s a film that takes its time, letting you get to know these characters and their relationships as it slowly builds small hints of conflict between them. The three actors are all brilliant and they all have good chemistry and the dynamics presented between their characters is interesting.

Z for Zachariah is a gripping drama and is definitely one of those films that its best to go into knowing as little as possible. 4/5.

BOOK BLOGGER HOP: Which authors or book bloggers would you have lunch with?

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly feature hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, to find bookish blogs and to learn more about the bloggers themselves. You can find more info on the feature here.

This week’s question is: If you could have lunch with any living authors and/or book bloggers, who would you choose and why?

Once upon a time I would have loads of authors to choose from to answer this question but nowadays I don’t really read a lot of series of books from the same author so don’t think I’d have much to ask or talk about with an author.

I think I’d like to go to lunch with some book bloggers – namely Ellie, Bex, Katie and Louise Marie, and any of the wonderful people I’ve met on the London Bookshop Crawl. I love the Crawl but because it’s so full of books and bookshops and adventuring it doesn’t always give you a proper chance to really talk to those you’ve met through the world of book blogging. So it would be great to have a proper sit down lunch with Bex, Katie, Ellie and Louise Marie and have a lovely chilled out lunch full of bookish discussions.

What authors or book bloggers would you like to have lunch with?

TRAILER REACTION: Black Panther

The first teaser trailer for Black Panther was released overnight and it was the first thing I watched this morning.

I LOVED IT! It’s a teaser so you don’t get it explicitly explained who each of the many characters you see snapshots of are or what the conflict in this film will be but that’s more than fine. I love seeing so many awesome women fighting, Michael B. Jordan looks cool and kind of hot and scary at the same time and Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa still looks super regal and amazing.

I love the conversation at the start of the trailer between Klaw (Andy Serkis) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), how Klaw says that Wakanda is this all powerful and advanced country and the front they put out to the rest of the world is exactly that, a front. It’s great world building of this fictional country, a country which should (and by the look of this teaser I think it does) be just as much a character to the story of T’Challa and his people as any other character.

Wakanda looks beautiful. It’s an African nation of the future, today. I love the mixture of technology and skyscrapers with the African landscape. It all looks amazing.

This trailer is all about setting up the look and the feel of this movie and I couldn’t be more excited. All the characters with their costumes and weapons look amazing, everything is so bright and colourful and when there is a quick shot of a fight scene featuring Black Panther it’s exciting. The final shot of T’Challa jumping from one flipping car to another was kind of jaw-dropping.

I like the voiceover talking to (I presume) T’Challa, saying how he is a good person but it’s hard for a good person to be a King. I really hope the film explores the political difficulties of a country’s King being its superhero protector, and this line makes me think it will. T’Challa is such a different character compared to the other heroes in the MCU (and in superhero movies in general), he won the mantel of Black Panther and is a king, he isn’t an average guy who got his abilities in an accident like so many of the other heroes we see. Yes, Thor is a prince but he does not have the same level of responsibility that T’Challa has.

I love the feel of this film and everyone involved. The director is brilliant, the entire cast are great in just about everything they’ve ever been in and I’m so excited to see this new chapter of the MCU. I feel like Black Panther along with Thor: Ragnarok are going to bring something unique and vibrant to the MCU and I’m so looking forward to it. Black Panther has been my most anticipated superhero film ever since it was announced a few years ago. Seeing Boseman as T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War made me even more excited because he brought the regal gravitas as well as a bit of impulsiveness to the role. Black Panther has been one of my favourite superhero characters ever since I watched the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon (great series, definitely recommend it) and I can’t wait to see him leading his own film.

Only eight months to wait!

REVIEW: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

In her everyday life Eliza Mirk is shy, awkward and hates school, but in the online world she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of mega popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine ever enjoying the real world as much as the online one so she never really bothers to try. That is until Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction author, transfers to Eliza’s school and, believing Eliza is just another fan, he begins to draw her out of her shell. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally revealed everything in her life is thrown into turmoil, her relationship with Wallace, her art and even her sanity.

I loved this book. I’ve been wary of books about fandom because I’ve always kind of felt that the first rule of fandom, is that you don’t talk about fandom. But I’m so happy that Eliza and Her Monsters showed me that there can be great books about fandom that respects and understands it.

Eliza and Her Monsters is a mix-media novel, it includes panels from Monstrous Sea as well as emails, letters and instant messages. This, plus the fact the book is great, helps make Eliza and Her Monsters a really quick read. I loved how the extracts from Monstrous Sea often mirrored the situations Eliza found herself in, giving you an extra insight as to where her mind is at. The Monstrous Sea story was just as interesting as Eliza’s story and the book did a great job of explaining the plot of the webcomic enough that when characters discussed who their favourite characters were, you had a good idea who they were talking about.

Eliza’s two best friends are Max and Emmie and they’ve never met face to face. I love how Eliza and Her Monsters shows how people behind a computer screen can be, and often are, just as important a connection as those you see in the flesh. The three of them are all great friends who not only share the fandom stuff but their real-life events too. I also liked how Eliza realises and apologises when she does sometimes takes Max and Emmie for granted, she’s a flawed, ordinary person who mistakes and I loved reading about her.

I was on edge as the story progressed as I could tell that Eliza’s internet identity would come out and everything she had with Wallace would be put in jeopardy. I hate confrontation, both in real life and in fiction, and had grown so attached to Eliza that I didn’t want to see her hurt.

I loved Eliza and Her Monsters. I loved how various characters grew on me as the story progressed, how I could relate to Eliza but still get frustrated with her sometimes, the complexities of online and offline personas – it was all so great. Eliza and Her Monsters made me cry because it hit me right in the feels and that hasn’t happened with a book for a long time. 5/5.