Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters: Book Review

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Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters is the second instalment of Rick Riordan’s Olympians series. After Talia’s Tree is poisoned, and Percy finds out Grover is in danger, Percy, Annabeth, and Percy’s new found Cyclops brother Tyson, set out on a quest to find grover and the golden fleece that will save the camp. Percy and his friends receive help from unlikely people, and face dangers like no other. They must work together, forget all their differences and trust one another in order to save the camp.

Percy and his friends struggle with forgiveness, pride, and jealousy in the thrilling instalment of Riordan’s series. Like always, Riordan creates characters that are easy to relate to, even considering the different circumstances between the characters and reality. As always, there is the constant worry, and fear that the beloved characters are going to experience something bad, and in this book, there is a new challenge, and danger lurking around every corner. The shocks keep on coming up until the last page with the resurrection of a child of the big three, who, just like Percy, is a threat to Olympus and The Gods.

Not only is the danger prominent in the novel, but there is also a noticeable amout of character development. Within Percy, and his friends, it’s easy to see that they aren’t just kids any more. They’re growing up, they’re maturing, they are becoming the heroes that their world needs.

Riordan continues to amaze and educate me with his knowledge of myth and legend, and as the series continues I expect to learn more, and experience more with Percy Jackson and his friends.

Book To Screen Adaptations: The Good and The Bad

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Lately, I’ve noticed that there have been excessive amount of book to screen adaptations. Respectively, they’ve been around for years, but ever since the success of book franchises like Harry Potter and Twilight they seem to be popping up left right and centre. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, some of my favourites are being adapted on to the big screen, but I can’t help but feel weary about what that means for the novels themselves.

The thing that worries me, is the intentions of those who make the movie. I can’t help but wonder if some people, who adapt a novel to screen, whether it be television or movies, are more worried about making money, than they are making an honest movie.  Take the Percy Jackson novels for example. They are great teen novels. They’re equal parts action, comedy, and thriller, but the movies just don’t do them justice. Then there are other franchises, like Harry Potter, that keep relatively close to the story line. Admittedly, I have only read the first two novels, but I once had a conversation with my friend, who has read all the novels about the story, and she thought I had read the books, just from the amount of stuff I knew from the movies.

There’s also a lot of TV shows that come from books. I feel like most of those shows have a lot more success than movies based on books. Look at shows like The Walking Dead. Not everything in AMC’S version is directly from the graphic novels. Daryl Dixon definitely didn’t come from the comics, but they make it work. That’s the problem I have when books are adapted to movies, they don’t make the changes work. They’ll make all these changes to appeal to all these different crowds but forget they already have a crowd that they should be trying to appeal too! Us! The readers! Books aren’t just a hobby for us, they’re apart of us. It’s like we have a million different personalities and one personality matches with a book. But when they change things, to appeal to different crowds, or the change things and it doesn’t work properly to us, we get disappointed.

I understand that not every movie will be the same as the book, I don’t expect it to be. But I like to walk into a theatre and hope that the writers, actors, directors and producers will make the changes work. So that’s what I’m hoping for. I’m hoping that all the upcoming adaptations work.

 

but like always, books are better than movies.

Book to Movie Comparison: Divergent

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!

 

I recently was able to go see the movie adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent. I could be very nit picky and go into great detail about all the changes, but there was really only a few that I found really irritating.  The first being Peters personality.

In the book, Peter has a very significant personality that consists mostly of violence and brutality. In the movie however, these aspects of his character were dulled down. Its evident he is still a jerk, but I felt there was still something missing. Not showing the violent side to his character, and the lengths he would go to, to show he was best (Including the eye-stabbing) will make it harder to understand the importance of his attempted change in the later books/movies. It wont be as significant to those watching.

Secondly, where is Uriah? Uriah is a much loved character in the novels, and leaving him out of the first movie seemed like torture. His name is seen on the ranking board, and there is a Uriah look-a-like during the Zipline scene, but there was no actual Uriah. He will be in the next movies, but, much with Peters personality, I think it will be difficult to have the shock factor of his Divergence without the background story. The shock definitely wont be as prominent.

Thirdly, Tris’s fear landscape. Not only did they reduce her six fears to five (Four and Five simply does not have the same ring to it as Four and Six) the changed her intimacy fear to border on sexual assault. For a fan of the books, this seemed like an unnecessary addition to her fears, and was just downright uncomfortable for us all.

There were other changes that I didn’t like at first, but after reconsideration, decided they weren’t so bad.

The altered ending which featured Jeanine shutting down the simulation annoyed me a little at first, but after a while I think that the increased amount of appearances of Jeanine aided in the character development, and I cant wait to see what Kate Winslet does next with the character.

At first, the part where Tris is told that she is out of dauntless, seemed unnecessary to me. I soon realised it was there to portray how desperate Tris was to be a part of the Dauntless, and to prove to everyone that she was brave enough, and worth it. It was a great way to capture Tris’s thoughts, without her having to say anything.

The movie did stay relatively close to the novel and often took likes directly from the book. Overall it’s a great movie and captured the world Tris lives in perfectly. It’s a must see movie, but I recommend reading the books first. Like always the book it better than the movie.

Divergent: Book Review

 

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Divergent is a fast paced, Dystopian novel that follows the life of Tris Prior. Tris grew up in a world split into five different factions. Each faction has its own personal attribute that the members of that faction must follow. The Erudite value knowledge, the Candor value honesty, the Amity value peace, the Abnegation value selflessness and the Dauntless value bravery. Tris however is special. She finds out that she does not fit into one individual faction, she is different. She must hide what she is from everyone she cares about, or risk being killed. She is Divergent. She is seen as dangerous.

Veronica Roth does an amazing job at keeping the story moving. It is always interesting, there are always new, exciting things happening and you just cant put it down.

Tris is also a character you find it easy to relate to. Not only is the story interesting, it also teaches many great lessons.

From reading this book, you can learn that your life is completely your own. You learn that it is up to you to choose who you are, and who you want to be, regardless of what anyone else wants. It teaches you that it’s okay to be scared sometimes, and it’s okay to feel pain. It teaches you that you’re allowed to want to be more than what’s expected from you.

I think the most important lesson is that you have to move on. In the last few pages of a book, something tragic happens, and Tris lets herself breakdown for 5 seconds. 5 seconds of weakness. After those five seconds she gets back up and moves on. I think it’s important to let yourself have those moments of weakness, but its even more important that you remember to get up and move on.

That’s what I found myself doing at the end of this series, having a few minutes of weakness to process everything that happened throughout the trilogy, and then getting up and moving on. Overall its a great beginning to a great trilogy and I can’t wait to see what Veronica Roth comes out with next.

 

So what faction do you think you’d be a part of? Brave like the Dauntless, intelligent like the Erudite, peaceful like the Amity, honest like the Candor, or selfless like the Abnegation? Or do you think you’re different, like Tris, do you think you have what it takes to be Divergent?

Book to Movie Comparisons: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

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To start off this new piece where I compare books to their movie counterparts, I chose a good one. Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief has so many flaws when it comes to staying true to the book. The biggest problem, I think, lies within the plot itself, and progression of the characters on their quest. In the book, Percy, and most others believe that Hades, has taken the lightning bolt, in hopes of starting a war among the gods. Percy goes on this quest to the underworld to get the bolt from Hades and return it to Zeus before a war breaks out. The movie, in some ways, follows this plot. Percy does want to prove his innocence, and he does so by going to the underworld, but his primary reason for going, is to save his mother. In the book, we know he fails to do so. Also, the book is all about them getting to the underworld as fast as possible, it just so happens that they encounter many dangerous monsters along the way, many that aren’t seen in the movie. The movie shows the characters try to find ‘Persephone’s pearls’ before going to the underworld. The biggest flaw in this is that in Greek mythology, there is no such thing as Persephone’s pearls. If you’re not going to stick to the book at least stick to the myths.

Other differences, like the fact that Mr D, Clarrise, and Thalia’s tree are never mentioned in the first movie, are small but significant. I can deal with the age differences between the book and movie, and the different entrances into the underworld, but I don’t understand how Kronos is never mentioned in the first movie considering he is the main focus of the series, or the fact that Ares was working along side Luke in the hopes of starting a war. The movie is missing a lot of good things, like Echidna, Chimera, Procrustes and even Charon, with his Elvis suits.

Overall, The movie could have been better, it definitely did not do the book justice, and may as well have been a completely unrelated story all together. Its a shame when things like this happen, because those who don’t read the books, have no idea what they’re missing out on. I can only hope that the next movies will do a better job at doing the book justice.

 

Like always, Book Triumphs over Film.

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief – Book Review

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Written by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief follows the adventures of Percy Jackson, Demi-God and Son of Poseidon, Annabeth Chase, Daughter of Athena, and young satyr Grover. The three are on a quest to find Zeus’ master bolt and return it before the gods began a world war.

Rick Riordan does an incredible job of teaching the readers of this book a lesson on Greek mythology while also keeping the story interesting. There is a new obstacle around every corner that the characters must overcome, and the action and surprise keeps coming right up until the last pages of the book. Riordan makes mention of many mythological monsters including the Minotaur, Echidna, Chimera, Procrustes and of course Medusa.

Percy and Annabeth are tough as nails and braver than any normal twelve year old. Grover, although a little scared most of the time is loyal and will always be there for his friends. together the three of them show young kids all around that it’s okay to not follow your parents footsteps, it’s okay to be scared, and its okay to be brave.

 

Next week I’ll be writing a new piece, where I do a book to movie comparison. I’ll go through the things that were changed and what should have made it into the movie but didn’t and other interesting facts. I’ll obviously be starting with Percy Jackson.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson Book Review

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Will Grayson, Will Grayson is written by John Green and David Levithan. It’s based around two high-school students, both named Will Grayson, who meet after a night of mishaps and failed plans. Green and Levithan do a great job of alternating the chapters, with Green writing all the odd numbered chapters and Levithan writing the even numbered chapters. The book is hilarious, witty and focuses largely on the characters and their personal developments throughout the novel.

Will Grayson (the capitalized Will, written by Green) is perhaps on of the most difficult characters to summarize in this book. He spends most of the book trying to follow his two life rules of, not caring and shutting up. If I had to describe him in one word it would be conflicted. He doesn’t want to be in the spotlight, but is best friends with Tiny Cooper, who is always in the spotlight. He doesn’t want to care about anything, but finds himself attracted to Jane. He doesn’t want to break his rules, but by the end of the novel, he has learnt that his rules were not helping him in life, they were hindering him. The Will Grayson in the last few chapters of the novel is completely different to the Will Grayson in the first few chapters. His character growth is probably the most prominent in the novel.

will grayson (never capitalized and written by Levithan) is your typical cynical teenager. He also shows the world that not all gays are the stereotypical fashionista’s  the media likes to advertise. After a large falling out with his friend Maura, he finds many good things coming his way. Although his life is changing for the better, it is brought to his attention that he is not moving forward, and he will continue to stay stuck in place until the last few chapters of the novel, where he learns to forgive and forget.

Jane is capitalized Will Grayson’s Love interest. She is your average punk rock loving, crazy haired teenager. She faces conflicts in her love life, involving Will Grayson, and her ex-boyfriend. She is unsure of who she cares for more, and who she wants to be with. She is also honest, and upfront with her opinions.

Tiny Cooper is perhaps the most important character in the novel. Although the book is titled Will Grayson, Will Grayson Tiny Cooper steals the show. He is described as “the worlds largest person who is really, really gay” and “the worlds gayest person who is really, really large.” Tiny is the rock of the group. He pushes the characters towards the things they want, before they even know they want them. Without Tiny, Will and Jane would’ve never got together. Will would’ve never broken his two most fundamental rules. will grayson would’ve never had the confidence to come out to the world or move on from his fall out with Maura. He is often under appreciated for the things he does for his friends. He is confident, and just down right fabulous.

The characters, and their personalities are what make the novel truly great. They are easy to relate to. Green and Levithan make you feel like you are right there in the book watching Tiny Coopers musical, or the fake Neutral Milk Hotel band walk on stage. Its an enticing novel, that gives you the sense that everything will keep getting better even after the book is over.

Finding Yourself In Young Adult Novels

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As a teenager, especially those in high school, you are expected to know who you are, and who you want to be. For some of us,that’s easy. For the rest of us, we have more difficulty. No one wants to be forced into something they don’t want to do, especially teenagers. There is nothing more frustrating than being asked what you want to do with your life, and not having an answer.

Those are the times when I like to pick up a book. Young Adult novels are my preferred genre, due to the fact that I can usually easily relate to the characters’ troubles. There is nothing more satisfying than reading a line in a book, and thinking “OMG! YES! I totally agree!” Not only is it about the characters, and their personal attributes that get me hooked on a novel. It’s also about the story line. Regardless of the setting of a novel, there is always something that relates back to you, and your life. There is always similarities, even in a Dystopia based novel, like Divergent or The Hunger Games. That’s the best part of reading; you can always find yourself in the novel.

I’ve been writing since I was 14, but it wasn’t until my senior year that I realised I wanted to make a future out of it. The reason I started writing was because of all the amazing novels I had read. I want to make someone feel the way I feel when I finish reading a novel. Without my favourite Young Adult novels, and the characters within them, I would’ve never realised what I want my future to be like. So my advice to you guys is, when someone asks you who you are, and who you want to be and you don’t know the answer, turn around, pick up your favourite book, and maybe you’ll find some inspiration.