My last ten days of March were ridiculously busy with a holiday to Rome sandwiched in between a hen party and a birthday party after which I returned to work with over 200 emails waiting for me. This means I am a little bit late for this wrap up and only had one blog post prepped to go up last week. (It was my top storytelling podcasts if you were interested!) Now that we have the excuses out of the way, on with the wrap up.
The Reading Corner
The Power – Naomi Alderman
This has been on my TBR for ages so I’m so glad I’ve finally read because it’s brilliant! Framed as a ‘historical novel’ The Power depicts the eponymous electrical power that begins to spark in young girls (and then women) around the world and how it changes the gender dynamics of the world as we know it. Alderman imagines a flipping of the script and writes a fantasy of how power could lead to a matriarchal society but corrupt women. Margaret Atwood’s influences on Alderman’s writing is clear here and in many ways this book tonally matches The Handmaid’s Tale.
Ignite the Stars – Maura Milan
This book has an exciting premise, colonial conflict and eventually leads to a larger mystery surrounding interstellar gates. It’s got the skeleton of a good sci-fi book but there is a lot of telling rather than showing and sadly many two-dimensional characters. The original blurb described it as ‘Throne of Glass in space’ and had I known, I wouldn’t have read it. Whilst Ia is a more realistic threat than Celaena, the romantic aspect and her inevitable internal conflict felt formulaic. I would however like to highlight how well Brinn’s struggle with being the equivalent of mixed race is depicted.
For my full review, click here
The Near Witch – V.E. Schwab
Schwab’s debut novel is very different to the urban fantasy of hers that I have read. I queued up for two hours to catch a brief glimpse of her and a signed copy for my efforts. When a stranger appears in the village of Near and children start disappearing, the connections seems clear. But Lexi is determined to find the truth and she has an advantage – she believes in magic where the village has forgotten it. This was a little slow and I’d say is a story that focuses more on human emotions, relationships and ultimately human prejudices than magic.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
I am probably the world’s worst Marvel fan because it has taken me this long to see Infinity War. This film is fun, it’s always great to see different characters interacting but the pacing felt a bit off. It was almost too much plot for one film but not enough for two and the Thor side quest feels out of sync with the climax of the film. Also, as my friend Laura pointed out, Thanos only manages to collect the Infinity Stones because time and again the heroes won’t sacrifice a loved one (or cut off his arm on Titan…).
Captain Marvel (2019)
This feels like a Phase I film. Marvel have got their formula down so it’s not a bad movie per se, it just doesn’t feel ambitious. I loved seeing Fury/Carol together but the writing of her relationships are shallow. ~VAGUE SPOILER ALERT ~ I was disappointed with how Fury loses his eye. Carol realises she’s been fighting on the wrong team and instead of treating war as a complex issue where there are no good guys, she changes sides and just continues fighting rather than trying to make peace. I know that’s what is expected of superheroes, but maybe it shouldn’t be.
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Sing-a-long
Rocky Horror encompasses multiple genres; musical, horror, comedy, sci-fi. The film opens with a young couple who seek shelter in the Frankenfurter mansion during a storm where things take a turn for the strange. Featuring aliens, Tim Curry in fishnets and the Time Warp, the film became a cult classic as audiences began responding to bad dialogue. The screening I went to was an interactive one. So not only did we sing, we shouted things, we popped party poppers. It was lots of fun and I would recommend going to a screening like this if you’ve seen the film before!
Avatar: The Last Airbender (Seasons 2 & 3)
My friends, Avatar is going on my list of all-time favourite television shows. Season 2 brings our heroes to the Earth Kingdom. Zuko is on the run and I loved how this allowed for a potential redemption arc. The gang make their way to an Earth Kingdom stronghold called Ba Sing Se and it’s so refreshing to see ‘good guys’ portrayed in shades of grey. Season 2 brings more female characters into the mix too from Zuko’s sister to the new member of Team Avatar: Toph. Although blind, she ‘sees’ with her feet and is stubborn, independent and generally brilliant.
Season 3 is based in the Fire Kingdom and we finally see the ‘enemy’. Avatar continues to portray characters complexly and realistically however; people are good on both sides. This season explores Aang’s internal conflict against violence especially against firebending (he sees it as an inherently violent martial art) versus his destiny to ‘beat’ the firelord. What I particularly liked about this season is how they’ve built up Katara’s waterbending. It’s little things like this that make the show excellent. This show has so much going for it, a great mythology, complicated characters and so much humour. I adore it.
Santa Clarita Diet (Season 3)
This is not a show I felt made an impact on me when I watched Season 1. I didn’t think it was brilliant or hilarious but having said that, it’s compelling to watch and a nice light-hearted take on the zombie story. I like how the show’s mythology is evolving and becoming bigger. Joel and Sheila’s normal concerns still feature and contrast with their new reality which is a huge source of humour in this show. Both Timothy Olyphant’s delivery as well Drew Barrymore’s sunny portrayal of Sheila makes this really enjoyable to watch. (Also Drew looks fantastic in this!)
Derry Girls (Series 1)
Set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, Derry Girls follows a group of young Irish teens from Londonderry as they navigate the world. Despite the political climate, their lives are fairly ordinary and Series 1 deals with school crushes and detention, wanting to go on fancy school trips and getting into trouble. It’s down to earth, humorous and the characters are all really well written, from boy-obsessed Michelle to strange Orla, each member of the gang is unique. It’s got that quintessential British balance of humour and heart, I can’t quite do it justice in text so just watch it!
Around the Blogosphere
International Women’s Day was at the start of this month for which I wrote about my own feminist TBR and that’s the theme for most of my favourite blog posts this month too.
Ashleigh from A Frolic Through Fiction reviewed Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and felt it was a little bit lacking.