Film vs Novel – I Am Number Four

What would you do if your survival relied on mastering a power you’ve yet to receive? Isolated your whole life – the only sanctuary is love…

I Am Number Four Film vs Novel by Casey Carlisle

Hot on the heels of the ‘Twilight’ franchise success, Touchstone Pictures/Dreamworks attempted to recreate that sensation with ‘I Am Number Four,’ based on a science fiction series by Pittacus Lore. I think it did a mildly successful job, but alas, the momentum of the film crashed and burned.

The book was a quick read and involved a lot more science fiction elements within the plot than it’s film counterpart. The characters had a wider scope of powers; and the history of alien races is explored further throughout the text, creating interest and helping you to invest more with the lead. Our antagonists (Mogodorians) in both the film and novel however, felt two dimensional – which left me wondering if the book was targeted towards a juvenile market. Conversely, the Mogodorians representation in the film was improved somewhat, but still left me finding them ‘camp’ more than ‘menacing.’ Again, the baddies did not feel quite so scary.

I preferred how the movie had simplified the powers of the Lorien – how each character had abilities unique to themselves. It got a little messy in the book series keeping track of what was going on sometimes when powers began to overlap. The narration of the novel flowed nicely and it was easy to escape into the world of a threatened alien species. I found there to be a little too much information dumping at times – I would have thought a conversation between John and Henri or John and Sarah would have been a better mode of revealing occasional facts. The narration in itself lacked some tension – although it was a great high stakes story with plenty of action, the pacing fell short of something to turn it from a fun read to something outstanding.

I Am Number Four Film vs Novel pic 01 by Casey CarlisleSecondary characters in the movie version were developed further in comparison to their written counterparts. Plus the lead, played by Alex Pettyfer, did a stellar job in capturing John Smith. As Dianna Agron enhanced Sarah’s presence in the franchise. My favourite though, would have to be Teresa Palmer playing Six – she added an edge to the character lending realism to her bad-assery.

The treatment of John and Henri in the written version was great – I loved how they explored their failings and had to grow throughout the arc of the story… if only that theme had extended to the remainder of the cast, because at the end of the day I did not feel like I had read anything new, or something with a unique twist. I loved how the Nine Lorien were connected and could feel each others deaths, but after that, originality went out the window. The story could have been epic but failed to live up to its potential in both incarnations of film and novel.

The stand out aspect in the film for me were the special effects – the battle scenes remaining steadfast in my memory (snippets of which are shown in the trailer).

I Am Number Four Film vs Novel pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Overall, the movie was a much more satisfying experience over the book for me: so it wins hands down. I’d recommend either for a leisurely afternoons entertainment, but don’t expect it to rock your world.

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Vanity Fierce

Vanity Fierce Book Review by Casey CarlisleFrom Goodreads:

Stephen Spear is everyone’s golden boy (including his own). Blond, blue-eyed, blessed with every talent and advantage, he has the world falling at his feet. And he’s ready to trample all over it. When Stephen falls for Ant, the only gay man he knows who still has chest hair, he is astounded to find his desire unrequited. Or is it? Ant is so inscrutable, it’s impossible to be entirely sure. But Stephen is determined to get his man. And if the wiggle of his cute butt isn’t enough, then scheming, lying and manipulating is second nature to him. He’s too young to realise that love can be tricky enough without adding any extra complications. Vanity Fierce is a love story that’s big on outrageous schemes, dark secrets and firm muscles.

Page border by Casey Carlisle

This was a nice break away from my typical reads, and it was great to see Sydney shine through the text. Getting a glimpse into a life far different from my own, shedding a humorous eye over the darker side of the Kings Cross and Darlinghurst gay scene in the nineties… a truly surprising novel. There were times when it started to drag – especially in excerpts from the novel featured within the story, but on the whole, thoroughly entertaining. I applaud the usage of the inserted manuscript to take a peek into a different view of events (even though both points of view could be considered unreliable) but felt if small chunks were highlighted rather than entire chapters the pacing of the book would have kept its momentum.

Told through Stevens point of view, who is unashamedly self important and self obsessed, neglects to see the big picture in a lot of things: and so begins his rollercoaster ride through love and life… especially when his intentions are spurned by the one guy he wants – Ant (Anthony). Stephen is not used to rejection and this fuels his obsession.

There are plenty of colourful characters, hilarious side stories peppered throughout Aitken’s novel. His turn of phrase is fresh and delightful and even though I’m a massive fan of adventure and action in my YA books; I barely put ‘Vanity Fierce’ down.

In a world of imperfect protagonists, it was refreshing to read of a seemingly perfect one.

This story had the air of a classic novel about it, ranking up with the greats like ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen and ‘The Rainbow’ by D.H Lawrence – because it dealt with a very real world, with very real characters. Emotional and epic in its own right. I make the comparison simply because ‘Vanity Fierce’ had the same impact on me as did those timeless reads (and it’s my opinion!)

Graeme Aitken also has an uncanny ability to weave important issues into his narrative without shoving them down your throat, or sensationalising them. Stephen’s journey was delicate, and dealt with the respect it deserves – where it could have turned out to feel like a political statement or after-school special. ‘Vanity Fierce’ has been a wonderful introduction into Aitken’s writing and I am definitely looking forward to adding other titles to my collection (ie: ‘50 Way of Saying Fabulous’)

If you enjoyed the movie ‘The Sum of Us’ starring Russel Crowe – definitely give this a read.

Vanity Fierce Book Review pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Elation of Writing…

I don’t know if other writers have this experience, but it struck me as a little odd – if not narcissistic. When re-reading my work through the editing process after having let it sit for some weeks, I have a plethora of reactions:

 The Elation of Writing by Casey Carlisle

What the hell was I thinking? Was I drinking when I wrote this section?

 

I’m sure this isn’t even a part of the English Language!

 

Lame! What person since the dawn of humanity would utter those words unless it was in a C-Grade horror movie.

 

OMG I’m so talented. I can’t believe I wrote that *clapping hands*

 

I need to phone everyone right now and let them know just how brilliant this book is turning out.

 

Does any of this paragraph need to be included – I must have been off on one of my rants again.

 

When did I write this? Have little gremlins snuck into my study at night and added pages of wondrous prose?

 

My dog obviously wrote this paragraph.

 

My readers are going to lapse into a coma.

 

That joke is still funny!

 

Where’s that whole section where the heroine kicked some ass – it was brilliant! Don’t tell me it all happened in my head and I didn’t write any of it down…

 

I’m never going to finish this manuscript.

 

I see dust. Hmmm maybe it’s time to spring clean the house.

 

Is it too late to take back calling myself a writer?

… and on it goes. Despite the rollercoaster ride of emotions every time I sit at the keyboard, I’m helplessly addicted. I can’t stop writing.

 

‘Like’ if you relate 🙂

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Film vs Novel – Haven / The Colorado Kid

Moving to a town to solve a mystery or moving to a mysterious town?

Haven vs The Colorado Kid Review  by Casey Carlisle

A vastly different adaptation with the television series ‘Haven’ in comparison to the Novel ‘The Colorado Kid’ penned by Stephen King; The premise of the protagonist investigating a murder remains the same, as do a number of other elements – like the setting of small Maine town called Haven, and the owners of the local newspaper – but the finished product sways deep into the surreal and paranormal in ‘Haven’ than anything in the book.

The Colorado Kid Film vs Novel pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

As a lover of Stephen King’s writing, and after discovering one of my favourite television shows, ‘Haven’ was based on his novel which I had not read yet – I raced out to purchase it immediately without looking into what kind of book it was… I wanted to be surprised.

Expecting the supernatural goings-on like its small screen counterpart, I was disappointed. ‘The Colorado Kid’ is far more poignant. For starters the main character is a intern newspaper reporter, Stephanie McCann looking into an unusual death for the local The Weekly Islander; and while researching the back story of the event uncovers facts which are left open to interpretation (due to narration which may, or may not be reliable). I actually enjoyed that I wasn’t spoon-fed an opinion, but merely presented the situation to which I could draw my own conclusion. It’s a crime mystery novel beyond anything else.

Dave and Vince, the two founders of the newspaper feature in the novel and are equally mystifying and cheeky. I was glad to see their same spirit captured in the screen adaptation.
The Colorado Kid Film vs Novel pic 01 by Casey CarlisleThe television series brought to you by Syfy, due to commence its fifth season tonight (11th of September) where the lead, Audrey Parker (played by Emily Rose) is an F.B.I. Agent who comes to Haven to investigate a murder… and find that the Town is rampant with residents infected by ‘the troubles’ to which she is somehow connected. It still has that element of mystery about it, and Audrey does solve crimes, but it is more of an Urban Fantasy than a crime mystery like the book. There are plenty of twists and turns and over arcing story lines in the show, as well as the crime or mystery to solve in each episode – not to mention some delicious male co-stars – and I’d recommend anyone to view if you love shows with a supernatural spice.

The Colorado Kid Film vs Novel pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Given that I’m not a big fan of crime novels, I wasn’t particularly taken with Stephen King’s original version, but loved the subjective nature of the narration. The television show has a Mulder and Scully vibe (X-Files) and even though formulaic, manages to keep my interest with each instalment. So the screen version is a winner in this round… and tune in tonight for the beginning of the latest season.

Let me know what you think of either ‘The Colorado Kid’ or ‘Haven’ in the comments section below….

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Faerie Tale

Faerie Tale Book Review Cover by Casey CarlisleGoodreads:

Successful screenwriter Phil Hastings decides to move his family from sunny California to a ramshackle farmhouse in New York State. The idea is to take some time out, relax and pick up the threads of his career as a novelist. Good plan, bad choice. The place they choose is surrounded by ancient woodland. The house they choose is the centrepoint of a centuries-old evil intent on making its presence felt to intruders.

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What an amazing world Raymond E. Feist paints, melodic, mysterious and enrapturing.

For some reason this book reminded me of ‘Pet Cemetery’ by Stephen King, moving to a small town, curious children exploring the woods about the house and getting into trouble, ominous scariness lurking… you get the picture.

Source: deviant art - dragoroth

Source: deviant art – dragoroth

This was the first book into the world of Raymond E. Fiest for me, and I have to say, he has a vivid and unabashed style. It may get over-descriptive at times, but I was never bored or skipping pages ahead. ‘Faerie Tale’ is sufficiently spooky and disturbing in parts, and magic and fantastical in others. It still stands the test of time, holding it’s own despite being written over twenty years ago. This is no childhood story re-telling as of the likes of ‘Cinder,’ or ‘Beastly,’ Feist has created his own story based in mythology and cultural history.

I am not one to get overly terrorised by scary books – it takes a lot to get me worrying what’s under the bed or tapping at the window – usually having something to do with the unknown, believability and a great build up in the mythology or world building: and ‘Faerie Tale’ has it. Many nights I had my legs neatly tucked safely under me, away from hooked claws and chitinous legs which may lie waiting in the shadows. The pacing is a little slow, given Feist’s over-descriptive manner, but he builds great suspense. The novel can get a little graphic too: so be prepared to get uncomfortable or grossed out. Additionally, given the slower tenor to the story, the ending did feel abrupt in comparison, but well executed.

The family on which this tale is centred, The Hastings, are slightly stereotypical, but have their own flaws and quirks so they feel real and flesh out the story. The Father, Phil’s reactions to the events that take place in the novel are realistic and add legitimacy to the fantasy, which is needed to juxtapose the experiences of his twin boys, Sean and Patrick. Without giving away the plot, you see a great deal of loyalty and family bonds being tested, which is a great change from rescuing damsels in distress 😉

With more than one Antagonist, the main being Erl King, a nasty faerie leader, who is conniving and terrifying, really makes you fear the dark places. He is supported by the Magi – a human sect intent on aiding the Kings desires. They all weave a bloodcurdling and thrilling ride for the Hastings family.

Source: tumblr a-touch-of-magic

Source: tumblr a-touch-of-magic

A pleasant break from the recently released spate of Young Adult reads, I’d definitely recommend ‘Faerie Tale’ for those who love great escapist novels that buck the trend of star-crossed lovers.

Faerie Tale Book Review  Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

 Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle  

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Once more with feeling…

Afflicted with writers’ brain…. more commonly known as an overactive imagination.

Once More With Feeling by Casey Carlisle

Like the Emmy Award winning episode of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ giving the musical treatment to a genre that you don’t typically associate bursting out in song with – amongst beheading demons and avoiding the pointy end of wooden stakes. I was wondering what some of my favourite books would be like if re-vamped with show tunes.

Once More With Feeling by Casey Carlisle

Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, The Hunger Games, Divergent, even some of the contemporaries; The Fault in Our Stars,  Flat Out Love, Mara Dyer, and well, Will Grayson sort of already was… there are so many scenes where bursting out into song would appear camp, or just wrong. I was chortling to myself while in the waiting room to visit the dentist.

Trying to avoid the stares from others seating nearby at my spontaneous outbursts of laughter I couldn’t help picturing other real life situations, like say your at the Gynaecologists and the doctor breaks into song…

 

images (2)It pains me to say

I wish my news was nice

        But in fact my dear…

You have an infestation of pubic lice!images (2)

 

Or even better you are out walking your dog and he decides to take a crap… and a duet ensues!

images (2)I need to poo

This is so embarrassing

        Look at me poo

        Here comes a cute boy jogging

        ….. poo ….

        Not so entertaining

        Morbid and disgusting

        Vulnerable and compromising

         I really should get moving

        But my dogs’ bowls are evacuating

         Thoroughly disturbing

        Do something distracting

        The cute boy is smiling

         It’s squishy and it’s smelling

        There’s no way of telling

         If that boy thinks I’m amusing

        With my dog who is pooping

         Why o why is this happening

        The cute boy is passing

        I FINISHED MY POOOOOOOO!    … Oh, a bee!

        That’s relieving…

images (2)We’re leaving!

 

I could go on and on… I was in that waiting room for an hour – do you know how many situations you can dream up in that time?

Keep laughing, keep writing…

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.