Book Review – ‘Chosen’ (#2 Slayer) by Kiersten White

A red-headed slayer… count me in!

Genre: YA, Paranormal

No. of pages: 368

Nina continues to learn how to use her slayer powers against enemies old and new in this second novel in the New York Times bestselling series from Kiersten White, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom.

And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right?

The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.

Another fantastic and nostalgic trip into the Buffyverse with the twins. I can’t properly explain my joy at how many characters from the original series made an appearance – I was flashed back to my bedroom at home, snuggled on the couch in the dark with a cup of tea. A time when I was surrounded by happiness and safety, when all of my family members were still alive. Buffy always brought me joy and wonder, and ‘Chosen’ managed to dredge all that back up again. It was bittersweet. Much like the journey the characters take in ‘Chosen’ and a little bit like my feelings upon completing the novel.

I really enjoyed ‘Chosen’ it has such a strong connection for me, but the pacing in the first half of the novel was a little slow. I kept putting down this book so many times. It was interesting, had fun characters, but didn’t necessarily move the plot forward too much. I think in paying so much lip service to characters from the television show, we sacrificed some of the pace… but I don’t think I would have connected with the novel as much without their occasional appearance. So it’s a catch twenty-two that you can’t really win. But Kiersten White managed to find the perfect balance and it is an accolade that she manages to keep the story interesting even when the plot was a little slower.

In comparing ‘Chosen’ to the debut of the series, ‘Slayer’ I have to say I enjoyed ‘Slayer’ better. There weren’t so many characters to keep track of, and it fit more into the serialised stories we got from the television show; whereas ‘Chosen’ felt more like a series arc… which is why I think the pacing felt slower in the first half, there was just so many plot points to set up. But it does end in apocalyptic fashion, the thing the television series is famous for.

We switch perspectives between Nora, the last slayer, and Artemis, her twin sister every few chapters. Given that they were separated for nearly the entirety of the novel the dual perspectives added a lot the narrative, though there were moments when an omnipotent consciousness slipped in, which I didn’t think was needed. Those small instances were explanatory or info-dumping in nature and you slipped out of the organic nature of the tone of the book.

Both our protagonists get great arcs and character development. The only niggling issue I have with this instalment is given we are at a Watcher stronghold we didn’t get as much Watcher lore (like we did in ‘Slayer.’) I felt it disconnected a bit in the reason for the characters being there… it was like they were morphing into a new version of The Scooby Gang instead of carving out their own identity and reviving the importance of the Watcher mythos. The waters all felt a bit muddy in that respect; but the connection between the cast forging a makeshift family and Slayer sanctuary rings through clear as a bell.

The notable appearances from the original television series include: Buffy, Faith, Clem, Sineya (the first slayer), and a Chaos Demon (Anya’s ex-boyfriend).

I really hope we get more instalments in this series and explore/evolve the Watcher lore. But I have not seen any evidence Kiersten White will be penning another installation to date. *sigh* I guess I’ll just have to keep hoping that the new Slayer television series moves forward in production.

Definitely recommend this one – for Buffy fans, and lovers of paranormal fantasy novels.

Overall feeling: Melancholic

© Casey Carlisle 2021. 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 – ‘You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)’ by Felicia Day

Deconstructing feminity in a male-driven industry… plus gaming and D&D and stuff.

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

No. of pages: 272

From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.

The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world… or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.

After growing up in the south where she was “home-schooled for hippie reasons”, Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.

Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism—just like her memoir.

I have to admit I was a massive fan of Felicia Day, mainly for her acting chops in shows like ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ ‘Eureka,’ ‘The Librarians,’ ‘The Magicians,’ ‘Supernatural,’ and ‘Dollhouse’ and the film ‘Red: Werewolf Hunter.’ I loved the fact there was another red headed actress out there making strides. I also knew she was kind of a geek, but that was the extent of what I knew of her. Delving into this memoir I became infinitely impressed with her drive and determination despite crippling anxiety and depression. She has two degrees, and effectively launched her own television production company (through web content.) Wowzer! What a chick.

I particularly loved how she approached each roadblock in her unique way. There was no ball-busting bitch. Day is a self-confessed delicate flower, yet she found ways to stand up against the Hollywood meat grinder, internet trolls, and financial struggles. It was such a delight to read about the antithesis of the cold, stone-faced, barren, corporate spinster women thought they needed to be to achieve success in a male dominated society.

She is pretty witty too. I laughed a few times, and enjoyed the memes she included in the books format to accompany the narrative. It wasn’t a laugh-riot, but has an upbeat quirky tone that I haven’t experienced in another memoir to date.

There is a lot of content about ‘The Guild’ and ‘Geek and Sundry’ – which is a major life achievement for her, but I was unfamiliar with a lot of that stuff, and not really into gaming, so my interest waned on the material… which is like, one third of the book. But underlying all of that content are gems and life lessons you learn as you navigate your way through self-discovery, and building a business.

I was particularly confronted towards the end around the internet hate, trolling, and doxing. Such an extreme form or bullying and so obviously done by white men throwing their opinions around and trying to tear down anyone who does not fit into the image they want them to. Felicia Day never comes out and says it directly – probably for legal reasons – but there is some plain-as-day misogynists out there in places of power, and hiding behind the anonymity of the internet that need to be checked, or simply removed from their thrones. Period. My heart bleeds for Day that she had to live through that experience.

This was a lovely read, and some of the content I could not relate to directly, but the core messages, and Felicia’s personality shine through. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone interested in acting, YouTube, gaming, or struggling with online hate. She has since published another book ‘Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity’ which I am particularly interested in, as it sounds to be more focused on life-lessons and strategies for a creative driven business. Right up my alley.

Overall feeling: Brilliant insight.

© Casey Carlisle 2020. 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 – ‘Slayer’ (#1 Slayer) by Kiersten White

Re-visiting my ultimate fandom.

Slayer (#1 Slayer) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

Genre: YA, Paranormal

No. of pages: 404

goodreads banner by Casey Carlisle

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

Page border 2020 by Casey Carlisle

It was fun to get reacquainted with the Buffyverse through ‘Slayer.’ While it is technically cannon and references many familiar characters, it didn’t quite match the tone of the television series ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ Though it has elements of teen drama, horror, and dark comedy, it managed to carve out its own identity.

I found parts of the narrative repetitive – especially in the first half – and it became somewhat annoying, but once past the midway point ‘Slayer’ really starts to amp up. The pacing is pretty good, but in what we’ve come to expect from Whedon’s brainchild, ‘Slayer’ is the poorer cousin. There should have been much more drama and angst, much more action, and a heavy, more pronounced theme of good versus evil… and some core moral centre that the protagonist deals with.

The concept of twins and prophecy was a fun twist and great to explore. Stepping into the world post-Sunnydale where hundreds of potential slayers have realised their power, Watcher/medic in training Nina (‘Artemis’) has joined the ranks of newly awakened slayers. I feel like having Nina isolated and in hiding with the remainder of the Watcher brethren was a great storytelling perspective, but did little to create a lot of relatable content for the reader. Buffy was a typical teen who just wanted to be normal – Nina is a naive teen who doesn’t know what she wants… so for the first half of the novel I didn’t really care for her as a main character because she lacked the strength and interest. Though as she stretches her newly slayer abilities Nina grows into the role.

Slayer (#1 Slayer) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

There was this whole kept-in-the-dark-for-your-own-protection trope and miscommunications which was okay as a plot device, but I’ve seen it executed much better; and not only did it feel obvious, but frustrating that I was able to not only predict the outcome of the novel, but pretty much all but one of the smaller story arcs. I feel like Kiersten White could have cut 100-150 pages out, only hinting at plot reveals, and this would have not only been a better paced read, but married true to the tone of the source material. But it was so nostalgic and squee-worthy to be back in the Buffyverse. Plus, a red-headed protagonist – fellow gingers unite!

So I may have rated this lower if not for the connection to my early years through the Whedonverse, and just the simple enjoyment of spending a few days back in that place. This was an emotional connection, and I felt like the story was really getting its legs in the second half. So I’m assuming the sequel ‘Chosen’ is going to be much better and I am definitely fangirling over these books.

I’d love to freely recommend this to everyone, but some hard-core Buffy fans may not take to ‘Slayer’ so easily. While this has elements of the franchise, it’s not delivered as tightly as the source material. Even the DarkHorse comics that continued the story after the television series ended with a team of the original writers (helmed by Jos Whedon himself) still retain that ‘it’ factor we’ve come to love in the Buffyverse that I felt wasn’t quite reached with Kiersten Whites take on the franchise. But hey, I’d would LOVE to be proven wrong.

Overall feeling: A fun frolic in a favorite fandom

Slayer (#1 Slayer) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Slayer (#1 Slayer) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey 2020 by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2020. 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.

Let me have a moment… (with ‘Teen Wolf’)

Let me have a moment Pic 09 by Casey Carlisle.jpgEvery now and then I find I need to take a few days off the schedule to gather my thoughts… or binge watch a tv show.

It’s my own fault. I set a grueling timetable, big goals and sacrifice a lot of other things to manage my time in order to achieve the dream ‘to do’ list. It’s in my nature to go big or go home. Whether its perfectionism, O.C.D, or having an imagination bigger that the wild outdoors, I don’t know; but I’ve always operated with enthusiasm.

Let me have a moment Pic 08 by Casey Carlisle.gifConsequently, you can only go for so long on maximum throttle before you need to stop. This last weekend was such a time, I dropped out of everything and spent a few days in front of the screen on a ‘Teen Wolf’ marathon. Yay for supernatural goodness with hot boys! It’s the first time I’ve re-watched any episode since their release (especially back to back) and, as a writer, I marveled at the story lines, arcs, and character development. I was also surprised at the darker elements of the show like the gore and emotional suffering. I didn’t remember it being so shocking when I first watched. There were some silly moments – and I don’t mean comedic – like the Beast of Gévaudan. The CGI was awful and didn’t portray any feeling of menace.

But at the core of the show, and the reason I was watching, boils down to the relationships between the characters. The Pack as it’s called. I found myself wishing I still had that collection of friends by my side, sharing the ups and downs that I had in high school. They are still around, but we have scattered across the continent and have separate lives, families, and careers; so friendships aren’t a day to day priority any more. The bromance between Scott and Stiles is epic. I can see that trope in the ‘Supernatural’ tv show as well between the Winchester brothers. For some reason, that buddy-ship appeals to me. It gives an authentic feel to the characters without saturating it in machismo. I also realise there is a lot of homoerotic undertones in the characterisation in both of the shows that I don’t take offense to. It’s light-hearted and fun and is not intended derogatory, but support and include that community in some way – like we’re all in on the joke. The other aspect that had me tuning in was the romance. ‘Teen Wolf’ has a great way of building a strong connection between the characters that allows me to get lost in the fantasy.

I know that Teen Wolf wasn’t initially envisaged to continue past the episodes that have already aired – and I really liked the note that Season 5 ended on. But with a new season speculated to air within the next few months, I’m still really excited to see where the show will take us. I did take a peek online to try and get some clues and couldn’t glean too much, but I did notice that Tyler Posey and Dylan O’Brien have their run for the next season ending in 2016, where the other characters have their run shown through to 2017 on IMDB, so I’m wondering if the characters of Scott and Stiles are leaving or getting killed off? Or maybe management aren’t updating the profiles just yet… but it’s got me anxious about what is going to happen, since they are the sole reason I watch the show. MTV have been tight-lipped about any spoilers or an air date getting leaked for the upcoming season. The producers and writers are going to have to bring in some amazing characters, storylines and friendships to ensure survival of this franchise.

I have had some issues with this show, but on the whole love it for the feast of characters and the kind of escapism I haven’t been able to find since the ending of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ Some came close, like ‘Lost Girl,’ ‘Orphan Black,’ and of course ‘Supernatural.’ They all have elements of horror, comedy and built in great friendships/relationships of all kinds. Let’s hope more addictive television keeps appearing on our screens worthy of a weekend binge session. Complex characters, diversity and character driven storylines are just the recipe for this gal!

Let me have a moment Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

What television series inspires your writing?

 

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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.

 

 

 

 

Book Review – Shatter Me

Shatter Me Book CoverFrom Goodreads:

I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I’m more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

This book has been the hardest one to finish this year so far. Which was totally unexpected given the reviews from fellow BookTubers and friends. The main reason behind my difficulty in progress through the novel was due to the fact that I could not relate to Juliette, the protagonist. That, and the occasional crossed out words of her retracted inner thoughts. They were distracting and pulled me from the story.

Now the premise of the book was great, held copious amounts of promise, but the way in which Juliette dealt with her dilemma had me squirming. She came across as erratic, weak and slightly out of touch with reality. Which is understandable given the predicament she found herself in, but lacked the realism… and ultimately lead to a superficial feeling in the developing character arc when she began too find her confidence and strength.

The story didn’t pick up until the last quarter – when the action and pace matched my enthusiasm – and from then on was totally engrossed.

Upon finishing the novel I really felt you could have whittled out half of it’s content and it would have been a way better book. And it urks me that given so many of my peers rave about this book and the series that something major has slipped past me. Even in an attempted re-read I still hold true to my conviction and have to agree that this it the worst book on my reading list for 2014 to date. I will, however, go on to read the second book in the series at a later date and hope for it to not suffer the same damning review. Given that the slow preamble of her origins has already been told and left it open in the middle of a build up to some great action scenes, it should by far surpass ‘Shatter Me’s’ score…

Shatter Me Banner

My favourite Character has to be Adam – steadfast in his resolve, a quality I always adore in the ‘knight-in-shining-armour types. Plus he didn’t feel the need to compensate for moments when he was weak and added credibility to his character. I really would have abandoned the story completely if it weren’t for Adam and his compassion and resolve.

Warner, the antagonist, however, followed the same doomed path as Juliette… the first three quarters of the novel I was literally rolling my eyes at how two dimensional and stereotypical he felt. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had grown a moustache and curled the ends with a maniacal laugh as he tied Juliette to the train tracks. Though in that last quarter of the story we caught a glimpse of something else – a sincerity and a righteous point of view that suddenly sparked my interest. It certainly adds to the potential for the sequel.

Tahereh Mafi’s writing style is quite readable, and I enjoyed her short expressionistic lexicon on the whole, but those crossed out words subtracted from my experience. So did some of her stuccoed sentences used in moments of stress; it gave me the feeling of someone speaking slowly and simply as if you had difficulty in understanding in what they were trying to say.

Shatter Me Quote 01

The storytelling device of Juilette’s power is a fantastic one – a concept that had me picking up the book in the first place. I like the way it is handled in the novel too, yet so much unexplored, and so much too convenient in the novel. I’m really hoping Tahereh has worked out the bugs and really starts to play with Juliette’s power in the sequels. I’m still having difficulty in understanding the world of the novel though, it is sort of dystopian, and wasn’t explained convincingly enough for me to buy into it. I feel that you either have to do a bang on job of setting the scene, or hit the ground running and leave it as a mystery of how it all came to be – unfortunately ‘Shatter Me’ did neither for me.

There are some great quotes – as I mentioned before Tahereh has moments of truly beautiful writing. I also loved the symbolism of the bird used throughout the first novel and how it is woven expertly within the story. All in all it wasn’t a terrible book, but difficult for me to get into.

Shatter Me Book Review 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.

Film vs Novel – Vampire Academy

A sassy romp through high school –Mean Girls with bite!

Vampire Academy Review by Casey Carlisle

Usually I have read the book before viewing the movie, but in this case it was the other way round; and I wonder if that spoiled some of the experience when reading, because I already knew what was going to happen. Now, don’t get me wrong – I still enjoyed the written version by Richelle Mead, but there were some parts where I felt the story dragged… and found myself thinking ‘get to the good stuff already!

Both the style of the movie and the book were funny and skipped along at a reasonable pace, although the film adaptation, in my opinion was that much more sassy – reminding me of the witty banter in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’  From watching the movie, a lot of the history into the Strigoi (bad vampires), and Elemental Magic was rushed, and the viewer was lead to accept that that is how it was. Alternatively, in the novel you got to learn much more about these aspects to the story line, and they were slowly built on throughout the entire book to a big reveal and climactic finish. With that said, if I had read the book first, the ending would have packed much more of a punch.

Rose (Zoey Deutch), Lissa (Lucy Fry), and Natalie (Sarah Hyland) styling up the Formal Dance in Vampire Academy.

Rose (Zoey Deutch), Lissa (Lucy Fry), and Natalie (Sarah Hyland) styling up the Formal Dance in Vampire Academy.

The two main characters, Rose Hathaway (a Dhampir) and Lissa, (Moroi Vampire Princess) have great chemistry on and off screen. Even though the story is told from Rose’s perspective, we get glimpses for Lissa’s school experience through their shared psychic link.  I connected with Zoey Deutch’s portrayal of Rose in the film much more than I did the character in the book – only because she came across as a more everyday girl with attitude (knowing she was way over her head but doing the best she could); where in the book I got a more of a stuck up vibe under all that bravado, like she was certain she was good looking, and could do whatever she wanted; which didn’t work well with the loyalty she had for Lissa and being her bodyguard.

I’d have to say the opposite for the character of Lissa though, Lucy Fry did a commendable job, but didn’t quite sell the image I conjured up from the book. I want to say Lucy lacked the presence that Lissa exuded, but then again – that kind of thing is what you feel from first person contact and is hard to replicate on a screen.

The one casting decision I wasn’t happy with, was that of Dimitri, played by Danila. I wanted him to look a bit younger and hotter! But that’s just my girlie hormones kicking in for my ideal dream guy. Danila’s acting was perfect for the movie, but I didn’t get the sex appeal from him I did from Dimitri in the novel.

I can’t say that the movie was predictable, I didn’t guess what was going to happen, and delighted at every twist and turn. Roses’ one-liners have to be my favorite. I was hoping to read my favorite line from the movie, but unfortunately it wasn’t there – so I must commend the script writer there, you made my day!

Vampire Academy Film vs Novel by Casey Carlisle

I’d say the movie is well worth the viewing, if you love ‘Buffy’ type films, you’ll get a kick out of this one. As for the book, yes I liked it, but I wouldn’t rave about it. Being the first in a series, it’s quite possible that the best is yet to come. I’ll read the next in the collection and let you know how it measures up without a movie spoiler! With the movie doing poorly at the box office, and second installment, ‘Frostbite’ now turning to crowd funding, it may mean an end to the series on the big screen L

So in the end, the movie wins out, breaking the trend … and here’s hoping the fans do get behind the second movie because, although it wasn’t a classic, I still thought it was pretty awesome.

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 – Anna Dressed in Blood

ImageA hellacious little book which is more surprising than scary…

From Goodreads:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

I passed over this title a number of times in my collection, its first impression did little to excite me. Even after the first few pages, I just about put it down – the language and set up of the storyline felt cliché and overused. Quite possibly it took a beat for the author to warm up to her subject, because after that, I was gripped.

Kendare Blake has written a fun and captivating novel. Macabre – check! Horror- some, but definitely not scary. Suspense – not overly, but expertly kept the tension going right to the last page. Her writing style is pleasant making Anna Dressed in Blood an ultimately entertaining and easy read.

I was a little annoyed in the first few chapters at the repetition of “Anna Dressed in Blood,” like some sort of ominous omen. It destroyed the reverie of the book and instead had me rolling my eyes – reminding me of those ‘80’s horror flicks with the compare staring down the lens using a radio voice in attempts to make us shiver.

ImageTold through Theseus Cassio Lowood’s point of view, who goes by Cas, a young male ghost hunter who travels from town to town eliminating restless spirits before they can add more hapless victims to their body count. He is a likable and sensible young man, and had me cheering for him in no time. His fixation with Anna Korlov, a powerful ghost came off a little weird, but I found I loved the dynamic. Kendare introduces most of the characters as fitting into a overdone stereotype, but then systematically destroys it leaving the cast as interesting and ultimately entertaining.

Granted the characters didn’t face that much difficulty outside of the storyline, abandoning the potential for the novel to become much darker through increasing the problems and anxiety they faced. The addition of parental (and grand-parental) involvement also had me cheering, adding credibility to the plight of Cas and Anna.

I was aware of the author’s voice at some points – inadvertently using language in an effort to sound like a teen. Plus I felt like she let circumstances explained off to easily. With so many unexplained deaths in the backstory, it felt a little too convenient. I felt raising the difficulty for Cas would have added some much needed suspense and intrigue.

Although being able to predict the direction of the book, I was unable to foresee the events which took it there, delighting me with surprises chapter after chapter. It also had the added benefit of having a double climax: just when you think the story is over and things are wrapping up Kendare reveals another set of problems. I know some readers are not a fan of this, but I welcome any break from traditional story telling. With a follow up novel, Girl of Nightmares, I am expecting much more and have already added in my reading pile.

Anna Dressed in Blood is not a horror, not a paranormal thriller, and not a romance, but elements of all three.

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It was announced recently that Anna Dressed in Blood in currently under development for a screen adaptation by Stephenie Meyer’s company Fickle Fish, and I’m really excited in anticipation to see how it unravels on the big screen. What elements will they keep, will it be terrifying, or dark and comedic (along the lines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) because it could certainly work either way. Needless to say I will be keeping an eye out for a trailer sometime next year.

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*photos used from book+filmsplanet-blogspot.com and 8tracks.com respectivelyImage

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