Film vs Novel – The Nine Lives of Chloe King … by Casey Carlisle

Forget vampires and werewolves, cat-people kick butt!

The Nine Lives of Chloe King Review by Casey Carlisle

In response to the emails I’ve been getting for some more reviews since posting a blog on ‘The Host’ comparing the film to the novel; I’ll be writing more in this genre. Adding to the Film vs. Novel, I’ll also review some of the latest YA fiction from my reading list, and hopefully give you some insight into other great YA Authors.

To kick off reviews in 2014 I thought I’d begin with a comparison of The Nine Lives of Chloe King ABC’s television series to the novels by Liz Braswell – only because it was one of my favourite shows, and that in turn prompted me to read the books over the Christmas break.

Overall the television series is a sanitised version of the books – as are many adaptations these days. Keeping the broadcasts within a PG rating to connect with the intended target audience and ABC’s typical treatment of after school specials removed the ‘grit’ and realism from the storyline. But having said that, I found the characters in the television series much more loveable. The protagonist ‘Chloe’ in the books, was much harder to make a personal connection with, whereas, in episode one of the TV version – I was hooked in the first ten minutes.

Both storylines had sensational elements to add the drama and supernatural elements, but the way they were introduced into the story didn’t sell me for the novels. The written version of Chloe, a reluctant and flawed superhero, warrior princess, felt vapid in comparison to her film counterpart. Granted the version of Chloe on screen was a happy-go-lucky, sarcastic, nervous teen as compared to a bitchy, naive, and impulsive version in print, so it’s hard to pitch them up against one another when the main character is wildly different in each representation.

The books held that whole ‘secret society with lots of money operating right under your noses,’ and while that was present in the television version, it wasn’t so extreme. I loved the mythology that formed the drive for the novels and it was the main reason – apart from the love of ABC’s version – that kept me reading. If you are hoping for the same exploration with the televised version, you’ll be disappointed. There were small amounts introduced with each episode, but unfortunately the series got canned before it was able to really sink its teeth into the subject matter.

Both interpretations were a pleasurable experience, and the stand out sensation I got on completion of both consisted of – ‘Why did they cancel that!?’ when viewing the last aired episode of The Nine Lives of Chloe King… I was still totally hooked on the show. Plus it ended on a cliff hanger … argh! Frustrating! Upon reading the last page of the novels, although a satisfying read, I found myself sighing out loud many times at Chloe’s actions, annoyed that the most realistic options were never even considered, like she was being guided by the writer in a certain direction and never allowed to make her own decisions.

Secondary characters in the novels had that same frustrating trait as Chloe, resulting with me grinding my teeth. Actions they took were inconsistent with their age and the situation. Their screen counterparts were age appropriate and even quite comical at times, while not appearing two dimensional thus escaping my furrowed brow.

So in the case of TV series or novels?  – it’s a resounding win for the screen adaptation. It left me much more satisfied and had a plethora of characters to easily identify with.


© 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.

Character Profile – Riley Taylor from the novel ‘Smoulder’ by Casey Carlisle.

A big-city girl trapped in the outback!


She’s clumsy, headstrong, independent, and the quiet girl who sits at your lunch table and barely says a word. You think she’s pretty , but she feels awkward and out of place…

If you have been reading the excerpts from ‘Smoulder,’ on my blog, you have an insight into Riley with her reaction to first witnessing Teddy’s pyrokinesis; and her attempt in discovering if she also has a latent ability (and coming up empty in a comical tone). So in this blog I thought it would be fun to learn about the girl herself – what makes her tick. Plus see how I pictured Riley with some of actors I had in mind when creating the character…

I didn’t want the protagonist to be weak or reactive to what goes on around her, although it was essential she possess a certain amount of naivety and passivity in dealing with her peers. Although she would carry a strong sense of self and need the security of family to ground her – because in all other aspects of her life she would not have a clue about what she wants. From this ideal Riley Taylor emerged.

Riley’s journey and growth throughout ‘Smoulder’ will force her to question these ideals and either evolve or fade into obscurity. Which she will always find challenging because she is at her core, an introvert.

Physically, she has clear pale skin and a vibrant mass of curly red hair, Riley is of above average height and slender, but athletic. Actors Skyler Samuels or Kate Mara most closely resemble how I pictured her. A keen hiker and love for gardens gets her outdoors frequently, even though they are in essence, solo activities. If she is put in the spotlight, particularly in front of a crowd, Riley’s nervousness accumulates to the point she becomes clumsy and uncoordinated.

Having lost her father when she was young, Riley tends to escape in to the worlds in her novels, the romantic notions of good triumphing over evil and destined love make her feel safe. Feeling out of place in Alice Springs and the desert heat, wanting to return to the anonymity of a lush Adelaide, adds to her need to retreat into a make believe world where everyone is happy.

Loving Botany, she has developed a detached way of viewing the world through scientific observation at times, and is torn between the two juxtaposing notions of Literature and Botany for a possible career. Although either profession would accommodate her penchant for dressing comfortably, rejecting feminine stereotypes of high heels, dresses and make-up.Image


She has two very different reactions to the Tavish cousins, Teddy and Tom – where usually she would spurn the interests of the opposite sex – these men stir something all too new. Riley finds Teddy mysterious (and tortured), confident, excessively handsome. He’s mature, standing out from all the other boys at the college, and is protective of her when she is unable to protect herself, leaving her feeling cherished. He makes her feel inadequate which is something she has never been made to experience. Teddy epitomizes the kind of man she dreams about but could never have.

Tom, altogether different, is genuinely happy, does things for others without reward or recognition, she feels safe and comfortable around him. Discovering he is always misjudged – Riley comes to his defense and feels like his champion. Tom is first boy to make her out laugh loud and hard. He values her opinions and independence, qualities she has only had with her Mother, and leave her feeling unique and important. He makes her want to be a better person.

Both boys challenge her with introspection and bring qualities to the surface she never knew she possessed.

I hope you find Riley as someone you can relate to, and want to find out how she deals in being confronted with the secretive and supernatural Tavish Clan, the dangers coming to Alice Springs, and the dramas of High School in the upcoming novels included the Smoulder Series.

© Casey Carlisle 2013. 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.