Book Review – Stardust

Title: Stardust

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Fantasy

Published: by Headline Review on September 19th, 2005

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Summary

(adapted from Goodreads)

Stardust tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love.

Thoughts

The first and foremost reason I enjoyed the book so much is Gaiman’s writing style. A fairytale for adults, Stardust makes you believe in love and magic again, but you have to be prepared to leave your reality behind in order to truly appreciate the book. It will sweep you away into a land that has an equal measure of light and dark, with memorable characters and a setting that will capture your imagination.

Please note that this book is definitely not for children as it is gory in certain places.

Read the detailed review here.

Recommendations

I would recommend this book to grown-ups who still have a little child in a sheltered corner of their heart, who’d like to step out of reality and experience the thrill of magic.

For the music, I was reminded of Fireflies by Owl City. You could listen to any music that reminds you of magic.

For the food, I’d suggest cupcake frosting – vanilla buttercream or cream cheese would both do the trick. (Warning: don’t go overboard with the quantity.)

Links

Book: Website | Amazon | Goodreads

Author: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

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Book Review – Wayfarer

Title: Wayfarer (Passenger #2)

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Published: By Disney Hyperion on 3rd January, 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Summary

Wayfarer picks up where Passenger left off, with Etta waking to find herself wounded and guarded, at the mercy of the secretive and elusive Thorns. Nicholas finds himself in Nassau waiting for Rose, in the company of Sophia, who is recovering from her brush with death. With the astrolabe still missing and a new timeline that keeps shifting, will they be able to find it before it changes time irrevocably? And when, if ever, they find it, what would one do with the power to alter time itself?

Thoughts

The plot doesn’t have a single dull moment in this book. Alex tucks little history lessons in without it feeling like a boring info-dump section, which I really liked in both the books. Overall, I felt Wayfarer outdid its predecessor in every way. I think it was a brilliant ending to an excellent series that made history come alive for me. It was informative, clever and had several memorable characters.

Read the detailed review here.

Recommendations

I would recommend this book to time travel enthusiasts and people who like to travel the world at zero cost.

For the music, I’d recommend any fast-paced classical violin music.

A big tub of popcorn would make an excellent snack accompaniment.

Links

Book: Amazon | Goodreads

Author: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Book + Movie Review – Fantastic Beasts

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (The Original Screenplay)

Author: J. K. Rowling

Genre: Fantasy

Published by: By Little, Brown Book Group on November 19th, 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary

(taken from the cover)

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

Thoughts

As I was reading through the book, each scene kept playing in exquisite detail inside my head and it felt exactly like watching the movie again. Also, reading the screenplay makes one realise just how well the actors have portrayed each character. I also felt like I understood Tina’s and Credence’s character better as I read. A few things that escaped my notice while watching the movie became clearer, which made me appreciate the world-building even more. I can’t review this book further without reviewing the movie itself, so let’s move on to that.

Cast and Characters:
If you’ve watched the movie, you know that Eddie Redmayne is perfect as Newt. If you haven’t watched it, I’m here to tell you that Eddie Redmayne is perfect as Newt. He’s captured the shy, socially awkward and curious characteristics of Newt Scamander so very well. Tina’s character was a bit of a let down for me. She’s an Auror, described as ambitious, but really is timid, hesitant and more awkward than Newt in the movie. I hope we see a growth in her character in the coming movies. Queenie is ADORABLE. She’s sweet, charming, resourceful and has an innocent look about her that is instantly lovable. She’s also outgoing and smart, even though a lot of people notice her for her looks and might underestimate her. Jacob Kowalski is easily the most endearing Muggle No-Maj in the world. He’s a man with a dream who is whisked away into the magical world by Newt and his problematic suitcase, but handles it rather well. After Harry’s horrible Muggle relatives, Jacob is one normal guy everyone would like. The other No-Majs, especially the Barebones family, are disturbing and mysterious, each in their own way, with some amazing casting. Colin Farrell was excellent as Percival Graves. He understood his character well and hit all the right notes, so to speak.

Plot and Setting:
I’m not sure I understand why Rowling chose to tell this story from Newt’s perspective, but as a fan of Harry Potter, I have complete faith in her storytelling abilities and will reserve my judgement on this until more movies are made. There’s a smaller plot involving Newt and his creatures and a larger, overarching plot with a darker tone, mainly about Grindelwald’s reign of terror. The movie shifts focus from one to the other, but the tension is maintained throughout and I really enjoyed that. It’s very clear that the smaller plot is meant to be on the lighter side with many comic moments, whereas the larger plot, especially shot in darker backdrops, is meant to be the more serious of the two. I liked how one tied into the other and sped up the plot to its climax with a bittersweet ending.

The setting is as perfect as Eddie Redmayne’s Newt. The magical and non-magical New York collide and rub against each other, leaving a trail of mass destruction and death is of special note. Newt’s case, however, is the most interesting of all. It literally transports you to a whole new magical world, which won me over in a trice.

Special Effects:
I watched the movie in 3D and that is the best way to enjoy the movie because the special effects are brilliant and deserve a huge round of applause. The beasts were, as promised, FANTASTIC. The Niffler, Pickett the Bowtruckle, the lady Erumpent, the Swooping Evil, the Demiguise, the Occamy, Frank the Thunderbird – I hope I got them all because they’re as important as the cast. I loved each and every one of them as they had such different and fun personalities and created some truly hilarious moments, especially the Niffler.

Conclusion:
The movie is worth everyone’s time, more so if you are a fan. Adults might find relating to the grown-up characters easier than Harry, so definitely give it a try even if you didn’t like Harry Potter as much. Highly recommended for animal lovers and the Hagrids of this world.

I would like to add that you should definitely watch the movie first and then read the screenplay to fully appreciate it. For those of you who have watched but are hesitating to read this, it is definitely worth the read, especially if you love Rowling’s Wizarding World and her style of writing.

 

Book Review – The Blazing Star

Title: The Blazing Star

Author: Imani Josey

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical

Published: By Wise Ink Creative Publishing on 6th December, 2016

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary

The Blazing Star opens with the protagonist, Portia, struggling to emerge out of the shadows of her brilliant twin sister, Alexandria. A history class involving a scarab beetle makes Portia sick and changes her demeanour as she picks a fight with two school bullies to rescue a strange freshman called Selene. A trip to the museum later, she finds herself transported to Ancient Egypt, where she uncovers the truth about the empire as well as herself.

Thoughts

Note: I received a free e-copy of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

Ancient Egypt is a really rich time in history to explore and I did like the description, the Egyptian terms thrown in, the temples, the culture – basically everything. I felt like the book had the potential to be so much more. It seems like it aimed for the stars but only managed to reach the stratosphere. That said, I will read the next instalment because I’ve grown fond of many of the side characters. Also, that cover art is so beautiful, which is what drew me to the book initially.

Read the detailed review here.

Recommendations

I would recommend the book to people looking to escape into Ancient Egypt and to those looking for a diverse read.

For the music, Desert Rain by Edward Maya (feat. Vika Jigulina) perfectly captures the tone of the book, according to me.

I wouldn’t recommend any kind of food with this, but lots of water would help combat the scorching heat of the setting, so keep a bottle of water handy while you read.

Links

Book: Website | Amazon | Goodreads

Author: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook