Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Game of Thrones is over and I have a lot of feelings


I honestly don't remember when I started watching Game of Thrones. I don't think it was with the premiere of season one just because I know I didn't have HBO back then. I do know I've been watching for several years and was highly invested in how the story played out for the main characters. Now the finale has come and gone and I've spent the last few days processing my feelings so I'm here to share them.


I'm notorious among my friends and family for being ridiculously bad at remembering details from movies, shows, and books, so I am not the person who's going to point out tiny plot holes from season two.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

You have undoubtedly seen the anger on social media over the last few days regarding the series finale. I've also seen a few people who loved the way the show ended! I'm somewhere in the middle of those two camps. I tried really hard to defend season eight even after Daenerys decided for whatever reason to burn a city full of innocents. I was one of the people pointing out how violent she has been throughout the entire series, despite the fact that it just didn't feel right.


I've spent the last few days trying to put all of my thoughts about this series into words, but I think it's really simple: the showrunners very obviously wanted it to be over. I'm not sure why exactly that is, but I think that when you compare the earlier seasons to the last two it's clear that they were rushing to the finish. Maybe they knew the ending (as given to them by GRRM) and didn't know how to get there. Maybe they wanted to hurry onto their next project. I have no idea what their reasons were, but the show most definitely suffered for it. There was so much that didn't make sense in the last couple episodes, but I'll try to stick to the ones that bothered me most.

First and most importantly, what happened to my baby Dany? I loved her from the very first season and have continued to love her through every single episode. I didn't always agree with her choices, but I understood them. I understand that she was always going to be the Mad Queen, but the progression from not mad to full on genocidal maniac was over the course of a couple episodes. Yes, I get the reasons, but it didn't feel earned. They did Dany wrong. I would have been fine with her ultimately going mad and ending up dead for it, but she should've had a full season to get there.


Speaking of wasted characters being killed off too quickly, what even with the Night King?? I was willing to let it go way back when I thought the finale would make up for his quick demise, but now I'm just irritated. I cannot believe we've spent so many seasons hearing about how he is the most dangerous threat in the entire world, only to have him taken out by teleporting Arya.

But my absolute biggest issue with the entire show is King Bran. Not only does Bran have absolutely no leadership experience and no people skills, but the more I think about his part in all this, the more I wonder what he's really responsible for. When he's chosen as king he says, "Why do you think I came all this way?" Did he always know that this is how it would end? Did he know that Daenerys would kill a million innocent people? And if so, how villainous is he? I've heard people say that he doesn't interfere with the knowledge he has, but he absolutely does. Case in point: he encouraged Sam to tell Jon about his heritage, which was the catalyst for the entire Mad Queen plot point. As far as I'm concerned, Bran indirectly caused the death of the city. Don't @ me.


By the way, when exactly did he get so weird? He wasn't like that a couple seasons ago.

The rest of the character endings were also disappointing and a bit too Disney for my tastes. I thought Arya's sailing off into the sunset made no sense considering she has never given any indication that she wanted to discover new worlds. In fact, it always seemed like she was pretty set on being with her family. I was okay with Sansa's happily ever after, I guess.

Jon's, not so much. If Grey Worm hadn't outright killed him (which, why wouldn't he?) why wouldn't anyone mention him as a contender for the throne, what with his leadership, war, and king experience, never mind his actual claim to the throne. His being exiled for killing a tyrant makes no sense. Even if he was, why wouldn't he just come back to the North since it was no longer a part of the Seven Kingdoms? How would Grey Worm ever know what he did anyway once he left?


I could go on and on, but I'll cut it short. At the end of Game of Thrones, am I still glad I watched? Absolutely. I loved seasons one through six and even really liked season seven! I tried to defend season eight until the bitter end, but I finally admitted to myself that it... wasn't good. I truly wish there had been a full season devoted to the Night King and Daenerys, and maybe a ninth one to pull it all together. I'll watch the whole thing again, but I'll probably stop after Dany dies and before the sitcom epilogue begins.




What did you like or dislike about the finale?
Will you watch it all again?
Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #239: Hands off


Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Books That I 
Refuse to Let Anyone Touch

Happy Tuesday! This week's topic is actually pretty easy for me. I refuse to let anyone touch any of my books! :) Okay, not really, but I am extremely picky about who is allowed to read them. There are a few editions I'm much more careful with and won't let ANYONE other than myself touch. (In no particular order...)


1. Caraval Goldsboro Edition
2. Chamber of Secrets ARC
3. Prisoner of Azkaban ARC
4. 1927 edition of Wuthering Heights
5. Signed Shadow and Bone ARC
6. The Eye of the World ARC
7. Completely worthless copy of LotR I've had forever
8. Caraval UK ARC
9. Signed Gathering Dark Paperback
10. Literally every copy of the Caraval & Grisha series
11. Seriously. Don't touch them.


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Weekly Recap: 5/12 - 5/18


HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! I may have gotten back from vacation last week, but this week hasn't been any less insane. My mom was in town until Wednesday and we had a lot of fun hanging out together, but I am exhausted! While she was here, the installation began on my husband's solar panel system and... it's still going on. Despite the fact that it was scheduled to be completed on Wednesday night. And I'm over it. We also had friends come in on Friday night to visit and go to Disney World on Saturday. What I'm saying is things have been hectic and I am more than ready for a break! Blogging continued to suffer because of all the goings on, but I did manage to post the reviews I said I would, so that's progress! Next week I'm sincerely hoping things will be back to normal.


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

  


THIS WEEK I READ

Nothing this week!


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was a page-to-screen freebie for Top Ten Tuesday
Thursday ARC review of The Haunted
Saturday book review of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown


UPCOMING REVIEWS



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, May 18, 2019

Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 419
Add to Goodreads


Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black. 

Although I loved True Blood, I missed the bulk of the vampire craze of the 2000s. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown wasn't even on my radar until after I read The Cruel Prince. So many people have told me how amazing this book is, but I was wary of picking this up since it really didn't seem like my thing. After a recent poll, I decided to finally give it a chance and I'm so glad I did!

This is NOT your average YA vampire paranormal romance. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is dark and bloody and reminds me more of Anne Rice than L.J. Smith. Tana is the main character who finds herself in a Coldtown after possible infection with the vampire virus. She's joined by a cast of other characters including a vampire who is more than what he seems.

I found Tana to be a believable heroine, brave only when she had to be, although I didn't necessarily love her. I did, however, love Gavriel the vampire who Tana saved! We're told he's insane and I liked that I could actually kind of see it. He's the kind of tortured love interest I love. He also had such an interesting backstory. I'd love to read a book about Gavriel's life before he met Tana. THAT would be an amazing read! I did like that, while there was romance between the two, it didn't overshadow the story.

The best part of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is the world building, hands down. I love the explanations this book makes for vampires in a realistic America. The Coldtowns are equal parts terrifying and fascinating. I'd love to be able to explore a place like this, but I'd definitely be too chicken to set foot in one without being infected. Coldtown society was interesting and realistic. I would seriously love to read more about this world.

I guess Holly Black is mostly known for her faerie stories, but she should definitely write more vampire books because this one was incredible! I definitely enjoyed it more than The Darkest Part of the Forest. If you're a fan of vampire books and haven't read this yet, I highly recommend picking it up! I'll just be sitting here hoping that Holly Black decides to return to this world in the future.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

ARC Review: The Haunted by Danielle Vega

Title: The Haunted
Author: Danielle Vega
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 304
Add to Goodreads


From Danielle Vega, YA’s answer to Stephen King, comes a new paranormal novel about dark family secrets, deep-seated vengeance, and the horrifying truth that evil often lurks in the unlikeliest of places.

Hendricks Becker-O’Malley is new in town, and she’s bringing baggage with her. With a dark and wild past, Hendricks doesn’t think the small town her parents moved her to has much to offer her in terms of excitement. She plans on laying low, but when she’s suddenly welcomed into the popular crowd at school, things don’t go as expected.

Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.

I am a huge fan of The Merciless series! I read them as they were released and really enjoyed every one. I was constantly impressed with Vega's ability to write truly scary horror novels for a YA audience and was excited to pick up The Haunted. I was able to trade for a copy with a friend and was eager to dive into this new, hopefully terrifying story.

This book revolves around Hendricks and her family after a move to a small town where they buy an old house with a bad reputation. The house the family chooses to renovate has a history of murder and suicide and is rumored to be haunted, so of course strange things start happening almost immediately after the family moves in. Unfortunately, that's almost the extent of the horror in this "horror" novel.

While Hendricks is okay as a character, I just got way more information about her than I ever would have needed. I don't need tons of character development, romance, or backstory in my horror novels, but this one was primarily about a girl's experience as a student at a new high school than it was about a haunted house. This book had a love triangle, high school clique drama, a crazy ex boyfriend, and a handful of creepy scenes. As much as I hate YA contemporary romance, that's really what I got with this new Vega book and I am disappointed.

The horror aspects of the book were pretty well done, but they were way too few and far between. I loved The Merciless for genuinely creeping me out, and there were a couple of creepy scenes in The Haunted, but not nearly enough to warrant the title. I did really enjoy the mystery of the house and why it was haunted, though. The ghosts had interesting stories and the resolution was satisfying.

If you're like me, looking for a super scary horror book, this isn't going to be it. If, however, you're new to YA or prefer more tame spookiness in a book that mainly focuses on the YA contemporary romance aspects of the story, you'll probably love this! It was an okay story, but ultimately wasn't what I was hoping for. I recently picked up Survive the Night by the same author and I'm really hoping that's more my speed!


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #238: Page-to-Screen Freebie


Today's Topic: 
Five Movies That Were Better Than The Book, 
& Five Books That Were Better Than the Movie

Happy Tuesday! This week's topic is a page to screen freebie and I decided to share five movies that were better than the book and five books that were better than the movie. Let me know if you agree or not! 


THE MOVIE WAS BETTER


Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks


THE BOOK WAS BETTER


Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.